Airline Briefs

Airline Briefs
An osprey.


WASHINGTON – Colin Steven, 61, a U.K. citizen residing in the United Arab Emirates, a former sales executive of Embraer S.A. (Embraer), a Brazilian-based manufacturer of aircraft, pleaded guilty today in connection with a scheme to pay bribes to a high-level foreign government official in exchange for assistance in securing Embraer’s sale of aircraft to Saudi Arabia’s national oil company. Steven admitted that he engaged in a scheme to have Embraer pay bribes to a foreign official in exchange for assistance in getting an aircraft sales contract with favorable terms awarded to Embraer


Lufthansa’s Air Berlin Asset purchase of regional German airline LG Walter from Air Berlin approved by EU committee after it agreed to a reduction in the number of Düsseldorf airport slots it will acquire as part of the deal.


Airbus Delivers 50th A320 Family Aircraft Assembled In The U.S. Alabama Workforce also celebrating meeting its goal to produce four A320 family aircraft a month. Less than two years after Airbus delivered the first A320 Family aircraft from its Airbus A320 Family U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, the company has delivered its 50th aircraft. The A321, designated MSN 7943, was delivered to Delta Air Lines.

The milestone was celebrated by the facility’s employees, as well as Airbus Americas Chairman Allan McArtor and members of the Delta Air Lines delivery team.

“The 50th delivery is a real point of pride not only for our team here in Mobile, but also for tens of thousands of employees from the hundreds of U.S. suppliers that contribute to these aircraft,” said McArtor. “We said in 2012 that we were going to build Airbus aircraft in the U.S. for our U.S.-based customers.

We delivered the first aircraft in 2016, and today we stand here celebrating the 50th. We’ve met our originally announced schedule, and we’ve fulfilled the commitment we made to our customers, our suppliers across the country, and this Gulf Coast community.”

With the delivery this week, the facility also meets its goal to produce four A320 family aircraft a month – known in the aircraft industry as “rate four.” Airbus has three other A320 Family production facilities around the world: Toulouse, France; Hamburg, Germany; and Tianjin, China.

Union label

Ryanair will now change its long standing policy of not recognizing unions in order to avoid any threat of disruption to its customers and its flights from pilot unions during the busy holiday season. Ryanair has called on thye pilot unions to call off the threatened industrial action so that its customers can look forward to travelling during the holidays without the threat or worry of pilot strikes hanging over them.

In response to previous unanswered letters to its headquarters, Ryanair has now written to the pilot unions in Germany, UK, Italy, Spain and Portugal inviting each of them to talks to authorize these unions as the representative body for pilots in Ryanair in each of these countries with the understanding that they establish Committees of Ryanair pilots to deal with Ryanair issues, as Ryanair will not engage with pilots who fly for competitor airlines in Ireland or elsewhere.

As a result of the trouble at the airline, Credit Suisse Group lowered shares of Ryanair from an “outperform” rating to a “neutral” rating in a December research note.

As a side note Lufthansa low cost unit Eurowings has reached a deal with unions representing its pilots on new collective bargaining agreement which may have influenced Ryanair to change its hardstand.

Army contract

Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a $750 million contract by the U.S. Army to provide contractor lifecycle services for the Army’s Special Electronic Mission Aircraft (SEMA) fleet. This fixed- wing airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) fleet includes the RC-12X Guardrail, the Enhanced Medium Altitude Reconnaissance Surveillance System and Airborne Reconnaissance Low variants.


The Scaled test team successfully executed a low speed taxi test of the Stratolaunch aircraft. During this initial taxi test, the aircraft moved down the runway under its own power for the first time. These first test points have demonstrated the fundamental ability to control the aircraft speed and direction on the runway.

Go big

What is it like to move the world’s largest aircraft? Joe Sweat, Project Pilot, commented, “It was a lot less intimidating once we had it out there, in terms of how much runway we take up. From a visual standpoint, we had a lot more room than I was anticipating. Getting the airplane moving under its own power was really interesting — just seeing and feeling how the nose wheel steering reacts and how the brakes respond to the inputs.”


When a FedEx 757 landed on Kennedy Space Center’s three-mile shuttle runway, it accomplished something no other commercial aircraft had before. It became the first commercial carrier to land on the strip, signifying the start of a new collaboration between FedEx and the space industry.

“What we’re going through now is the privatization of space,” said Carl Asmus, FedEx vice president of supply chain solutions and market development. “Private companies are now taking over the exploration of space. This could drastically improve the speed of payload delivery.”


The Boeing Company and Embraer confirmed the two companies are engaged in discussions regarding a potential combination, the basis of which remains under discussion.There is no guarantee a transaction will result from these discussions. Boeing and Embraer do not intend to make any additional comments regarding these discussions. Any transaction would be subject to the approval of the Brazilian government and regulators, the two companies’ boards and Embraer’s shareholders. This is happening as United States secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross has found in favor of United States-based manufacturer Boeing in a dispute over aircraft sales.

Tax man cometh

The new US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) preserves two pro-aviation business provisions supported by multiple industry associations.

The conference report retains Senate language clarifying that aircraft management services are not subject to the 7.5 percent commercial ticket tax. The provision, supported by NATA and NBAA, was necessitated by a 2012 IRS Chief Counsel opinion that left aircraft management service companies – most of them small businesses – vulnerable to back taxes and penalties. After a significant number of these companies successfully appealed audit findings assessing the FET to aircraft management services, the IRS opinion was put on hold in May of 2013 pending further clarification.

Airborn wifi

Thales, the French multi-faceted corporation and Emirates have signed a new agreement to equip its Boeing 777X fleet with the next generation broadband inflight connectivity using Inmarsat GX global network. The partnership will give Emirates customers best in class connectivity on its Boeing 777X aircraft due for delivery starting in 2020.

The new agreement will bolster the existing multi-million dollar Avant inflight entertainment deal to outfit the 777x as part of the Emirates and Thales’ plans to develop and enhance the state-of-the-art inflight entertainment .

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