Bradley Perrett perrett@aviationweek.com

Bradley Perrett perrett@aviationweek.com
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Avicopter AC311A Flies 

BEIJING — Avic rotorcraft specialist Avicopter completed first flight of its AC311A light helicopter, an upgrade of the aircraft offered for the key 2-ton market.

The flight of the aircraft, which introduces the Turbomeca Arriel 2B1A engine to the AC311 series, lasted 10 minutes and took place at Jingdezhen, the home of Changhe Aircraft, a long-established Chinese helicopter maker now part of Avicopter.

Australian LHD Running Final Contractor Sea Trials 

BEIJING — The first of Australia’s two new assault ships is running its final contractor sea trials, reinforcing expectations that the program will meet its revised schedule.

The trials include testing the combat and communication systems, prime contractor BAE Systems says.

South Korea To Commission Second Assault Ship In 2020 

BEIJING — South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-Koo has authorized construction of the country’s long-delayed second assault ship, now scheduled to enter service in 2020.

The design will be improved from that of South Korea’s first such ship, Dokdo, which displaces 19,300 metric tons when fully loaded.

“The basic configuration will be similar to Dokdo’s, with more up-to-date equipment,” a spokesman for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration said after Kim made the decision to build the ship.

Avic Capital In Talks To Buy Lessor Avolon 

BEIJING — Avic subsidiary Avic Capital says it is in talks to buy Irish aircraft lessor Avolon but stresses that no deal is certain.

In a stock-exchange statement, Avic Capital denies a newspaper report that the deal will be valued at €12 billion ($16 billion). Reuters reported last week that Avic Capital and state-run firm China Investment Corp. were negotiating to buy Avolon for $4-5 billion, including the value of debt that they would assume in the acquisition.

Australia Reportedly Buying Two More A330s, One Or Two C-17s 

BEIJING – Australia will buy two more Airbus A330 tankers and one or two more Boeing C-17 Globemaster airlifters, local media report, quoting Defense Minister David Johnston.

“When you get good service from a platform it prompts you to say, why don’t you get some more?” Johnston said in reference to the tanker-derivative of the A330 airliner. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has five of the aircraft, which retain the airliner’s main-deck seating and belly cargo holds.

Shanghai Budget Carrier Spring Considers A330s 

BEIJING — Leading Chinese low-cost carrier (LCC) Spring Airlines is looking to introduce Airbus A330s to extend its reach beyond the capabilities of its A320s.

In contrast to AirAsia in Southeast Asia, Spring is considering services to Europe and not limiting itself to Asia and Oceania.

South Korea Contracts KAI For Medevac Surion 

Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) has further widened the market for its Surion utility helicopter, gaining a South Korea defense ministry contract to develop a medical evacuation (medevac) version of the aircraft.

Development is due to be completed by 2016, with the aircraft going into service in 2018, KAI says.

Parliament last year authorized the acquisition of eight medical evacuation helicopters; the army reportedly has a requirement for about 20. But KAI does not yet have a production contract.

Shanghai Budget Carrier Spring Considers A330s 
Leading Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines is looking at introducing Airbus A330s to extend its reach beyond the capabilities of its A320s. The CAAC is likely to back Spring’s move, because it last year urged Chinese airlines to look at long-haul, low-cost operations.
Cathay Sees Improved 2nd Half Following Modest Profit 

Cathay Pacific Group expects its business to improve in the second half of 2014, following a modest profit recorded for the first half.

The Hong Kong-based company, owner of Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair, achieved higher passenger and cargo load factors in the first six months of this year by cutting prices.

Japanese Fighter Demo To Fly In January 

Japan’s ATD-X fighter technology demonstrator is due to fly in January 2015, confirming that the program is holding to its latest schedule.

The aircraft, built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the defense ministry’s Technical Research and Development Institute, will be handed over to the ministry by the end of March, says the Mainichi newspaper, reporting the plan for the first flight.

MHI Raises Production of 787 Wing Box 

BEIJING—Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) will increase production of Boeing 787 outer-wing boxes from 2016 to support Boeing’s plan to build the aircraft at a rate of 14 a month by the end of the decade.

MHI is one of three major Japanese suppliers of 787 structure. It will expand product facilities at its Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works and Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works, with an investment program to begin in October.

Cathay Predicts Improvement Following Modest Profit 
Cathay Pacific Group expects its financial performance to strengthen in the second half of 2014. The Hong Kong company achieved higher passenger and cargo load factors in the first six months of this year, but only by cutting prices.
Cathay Invests In Biofuel Developer Fulcrum 

BEIJING—Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways has bought equity in U.S. biofuel developer Fulcrum BioEnergy and contracted for 10 years of fuel supplies from the company equivalent to 2% of the carrier’s current consumption.

Cathay aims to achieve carbon-neutral growth from 2020.

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