Sunday, November 13, 2011

Three main airports to cut 150 jobs in new Dublin Airport Authority plan

Up TO 150 jobs are to go as part of new cuts at the country’s three main airports at Dublin, Cork and Shannon.

The Irish Times has learned that a new voluntary redundancy program was considered by the board of the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), which controls the three airports, at a meeting last week.

The DAA also has an international duty-free retailing operation known as Aer Rianta International.

It is understood that the DAA is to set aside up to €17 million to fund the new redundancy scheme.

It is expected that redundancies will be sought across the board.

The DAA declined to comment on the proposals for job cuts at the airports.

“It would be inappropriate to comment on discussions that may or may not have taken place at a DAA board meeting, as such matters are confidential,” the company said.

The DAA last year reduced its staff numbers from 3,168 to 2,971 as part of a cost-saving program.

This program has cost the DAA €49.3 million and pushed the State-owned company into the red in 2009.

The program resulted in a reduction in payroll and payroll-related costs of 10 per cent to €156 million.

As part of the cost-saving program, all employees earning the annual equivalent of more than €30,000 per year agreed to accept voluntary pay reductions ranging from five per cent to 12 per cent, in addition to the introduction of the voluntary severance scheme and changes in work practices at the three airports.

This latest redundancy package comes as the recession continues to affect trading at the country’s three international airports.

In 2010, traffic at the three airports declined to 22.6 million from 29.9 million in 2009.

This was due in part to airspace closures caused by the Icelandic volcano eruption last year.

Traffic numbers are expected to rise this year but consumer demand remains constrained due to the recession.

The DAA’s retail revenues declined in 2010 by 9 per cent to €221 million and are believed to remain under pressure in the current economic climate.

On Friday, the DAA announced that passenger charges at Dublin Airport would not be increased in 2012. It is hoped that this will encourage airlines to open new routes.

This announcement follows two years of steep increases in passenger charges by the DAA, as per an adjudication by the Commission for Aviation Regulation.

The move was criticized by Ryanair, who called on the Government to force the DAA to reduce its charges.

Separately, the Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar recently commissioned a report from consultancy Booz to consider options that might give Cork and Shannon airports independence from the DAA.

Cork is losing about €8 million annually, while Shannon’s deficit is €10 million.

Boeing's Record Emirates Deal Cements Wide-Body Lead Over Airbus

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co.'s biggest-ever civil jet order solidifies the U.S. manufacturer's lead in the market for wide-body planes and helps hold at bay Airbus SAS's attempt to encroach on its dominance with the A350 airliner.

Boeing signed an agreement with Emirates yesterday at the Dubai Air show for 50 777-300ER jets, and an option for 20 more, in a deal valued at $26 billion. The accord extends their relationship in the wide-body market, with Emirates operating more than 90 of the 777s for the industry's biggest such fleet.

The U.S. planemaker's win at the show coincides with Airbus saying last week that deliveries will be later than planned for its A350-900. The delay comes four months after Airbus said it would push back the debut of the largest A350, the A350-1000, which competes directly with the 777-300ER, to add more thrust after customers demanded more payload and range.

“It's early days for the A350, but they will need to take Emirates' views into their design work as Boeing has had to do for the 777 if they want to be confident of large future orders from the carrier,” said John Strickland, a director at U.K. aviation advisory firm JLS Consulting Ltd.

Emirates President Tim Clark has been critical of Airbus's design improvements on the A350-1000, saying the plane is heavy and risks falling short of performance requirements. Airbus now plans to introduce the jet, which will be made of composite materials, in 2017. The first model, the A350-900, is slated for the first half of 2014, Airbus said last week. That's as much as six months later than the previous date.

18-Month Delay

Airbus says its revamped A350-1000 design, whose planned entry into service has been postponed by 18 months, will be 25 percent more fuel efficient and can carry 4.5 tons of additional weight. The aircraft will seat about 350 people, compared with about 365 on the 777 that Emirates is buying.

Emirates said yesterday it will take delivery of the latest 777s starting in 2015. Chicago-based Boeing said it has worked closely with the Middle East carrier to adapt the program to customer needs.

Emirates is also the biggest buyer of the Airbus A380 double-decker jumbo, having ordered 90. The carrier has turned itself into the world's leading airline by international traffic, using its location in Dubai as a global hub.

