Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Author: <span>George Hatcher</span>

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Emirates Crashes in Dubai on Go-around

Emirates Airline confirms that “an incident” occurred at Dubai International Airport.

An Emirates Airlines Boeing 777 attempted to go around, but the gear touched down and caught fire. Everyone aboard safely evacuated but the plane burned.

The plane was flying from Thiruvananthapuram, India to Dubai. Aboard were two hundred-eighty-two passengers and eighteen crew.

Dubai Airport reported on Twitter that they will resume departure operations starting 18.30 UAE local time.

Piper Crashes in Australia

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Ignatius

What: TRENK Contracting Pty. Ltd. Piper PA-46-310P en route from Doolgunna to Meekatharra
Where: Meekatharra Airport Australia
When: June 15, 2011, 9:00 am
Who: Pilot and passenger
Why: The pilot and passenger in a piper that was flying from Doolgunna to Meekatharra are both hospitalized today, after crashing short of the Meekatharra runway.

The plane’s right wing and undercarriage were smashed, and the hood was lost. Meekatharra voluntary brigade reported a fuel spill but nothing that would cause a fire.

Both pilot and passenger only had minor injuries, and one was already discharged from Meekatharra Hospital. One injured party was flown to Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth.

The crash is under investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau who declined to make a statement.

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Flybe Struck By Lightning

What: Flybe de Havilland Dash 8-400 en route from Jersey to Guernsey
Where: Guernsey
When: Nov 28th 2010
Who: 66 passengers
Why: On approach to Guernsey, the plane’s nosecone was struck by lightning. The plane made a safe landing and no one was injured. The nose cone received some visible damage. Subsequent to the strike, the plane was grounded for inspection.

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Continental Receives Top Honors in Business Travel News’ Annual Airline Survey

CHICAGO, Nov. 30, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ —

Continental Airlines received top honors in Business Travel News’ (BTN) Annual Airline Survey for the third consecutive year. The recognition marks the sixth time Continental finished first in the 13 years BTN has measured corporate travel buyer perceptions of airline performance in delivering service and maintaining preferred relationships.

“We are honored to once again receive this recognition, which reflects the hard work of my co-workers over the past year,” said worldwide sales senior vice president Dave Hilfman. “We’re going to look top to bottom in our approach to the market to ensure the new airline continues to do those things that are appreciated and recognized by our key corporate buyers.”

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Standard & Poor´s revised Deutsche Lufthansa Rating Outlook to stable

The rating agency Standard & Poor´s today affirmed the credit ratings of Deutsche Lufthansa at BBB- long-term and A-3 short-term and revised the outlook to stable from negative. The outlook revision reflects an improvement in Lufthansa´s financial profile that has been supported by an upswing in airline industry conditions, a strong recovery at Lufthansa Cargo, a stable performance from other non-airline businesses and good cost control. A sustained revival in industry conditions, combined with a further strengthening of Lufthansa´s financial profile could lead to rating upside.

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Boeing and IBM Research Pilot Experimental Air Traffic Management Initiatives

ARMONK, N.Y., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced today that they have successfully completed a pilot research project designed to show how officials from multiple organizations can have more timely, consistent and complete information to resolve fast-changing or unpredictable aviation events.

The quicker availability of better information potentially can help authorities make more informed decisions to protect passenger and national security when airspace anomalies are detected, such as when an aircraft is found to be traveling off course. The project has demonstrated that advances in software can accelerate and orchestrate the flow of information from sensors and networks on a nationwide scale.

