Skyrocketing numbers of narrowbody aircraft orders have turned attention to Southeast Asia—and its burgeoning low-cost carriers (LCCs), in particular.
Twenty-seven percent of the world’s narrowbody aircraft—half the global fleet—are operated in the Asia-Pacific region, estimated Lufthansa Technik Philippines in the first quarter of fiscal 2013. More than 37% of the total commercial fleet will soon be based there, many of them in service with low-cost carriers, it also projects.
The Dutch defense ministry has been increasing its work with industry, as evinced by last year's public-private partnership agreement with DutchAero Services at Woensdrecht. It not only secured maintenance of the Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16's Pratt & Whitney F100 engines, but it also aimed to attract third-party customers for F100 engine MRO work as well as future work on other engine types.
Narrowbody airframe MRO accounts just over $25 million, or 54% of the total airframe MRO market that is worth an estimated $8.8 billion, based on TeamSAI November 2011 figures. And airframe services make up about 19% of all MRO work on narrowbody aircraft.
The Middle East aircraft maintenance market has commanded much growth and development in the past decade, driven largely by the success of Dubai International Airport and other hubs. Market-watchers expect the expansion of air traffic volume and fleet sizes in the region to continue, and MRO along with them. By 2015, the United Arab Emirates will have more commercial aircraft than Japan, now the world's third-largest economy, says Bill Lay, PwC's Dubai-based partner.
The ability to fund customers' components to reduce their balance sheet expenses is an advantage few companies can offer at the level that Mubadala Aerospace does. As an example, Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies, Sanad Aero Solutions and SR Technics—all three of which Mubadala owns—forged a major service deal with Virgin Australia in August. The agreement includes component maintenance, financing and training to support the airline's Airbus A330s—initially covering two aircraft, but set to expand to five in 2013.
New regional links are forming. For example, a Qatari delegation visited Egyptair Maintenance & Engineering earlier this year to see the facilities and discuss collaboration. Says Marketing and Customer Service Director Engineer Sayed Anwar, “With Qatar, there still are in negotiations at the top management level.” He adds that the carrier also is negotiating “with more than one significant partner.”
Peterborough Municipal Airport this month plans to open its expanded 7,000 ft.-runway, part of a $30 million renovation aimed at accommodating narrowbody aircraft. "We went from being a DC-9 runway to a Boeing 737 runway," says Jay Amer, who heads up direct marketing for the Canadian airport. Peterborough now boasts the longest runway between Toronto and Montreal, he adds, along with significantly lower costs. "We're really a runway with a business park," says Amer. That's okay with Peterborough because "our key goal is not to land passenger service ...
Superjet International inked an order to sell 12 Sukhoi Superjet 100s to Italy’s Blue Panorama Airlines. The order is worth $370 million at list prices. Superjet plans to start delivering the SSJ100/95B aircraft to Blue Panorama at the end of 2012.
The first confirmed order for Airbus A319NEOs (new engine option) has been placed by Indianapolis, Ind.-based Republic Airways as part of a deal for 40 A319NEOs and 40 A320NEOs.
CFM International’s LEAP engine will power all 80 of the aircraft, and Airbus’ sharklet wingtip modifications will equip them for extra efficiency. Republic subsidiary Frontier Airlines will operate the narrowbodies. Republic disclosed plans earlier this year to retire Frontier’s older A318s by September while it waits for the Bombardier CSeries and now A320NEO family aircraft.
Alaska Airlines says Gogo inflight Internet is available on nearly all of its 117 Boeing 737 aircraft.
It has taken Alaska about one year to equip its fleet after starting the installations last June, and it plans to finish the work this month.
When the program is done, 92% of the Alaska fleet will be Gogo-equipped. Nine aircraft will not offer Gogo access: one all-freighter aircraft, five combi aircraft and three leased Boeing 737-400s due to return to their lessors next year, says an Alaska spokeswoman.
Barfield will provide avionics, hydraulic, instrument, accessories and cockpit seat component maintenance for Boeing and Airbus aircraft to US Airways from its Tempe, Ariz., facility under an April contract.
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