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Top News: A Slightly Different Tone at Paris Air
Despite the economy and rainy weather, the show must go on and the Paris Air Show is no exception. More than 300,000 people are expected to
attend but something that's missing is the annual order tally competition between Airbus and Boeing. A fixture of the summer shows that alternate between Farnborough and LeBourget, this year only
Airbus is playing the game. It announced more than 50 orders worth about $6 billion but by the end of the second day of the show, Boeing hadn't notched a single sale. Boeing executives dismissed the
shellacking, saying they don't "save up" orders to announce at shows. Instead of trumpeting sales, Boeing instead dwelled on the imminent first flight of the 787 Dreamliner, which spokesman Scott
Carson said will occur by the end of this month.
The Dreamliner has moved to the flight line at the company's Everett plant and will fly sometime after June 20, Pat Shanahan, head of new airplane programs at Boeing, said in a press briefing in
Paris. The aircraft just completed a set of pre-flight tests and on June 20 all the systems will be run up and some high-speed taxi tests completed. "Then we'll go flying," he said. It has promised
the first production airplane to All Nippon Airways by February and Carson said he thinks that's realistic for completing flight and certification testing. "We're going through a detailed engineering
review with the pilots, with the design team, to make absolutely sure the airplane is the way we want it to fly," he said. "We believe we can get this done in the nine months we've got."
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The current downturn is a blip and happy days will be here again for business aviation soon, according to Bombardier. As painful
as the current downturn has been, the global economy is expected to recover quickly and Bombardier is predicting the fortunes of the business aviation industry will too. In its annual market forecast,
delivered at the Paris Air Show, Bombardier said that over the next 10 years 11,500 business aircraft, worth $256 billion, will be delivered. That's only about 2,000 less than the current number of
bizjets currently flying (13,600) and the company says most of those will stay in service despite the new deliveries. By 2019, the company expects the worldwide fleet of business aircraft to be about
23,800. "While in the short term the industry faces such important challenges as high pre-owned inventories, negative public perceptions and a difficult economic climate, Bombardier remains confident
that there is a strong potential for the business aircraft industry over the next 10 years," the company said. "The anticipated return of global economic growth is expected to result in a strong
recovery in the demand for business jets." Bombardier is equally bullish on the future of small airliners.
In a 20-year forecast, Bombardier sees 12,400 deliveries in the 20-to-149-seat segment worth $589 billion. Bombardier used Paris to update progress on its CSeries airliner, which will be available
with up to 130 seats. The company said the CSeries project is on schedule with first deliveries in about four years and a first flight in 2012. Meanwhile, Boeing is predicting the overall airliner
market will be worth $3.2 trillion over the next 20 years and more than 29,000 new aircraft will be built. The outlook is only slightly less rosy than the 29,400 new deliveries it predicted a year
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FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said on Monday that airlines can expect new rules soon regarding flight and duty hours for pilots,
and also that rules will be clarified to ensure that airlines can get data on every checkride a pilot applicant ever took. Babbitt spoke at a high-level closed-door meeting of industry executives,
pilot union reps and government officials held in Washington to discuss concerns about safety at regional airlines and what can be done to improve it. "Our job is to deliver and ensure safety, and
recently we've seen some cracks in the system," Babbitt said, referring to the publicity about hiring
practices and standards at regional airlines during the investigation of the Colgan Air crash in
Buffalo. He said he also wants airlines to have a process to ensure that senior captains mentor new pilots as they build experience.
Babbitt and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood hosted the "Call to Action" to identify immediate steps that could strengthen and improve pilot hiring, training and testing practices at regional
airlines as well as at the major air carriers. The FAA said it will hold as many as 10 similar meetings throughout the country to assure that every carrier and pilot union has the opportunity to
commit to these actions and to identify additional best practices that can be shared. FAA inspectors will assist in the implementation of these actions over the next several months and evaluate their
effectiveness, the FAA said. AVweb's editorial director Paul Bertorelli was not pleased with the
closed-door aspect of the stakeholder meeting -- click here to read his blog and join the conversation.
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Bombardier this week became the latest aerospace company to decide that the current downturn has "hit bottom," but considering the
incentives available for those who are considering a major purchase, it's still clearly a buyer's market. For instance, Hawker Beechcraft recently announced a no-cost maintenance program for its Premier IA composite-fuselage light business jets. The program covers the maintenance on the first five
years or 1,000 flight hours, whichever comes first. The silver lining in the downturn has been that those deferring aircraft purchases have been upgrading their current equipment. The good news for
those considering that route is that the shops are just as competitive as the OEMs and are devising innovative incentives, like J.A. Air Center's Zero Downtime deal on King Air G1000 upgrades.
