SUNDAY 11•13•2011 Vol. 43 No. 25
Dubai Airshow News
Cockpit help wanted
ExecuJet is in the money
Irkut’s Yak-130 rides high
UAE aerospace on the rise
Air power over Libya
Trainers scramble to meet pilot shortfall
Simple lease deals could beat the credit squeeze
Irkut’s Yak-130 promises next-gen training
Mubadala sets lofty goals for aerospace in Abu Dhabi
RAF’s role in Ghaddafi’s downfall
The Middle East needs thousands more pilots over the next two decades, so how will they be trained in time? Page 20
ExecuJet has relaunched its SimplyFly finance and management program to give clients easy access to private aircraft. Page 30
UAE blasts fighter bid wide open
Russia’s Irkut sees growing interest in its jet trainer even as its focus shifts to the new MS-21 airliner. Page 31
How airpower tipped the conflict in Libya decisively in the favor of the country’s rebel forces. Page 54
With a composites factory now delivering to Airbus, the Gulf’s aerospace leader is planning for two generations of growth. Page 42
Boeing’s F-15 program could be looking up with some revitalizing new orders, and depending on the details, there could be some significant upgrades on the menu.
by Chris Pocock
French hopes of an early order for Rafale fighters from the United Arab Emirates Air Force may have been dashed. A British source with knowledge of the requirement has told AIN that the Emiratis will now hold a formal competition, and has just issued a request for proposals (RFP) to the UK government for the Eurofighter Typhoon. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s future fighter intentions are also unclear. The UK and the Kingdom have made only slow progress in executing the $7 billion Al Salam contract for 72 Eurofighters. Furthermore, Riyadh has not yet accepted last year’s U.S. offer to supply another 84 Boeing F-15 Strike Eagles. Continued on page 69 u
Dreamliner realized as A350 lags
It’s been a long time coming, but Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner touched down here for its Dubai Air Show debut. Boeing hopes there will be an influx of orders announced here at the show.
by Gregory Polek It’s no mirage, and no longer a dream. The long-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner has finally made its Middle East debut here at the Dubai Air Show, just as rival Airbus has announced a significant delay in the development of
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Continued on page 69 u
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Very impressed. Liked the comfortable seats. John
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Show salutes UAE birthday by James Wynbrandt Spring still blowing strongly, Dubai’s position as something of a Switzerland of the Middle East keeps political overtones
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from coloring the event. Egypt and Iraq are both sending delegations. Syria is not. In another first, the Gulf Aviation Training Event is focusing on how to attract and train people for work in aviation. In the same theme, the final day of the show will be “Futures Day,” dedicated to bringing youths into the industry. o
adcom unveils Tandem-winged uav Abu Dhabi-based Adcom Systems rarely fails to disappoint at the Dubai Air Show, and this year the UAV and aerial target specialist has excelled itself with the most impressive new shape in the static park. Named United 40 in honor of the UAE’s 40th anniversary, the tandem-wing UAV is shortly to begin flight trials. It is being displayed with a new guided weapon from Adcom, the Yabhon-Namrod, of which eight can be carried internally. Look out n for the whole story in later issues of AIN’s Dubai Airshow News.
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A record number of exhibitors, maiden Dubai appearances of high-profile aircraft and the debut of the UAE Air Force’s flight display team are among the highlights of the Dubai Air Show 2011. But organizers note an even bigger milestone will be observed at this year’s show: The 40th anniversary of the United Arab Emirates. “We’re asking all exhibitors and attendees to join in and celebrate with us,” said Alison Weller, managing director of show organizer F&E Aerospace. “The world media comes to Dubai for the airshow, and we want to showcase to the world how far we’ve come.” Following the official ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, 55,000 visitors are expected to view the stands of 950 exhibitors and some 100 aircraft on static display, as well as the daily flight demonstrations. Among aircraft making their first appearance in Dubai are Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey Tilt Rotor and the Xian MA600, marking the first time the 60-passenger turboprop commuter has flown outside of China. Al Fursan, the UAE Air Force’s flight demonstration team (see page 5), will also make its world debut here, performing daily in honor of the UAE’s anniversary. Official delegations from almost 50 countries, air force commanders from 26 nations, about 30 defense ministers and a similar number of chiefs of staff from around the globe are scheduled to attend, according to organizers. So will civil delegations from 18 air carriers, and about 20 civil aviation ministers. “This show does seem to attract a very broad spectrum of military and government representatives, and the UAE prides itself on being able to host them in a fairly neutral atmosphere,” said F&E CEO Clive Richardson. Indeed, with the winds of the Arab
This is just a handful of more than 100 aircraft to be viewed on the packed static display line for the 2011 Dubai Air Show.
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Dubai Airshow News is a publication of The Convention News Co., Inc., 214 Franklin Ave., Midland Park, NJ 07432; Tel.: (201) 444-5075. Copyright © 2011. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of The Convention News Co., Inc. is strictly prohibited. The Convention News Co., Inc. also publishes Aviation International News, AINalerts, AIN Defense Perspective, AIN Air Transport Perspective, AINmx Reports, Business Jet Traveler, ABACE Convention News, EBACE Convention News, HAI Convention News, MEBA Convention News, NBAA Convention News, Dubai Airshow News, Paris Airshow News, Singapore Airshow News. Printed in Dubai by Emirates Printing Press Computer Services: Smart AV, Dubai.
UAE team paints sky with its national colors Al Fursan, the United Arab Emirates Air Force’s flight display team, is making its debut here this week, where it is performing its precision aerobatics routine in celebration of both the event and the UAE’s 40th anniversary. “This was the plan to launch the team to the public and the world through the Dubai Air Show 2011,” said Brig. Gen. Khaled Bahussain, Al Fursan team director, and chairman of the Flying Control Committee of this year’s Dubai show. “We are very happy that everything went as planned, and very proud to be the UAE’s national aerobatics team.” Al Fursan–which is Arabic for “The Knights”–flies the Aermacchi MB339, an Italian jet trainer and light attack aircraft. The seven-ship team–representing the seven emirates that make up the UAE–performs its low-level aerobatic maneuvers in close formation, wingtip-to-wingtip. “People are not used to seeing jets flying very low to the ground and, on top of that, in formation,” said team leader
Lt. Col. Nasser Al Obaidly. “It looks dangerous, but with practice it is as safe as flying high in the sky. There is risk, of course– bird activity, things like that– but we’ve been trained in how to overcome this.” The jets are painted in goldand-black livery, the colors representing the desert’s golden sands and the black gold–oil– that lies beneath it. The team performed warm-up displays at regional airshows earlier this year, but considers this as its real introduction to an international audience. With the UAE looking to aviation to play a major role in the region’s economic growth, Al Fursan will likely help bring more attention to the UAE’s fast-expanding range of indigenous capabilities, while inspiring the next generation. “I’m sure it will attract more young kids,” said Col. Al Obaidly. “Even my kid–I have a daughter, and she always told me she wants to be a lawyer. But yesterday she saw the show and afterward she said, ‘Dad, I want to be a pilot now.’” Al Fursan is performing daily during the airshow. o
Sudanese program sows seeds for aircraft manufacturing by David Donald fixed-wing trainer. The aircraft are products of the SAFAT Aviation Complex (Stand W472), which was established at Khartoum Airport in 2004.
Among this year’s Dubai debutantes are a pair of light aircraft from Sudan. The SAFAT-02 is a light helicopter for training and the SAFAT-03 is a basic
Sudan’s SAFAT Aviation Complex was established at Khartoum Airport in 2004, and is making its debut at the Dubai Air Show with this SAFAT-03 fixed-wing trainer, based on the Serbian UTVA 75 design.
Al Fursan team director Brig. Gen. Khaled Bahussain, top, said the new team’s plan was to make its world debut here at the Dubai Air Show. Team leader Nasser Al Obaidly expects the team to inspire young people to become involved in aviation– starting with his own daughter.
SAFAT began overhaul and mainte- to instill confidence in the country’s abilnance activities in 2006, and now has ity to construct and fly aircraft. That confidence has led to the conmore than 700 personnel working in 14 hangars and 50 specialized work- struction of the SAFAT-03. This twoshops. As well as its central workshops seat side-by-side trainer was based on the company has three centers for heavy aircraft maintenance, helicopter maintenance and aircraft development/ manufacturing. The heavy aircraft division performs periodic maintenance under a joint venture with TAE from Ukraine, working on a range of Antonov aircraft and Ilyushin Il-76s, plus the Tecnam P92-JS and P2002-JF light aircraft. The helicopter center handles Mi-8/17/24 and BO 105 work, while the SAFAT plant SAFAT is also building this light utility/training helicopter, the also performs work on the Suda- SAFAT-02. It’s based on Ukraine’s AK1-3 design. nese air force’s Shenyang F-6 and the Serbian UTVA 75 design, and an Nanchang A-5 fighters. SAFAT’s directorate of aircraft man- initial batch was built for local training ufacturing and development (DAMD) needs. SAFAT has subsequently introwas created with the objective of estab- duced a new standard for future SAFATlishing a local industry that could meet 03 production. SAFAT is also assembling a light some of the nation’s aviation needs, especially in the field of training aircraft. The utility/training helicopter, the Safat 02, first product, the SAFAT 01, was a light based on the Aerokopter AK1-3 from aircraft based on the Piper Super Cub. It Ukraine. This helicopter has a 2.5-liter was shown off during the complex’s offi- Subaru EJ-25 engine that runs on autocial opening in June 2009, and was built mobile gasoline. o www.ainonline.com • November 13, 2011 • Dubai Airshow News 5
by James Wynbrandt
by Chris Pocock Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA) has stepped up its campaign to sell more F-15 and F-18 fighters, and has issued a strong warning against overreliance on leading-edge platforms such as the F-35 Stealth Fighter (produced by competitor Lockheed Martin). “The evolutionary approach is best…it’s hard to manage a revolution,” said Rick
Boeing Military Aircraft international business director Rick McCrary warns of large numbers of upgraded Su-30/35s.
McCrary, BMA international business director. McCrary advises customers to focus instead on tactics, techniques and procedures, and the effects that they wanted to create. The F-35 program was “going down the same path” as the B-2 and F-22 programs, McCrary
claimed. He also pointed out that although both Russia and China are developing stealth fighters, the Su-30/35 series represented the real threat because they were being progressively upgraded and could be fielded in large numbers. In any case, Russia’s PAK-50 “is more like an Su-35 than an F-22,” according to his assessment. Critics may say that Boeing’s argument is self-serving, but McCrary and colleagues believe that the upgrades already made or pending on the F-15 and F-18 prove their point (see boxes). For instance, the tripling in radar range offered by active electronically scanned arrays (AESAs) provides a capability that McCrary likened to “having a rifle in a pistol fight.” New capabilities offered by the smaller transmit/receive modules on second- and third-generation AESAs had hardly been exploited. Various technologies (such as high off-boresight missiles, infrared search and track sensors, new digital electronic warfare systems and updated cockpits) ensure that the F-15 and the F-18 are evolving to meet today’s challenges and provide the required effects, McCrary claimed. “We have a long-term, cost-effective plan,” he added. o
Super Hornet’s prospective customers and upgrade plans Thanks to the latest multi-year buy by the U.S. Navy, production of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet is assured through 2016, at an average cost below $60 million in 2010 prices. In the Middle East region, Boeing is eyeing requirements in Kuwait (an existing operator of F/A-18C/Ds), Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. All have received Super Hornet briefings from the U.S. government. Further afield, Japan is likely to choose between the F/A-18E/F, the F-35 and the Eurofighter Typhoon next month. Malaysia is another F/A-18D operator that might upgrade to the E/F. The “Super” is also competing for
Brazil’s on-again, off-again new fighter requirement. Although it is an F-35 international partner, Denmark has not yet formally committed to the Lightning II, and will resume an evaluation of alternatives next month. Boeing has described the following potential upgrades to the F/A-18E/F for future international sales: • conformal fuel tanks • 20 percent more thrust from the F414 engines • spherical missile/laser warning system • enclosed weapons pods on the wings and centerline • next-generation cockpit • internal IRST (infrared search and track sensors).
The F/A-18E flying in the aerial displays here in Dubai carries the motto “Oldest - Boldest” on its tail, referring to the U.S. Navy’s Strike Fighter Squadron 14–the Top Hatters–founded in 1919 and currently based at NAS Lemoore.
New ‘Silent Eagle’ variant could rekindle F-15 production
Potential orders from South Korea and Saudi Arabia would drive decisions on possible upgrades for future F-15 production.
6 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Production of the F-15 Strike Eagle is currently due to end next year, after the last of 60 F-15K models for Korea and 24 F-15SG models for Singapore are completed. But the aircraft is a contender for Korea’s FX-III requirement for 60 more fighters, and an order for 84 is pending from Saudi Arabia, although it remains unconfirmed more than one year after it was notified to the U.S. Congress. These two customers are driving some of the proposed upgrades that Boeing has marketed as the Silent Eagle. They are headed by the Raytheon APG-63(v)3 AESA radar that is already on the F-15SGs for Singapore. Boeing has funded and test flown a conformal weapons bay for stealth, which replicates the outer mold line of the aircraft’s existing conformal fuel tanks. An IRST (infrared search and track sensors) that is being added to the front of centreline fuel tanks on U.S. Navy F/A-18E/Fs could also be carried by the Silent Eagle. The other upgrades apparently depend on firm new orders from Korea and/or Saudi Arabia. They are the digital flight control system; next-generation cockpit; a digital electronic warfare system (DEWS); and two additional wing hardpoints for weapons. To further reduce the radar cross-section, Boeing has also
proposed canting the vertical tails outward and adding radar-absorbing and reflecting materials. However, export of the latter treatments would depend on U.S. government release policy. The Saudi package is worth a massive $29.5 billion, including the 84 new-builds and upgrading of the Kingdom’s 70 previously delivered F-15S Strike Eagles to the new F-15SA configuration. The main elements of the package include 170 APG-63 AESA radars; 193 GE F110-GE-129 improved performance engines; 169 DEWS; 169 Lockheed Martin AAS-42 IRST; 100 Link 16 terminals; 193 third-generation LANTIRN navigation pods; 158 AAQ-33 Sniper targeting systems; 10 Goodrich DB-110 reconnaissance pods; and 338 joint helmet-mounted cueing system helmets plus 462 AN/AVS-9 night-vision goggles. Accompanying weapons are 300 AIM-9X Sidewinder and 500 AIM-120C7 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles; 4,100 precision-guided bombs and 11,000 general-purpose and training bombs; 1,300 CBU105 sensor-fused weapons; 400 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon anti-ship missiles; and 600 AGM-88B antiradiation missiles. –C.P.
Boeing touts ‘evolution’ of its upgraded fighters
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ATR’s record year flies in face of the global financial crisis by Charles Alcock For ATR, 2011 is already a record personnel, are increasing. So airlines have year for sales of its regional airliners, but growth but profits will be lower.” But ATR is convinced that this the European manufacturer could have more business to announce this week. dilemma plays to its strengths. “Airlines Promotional materials seen at the Dubai cannot make mistakes in their product Air Show site last week suggest that on policy and the profitable airlines these Monday an African operator could con- days are the ones with the right aircraft for firm an order for a pair of ATR 42-600s, the right services. This is one of the reaplus options for one more and also for sons ATR sales are growing. For short sectors up to 350 nautical miles the the larger ATR 72-600. ATRs are real moneymakers for As of the eve of the airshow, the airlines, with fuel consumpATR had logged 145 firm orders tion that can be half that of the this year and with an additional alternatives and lower mainte72 options the value of these nance costs,” he said. deals is $4.8 billion. The Toulouse, According to Bagnato, France-based company’s backreduced profitability on longerlog now totals 267 of its twin turhaul routes means that airlines boprop aircraft, representing four can no longer take the view that years of production. Next year, it these services can subsidize losswill increase production rates from 54 to 72 aircraft and rising sales ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato making regional connections. In this respect, he claimed the ATR could drive this up to 80 and then 42s and ATR 72s (with up to 48 and 74 85 over the subsequent two years. “Despite the financial crisis [regional seats, respectively) offer more viable breakairline] traffic is still increasing,” ATR even load factors than larger jets. August saw Royal Air Maroc become chief executive Filippo Bagnato told AIN. “That’s the positive, but the nega- the launch operator for the new ATR tive is that [airline] yields are decreasing 72-600. In addition to providing improved because the costs, such as fuel and for performance, the -600 also features the Embraer plans to evenutally re-engine its E-Jet line, rather than build a new-design narrowbody.
ATR’s new model, the 72-600, comes with this new Armonia cabin interior. Royal Air Maroc was the launch customer for the new turboprop twin and the manufacturer sees Africa as a land of promise for sales.
new Armonia cabin interior. Bagnato believes that Africa is full of promise for further ATR sales, with an existing operator in Tanzania, for example, using the aircraft to serve destinations that would otherwise be inaccessible because only unpaved runways are available. The aircraft also do well in markets like these because they can operate autonomously with no ground support equipment. The manufacturer’s faith in the African market is demonstrated by its plans to open new training facilities in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2012. Another new flight training center is due to open in Bangalore, India. But what of the Middle East itself ? Why do regional airline services seem slow to take off here? In Bagnato’s view,
this is simply because operators have chosen to prioritize the development of long-haul routes to compete directly with Western airlines. “We have to give these countries time to take the next step [and develop regional services]–and the same is true in China–but in terms of regional connectivity [in the Middle East], there is still a mountain to climb,” he concluded. In addition to Royal Air Maroc, other ATR operators in the Middle East and North Africa include: Air Algerie, Iran Aseman Airlines, Libyan Airlines, Oman Air and Syrian Arab Airlines. The new ATR 72-600 is powered by a pair of 2,750-shp Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M engines. Maximum range with a full passenger load is 899 nm. o
At the time, Curado ruled out reengining the existing E-Jets in the near future. “The [Embraer] 170 and 190 are very young planes. They were recently certified and they have a long life ahead,” he stressed. “At some point in the future these airplanes will have a new generation with new engines and other improvements, but we don’t believe this will happen in the short term.”
expand our regional route network and better align frequency with demand,” said Oman Air CEO Peter Hill. “Having this flexibility allows us to introduce more point-to-point routes not sustainable with larger aircraft.” Embraer figures show that 84 percent of the fleet in the Middle East comprises aircraft with more than 120 seats, and yet 55 percent of intra-Middle East markets are underserved, with 135 routes not offering daily return flights. The region’s airlines, with nine operators in six countries, currently have on order a total of 65 aircraft, with Embraer claiming a 74-percent market share in the 30- to 120-seat capacity in the region. The
Three Factors Drive Growth
New narrowbody shelved, but Embraer bullish on the region by Gregory Polek and Julian Moxon Despite CEO Frederico Curado’s recent expression of reticence over the possibility of re-engining of Embraer’s E-Jet line of airliners, the Brazilian company apparently has decided to spend $2 billion on a project to do just that by 2018. Last week Embraer commercial aircraft president Paulo Cesar Souza e Silva confirmed the plans, including the possibility of stretching the E195 by some 10 seats, reducing to virtually nil the chances for development of a new narrowbody this decade. During a November 3 briefing on the company’s third-quarter financial results, Curado effectively confirmed the company’s loss of interest in introducing a new airliner into the seat-capacity segment extending into the range of the Boeing
737 MAX and Airbus A320neo. “We are concluding our studies,” said Curado. “We believe it will be difficult for us to penetrate this segment, not because of technical or industrial aspects and not because [we lack the] ability or capacity to build a family of planes that would be competitive and even slightly better than the market alternatives. It has more to do with the competitive scenarios.” Curado identified the re-engined Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families as his main concerns. “The competitive advantage we would be able to bring with our own plane would not be enough,” he said. “Our plane would be a bit more efficient, [but] we are finding it difficult to achieve the return on investment we would need.”
8 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Embraer believes three factors will drive huge growth in the Middle East regional jet fleet over coming years: regulation, lack of connectivity and the need to “right-size” aircraft to match demand. “We aim to double our orders in Africa and the Middle East over the next two years,” said Mathieu Duquesnoy, the Brazilian manufacturer’s vice president commercial aviation for the Middle East and Africa, who added that “long-term growth is a fact. “Our strategy in this region is clear,” he said. “We have the right aircraft to serve this market. Most routes don’t have the capacity for twin-aisle aircraft. Second, we have a dedicated team for this market, and third, we have a well established customer support presence.” Duquesnoy’s comments came during a briefing hosted by Oman Air in Oman ahead of the Dubai Air Show. The airline has started to take delivery of E-175s after ordering five aircraft plus five options, with the first aircraft having been delivered in March. “These are the ideal platform with which we can
E-Jets by the Numbers Model Embraer 170 Embraer 175 Embraer 190 Embraer 195
Seat Capacity 70 to 78 78 to 88 98 to 114 108 to 124
Range 2,100 nm 2,000 nm 2,400 nm 2,200 nm
OEM’s E-Jet family comprises the 170, 175, 190 and 195 models, covering the 70to 122-seat range. E-Jets have seen some 950 firm orders and 700 deliveries since 2004, including nearly 50 in the Middle East. Overall, the Brazilian manufacturer sees a global market by 2030 for more than 7,200 aircraft in the 30- to 120-seat category (worth $320 billion), 2,115 of which it believes will be jet-powered aircraft for the Middle East market. o
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F-16 set to spearhead reborn Iraqi Air Force by David Donald In late September, the U.S. Pentagon announced that the first payment had been made
concerning the supply of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to Iraq, ending a period of
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For the time being, the Iraqi Air Force’s three Hellfire-missile-carrying AC-208 Caravans represent the service’s only fixed-wing offensive weapons capability, although the Lasta-95 basic trainer has a light gun option.
delay due to budgetary issues and speculation about whether the contract would proceed. The contract covers an initial 18 aircraft, although Iraq ultimately wants at least 36 and they are of the Block 50/52 variant. Deliveries would be made in the 2014/15 period and Al Qayarah has been identified as the initial operating location. U.S. fighters will most likely continue to provide air defense from the Al Assad, Balad and Abu Ubaida bases until the Iraqi F-16s became operational. Serious talk of Iraq becoming an F-16 operator surfaced in 2008, and, the following year, the air force chief stated his desire to receive up to 96. Several other alternatives, including those for interim aircraft, were raised, ranging from the recovery from France of embargoed Mirage F1s and MiG-21/23s from Serbia, to acquiring former United Arab Emirates Mirage 2000-9s if the Rafale deal with the UAE was concluded. However, the purchase of F-16s gained momentum in April 2010 when Iraq officially requested 24 fighters. In August, an agreement was signed for 10 Iraqi pilots to begin preliminary training with the U.S. Air Force. The following month, the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a potential sale of 18 “F-16IQ” aircraft to Iraq. The potential deal included conformal fuel tanks, APG68(V)9 radars and a range of weapons including laser-guided bombs, AIM-9L/M Sidewinder and AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. The air-to-air weapons were notable for being a generation behind the standard AIM-9X/ AIM-120 pairing used by most F-16 operators. The request also covered advanced targeting and reconnaissance pods. In January this year, the Iraqi government announced authorization to proceed with the purchase, but the following
12 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Continued on page 16 u
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F-16 to spearhead reborn Iraqi Air Force uContinued from page 12
month said that the initial payment would be redirected to food aid support. After some months of delay, the F-16 buy was reinstated. Rebirth of the Iraqi Air Force
Acquiring a multi-role fighter that is able to defend Iraq’s airspace is the final and most important stepping-stone in the
rebirth of the Iraqi Air Force that, under Saddam Hussein’s regime, was once one of the largest in the region. In the aftermath of the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, the re-establishment of the Iraqi Air Force was seen as an important element in the drive to put the nation back on its feet. Much of the “old” Iraqi Air Force’s equipment was swept aside, and operations got under way with a pair of Jordanian-built SB7L-360 Seeker aircraft, followed by Bell 206 helicopters donated by the UAE, along with CompAir 7SL lightplanes. Ex-U.S. Air Force C-130s
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and upgraded UH-1Hs from Jordan restored some airlift capability. In recognition of the internal situation, and the desire of the U.S. to place security back into the hands of the Iraqis, the ensuing round of acquisitions attended primarily to providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) assets for anti-terrorism duties. SAMA CH-2000 lightplanes, built by Jordan Aerospace Industries and equipped with sensor turrets, have been used for reconnaissance. A larger ISR platform arrived in the shape of 10 Hawker Beechcraft 350s (plus two transport versions), fitted out in a similar fashion to the MC-12W Project Liberty aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force. Cessna Caravans began arriving in April 2007, in transport, ISR and AC-208 armed versions–three of the latter being able to fire Hellfire missiles. For support of ground forces Iraq’s army aviation has standardized on the Mil Mi-17/171 assault helicopter, large numbers of which have been acquired
from new production to bolster the survivors from the Saddam era, which have been overhauled. Among the new “Hips” is a batch of Mi-17V-5 aircraft for No. 15 Squadron, which is dedicated to special operations and counterterrorism. Trials have been undertaken of Mi-17CTs armed with DAGR laser-guided rockets. Eurocopter EC635T2+ helicopters are on order (24, plus 26 on option) for the battlefield utility role, the first of which was delivered in June. In the interim, Iraq began operating ex-French army SA 342M Gazelles last year. Both types can be weaponized, options including gun pods and the South African Denel Ingwe missile. For attack duties, the Bell 407 Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (IA-407) has been chosen, with 24 on order and 26 on option. They will incorporate many elements of the now-cancelled U.S. Army ARH-70 Arapaho aircraft. Three T-407 “vanilla” civilian Model 407s have also been acquired for training, entering service last year in advance of the armed
Iraqi Army Aviation began training on the Bell T-407 this summer. Three were bought to begin training prior to the arrival of armed IA-407 helicopters.
www.migavia.ru Suitably equipped with a sensor turret, the SAMA CH-2000 is used for short-range surveillance patrols from a number of bases around Iraq.