To better assess and manage these events, officials have been striving to implement “network centric operations” — the quick exchange of information from a variety of electronic sources — to gain better “situational awareness” of the many aspects of an aviation event. These situations require the sharing of updated and detailed information about temporary or ongoing airspace restrictions, flight plans, reports about weather and natural phenomena such as volcanoes, radar and beacon tracks, or the track of an aircraft sent to investigate an unfolding, midair event.
The Boeing-IBM project involves the research and development of new technology to overcome the technical challenge of assembling and delivering such a variety of information at a moment’s notice. The team has applied “Responsive, Reliable and Real-Time” (R3) Messaging, which can help ensure that complex data gathered from distributed sensors — located on aircraft, radar and other ground locations — can arrive at a specific time and in a sequence. Additional software can then correlate and analyze the information efficiently.

“One can well think of the R3 Messaging technology as a kind of mail carrier, train conductor, telephone switchboard operator and traffic police officer, all rolled into one, synchronizing nationwide — or even worldwide — logistics,” said Paul Giangarra, an IBM Distinguished Engineer who linked IBM’s messaging technology with Boeing’s business needs. “It moves information gathered from sensors in a secure, predictable manner.”

Added IBM Researcher Dr. Hui Lei, who managed the project team: “R3 Messaging exploits novel techniques to discover routing paths and schedule message deliveries with remarkable dependability. It is quite useful for moving critical and time-sensitive information between the physical and digital worlds. By integrating those two spheres, it makes it easier to make better and smarter decisions.”

The project was part of IBM Research’s First-of-a-Kind Program, leveraging internal research and development performed by Boeing Research & Technology’s Advanced Air Traffic Management group. The program pairs IBM researchers with clients to explore how emerging technologies can solve real-world business problems.

“R3 messaging is directly applicable to the work we do in aviation information management,” said Paul Comitz, Boeing Advanced ATM chief architect, System-Wide Information Management. “It provides capabilities that we need.”

Enterprise messaging technology, and the ability to manage a barrage of large amounts of data, has existed for some time. But until now, it has only been able to ensure the routine delivery, at an unspecified time, of electronic information within a self-contained computer network. Using new, patent-pending algorithms, IBM computer science researchers have now taken it further: For the first time, messaging technology ensures the synchronization of rapidly changing business events on a massive scale, with the ability to handle diverse and complicated systems.

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American Airlines: In the Mud

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer P Bisho

What: American Airlines Boeing 737-800 en route from Dallas Ft. Worth,TX to Montreal
Where: Montreal
When: Nov 30th 2010
Who: 105 passengers and 6 crew
Why: After landing safely, the plane missed the turn to the proper taxiway and ended off the pavement, described as the front tires sliding “off the runway at low speed” Passengers disembarked via stairway with no injuries, and only minor injury to the plane.

George’s Point of View

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Boeing, Copa Airlines Complete Order for 22 Next-Generation 737s

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2010–Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Copa Airlines today announced an order for 22 Next-Generation 737-800s at a signing ceremony at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The order previously was attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s orders and deliveries website.

“We thank Copa Airlines for this significant order and are very proud to partner with one of the most successful airlines in the industry,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Copa’s exceptional business model, ideal geographic position and modern and efficient fleet will continue to drive its leadership in the Latin American aviation market.”

“These 22 firm aircraft plus 10 options, which deliver between 2015 and 2018, are an integral part of our medium term growth plan,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines. “This is the largest aircraft order in Copa’s history, which is a reflection not only of our confidence in the future of Latin America and Panama, but also of our successful business model, which has made our Hub of the America’s the best connecting point for intra-Latin America travel.”

The 22 firm airplanes are valued at approximately $1.7 billion at list prices and nearly double Copa’s existing Next-Generation 737 fleet. The order is the largest new aircraft order in Copa Airlines’ history and is part of the airlines’ plan to continue to grow its fleet to meet market demands for new-generation, more fuel-efficient airplanes.

“Today’s signing not only celebrates the strong relationship between Boeing and Copa Airlines, but also symbolizes the strong political and commercial ties between the United States and Panama,” Albaugh said.