Ambitious Plans

“We have an ambitious and strategic plan to continue growing our international network and especially increasing our long-haul, non-stop routes,” Emirates Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum said.

The 777 is Boeing's most profitable program, and the company is increasing monthly production to keep pace with demand. Boeing said the accord with Emirates contributed to the best year yet for the 777, surpassing 2005's record 154 orders.

Boeing is boosting output of the twin-engine 777 by 19 percent during the next 1 1/2 years, to 8.3 a month, largely by streamlining production processes. The company is preparing to start assembling wings for the 1,000th jet, which is to be completed in February and delivered to Emirates in March.

“The 777-300ER is a plane that's in demand,” said Jim Albaugh, the head of Boeing's commercial-jet subsidiary. “I can tell you we're talking to a half dozen other customers right now.”

The 777 entered service in 1995, and was the company's most advanced aircraft until last month's commercial debut of the 787 Dreamliner. The 777-300ER variant has become the most popular type and is powered solely by General Electric Co.'s GE90 engines. GE, the largest maker of jet engines, puts the order value for the engines at about $6 billion.

A350 Commitment

Emirates said yesterday that it remained committed to the A350. Toulouse, France-based Airbus has won 373 orders for the A350-900 model, 119 for the smaller A350-800 and 75 for the A350-1000. Emirates has 70 orders pending for the plane, of which 20 are for the largest type. The airline will also study if it needs more A380s, of which it now has 17 in service, out of the 90 units ordered.

Airbus has managed to fight back on past programs and offer an alternative that became a hit with airlines. Its A320 family of single-aisle jets, the first in commercial service with advanced fly-by-wire control technologies previously only used in the military, is popular on short- and mid-haul routes.

The superjumbo A380, with 525 seats, is a passenger magnet with major intercontinental carriers such as Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Emirates. That has made extending the life of the iconic 747 jumbo harder for Boeing, which has won only Deutsche Lufthansa AG and Korean Air Lines Co. so far among major global airlines on the latest variant.

Conversely, Airbus's four-engine A340 proved an unsuccessful competitor to the Boeing 747 and 777 because it used too much fuel, and Airbus said last week that it's ending the program after less than two decades.

“Emirates looks set to stay the biggest 777 customer, which shows that the A350-1000 still needs work before it convinces 777 customers that there's an attractive replacement coming,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of consultant Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia.

VIDEO: Dubai airshow brings billions in business deals

Aviation professionals are hoping that this week's Dubai Air Show will help kick start the struggling industry. Plagued by high oil prices, a declining demand in Europe and a lack of new talent, airlines across the globe are finding it hard to stay afloat. However, insiders hope that Dubai's recent order of 50 Boeing 777 jets, at a cost of $26bn, is a sign that the situation is changing course.

Quest Plans First Helicopter Built in Emirates With Ukraine Help

Quest Helicopters plans to sell the first helicopters manufactured in the United Arab Emirates in about three years, and aims to sign up customers at the Dubai Airs show, an executive said.

The company presented the four-seat prototype of its Quest AVQ Series of helicopters today on the first day of the show. The first chopper will go into production in the latter part of next year, Mike Creed, director of commercial and strategic planning at Quest Helicopters, said in an interview.

“This will be the first privately funded civil helicopter to be built in the Middle East,” Creed said. By 2014, the first year of production, Quest aims to manufacture 20 rotorcraft, and its facility will be capable of producing 50 aircraft annually by fourth or fifth year, Creed said.

With almost 7 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, the U.A.E. is trying to diversify away from hydrocarbons with investments in industrial projects. The Gulf Arab state is home to Emirates, the world’s largest airline by passenger traffic, and Mubadala Aerospace, which manufactures composite aircraft parts for Airbus SAS.

With a $50 million investment over the next five years, Quest is producing its prototypes in Kharkov, Ukraine, and is showcasing a “technology test bed” for the final product to be built in the assembly and production plant in Umm Al Quwain, one of the U.A.E.’s northern emirates, Creed said.

The aircraft will cost $2.95 million at list prices and will hold that price for a limited number of airframes. Quest expects to ask any new customers for deposits of up to $250,000 per unit and will market the multi-mission aircraft worldwide.