16 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
helicopter deliveries. The first of the armed Bell 407s was scheduled for delivery this December, but that has now been put back to the spring. With plans for expansion, it was necessary to put in place a robust training organization. Basic training is now undertaken on the Cessna 172, and advanced training on the Hawker Beechcraft T-6, the first of which arrived in December 2009. Iraq also ordered 20 Utva Lasta-95 basic/light weapons trainers from Serbia in December 2007, plus 15 on option. The first three were delivered in August 2010 and began operations alongside Cessna 172 and Caravans. Advanced jet
trainers are on the Iraqi shopping list, with the BAE Systems Hawk, KAI T-50 and Aermacchi M-346 possible candidates, although the sale of 24 Aero L-159s to Iraq for light combat and advanced training is more likely. Rotary-wing training is currently undertaken on Bell 206s, including some on loan from the U.S. Army National Guard. Further acquisitions for the IQAF include six C-130J-30 Hercules to revamp the airlift fleet, along with six Antonov An-32Bs (plus four on option) as part of a larger arms package from Ukraine. Delivery of the first three An-32s has been held up due to contractual disputes. o
Much effort has gone into building a powerful rotary-wing force, such as the acquisition of new-build Mi-17/171s (seen here). Iraq aims to have 200 precision weapons-capable helicopters in service by 2012/13.
10-31-2011 THROTTLES Dubai_Dubai 2011 10/31/11 11:41 AM Page 1
Oman Air stalls on 787 lease decision This could be the week that Oman Air, the national airline of the Sultanate of Oman, confirms definitively whether or not it will still take the six Boeing 787s it is supposed to be leasing from Aviation Lease and Finance Co. (ALFACO). The Arabian Gulf carrier has been in negotiations with Boeing over demands for compensation that it wants for delays in the delivery schedule for the new widebody. But during a press visit to its Muscat headquarters in mid-October, the airline’s management indicated that it would not be ready to confirm its intentions for the 787 for up to another month. At the time, Oman Air declined to be specific about its plans for the 787 as it awaits the appointment of a new CEO to replace Peter Hill, who retires at the end of the year after being with the airline since its was founded in 1993. Delivery of Oman Air’s first aircraft had been set for 2012, 2014
and 2015, but arrival of the first 787 has now been put back to the second half of 2014. Other airlines in the region that have ordered the 787 have also expressed concerns over losses caused by the long delays to the program. Oman Air currently operates seven Airbus A330-200/300s, 15 Boeing 737NGs and two ATR42 turboprops. It received the first of five Embraer 175 E-Jets in March, and holds options for five more. Philippe Georgiou, Oman Air’s chief officer for corporate affairs, said the airline is two years into its five-year plan. “We’re on course for break-even in 2013 or 2014,” he said. New destinations include Zurich first, then Moscow, with further European locations planned, he added. o
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Trainers scramble to meet Middle East pilot shortfall by Julian Moxon According to a recent report by Boeing, the Middle East will need more than 37,000 pilots to fly the aircraft due to be delivered there over the next 20 years. But the region faces a serious lack of adequate training facilities. “Pilot requirements for the Gulf region will grow at a faster rate than local pilots can be trained,” concluded Boeing in its latest pilot and technician forecast. The industry is waking up to the challenge, but there are doubts as to whether it is ready for the kind of growth now being anticipated. “Everyone is saying the same thing,” FlightSafety International (FSI) executive vice president Eric Hinson told AIN. “There will definitely be a pilot shortage if the levels of available training can’t keep pace.” Adding to the problem is the fact that many U.S. pilots who moved to the Middle East a few years ago to take advantage of the better conditions are returning to the U.S. to fill slots left by those now
CAE has been training pilots in the Middle East for a decade and recently announced plans to open its second training center in the region.
reaching retirement. “This means there will be even fewer pilots available for the growth in the Middle East,” he added. Emirates told AIN that it alone needs an additional 500 pilots for each of the next two years to meet its outstanding 192-aircraft order book and expanding route network. All of its nine existing flight simulators have been supplied by CAE and located in the Emirates Aviation College facility. “Emirates expansion will require us to continue to recruit qualified personnel from around the world,” Capt. Martin Mahoney, senior vice president of flight training, told AIN. CAE has long been a player in the region, mainly through the Emirates-CAE Flight Training School in Dubai, located within the Aviation College campus. The school celebrated its tenth birthday in July with the announcement that it would open a second facility to join the first. “Continued strong airline growth in the Middle East and neighboring regions is driving the need for additional highly qualified flight deck crew and
maintenance personnel,” said EmiratesCAE Flight Training School (ECFT) chairman Gary Chapman. The existing facility will be used primarily for training business aircraft pilots, the new one for commercial pilot training, although there will still be some mixture between the two depending on demand, said Camille Mariamo, managing director, commercial training and simulation, Middle East & India Region. “We’re full to capacity and, as growth continues, the reality is that we have to make sure we invest and grow with the demand, so we’re expanding in Dubai to accommodate that,” he added. Heavy Competition
While CAE is clearly well established in the region, its competitors are still looking for ways to strengthen their position. Apart from a dispatch training facility in partnership with flight-planning and support group Nexus in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, FSI’s map of its worldwide locations reveals a gap in only one major area: the Middle East. “We’re talking to a lot of parties, but nothing has materialized yet,” said Hinson. He added that while FSI has a significant customer base in the area, most of the training for locally based pilots is still carried out in either Europe or the U.S. He accepts this must change. “Airlines no longer want to travel somewhere else to do their training. They expect it to be available where they are,” he said. Thales, likewise, has identified what it calls “a key challenge for the industry” in meeting current and future training needs. “Hundreds of new pilots are needed every year and existing pilots need to be trained on new aircraft to cope with huge fleet expansion and modernization,” global civil simulation business sales director Jean-Pierre Pourre told AIN. He added that Thales is addressing “various business opportunities in the region, ranging from the supply of equipment to the provision of turnkey services. In some cases this includes leadership of a feasibility study and project relating to the creation of new training centers.” Located in the Emirates Aviation College campus, near Dubai International
Thales provides training equipment for Middle Eastern airlines and is studying the feasibility of adding a training center in the region.
Airport, ECFT provides aviation-related courses for commercial and business carriers in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and South America, aimed primarily at flight-deck crew and maintenance personnel. It was the first facility of its kind in the Middle East to be approved by aviation authorities in Europe, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates. According to Mariamo, it works in close collaboration with more than 20 different national aviation authorities to ensure that their specific requirements are fulfilled. The original center houses 12 fullflight simulators for the following aircraft types: two Airbus A320/ACJs, an A330/340, Boeing 777, two 737 NG/ BBJs, a Gulfstream IV and Gulfstream V/550, the Hawker 800/800XP, Bombardier’s Global Express, the Dassault Falcon 900EX, 2000EX and 7X and finally a Bell Helicopter 212/412. “There is a severe shortage of pilots in the Middle East and India, especially on Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 types,” said Mariamo. “A big delivery cycle is coming to Etihad, Emirates and several Indian airlines, so there is a huge demand for training.” Airline Training in 2012
The second facility at ECFT will open in 2012 to provide training capacity for airline pilots and maintenance technicians and will initially house four full-flight simulator bays with plans to expand to as many as 10. The first units will be for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737. “Our strategy is to help airlines meet their growth needs,” said Mariamo. “The recession in 2008 has effectively ended in this area. Demand is now where it was before, split about 50/50 between business and commercial aviation. Business
Dubai Show Rises to the Training Challenge The Dubai Air Show will be the occasion for the first Gulf Aviation Training Event being held t omorrow and on Tuesday. The theme, “Averting the crisis: selection and training of Middle East-based flight crew for the next generation,” has attracted a number of prominent speakers, with the keynote address on the first day by FAA Administrator Randolph Babbitt and that on the second day by William Voss, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation. The event reflects the almost desperate need for training in the Middle East, where airlines will increase their fleets by an estimated 2,340 aircraft by 2029. How to fill the requirement for up to 32,700 trained pilots and 44,500 technicians will be one of the main topics for discussion, along with the associated need for oversight and ensuring that the resulting flight crews are of the highest quality. More information about the event can be found at www.gates.aero/conference.–J.M.
20 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
aviation has been holding up well, particularly in the mid- to large- cabin class.” CAE was unable to provide figures for its market share in the Middle East. “I can say we are the dominant player with a very strong leadership position,” Mariamo told AIN. Indeed, a check of CAT (Civil Aviation Training) magazine’s 2011 civil full flight simulator census confirms that CAE has supplied all of the simulators in the UAE, including seven units for Emirates and three for Etihad. In Saudi Arabia, however, CAE has captured orders for just two of the nine simulators in service, the rest having been supplied by Thales, which also supplied all three for Qatar. In India, Thales has two units, CAE five and FSI just one. “There are so many opportunities out there,” said FSI’s Hinson. “We see no abatement in the demand for training.” In February, CAE’s Global Academy in India announced it would establish an ab initio helicopter-training program at its Gondia facility. With an estimated
FlightSafety provides flight training to Middle Eastern pilots at its facilities in the U.S. and Europe.
requirement for 2,500 pilots over the next 10 years, the new facility is likely to be busy. It will be CAE’s first ab initio helicopter-training program and is expected to begin operations before year-end. Gondia is one of CAE’s 11 Global Academies, which form the world’s largest network of professional flight schools, with campuses in Australia, Belgium, Cameroon, Canada, India, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Portugal and the U.S. With the addition of the new helicopter program, the Global Academy will have a fleet of more than 300 aircraft and the capacity to train about 1,900 fixed-wing commercial pilots and rotary-wing commercial and military pilots per year. In June, CAE announced a joint venture with India’s InterGlobe Enterprises to open a new training center in Delhi to provide “pilot and maintenance training solutions for the Indian aviation market.” The center will be added to the four that CAE already operates in India. The CAE-Bengaluru facility was the first independent training center in India and the first to earn approval as a fixed-wing type rating training organization. According to Jeff Roberts, CAE’s group president for civil simulation products, training and services, India has a need to train more than 7,000 commercial and business aviation pilots over the next seven years. o
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The first three Cessna 208B Caravans for the Afghan Air Force’s training center arrived in Afghanistan on October 22. As well as six for training, the AAF is acquiring 20 Caravans for transport duties.
Training underlines the rebirth of Afghanistan’s air force by David Donald Training is just getting under way of the first military fixed-wing pilots to be taught to fly in Afghanistan since the early 1990s. The initiation of the first course follows the delivery of three Cessna 182T basic trainers in September, and three Cessna 208B Caravans for advanced instruction on October 22. An undergraduate pilot training (UPT) facility is being established at Shindand, with construction due to be completed next spring. Pilot training courses are being overseen by the U.S. Air Force’s 444th Air Expeditionary Adviser Squadron, part of the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing entrusted with rebuilding Afghanistan’s airpower. Instructors come from the U.S., Hungary, Italy and Afghanistan. When complete, the Shindand UPT center will operate a mix of types for both fixed- and rotary-wing training. Six Cessna 182Ts will provide basic fixedwing training, and a similar number of Cessna 208Bs will provide more advanced instruction. For helicopter instruction the center already operates six Russian Mil Mi-17 “Hips,” and is receiving six MD Helicopters MD 530Fs. The Afghan Air Force, which was renamed from the Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) in June last year, aims to be self-sufficient with Afghan instructors within three years. In the meantime, some pilot candidates continue to train in the U.S. UPT program. The “Thunder Lab” has been established at Kabul to provide intense English language immersion to candidates prior to their transfer into the U.S. training network. The Afghan Air Force has established three operational wings, at Kabul, Kandahar and Shindand. They are in the process of building up a capable air arm
that, ultimately, is scheduled to take over internal security duties from the large international force. Helicopters and airlifters are already heavily involved in operations, and they currently form the backbone of the AAF inventory. Most important of the current types is the Mil Mi-17, which has proven itself to be highly dependable during operations in Afghanistan’s taxing environment. Deliveries of 21 new Mi-17V5s are augmenting older aircraft, the new machines being modified to AAF requirements here in the United Arab Emirates before being airlifted to Afghanistan. By 2013 the AAF plans to have 53 Mi-17s in service for armed assault duties, and three Mi-17DVs for VIP/staff transport. From 2014, the older aircraft will need replacement based on current use rates, and it is expected they will procure a Western type. Augmenting the Mi-17 is the Mi-35 “Hind,” of which six are believed to still be operational from 15 delivered. These aircraft, armed with 12.7mm machine guns and 57mm rockets, are useful for providing on-call security during key events, such as the recent presidential elections, as well as providing support and transport during special operations. Air transport around Afghanistan’s large territory is a vital aspect of the AAF’s mission, and capability in this area has been significantly enhanced. The ANAAC began post-2001 airlift operations with the Antonov An -26 (two) and An-32 (three), survivors of the Soviet era. The U.S. Naval Air Systems Command bought four refurbished An-32s from Ukraine. They were delivered in 2008, allowing the older aircraft to be retired by 2010. The refurbished Antonovs allowed
The AAF is building up a fleet of 20 Alenia C-27As for transport duties. The 14th aircraft was delivered in September.
24 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
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Afghanistan’s AF uContinued from page 24
operations to continue until new equipment could be received, which arrived in the shape of the Alenia C-27A. Twenty aircraft were purchased by the U.S. for the AAF, the first arriving in Afghanistan on Nov. 12, 2009, after
refurbishment in Italy. The first operational mission was flown on March 24, 2010, and since then the fleet has grown steadily, allowing the An-32s to be withdrawn this summer. Two of the C-27s are outfitted for VIP transport. On order for the AAF are 20 Cessna 208 Caravans to be used for utility transport
and liaison work, distributed around the country. In terms of fixed-wing combat capability, the AAF currently has just three Aero L-39 Albatros light attack/advanced training aircraft on charge, although their serviceability is questionable. These are the survivors of 26 delivered in Soviet times. To replace them, the U.S. Relic of the Soviet era but still a potent weapon, the Mi-35 “Hind” provides the Afghan Air Force with gunship capabilities to augment its armed Mi-17s.
is to supply an initial batch of light attack/armed reconnaissance aircraft under the Light Air Support program, in turn part of the Building P artner Capacity drive. Current plans call for 20 aircraft–either Hawker Beechcraft AT-6s or Embraer Super Tucanos–to be delivered, with further procurement likely. o
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28 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
The ambitious development plan to expand Oman’s Muscat Airport has been accelerated with the Oman Airport Management Co. advancing the opening date to October 2014. The project had run into delays after tropical cyclone Gonu in 2007, which led to the decision to remove basements and underground areas, resulting in a complete redesign. Oman’s transport and communications minister Dr. Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Futaisi announced the change on October 17 during a visit to the airport. The $5.2 billion project will include a new passenger terminal capable of handling 12 million passengers annually, with the potential for expansion to handle up to 48 million. The work is being carried out by a joint venture with Denmark’s Larsen Architects and Copenhagen Airports and includes runways, approach roads, terminals, baggage-handling systems, control tower and all the other buildings and installations. Aeroports de Paris subsidiary ADPI is the project management consultant. “This is an ambitious timescale,” said Al Futaisi, “but we believe it is achievable given the progress so far.”–J.M.
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ExecuJet beats credit squeeze with simple lease packages by Thierry Dubois & Charles Alcock ExecuJet Aviation is offering aircraft buyers a more direct and straightforward way to finance and operate business jets through its relaunched SimplyFly program. The package offers a quick decision on financing and the opportunity to have the aircraft managed under a fiveyear lease. SimplyFly is based on nonrecourse financing, where the loan is secured on the aircraft so if the borrower defaults, the lender’s recovery is limited to the aircraft. It does not require additional assets or personal guarantees and ExecuJet (Stand E370) will manage and operate the aircraft. Also, should the client wish to make the aircraft available for charter to third parties, the company will arrange it. The Zurich, Switzerland-based company, which has offices worldwide, said monthly costs and hourly rates can be fixed. These days fewer banks are willing to lend funds to support aircraft purchases and those that do often require long and complex approval processes. Also, private banks in particular generally make loans conditional on clients that give them other assets to manage. ExecuJet has secured access to a dedicated pool of capital via its main shareholder, Dermot Desmond. The funding provider is comfortable offering nonrecourse funding because it knows that ExecuJet remains in control of the asset as the aircraft operator. SimplyFly does require a 30-percent deposit on the value of the aircraft, which is around 5 percent more than other sources of funding. However, ExecuJet CEO Niall Olver argued that the premium is justified by the simplicity and flexibility that the program brings to the market and the fact ExecuJet is interested only in managing the aircraft in a mutually beneficial way and doesn’t use
the loan as bait to win other financial services work. “We found that customers still need aircraft but not to the extent that they want to put them on their balance sheets,” Olver told AIN. He said that SimplyFly is a full turnkey solution in which ExecuJet sources the aircraft and handles all aspects of the purchase for the client. At the end of the five-year lease term, the client has the option of whether or not to renew the lease. Funding is available for new or preowned aircraft valued at $20 million or more and aged less than five years. Initially, ExecuJet has access to a pool of $400 million, but more funds could be made available subject to demand. “We are committed to making sure that customer gets the aircraft that’s right for them,” said Olver. “There is no point bringing into the [management] system an aircraft that is too expensive and that the customer is not happy with.” With the all too real possibility of a new credit crunch triggered by the looming banking crisis in Europe, ExecuJet believes the time is right to offer an assured source of funding combined with a reliable way to operate the aircraft. “For us it is exciting because I don’t see aircraft financing lightening up since the last thing banks will be bullish about now is aircraft transactions,” concluded Olver. Positive Activity in Middle East
Meanwhile, ExecuJet is reporting “positive” activity in the Middle East region, both in aircraft sales and local FBO business. “Aircraft sales in the region have been positive with a number of aircraft being delivered recently,” said Andrew Hoy, managing director of ExecuJet Aircraft Trading. “Our current areas of focus are the CIS countries Heading ExecuJet’s Istanbul FBO are, left to right, Hakan Caglayan, general coordinator; Ayca Kocabas, station manager and Mark Hardman, operations director for ExecuJet Middle East. On hand to accept Bombardier service awards were, left to right, Nick Weber, maintenance director ExecuJet Middle East; Chris Milligan, director, authorized service facilities, Bombardier customer services; and Eric Martel, president, Bombardier customer services; and specialized and amphibious aircraft.