Under the program, J.A. will give customers use of a glass panel King Air for direct operating costs only while theirs is getting the new panel at the company's Aurora, Ill., facility. The
three-screen panel was first installed in the C90-series King Airs and was recently approved on the 200 and 200B series. J.A. says the Aircraft Bluebook estimates the addition of the G1000 adds
$350,000 to the resale value of C90s and a similar increase is expected for the 200s.
You and Your Dollars Go Further in a Diamond
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Although Project Phoenix was started to provide an alternative for those facing years of waiting for a new business jet, the company is
continuing despite the drastic change in market conditions. The company announced the first flight of one of its refurbished Canadair Regional Jets in executive configuration on June 12 and said the
flight was flawless. The flight occurred at Flying Colours, the completion center in Peterborough, Ont. With used inventories climbing and new aircraft backlogs evaporating, Project Phoenix has
shifted marketing strategy to the performance and features of the rejuvenated regional jets, most notably the long-range carrying capacity.
The aircraft flown last week is going to Jet Asia in Macau and will seat up to 15 people with amenities like iPod stations, Internet and satellite communications. It also has long-range fuel tanks,
giving it a maximum range of more than 3,000 nm. It can take the full fuel load and up to six passengers while full fuel cuts the payload on some other business aircraft to as little as 200 pounds.
The payload capacity is the result of weight cutting in the interior finishing. "This is extremely gratifying news and pretty much what we predicted. Well done to Flying Colours for their weight
reduction program," said Project Phoenix President and CEO Mike Cappuccitti.
SATSAir and ImagineAir, two of the new generation of air-taxi operators flying Cirrus
SR22 aircraft, said on Tuesday they have entered a "flight networking" or "code-share" agreement, effectively expanding their combined network across a 10-state area in the Southeastern U.S.
"Customers of both companies will benefit from the increased aircraft availability immediately," said Steve Hanvey, SATSair president and CEO. "From an operational standpoint, this will also create an
opportunity for both companies to route their aircraft in an even more efficient manner." Both operators offer on-demand flights to over 1,000 airports in the Southeast. Each company will retain its
own pricing structure and operate its own flights. "While code-shares have been common practice in the airline industry for years, 'flight networking' is really an innovative 'first' for the
next-generation air-taxi industry," said Aaron Sohacki, CEO of ImagineAir.
"High standards of service and professionalism across both carriers were keys to making this happen." SATSAir launched in 2004 and ImagineAir began operations in 2007. Both companies have said
recently they are doing well despite the down economy, and plan to continue expansion.
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That's the way it was on Monday when the Transportation Department held a closed-door session with the airline industry to discuss issues related to the Colgan crash in Buffalo. "What's up with
this?" wonders Paul Bertorelli in today's AVweb Insider blog. Shouldn't the sun shine in on such governmental meetings? The new administration said it would. TranspoSec Ray LaHood said the
meeting was too urgent to wait for the NTSB's full report in another eight months.
Used to be, we reclined in smug professionalism in being sophisticated enough to know aircraft accidents take months to investigate. But these days, the information comes at you a mile a minute from
dozens of sources, so in the latest installment of our AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli argues that it's actually a healthy thing to offer your own theory or suggestions on crash causes.
Not to worry; the NTSB won't pay you the slightest bit of attention.
Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff
appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference,
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Thanks to seismic shifts in the news business, many local television outlets can no longer afford their own turbine-powered eye-in-the-sky. As a result, Robinson is doing a brisk
business selling its R44-based ENG camera ship. AVweb visited Robinson in Torrance, California for a closer look.
Traditional Tactics Need a Fresh Approach
Doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Isn't it time to initiate a digital marketing program with AVweb that will deliver traffic and orders
directly to your web site? Discover several new and highly successful marketing options to use in lieu of static print or banner campaigns.
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maintain your IFR flying and decision-making skills.
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AVwebBiz is a weekly summary of the latest business aviation news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.
The AVwebBiz team is:
Publisher Timothy Cole
Editorial Director, Aviation Publications Paul Bertorelli
Editor-in-Chief Russ Niles
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Features Editor Kevin Lane-Cummings
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