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_Pierre Sparaco

_Pierre Sparaco
Will Scorpion Cross The Atlantic? 

Textron's Scorpion two-seat advanced trainer is now in the flight-test phase. The company's public relations efforts remain minimal, although this is a valuable initiative, company-funded programs of such magnitude being a rare occurrence. But can an all-new military aircraft expect export success in the absence of domestic orders? Can Textron overcome such a handicap ? On the opposite side of the Atlantic, Dassault Aviation has not developed the Alpha Jet's long-overdue successor: Perhaps they should talk and jointly create a global product.

Could Textron Scorpion Follow F-16 Example? 

The Textron AirLand Scorpion light attack aircraft, which is scheduled to make its first flight in the next few weeks, continues to capture—and hold—the attention of Europeans. Although its developers carefully avoid calling it a “low-cost” fighter proposal, it is obvious that their ultimate goal is to offer a two-seat twinjet costing a fraction of more conventional aircraft. This is an attractive proposition, of course, in an environment of increasingly restricted and uncertain defense budgets.

Italy’s Venerable Airline Could Collapse 

Once gain, Alitalia, the perennially ailing Italian carrier, finds itself in the unenviable position of needing to restructure. It must come to terms with the fact that it needs new investors and a strong partner. Being a SkyTeam member has not brought about the salvation the carrier hoped for, and the survival plan put in place in the late 1990s, although welcome, certainly does not ensure a workable future. In the short term, Alitalia, which posted a €294 million ($397 million) loss in the first half of 2013, reportedly needs €400-500 million to avoid bankruptcy.

The Cash-Cow Strategy Is A Losing Proposition 

Tony Tyler, the International Air Transport Association’s chief executive, said recently that “too often governments see aviation as a luxury and milk it as a cash cow.” Giovanni Bisignani, Tyler’s provocative predecessor, also has in the past several years repeatedly accused governments of implementing a narrow-minded cash-cow policy toward airlines.

Air-Ticket Taxes Are Not Infinite Revenue Sources 

Tony Tyler, the International Air Transport Association's chief executive, said recently that “too often governments see aviation as a luxury and milk it as a cash cow.” Giovanni Bisignani, Tyler's provocative predecessor, has also in the past several years repeatedly accused governments of implementing a narrow-minded cash-cow policy toward airlines.

Commentary: Ramifications of EADS's Name Change
Airbus rises to the top of the consortium's heap
Ramifications of EADS’s Name Change
Though a long time in the ascendency, Airbus rises to the top of the consortium's heap
Survival In Doubt For European Legacy Airlines 

Europe's legacy airlines are in great danger and could disappear in the next 20 years, according to a French government-sponsored think tank, the Commissariat General a la Strategie et a la Prospective (CGSP). The analysis was headed by Claude Abraham, a highly respected expert who was in charge of the French civil aviation authority (DGAC) in the 1970s and 1980s. Now, in his capacity as the investigation team's coordinator, he reports directly to Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Air Show Press Coverage Favors Boeing, Airbus 

In the wake of June's Paris air show, both Airbus and Boeing issued victory statements detailing orders, options, commitments and letters of intent reportedly signed during the five-day event. Both rivals claimed they achieved or surpassed their most optimistic sales predictions, disseminating robust releases to the media. And, once more, the press corps—in most cases without the required restraint—agreed to the rules of the game, although that was largely meaningless.

Retracing Historic Nungesser And Coli Flight 

Did two French aviators cross the Atlantic oceans days before Charles Lindbergh completed his historical 1927 New York-Paris flight? The question is asked by Bernard Decre, a well-regarded amateur historian. In the last five years, he has been working full-time on the ill-fated attempt by Charles Nungesser and Francois Coli who vanished hours after they took off from Le Bourget on May 8, headed for New York. The assumption for years has been that they plunged into the sea during the early part of the crossing, but there is no definitive information to back this up.

Modular Aircraft Concept At Le Bourget 

Air shows do more than trumpet commercial transport orders or dazzle visitors with noisy flight displays. They also provide a great opportunity to introduce new ideas and, even better, concepts that could lead to technology breakthroughs. Last week at the Paris air show, Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique, based in Lausanne, unveiled an all-new concept of modular aircraft—a three-engine flying wing able to carry three Airbus A320-size “capsules.”

Airliner Cockpit Concepts Mulled: Solo And Unmanned 

Do you remember Michael O'Leary's ironic remark about the envisioned one-pilot flight crew? Ryanair's chief executive last year claimed direct operating costs could be significantly reduced by eliminating the first officer on commercial flights

Europe’s Divisions Put Holds On Airpower 

Budget constraints are affecting all of Europe, resulting in severe procurement cuts, minimal research and development spending, and an absence of new programs necessary to lay the groundwork for the future. Moreover, leading European countries, which maintain a sizable defense industry, are still striving to reach a consensus on unified operational requirements. Many still dwell in the past, according a higher priority to sovereignty despite the European Union's mission to establish a 27-nation common destiny.

France Revamps Government Holdings 

In the 1930s, large segments of France's economy—including the aviation industry—were acquired by a newly elected left-wing government. The final part of the nationalization program became reality shortly after World War II ended, when engine manufacturers Gnome & Rhone and Renault were consolidated to form state-owned Snecma.

Airlines Could Learn A Lot From Nestle
Airlines must consider business models from other industries if profitability is to improve
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