The company is relying on a number of selling points to market the product, said Creed. The choppers will use fly by wire technology, which is new to helicopters and replaces manual flight controls in aircraft with an electronic system. Passengers will have ejectable capsule cabins, and the helicopter will have in line counter rotating dual rotor system, Creed said. 

http://www.bloomberg.com

Delta turns to Facebook to help it save face; It's among airlines launching apps and using social media to strengthen consumer bonds.

Delta Air Lines knows that in the world of travel, word travels fast.

That's why the area's dominant air carrier has been increasingly aggressive in its social media efforts, recently launching a Facebook application that lets travelers coordinate trips with friends.

Delta is using such social media initiatives to gain better control of its image and its interaction with customers. In addition to rolling out its trip organizing app, Delta allows travelers to purchase tickets directly through its Facebook page and has expanded its team in charge of responding to customer complaints and questions through Facebook and Twitter.

"It's all part of our overall e-commerce strategy to be where our customers are and provide the technology that makes their travel simpler," said spokesman Paul Skrbec.

During a social media conference earlier this year, Rachael Rensink, Delta's manager of social media, said such moves were in response to the sentiment about Delta on social networks, which she characterized as "overwhelmingly negative."

"We realized that there was already this huge social footprint out there for Delta. We weren't part of it," Rensink said during the May presentation. "There's nobody on our side, telling and engaging our customers where to find help, how to find your bags, how to get rebooked if you missed your flight. ... We have no credibility in the space if we're not engaging our customers where they want to hear us."

Rensink noted that one word-of-mouth comment can have as much value as 200 traditional ads.

"It's quite something when you look at a multimillion-dollar ad campaign and realize that one person can blast that all out of the water," Rensink said.

And Delta hopes to build awareness with its new app, called Away We Go. The tool seeks to eliminate all the phone calls, e-mails and confusion involved when travelers try to organize vacations with friends on their own. Away We Go allows Delta customers to invite guests from their existing list of Facebook friends, post itineraries and find suggestions on places to go and things to do while on vacation.

The app, which was rolled out earlier this month, works with Delta's Ticket Counter on Facebook, where consumers can purchase tickets without ever leaving the site. Consumers can access the app by doing a search for Delta Away We Go on their Facebook pages.

Analysts said they believe Delta's dive into Facebook will help strengthen its bond with consumers.

"Many people think of Delta as more standoffish. This helps Delta battle that image," said travel expert Terry Trippler, who runs ThePlaneRules.com. "Anything you come out with that further enables your people to be thinking of you, has got to be a good deal."

Twin Cities attorney Ernest Grumbles said he's interested in Delta's new Facebook app, saying it could be a useful tool in organizing plans with friends and family. Grumbles, who has booked flights on Delta's website, said he usually coordinates those trips through e-mail.

"That's not an easy way to do that right now," he said. Grumbles said the application shows Delta is "taking a customer-oriented approach."

While Away We Go lets people buy Delta tickets through its Ticket Counter, users aren't required to buy a flight to use many of the site's features.

Paul Isakson, director of strategy at advertising agency Colle+McVoy, called Delta's social media push smart. Delta was the first airline to launch its Ticket Counter on Facebook last year.

"By being first, people will start to go to them and rely on them," Isakson said. "We're creatures of habit. The more we get used to something and the more we like something, the more it's harder for us to let go of it."

Delta said it created the Facebook Ticket Counter in part because its customers were going on Facebook more than any other website when they were using wireless Internet on Delta flights.

Delta declined to say how many tickets have been purchased through its Facebook Ticket Counter, which it created through Minneapolis start-up 8thBridge Inc.

Other airlines are also ramping up their social media efforts.

For instance, JetBlue has an app called Go Places that encourages its customers to check in on Facebook when they get to a JetBlue terminal. When travelers check in, they get frequent flier points.

"We always want to be part of the community," said Morgan Johnston, a JetBlue spokesperson.

Southwest is on Instagram, a free photo-sharing program that allows users to take photos, enhance them and share the pictures on the service or other social networking sites.

Southwest and its fans have posted images of its planes, airports, employees and other representations of the "Southwest experience," which analysts say is appealing to fans of its hip style.

http://www.startribune.com

Headwinds for Airlines as Emerging Markets Dominate Dubai

Boeing, and its arch rival Airbus, have in recent years witnessed something of a boom in airplane orders despite the US and Europe battling against financial crisis and economic slowdown.

This has been led by the expansion of airlines in the Middle East and Asia whilst many carriers in the developed world upgraded to new, more fuel-efficient, planes to offset the rising oil prices.

