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AgustaWestland Outlines Civil Tiltrotor Plans To 2016 

Now in sole control of the civil tiltrotor program it began with Bell Helicopter, AgustaWestland plans to begin certification flights of its renamed AW609 next year with the goals of obtaining FAA certification and beginning deliveries by mid-2016.

The company reports cash-backed orders in hand for 70 units from 40 customers in 15 countries. Two prototypes have been involved in initial flight tests. A third aircraft is being assembled in Italy and will fly next year. A fourth is expected to follow in 2014.

AgustaWestland Unveils AW169 Helicopter 

AgustaWestland plans to have its new AW169 helicopter available in 2015, with its eye on the government and emergency medical services markets.

Unveiling the AW169 during last week’s Farnborough International Airshow, the company says the helicopter is being designed to fit a hole in Agusta’s product line between the AW139 and the Grand. The new model has a design weight of 4.5 metric tons, measuring 13 meters in length and 2 meters wide.

Alitalia Beefs Up Domestic Service Through Air Italy Commercial Alliance 

Alitalia will reinforce its presence in the “core” domestic market through a commercial partnership with Air Italy, set to begin May 3.

The code-sharing agreement will apply to 15 Italian destinations and 150 weekly flights. In particular, the two airlines will offer flights with a dual code on 10 Italian airports: Bari, Bergamo, Catania, Genoa, Naples, Olbia, Palermo, Rome, Turin and Verona. But travelers from Bergamo, Turin and Verona will particularly benefit from the partnership.

Selex Galileo PAR Radar Bound For Swiss And Italian Air Forces 

GENOA, Italy — Selex Galileo will supply two Precision Approach Radars (PARs) to the Italian air force and five more to the Swiss air force under contracts worth a total of €31 million ($41.8 million).

Italy Pressuring U.S., Lockheed Over JSF Work 

GENOA, Italy — The Italian ministry of defense is increasing the pressure on both the U.S. government and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter prime contractor Lockheed Martin to win better terms for technology transfer and local industry involvement.

Milan Airport Authority Posts Profit In 2009 Despite Industry Downturn 

SEA, the company running the two Milan airports, scored well in 2009 despite the poor performance of commercial aviation and Alitalia's decision to move the bulk of its international operations to Rome Fiumicino Airport.

SEA announced revenues of €581 million, down 8.4% from 2008. Passenger traffic fell 8.8% to 17.4 million, and cargo traffic declined 17.3% to 334,000 tons, but the company was able to pull out a net profit of €22 million, compared with €1.8 million in 2008.

Nigeria Gets Second ATR-42 For Maritime Patrolling 

GENOA, Italy — The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) plans to start operating its second Alenia Aeronautica ATR-42 MP maritime patrol aircraft, which will be based at Benin City AB, 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of Lagos.

The second ATR-42 was delivered March 29. The order for two of the aircraft, worth $73 million, was announced in 2006 but signed in March 2007 and called for the delivery of both aircraft by the end of 2009. The first one was delivered in December.

Alitalia Continues Fleet Expansion, Modernization With A320s 

Alitalia is sticking to its fleet modernization plans and has put in service two additional Airbus A320s, bringing its total of A320s in service to 37, in a fleet of 155 aircraft.

Alitalia plans to deploy, before the yearend, more A320s as well as two long-range A330s, the latter to be based at Milan Malpensa Airport.

Lufthansa Challenges Alitalia Dominance In Milan-Rome Route 

Lufthansa intends to pursue legal action to find a way to serve the “golden route” between Rome Fiumicino and Milan Linate airports.

Lufthansa is carrying out a “legal inspection” in order to identify a way to obtain the permission to operate from Linate; currently, an Italian government decree gives Alitalia a three-year monopoly on the Linate-Fiumicino route. In theory, a legal action in front of the Italian antitrust authority or the administrative regional tribunal (TAR) could be considered.

Selex Communications Picked For Italian CH-47Fs 

Selex Communications will provide communication, navigation and self-protection equipment for the Italian Army’s 16 Boeing CH-47F Chinook helicopters, which AgustaWestland is to assemble and deliver.

Finmeccanica Beats 2009 Expectations, Expects To Hold The Line In 2010 

LONDON — Finmeccanica has announced better than expected 2009 results, showing a marked improvement in all key parameters and giving managers confidence that 2010 will confirm substantially stable or slightly improved performance despite the slow economic recovery and market conditions.

Italian Intel Stops Iranian Arms Smugglers 

ROME — An Iranian affiliated organization involved in smuggling dual-use equipment toward Iran has been dissolved following combined action by the counter-proliferation arm of the Italian external intelligence service AISE and the Guardia di Finanza (GdF) police and border control force.

Integrated Meridiana Fly Starts Operations 

Meridiana Fly, the new airline formed by the integration of Meridiana and Eurofly airlines, got off the ground Feb. 28.

The Italian airline intends to offer flights to seven intercontinental destinations, 48 mid-range ones in Europe and nearby countries, and 32 domestic cities. The Meridiana group is owned by the Aga Khan prince who started his strategic expansion plan in 2006 by acquiring a first stake in Eurofly, the charter arm of the old Alitalia.

Alitalia’s Air One Low-Fare Strategy Is Paying Off 

The Alitalia Group strategy to compete with low-cost carriers through its own low-fare unit, Air One, is scoring with passengers.

More than 100,000 tickets have been sold in the first two weeks of operation, and the plan for the Milan Malpensa Airport-based airline is to increase weekly flights from the current 200 to 250 during the peak months of July and August.

Lorenzo Caporaletti, who leads the business unit, said, “We hope to cross the 1 million tickets sold mark by the yearend.”

UAE Navy To Add Stealth Corvettes 

GENOA, Italy — The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has accelerated its naval buildup by ordering two stealth missile corvettes from Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard, and taking an option on two more.

In a program dubbed Falaj 2, delivery of the first vessel will be in 2012, only 30 months after the contract signing — a tight schedule considering the magnitude of the electronics and weapon systems integration involved.

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