ExecuJet’s FBO here in Dubai has seen a 20-percent uptick in traffic this year compared with the same time last year, but there is even bigger growth at its base in Turkey.
and Saudi Arabia,” he revealed. Two aircraft, recently added to ExecuJet’s regional charter fleet–a Bombardier Challenger 850 and a Challenger 605–are here on the Dubai Air Show static display. By mid-January, a 19-seat Embraer Lineage 1000 will join them, taking the company’s local fleet to 22. The new aircraft will be based in Dubai. “There is a growing trend toward larger aircraft,” said Hoy. “The majority of the jets in the region sell for around $20- to $30 million. Saudi Arabia has the biggest share of the private jet market, closely followed by the UAE,” he said. Traffic Increasing
ExecuJet’s FBO in Dubai has seen aircraft movements increase by 20 percent compared to the same time last year, and it is now handling an average of 300 movements per month. November and December are predicted to show even stronger performance. “All countries in the region have been very active but an increased demand could be seen from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. One of the busiest days in our FBO’s history was October 29, when the FBO in Dubai handled a
30 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
record 31 flights,” Hoy said. Meanwhile, at Turkey’s Istanbul Ataturk Airport, the FBO run by Bilen Air Service in partnership with ExecuJet Middle East is reporting a 30-percent increase in movements. Two months after signing the strategic partnership, it counts 14 new foreign customers. The FBO’s goal is to have a 50-percent increase on the monthly traffic volume by the end of March 2012. The facility itself is growing and undergoing a full refurbishment. The latest addition is a 50,000sq-ft hangar area offering needed parking space as the neighboring general aviation ramp is limited in that regard. Also announced here in Dubai this week are two awards for ExecuJet: the first being the Bombardier Authorized Service Facility Excellence Award in the international category for ExecuJet’s maintenance facility in Dubai. Capacity there has been tripled over last year with the addition of a new hangar and it now employs a team of over 135 maintenance staff. The second award, to Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services Berlin in which ExecuJet Europe holds a 20-percent stake, was the Bombardier award in the European category. o
Irkut’s Yak-130 offers modern training agenda Later this year the Irkut Corp. will deliver the first Yak-130 advanced trainers to the Algerian air force. The North African air arm already has personnel training on the type at the company’s Irkutsk facility in Siberia, where Algerian pilots undertook their first solo flights in September. Irkut sees the Middle East/ North Africa as a key market for the type. One nation that already signed up is Libya, which ordered six, but the contract is currently frozen in the wake of the recent conflict in the North African country and the aircraft could be reallocated. Designed by the Yakovlev design bureau, the Yak-130 Mitten employs advanced aerodynamics and systems to provide a trainer for fourth- and
Irkut CEO Alexei Fedorov aboard a mockup of the MS-21 airliner.
fifth-generation fighters. The aircraft has a three-metric-ton weapons-carrying capacity, and Irkut is looking at increasing capability, first through the integration of targeting pods and, ultimately, the installation of radar. This not only would make the Yak-130 a fully-capable leadin fighter trainer, but also give it significant combat capability. The Russian air force has selected the Yak-130 to fulfill its advanced training requirements, and last week it was announced that the Russian defense ministry would shortly sign a contract with Irkut for 65 aircraft to be delivered by 2017. Russia received an initial batch of 12 for evaluation and initial pilot training in 2009/10. According to Irkut, the Yak130 is unique in being a subsonic trainer suitable for preparing pilots for next-generation combat aircraft. “It differs from previous generation trainers through its capacity to provide full training of pilots for fourthor fifth-generation fighters,” said Irkut CEO Alexei Fedorov. “The trainer matches them in its maneuverability, thrust-toweight ratio, ability to fly at a high angle of attack and cockpit software.” Algeria’s order for 16 Yak130s was received in 2006,
IAE follows SelectOne success with new variant
Last hurrah? Having served the UAE Air Force for nearly three decades, including missions over Libya as part of NATO’s Operation Unified Protector, the Mirage 2000 fleet might be on the verge of being traded in for Dassault Rafales.
part of an arms package that included 28 Sukhoi Su30MKA Flanker multi-role fighters, which are also built by Irkut. Delivery of this first batch of Su-30s was completed in 2009, and good initial experience led to a follow-on order for 16 last year. From Fighters to Transports
Irkut claims a full orderbook for the Su-30MK through 2017. Two Su-30SMs were recently ordered for evaluation by the Russian air force, and the company expects an order for 28 to follow imminently. The Su-30SM is a “Russianized” version of the Su-30MKI supplied to India. The company is working on an upgrade program for the Su30MKIs delivered some time ago, which could include integration of the BrahMos supersonic maintenance costs and further developing technology designed for retrofit across the entire fleet, improving operating efficiency for all V2500 users. Impressive Milestones
by Gregory Polek International Aero Engines (IAE) has delivered its 1,000th V2500 SelectOne turbofan. Only three years after the upgrade was first introduced, the group shipped engine V16000 from Rolls-Royce Dahlewitz to Indian low-fare carrier IndiGo. “The V2500 SelectOne is a very big success for us–it improved fuel burn by a full one percent,” commented IAE executive vice president Jim Guiliano. “It has also improved time-onwing by up to 20 percent, and has achieved or surpassed CAEP6 NOx [nitrous oxide] standards.” IAE also introduced its Se lectTwo earlier this year, projecting that the new version would
by David Donald
provide about 0.6 percent fuelburn savings compared to the V2500 SelectOne engine for a typical 500-nautical-mile Airbus A320 mission. It involves a software upgrade for the electronic engine control system. Gulf Air recently entered into an agreement to obtain V2500s for six A321s, becoming a launch customer for the SelectTwo engine, while another long-time IAE customer–US Airways– announced earlier this year that it would upgrade its entire A320 fleet (more than 150 aircraft) to the SelectTwo standard. Now on the drawing board is the latest V2500 iteration–SelectThree–which focuses on cutting
The Middle East is a highly active region for IAE, being home to no fewer than 20 airlines that power their fleets of A320s with V2500s. Recent highlights for IAE include Yemenia’s acceptance of its first of 10 V2500-powered A320s scheduled for delivery through 2014 and the entrance into service of a Turkish Airlines V2500-powered A321, raising that airline’s fleet size to 100 airplanes. Meanwhile, with 26 aircraft in operation or on order, Qatar Airways has already accumulated more than 800,000 engine flight hours. In Lebanon, Middle East Airlines has received six A320s, and expects to accept another airplane scheduled for
anti-ship missile. According to Fedorov, the fighter’s combat performance will be enhanced by a new set of on-board systems. Meanwhile, Irkut continues to finalize the design of the United Aircraft Corp. MS-21 airliner, a process that should be complete in the middle of next year. Intended to replace a number of older types in domestic Russian service, and to rival the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo in the international marketplace, the MS-21 has been designed to offer cost efficiencies of 12 to 15 percent over current airliners. Irkut claims an advantage for the MS-21 in that it has been designed from the outset as a complete “aircraft-engine complex,” with benefits over a reengining program. The aircraft employs advanced aerodynamics developed by the TsAGI institute
and a high volume of composites in its construction for reduced weight. Power comes from the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofan or Aviadvigatel PD-14. Passenger comfort has been an important factor in the development process, resulting in a wide fuselage and a cabin pressure altitude of just 6,000 feet. The MS-21’s principal manufacturing and assembly plant at Irkutsk is in the process of being modernized in preparation for production. First flight is scheduled for 2014 and first deliveries to Aeroflot in 2017. Initial aircraft deliveries will be the baseline MS-21200 version, with the further stretched MS-21-300 to follow. Irkut claims that its backlog of orders for the new narrowbody will support production through 2020. o
delivery in January of next year, marking the 5,000th A320 series delivery from Airbus. The Middle East’s oldest IAE customer–Eygptair–is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has built a fleet of 17 aircraft. Here at the Dubai Air Show, Etihad plans to accept the first of its most recent order for A320s, raising the number of its V2500-powered platforms to 14. IAE’s most recent sale involved Thai Airlines, which chose V2500s as it continues to expand its fleet of A320-series narrowbodies. The national carrier of Thailand has placed an order for five purchased and six leased aircraft for use with a new low-cost regional carrier called Thai Smile. Plans call for first deliveries to start next year. Already flying nine V2500-powered A320 series jets, Thai has now placed two separate orders for the IAE powerplants. Separately, Embraer recently
announced that it chose International Aero Engines’ V2500-E5 to power the country’s new KC-390 multi-role tanker/transport aircraft. Launched in April 2009, the KC-390 drew a commitment from the Brazilian air force to buy 28 aircraft in July last year. Five more countries have agreed to join as industrial partners, resulting in announced “purchase intentions” covering 60 airplanes. Engineering work on the V2500-E5 has already started at IAE’s shareholder companies– Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce (which is selling its share to P&W) MTU and JAEC. IAE expects to deliver the first powerplants for the prototype aircraft in 2013 and begin flight testing the following year. It plans to begin producing powerplants in 2015, in time for entry into service later that year. The stakeholders expect deliveries to last at least through 2030. o
www.ainonline.com • November 13, 2011 • Dubai Airshow News 31
Goodrich’s local MRO team gives more efficient support by Gregory Polek
Jet Av Dubai adds ACJ, 7X to its portfolio Jet Aviation’s Dubai facility will offer maintenance support for the Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ) series by the end of the year, the company said here at the Dubai Air Show. The business aviation services group is responding to anticipated demand for premium VIP transports in
Airbus Corporate Jets have a welcoming home away from home here in Dubai at Jet Aviation’s facility.
controls and power systems, wheels and brakes and local aftermarket services. The Goodrich advanced DB-110 sensor–a real-time, digital, tactical reconnaissance sensor able to capture images day and night using electro-optical/infrared technology–serves as a focus of the display at the show. The sensor transmits the data, in real time, to analysts on the ground. Flown on fast-jet platforms and large UAVs, the DB-110 reconnaissance pod verifies targets and can conduct tasks such as battle damage assessment. Data You Need, When You Need It
The company’s intelligence exploitation system (IES), also on display, provides effective management and dissemination of data from a wide range of sensors, including the Goodrich DB-110. This system allows users to store, search and retrieve precisely the data they need, as they need it. Goodrich technology also allows transmission of data over very low bandwidth communications networks, rapidly disseminating fused intelligence to relevant personnel at every level. The company’s exhibit also prominently features the demonstrator for its Terprom digital terrain system. Used by 14 nations, the Terprom equips more than 5,000 military aircraft, including the C-17, C-130 and A400M transports and the Typhoon, F-16 and Hawk fighters. It provides navigational accuracy for fixedand rotary-wing aircraft of between 15 and 30 meters (50 and 100 feet) even the Middle East, based on the needs of around eight ACJ operators in the region. Dubai employees have already received Airbus-led training and certification, and the company has invested in all required tools. “We are delighted to expand our maintenance offerings to Airbus customers in the region,” said Michael Rücker, Jet Aviation Dubai vice president and general manager. Airbus, he said, “requested we offer this service to their customers at the front end.” Separately, Jet Aviation (Stand E452), which is owned by Gulfstream parent company General Dynamics, also announced completion of the first Certification Foxtrot Basic upgrade on a Gulfstream G550 business jet in the Middle East. The software upgrade of the PlaneView avionics suite, based on Honeywell’s Primus Epic system, provides pilots with improved situational awareness, enhanced navigational ability and better weather information. “It is an efficient way of improving Gulfstream’s aircraft performance, value, safety and navigational accuracy, all with minimal downtime,” the company said. Jet Aviation is authorized to support Certification Foxtrot Basic upgrades on Gulfstream G350, G450, G500 and G550
32 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Goodrich’s MRO “campus” approach to maintenance increases its efficiency. Besides the company’s faciltiy here in Dubai, other campuses operate in Australia, China, France, Singapore and the United States.
where GPS is denied. It is also used for predictive ground collision avoidance, accurate terrain following flight and wire/ obstacle avoidance. Meanwhile, Goodrich’s electronic flight bag (EFB) systems for airline retrofit and airframe OEM installations also grace the display. The newest SmartDisplay EFB, planned for certification in 2012, uses a unique dual-partitioned architecture that allows concurrent operation of both FAA-STC- or TSOA-certified software and Windows-based EFB applications on the same system. The SmartDisplay EFB also allows customers to use Type A and B Windows-based applications now, then upgrade their system to later enable certified Type C applications for emerging NextGen and SESAR operational requirements. Another display item centers on
Goodrich’s actuation capabilities covering flight- and mission-critical hydromechanical and electromechanical systems for both primary and secondary flight control, and utility systems. Current major contracts include the design and manufacture of a fully integrated, fly-by-wire primary flight control system for the Embraer KC-390 jet transport aircraft. The system will comprise new electro-hydrostatic actuators (EHAs), electro-backup hydrostatic actuators (EBHAs), actuator electronics and electrical controls. Finally, Goodrich is exhibiting its advanced aerostructures and engine nacelles. Goodrich supplies the nacelle systems for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Airbus A350XWB, the Bombardier CSeries, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet and the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered Airbus A320neo. o
Emirates Airline has signed a 10-year agreement for Goodrich to overhaul and support the 16 passenger-evacuation slides on its A380 aircraft. The work will be done at Goodrich’s Middle East facility in Dubai (Jebel Ali) and is covered by a new general-terms agreement signed last week to cover all future maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) agreements between the carrier and the U.S. manufacturer. Goodrich’s facility or “campus” offers MRO services for components and systems for both commercial and military aircraft. The facility’s capabilities include nacelle systems, cargo systems, de-icing systems, hoists and winches, sensor systems, engine controls, power systems and evacuation systems. According to the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company, the campus approach fosters a more efficient way to serve customers, offering a range of MRO services for a multitude of Goodrich products and systems under one roof. It runs other MRO campuses in Australia, China, France, Singapore and the U.S. Here at the show, Goodrich (Stand W360) is showcasing a range of advanced civil and military technologies, including ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) data collection, exploitation and dissemination systems, the Terprom digital terrain profile mapping system, SmartDisplay electronic flight bag, fixedand rotary-wing actuation systems, aerostructures and engine nacelles, engine
come Right this way! One of the UAE Air Force’s Block 60 F-16s taxies into position for this year’s show. The fighter’s conforming “shoulder” fuel tanks increase endurance without the added drag of underwing auxiliary tanks. They also free up space for wing-mounted ordnance.
aircraft, as well as the synthetic-vision system on the G550. Meanwhile, the company’s Dubai facility is preparing to be able to provide base maintenance support for Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft by the end of this year. Training and type rating for the type has been completed and tooling is about to be installed. There are already six Falcon 7X operators in the Middle East. Finally, Jet Aviation announced it has launched a new mobile application called Jet Aviation FBO to provide
FBO pre-arrival form and other services by smartphone or tablet computer. Once downloaded to a mobile device, the new app provides access to the company’s FBO locations and range of services. Customers can create a profile and complete pre-arrival forms in advance. They can view location maps, airport diagrams, frequencies and weather updates, and contact the FBO directly by phone or email. In addition, pilots can use the “My Concierge” section to request travel assistance beyond the aircraft. o
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Life begins at forty for high-flying UAE by Ian Goold
Dubai Set To Soar, Say Oxford Experts Having taken the initiative in UAE commercial aviation, Dubai has a higher airline and airport profile than that of capital city Abu Dhabi and the other emirates. Research group Oxford Economics (OE) predicts that the importance of Dubai’s aviation sector will grow over the next 10 years. Announcing study results jointly with local carrier Emirates Airline, it expects the aviation sector to contribute $44.5 billion to the emirate’s gross domestic product (or 32 percent of the whole) and to provide 372,900 jobs (or about 22 percent of total employment) by 2020 (up from the current 125,000 civil aviation jobs). That compares with the current $22 billion (28 percent of GDP) and 250,000 jobs (19 percent of all). OE calculates Dubai visitors’ expenditure supports more than 130,000 jobs and contributes $7.9 billion to local GDP. In the past five years, non-domestic passenger numbers at Dubai International Airport grew from 2005’s 24.8 million to 47.2 million in 2010. The 60-page report–“Explaining Dubai’s aviation model”–concludes that the local industry’s success stems from: • government awareness of aviation’s economic importance; • a consensus-based approach to investment; • Dubai’s “open skies” airline route policy; • a focus on growth and efficiently linking underserved markets; and • Dubai’s location between Africa, Asia and Europe, which is eight hours’ flying time of two thirds of the world’s population.–I.G.
Flag carrier Etihad Airways operates a mixed fleet of Airbuses from Abu Dhabi Airport, in the UAE’s capital city. The airport served 11 million passengers in 2010, a number it will exceed this year.
short distances between them. UAE access to long-haul commercial air transport has been established at least since Abu Dhabi took a founding 25-percent stake–since relinquished–in Bahrain-based Gulf Air in 1973. International service really took off when Emirates Airline was formed in Dubai 12 years later as the UAE’s main flagcarrier. Subsequently, Abu Dhabi set up Etihad Airways as the national UAE operator in 2003, the same year that Sharjah-based low-cost carrier (LCC) Air Arabia was formed. Following them as local operators have been Flydubai, another LCC, formed in 2008, and Ras Al Khaimah’s government-owned RAK Airways, which resumed service last year after a shaky start. Eastern Express, a Fujairah-based joint venture between Abu Alhoul (Sphinx) and Hajjar Airlines reportedly plans to operate twicedaily flights to Abu Dhabi, hopefully starting in early 2012. According to the International Air Transport Association, the UAE’s projected traffic growth of 10.2 percent over the next three years will be second only to that of China. The airline lobby group
predicts that inbound passenger traffic during 2011-14 will be 82.3 million, stimulated by a regionwide growth rate of 9.4 percent in the period. UAE carriers operate under the oversight of the Abu Dhabi-headquartered General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), created in 1996 to regulate the UAE industry, provide security, manage en-route air navigation services and upper airspace and oversee safety. Earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, the GCAA confirmed its influence by hosting–in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)–the first meeting of Middle East directors
general of civil aviation. Investment in civil aviation is set to continue, with UAE companies and government agencies expected to invest AED 500 billion ($136.12 billion) in the coming 10 years to diversify the economy and establish the country as a global transport hub, according to minister of economy Sultan al Mansouri. The nation plans to support the industry by backing the acquisition of new aircraft for the UAE’s five flagcarriers, investing in airport capacity across the seven emirates and establishing a regional center for aircraft maintenance, flight training and parts manufacturing. Spending is not, of course,
Dubai International Airport was established in 1960, pre-dating the UAE’s independence. Today, it is home to Emirates Airline and Emirates SkyCargo, and last month earned the rank of seventh-busiest airport worldwide in terms of cargo traffic. It also hosts some 130 other airlines serving more than 220 countries.
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrates its 40th anniversary next month on December 2, and aviation has always been at the forefront of the young country’s ambitious development plans. This week’s Dubai Air Show reveals just how far the Arabian Gulf state has come from being purely a consumer of aviation products to being a service provider and manufacturer of growing stature in the global industry. The country–formerly the British-protected Trucial States–became independent in December 1971 as part of a unification move among neighboring sheikhdoms very much stimulated by the discovery of oil in the early 1960s. Since then, aviation and, to a lesser but growing extent, aerospace has contributed to the UAE’s diversification of its economy through national and local government initiatives, most visibly through airport and airline investment. In fact, airports serving both Dubai and Abu Dhabi pre-date UAE independence, having opened in 1960 and 1969, respectively. The emirates of Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah are each served by their own airports, despite the relatively
limited to commercial aviation equipment. Independent military aviation came to the area in 1968, when the United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) was established during British rule. The force has undergone dynamic development and today has more than 350 aircraft and helicopters, supported by some 4,000 personnel. Four years ago, the UAEAF completed its largest procurement program, with delivery of 80 General Dynamics F-16E/F fighters and about 60 Dassault Mirage 2000-9s. Alongside Saudi Arabia, the UAE is expected to rank highly among buyers of defense equipment, according to a new Middle East military-market study by Frost & Sullivan. The UAE’s planned investment is seen as “cementing our reputation as a key growth driver in global aviation,” said Mansouri. Leading the initiative to develop civil aviation and aerospace is Mubadala Development, Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth-backed strategic investment company, which sees aerospace as a potential cornerstone of plans to diversify through long-term, capitalintensive investment. At Al Ain, the Abu Dhabi Airport Co. (ADAC) is working with Mubadala Aerospace to establish an aerospace cluster, which it hopes will attract “some of the most innovative names” in the manufacturing and service industries. The first such facility, the Strata composite manufacturing plant, delivered its first Middle East-manufactured
Continued on page 38 u
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Futures Day is designed to attract the UAE’s next av-generation The Dubai Air Show organizer is determined to do its bit to stimulate the next generation of aviation and aerospace professionals. As part of its tribute to the United Arab Emirates’ 40th anniversary being celebrated next month, F&E Aerospace has designated Thursday as the show’s inaugural Futures Day, which will be dedicated to inspiring the UAE’s young people to build careers in the industry. The day will focus on the recruitment, education and training of home-grown talent. Accordingly, senior-level students from key UAE colleges and universities have been invited to attend the event. “We are launching Futures Day to highlight the fact that it is now vital to prepare training facilities and equipment to cater to the huge numbers of young people required as pilots and technicians for this region in the future to keep the aerospace An Airbus A380 sharing the skies with the iconic sail of Dubai’s Burj al Arab resort clearly contrasts the emirate’s past as a seafaring nation and its future as an aviation hub.
industry flourishing,” explained F&E Aerospace managing director Alison Weller. “The thrill of flying is waiting to be discovered at Futures Day, where young people will have the opportunity to speak to industry experts, who undoubtedly will inspire them to be part of this exciting and multifaceted industry and advise them on how they can plot their education path to achieve a satisfying career in aviation.” Ahead of the show, the organizers presented exhibitors and sponsors this opportunity to inspire young minds to forge a career in aerospace; to engage students with fun and interactive programs; to advise attendees on careers within their own companies and industry sectors; to collaborate with F&E Aerospace on bespoke initiatives to reach the students; and to support Futures Day with sponsorship packages. The sponsorship packages, available at various sums up
to $5,000, allow participating companies to make 10-minute workshop presentations to 400 students, highlight education and recruitment programs, hold exhibitor stand or chalet sessions for groups of 20 students and to show their company branding and logos on airshow materials and related publications. The Futures Day follows the inaugural Gulf Aviation Training Event (GATE) conference. That meeting, comprising two halfday sessions today and tomorrow, will address future flight training requirements for the Middle East’s commercial aviation sector. The conference program includes sessions on oversight of thirdparty training by airlines and lawmakers, flight-crew selection, evidence-based training and manual handling in airline training. The initiative takes place as the UAE confirms its strategy of “Emiratization” to bring increasing numbers of local citizens into the workplace. In mid-September, the national government endorsed plans for annual training programs aimed at reducing unemployment and increasing Emirati numbers in the private sector. The strategy includes new employee objectives and targets for annually trained workers, as well as providing accurate and regular information on Emiratization rates in all sectors. It covers several initiatives aimed
Life begins at 40 for UAE
Continued from page 34
aerostructures. Mubadala expects to put $500 million into Strata, which is planned to make components and assemblies such as spoilers and flap-track fairings before progressing to primary structures. Mubadala also has established an aftermarket agreement with Hamilton Sundstrand providing integrated component support and rotable parts financing. Mubadala’s Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies will service Hamilton Sundstrand components and systems on the Boeing 787. Sanad, launched by Mubadala last year to lease
38 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
by Ian Goold
Dubai International Airport handled a record 47.2 million passengers in 2010. As of last month, it takes the title of 12th busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic.
at increasing communal participation in emiratization “issues” and competitiveness among UAE employees, and integrating related policies. An example of the strategy in practice has been a move earlier this year by Dubai Airports to develop leadership among UAE employees through the
appointment of two Emiratis to executive positions as vice presidents of human resources and of learning and development. The airports operator says that “‘delivering’ competent people, thriving in a great place to work” is a pillar of corporate strategy and paramount to its success as an organization. o
and manage spares assets, will provide component financing. Another Mubadala joint-venture partner is Sikorsky, which launched the Advanced Military Maintenance Repair and Overhaul Center in 2010. Next April, an aerospace, aviation and space conference is planned in Abu Dhabi to promote “cross-industry thought leadership” and discuss growth strategies. Hosted by Mubadala Aerospace, in partnership with ADAC and Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat), it will comprise two days of discussions and two days of visits to related industry facilities. The UAE also recognizes the need to provide aviation and aerospace education and training, partly driven by
“Emiratization” policies aimed at boosting the role of UAE citizens in the industry. Aerospace is among industries addressed by the country’s Center of Excellence for Applied Research and Training. The Emirates-CAE Flight Training joint venture, which is to be extended next year, provides mainly flight crew and maintenance courses for commercial carriers in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Set up in 2009, the Gulf centre for aviation studies (GCAS) at Abu Dhabi’s Al Bateen Executive Airport hopes to become the Middle East’s leading aviation training provider through a wide range of internationally endorsed courses covering airport operations, safety and security. o
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Dubai bizav group adds India to empire by Julian Moxon Fast-growing Dubai-based business aircraft management group Empire Aviation is about to conclude a major joint-venture agreement, which executive director Steve Hartley said will “double the size of the company.” It remains to be seen whether the deal will be sealed here at the Dubai Air Show this week. The latest move follows the opening of a new office at Mumbai, India, in June, initially focusing on aircraft sales and management. “Business jet registrations in India have risen strongly in recent years and there is an attractive market opportunity especially for our aircraft management services, and good potential for aircraft sales,” commented co-executive director Paras Dhamecha. At a briefing in Dubai last month, Hartley declined to reveal the name of the joint venture partner, but it is almost certainly an Indian fixed-base operator or charter company. “India is the location of our next venture,” he told AIN. “Business aviation is growing at a tremendous rate and there is a real shortage of maintenance and repair organizations. They’re experiencing a lot of pressure keeping up with the amount of business.” The Indian venture will be set up along the lines of the existing Dubai operation, in which Empire Aviation provides sales, management and charter services. The company manages one of the largest fleets of corporate and private jets in the Middle East and, despite the recession, has posted remarkable growth figures since its formation only three years ago. “We began with just six aircraft and we grew by 150 percent in the first year,” said Hartley. “We’re going through a bit of a testing time this year, but we expect to be back at 2008 levels by this time in 2012.” Empire Aviation has “in excess of 20 aircraft” on its books, including five Embraer Legacy 600 business jets, aircraft that Hartley says have been operated with a “superb”
dispatch reliability of 99.9 percent. “Dispatch reliability is paramount in a management company,” he added. At last month’s National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the company announced a contract for the operation and management of a Legacy 650, becoming the first company in the Middle East to offer the aircraft. The 650 will be operated on behalf of an unnamed Indian owner. The Legacy range is “particularly suited to Middle East operations,” said Hartley, because of its large cabin, good value and substantial 260-cu-ft baggage capacity, which he says is 100 cu ft more than any comparable aircraft. “We find this is important in this area because customers typically take huge amounts of baggage with them.” The Legacy fleet has built up more than 7,500 hours flight time with average sector times of three hours. “We use it for corporate and charter [flights] and
Steve Hartley, Empire Aviation executive director
often in remote regions such as Russia, where reliability is a real issue,” explained Hartley. The new Legacy 650 will be capable of flying direct to Singapore or Europe. “That’s a great proposition for Dubai-based owners,” he added. The company is the second largest operator of managed Dassault Falcon 7Xs, with two aircraft on its books and a
The Embraer Legacy 650 will be capable of flying direct from Dubai to Singapore or Europe, which Empire Aviation sees as a great proposition for Dubai-based owners. Empire, the first company in the Middle East to offer a contract for the operation and management of the new model, recently announced it will operate its first Legacy 650 on behalf of an Indian owner.