Boeing on Sunday signed the biggest deal in its history at the Dubai Airshow as Emirates agreed to buy 50 777-330R aircraft worth approximately $18 billion. The deal, which is likely to be the highlight of the biennial airshow, showed that demand for new aircraft remains high despite a number of headwinds facing airlines across the world.

Jim Albaugh, chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airlines, told CNBC that the US manufacturer is no longer dependent on domestic or European demand.

"Obviously we are concerned about what’s going in Europe and the softening economy in the United States, but the market has changed over the last 20 years," he said.

"We were very dependent on Europe and the United States. Now that has changed. We’re seeing much more of a global marketplace and we’re seeing about 85 percent of the orders we have outside the United States."

"That said though, we are watching what’s happening very closely and we know that the economy is global, and we are concerned about the contagion spreading from Europe to elsewhere," said Albaugh. He believes that financing for new planes in the euro zone could dry up.

One of Boeing’s biggest problems is not winning new orders for new planes but building them and delivering them. Albaugh expects delivery times to get longer and longer. After well-publicized major delays getting the Dreamliner to market, he is now "cautiously optimistic that we are going to be able to do what we promised our customers."

Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, who are expected to place a significant order with Boeing later this week, told CNBC the airline industry is facing a number of problems which could wipe out profits or in a worst case scenario lead to heavy losses over the next two to three years.

"I think airlines will pass through a very difficult 24-36 months," he warned.

"Airlines will have to tighten their belts, employees will have to streamline and be more productive, and will have to make sacrifices to keep their jobs. At best there will be no profit, at worst the airline will incur heavy losses, because the demand will go down due to the economic conditions."

Another problem for airlines in North Africa and the Middle East is the Arab Spring, which has impacted the number of people willing to holiday in or even fly through the region.

“It has affected all the airlines, not only Qatar Airways, in the region. We are down by over 5 percent in traffic numbers and we are unfortunately down in revenue numbers,” said Al Baker

“Yes, we are hurt. This is all the effect of the Arab Spring and the economic downturn in Europe which eventually will spill into other parts of the world.”

CNBC will report live from the Dubai Airshow on Monday. 

http://www.cnbc.com

Residents See Red Over JetBlue Flights Above Seal Beach. Long Beach Airport (KLGB), California

An increase in flights over residential neighborhoods has prompted city officials to step up a campaign to shift JetBlue flight patterns into Long Beach Airport.

Seal Beach city leaders are asking residents to take action if they’re tired of jets flying overhead on the way into Long Beach Airport.

After about six months of increased noise complaints from residents in Seal Beach, city leaders have been lobbying JetBlue Airways and Long Beach Airport officials to shift flights, so that they no longer come in over the homes in Old Town and the Hill. However, the noise complaints have fallen on deaf ears, said City Councilwoman Ellery Deaton.

“Everyone we talk to says, ‘It’s out of our control,’ said Deaton. “We’ve been calling JetBlue until we are blue in the face. It’s not working.”

Deaton, Mayor Mike Levitt, City Manager Jill Ingram and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher met recently to work on a solution.

Ideally, the planes would shift their flights to come in over the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station and Westminster Avenue, said Deaton.

“We’re not asking a lot,” she said.

However, the current airport approach is already designed to be both safe and of minimal impact to the surrounding community, said JetBlue Spokesman Alex Headrick.

“We take no unlawful shortcuts especially not in our Long Beach flights,” Headrick said.

However, residents in the community have been complaining more and more about loud planes flying overhead in the evening, Deaton said. It’s possible planes are cutting over while trying to save gas or come in before curfew, she said. Whatever, the reason, the problem has been getting worse, added Deaton.

“I had one lady tell me, ‘I keep thinking the planes are going to crash.’ She says it’s really scary,” Deaton added.

In her November newsletter to residents, Deaton asked residents to put the pressure on the airline and the airport. “While the Congressman works on the problem, we can continue working on it ourselves by calling and writing the airport and the airline whenever we notice a plane flying over our residential homes,” she wrote. “Please make a note of the time and the offending airline, then call.”

Honeywell to provide Middle East and African defence operators faster access to products and services

DUBAI, November 13, 2011--Honeywell has signed a new distribution agreement with commercial and military aviation supplier, Transworld Aviation, that will enable broader spares, parts and maintenance provisioning for Middle Eastern and African (MEA) defence customers and commercial helicopter operators, (excluding United Arab Emirates).

