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Airbus, Boeing seal mega deal with Air India for 470 aircraft

After buying loss-ridden flag carrier Air India last year from the government for $2.4 billion, Mumbai-based Tata Group unveiled deals last week at Aero India to buy 250 planes from Airbus and 220 from Boeing. It’s probably the largest airliner order in history, topping the 460 jets American Airlines committed to buy in 2011.

The firm order for 20 Boeing 787 and 10 Boeing 777X aircraft was signed in coordination with a firm order for 40 GEnx-1B and 20 GE9X engines, along with a multi-year engine services agreement. Air India also signed for 190 737 Maxs, including 737-8s and 737-10s, and has options to purchase 50 more Maxs and 20 Boeing 787s. According to Airbus: “The commitment includes 140 A320neo and 70 A321neo single-aisle aircraft as well as 34 A350-1000 and six A350-900 wide-body jets.” Deliveries are set to commence with the first A350-900 arriving by late 2023.

Rolls-Royce said in a statement that it has received an order from Air India for 68 Trent XWB-97 engines, plus options for 20 more. Air India has also ordered 12 Trent XWB-84 engines, the sole engine option for the Airbus A350-900. Air India also announced a CFM order for more than 800 LEAP engines, the largest LEAP order ever, to power its entire narrowbody purchase of 210 Airbus A320/A321neo aircraft and 190 Boeing 737 Max-family aircraft. The announcement includes a multi-year CFM services agreement. At the Aero India show, Safran announced that it is investing $150 million at Hyderabad “for the largest workshop in the world,” said a senior official of Safran India.


Frankfurt-Hahn Airport sale delayed once again

The sale process of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport Group is gearing up once again as bidders and interested parties have been invited to participate in the investor process. Currently in administration, the German Group was due to be sold to Swift Conjoy, however, earlier this month it was confirmed the deal had fallen through. The sale of the Group hasn’t been a straightforward process thus far.

In 2017 Hahn was bought (in a consortium with minor German company interest) by the Chinese HNA Group, which was in deep financial trouble, and went into administration. But the COVID pandemic provided an arcane lifeline to Hahn as cargo volume grew again, followed by passenger traffic in 2022, and the prospects for both in 2023 are encouraging. The Group’s insolvency administrator, Jan Markus Plathner from Brinkmann & Partner, has now formally invited bidders and other interested parties to participate in the ongoing investor process. Due date for submitting bids is March 9. A closing is expected to take place by March 26. Flight operations at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport will continue in full as part of the insolvency proceedings.


ATR and PWC collaborate on 100% SAF engines

Pratt & Whitney Canada and ATR announced an agreement to collaborate on an initiative to achieve 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) readiness in PW127 series engines, including the new PW127XT powering next-generation ATR deliveries, by 2025.

In June 2022, Pratt & Whitney Canada, ATR and Braathens jointly conducted a successful flight test on an ATR 72-600 aircraft with both Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127M engines fueled exclusively with SAF. ATR is aiming to obtain the authorization to use 100% SAF compatible fuel for ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft in the next phase of the program. Working together, Pratt & Whitney Canada and ATR will conduct the necessary compatibility studies, engineering analyses, and aircraft ground and flight tests, among others. Certification of 100% SAF will ultimately depend on ASTM International defining a specification for that fuel, which Pratt & Whitney expects could happen as soon as 2025. All Pratt & Whitney Canada engines have already been certified for 50% SAF blends for more than a decade.


People: Enstrom Helicopter names Todd Tetzlaff as incoming president

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

Enstrom has announced Todd Tetzlaff as its incoming President, with effect from the end of April 2023. Todd is no stranger to the company. He first set foot in the Menominee, MI factory more than three decades ago when, while still a college student, he spent a summer working in the engineering department. After graduating, he spent the first part of his career at Enstrom, playing an integral role in designing the T-T strap installation, which is still used by our company today.

Todd left Enstrom to pursue other engineering positions at companies like Boeing and Raytheon (Hawker 4000), but he never lost touch with his former team members. He returned to Enstrom for seven years in the early 2000s, acting as the flight test engineering manager. Todd then spent the next 15 years developing his leadership skills at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, most recently serving as a project certification specialist. Todd earned a B.S. in Aircraft Engineering Technology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is an FAA licensed pilot holding CPL-H and PPL-SEL ratings. Todd and his wife Lissette have been married for 30 years and have three grown children.

Enstrom on 30 January announced the first flight of the first new 480B Helicopter after reopening just eight months ago. In January 2022 Enstrom declared bankruptcy due to what the company’s management described as “several financial difficulties.” In May 2022 Surack Enterprises purchased Enstrom.

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