third due for imminent delivery. “We plan to take on more 7Xs,” said Hartley. “There was the grounding issue with the fly-bywire system, but this is a good aircraft and very popular with our customers.” Hartley said Empire Aviation is growing “organically” and the decision to set up a joint venture elsewhere springs naturally from the fact that the United Arab Emirates is limited in size and therefore the scope for expansion. “We have to plug the holes when we see them and this is a big opportunity to build up our brand image elsewhere,” he said. Talks with other potential joint venture partners are under way. “We’ve been approached by a number of organizations, but we have to make sure our offerings remain bullet-proof,” said Hartley. “A lot of our customers are also our best friends; we thrive on good relationships.” One of Empire Aviation’s primary aims is to add value to aircraft it purchases on behalf of owners. “That means we not only protect their value, but maximize value in the most professional and efficient way possible,” said Hartley. The company has no plans to own its own aircraft, nor to operate its own maintenance facility, preferring to outsource to the best suppliers. “That way, our customers can be sure they’re getting the best value for money, using our considerable experience in this business.” o
40 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
UAE start-up company to unveil new helicopter by Thierry Dubois The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is about to get its first-ever rotorcraft manufacturer, with local company Quest Helicopters unveiling a completely new design today at 1:15 p.m. on the Dubai Air Show’s static display. The company, a subsidiary of Quest Investments, has tapped Ukrainian expertise to develop the program. It believes it can get the aircraft certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) by the fourth quarter of 2013. Codenamed Project Q, the helicopter is described as a small light twin for missions such as emergency medical services, police, utility and VIP transportation. A full-size mockup and the forward section of a real airframe are on display here this week. Selling points will be price, performance and delivery, ac cording to commercial director Mike Creed. “We’ll start production nine months before the expected certification and, therefore, we’ll be able to deliver as soon as the authorities approve the helicopter,” Creed told AIN ahead of this week’s show. He is predicting that 20 airframes will be ready for customers by the time of certification. Creed said Quest Helicopters
owns the unnamed Ukrainian company that is in charge of design. He claims the helicopter will be “robust, with Western refinements.” During the development phase, Ukraine’s Motor Sich will supply the engines. “They are available now,” Creed said. However, the would-be UAE airframer also is looking at alternative powerplant options. Ideally, these would be the size of the Rolls-Royce RR300 turboshaft, “with a higher power rating.” The 300-shp-class RR300 powers the Robinson R66. A piston-twin version is also being considered for the Project Q. Flight testing will take place in the UAE. “The GCAA [the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority] has known about the project for a year-and-a-half,” Creed said. In addition to EASA certification, the company will also seek approvals from the Ukraine and the UAE. A stabilized production rate is targeted at 30 to 50 units per year, with a factory to be established in the UAE. o
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Mubadala brings substance to Abu Dhabi’s aerospace dream by Charles Alcock Abu Dhabi is determined to succeed in aerospace, but not at all costs. Mubadala, the emirate’s $45 billion sovereign wealth fund, set up an aerospace division in 2006. The plan is for it to break even by 2013, but some latitude is possible on this goal if the group secures the right partnership opportunities to support its plan to spend around $1 billion building another new facility here in the United Arab Emirates. “Our shareholders have been very specific. We do not have an open checkbook,
we have to be very smart because aerospace is one of several investment options for them,” explained Mubadala Aerospace chief executive Homaid Al Shemmari. “Abu Dhabi is blessed with wealth but this alone is not a sustainable model for our company.” Aerospace has been identified a key industry in Abu Dhabi’s bid to diversify its economy away from complete dependence on its still vast income from oil. In theory, the emirate has another couple
of generations in which to achieve this goal, but Mubadala Aerospace has not wasted time identifying aerospace sectors in which it can be competitive as a Tier One player focusing instead on composite aerostructures manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) in both civil and military markets and aviation training. For just over a year, the Strata factory at Al Ain, which opened in May 2010, has been producing complete shipsets of flap track fairings for the Airbus A330/340 airliners. The company wants to increase its roll in Airbus programs and is already set to be the sole flap track supplier for the A380, as well as to partner with other airframers, including Boeing (see article on page 44). “We want to take Strata up to another level of manufacturing that will include more engineering work,” Al Shemmari told AIN. “This will mean adding extra capacity and automating processes such as [composite] layups and, unless we can automate, we will have to send work packages to other companies. So instead of having 30 people [doing a specific task], we will have two machines and ten people doing it.” Strong R&D Is Critical
Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Aerospace sovereign wealth fund places emphasis on the market for civilian and military maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) in its diversified business plan.
Sanad Brings Sanity To Spares Management Mubadala’s Sanad Aero Solutions subsidiary was launched in February 2010 as part of a plan to achieve more in the maintenance, repair and overhaul sector than simply being a small niche player. The company’s mission is to take the hassle and inherent inefficiency of spare parts supply management off the shoulders of aircraft operators. “A recurring theme [for the airlines] around 2008 and 2009 was the desire to have spares solutions,” explained CEO Troy Lambeth. “We did a study and found that the industry was holding more than $35 billion worth of spares inventory in engines and rotable components alone, and with some 12,000 more aircraft to be delivered over a ten-year period, this would add another $18 billion in inventory. We decided that we had to be able to bring some value to that situation.” So Sanad works with its commercial MRO siblings–ADAT and SR Technics (see main story)–to provide operators with spares under sale and leaseback arrangements. It now has more than $250 million under management and can bundle spares leases with long-term MRO contracts, such as those envisaged through Mubadala’s support alliance with Hamilton Sundstrand for the Boeing 787. The company is on track to do $1 billion worth of spare lease deals in its first five years. By working with its own MRO network, explained Lambeth, Sanad can share the risks associated with managing the assets. Operators can opt for different contract structures that might, for instance, call for payment based on specific usage limits and materials costs. The company can provide spares provision for an entire fleet of aircraft with assured availability rates (varying from around 92 to 95 percent). The contracts typically run for five to 10 years and the parts generally are based with the operator or its MRO provider. “The cost of the asset is only part of this,” said Lambeth. “Operators need to consider the full cost of ownership and the resulting operational and pricing concerns can put [airline] COOs at odds with their CFOs. That’s where we can help too.”–C.A.
42 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
To ascend the aerospace food chain, Al Shemmari knows that his team needs to seriously strengthen its game in research and engineering development capability. Further acquisitions will likely be one path to this goal, but much of the talent will be home grown as Mubadala plots Abu Dhabi’s future in the industry with a timeline of at least two or three decades. A more immediate target for the group is to be ready to play a part in the development of the next generation of narrowbody airliners. Mubadala hopes that by the middle of 2012 it will have closed an acquisition that would put it in a prime spot to move into one or both of the respective Airbus and Boeing programs. “Then all the building blocks will be in place for us to become a tier one risk-sharing partner around 2014 to 2016,” said Al Shemmari. “We want to be ready to take the lead in research and development and to be subcontracting work to others.” Meanwhile, Mubadala is also close to announcing a tie-up between universities in the U.S. and the UAE to jointly develop a new degree in aerospace engineering for UAE students. For the time being, the company is mainly recruiting graduates in mechanical and electrical engineering. In the MRO sector, Mubadala has been looking to build its capabilities through buying expertise that can be spread throughout the business and by establishing strategic partnerships with manufacturers wanting product support infrastructure in the Middle East. The acquisition of Swiss-based MRO group SR Technics brought a wealth of what Al Shemmari referred to as “human
capital.” This skills base is being used to develop the capabilities of its Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) subsidiary, which is active in civil aircraft support, with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways being one of its newest clients. Last year ADAT forged an alliance with General Electric and Engine Alliance, which will see it supporting the new
Mubadala Aerospace chief executive Homaid Al Shemmari wants to assume a lead role in R&D.
GEnx and GP7200 turbofans. In July of this year, Hamilton Sundstrand approved the company to support all its various systems for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Despite the high Swiss cost base of SR Technics, Mubadala believes the business can still compete in the global market and, in tandem with ADAT the group’s MRO interests, can be the third largest player in civil markets behind Lufthansa Technik and Air France KLM. As part of the skills development plan, around 50 UAE nationals are to be sent for up to two years’ training with SR Technics, as well as taking up internships at OEMs like Airbus. On the military side, the Abu Dhabibased Advanced Military Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Center (AMMROC) is jointly owned with both Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky. It has been servicing Tristar and C-130 aircraft in the region and intends eventually to provide depot-level support for militaries in the region–namely, providing the sort of integrated support system that would be available to them in the U.S. The group’s next goal in the MRO market is to establish a presence in the Asian or U.S. markets, which Al Shemmari indicated could be achieved through another partnership. Separately, Mubadala Aerospace owns the Horizon International Flight Academy based at Al Ain International Airport. It was the first flight school in the Middle East approved to train pilots to European requirements. Not Immune To Global Influence
Despite Mubadala’s deep pockets, the group is far from oblivious to turbulence buffeting the global economy. Though overall revenues continued to grow in 2010, the group struggled somewhat to maintain levels of profitability. Results for the first half of 2011, announced at the end of September, indicate that efforts to bolster the bottom line are working. For the first six months of this year, Mubadala achieved an AED 198
“What we have done for Abu Dhabi may not work for others,” concluded Al Shemmari. “For instance, Saudi Arabia has more people so it may need a different focus in terms of work that requires a larger workforce. But there are opportunities for others in the region. For instance, no one [in the Middle East] has got into avionics yet–maybe Bahrain could try that–and there is room for others from this region [to develop in aerospace].” o
Piaggio Plans New Bizjet As the majority shareholder in Piaggio Aero Industries, with a 31.5-percent stake, Mubadala is taking the lead in trying to advance the Italian airframer’s plans to launch a new business jet. The company is due to present a business plan and technical specifications for the proposed program by early 2012. Mubadala has indicated that Dassault, Gulfstream and Cessna have been targeted as prospective partners.–C.A.
Strata’s success in composites built on talent of local workers by James Wynbrandt Mubadala Aerospace’s global ambitions in the aerospace arena are already achieving tangible successes at Strata, its composite aerostructures manufacturing subsidiary. Strata’s 230,000-sq-ft facility is located at the Al Ain Aerospace Center at Abu Dhabi’s Al Ain International Airport. The $250 million plant was just “desert and sand” when ground was broken in September 2009, said CEO Ross Bradley. But now Strata is making flap track fairings for Airbus A330/340s and the A380, and is close to completing work package contracts to manufacture spoilers for the Boeing’s 787, and rudder and vertical and horizontal tail assemblies for ATR turboprop aircraft. “We want to be market leaders in a decade, and an organization where the majority of employees at all levels will be [Emerati] nationals,” said Bradley, who is delighted to have disproved doubters who questioned the validity of Strata’s ambitions in composites. “The industry thought we were smoking opium, but those who know the UAE know when we set out to do something, we do it.” Some of the industry’s skepticism came from Strata’s determination to develop an indigenous workforce, given the region’s heavy reliance on imported labor to meet its needs. But Strata sees homegrown employees who feel a sense of ownership as a key to its longterm success, dovetailing with the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund’s objective of creating a sustainable diversified economy. Accelerated Development
Through a series of alliances and acquisitions, Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Aerospace has advanced its expertise in technical support. It’s a role the company feels is important in diversifying its market offerings.
Nonetheless, Bradley noted that it took South Korea three decades of determined development to create its worldclass industrial capabilities. Strata plans to accelerate the process through rigorous recruitment and training of locals, many drawn from Al Ain’s underemployed 100,000 inhabitants. Nationals comprise 30 percent of the current workforce of 420–90 percent of them women. The preponderance of women in Strata’s local workforce is likely to continue. Deputy CEO Badr Al Olama said that men from the area are more likely to travel in search of employment, while women prefer opportunities close to home. Moreover, Strata does not aim to create a large workforce, but will instead use automation to drive the company’s productivity. A factory tour last Thursday underscored Strata’s lean manufacturing approach. The staffing level throughout
the cavernous facility made it appear as if everyone was on lunch break. In one mammoth clean room (a total 43,000 sq ft of the facility comprises Class A clean rooms), a handful of employees laid sheets of composite fiber into molds, the material placement aided by green laser beams. A three-dimensional CNC milling machine trimmed and drilled holes in a composite part, while elsewhere part
JAMES WYNBRANDT PHOTOS
million ($53.5 million) profit, compared with an AED 4.4 billion ($1.2 billion) loss in the same period of 2010. Revenues for the first half of 2011 climbed 70 percent to AED 13.6 billion ($3.7 billion). “The impact of the financial crisis has made us a little bit more cautious and we have been focused on getting any fat out of the operational companies and making sure that the objectives are harmonized,” Al Shemmari told AIN. “We will continue the diversification and hopefully will see its completion by the middle of 2013. Nothing has changed in the strategy and the vision we have extends right through to 2030.” But the partnerships Mubadala has forged with leading OEMs like Lockheed Martin are not first and foremost about the UAE group’s long-term goals. In Al Shemmari’s view, partners have been attracted to the UAE not only to get close to a significant customer base but also due to factors such as its firm laws on intellectual property protection (differentiating it from China, for instance), a currency pegged to the U.S. dollar and a union-free work environment.
Where there was nothing but “desert and sand” just two years ago, Mubadala’s Strata composites division in Al Ain, staffed largely by local workers, is now producing flap track fairings for Airbus airliners, top, and tail assemblies for ATR turboprops, above.
quality was examined by a gantry-sized ultrasonic nondestructive inspection system using high pressure water. Despite what appeared to be an excess of space, with the contracts on hand and about to be realized, operations director Brad Hume said the company is now calculating how to refine its existing floor plan or whether a new facility will be required to meet production targets. Strata is concentrating on composite structures for wings and empennage, believing these are the aircraft parts that will increasingly rely on composite parts, whereas fuselages “may move back to aluminum,” said Bradley. Next year Strata will begin producing spoilers for the Boeing 787 as a firsttier supplier, shipping parts directly to the Boeing assembly line. Strata will also begin supplying rudders and horizontal and vertical stabilities to Alenia Aeronautica, which provides parts for ATR regional turboprops.
Continued on next page u
www.ainonline.com • November 13, 2011 • Dubai Airshow News 43
Maximus explores new strategies to boost yield by Charles Alcock
Care by air cuts the cost of aid Maximus president and CEO Fathi Buhazza is urging his fellow airline bosses to get behind Care by Air–an initiative through which carriers conduct humanitarian flights on a cost-only basis. The program started two years ago, but the inspiration for it came in July 2005, when a devastating earthquake hit Pakistan. The government of Abu Dhabi paid for hundreds of flights to carry aid workers and supplies to the disaster zone, and Maximus flew many of those missions. Buhazza, who had taken over the management of the airline only a few weeks earlier, said he felt uncomfortable with the perception that his company was profiting from human misery. Under the auspices of the Red Crescent, Maximus agreed with other partners, including Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi International Airport and fuel suppliers, to charge for those operations on a cost-only basis, resulting in a 35-percent reduction in expenses. “If this model could be followed worldwide, it would greatly reduce the cost of aid,” stated Buhazza, who said an official with the World Food Programme recently told him that 80 percent of its budget goes to logistics costs. –C.A.
The market for oversize freight charter is specialized, and Maximus Air Cargo will remain active, largely due to the suitability of the company’s Antonov An-124 and Ilyushin Il-76s. The company is exploring prospects for adding two nose-loading Boeing 747-400s.
are profitably tapping strong demand in sectors such as military logistics, oil field support and electricity generation. “No other aircraft is capable of carrying what the An-124 can lift,” claimed Buhazza. “The Russian aircraft have unique ramp loading capability that works well at
substandard airports in Africa and in disaster areas.” Maximus would be willing to invest in more aircraft from Russia and Ukraine, he said. Support for the Ilyushins is available through Volga-Dnepr’s facility in Sharjah, but for heavier maintenance, they and the Antonovs have to fly back
home to the north. Meanwhile, Maximus is giving its fleet a facelift, with French company Happy Design (Stand W362) having been commissioned to develop a new paint scheme. Models of the new-look exteriors are on display here at the Dubai Air Show. o
Strata’s success built on local talent
efforts yet to be launched. Strata previously announced it had $1.3 billion in work orders. Now that figure has grown to $2 billion, Bradley said, and he expects the company to return Mubadala’s $250 million investment in the factory by the end of 2014. The Al Ain Aerospace Center in which Strata is located is a 9.6sq-mi tax-free “free zone” with a
development plan that extends to the year 2060. Here, foreign companies will be able to establish businesses retaining 100 percent ownership. “This will be like Seattle and Toulouse,” said Bradley, comparing the site’s future to Boeing’s and Airbus’s hometowns. But in the interim Strata has a more pressing goal of its own, said Bradley: “From desert to market leader in a decade.” o
uContinued from preceding page
Through SABCA, Strata will likely provide flap track fairings for the Airbus A350, subject to a contract being finalized. By the end of 2012, Strata plans to have 710 employees. In garnering more work Strata is pursuing a two-pronged strategy: First, taking on work for composite parts suppliers whose products have reached manufacturing maturity, and who are eager to pursue newer processes and technologies. “We put our people in the plants, and look at how we can improve the process. We ask [the process developers], if you were going to do it over, what would be different? It’s a continuous improvement program.” Secondly, Strata plans to develop its own intellectual property in partnership with other companies and educational institutions, and through internal research and development
44 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
With much of the world’s air instead of making airlines comfreight business still struggling mit to five-year, fixed-term conto earn decent yields, United Ar- tracts, which in tough market ab Emirates-based Maximus Air conditions might soon prove to Cargo is stepping up efforts to be disadvantageous for them, tilt its business plan increasing- Maximus gives its clients renewly in favor of wet leases covering able one-year deals. The ACMI aircraft, crew, maintenance, in- provider pushes hard to reduce surance (ACMI). According to direct operating costs, such as president and CEO Fathi Buhaz- fuel and ground handling, with za, developing long-term ACMI Buhazza maintaining that, genpartnerships with other carriers erally, freight carriers have not is a more sustainable foundation been as progressive as passenger for Maximus, although it intends airlines in this respect. Just as with the freight charto remain active in the niche ter sector, tough market market for oversized conditions elsewhere freight charters for have led operators from which its heavy-lifting other regions to tap the Antonov An-124 and ACMI market in the Ilyushin Il-76s are esArabian Gulf. “Unforpecially well suited. tunately, this region Growing demand has attracted substanfor ACMI work, dard operators that are including a contract hard to compete with,” under which two Maxobserved Buhazza. imus aircraft are flying for Etihad Crystal Maximus Air Cargo CEO “For instance, it is Fathi Buhazza sees ACMI hard to provide an airCargo, has prompted as a “partnership.” craft like the Il-76 for the carrier to invest in more fuel-efficient Western less than $2,500 per hour and yet aircraft. It has acquired three other operators are offering them decades-old Airbus A300-600s for $1,000. How can they do this? from Japan Air Lines, two of By not doing maintenance, using which are already in the fleet fly- fake parts, overworking crews and not having adequate insurance.” ing under ACMI contracts. More recently, Gulf states’ aviNow the company is looking to add a pair of nose-load- ation authorities have tightened ing Boeing 747-400s that could up on these anti-competitive, and arrive by year-end. They could potentially unsafe, practices. In the be used to realize Maximus’s UAE, the GCAA now requires ambitions to start operating to minimum insurance levels of $5 million and is more proactively South America. “For us, ACMI is more of a conducting ramp safety audits on partnership in which we share all aircraft arriving in the country. Meanwhile, Maximus’s An in the good times and the bad times,” Buhazza explained. So tonov and Ilyushin heavylifters
UAE nationals comprise 30 percent of Strata’s current work force of 420, and 90 percent of them are women. The facility has a work backlog of $2 billion.
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Airbus takes its time on A350XWB program by Ian Goold Since the Boeing 787 entered service last month, the spotlight has turned toward Airbus, which is working hard on the competing A350XWB. Recent weeks have seen major subassemblies for the first aircraft being delivered to Airbus. Final assembly of the initial example–the static-test airframe– should begin by year-end and be completed in about 12 months, although Airbus officials have said it is more important to take the time needed to get the twinaisle twinjet right and to avoid any A380-style delay later. Acknowledging the challenging schedule, chief executive Tom Enders said Airbus will not be rushed into unmanageable production. “There’s no magical date by the end of the year. It’s nice to keep to a schedule, [but if] a few more months [are needed, it would be] better to delay,” he said. Nevertheless, to avoid disruption, Airbus has rescued the A350’s German bleed-air tube supplier PFW
Aerospace from financial crisis. The A350 family comprises -800, -900, and -1000 models accommodating 270, 314, and 350 passengers, respectively, on flights of up to 8,500 nm. By the start of October, 35 customers had ordered 567 A350s, with Airbus forecasting a 20-year demand for 5,800 new midsize twin-aisle jetliners. To match perceived requirements, it has delayed A350-800 service entry from 2014 to 2016 to focus on the larger -900–scheduled for first delivery around the end of 2013–while also developing the single-aisle A320neo. This year has not been entirely encouraging for the A350 program. Between January and September more aircraft were cancelled than were ordered, although ever-positive chief operating officer for customers John Leahy has pointed out that there are few available slots before 2017-18. The slowdown in new orders may reflect two market realities: diluted
interest in the smallest -800 model and uncertainty about the -1000 top-of-the-range variant (see box) that has undergone a significant design review this year as Airbus tries to sharpen its competitiveness against the Boeing 777-300ER. Local operator Qatar Airways is one of the largest customers, with orders for 80 A350s. In October, Air France-KLM was preparing to sign for up to 60 A350s, of which 25 A350900s could be ordered here this week. This will more than offset launch customer Bangkok Airways’s cancellation (without loss of deposit) of four A350800s in September. One of the first airlines to fly the A350 will be Finnair, which has ordered 18 and is already planning a probable mid-life refit in about 2020. Simplified Manufacturing
To simplify manufacturing, Airbus has chosen to assemble much of the A350 fuselage using carbon-fiber composite skin panels rather than 787-style
filament-wound barrels, although the rear fuselage does use barrel assemblies. Composites elements contributing 53 percent of the A350 primary structure include wings and fuselage. A350 final assembly involves three fuselage sections preequipped with cabin systems, such as air conditioning; electrical harnesses; and hydraulics. The 20-meter (65.6-foot) Section 15 center fuselage–the longest of the three–uses composites upper-shell panels from U.S. supplier Spirit AeroSystems, which also provides the three-piece forward wing spars. In late October, Spirit was preparing to air-freight initial upper-shell panels to Toulouse, to be followed before year-end by lower shells for final assembly during the first quarter of 2012. Later in production, shipping operator RickmersLinie will carry panels by sea under a multiple-year contract announced last month. The 40-percent-composites A350 nose subassembly–com-
prising cockpit window frame, forward fuselage, passenger doorway and nosewheel bay– will be mated to the 13-meter (42.65-foot) forward fuselage, which is produced in Germany by Premium Aerotec from four composites panels, and the floor grid before receiving systems at Airbus in Hamburg ahead of delivery to Toulouse. The initial center-wingbox and first keel beam, subsequently integrated with the aft lower fuselage, were shipped in August. Assembly Begins
A new Airbus wing primaryassembly plant, opened last month at Broughton in north Wales, has received components for A350 MSN1, the first flying example. The upper and lower wing panels (dubbed “covers” by Airbus) came from Germany and Spain, respectively, and completed wings will go to Bremen for early-2012 installation of flaps, slats and other systems before shipping to Toulouse.