Juan Picon, Vice President Defense & Space International at Honeywell Aerospace, said: "Transworld Aviation has a strong relationship with local customers and is ideally located in Dubai, the central business hub for MEA. The company is very well positioned to serve Honeywell's defence and commercial helicopter markets across the region."

"As one of the region's largest aviation distributors, we are delighted to be partnering with Honeywell in MEA," said Abdulla Sulaimani, Chairman of Transworld Aviation. "This distribution agreement will enable Honeywell to shorten lead times on component orders and reduce turnaround times for repairs, ensuring customer order requests and queries are dealt with in a timely manner."

Transworld Aviation provides support services to Commercial, Civil & Military aircraft operators, throughout Middle East, Africa, Europe and South Asia through OEM's, Approved Distributors and repair agencies. Specializes in stocking and distribution of spares, POL, Rotables and repair/overhaul management, for Airframe, Engine, Avionics, and GSE.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Honeywell's aerospace business is a leading global provider of integrated avionics, engines, systems and service solutions for aircraft manufacturers, airlines, business and general aviation, military, space and airport operations.

Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes, and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell's shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.

http://www.zawya.com

Airlines must hike fares to stay afloat: Boeing India

MUMBAI: Boeing India president Dinesh A Keskar today called for the urgent need to reprice airfares saying the industry is losing a whopping Rs 900 per ticket currently.

"Pricing cannot go on the way it is now. Domestic airlines lose Rs 900 a ticket on an average today. With fuel prices going the way they do, it is high time that the airlines end the current practice of predatory pricing. They need to hike fares by a reasonable amount in order to sustain," Keskar told PTI on the sidelines of the 27th edition of the India Chapter of the World Economic Forum here today.

The 3-day summit is being organised jointly by the WEF and the premier industry body CII for the first time in the nation's financial capital and was kicked yesterday evening.

Pointing out that when crude was trading at USD 75-80 a barrel, airlines were making only negligible profits, Keskar said. And now with crude at over USD 110 a barrel, one can imagine the loses the airlines are making.

Pegging the annual loss of the domestic carriers at around USD 1 billion this year, the Boeing official said, despite all these travails, he is optimistic that the industry offers tremendous growth opportunities going by sheer size of this market and the monthly traffic growth.

When asked about the Dreamliners delivery to the ailing Air India, he said, "we are ready to deliver the planes from next month, but the airline has some issues, which it has to sort out. But I respect that process."

On whether he is confident that the original deal for 27 aircraft will be met, he answered in the affirmative. But he was quick to add that "it is the government that has to decide. I am of the firm opinion that this an airplane which the national carrier needs badly as it can help revive its fortunes by better alignment of its operations."

On the Boeing order book from India, Keskar said, the company will be delivering 100 aircraft on schedule. We are happy with our growth in this market and am sure the current turbulence in the market will be overcome.

On whether Boeing sees any fallout of the crisis involving Kingfisher and Air India on the industry, he evaded a direct reply saying we don't deal with KF. But pointed out that AI will soon improve its performances.

On the USD 100-million Boeing-MRO in Nagpur, he said, the facility will be up and running by the fourth quarter of 2012.

"Its on course and will be ready by Q4 of 2012," he said.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Great Falls Development Authority works with aviation company

The Great Falls Development Authority is working with a yet-to-be named aviation parts company to open a manufacturing operation in Great Falls.

"Initially they would employ 25 to 30 workers and then grow to 50," said Brett Doney, president of the GFDA.

It would be an expansion of a company already doing business in the United States and abroad, Doney said.

GFDA is working to secure two grants from the Montana Department of Commerce: one for workforce training and one to help with start-up expenses.

"They have shook hands on a lease, but they are also asking for a 65 car parking lot to be built on the property," said Doney. "We hope to be able to make an announcement in a couple of weeks and that they can start up this winter."

The company is being courted by several states and communities, he said.

"What helped Great Falls attract them is the quality of our workforce and the willingness of the community to support them," Doney said.

The Great Falls Development Authority is also working with several retailers.

"There seems to be a pretty good sense of optimism, both with national chains and local businesses looking to expand, but you just don't know.

"As far as the national retailers, we've been shoveling a lot of information their way, but they are hard to gauge," he said. "What that means in terms of their decision making, we don't know."

