Robert Wall

Robert Wall

Robert Wall was International Editor of Aviation Week & Space Technology until July 2012

Composites Questions Linger

MADRID—Three years of Boeing 787 delays should have provided ample time for airlines and their maintenance organizations to ready themselves for the new generation of aircraft. Reality looks quite different, though.

European Parliament Pushes Tough Emissions Trading Rules 

The European Parliament and European Council face a busy few weeks as they try to bridge differences over airline emissions trading, with big implications for financially struggling airlines.

Although several carriers within the European Union have embraced the idea of an emissions trading scheme to help curb the growth of carbon dioxide output, they say the devil is in the details. They see the latest European Parliament plan unveiled last week as problematic.

Aer Lingus Restores Most Of Canceled Flights 

Aer Lingus was yesterday able to reschedule most of its flights yesterday after its pilots' union called off a planned strike.

The only long-haul flights still canceled are an Aug. 21 Dublin-New York roundtrip and an Aug. 22 Dublin-Chicago roundtrip. More than 5,000 passengers were to have been on the flights that would have been affected by the strike. Most were reaccommodated on other airlines or rescheduled. Aer Lingus restored its full short-haul schedule.

BAA Breakup Decision Expected In Early 2008 

The U.K. Competition Commission says it will be early 2008 before it decides the fate of BAA and whether to break up the Ferrovial-owned airport authority.

There had been increasing speculation in the U.K. in recent days that the regulatory body would call for a breakup of BAA, which owns seven British airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

New UAV Sales Opportunities Arise 

The global demand for unmanned aircraft is far from abating, with Singapore looking to overcome international opposition to buying Global Hawks and European industrial rivals lining up to meet long-standing demand for medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) surveillance systems.

NATO Surveillance Program at Critical Juncture 

NATO's decade-long effort to develop a critical ground surveillance system has never been closer to fruition--but also never this close to dying.

The 23 NATO members participating in the Alliance Ground Surveillance program to field Global Hawks and A321s fitted with ground-target tracking radars have until year-end to make up their minds. That's when the contract has to be inked with an international consortium to initiate development, or the carefully drawn up terms expire.

'Green' Debate Dominates Le Bourget 

A wake-up call is shaking up the aerospace industry on environmental concerns as manufacturers scramble to devise ways to achieve a greener footprint.

Europe is considering enticements to encourage fleet replacements and phase out old aircraft faster, says Guenther Verheugen, European commissioner for enterprise and industry. He's concerned that even as cleaner aircraft emerge, it could take decades to generate the full environmental effect as old aircraft are kept in service

New U.S., European Airlift Options Emerge 

A global shortage in military airlift capacity is driving aircraft makers on both sides of the Atlantic to explore options at different ends of the airlift spectrum, though governments haven't yet fully backed the projects.

EADS CASA is working on a new turboprop airlifter design, while Boeing and Lockheed Martin offer competing proposals to the U.S. Air Force to add to its strategic airlifter fleet.

Leahy Forecasts Sales To Exceed 600 This Year 

Airbus' top salesman yesterday predicted the manufacturer will achieve at least 600 orders this year, as Airbus announced a slew of A330 orders on the second day of the Paris Air Show.

Polish, Czech firms plot different courses to survive 

When it comes to revolutionary change, the Poles and Czechs often take different approaches. So it should come as no surprise that this remains the case as the countries transition their aerospace industries from the Cold War legacy to become part of the rapidly globalizing aerospace supply chain.

Firms aim to remain aircraft suppliers 

If you build it, they will come. At least that’s what a few of Eastern Europe’s aircraft companies are gambling on as they keep alive current aircraft and birth new ones in their quest to remain original equipment manufacturers.

Steeped in almost a century of aircraft-making history, aerospace centers in Poland and the Czech Republic aren’t fully resigned to becoming mere parts makers for the aircraft heavyweights and their suppliers. But the hurdles they face are large, and the chance of success questionable.

Offshore, But Not Offshoring 

Productivity is way up at Ladish’s cavernous forging plant in southeast Poland, thanks to lean production processes introduced by the Wisconsin-based specialty metals company. Ladish recently initiated its first aerospace production in Europe after the low-cost facility secured a critical accreditation. The company won’t disclose what its 690 Polish metalworkers earn, but concedes they are paid a lot less than their American counterparts. Another clear case of offshoring, right?

Eastern Europe fights for its aerospace future 

The end of the Cold War brought freedom to Eastern Europe, but it nearly smothered the life out of PZL-Krosno. When the Soviet Union disintegrated, 90% of orders at the Polish landing gear manufacturer vanished overnight. Annual sales fell below $1 million and the government-owned company shrunk to a skeletal staff of 130, down from a Cold War high of 2,000.

JSF Juggling Engine, Cost, Schedule and Weight Issues 

The Joint Strike Fighter's price is expected to increase 4% due to Pentagon funding cuts. And if Congress reinstates development of a second engine for the stealthy aircraft, the cost could rise further.

Northrop Grumman/EADS team commits to KC-X competition 

Despite concerns about the fairness of the U.S. Air Force request for proposals for the $40 billion KC-X tanker competition, Northrop Grumman and EADS North America say they will enter the race against Boeing.

The team had threatened to back out if the Air Force did not restructure performance metrics to objectively judge the A330-based tanker compared to rival Boeing's 767 candidate. A European industry official said there was concern that too much emphasis was on the low-cost offering, which would handicap the larger and newer A330.

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