Continued on page 48 u
Rolls Helps Airbus Stretch Range and Payload With engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, Airbus is developing an enhanced A350-1000 variant with “outstanding [increased] payload and long[er] range, the best economics and 25-percent lower fuel burn and carbon dioxide emissions than [the Boeing 777-300ER].” Changes from earlier concepts of the twin-aisle twinjet include work on the outer wing and landing gear. The move comes as Boeing addresses “777-8X and -9X” improvements in studies that likely include a composites wing, using 787 technology and a more-efficient General Electric powerplant. It is also considering the schedule for proposed 787-10 and -10X variants to compete against other A350 models. Rolls-Royce claims the proposed more-powerful, 97,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB variant will be “the most advanced civil-aircraft engine on offer.” Enhanced performance comes from high-temperature turbine technology, a larger core and advanced fan aerodynamics. R-R says the engine will provide significant design and systems-integration benefits that will reduce “fuel burn, life-cycle costs and environmental impact.” The variant–scheduled to run first in mid-2014–will adopt innovations from R-R’s Advance 3 technology demonstrators, which will support enhanced performance planned for other Trent engines. The improved A350-1000 is being considered by Singapore Airlines (SIA) alongside the competing 777-300ER (with any new enhancements). SIA, which will be the second A350 operator, has ordered 20 A350-900s and eight 777-300ERs. The improvements, which have delayed service entry u ntil 2017, have not received an enthusiastic response from launch customers Qatar Airways and Emirates Airline, but Airbus is adamant that it will not change the design further. The two launch carriers are supported by Air Lease, which says Airbus and Rolls-Royce must “work really hard” to make the A350-1000 competitive against the 777-300ER. The lessor is particularly troubled that the 97,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB is not interchangeable with that on the A350900, due to “a lack of commonality.” Air Lease also has reservations about performance, especially in hot-andhigh conditions, saying, “Airbus has to tackle payload range [with] a full passenger load, [but the aircraft] also needs good freight capacity [to produce] revenue in the belly.”–I.G.
Rolls-Royce recently fitted the first Trent XWB engine on an A380 flying test bed as the A350XWB development gathers pace. Meanwhile, Airbus has started the assembly of the first A350XWB’s horizontal tailplane in Getafe, Spain.
46 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
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A French air force Dassault Rafale that appeared at the Paris Air Show sported a livery created by Happy Design Studio. The paintwork celebrated the 30,000 cumulative hours of Rafale flying from Saint Dizier.
French design studio lands Middle East client by Thierry Dubois Happy Design Studio (Stand W362) has signed a contract to design the new liveries for freighters operated by Maximus Air Cargo, based here in the United Arab Emirates. This is the French company’s first major deal in the region; it has expanded quickly since launching its specialist aircraft paint scheme operation two years ago at the 2009 Dubai Air Show. The Maximus aircraft that are set to receive fresh color schemes are five Airbus A300600s, a pair of Antonov An124s and one Ilyushin Il-72. “Depending on the shape of the aircraft, Maximus’ paint
scheme will be adapted and the colors may be adjusted,” Happy Design Studio founder and designer Didier Wolff explained. In addition, Wolff will create a new logo for the carrier. The first A300-600 is to set to roll out of the paint shop early in 2012, with the rest of the fleet following that same year. “We have always done business with ambition and innovation, and now we are looking to add even more panache to our b usiness as we aim for an even bigger share of the global cargo market,” said Fathi Buhazza, president and CEO of Maximus Air Cargo. The Strasbourg-based com-
Airbus A350XWB uContinued from page 46
The wing lower cover measures about 32 meters by six meters (about 105 feet by 20 feet), claimed to be “the biggest carbonfiber part ever produced in civil aviation.” In Getafe, Spain, last month, Airbus began to join two lateral boxes that comprise the 17-meter (55.8-foot) span of the first A350 horizontal tailplane primary structure. Assembly over the coming weeks will be followed by installation of electrical and hydraulic systems before shipping to Toulouse. The main landing gear and nosewheel assemblies arrived for testing at the Airbus UK Filton plant in the first half of 2011. Airbus has also expanded its Chinese production plant at Harbin ahead of A350 rudder and elevator production work. Last month the European Commission approved a repayable advance of €32.8 million ($45.6 million) by Belgium to SABCA for development of A350 flap-support structures. The initial Rolls-Royce Trent XWB
pany had delivered paint jobs for eight aircraft, including business jets, airliners and fighters as of late September. “This comes on top of the 2011 TBM 850 livery,” executive manager Gérald Valette told AIN. Daher-Socata produces the single turboprop, with the firm’s 100th anniversary paint scheme, at a rate of around two per month. Happy Design is currently working on about 10 other aircraft projects.
the new exterior designs, some owners specify fairly strict guidelines,” while others are “completely open to creativity or very simply guided.” One customer just told Wolff he wanted something “funky, but not too much...” In the case of Maximus, Wolff is especially happy to have found what he describes as “an audacious customer.” Moreover, a freighter has no windows on its fuselage sides, creating a cleaner space for creativity. “What a freedom!” Wolff smiled. One recently completed project for a Dassault Rafale fighter was developed for the French air force to mark the Saint-Dizier air base having passed 30,000 flight hours with the type. Wolff took inspiration from, among other themes, Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s Petit Prince character (the French writer is the air base’s “godfather”), as well as from the dark grey tones of the first test aircraft. “The aircraft had to be sober and elegant, but still look military,” Wolff said. Moreover, the paint had to be temporarily applied over the existing camouflage paint. Happy Design partners
include PMV Industrie, in Toulouse, for certification; Adhetec, for stickers that are essentially used as stencils in the paint shop; and Germany-based Mirage 3D, for three-dimensional renderings. The company is building a network of qualified paint shops that are selected on the basis of their skills, location and hangar size. “So far, the paint shops we have qualified are in Europe, but we’ll soon have some in the Middle East, Asia, Brazil and the U.S.,” Valette said. In Valette’s opinion, an original paint scheme is “totally affordable” for a business jet, accounting for less than one percent of the total completion cost– a fraction of the amount spent on cabin interiors. For the owner, the right time to opt for a customized paint scheme is either at the time the aircraft is purchased or during a heavy maintenance check. There are now four full-time employees at Happy Design Studio. In addition, a team of painters can be dispatched to work at other paint shops. “It is important to keep an eye on how the work is carried out in the shop,” Valette pointed out. o
Demand in Emerging Markets
Happy Design has found it easier to find customers in the Middle East and countries like Brazil, Russia, China and India, Wolff said. “These markets are very open-minded and receptive to our offer,” he explained, noting that older economies, in this regard, are just at the “emerging” stage in terms of their willingness to invest in livery redesigns. When it comes to preparing
engine has been installed on the first A380 ready for flight test. Before being returned to Derby for strip down and analysis to confirm durability and component performance predictions, the fifth such powerplant exceeded performance targets during endurance tests at Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial in Madrid. “The [demonstrated] turbine-entry temperatures deliver substantial margin at the full 84,000-pound rating for the A350-900,” according to Trent XWB chief engineer Chris Young. The second Trent XWB has completed bird-strike tests, continuing to run without incident after ingesting four 2.5-pound birds at maximum takeoff power. Many Options
Meanwhile, Airbus single-aisle salesmen may be very busy answering requests for proposals from carriers that, since the manufacturer unveiled its “new engine option [neo]” initiative, can now choose from almost 20 variations on the A320series theme. No longer just a question
00 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com 48
Happy Design Studio created a special livery for the Daher-Socata TBM 850 in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary.
of CFM International CFM56-5B or International Aero Engines V2500 power and number of seats, the decision must accommodate preferences for “sharklet” wingtips and/or alternative Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared-turbofan or CFM Leap-1A propulsion. Aggravating the decision-making challenge is the availability of the wingtips and new engines on the A319 and A321 variants, which are each expected to comprise 25 percent of initial neo deliveries. The neo models have 95-percent commonality with “standard” aircraft and offer up to 500-nm more range, or 4,410 pounds more payload at a given range. They also are intended to reduce fuelburn and emissions and improve takeoff, climb and cruise performance. Airlines mulling the new, wider choice include Gulf operator Qatar Airways, which is expected to confirm here this week its selection of the A320neo. Here at the Dubai show this week, Kuwait’s Aviation Lease & Finance Co. (Alafco) could order 30 A320neos, converting the memorandum of understanding announced at
the Paris Air Show. In Asia, Qantas Airways expects to use the 78 neos included in its recent order for 110 A320s to open new routes and expand international services. July’s massive American Airlines requirement included the purchase of 130 A320neos for delivery from 2017, while US Airways is considering larger A321neos to replace Boeing 757s. By early October, the company had booked almost 1,250 neo orders and commitments, since which time Brazil’s TAM has finalized a purchase agreement for 22 A320neos plus 10 regular A320s. Demand has seen neo service entry brought forward by six months to October 2015, with neo production expected to ramp-up over 30 months from mid-2015. Airbus is converting the first A320 as a test bed on which sharklet flight-testing is scheduled to begin by year-end, ahead of the first new wing being delivered to the production line in the first quarter of 2012. A320 sharklets are expected to enter service in about 12 months, before appearing sequentially on A319, A321 and A318 variants in 2013. o
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Performance-based nav slow to take hold globally With demonstrated benefits of reducing track miles, mitigating noise and lowering fuel burn and emissions, performance-based navigation (PBN) procedures are being adopted on a worldwide basis. But 15 years after Alaska Airlines flew the first procedures, widespread implementation of PBN is uneven and its benefits largely unrealized. “There’s no doubt PBN is the right thing to do, and yet we’re not seeing the sort of progress we’d like. What is it about PBN that is so hard?” asked Graham Lake, director general of the Netherlandsbased Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (Canso). “We know that it is safe and enables precision approaches into places where precision approaches are not available; [that it] encourages application of stable approaches, enables separation in the ATC environment and continuous departure time in dense air traffic environments, yet it’s not being deployed.” Lake was among speakers from Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand who reported on progress toward deploying precision navigation procedures at the fifth annual PBN Summit, sponsored by GE Aviation in Seattle in late September. A theme that emerged was that application of PBN, and specifically satellite-guided required navigation performance (RNP) procedures, while well established in some places and among some operators, is being slowed by environmental challenges in designing flight routes, mixed fleets with older aircraft that are incapable of RNP, and a lack of trained air traffic controllers to manage aircraft that are capable. Steve Fulton, technical fellow with GE Aviation PBN Services, opened the two-day conference by highlighting progress toward International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) resolution A36-23, which calls on member states to implement approach procedures with vertical guidance (APV) as a primary or back-up approach for all instrument runways ends by 2016. The 2007 resolution was superseded in October 2010 by A37-11, which implores states to complete PBN implementation plans “as a matter of urgency,” and adds straight-in lateral navigation (Lnav) only procedures as an exception for aircraft without vertical navigation capability, or for airports without local altimeter settings. The first milestone was to achieve 30-percent global deployment of PBN procedures by 2010. One year later, the deployment rate is 15 percent. Fulton used a graphic based on ICAO data showing the greatest concentration of APV approaches (including Lnav-only procedures) in North America, with 21 percent to 50 percent of instrument runways enabled. Central and South America
are second, with 11- to 20-percent deployment. Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa have 0- to 10-percent deployment. Developments on the ground lag technology in the air. Globally, 57 percent of airliners are capable of performing RNP operations, according to information presented at the summit. By region, the Middle East leads with 80 percent RNPcapable aircraft in service or on order, followed by Asia (71 percent), Europe (64 percent), Latin America and the Caribbean (50 percent), Australasia (49 percent), North America (43 percent) and Africa (39 percent). Nearly all aircraft on order are RNP capable. Franca Pavlicevic, head of the Eurocontrol navigation research unit, said Europe is “very much moving from” area navigation (Rnav), allowing for a choice of flight paths within coverage of ground navaids, or using global navigation satellite system (GNSS)-based position, to RNP, which differs in requiring onboard performance monitoring and alerting for positional assurance. The expectation is that RNP approach (APCH) procedures, requiring lateral accuracy of 0.3 nm in the final approach segment, will be achieved in 2018. Vertical guidance will be enabled either by barometric altitude calculation or satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS). Twenty-year Process
Moving from basic Rnav procedures implemented in 1998 to RNP APCH effectively will be a 20-year process, slowed by mixed fleets of RNP-capable and older, less capable aircraft, Pavlicevic said. “We’ve got 1970s [flight management systems] still flying in the airspace. Thirtyfive percent of the [IFR] fleet does not have GPS,” she said. “We envy you who have an aircraft fleet with an average age of eight years…We have the best in class, who want to use all the [equipment] they have, and those with older aircraft, who are saying we really don’t want to spend the money because it costs too much.” Nevertheless, the European Commission has directed Eurocontrol to draft a PBN implementing rule that will define navigation requirements in en route and terminal airspace, a rule that would have to be approved by the 27 European Union member states. PBN is progressing in other parts of the world. Chile’s LAN Airlines is flying RNP procedures with Airbus A320s at five airports in Chile and Peru and plans four more airports by year-end, said Capt. Christian Staiger, LAN technical pilot. Seventy-five percent of its flight crews are certified to fly the precision approaches. The Santiago-based carrier is working with GE Aviation to implement RNP procedures at Lima’s Jorge
50 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
2011 deployment data provided by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), PBN Programme Office. Depicted Data is inclusive of Lnav/Vnav approach procedures only.
by Bill Carey
ICAO resolution A37-11 calls for the implementation of GNSS approach procedures with vertical guidance (APV) including Lnav-only minimums, for all instrument runway ends, either as the primary approach or as a backup for precision approaches by 2016 with intermediate milestones along the way.
Chavez International Airport. Australia’s Qantas celebrated its eighth year of strict RNP Authorization Required (AR) operations in September using Boeing 737-800s. The carrier has logged more than 170,000 RNP AR operations, said Paul Taylor, senior air safety auditor with the Australian Civil
Aviation Safety Authority (Casa). Taylor said Casa is collecting operational data from aircraft quick-access recorders after each RNP AR flight by Air New Zealand, Qantas and Qantas low-cost subsidiary Jetstar Airways to support the case for reduced aircraft separation standards. o
King Air spies like an eagle by Mark Huber Hawker Beechcraft Corp. (HBC) has brought a special-missions-equipped King Air 350ER to the Dubai Air Show to demonstrate the potential of melding this tried-and-true platform with the latest surveillance technologies for diverse tasks, including drug interdiction, search and rescue and electronic intelligence gathering. The special-missions aircraft on static display here includes a belly-mounted radome for digital search radars and an electro-optic infrared lift used to extend a Star Safire/HD or MX-15 turret camera during the mission and retractable for post-mission transition flying. The quick-change interior can easily be reconfigured for medevac, troop transport, cargo or combi missions. All of these specialmission mods are certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and available from the factory for qualified buyers. The King Air has always been attractive for special-mission duty and more than 1,450 of them have been sold for these uses over the last four decades. However, in 2007 Hawker Beechcraft took the airplane’s capabilities to new levels when it certified the
Recent political instability in the Middle East has prompted interest in the special-missions King Air 350ER from local governments.
seven-hour, 20-minute endurance (typical mission with 45-minute reserves) 350ER. The aircraft gets its extra range from auxiliary fuel tanks and the added heft is supported by beefier main landing gear. For governments bad-guy watching on a budget, the special-missions 350ER could be just the ticket. Prices vary based on equipment levels, but with all the latest invasive and communications technology can be had for $10 million to $12 million. The base aircraft is priced at just over $7.7 million. The U.S. airframer also offers its Hawker business jet family for conversion to special-mission roles, including maritime patrol and airfield calibration. Sean McGeough, HBC’s president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told AIN that security concerns sparked by the so-called Arab Spring political uprisings have stimulated new interest in special missions equipment. Governments in the region have been making inquiries about applications such as aerial surveillance, medical evacuation, pipeline patrol and border monitoring. o
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CSeries ‘on track’ for first flight next year by Gregory Polek Bombardier expects to com- complete avionics systems had plete all the so-called data sets for arrived at the CIASTA in late the CSeries airliner by year-end, September, it and all the other as the Canadian company con- major systems won’t start runtinues its deliberate march toward ning together in the Mirabel test a second-half 2012 first flight of area until the first quarter of the 100- to 125-seat CS100. next year. In fact, by the time pro“We will work it in paralgram vice president and gen- lel, so we will get some advaneral manager Rob Dewar spoke tage in running it alone, like our with AIN in the run-up to this supplier, but really it gets comDubai Air Show, the program missioned in the first quarter of had progressed “well over” next year,” he said. “Rockwell halfway through its detailed runs the rig for three months. design phase, and several parts They get the learning, they see had already arrived at supplier any issues they have, they do a sites and in Mirabel, Quebec, software upgrade…so [during] at Bombardier’s complete inte- just that one step you can fix grated aircraft systems test area 80 percent of the technical inte(CIASTA). That testing and gration challenges. Then we will proving facility assesses systems commission it on our rig, and all for reliability and functionality the systems suppliers go through before the first prototype flies. the same recipe.” “All the parts are designed First Things First in 3-D, virtually, into one integrated database that all our Bombardier expected Parker suppliers work with in real time, Aerospace to commission the and all the data supporting fly-by-wire system by the beginthose parts–that’s why it’s called ning of October, followed by data set release–is actually the electrical system by Hamlinked into the parts. Whether ilton Sundstrand this month. it’s a material callout, Because the avionics whether it’s [a quescommunicates with tion of] which airvirtually all the other craft it goes on, the systems on the airprocess that we use to plane and contains either manufacture so much software, it or maintain that part requires more testis integrated,” said ing and integration Dewar. “So no matwork than the other ter what stakeholder systems and so gets looks at the CSeries, commissioned first, they can have all the explained Dewar. data they require for Rob Dewar, CSeries v-p Critical systems the full life cycle of and general manager scheduled to run on the program conCIASTA include the tained in that part. That’s major electrical system, hydraulics, the because in the past we didn’t fly-by-wire system, the avionics have the systems in place or the and the Fadec. Bombardier had computing power to do that, completed construction on the so a lot of human intervention building in which the CIASTA was required to find the data.” resides and put in place all the By late September, what infrastructure by the end of the Dewar called “the first wave of summer, and a number of syssystem component delivery” had tems, including the generators, begun, as system suppliers began the avionics and wing leading commissioning their rigs. Those edges had all arrived “on dock” suppliers need between three in Mirabel. “Again, there’s a wave and six months to “mature” of parts that continues to arrive their own systems to ensure they on a daily basis,” said Dewar. function as planned. Once they By mid-September, the do that, the systems arrive at the CSeries’s Pratt & Whitney CIASTA, where Bombardier PW1524 geared turbofan finperforms the integration. ished flight testing after logMeanwhile, Rockwell Col- ging 115 hours in the air lins had already commissioned during 25 flights on the engine the airplane’s avionics suite at company’s Boeing 747SP flying its facility in Cedar Rapids, test bed. “We are really excited Iowa. Although the first of two about how the engine is going,”
Parts continue to arrive at Bombardier’s CIASTA facility in Mirabel each day for function and reliability testing. Bombardier has completed a significant portion of the detailed design phase of its 100- to 125-seat CS100, as it prepares for first flight during next year’s second half.
said Dewar. “We expected a lot more learning [time]. So, really, for a test engine, the fuel burn was above our expectations.” Still, Dewar said Pratt has “a little bit more work to do” to meet Bombardier’s final fuel-burn commitment, but the engine generated more thrust during the test program than that to which the engine company had originally committed. Dewar fully expects Pratt & Whitney to meet the fuelburn targets as it works toward certification, during which plans call for eight PW1524Gs to test various conditions and parameters for Transport Canada, EASA and the FAA. Since February 2010 Bombardier also saw more than satisfactory results during the testing of the airplane’s aluminum-lithium fuselage test barrel, built by China’s Shenyang Aircraft. The barrel underwent 180,000 cycles of testing, during which it developed 10 to 12 “minor” cracks in what Dewar called pleats, but no major cracking in frames or skins. Asked about progress of a weight-reduction effort that former Bombardier Commercial Airplanes president Gary Scott had mentioned to AIN last year, Dewar was noncommittal. “We still have data sets being released up until the end of this year,” said Dewar. “So we manage the weight on a daily basis.” Scott, who unceremoniously retired on October 1, in the midst of the program, had told
52 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
AIN that he expected Shenyang to start putting together actual subassemblies by the start of this year. However, Shenyang didn’t finish building its factory until “late March or April,” said Dewar, and Bombardier doesn’t expect to receive the first fuselage package until the middle of next year. Schedules Intact
Nevertheless, schedules for the CSeries’s first flight, slated for the second half of next year, remains officially intact, and could happen by the third quarter if all goes as planned in the CIASTA. “We’re going to fly only when we’re ready,” said Dewar. “When the systems are mature and everything’s ready, we’ll do it…If you have issues, and you have to put the airplane down to either modify it or change software, a flight test vehicle is very, very inefficient [on which] to do changes…Whereas when we run on CIASTA, you can run seven days a week, twentyfour hours a day. You can do the modification without a safety of flight [validation] and then when you get it right and all the things mature, then you can get a safety of flight and fly. In the past we didn’t always do that, and it extended the flight test program.” Although Dewar declined to offer details about the status of the various parts of the new
factory in Mirabel, he said construction remains “on track.” Meanwhile, “a lot is going on in St. Laurent,” north of Montreal, where Bombardier has installed all new equipment including a composites facility, a clean room, autoclaves and robots to join the fuselage. “All these things are in place and are in the process of being commissioned,” he said. There, the company plans to manufacture the airplane’s carbon-fiber aft fuselage and cockpit, and mate the cockpit with the forward fuselage section made by Shenyang. Composites account for some 46 percent of the entire airplane, and roughly 90 percent of wing, made at Bombardier’s Belfast plant. So-called advanced materials, including the aluminum-lithium used for the fuselage, account for some 70 percent of the content. Now holding firm orders for 133 CSeries jets, options on 120 and purchase rights on 10, Bombardier still hadn’t gotten permission to reveal the identity of the customer who plans to take the first airplanes. But Qatar Airways is strongly tipped to confirm its commitment to the program, even by high-level executives from rival airframer Embraer. o
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Tornados on the flight line at Gioa del Colle airbase in Italy. The sun has not yet set on this capable and flexible strike aircraft.