A study titled "The Economic Impact of a Transition from Dollar Bills to Dollar Coins on the Retail and Service Sectors of the United States Economy," was conducted by economics research firm John Dunham & Associates. The study says if the paper dollar bill is dropped for a dollar coin, a proposal before Congress, it will cost Montana businesses.

The study, paid for by Americans for George, found a transition to dollar coins would increase annual costs in Montana by $764,500 and lead to an estimated annual loss of $1.53 million in business activity, as well as costing jobs. Nationwide, the switch would increase annual costs by $201.85 million and lead to at least 4,300 job losses, the study says.

Costs of the change would be incurred through things such as cashier training for new till configurations, new cash drawers and even increases in armored car costs, according to the study.

Americans for George includes members from timber industry-heavy states such as Alabama and Washington and several retail businesses.

Santa will temporarily trade in his sleigh for the Great Falls Historic Trolley when he arrives at 11 a.m. Nov. 19 to kick off the holiday season at Holiday Village Mall.

St. Nick will arrive in the shopping center's parking lot near the south entrance door on the lower level. Joining him will be Mrs. Claus and a few elves. He will be in the shopping center's lower level, near the Montana Law Enforcement Museum.

http://www.greatfallstribune.com

Airbus creates organization to serve high-end client better

The new Airbus Corporate Jets unit will bring together commercial, program and support activities in a single in-house unit

Dubai: European plane-maker Airbus has created a new organization to better serve its high-end clients.

The new Airbus Corporate Jets unit will bring together commercial, program and support activities in a single in-house unit, the Toulouse-based company said at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday.

"With almost 200 Airbus corporate jet sales to date, we now serve a growing and increasingly important community, and combining all the various aspects of this business will help us to serve our customers better while paving the way for future expansion" said John Leahy, Airbus' chief operating officer.

Airbus has sold 170 corporate jets since the mid-80s, with about half of those purchased by customers in the Middle East.

The biggest-ever air show in Dubai gets underway

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Sunday inaugurated the Dubai International Airshow 2011 at the Dubai Airport Expo Centre.

Also present were Gen. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority, Crown Princes of the Emirates and His Majesty the King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Running until Thursday at the Dubai Airport Expo, the show now in its 22nd year, is firmly established as a key event on the international aerospace calendar consistently offering key buyers and decision makers unrivaled access to the Middle East aerospace market in a highly focused environment.

Dubai Airshow 2009 drew 52,978 trade visitors from around the world - with a particularly high turnout from the United Arab Emirates and the wider Middle East, this year's show is the biggest yet, with nearly 55,000 trade visitors expected to attend during the week and up to 30,000 visitors expected on the first day alone.

The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Ruler`s Representative in the Eastern Region, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Sheikh Majed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research in addition to a number of sheikhs, ministers and senior officials.

http://www.emirates247.com

Boeing sees strong Middle East growth

The Boeing Company said Middle East will continue to grow and airplane maker ruled out any impact of Arab Spring on its order book, according to top officials of the company. They said, at a news conference in Dubai, Arab Spring did not impact on commercial airplane orders and the company has strong order book from regional airlines.

But eurozone crisis could impact on financing packages for purchases of aircraft as European banks become more cautious, they added.

Boeing has a strong firm order book of 300 aircraft from the Middle East and the company expects more orders during the Dubai Airshow. There are 130 firm orders from the region for 787 Dreamliner, according to the company executives.

Qatar Airways will get the first Dreamliner in the middle of next year while other customers for the same aircraft in the region are ALAFCO, Etihad Airways, Iraqi Airways, Gulf Air, Royal Jordanian, and Saudi Arabian Airline.

The US aircraft manufacturer on Saturday underscored the region’s current and future growth potential for both the commercial aviation and defense sectors at. The company intends to continue building its presence in the Middle East with a focus on partnerships with regional entities.

“We remain committed to further strengthening our presence and partnerships with governments, enterprises and customers to develop and grow regional aerospace infrastructure and capabilities,” Jeffrey Johnson, president of Boeing Middle East, said.

Johnson said it has seen a softening in defence equipment orders in the region following the Arab Spring as governments in the region start giving priority to social programmes. But he expects defense spending will pick-up next year. The world’s most advanced passenger jet, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, a tiltrotor military transport aircraft, will make their Middle East air show debuts amid a range of exciting products and services Boeing is showcasing at the week-long air show.

