Germanwings flights cancelled as crews ‘refuse to fly’ in wake of crash

By Phil Davies | 25 March 2015 at 08.24 GMT
Germanwings flights cancelled as crews ‘refuse to fly’ in wake of crash
Passengers were left stranded as Germanwings crews refused to board similar aircraft to the Airbus A320 which crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 people on board.

Flights from Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and in Germany were affected in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy.

A mother and baby from Manchester were believed to have been on board flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf which was carrying 144 passengers and six crew.

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said t was “sadly likely” that there were British nationals on board.

Pilots were said to be refusing to fly for “personal reasons” as concerns were raised about the A320 involved in the disaster – an aircraft built in 1991.

Several Germanwings flights were cancelled as it emerged that the aircraft involved in the crash had been grounded for an hour at Barcelona airport for repairs just a day before the accident.

Pilots and cabin crew expressed their concerns the crash may have been linked to a repair to the nose-wheel landing doors on Monday, The Telegraph reported.

Germanwings parent company Lufthansa denied that there was any link between the repair and the cancelled flights.

A statement last night from the low cost carrier confirmed that some flights had to be cancelled.

“Following the tragic accident on Tuesday, Germanwings reports occasional flight disruptions within its route network,” the airline said.

“This is due to crew members, who decided not to operate aircraft following the reports on the accident of a Germanwings aircraft with 144 passengers and six crew members onboard.”

Spokesman Thomas Winkelmann said: “We understand their decision.”

The two pilots on the doomed flight had reported no sign of any problems before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens from its cruising altitude of 38,000ft before crashing into a remote mountainside at 6,500ft.

The aircraft went into a steady and rapid descent for eight minutes from halfway through its 90-minute flight from Barcelona.

Sixteen German schoolchildren returning home from a Spanish exchange trip and two babies were among the dead, who included 67 Germans, 45 Spaniards, a Belgian, and Turkish passengers.

The first of the A320’ss black box flight recorders had been recovered by last night, holding information about why it suddenly dropped out of the sky.

Airbus confirmed that the aircraft involved in the accident was orginally delivered to Lufthansa in 1991 and it had flown approximately 58,300 hours in some 46,700 flights.

To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 150 million flight hours in over 85 million flights.

“Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities for release,” the manufacturer said.

“The concerns and sympathy of the Airbus employees go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident of Flight 4U9525.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Double decker A380 super jumbo to break even this year as Airbus Group reports rise in profits

By GavinThompson  |  Posted: February 27, 2015

  • What the A400M means for Bristol

  • An A380 super jumbo lands at Filton, back before the airfield closed

  • What the A400M means for Bristol

  • An A380 super jumbo lands at Filton, back before the airfield closed

    The A380 double-decker super jumbo will finally break even in 2015.

That’s according to results published today by Airbus Group, the parent company of plane-maker Airbus which employs 4,000 people in Filton on the edge of Bristol.

The company, which also includes helicopter, defence and space divisions as well as making passenger planes, also revealed it will increase production of its smaller single aisle A320 aircraft to 50 every month in 2017. At the same time it will cut the number of A330 planes it makes to just six per month.

It also said it was “closely monitoring” the A400M military transport plane programme after delays and set backs in production. The plane is important locally because the wings are made at Filton, before being shipped to Spain for final assembly. The RAF’s recently took delivery of its first A400M, which it named City of Bristol.

The firm delivered 30 of the A380 super jumbos last year and the plane has a list price of $428 million (£278 million), which gives some idea of the level of investment involved.

Overall, Airbus Group enjoyed a record year in 2014. Group revenues increased five percent to a record € 60.7 billion (£44.2 billion), up from  € 57.6 billion (£42 billion) in 2013.

Earnings before tax increased 54 percent to € 4 billion (£2.9 billion) up from € 2.6 billion (£1.9 billion).