Vital role for British airpower over Libya by Chris Pocock British commanders are counting the cost of a major and successful contribution to NATO’s Operation Unified Protector. The UK and France were the biggest contributors to the campaign, after the first week when U.S. forces provided an initial boost. British aircraft and
helicopters flew more than 3,000 sorties, including more than 2,100 strike missions. They successfully attacked about 640 targets with more than 1,400 precision-guided munitions. In an operation that the UK codenamed Ellamy, Royal Air Force (RAF)
The Raytheon Sentinel provided invaluable wide-area coverage of Libya. The Royal Air Force is keen to retain the capability, which is scheduled to be withdrawn in 2014-15 as a cost-saving measure.
commanders believe that they have again demonstrated the service’s flexibility and adaptability–the ability to wring the maximum capability out of both its people and its machines. But after suffering big cutbacks in last year’s defense review, the RAF must now restock a depleted inventory of smart weapons at an estimated cost of $200 million. The RAF must also catch up on deferred training, plus maintenance of the hard-pressed fleets of combat aircraft, tankers, AEW&C and surveillance aircraft. The first RAF aircraft over Libya were C-130 Hercules transports that flew deep into the desert to rescue stranded oil workers from airstrips. Flying low and at night to avoid Libyan air force interceptors, one of the six flights was hit by ground fire, but the evacuation of nearly
450 people was safely completed. The RAF quickly deployed 12 Tornado and six Typhoon combat jets to Italy. Four more Tornados were added in July. They struck everything from command and control bunkers through ammunition storage dumps to artillery and rocket-launching “technical” trucks. Six-hour missions became routine, as the RAF fast jets patrolled the skies awaiting targets. This “dynamic” mode of operation, as opposed to striking targets that were preplanned before takeoff, became an RAF specialty, according to senior officers. They believe that years of rigorous training, plus extensive experience over Iraq and Afghanistan, and a tight command, control and communications system, helped aircrews to apply rigorous Rules of Engagement (RoE) so that collateral damage was kept to a minimum. If aircrews had doubts about whether a dynamic target met the RoE, they conferred with operations staff at the NATO Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in Italy in real time. The Typhoon’s debut as a bomber was not without difficulty. When the Libyan operation began, the UK was the only one of the four Eurofighter partner nations to have implemented a strike capability. Eight RAF pilots had been trained to drop 2,000-pound Enhanced Paveway II bombs that could be guided by GPS-aided INS or laser-designated to their target by a Litening 3 pod. But their currency had lapsed due to a cut in flying training hours. Commanders therefore decided to initially pair each single-seat Typhoon with
Continued on page 56 u
NATO’s Role in Ghaddafi’s Downfall: Operation Unified Protector British, French and U.S. aircraft began the action in mid-March, in a “coalition of the willing” named Operation Odyssey Dawn that was led by U.S. Africa Command. On March 31, NATO took command. Eleven other nations sent aircraft to join the campaign. They were Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Jordan, Norway, Qatar, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates. But it seems only the U.S. had the firepower to ensure that the essential first objective of suppressing Libyan air defenses was achieved. By the eighth day of the campaign, the U.S. had fired 184 BGM-109s Tomahawk cruise missiles from ships and submarines against radars, surface-to-air missile sites and communications nodes. As for Libyan air bases, there was one attack by three American Northrop B-2s, flying 24-hour round-robin mission from their home base in Missouri. The Stealth Bombers were employed as much for their ability to each drop 15 independently targeted JDAM bombs on hardened aircraft shelters, as for their stealth capability. Having spent some $400 million in the first week alone, the U.S. ended strike missions after 17 days. But American air support remained vital, including: aerial refueling (KC-135s), electronic warfare (EA-18Gs); maritime patrol (P-3s); psychological operations (EC-130s), search and rescue (MV-22s); surveillance (E-8 JSTARS and Global Hawk ) and SIGINT (RC-135s and EP-3s). An MV-22 retrieved the crew of a U.S. Air Force F-15E that crashed in Libya on March 21 after a “technical malfunction.” NATO commanders hoped that the initial air strikes against the
regime forces attacking civilians, combined with rapid advances made by the rebels, would either cause Ghaddafi to sue for peace or for his regime to collapse. However, as the rebel advances were reversed and cities like Misrata remained under constant bombardment NATO realized that the strategy to protect civilians needed to be adjusted in order to erode the ability of the regime forces to cause harm. This required more air strikes to degrade the regime’s ability to command and control its forces, and to disrupt the supplies destined for those forces attacking or threatening to attack civilians. NATO and key participating countries denied that regime change had become the goal, although that outcome became increasingly likely. Even after the action was over, the NATO commander, Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, insisted: “We stayed focused on the [United Nations] mandate, and stayed well within it.” The air strikes were stepped up. The majority of them were flown by the UK (see main story) and France, which used using Dassault Rafales and Mirage 2000Ds based in Crete and Italy, plus Rafales plus Super Etendards embarked on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. French warplanes started and finished the air action over Libya. On March 19, they were the first to attack Ghaddafi forces threatening Benghazi. On October 19, they attacked the convoy in which Colonel Ghaddafi attempted to break out from his last stronghold of Sirte. But the small deployments of F-16s by Denmark and Norway made a significant contribution, according to outgoing U.S.
54 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Belgium, Canada, Italy, Qatar and the UAE also flew strike missions. Dropped from the UAE’s Mirage 2000-9s, the MBDA PGM-500 Hakim weapon made its combat debut. Swedish Gripens flew reconnaissance missions as well as air defense missions. In early June, British and French attack helicopters joined the action, from ships stationed offshore. During the operation, NATO flew more than 26,000 sorties, including more than 9,600 strike missions (although many of these did not actually drop weapons). Lt. Gen. Bouchard praised “the very careful targeting process” and the “courageous restraint and professionalism of the aircrews.” Military analysts are now assessing the campaign. It is clear that the prompt application of airpower saved the citizens of Benghazi from murderous revenge. Within three weeks, moreover, the Ghaddafi armed forces could no longer maneuver conventionally. Thereafter, they used concealment and guerilla tactics. But NATO had enough persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to keep track of them–notably the Predator UAVs provided by the U.S. They were joined in August by Italian Reaper and French Harfang (Heron) UAVs, but only the American Predators fired weapons–Hellfire missiles on more than100 occasions. Was airpower the decisive factor and was NATO’s intervention in Libya therefore a model for the future? Commented British Air Marshall Sir Stuart Peach: “Each operation is unique. We will take key lessons from this, but we must not try to ‘retro-fight’ every campaign.”–C.P.
British airpower plays vital role in Libya
Brimstone Missile Platform
In a conflict where it was vital to match striking power to target type, the Tornado offered extra flexibility thanks to its warload of smaller 500-pound Raytheon Paveway IV bombs (with fuzing selectable in flight) and 100-pound MBDA Brimstone missiles. In particular, the laserguided version of Brimstone became the weapon of choice in urban environments. This missile was originally produced as a “fire-and-forget” anti-armor weapon with a millimeter wave (MMW) radar seeker. With the laser seeker added, and using a shaped-charged warhead, the Brimstone provided superior target
The MBDA Brimstone missile was the weapon of choice for the Royal Air Force, when urban targets required an accurate weapon with a small but effective warhead. They were launched from Tornado strike aircraft and laser-designated by Rafael Litening 3 pods.
discrimination and three-foot accuracy, including against fast-moving vehicles. Air Marshall Sir Stuart Peach, the UK’s Commander of Joint Operations, said that Brimstone demonstrated “a worldclass capability that was made in Britain.” The MMW version of Brimstone was hardly used until mid-September, when commanders approved a tank park near Sabha for attack. A pair of Tornados each carrying 12 missiles salvo-fired them into the compound, to great effect. Tornados also carried the MBDA Storm Shadow cruise missile, which employs GPS and/or terrain-referenced navigation (TRN) until closing with the target, when an imaging infrared scenematcher takes over. Designed to attack high-value targets, more than 60 of
a Tornado, crewed by two fully experienced “mud movers.” If lasing was required, Tornados sometimes did the task for the Typhoon pilot. The combination proved to be synergistic; the Typhoons provided greater situational awareness to the mixed formation thanks to their Link 16 datalink and secure voice communications. They also provided an insurance against any airborne threats, since they also carried AMRAAM and ASRAAM air-air missiles, and a greatercapability defensive aids system.
uContinued from page 54
The RAF employed the Eurofighter Typhoon in the “swing” role over Libya. As well as enforcing the no-fly zone, the aircraft dropped its first bombs in anger during the Libyan campaign: 2,000-pound Enhanced Paveway IIs seen here on the mid-wing pylons.
these powerful but expensive weapons were fired. A considerable mission planning effort is required (even though TRN was not used in the Libyan strikes). The first Storm Shadow attacks were on Libyan air defense systems, on a 3,000-mile roundtrip from RAF Marham in the UK. Later, weapons bunkers and command centers were targeted. One Storm Shadow mission that was planned to attack the main Ghaddafi compound in
Tripoli was famously aborted just prior to weapon release when commanders realized from live television coverage that the Libyan regime had taken international journalists to the site to observe a previous strike by submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles. Storm Shadows were still being used late in the operation to attack targets located deep in the Libyan desert. Because the missiles can fly up to 150 miles after release, the Tornado crew did
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Boots on the Ground? Throughout Operation Unified Protector, NATO spokespersons insisted that the alliance had remained faithful to the UN resolution 1973 by not deploying any troops inside Libya. But the nature of the air campaign made many observers skeptical: how could precision attacks on Ghaddafi regime soldiers firing rockets from trucks or sniping from buildings, be successful without forward air controllers (FAC) identifying friend from foe, and designating targets for laser-guided weapons? Gradually, it became clear that some countries had deployed small groups of advisors or special forces covertly, but not under NATO command. Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and the UK are all reported to have inserted personnel who equipped, trained and coordinated with rebel forces. British Air Marshall Stuart Peach admitted that the UK sent advisors into Libya “to provide mentoring and support at the request of the National Transition Council.” However, few, if any, FACs were sent. Laser designation was done from the air, and such is the accuracy of today’s GPS-guided weapons, that many of the larger targets were attacked using only that guidance mode. AM Peach noted that by conducting precision air strikes without FACs, the operation had “pushed the boundaries” of what was possible, thanks to the fusion of information from all sources.–C.P.
CROWN COPYRIGHT/MOD 2011
RAF Fleet in Libya
The RAF’s Raytheon Sentinel (ASTOR) surveillance jet is also a victim of the defense cuts, the fleet of five being scheduled for withdrawal in 2014-15, as UK troops leave Afghanistan. And yet the aircraft has played a major role in Op Ellamy, with its dual-mode radar helping to compensate for the lack of observers on the ground. During missions lasting up to eight hours, the three onboard intelligence analysts helped develop an understanding of “the pattern of life” over wide areas that was vital to the correct targeting of the fast jets. On one occasion, all five Sentinels were airborne over, or in transit to, Afghanistan or Libya at the same time. The RAF made four E-3D Sentry airborne early warning and control
Image provided by Dassault Inc.
not have to penetrate so far inland that they were beyond the range of searchand-rescue helicopters stationed offshore. Some Tornados also carried the RAPTOR reconnaissance pod containing the Goodrich DB-110 long focal-length electro-optic camera. The Tornado is a very flexible strike aircraft, but it is more than 30 years old and has never been fashionable. Last year, RAF commanders were forced to choose between axing them or withdrawing the fleet of iconic Harrier STOVL jets instead. The Libyan conflict has proved that their choice was correct.
This video still from a Litening pod shows two Paveway IV bombs dropped from a Tornado exploding precisely on target inside a compound. Seconds later, a larger Paveway II bomb dropped by an accompanying Typhoon demolished the barracks that can be seen at the top of the picture.
aircraft available for the operation. They shared patrol duty with similar NATO, French and U.S. Air Force E-3 AWACS aircraft. Their crews were the orchestrators of the air campaign, managing the airspace and the aerial refueling, and providing an airborne information fusion and communications service. Typically, during eight hours on station, they organized the dispensing from tanker aircraft of 650,000 pounds of fuel. Moreover, their radars also provided the maritime picture to NATO warships enforcing the blockade of Libyan ports. Flying from the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, five Army Air Corps WAH-64D Apaches joined the operation in early June. They attacked coastal radar sites and patrol boats, plus vehicles and control points up to 50 miles inland, using laser-guided Hellfire missiles, rockets and 30mm gunfire. Of note, they flew only at night to reduce the risk of attack from naval shore batteries and man-portable surface-to-air missiles. Intelligence estimates have suggested that the Libyan regime had acquired 23,000 such low-altitude SAMs, including the improved version of the Russian Igla infrared-guided and truck-mounted SAM, designated SA-24. (All of the NATO fast jet operations over Libya were carried out from medium altitudes that were judged to be above the effective ceiling of these weapons). Also flying mainly at night were two Royal Navy Sea King Mk7 Airborne Surveillance and Control helicopters. They logged nearly 100 missions, using their Thales surveillance radars to find safe routes for the Apaches. o
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www.ainonline.com • November 13, 2011 • Dubai Airshow News 57
Arab airlines resent new taxes and seek market deregulation by Ian Sheppard Politicians viewing air transport as a soft target are the greatest threat to the air transport industry, according to Abdul Wahab Teffaha, secretary general of the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO). Speaking ahead of this week’s
Dubai Air Show, Teffaha complained that seemingly arbitrary new taxes and fees are placing airlines under terrible pressure at a time when it is already hard to sustain a viable cost structure. “There needs to be something done
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The Arab Air Carriers Organization has 25 airline members from Algeria at the western end of North Africa to Yemen on the south tip of the Arabian Gulf. Some of its members had aircraft destroyed during the so-called Arab Spring uprisings, and many saw inbound traffic decline steeply this year.
about taxes and charges,” Teffaha told AIN. “They are controlled by governments and they are unreasonable.” In his view, new or increased taxes on air transport pose even more of a challenge to carriers than factors such as rising fuel costs because, he claimed, they tend to come out of nowhere with politicians failing to provide any real justification or logic to support them. AACO, which formed in 1965, now has 25 airline members from around the Middle East region and collectively they operate about 767 aircraft. Teffaha is traveling from the organization’s Beirut, Lebanon headquarters to attend the Dubai show. Teffaha’s views on Europe’s pending inclusion of aviation in its emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) have become well known in recent weeks. “I first said it to The New York Times–that we think EU ETS in its present form is definitely extraterritorial and impinges on sovereignty… regardless of the [European Court of Justice] Advocate General’s opinion–the bilaterals between EU states and other countries recognize the sovereignty of other states…and
sovereignty is sovereignty, and is not changed unless people agree. And we didn’t agree.” [On October 6, the European Court of Justice’s Advocate General gave a preliminary legal opinion that stated that it is legal for the EU to impose ETS on non-European carriers.–Ed.] “The EU is now facing the whole world–they don’t have the right…they need consensus through ICAO,” continued Teffaha. While saying that, “We [AACO members] are complying with ETS at the moment,” he added that the solution is “to do it in a structured way and not a patchwork [of schemes]. “Europe needs to understand that the power center of the world is spreading and is not concentrated in Europe and the U.S. anymore, so Europe needs to be much more humble,” he warned. Regionals Desert
The Middle East is unusual in having relatively few airports (AACO members serve around 300), as well as large distances and low population densities. This partly explains why regional airlines have not emerged as strongly as they have done
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58 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
Arab Spring Takes Its Toll The so-called Arab Spring political upheaval across North Africa and parts of the Middle East has also been a significant disruptor of airline business in the region. The most seriously impacted were Libyan carriers Afriqiyah Airways and Libyan Airlines, which had aircraft destroyed or damaged by NATO air strikes against the former government of the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi. In neighboring Egypt, flagcarrier Egyptair and Air Cairo are trying to rebuild against a backdrop of continuing political upheaval in what until this year’s revolution had been viewed as one of the Middle East’s fastest growing air transport markets. More optimistically, Tunisair is now preparing for what is hoped will be a revival in Tunisia’s fortunes following October’s elections of a post-revolt government. Other AACO members feeling the heat from this year’s unprecedented wave of still unresolved political revolt are Yemenia, Gulf Air (based in Bahrain) and Syrian Arab Airlines. Dependence on government support would seem to leave these carriers particularly exposed to the prospect of regime-change. All the Arab Spring countries have seen steeply declining inbound traffic volumes this year. But despite this, overall traffic figures for the Middle East region have continued to show strong growth during 2011, according to figures from the International Air Transport Association.–C.A.
in Europe and North America. So it is the established Middle Eastern operators that dominate and run regional routes, with a further barrier being the fact that deregulation has not yet take hold of the region as it previously did in the U.S. and Europe. Low-cost carriers don’t really exist either, and few purport to be LCCs as they are in fact hybrid carriers with complex product offerings and commercial strategies (for example, working with travel agency networks). Examples include Air Arabia, flydubai and Jazeera Airways. Yet compared with Europe and the U.S., this represents very little activity over and above the majors. “The lowcost model in the Arab world is more Jet Blue [the U.S. operator] than Ryanair [in Europe],” said Teffaha. The lack of deregulation in the Middle East is a market flaw that is firmly on AACO’s radar. Teffaha calls it the “overriding principle” and added that “AACO is definitely pushing for deregulation and a change of the regime of strict bilaterals.”
situation definitely affects AACO carriers as Europe represents the second biggest area for traffic for the Arab world, at around one third,” said Teffaha. “So any economic woes affect the Arab carriers across the board. “It’s a very serious crisis,” he continued. The latest data we have on capacity of Arab airlines into Europe shows a
decline…so 2012 is going to be a very difficult year in Europe and because of the transition in the Arab world [following recent events]. However, we have ridden out storms before.” But with the Middle East’s air transport sector in transition, Teffaha concluded by saying, “I hope we will not be surprised by additional crises.” o
Members of the Arab Air Carriers Organization work together on projects such as scheduling and fuel purchasing.
AACO’s members are working together to mutual benefit, cooperating in areas such as schedule coordination and joint fuel purchasing. The original idea was one that could have seen the formation of a grouping of six core members but after the nature of this was watered down, it was decided that any AACO member could participate. “We have changed the modus operandi to include all AACO members in the grouping, and our role is to highlight the opportunities,” explained Teffaha. “We never wanted to establish an alliance–just to try to maximize the business opportunities for Arab airlines.” Teffaha also said there are “absolutely” opportunities for other airlines such as those in Europe to cooperate with Arab carriers. He added that a third-party analysis company is being contracted to identify all the opportunities and the selection process is almost complete, with two companies shortlisted. “We will sign a contract before our AGM,” he told AIN. AACO’s 44th AGM will take place in Abu Dhabi, from November 28 to 30. Despite his resentment of perceived European political arrogance in the regulatory sphere, Teffaha does not deny the inevitable fallout on the Middle East from its neighbor’s mounting financial crisis. “The European
www.ainonline.com • November 13, 2011 • Dubai Airshow News 59
ANA launched regularly scheduled service with its first 787 on November 1.
787 technology will yield benefits for a generation In terms of raw dollars and cents, few outside of Boeing would argue against the proposition that the company has and will absorb a serious financial hit from the three years of delays and the unanticipated complications that arose from its attempt at a new approach to supply-chain management with the 787 program. In fact, some financial analysts wonder whether the program will ever recoup its development cost. While Boeing executives scoff at such assertions, it seems clear that cost overruns totaled billions of dollars. Still, according to 787 program manager Scott Fancher, the return will manifest itself not only in the profits the Dreamliner manages to yield in the not-so-immediate future, but in the value all the new technologies developed for the 787 bring to future projects. “This has been a big investment for the Boeing company in many ways,” said Fancher at recent press briefing. “We’ve invested in understanding the latest advances in environmental sensitivity, propulsion, material sciences, systems integration and aerodynamics, and created a wealth of knowledge of these technologies and other capabilities that we’ll be able to apply to the developments we do for the next 30 years.” Boeing vice president of 787 services and support Mike Fleming emphasized how the wealth of information available to both the airlines and Boeing will help the manufacturer support the
photos: gregory polek
by Gregory Polek airplane in a profoundly different way. “It will allow us to get ahead of problems before they become a problem,” he said. Data-centric Architecture
What 787 chief project engineer Mike Sinnett called the airplane’s “data-centric” architecture also allowed engineers to eliminate a huge amount of analog wiring. “Anybody who’s been around airplanes for a long time knows wiring is a bad thing; the less of it you have the better off you are,” said Sinnett. “It’s heavy, it’s expensive and it’s opportunity for error.” Sinnett estimated that a 747 contains some 150 miles of wiring, the 777-300 carries about 110 miles, while the biggest commercial airplane in the world– the Airbus A380–holds some 328 miles of wiring (and, indeed, this wiring was the source of many of Airbus’ well documented problems with its new widebody). In the 787, Boeing managed to limit the length of wire to between 60 and 70 miles, or about 25 miles less than that in a 767, said Sinnett. The Dreamliner’s new architecture also carries much more data than has ever flown on an airplane before, he added. More-Electric Power
Meanwhile, the 787’s moreelectric power architecture does away with the pneumatic systems needed to power items such as ice protection, hydraulic pumps, cabin pressurization and air conditioning. The hot,
high-pressure air in pneumatics robs the engine of the power it needs for other things, explained Sinnett. “As engines have gotten more efficient and the bypass ratios have increased, the cost of taking that pneumatic energy from the engine has gone up, and it has become a less efficient way of providing power,” he said. “We’ve got the capability to generate about 1.45 megawatts of electrical power on each 787, and in the process, we take less energy from the engines than we ever have before for an airplane of this size.” That alone has resulted in a fuel-burn reduction of about 3 to 4 percent–what Sinnett called “a staggering number” over the life of a fleet. Gust-suppression System
Another major advance involves the airplane’s vertical gust-suppression system, which chief pilot Mike Carriker got to experience first hand during some 1,000 hours of test flying. The 787’s full-authority fly-by-wire flight control system automatically corrects for movement caused by wind gusts, he explained, resulting in an exceptionally smooth ride even while hand-flying the airplane. “One of the things that has made a dramatic difference between the 787 and previous
Boeing plans for an increase in the 787’s production rate from 2.5 to 10 a month by the end of 2013.
60 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
models is the improvement in the computing power,” added Sinnett. “We’ve got something like 18 million source lines of code in the avionics and flight control system, and we can do it with smaller packaging, less weight and [less] power consumption. This gives us greater flexibility to address all kinds of missions in the air.” Sinnett explained that the system works by sensing differential pressure on the control surfaces before the airplane responds inertially, both laterally and, for the first time, vertically. As a result, passengers experience less of the effects of turbulence, both during approach and in cruise, as well as the bouncing motion related to the vibration caused by structural loads. “As we gain service experience we’ll improve the efficacy of the system,” said Sinnett. 20-percent Fuel Burn Benefit
Of course, by the time the Dubai Air Show opened Boeing had received feedback from launch customer All Nippon Airways on the performance of that system and all the airplane’s advances, not the least of which centers on the promise of a 20-percent fuel burn advantage thanks largely to its composite fuselage and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. Flying domestic services to Hiroshima and
Okayama from Toyko Haneda Airport since November 1, ANA officially took delivery of the first airplane on September 26. Two days later, the airplane arrived in Tokyo amid great fanfare, albeit muted somewhat by the welldocumented program delays. To hear ANA CEO Shinichiro Ito speak at the first delivery ceremony in Everett, Washington, however, one wouldn’t have detected any lingering frustration, as he accepted the ceremonial key to the 787 from Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh. “I cannot wait to see the day when the skies of the world are filled with 787s,” said Ito. ANA plans to fly its first regularly scheduled international service between Tokyo Haneda and Beijing next month, followed by Haneda-Frankfurt in January. Expecting to take delivery of four of the airplanes during this calendar year and another eight by the end of March 31, ANA holds an order for 55 of the airplanes, 15 of which will come in the form of the larger 787-9. ANA vice president for North America Satoru Fujiki told reporters in Everett that although the airline will start flying the 787 on domestic and short-haul international routes, ANA’s long-term strategy centers on long-haul services because the Japanese market has “matured.” Notwithstanding the delivery delays, Fujiki said the “the timing is right” to start replacing the company’s Boeing 767s with the Dreamliner and begin “redrawing the map” of the global aviation industry. Noting that the 787 can fly 52 percent farther than the 767, Fujiki said the 787 would arrive in separate configurations for domestic service (12 premium class and 252 standard class seats), short-haul international flights (42 business class and 180 economy class) and long-haul international service (46 business class and 112 economy). Although it now serves domestic destinations, the first airplane came configured for short-haul international flights to facilitate staff training. o
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Aerostats stand guard, tethered on surveillance
This 590,000-cu-ft aerostat is the largest yet flown for a military surveillance mission. It was fabricated by TCOM for the Raytheon Joint Land-attack Elevated Netted Sensor (JLENS) development program. As it is in similar radar-carrying aerostats, the sensor is housed in a separate, pressurized compartment below the main envelope.