Boeing works with a wide range of customers and partners in the Middle East, including the region’s leading airlines, national defense forces, communications enterprises and academic institutions. It maintains offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha and Riyadh and has a pool of highly qualified and dedicated personnel based in the region to support its customers.

Saudi Arabia is a significant market for Boeing. “The value Boeing places on local partnerships is reflected in the number of successful ventures we have established over the years in Saudi Arabia and other parts of the region,” said Ahmed Jazzar, president, Boeing Saudi Arabia.

Boeing Defense Space & Security (BDS), is seeking to expand its regional footprint. Existing customers who already operate a wide range of Boeing systems are looking to further upgrade and expand their fighter, rotorcraft, airlift and battle-management capabilities.

“We have seen a tremendous amount of interest in our defense solutions from governments across the Middle East as plans for upgrading defense capabilities move forward,” said Paul Oliver, BDS Middle East and Africa regional vice president, International Business Development. “We are constantly exploring opportunities to increase our customer base in the Middle East.”

100 new commitments for 737 MAX

Boeing Company said it has got around 100 new commitments for its updated version of 737 MAX that increased the total to 700, according to a top official of the airplane maker.

“We have got commitments for over 700 aircraft so we think the customers like what we are doing and we continue to talk to additional customers,” Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive James Albaugh told reporters on Saturday in Dubai. The 737 MAX is an updated version of its best-selling model with new engines and that is due to enter service in 2017. The aircraft manufacturer had 600 draft commitments in late October.

The company, which has not yet got firm orders for it, hopes to win some firm deals in addition to more provisional orders by the end of the year or early next year.

American Airlines has been identified publicly the only customer. The US Airplane maker is fine-tuning the performance guarantees and pricing before signing firm contracts.

The company plans to sell the more efficient 737 MAX for more than the $81 million list price of the current 737 model. The 737 MAX, which is powered by more efficient engines burning less fuel, has got attraction by flydubai and Oman Air. Boeing executives confirmed interest by these two regional airlines in the aircraft.

http://www.khaleejtimes.com

Eurofighter pitches Typhoon to UAE as Rafale

DUBAI (Reuters) - The European arms consortium Eurofighter has been invited to brief officials from the United Arab Emirates on the Typhoon combat jet, manufacturers said, in a surprise overture likely to disappoint France as it tries to finalize a sale of the Rafale.

A spokesman for the consortium from Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain confirmed a report on the recent briefing in industry publication Flightglobal.com, but declined further comment.

The publication said the briefing by UK officials took place in October in response to a request from the UAE, which has held long-running talks with France over a purchase of up to 60 Dassault-built  Rafale fighters.

The move was disclosed hours before the Dubai Air Show, where both jets faced off on Sunday in acrobatic flying displays.

A fighter deal is not expected at the show.

But the progress of talks on the Rafale and potential U.S. arms purchases by the UAE loom large, where marketers are expected to seize the chance to extol the performance of their respective weapons in Libya.

Dassault and UAE officials were not immediately available for comment.

France said in October it was in the late stages of talks to sell Rafale fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.

Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the two sides were in "final discussions" and a deal was "extremely probable."

"It seems like a way of galvanizing the process," Longuet said in said in response to the Eurofighter report. "Everyone is doing is as one would expect. We are in a final stage of negotiations and the barest flicker of an eyelid can make a difference of about 100 million euros."

The UAE has been in talks with France since 2008 over the purchase of 60 Rafale jets, at a price estimated at $10 billion, to replace a fleet of Mirage 2000s it bought in 1983.

The French company has still not found a foreign buyer for the multi-role Rafale, billed as one of the most effective but also one of the most expensive fighter jets in the world.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has handed the task of sealing a deal with the UAE to his foreign minister, Alain Juppe, in the hope of concluding something by year-end.

The Eurofighter is built by Britain's BAE Systems, Finmeccanica  of Italy and European aerospace group EADS on behalf of Germany and Spain.

Competition to sell fighters is intensifying amid rising security tensions in the Gulf and pressure on domestic Western Defense budgets, which has prompted U.S. and European manufacturers to step up efforts to find exports.