Commercial Aircraft revenues rose seven percent, driven by the overall increase in deliveries to a record 629 aircraft (FY 2013: 626 deliveries) and a more favourable delivery mix including 30 A380s compared to 25 in 2013. In the fourth quarter, the first A350 XWB was delivered to Qatar Airways

And it has a backlog order book of 6,386 aircraft, providing solid platform for growth.

“We achieved a significant improvement in profitability and cash generation in 2014 thanks to a record order book and strong operational performance in most areas,” said Tom Enders, Airbus Group chief executive. “We delivered more commercial aircraft than ever before, including the first A350, and our net orders were, once again, more than twice the number of deliveries. Due to strong demand for single aisle aircraft we have decided to increase production of our A320 family to 50 aircraft per month from 2017 onwards.

“At the same time, we have decided to temporarily reduce A330 production to six aircraft per month in 2016. Most importantly, we confirm the A380 break-even for 2015. We are focused on tackling our various operational challenges, including the A350 and A400M ramp-up and costs, first A320neo deliveries, boosting helicopter sales, and continuing the reshaping of our defence and space portfolio.”

Looking ahead, the group expects its earning to grow slightly this year, delivering more commercial aircraft as global air traffic continues to rise.

Sourced from The Bristol Post


Aerospace firm Triumph creates 60 new jobs in Deeside

An American aerospace company is investing £5m to expand its north Wales site, creating 60 new jobs.

The Triumph Group is carrying out the development at its centre in Deeside, Flintshire.

The company won a contract to supply Airbus with aircraft landing gear components, prompting the development.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the move “will effectively secure the sustainable long term future of the site”.

The move, backed by £392,000 from the Welsh government, will see production shift from China to north Wales and take the total number of workers at the site to more than 100.

Work on the 2,300sq m extension is set to start in April with production beginning in January 2016.

Sourced by BBC News Wales


Coroner urges action over toxic aircraft fumes

Coroner urges action over toxic aircraft fumesAirlines must take action to prevent passenger deaths from toxic fumes inside aircraft cabins, a coroner has warned.

People regularly exposed to fumes circulating in aircraft cabins faced “consequential damage to their health,” Sheriff Payne, the senior coroner for Dorset, said.

Payne, who is inquiring into the death of British Airways pilot Richard Westgate (pictured), called on the airline and the Civil Aviation Authority to take “urgent action to prevent future deaths”.

Westgate, a senior first officer, died in 2012 after claiming he had been poisoned by toxic cabin fumes.

Most airline passengers, who fly only occasionally, will not be affected by the problem, but some frequent travellers who are genetically susceptible to the toxins could fall ill.

The coroner’s report, obtained by the Telegraph, is claimed to be the first official UK recognition of so-called “aerotoxic syndrome”, a phenomenon which is blamed by some for the deaths of at least two pilots and numerous other incidents where pilots have passed out in flight.

Co-pilots can normally take over, but campaigners claim the syndrome is a suspected cause of some mid-air disasters.

The coroner’s report, sent to BA and the CAA, reportedly raises five “matters of concern”, including that “organophosphate compounds are present in aircraft cabin air”; that “the occupants of aircraft cabins are exposed to organophosphate compounds with consequential damage to their health” and that “impairment to the health of those controlling aircraft may lead to the death of occupants”.

He also says there is no real-time monitoring to detect failures in cabin air quality and that no account is taken by airlines of “genetic variation in the human species that would render individuals … intolerant of the exposure”.

The coroner called on BA and the CAA to respond to the report within eight weeks, setting out the action they propose to take.

The report is not a full verdict from an inquest, which has yet to be held in this case.

A BA spokesman said it could not comment on the case, but would consider the coroner’s report and respond.

The airline cites independent studies commissioned by the Department for Transport, which found “no evidence that pollutants occur in the cabin air at levels exceeding available health and safety standards”.

The government said that “concerns about significant risk to the health of airline passengers and crew are not substantiated”.