Unglamorous though they are, aerostats are carving a substantial niche in the airborne surveillance business. They come in all sizes, from 30 feet long and a volume of 2,500 cu ft, to a massive 242 feet and 590,000 cu ft. Unlike airships, they remain tethered to the ground, but the largest ones can fly as high as 15,000 feet. Here in the Middle East region, the U.S. military has used them extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan. Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, use them to monitor borders and airspace. “The use of aerostats by the U.S. military for persistent surveillance of war zones is gaining real traction as a cost-effective alternative to unmanned vehicles that require a significant investment,” said
by Chris Pocock
Lon Stroschein, vice president and general manager for the Aerostar International division of Raven Industries. This U.S. company is supplying aerostats for the latest U.S. Army program, called the Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS). Such an aerostat, with a length of 80 feet and a volume of 25,000 cu ft and
carrying an L-3 Wescam Mx-15 EO/IR video camera, has an operating cost of hundreds of dollars per hour compared to many thousands for a UAV. 2,600 to 10,200 Cu Ft
The smallest aerostats that have been reported in military use are the most agile. The Rapidly Elevated Aerospace Platform
An aerostat awaits deployment from its mobile mooring platform. This is a 25,000-cu-ft version made by the Aerostar International division of Raven Industries for the U.S. Persistent Ground Surveillance System (PGSS).
(REAP) was first deployed by the U.S. Army in Iraq in late 2003. Designed and produced by ISL Aeronautical and Space Systems, this 2,600-cu-ft aerostat is 30 feet long and can be carried by a Humvee. It can be deployed from the back of that vehicle in only five minutes. The camera payload typically weighs 35 pounds and can be flown to 300 feet. The “ground station” is a laptop. The UAE military has also deployed the REAP system. Moving up in size, the Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) system is a 10,200-cuft system that carries a FLIR Systems Star Safire video camera. More than 60 of these 55-foot long aerostats provided by TCOM have been deployed by the U.S. Army in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. The Canadian armed forces have also used them in Afghanistan. Raytheon is the prime contractor and is also responsible for the same surveillance package fitted to telescoping towers that can reach as high as 100 feet.
Up to 74,000 Cu Ft
How Aerostats Work Like airships, aerostats gain their lift from helium. Their envelopes, therefore, must also contain separate compartments that contain air and are known as ballonets. As the aerostat rises and the helium expands, the air is pushed out of the ballonets through automatic valves, so that the envelope retains its original shape. The stabilizing fins of an aerostat are usually filled with air, too. Modern fabrics and laminates have provided greater strength and durability. The mast to which an aerostat is tethered rotates so it can point into wind. Usually, it is part of a mobile mooring platform. The tether is also the power supply and carries data from the surveillance payload to the crew in a small ground station, who can launch and recover the aerostat as well as interpret and disseminate the camera surveillance data. The crew is provided with various automatic monitoring systems and therefore can detect punctures and compensate for them. The low-pressure differential means that the lower-flying aerostats can take many hits from unfriendly fire and survive. There usually is an emergency descent method if the aerostat should break away from its tether. Aerostats come equipped with emergency locator beacons and strobe lights. High winds can be a problem, but the larger aerostats can routinely operate in up to 70 knots, and can withstand 90 knots, it is claimed.–C.P.
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The Persistent Threat Detection System (PTDS) followed the RAID system into service with the U.S. Army in Iraq in 2004. The Akron, Ohio facility of Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors has delivered the PTDS under an integrated, contractor-operated contract. The company delivered 37 units by the end of 2010 and gained a $184 million contract for 29 more last June. They have a volume of 56,000, 64,000 or 74,000 cu ft. ILC Dover–which claims to be the world’s largest fabricator
of aerostat and airship envelopes–has produced most of them for Lockheed Martin. The payload is 500 pounds, consisting of a Wescam Mx-20 EO/ IR camera, an acoustic sensor and a communications relay. The maximum altitude from sea level is 5,000 feet (or 2,500 feet from a 6,000-foot location). The PTDS is designed to operate continuously for 25 days at a time. Lockheed Martin now is also working on an $85 million contract to add new widearea sensors. The PGSS already mentioned was a smaller-scale offshoot from PTDS, when the U.S. Army realized that aerostats could help protect remote forward-operating bases in Afghanistan. In addition to Raven Industries, TCOM has also provided aerostats for this program. The mooring and ground stations are small enough to be lifted by a CH-47 helicopter to the remote bases. The first of at least 30 PGSS aerostats reached Afghanistan in January 2010, and the first four logged more than 22,000 hours in the first year. They have a 14-day endurance. According to one U.S. Army officer, “There are countless stories of IEDs being placed by insurgents that were detected by the PGSS. In an ideal situation, you can catch someone plant an IED, watch where they go and then uncover an entire organization.” 275,000 Cu Ft
All of the aerostats described thus far are camera-carrying platforms that perform ground surveillance. The radar-carrying aerostats that do airspace
surveillance are much larger. They were first deployed along the southern border of the U.S. in the 1980s to detect drug-running aircraft. The U.S. Air Force has managed the Tethered Aerostat Radar System (TARS), with ITT Systems Division and Lockheed Martin acting as integrators over the years. TCOM and ILC Dover have both provided aerostats for the TARS, in two sizes. The initial 275,000-cu-ft version (187 feet long) could carry a 1,000-pound payload to 12,000 feet. The radars are carried in a lower chamber below the main envelope, with an onboard generator helping to provide power and pressurization. Ten years ago, Lockheed Martin designed a larger, 420,000-cu-ft aerostat for TARS. With a length of 208 feet, it can carry 2,000 pounds to 15,000 feet. Lockheed Martin began replacing the original AN/TPS-63 radars with its L-88 (V)3 system in late 2003. The 29-foot antenna provides 360-degree coverage out to 200 nm, according to LM. Today, the TARS is deployed at nine sites along the U.S.-Mexico border, the Florida Straits
TCOM has provided aerostats for a multitude of projects carrying a variety of payloads. Here a technician adjusts a surveillance radar carried beneath a TCOM 71-meter class (56,500 cu ft) aerostat. A number of these systems are employed in the Gulf.
and parts of the Caribbean. It monitors small maritime targets as well as low, slow-flying aircraft. Radar-carrying aerostats similar to the TARS have been supplied to Middle East countries since the 1980s. TCOM was originally a subsidiary of Westinghouse, which sold TPS63-equipped versions to Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia. The UAE has acquired at least one 420,000cu-ft aerostat for airspace surveillance. Pakistan is reported to be acquiring six L-88 radarcarrying aerostats. India bought Elta-radar equipped aerostats from Israel to monitor the Pakistan border, one of which was lost in “difficult weather,” but
the country ordered more as a response to the seaborne terrorist attack on Mumbai. 590,000 Cu Ft
Last but not least, there is the U.S. JLENS (Joint Landattack Elevated Netted Sensor) program. This is a long-running development that was originally
conceived in the 1990s as a defense against cruise missiles. Raytheon is the prime contractor, having received a contract worth $1.3 billion in 2003. The concept was for two aerostats to be deployed in tandem–one carrying a surveillance radar, the other a fire control radar. TCOM has provided two of the world’s largest aerostats (590,000 cu ft) for JLENS. The mooring station alone weighs 180,000 pounds. A first flight was made in August 2009, and Raytheon reported a successful endurance test on the Utah range in July this year (the system is supposed to remain airborne for 30 days at a time). Unfortunately, one of the huge aerostats was destroyed in September 2010 at TCOM’s Elizabeth City, North Carolina facility when one of the company’s airships broke loose in bad weather and crashed into it. The U.S. Army has requested no less than $168 million to replace it. o
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www.ainonline.com • November 13, 2011 • Dubai Airshow News 63
GE working hard to hit GEnx marks by Gregory Polek When Boeing 747-8F launch certified this past August–has customer Cargolux postponed already improved the -1B’s fueldelivery of its first two airplanes burn efficiency by at least 1.6 in September, pundits almost percent. immediately began tossing about Designed to deliver 15 pertheories that Qatar Airways boss cent better efficiency than GE’s and Cargolux director Akbar CF6-80C2 base, 20 percent more al Baker was behind the sud- durability than the GE90, 30 perden move for various ulterior cent less noise than other engines motives. After all, Boeing and in its class and 50 percent less Cargolux had already reached nitrous oxide (NOx) than regterms in July–before Qatar Air- ulatory limits, the GEnx failed ways bought 35 percent of the to meet efficiency goals early in Luxembourg-based freight car- the program, when the company rier–over excessive fuel burn in designed the low-pressure turbine the early airplanes. Al Baker, to use 30 percent fewer airfoils the theory went, was than the LP turbine in angling for more leverthe GE90. “We went too age in his negotiations far with the technology,” over compensation for conceded Fitzgerald. late delivery of Qatar’s “The first thing Boeing 787s. that we did is modWhile only Al Baker ify the low-pressure can truly know his turbine and some eleown motives, no doubt ments of the compresremains that the air- Bill Fitzgerald, sor, and that got us 1.6 plane’s General Electric GEnx program v-p percent better fuel effiGEnx-2B engines did not meet ciency and it also increased the their promised fuel-burn perfor- thrust level to 75,000 pounds mance, and the new Cargolux from 70,000 pounds,” said director did not find accept- Fitzgerald, who replaced forable the compensation originally mer program head Tom Brisken negotiated over the summer. It roughly a year ago. Of course, took about three weeks, but Car- Boeing’s nautical air miles surgolux, Boeing and GE eventually vey (NAMS) test, scheduled settled the issue, and Cargolux to run between this month and took delivery of its first two next, will ultimately prove the airplanes on October 12 and 13. fuel efficiency gain. Nevertheless, said the GEnx boss, “our PIP Packages production engines are demonMeanwhile, GE contin- strating north of the 1.6 percent ues to work on a performance improvement we designed in.” Now the current production improvement packages (PIP) for both the GEnx-2B–the sole configuration, the PIP 1 engine powerplant for the 747-8–and will gain certification for 75,000 the Boeing 787’s GEnx-1B, pounds of thrust in the first which exhibited slightly more quarter, and plans call for the than a 3-percent shortfall in fuel- first PIP 1-equipped 787 to roll burn performance before GE out “early next year.” A second performance imAircraft Engines completed the provement package for the -1B, first of two PIPs on that model. Bill Fitzgerald, GE Aircraft known as PIP 2, will recover Engines’s vice president and gen- at least another 1.1 percent of eral manager of the GEnx pro- the 3-percent shortfall and raise gram, explained to AIN last thrust limits to 78,000 pounds, month that PIP 1–a program said Fitzgerald. Although Boeing launched in early 2009 and hasn’t asked for the extra 3,000
pounds of thrust, the increase will help prepare GE for potential applications on the 787-9 and, eventually, the 787-10. “Boeing has told us they don’t need it,” Fitzgerald added. “We have designed it just in case. All other programs have always wanted a little more thrust.” GE expects to gain certification for 78,000 pounds of thrust by next June. PIP 2 involved adding a booster stage, an “optimization” of the 3-D aeromechanics and some materials within the compressor, an adjustment to some elements of the design in the high-pressure turbine and combustor and some modifications to the fan, specifically lengthier fan blades and some “adjustments” to the outlet guide vanes. Now demonstrating two PIP 2-equipped engines at its Peebles, Ohio test cell, GE plans to run the design on its flying test bed some time next month and perform durability testing during next year’s first quarter and into April. June Certification
The company expects to certify the engine under FAR Part 33 in June of next year, by which time it fully expects to close the 3-percent efficiency gap with still further improvements gleaned through a combination of PIP 1 and PIP 2 “and a few things we learned along the way,” said Fitzgerald, who added that certification under FAR Part 25 of the PIP 2-equipped airplane would happen during the fourth quarter of next year. Although PIP 2 for now represents the ostensible limits of the improvements, as GE assesses and settles on the new technology for the next-generation GE90 for the Boeing 777 and continues to make progress with the new CFM LEAP technology with Snecma, it will quite likely transfer what it learns into the GEnx design, according to Fitzgerald.
Cargolux took delivery of a pair of GEnx-2B powered Boeing 747-8Fs last month.
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GE expects the performance improvement package for the GEnx-2B to go to test in February or March next year and fly on its test bed during next year’s third quarter.
“I like to say that we have a secret GEnx fuel-efficiency program that is hiding in plain sight, and it’s got a super-secret codename called LEAP,” he joked. “But all kidding aside, that’s one of our technology demonstrator programs that...we’ll probably fold in mid-next decade.” In the immediate future, GE still has work to do on the version of the GEnx known as the -2B, which, of course, raised a point of contention with Cargolux. Designed to produce 67,000 pounds of thrust, it, like the -1B, burned more fuel than expected. Fitzgerald estimated the fuelburn deficiency falls “in the mid2-percent range,” prompting GE to insert some of the same modifications used in the -1B into the -2B through its Tollgate 6 design confirmation process. Building the Hardware
GE has begun manufacturing the hardware meant to demonstrate the -2B’s single PIP, expected to go to test in February or March next year and fly on the company’s Boeing 747 test bed during the third quarter. The company expects FAR Part 33 certification in April 2013 and FAR Part 25 approval in October 2013. It also expects the -2B’s PIP to result in a 1.7- to 2-percent gain in fuel-burn efficiency. “We’re still in the process of nailing that down,” said Fitzgerald, “and it may be better than [2 percent].” Improvements in the -2B’s PIP will, in many ways, replicate those in the -1B, including similar modifications to the low-pressure turbine, some adjustments in the compressor materials and 3-D aeromechanics and changes to the combustors and the high-pressure turbine. “We did not modify the
booster because it doesn’t need additional thrust, and the fan is the same,” said Fitzgerald. While engineers continue to work on improvements to both the -1B and -2B, GEnx production continues to accelerate, from 45 engines last year to some 140 this year, to a planned “200-plus” next year. Now holding 62 percent of the market for the 787, GE believes it will have to satisfy at least that proportion of demand for the Dreamliner into the foreseeable future as Boeing raises production from its current rate of 2.5 per month to a planned 10 per month by the end of 2013. “Our supply chain is ready to support that,” said Fitzgerald. “Our piece of that, should that come to fruition, needs to be in the 300- to 400-engine-per-year range. We’re facilitating for that, [and] we’re delighted with our industrialization process. We’re producing five engines a week from our assembly and test sites and doing it with plenty of capacity to spare.” Of course, GE will also have to meet 100 percent of the propulsion demand for the four-engine 747-8, the production rate for which Boeing plans to increase from 1.5 per month to two per month by the middle of next year. GE has assembled a team of employees dedicated to examining capacity availability and secondary source alternatives to ensure it can meet Boeing’s demands. Fitzgerald said he sees no bottlenecks in GE’s supply chain that remotely threaten its commitments to the airframer. Asked if he felt happy with the GEnx supplier base, Fitzgerald hedged a bit. “I would say happy is a relative term,” he said. “We operate in the trust and verify mode, and we’re doing both.”o
A H OT E L B Y TA G Located directly alongside TAG Farnborough Airport, Aviator presents the style alternative for guests of Farnborough Airshow and London Olympics 2012. w w w. av i a t o r f a r n b o r o u g h . c o . u k
Sweden’s CTT Systems has been selected to provide its Cair cabin humidification system for two Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJs) that are to be outfitted in Toulouse. The order brings to five the number of Cair systems supplied for ACJs, with the two latest orders scheduled for delivery next spring for installation in two VIP A319s. Cair provides a humidity level of around 25 percent, a significant improvement over typical airline cabin humidity levels, which are 3 to 5 percent and contribute to many of the uncomfortable symptoms of air travel while also increasing the spread of viral diseases. The system uses evaporative cooling technology and incorporates a means of restricting the movement of bacteria. It also includes the company’s Zonal Drying System, which counters condensation problems. This element has been selected as basic equipment in the Boeing 787, while humidifiers are options for the flightdeck and crew rest compartment. CTT humidifiers are also optional equipment for the Airbus A350 and A380, while the full Cair system can be installed in the A350 as an option.
z Jet Aviation Names Two To New Positions Jet Aviation has appointed Abdullah Al-Ghamdi as customer relations manager and sales representative for the company’s aircraft management and charter services in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. Al-Ghamdi, who is based in Jeddah, has held various positions for Jet Aviation Saudi Arabia over the past 20 years, including public relations, sales and business development. The company’s aircraft management service includes in-house international and domestic flight planning and scheduling, flight-crew staffing, line operations and maintenance services as well as insurance, accounting and administrative services. Flight support services include worldwide dispatch, optional services for insurance and maintenance coordination, flight planning, weather services, overflight and landing permits and other services. Jet Aviation also is strengthening the management team for its aircraft completions business in Basel, Switzerland, by naming Ruedi Kraft as vice president of market development and completions sales. He will oversee sales for the completions business in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Kraft joins Jet Aviation from its General Dynamics group sibling Gulfstream Aerospace, where he served as regional vice president for the Middle East and North Africa since 2002, responsible for new and pre-owned large-cabin jets. He has been a board member of the Middle East Business Aviation Association since its inception 2006.
Bizav in Middle East reaches ‘crucial stage’ by Matt Thurber The business aviation market charter broker Chapman Freeborn, said he would prefer it if in the Middle East is now at a GCAA encouraged operators crucial stage in its development to build multiple-aircraft fleets, and is poised to reach an annual as he has found that these types value of $1 billion by 2018, according to Ali Al Naqbi, found- of operators tend to be more ing chairman of the Middle reliable and offer better quality. East Business Aviation Associ- “It’s incumbent on the licensation (MEBAA). Al Naqbi was ing authority to [say to singleaircraft operators], don’t speaking at a roundtado it on your own,” he ble meeting for MEBAA said. The extra cost of members held in Dubai management fees to a last Thursday. “Constant larger operator “is going dialogue and knowledgeto pay off.” sharing among the variAll the participants ous stakeholders is key agreed that MEBAA to removing operationAli Al Naqbi plays an important role al bottle necks and steering the industry toward long-term in promoting business aviation sustained growth,” Al Naqbi said. in the MENA region. “The key issue is MEBAA educating the The so-called grey marpublic,” said Alex Berry, who ket of potentially illegal charters was highlighted as being recommended that MEBAA members coordinate their a major concern for MEBAA. “It’s an education thing,” said strategy to help future Middle East customers understand Anthony Frances, partner at law firm Gates & Partners, who added that he hoped the issue didn’t flare up because of an accident involving a comat the helm of pany that doesn’t hold an air progress operator’s certificate. “That’s the biggest concern,” Air transportation is the echoed Mike Berry, managing engine that drives an director of ExecuJet Middle economy. Guiding the East. “All the good work can be power behind the undone by one incident.” engine is essen“It’s about bringing the martial to keeping ket to realize that the added growth on track, cost of management fees is and prosperity worth it,” said Dave Edwards, in the forefront. managing director of Gama Like these air trafAviation. He suggested that the fic controllers in their UAE General Civil Aviation tower, the biennial Authority (GCAA) now look airshow here in Dubai at economic regulation of operplays a vital, guiding role ators. “If there are cash conin advancing air service straints, safety is the first thing throughout the region. to suffer,” he asserted. Alex Berry, group executive sales and marketing for
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the benefits of business aviation. “Everything is driven by demand, and we have to set our sights higher,” added Berry. Louis Sorrentino, vice president of consultancy ICF SH&E, and Gulf Wings managing director Khaldoun Ghalayini, held forth on the subject of human factors and training during the roundtable’s second session. Ghalayini noted that last September the UAE GCAA decided that it was no longer possible for pilots to freelance, and that they must work for a single operator. This, he said, is causing problems because it takes at least 60 days to get a new pilot on board, and if it is necessary to replace a pilot who doesn’t fit the company or is having trouble, “that [causes] a lot of difficulty for us.” While Ghalayini admitted that Gulf Wings hadn’t approached MEBAA for help with this issue, Al Naqbi encouraged him to tap the association’s resources. “We do have some ability [to help],” he said. “You have to put MEBAA to the test.” o
z Taking ‘Cair’ of the ACJ Atmosphere
Participants in Thursday’s business aviation roundtable discussion include: left to right, Dave Edwards, GAMA Aviation; Alex Berry, Chapman Freeborn; Anthony Frances, partner with Gates & Partners; and Mike Berry of ExecuJet Middle East.
Airbus has manufactured its last A340, following an extended period of extremely slow sales for the four-engine widebody aircraft. Last Thursday, an EADS spokesman confirmed the “termination” of the program, as revealed last week in its thirdquarter earnings report. This included a “positive one-off” of €192 million ($263 million) attributed to the decision. The EADS spokesman told AIN that the last A340 actually rolled off its assembly line in Toulouse, France, roughly six months ago, but that the company chose not to publicize the fact until last week. Airbus has delivered all but two of the 377 A340s manufactured since it launched the program in 1987. A pair of VIP customers await imminent delivery, following interior completion. All told, the program had attracted 48 customers during its 24-year run (Airbus launched the A330 and A340 programs at the same time in 1987, and delivered the first A340 in 1993). Airbus has not sold an A340 since the beginning of 2010, said the spokesman, who added that the cancellation of the program will not result in any changes to employment, primarily because Airbus built the A340 on the same line on which it still builds the far more popular A330 twin-engine widebody.
z Airbus ‘Terminates’ A340 Production
Delays in subassemblies from Airbus partners have delayed progress on the developmental Airbus A350XWB. First flight is now projected for the first quarter of 2013, not “late 2012” as previously planned.
A350 delay could reach 12 months by Ian Goold Airbus has pushed back the planned first flight of the Airbus A350XWB from late 2012 to the first quarter of 2013. Last Thursday, the European airframer admitted that it has had to revise its production schedule, blaming the slippage on delayed subassemblies being produced by partners, including GKN Aerospace in Europe and Spirit Aerosystems in the U.S. Entry-into-service (EIS) date for the initial A350-900 variant with launch customer Qatar Airways is now put at sometime in the first half of 2014, rather than during the last two quarters of 2013. Airbus parent company EADS revealed that it has taken a €200 million ($270 million)
charge against the late-running program (see story on page 46) in its third-quarter results. Having had its fingers badly burned on the A380 when trying to accommodate initial-assembly problems within a tight schedule, Airbus clearly doesn’t want to get it wrong this time–despite the pressure of the Boeing 787 entering service in recent weeks. After all, its U.S. competitor also has suffered long delays in developing that aircraft. The new schedule also means that Airbus and Rolls-Royce are under less time-pressure to prove the performance of the A350’s Trent XWB engine. The first example has recently been fitted to A380 No. 1, the flying test bed in a program that calls
for the powerplant to fly a year before the A350’s maiden liftoff. Nevertheless, the two companies remain very coy when quizzed on a likely schedule. Near the top of the A350 agenda is the need to ensure maturity of the main components and subassemblies now being brought together in Toulouse, where Airbus hopes to begin assembling the first airframe–the static-test article, dubbed “ES”–early in 2012 (compared with the previous target at the end of this year). “The program is advancing with manufacturing and pre-assembly of the A350-900 progressing across all pre-finalassembly [pre-FAL] sites,” said Airbus. This initial model will be followed by the smaller -800 variant and the larger -1000 model. Four Maturity Enablers
This forward fuselage section of Airbus’ A350 awaits the center section. Late delivery of composite skin panels from Spirit AeroSystems has delayed the program. Airbus also named GKN Aerospace as tardy with its wing spars and trailing-edge assemblies.