French arms sales fell 37 percent to 5.12 billion euros in 2010, according to figures released earlier this month.

http://www.reuters.com

Embraer sees business potential of $14 billion in Mid East by 2030

DUBAI (Reuters) - Brazil's Embraer SA, the world's third-largest commercial planemaker, expects to generate business worth $14 billion from the Middle East region by 2030, a top official said on Sunday.

The Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil-based firm, which exports most of its planes, sees demand of 310 jets in the 60-120 passenger jet segment in the region from 2011 to 2030, Mathieu Duquesnoy, vice president of commercial aviation for Middle East and Africa said at the Dubai Air Show.

The company opted to upgrade the engine in its E-170 and E-190 jets instead of designing a bigger, brand-new family of airplanes that would have taken on larger rivals, it said on Friday.

Embraer is aiming for E-jet entry into service in 2018 and is in talks with Pratt & Whitney, CFM and Rolls Royce to re-engine E-Jet, Paulo Cesar Souza e Silva, president of Embraer's commercial aviation said. CFM is a joint venture between General Electric and France's Safran.

Embraer delivered 28 commercial aircraft and 18 executive jets in the third quarter. It competes with Canada's Bomardier Inc  in the regional jet space business.

http://www.reuters.com

Bombardier eyes emerging market with new C-series

DUBAI (Reuters) - Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier BBDd.TO is intensifying its focus on emerging markets for its crucial new C-series of jets, executives said on Sunday.

"Of the order backlog so far of 262 jets, more than 50 percent is outside North America and Western Europe," Bombardier's senior vice-president for sales, Chet Fuller told Reuters at the Dubai Air Show.

For its CRJ series of commercial aircraft, the company focused on North America, so this represents a change in strategy and reflects changing trends in the commercial airplane market.

Guy Hachey, president and chief operating officer of Bombardier Aerospace, said that the company was still on track to launch the C-series in 2013 despite tough conditions.

"Right now it is challenging, and we have used up a lot of our contingency, but we're still looking at end-2013," he said.

The C-Series is Bombardier's bold $3 billion attempt at designing and building its biggest plane yet. The narrow-body jet aimed at the 100- to 149-seater market will put the company in direct competition with the smaller planes of the industry's giants Airbus and Boeing Co (BA.N).

Hachey said the company would deliver approximately 90 commercial jets -- its target for the year -- and meet its business jet goal of 150 planes.

He said that sales at the Learjet end of the business segment -- small aircraft priced at $10 million-$14 million -- were "much slower at this point in time," unlike sales of the Challenger and Global business aircraft families.

http://www.reuters.com

Emirates' $18 billion Boeing order kicks off Dubai Airshow

Dubai-based Emirates Airline has placed an $18bn order for 50 Boeing 777s, the aircraft maker’s largest single commercial plane order, at the Dubai Airshow on Sunday.

The carrier, which is ramping up its expansion as it looks to rival European and Asian airlines, also has options for an additional 20 777s valued at $8bn.

“We have an ambitious and strategic plan to continue growing our international network and especially increasing our long-haul, non-stop routes. This order supports our fleet expansion and reiterates our commitment to operating a modern fleet for the benefit of our passengers and to ensure operational efficiency as well,” His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline & Group, said in a statement.

Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the 777s with a fleet of 97 and a backlog of 41 777-300ERs currently on order. Boeing’s current order book for the twin-aisle commercial jetliner stands at 182, it said in a statement.

Sheikh Ahmed said that the new planes would be financed via a mixture of EU and US export credit, commercial asset-backed debt and Islamic finance products.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com

Pakistan offers cut-price JF17 fighter jet at Dubai Air Show

DUBAI: Pakistan is pitching its new JF17 Thunder fighter jet, developed jointly with China, at an aggressive discount to dominant Western rivals, the country’s defense minister said on Sunday.

“You can buy three of our aircraft for one F-16,” Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar told Reuters at the Dubai Air Show, where the aircraft is being displayed.

He said that the producer, Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, was not able to keep pace with the requirements of the air force.

“Three squadrons are already flying the aircraft in Pakistan and one squadron in China,” he added.

Analysts expect the aircraft, which Mukhtar said was priced at $25-30 million, to be focused on emerging markets in Asia and Africa.

“Going to the (European) market is not very easy because you are cutting the profits of some other people,” Mukhtar said.

He said the development of the aircraft was not targeted at archrival India.

“India need not worry — it’s not India-specific. We are building very close relations with India.”