A spokesman for the CAA said it would consider the report in detail but said it was “nothing that passengers or crew should be overly concerned about”.

Frank Cannon, the lawyer for Westgate’s case, told the newspaper: “This report is dynamite. It is the first time a British coroner has come to the conclusion that damage is being done by cabin air, something the industry has been denying for years.”

He said he was acting for approximately 50 other aircrew allegedly affected by the syndrome, working for airlines including Emirates, Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Thomas Cook and easyJet. He is also representing two passengers.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


£1m aircraft evacuation slide investment by British Airways Interior Engineering at Blackwood creating 15 new jobs

British Airways Interior Engineering at Blackwood creating 15 new jobs and safeguarding 23 following go ahead for overhauling A380 jumbo jet evacuation slides

The emergency slides being put through their paces on one of the test aircraft prior to certification

British Airways Interior Engineering (BAIE) in Blackwood has gained approval to overhaul evacuation slides on BA’s new A380 fleet of aircraft following a £1m investment that will create 15 new jobs.

The aircraft slides are traditionally maintained by the original equipment manufacturer that made them for Airbus.

But now British Airways has come is the world’s first airline to get manufacturer approval to carry out this work.

It follows a £1m investment by BAIE in new tooling and the reconfiguration of its workshops in Blackwood that was supported by £318,000 business finance from the Welsh Government.

The new work will create 15 new jobs and safeguards 23 jobs.

RELATED STORY: Take a look inside the Airbus Beluga cargo aircaft.

The certification, awarded after BAIE technicians underwent slide maintenance training in Phoenix, Arizona, is particularly significant as some of the aircraft BAIE is currently approved and qualified to work on are due to retire in ten years.

By extending its capability and gaining manufacturer’s approval BAIE will be able to carry out inflation systems checks, component repairs and replacement, and slide testing and repacking on BA’s eight A380s.

BAIE

£1m

Investment

15

New jobs

23

Safeguarded jobs

Head of interiors engineering Ceri Powell said: “We are delighted to be the first airline to gain the capability for maintaining A380 slides. We have made significant investment in training, tools and equipment to become the only airline to be able to carry out this work and we look forward to supporting the fleet of A380 aircraft.”

__________________

What BAIE does

It is responsible for the refurbishment of interior and safety products on all BA aircraft – the product range includes refurbishing passenger seats, cabin toilet compartments, carpets as well as the overhaul of all safety products including slides and rafts.

Economy Minister Edwina Hart said: “BAIE is a global player and to maintain this status it has to keep changing its mix of products and services to meet the changing needs of the global aerospace sector and the new generation of aircraft.

Key players in the Welsh economy

“This is an important long term investment by BAIE which is now in pole position to win more of this work while the potential for future growth is significant as the rate of orders for the A380 increases annually.

“BA is a key member of one of our priority economic sectors and has strong, established links with Wales where three of its subsidiaries are based and I am delighted the Welsh Government helped secure this additional work for Wales that will also create and safeguard jobs.”

Sourced from walesonline


GE Aviation Wales confirms plans to reduce its workforce by 100

GE Aviation Wales in Nantgarw

By Sion Barry,

GE Aviation Wales said it is forecasting no more than 100 voluntary redundancies at its Nantgarw engine maintenance facility.

Jet engine testing and overhaul business GE Aviation Wales has announced plans to reduce its workforce by 100 at its giant plant in Nantgarw.

The US-owned venture, which employs 1,350 highly skilled staff at the plant, said the move is a result of a fall in the number of ‘engine shop visits’ to the plant.

The operation’s customers includes many of the world’s leading airlines.

In a statement HR leader for GE Aviation Wales, Chris Doherty said: “GE Aviation Wales develops an annual business plan for the site based upon the forecasted volume of engine shop visits.

“For 2015, current data shows a significant drop in engine volume requirements compared to 2014 and 2013.

“Taking this into account, we are currently evaluating ways in which we can right size the business to accommodate this reduction.