The new airplanes will be outfitted with the 737 Boeing Sky Interior featuring new modern sculpted sidewalls and window reveals that provide passengers with a greater connection to the flying experience. They also will benefit from performance improvements expected to result in a 2 percent reduction in fuel consumption through a combination of airframe and engine improvements. The performance improvements will be delivered beginning in mid-2011 through early 2012.

Operating out of the “Hub of the Americas” in Panama City, Copa provides service to 46 destinations in 24 countries.

In the past two years, Copa has purchased 37 Next-Generation 737-800s new from Boeing and entered into leasing agreements for an additional 10.

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787 Dreamliner Has its Wings Back

Remember when that Boeing 787 botched it’s test flight and caught on fire? The one with the power distribution panel that burned up, insulation and all? Well that plane flew out of Laredo today. The Dreamliner has its wings back.

This is what Boeing had to say as of a week ago:

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 24, 2010 — Boeing is developing minor design changes to power distribution panels on the 787 and updates to the systems software that manages and protects power distribution on the airplane. These changes come as the result of what has been learned from the investigation of an onboard electrical fire on a test airplane, ZA002, earlier this month in Laredo, Texas.

“We have successfully simulated key aspects of the onboard event in our laboratory and are moving forward with developing design fixes,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “Boeing is developing a plan to enable a return to 787 flight test activities and will present it to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as soon as it is complete.”

Engineers have determined that the fault began as either a short circuit or an electrical arc in the P100 power distribution panel, most likely caused by the presence of foreign debris. The design changes will improve the protection within the panel. Software changes also will be implemented to further improve fault protection.
The P100 panel is one of five major power distribution panels on the 787. It receives power from the left engine and distributes it to an array of systems.

The 787 team is now assessing the time required to complete the design changes and software updates that are being developed. A revised 787 program schedule is expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.
“Our team is focused on developing these changes and moving forward with the flight test program,” said Fancher. “The team in Laredo is also well along in preparing to return ZA002 to Seattle.”

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Emergency Landing in Belarus False Alarm

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Szabo Gabor

What: Austrian Airlines Fokker 100 en route from Vienna to Minsk
Where: Minsk
When: Nov 29th 2010, 02:39
Who: 81 passengers, 4 crew
Why: On landing in Minsk Belarus, the crew reported an unsafe indication, later determined to be caused by a fauly sensor.The crew made an accommodation and made a safe landing. No injuries were reported.

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No Emergency Landing in Wellington

Pictured: An Air New Zealand Link (Mount Cook Airline) ATR ATR-72-500 (ATR-72-212A) at Christchurch – International
Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Jan Heistermann

What: Air New Zealand/Mount Cook Avions de Tranport Regional ATR-72-500 en route from Wellington to Dunedin New Zealand
Where: Wellington
When: Nov 29 2010
Who: 59 passengers
Why: After takeoff, the crew reported smoke in the cockpit. They returned to make a landing (termed “no emergency landing” by New Zealand officials) in Wellington, with emergency services (euphemistically called airport services) on standby.

Passengers were booked on alternative flights.

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MBI Diverts from Lebanon to Romania

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Manuel Fernandez

What: BMI Airbus A321-200 en route from London to Beirut
Where: Bucharest Romania
When: Nov 28 2010
Why: While over Bucharest, the plane indicated smoke in 2 cargo holds. On making an emergency landing in Bucharest, no smoke or fire was located. Passengers disembarked and were provided hotel accommodations, and an alternative flight on the 29th.

The plane was grounded for inspections.

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Air Baltic Flight Cancelled

Pictured: An Air Baltic De Havilland Canada DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 at Dusseldorf – International (
Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Rainer Bexten

What: Air Baltic de Havilland Dash 8-400 en route from Riga Latvia to Brussels
Where: Riga
When: Nov 29th 2010
Who: 73 passengers and 4 crew
Why: Before takeoff, the flight was delayed due reportedly to overweight baggage. Then en route, the Dash 8 developed cabin pressure problems. The flight circled for an hour to burn fuel, then the flight returned to Riga to make a safe landing. Passengers were provided ( 1.50 lats, about $2.78 US) meal vouchers and provided a replacement jet. Krišj?nis Kari?š and Sandra Kalniete (European Parliament members) were aboard the flight.