“Lessons learned from previous programs will be applied for the next [final assembly] phase,” said Airbus executive vice president and A350 program head Didier Evrard, who cited four “maturity enablers” on which the manufacturer is concentrating as the first airframe is prepared for final assembly: supply-chain readiness; factory readiness; management of outof-sequence work; and quality of assembly and installation drawings, aligned to meet production requirements. The manufacturer is especially keen to monitor progress
Rolls-Royce Enthused by Trent xwb Tests Rolls-Royce arrives at this week’s Dubai Air Show pleased with the “very positive” results achieved during 1,200 hours of testing eight examples of the new Trent XWB engine developed for the planned Airbus A350XWB twinaisle twinjet. The first Trent XWB has recently been fitted to Airbus A380 (MSN001) and is expected to fly shortly. Program director Chris Cholerton said the test program has seen five Trent XWBs run in four countries. The engine, said to be 16 percent more efficient than the first Trent powerplant, recently completed a 150-hour endurance type test at Spain’s Instituto Nacional de Tecnica Aeroespacial (INTA) in Madrid before being shipped back to RollsRoyce in Derby, UK, for a complete strip-down and analysis. Rolls-Royce Trent XWB chief engineer Chris Young
said the endurance test was a challenge: “The turbineentry temperatures we were able to deliver [showed] a substantial margin at the A350-900’s full 84,000 pounds thrust, providing further confidence in the on-wing life of the engine,” which is claimed to be the fastest selling Trent engine. Tests included operating the engine for 17 hours at the maximum temperature at redline speed. A further 42 hours were run at the 82,000 pounds maximum continuous rating, while some 40 hours were operated at 91,000 pounds thrust. One issue discovered during testing involved a “rotating air field” at the back of the intermediate-power turbine, a circumstance that has been overcome through a local redesign.–I.G.
among suppliers. “We need to control out-of-sequence work or we will lose efficiency,” said Evrard. “We cannot allow too much work to ‘travel.’” A new route to entry into service released on Thursday shows final assembly now expected to continue well into early 2013. Before the end of this year, Airbus expects to start system installation in the first completed airframe as functional testing is completed in Toulouse and among its suppliers. Systems integration tests that began last year should be finished as final assembly is completed. Saying that the first A350 airframe is now reaching the end of the pre-FAL stage, Evrard acknowledged some delay due to the late availability of certain key composites and detailed parts. “But we can be satisfied with what we see. It is our top priority to reach the highest levels of part-readiness before aircraft sections enter final assembly,” he said. Last week Airbus declined to release copies of a chart shown at the Toulouse briefing that illustrates pre-FAL progress and on which items received have been checked in green. Outstanding subassemblies awaited from program partners (checked only in
HyperMach now shooting for Mach 4 by Chad Trautvetter HyperMach’s planned 20-seat supersonic business jet (SSBJ)– SonicStar–will be able to fly at speeds up to Mach 4.0, the company said on Friday. This is faster than the Mach 3.6 top speed announced when the V-tailed aircraft was first revealed at June’s Paris airshow. At Mach 4.0, the SonicStar would be able to fly from New York to Dubai in only 2 hours 20 minutes. According to Richard Lugg, CEO of UK-based HyperMach Aerospace, recent analysis of data by partner Eagle Harbor Technologies showed that the higher speed can be achieved while still meeting requirements for a high thrustto-weight ratio engine, reduced emissions and no (or minimal) sonic boom. The boom is eliminated using an electromagnetically induced plasma wave that “absorbs” pressure waves. “Eagle Harbor integrated [its] plasma and aerodynamic codes into the HyperMach SonicStar aerodynamic
yellow) involve composites fuselage skin panels supplied by Spirit AeroSystems and parts coming from GKN Aerospace, which is responsible for wing spars and fixed wing trailing-edge assemblies. These items are effectively setting the pace for final assembly. Spirit AeroSystems shipped the first A350 center-fuselage panels for the upper-shell assembly last month, when the supplier acknowledged that it was “working with Airbus to meet all their requirements and delivery schedules for the pre-finalassembly phase.” Initial airframe ES will be followed by the first flying A350 (MSN001), second flight-test example (MSN003) and then the fatigue-test specimen (actually three large assemblies: EF1, EF2 and EF3) ahead of MSN004, which will be used as a cabin interior test vehicle. A so-called “airline office” was set up earlier this year to establish operational expertise with the help of Emirates, Finnair, Qatar Airways and TAP Air Portugal along with North American operators United Airlines and US Airways, said Evrard. It will validate items such as the aircraft maintenance manual, ground-support equipment tools and minimum mandatory equipment lists.` o model and generated an initial simulation showing that it is possible to manage the shock wave at the bow of the aircraft,” said Lugg. The key enabling technology of the SonicStar is the engine, which is being developed by Portland, Maine-based SonicBlue (of which Lugg is chairman). Due to the increased speeds, the original S-MAGJET (“S” for supersonic) five-stage electric-turbine hybrid supersonic 4000-X series engine is being developed into a hypersonic derivative called H-MAGJET (“H” for hypersonic). Like the S-MAGJET, the company claims the H-MAGJET will have a specific fuel consumption of 1.05 lb/lb/hr. Another enabling technology is the magnetic spike on the nose that creates the aforementioned plasma waves that would dampen the sonic boom. SonicStar is scheduled to fly in 2021, with certification possible, but not promised, by 2025. HyperMach has not previously given a firm price for the SSBJ, but Lugg told AIN here in Dubai that the SonicStar would cost $180 million at current values. The company continues to seek more investors and partners for the nearhypersonic jet program. o
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Airport security and defense have Safran revenues flowing sales opportunities but there are now more sophisticated UAVs on the market,” Petitcolin admitted. The optronics may still be improved, though, with new IR sensors and a remote video terminal. The CEO stressed, however, that the Sperwer UAV is “robust and competitively priced.” Sagem’s AASM Hammer modular air-to-ground weapon has entered service recently with the French air force; the smart bomb was used in Libya “with great success.” Petitcolin expressed hope that the first export contract would be sealed “in the coming months.” The AASM Hammer is part of the Dassault Rafale fighter proposal to the UAE, although it may also be sold independently. In Abu Dhabi, Sagem established a joint venture two years ago with Baynuna Aviation Technology. Known as Sagembat, the group focuses on the development, delivery and support of high-technology products, including smart weapons. In addition, Emirates Identity Authority has chosen Morpho to devise an integrated public records system, including the production of smart cards based on biometric recognition. Safran also created a company dubbed EIMASS (electronic identity management and security solutions) as a joint venture with the privatization department of Abu Dhabi police “to develop the security market in the UAE and region-wide.” In Russia, Sagem signed a contract with JSC Rosoboronexport and ZAO Inertial Technologies last summer for the creation of RS Alliance, a joint venture specializing in inertial navigation systems for military aircraft. It was formed to manufacture the new fifth-generation LINS-100RS inertial navigation system, which integrates latest generation digital laser gyros. “It is being designed for military aircraft, including fifth-generation fighters,” Petitcolin said. o
Bombardier shows view from CSeries deck
where no fewer than 180 CRJ regional jets and Q Series turboprops are either operating or appear on order books. The company projects a strong business jet presence in the Middle East as well, and its forecast for the future reflects an optimism evident in the show’s static display line. In fact, Bombardier has brought four business jets to display in Dubai– a Learjet 60 XR and three different Challenger models, while a single Q400 turboprop represents the company’s commercial airplane business. Sustained growth in the business jet segment will translate into a demand for 1,175 deliveries to the region over the next 20 years, according to Bombardier, while commercial transport demand calls for delivery of 980 twenty- to 149-seat airliners in the Middle East and Africa over the same period.–G.P.
Visitors to the Dubai Air Show will get a pilot’s-eye view of the Bombardier CSeries airliner for the first time as the company unveils a new flight-deck demonstrator at its pavilion today at 1 p.m. Located near its chalet, adjacent to the Airport Expo’s East Hall, the interactive dome pavilion also houses Bombardier’s most recent CSeries cabin demonstrator. Bombardier’s conspicuous presence here in Dubai reflects the company’s strong connection to the Middle East,
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Eurocopter is showing a mockup of its EC 145-T2. The new variant incorporates Arriel 2E engines, a fenestron tail rotor and more.
Evolving mission requirements keep Eurocopter in forefront Eurocopter expects its participation in this year’s Dubai Air Show to underscore its competitiveness in the Middle East, as well as the EADS subsidiary company’s dedication to a continued local presence through partnerships and cooperation. Some 600 Eurocopter helicopters fly a range of missions in the Middle East, from homeland defense and security to law enforcement, VIP transport, utility and offshore airlift for the oil and gas industry. The company’s exhibit here (Stand W860, Static display A49-A52/ P14) features an NH 90, EC 725, EC 175, EC 145-T2 and AS 350-B3. The NH 90 and EC 725 embody Eurocopter’s response to the Middle East’s evolving requirements for maritime surveillance, anti-piracy, security,
search-and-rescue, border patrol and transport duties. Meanwhile, the EC 175–the world’s newest medium twin-engine helicopter– will serve demanding airlift missions in support of the offshore petroleum industry. Eurocopter plans to start delivering the EC 175 to international customers at the end of next year. An “evolved version” of the popular EC 145 twin, the EC 145-T2, incorporates new Arriel 2E engines along with the company’s fenestron shrouded tail rotor, upgraded main and tail rotor gear boxes, new digital avionics and a fouraxis autopilot. It responds to the Middle East’s need for law enforcement, border surveillance, medical airlift and other missions, according to Eurocopter. o
SPACE IMAGING MIDDLE EAST
In an interview ahead of the Dubai Air Show, Philippe Petitcolin, Safran’s president for defense and security and CEO of the French company’s subsidiary Sagem, said business is thriving in his part of the French group, especially in smart weapons and threat detection at airports, and it sees no let-up in activity. The recent decline in the group’s (Stand W325) defense revenues in the third quarter was “due to delivery fluctuations during the year” rather than structural causes. He anticipates no overall slide on this side of the business for 2011 or 2012. Separately, the growth trend in the security business is expected to continue, said Petitcolin. “This is organic growth and we see 2011 growing 10 percent or so over 2010,” he said, adding that this is a general trend in the security industry. A recent addition to Safran’s security portfolio was L-1 Identity Solutions, now part of Morpho (as MorphoTrust). “It has been part of the group since this summer,” Petitcolin said. MorphoTrust has three main fields of activity: biometry, credentials (that is, identity documents) and associated services. “One area of technology leadership for us is biometry,” he said. Another is luggage security at airports, where Morpho’s tomography equipment scans the luggage that goes into aircraft holds. “We sell some when a new airport is built and there is also a replacement market,” Petitcolin told AIN. When security standards evolve, airports need to upgrade. “Europe is still trailing the U.S. in that regard; some airports have voluntarily upgraded but we hope new standards will make it compulsory for the other ones to upgrade as well,” he said. Morpho sells between 50 and 100 tomographs per year. Meanwhile, subsidiary company Sagem is seeing little future for its Sperwer family of unmanned aerial vehicles. “To be honest, we might still have a few
by Thierry Dubois
On Top of The World with Google and SIME! This stunning image of the world’s tallest building–Dubai’s Burj Khalifa skyscraper–is the result of a new business alliance between Space Imaging Middle East (SIME) and Google under which SIME has become the first authorized reseller for Google Enterprise GEO in the region. Mohammed El Kadi, managing director of SIME (Stand E550), which is already a provider of high-resolution imagery and geospatial information system (GIS) services to construction planners, developers and others in the region, said, “We are making satellite imagery and GIS solutions far more accessible and manageable by adding Google’s technology and services to our in-house data and custom software solutions.” –M.D.P.
Dassault’s Rafale, left, appeared to some to have the inside track for the UAE fighter contract, in part due to the country’s decades of experience with Dassault Mirages. But now it might be a new contract. The Eurofighter team positioned an additional two Typhoons here for the show. The team also took the positive step of painting its stand model in UAE colors, above.
UAE blasts fighter bid wide open uContinued from page 1 Here in the UAE, Dassault and its partners have been pursuing the sale of the Rafale for more than three years. The allFrench combat jet would replace a similar number of Dassault Mirage 2000-9 fighters. Aging Fleet
Half of the UAE’s Mirage fleet is nearly 30 years old. In 2009-10, the talks were reported to have been snagged by the country’s desire for more powerful engines, a helmet-mounted display, an electronic warfare upgrade and an upgrade to the Rafale’s new AESA radar to provide more range and additional modes. France balked at paying several hundred million euros to develop these upgrades, since the French air force and navy did not yet require them. The UAE was also expecting France to take back the UAE Mirage 2000 fleet in part-exchange.
uContinued from page 1 the A350XWB (see page 67). Indeed, a kind of reversal of fortunes seems at work here in the desert, as Airbus assumes the role of answering for program delays while Boeing can concentrate on making a splash with likely order announcements from the likes of Emirates Airline for 777s. For its part, Airbus looks ready to snag a significant orders of its own from Qatar for at least five A380s and as many as 50 A320neos, along with another deal from lessor ALAFCO for more of the reengined narrowbodies. Still, with Airbus’s recent announcement that it had “ter-
Last September, French newspaper Les Echos reported that a team led by Dassault had returned to Abu Dhabi at the request of the UAE, bringing a firm technical and commercial offer. In mid-October, French defense minister Gerard Longuet said negotiations had reached a final stage and chances of agreeing on a contract by the end of the year were strong. Boeing officials told AIN that the UAE requested and received classified briefings from the U.S. government on the F-15 Strike Eagle and the F/A-18 Super Hornet last February. But when contacted yesterday, they had no knowledge of a formal RFP. Riad Kahwaji, CEO of local defense thinktank INEGMA, said the UAE might consider a re-order for Lockheed Martin F-16s. The British source said the UAE requirement was for 60 aircraft to be delivered from 2017. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) made a late decision to boost the Typhoon here; it added two Typhoons to the airshow
that were previously scheduled to return direct to the UK from the recent Air Tactical Leadership Course at Al Dhafra airbase, UAE. Also, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stephen Dalton, chief of the UK air staff, was a late addition to the program at yesterday’s Air Chiefs Conference.
minated” production of the long beleaguered A340 and its now well documented problem with the A350, the appearance here of the 787, a flydubai 737-800 with a new Sky interior and a Qatar Airways 777-200 on static display marks something of a shift for Boeing, whose relationship with Qatar, in particular, had suffered through some rocky patches over past years.
cial crisis in Europe. A region known for its hunger for big commercial airplanes, the Middle East will continue to generate considerable demand for Boeing’s 777, which this year has drawn orders for 132 examples and for which Albaugh said the company has entered contract talks with “half a dozen” airlines. On the prospects of a new 777X, Albaugh reiterated the need to wait first for Airbus’s definition of an A350-1000. If the Airbus product enters the market some time around 2018, Boeing would react soon afterward. Albaugh said the company’s $273 billion backlog “sounds great” to Wall Street, but “it’s hard to tell customers to stand in line” for as many as eight years for an aircraft. “If we get to 10 [Dreamliners] per month, we’ve got to take a hard look at
‘Contagion’ Concerns Yesterday during a roundtable discussion with journalists here in Dubai, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh expressed optimism about the region in general, notwithstanding the complications presented by the so-called Arab Spring. He did acknowledge, however, the possibility of “contagion” from the looming finan-
Negotiations between the Saudi Arabia and UK governments over the supply of 72 Eurofighters began in early 2006 and reached a conclusion in September 2007. The first 24 aircraft were assembled, flown and delivered to the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) from BAE’s Warton factory during the past two years. The remainder were to be produced under license in the Kingdom. BAE Systems built a big new facility at Dhahran airbase for the purpose. Depot maintenance of the RSAF’s BAE Tornado fleet has been transferred to there from Riyadh. But instead of being shipped to Dhahran, AIN understands that
major subassemblies for at least the next seven Typhoons have gone into storage at Warton. “The Saudi Arabian government is considering options for the assembly of the final 48 aircraft,” a spokesman for the UK Ministry of Defence told AIN. Meanwhile, in October last year, the U.S. government
notified Congress of the huge Strike Eagle package. Worth no less than $29.5 billion, it included an upgrade to the RSAF’s 70 existing F-15 Strike Eagles, as well as the 84 newbuilds, plus a very comprehensive equipment and weapons suite. Boeing Military Aircraft officials have declined to comment on the deal. However, Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney told financial analysts last month that the company had invested in long-lead time items for the Saudi package because he was “confident” that it would be confirmed. Saudi decision-making has always been opaque, and the recent death of Crown Prince Sultan, 81, may further complicate the situation. He had been defense minister for the past 40 years. His successor in that role is Prince Salman, 76, another veteran of the Al Sudairi clan. o
Rafale Versus Typhoon in India India’s choice between the Rafale and the Typhoon for the medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) requirement is eagerly awaited. After two years of technical evaluation, the four other MMRCA contenders were eliminated last April. All of the 124 aircraft required, except the first 18, must be manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). The commercial bids from Dassault and EADS representing Eurofighter were opened in New Delhi 10 days ago. The Times of India reported that the unit flyaway cost of the Eurofighter was found to be higher than that of the Rafale, while the Deccan Herald reported the opposite. The MMRCA contest rules require that the winner now be chosen on price. No credit for extra performance will be carried over from the technical evaluation. But the commercial bids comprise some complicated pricing for training and logistics, including life-cycle costs and the cost of transferring technology. During the contest, India upped its offset requirement to 50 percent. The process of clarifying all aspects of the commercial bids could yet take some months.–C.P.
11 and then 12,” said Albaugh. “Burning the backlog” for virtually all its models stands as one of the company’s biggest challenges, he said, despite warnings by some analysts of market saturation and overproduction. Despite his keen interest in moderating the company’s backlogs, Albaugh said the company made a decision “about six or nine months ago” to boost Boeing Capital’s market exposure, primarily because the company’s customers have expressed a desire for more financial support. Not long ago the company had made a strategic decision to draw down its exposure to aircraft financing. However, “I wasn’t here then,” said Albaugh. Here in Dubai, yesterday, Boeing was particularly bullish about the prospects for the new re-engined version of the 737
narrowbody known as the 737 MAX. Now holding commitments for some 700 of the CFM Leap-1B-powered airplanes, Albaugh predicted that Boeing would “pretty much” equal the Airbus A320neo’s backlog within six months or so. To date Airbus holds firm orders for 1,100 A320neos, and total commitments for 1,300. Albaugh insisted that Airbus’s A320neo did not drive the decision to re-engine the 737. Although, he said, as an engineer, he would have liked to have seen Boeing introduce an all-new airplane, the timing didn’t work. Customers wanted a more efficient airplane “now,” he said. Boeing couldn’t run the risk of alienating them with more delays and fall victim to a production system ill-equipped to produce as many as 60 composite airplanes a month. o
www.ainonline.com • April 2011 • Aviation International News 69
Middle East embraces ACJs with range and space in mind As a market with a distinct preference for larger VIP and business aircraft, the Middle East has long been considered good sales territory for Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJs). Recent experience proves this with four more operators in the region having committed to swelling the local fleet. Here in the United Arab Emirates, Gama Aviation has introduced its first Airbus aircraft, an ACJ318 with a 14-seat cabin. This is managed on behalf of a private owner and is based at Sharjah International Airport. UK-based Gama established its UAE Air Operators Certificate in February 2010 and manages five aircraft in the Middle East. Now it’s preparing to start offering maintenance services locally with the formation of a new subsidiary called Gama Support Services. Another new ACJ operator in the region is Rizon Jet, which is based at Doha, Qatar. It is preparing to start operating an ACJ319 for its owner from 2013. The aircraft was recently delivered to an undisclosed completions center where the cabin interior is being installed. Meanwhile, Jet Aviation’s Dubai operation recently took delivery of an ACJ318 to be operated by a private owner. And last month, Aviation Link announced that it is to manage a pair of new ACJ319s on behalf clients from it base in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Also in October, the Royal Air Force of Oman was revealed as another previously undisclosed customer.
The ACJ319s headed to Aviation Link are to be completed by the airframer’s own Airbus Corporate Jet Center (ACJC) in Toulouse, France. Designed by Francis Munch of France’s Studio E/motions, the cabins make full use of the extra space afforded by the ACJ and feature the latest available communication and in-flight entertainment systems including SatTV, WiFi and iPad remote controls. ACJC has now completed 18 VIP cabins for Airbus aircraft for customers from the Middle East, Asia and Europe. Other recent business in the region for ACJC came from the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Defense, which just last month signed a maintenance deal covering the Royal Air Force of Oman’s ACJ320 fleet for the period from 2011 to 2013. The contract with ACJC includes C-checks for the service’s ACJ320s. Airbus has restructured its efforts in the VIP and business aviation markets to bring all the various divisions involved under the new unified Airbus Corporate Jets organization. This includes ACJC, but also the programs division (which builds the aircraft), and the commercial and support departments. ACJ’s worldwide sales headquarters is here in Dubai. According to François Chazelle, ACJ’s vice president for worldwide sales, the manufacturer also has had success selling VIP versions of its widebody airliners, which are branded as ACJs in this market. Most of the aircraft supplied have been versions of the A330 and A340, but it has
Low-cost 737 carrier flydubai expands with ‘simple’ strategy
With its rapidly growing route network, long-term expansion plans and emphasis on reduced operating costs, flydubai has to be considered a prime sales prospect for Boeing’s re-engined 737 MAX airliner. The low-cost carrier has held talks with the U.S. airframer about the new design but, for the time being, has not indicated whether it will place an order for it. To date, flydubai has taken delivery of 20 of the 50 existing 737-800s that it
ordered back in July 2008, and it is due to receive the remaining 30 between now and 2016. The 737 MAX is due to go into production in 2017. Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith told AIN that the reduced maintenance and training costs associated with operating a single aircraft type are at the core of the carrier’s business model. On this basis, he indicated that the company has no plans to look beyond Boeing for future fleet requirements.
Flydubai has received 20 of 50 Boeing 737-800s it has on order.
70 Dubai Airshow News • November 13, 2011 • www.ainonline.com
by Charles Alcock & Gregory Polek
Airbus Corporate Jets has two examples of its large-cabin business aircraft on show here in Dubai, including this one (top) operated by Comlux Aviation. Visitors are also able to check out examples of its spacious interiors.
also had orders for the flagship A380 and is offering the new A350XWB as well. According to Airbus, the green delivery of the first VIP ACJ380 is “getting very close” even though the question of where the aircraft’s vast cabin interior will be completed is still unresolved. The owner is Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. “Initially we were dealing with a lot of government clients in the Middle East, but more recently we have seen more and more private buyers,” Chazelle told AIN. In his view the ACJ318 has done
well in this part of the world because it doesn’t have a direct competitor from the Boeing Business Jets stable and offers significantly more cabin space than “traditional” executive aircraft–an important consideration in a region where culturally large family groups travel together. The ACJ318, 319 and 320 models can all fly nonstop from the Middle East to Europe and also can reach most of Asia. But another important factor for customers in this part of the world is the well-above-average space available for baggage. o
“We placed an order worth $4 billion at the 2008 Farnborough airshow for 50 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft. So far we have taken delivery of 20, with the remainder due before the end of 2016,” he said. “We always maintain a young fleet and this means that we can keep them flying longer and avoid breakdowns. We have one of the highest aircraft utilization rates in the industry, with each aircraft averaging 13 to 16 hours a day.”
destinations across the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, Africa and Central and Eastern Europe. It also claims to have the most extensive route in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. “We have become the world’s fastest growing start-up airline ever and the second largest carrier operating out of Dubai International Airport [after Emirates]…From June 2010 to May 2011, we recorded increases of 161 percent for ASKs [available seat-kilometers] and 181 percent for RPKs [revenue-passenger kilometers] over the previous 12 months.” Al Ghaith believes that the low-cost model has a big future in the region. “The Middle East’s LCCs currently account for only seven percent of the total passenger traffic, compared to 35 percent in Europe, so there is great potential for growth.” And the challenges going forward? “Over the next five years we will take delivery of 30 aircraft, which means we will require hundreds more pilots to keep pace with this very rapid expansion.” This and fuel costs are major challenges: “In the current environment, we also have to be prepared for fluctuating fuel costs. It is the largest single cost we have and we must factor this into our future planning.”–C.A.
Route Expansion Plans
The airline’s route expansion strategy is “simple,” said Al Ghaith, “we provide a low-cost alternative to popular routes such as Beirut as well as those previously underserved by direct air links such as Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. We also target destinations that did not previously have international flights such as Abha, Gassim and Yanbu in [Saudi Arabia] and those in which flydubai is the first [LCC] to start operations such as Addis Ababa, Yerevan and Baku.” We are also looking to expand further within Central and Eastern Europe, the subcontinent and increase the frequency of flights within the GCC,” Al Ghaith added. Today flydubai’s route map covers 46
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Dubai Airshow News Day 1 11-13-11 Issue