“We are therefore considering a range of options, including tighter controls around overtime, review of the current shift arrangements and the possibility of a voluntary redundancy programme for Aircraft Engineer grade employees.

“Over the coming weeks, the company along with Unite representatives will be reviewing the 2015 business plan against these options to determine how we may implement one or more of these programmes in order to address our current business challenges.”Based on our projections, if we were to progress with a voluntary redundancy programme, we would not anticipate reducing our overall headcount by more than 100 employees.

“Details of any redundancy programme would be the subject of consultation with Unite representatives prior to any final decision being made.

“We remain committed to continuing an open dialogue with our workforce and to providing information and advice to support our employees.”

The business not only employs nearly 1,500 directly, but provides a huge boost to wider economy through its supply chain.

It has a turnover of £1.5bn and is a Welsh Government anchor company.

GE Aviation Wales Facts

  It specialising in the the overhaul, repair and maintenance of a range of aircraft engines.

  It occupies over 1.2 million sq. ft. of workshop space, has two state-of-the-art engine test facilities and employs a highly skilled workforce of over 1,350 people.

]The site specialises in four engine types including the GE90, the world’s most powerful aircraft engine, the GP7200, the engine that powers the new Airbus A380, the Rolls-Royce RB211 and the complete range of CFM56 engines, the world’s most popular aircraft engine.

  The company has over 90 customers worldwide.

It operate as a subsidiary of General Electric Company

The GE Aviation Headquarters is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, US.

Sourced by Wales Online


Airbus launches A321neo with true transatlantic capability

ALC first to commit to Airbus’ increased range option

Airbus Press Release,

Airbus has officially launched the A321neo with 97 tonnes Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) having secured the first commitment from Air Lease Corporation (ALC). The Los Angeles based lessor signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 30 more A321neo, upsizing its commitments at the 2014 Farnborough Airshow from 60 to 90 and becoming the launch customer for Airbus’ increased range option.

The A321neo 97t will have, with 4,000nm, the longest range of any single aisle airliner available today and tomorrow, making it ideally suited to transatlantic routes and will allow airlines to tap into new long haul markets which were not previously accessible with current single aisle aircraft.

“We are excited to be the first to sign for the new longer range version of the A321neo,” said Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Air Lease Corporation’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “ALC wants a footprint in every promising market segment, including ones that can be opened by this new version of the A321neo. We pride ourselves in being able to provide our customers with the very latest, most innovative products and solutions.”

“We are delighted to officially launch the A321neo 97t option with ALC,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “ALC is a forward-looking company who has once again demonstrated its confidence in Airbus’ latest products and innovations just six months after being a launch customer for the A330neo.” He added: “The longer haul single aisle market is a lucrative one that the A321neo will now dominate, thanks to the aircraft’s superior comfort, economics and range. This new version of the A321neo is a high revenue generating aircraft which will open up many new opportunities for our customers.”

Under the assumption that ALC’s MoUs for 30 A321neo aircraft plus 25 A330neo Family become firm orders, ALC’s total orders for Airbus aircraft would stand at 258 (53 A320ceo Family, 140 A320neo Family, 15 A330 Family, 25 A350 XWB Family and 25 A330neo Family).

The A321 97t variant is building on the continued innovations brought to the A320 Family with Airbus Cabin-Flex (ACF), which offers passengers the highest standards of comfort while providing great flexibility and profit optimisation to airlines. Thanks to an additional fuel tank in the forward underfloor hold of the aircraft, as well as minor improvements on the wing and fuselage, the A321neo 97t will be able to fly 206 passengers on longer routes of up to 4,000 nm in a comfortable two-class layout. First deliveries will have started by 2019.

The newest member of the best-selling A320 Family, the A320neo, incorporates new generation engines and Sharklets which together will deliver 20 percent in fuel savings by 2020. At the end of December 2014, firm orders for the NEO reached over 3,600 aircraft from 70 customers.


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