* A lat is equal to 1.85259 dollars.

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Lufthansa first airline to use biofuel on commercial flights

Bio-synthetic kerosene to be used from April 2011

At a joint press conference today, Lufthansa Chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber, with Peter Hinze, Parliamentary State Secretary and Government Aerospace Coordinator, and Professor Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), presented a biofuel project planned by Lufthansa. The project is backed by the government within the framework of its aviation research programme aimed at underpinning the sustainability of air traffic.

In April 2011, Lufthansa is to begin a six-month trial with an Airbus A321 on scheduled com-mercial flights on the Hamburg-Frankfurt-Hamburg route. Pending certification, one of the aircraft’s engines will use a 50-50 mix of biofuel and traditional kerosene. The primary pur-pose of the project is to conduct a long-term trial to study the effect of biofuel on engine maintenance and engine life. During the six months trial, Lufthansa will save around 1,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions, said Lufthansa Chief Wolfgang Mayrhuber in Berlin today. “Luft-hansa will be the world’s first airline to utilise biofuel in flight operations within the framework of a long-term trial. This is a further consistent step in a proven sustainability strategy, which Lufthansa has for many years successfully pursued and implemented,” said Mayrhuber.

Peter Hintze, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, said: “With its aviation research programme (LUFO), the Federal Government is supporting the German aviation industry in its efforts to master the technological challenges of establishing a safe and sustainable air traffic system. That backing is afforded within internationally comparable framework conditions.

About 77 per cent of LUFO funding is directly or indirectly related to the environment and sustainability. Only an integrated research approach of the like practised in research net-works, above and beyond the classical discrete disciplines, offers the chance of achieving the ambitious climate protection objectives by 2020 and, simultaneously, safeguarding the technological competitiveness of the German aviation industry.”

The “burnFAIR“ project dedicated to the testing of biofuel, unveiled by Lufthansa today, is a successful example of integrating research efforts for the purpose of realising climate care objectives. This project is part of an overall “FAIR” initiative (Future Aircraft Research), in which other issues – alongside biofuel compatibility – such as new engine and aircraft con-cepts or other fuels, e.g. liquified natural gas (LNG) are under study. The Federal Government is contributing a total of five million euros towards the “FAIR” initiative, of the total 2.5 million euros is earmarked for the Lufthansa “burnFAIR” project.

Prof. Dr. Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), dwelt on the project background at the Berlin press conference: “Our “burnFAIR” project is designed to research the long-term alternatives to conventional aviation jet fuel. The object is to gather data on pollutants from biofuel in com-parison with conventional kerosene over a longer period. The measured pollution pattern related to diverse stresses in flight and the composition of the exhaust gases will allow us not only to draw conclusions about the compatibility of biofuel but also about the maintenance needs of aircraft engines. Since, above all, we expect a significant reduction in soot particles.

Lufthansa is currently making intensive preparations for the practical tests. Aside from the actual research project, the acquisition of biofuel in sufficient volume and the complex logis-tics it involves is proving a challenge in the run-up to the trial. The aircraft, for example, will be fuelled only in Hamburg. Furthermore, an array of internal processes must be modified, since Lufthansa does not normally deploy a plane exclusively on a single route, but always in a rotation chain on flights to different destinations.

The project will cost Lufthansa an estimated 6.6 million euros. “We know that biofuel is an issue we must address carefully. We can see the opportunities this fuel offers and give seri-ous attention to the debate on the requisite raw materials. But we first want to acquire expe-rience in daily practice in the use of biofuels. We are doing pioneering work in that no other airline to date has operated an aircraft engine with biofuel over a longer term,” observed Wolfgang Mayrhuber. “Our fuel is sustainable. No rain forest will be deforested for Lufthansa biofuel. In the procurement of biofuel, we ensure it originates from a sustainable supply and production process. Our licensed suppliers must provide proof of the sustainability of their processes.“

Production of the bio-synthetic kerosene utilised by Lufthansa rests on the basis of pure bio-mass (Biomass to Liquid- BTL). The producer is Neste Oil, a fuel refining and marketing company from Finland. The company has years of experience in biofuel production and has cooperated with Lufthansa for many years. Certification of its biofuel is expected in March 2011.

The use of biofuel is one element in a four-pillar strategy aimed at reducing overall emissions in air traffic. Ambitious environmental goals can only be achieved in future with a combination of various measures, like ongoing fleet renewal, operational measures such as engine washing and infrastructural improvements. Projects dedicated to these themes are also underway under the aegis of the aviation research programme. Thanks to new technologies, Lufthansa has improved its fuel efficiency by 30 per cent since 1991. Average fuel consump-tion per passenger is now down to 4.3 litres of kerosene over 100 kilometres.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG
Media Relations, FRA CI/P

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Black Box Found

What: NARZ Mi-8T helicopter RA-22376 en route from Kyshtovka
Where: n the vicinity of the Krapivin oil field of OAO Tomskneft VNK in the Kargasoksky district
When: November 25, 2010 12:12
Who: Eight killed, three injured
Why: The helicopter carrying shift workers and 1.6 tons of cargo had been hovering over the landing site when an uncontrolled rotation of the aircraft began. The Mi-8 drifted for about 50 meters, tipped over to its side, collapsed and caught fire. A criminal case has been initiated, a violation of traffic safety and air transport operation regulations, entail the death of two or more persons by negligence.

The black box, previously reported as being missing, has been found.

Read more

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Beechcraft Crashes in Philippines

What: Beechcraft A65 Queen Air en route from Basco, Batanes to Tuguegarao in Cagayan
Where: Cagayan province in northern Luzon, Philippines
When: Nov 29, 2010, 1:30 pm
Who: 13 aboard
Why: Pilots Captain Agustin Jose and Captain Benedict Dela Cruz manned the Beechcraft when both of the engines stopped at 300 feet. They crashed along the Cagayan River in Barangay San Vicente in Iguig town around 1:30 p.m. The flight skidded through a corn field into the Cagayan River shallows, landing 19 kilometers from the airport where it was was scheduled to gas up.

The plane landed on water, and like another flight we all remember, everyone got out of the plane and stood on the wings. Rescue arrived via boat within 20 minutes.

Passengers included Rustom Hontonia, Jack Castaño, Jovani Pahodpod, David Batan, Benedict John Acebes, Mae Jane Agcaoili, Harold Agito, Kate Vallentes, Mika Horkajo, Hana Horkajo and Yale Mark Elep. Agito, Acebes and Pahodpod are Boy Scouts. (Elementary students and their teachers were traveling to a Philippines activity in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur. ) Mika and Hana were five and three years old.

No one was hurt in the crash, which is under investigation.

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News Brief: IATA e-freight is live in three more European countries

Geneva – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced today the dawn of a new era for the air cargo supply chain in Romania, Slovenia and Malta. E-freight for imports and exports went live in Romania on November 9, in Slovenia on November 12 and in Malta on November 15.

Facilitated by IATA, the project is an industry-wide initiative involving customs authorities, carriers, freight forwarders, ground handlers and shippers. E-freight effectively eliminates the need to send paper documents with air cargo shipments, hence streamlining processes, improving speed and reliability and cutting costs.

In Romania, the e-freight implementation team was led by Air France/KLM, with freight forwarder Schenker. In Slovenia the team was led by Lufthansa in close cooperation with Slovenia Customs and DHL. In Malta the Emirates and Lufthansa were the lead airlines, working closely with in association with BAS Ltd, MAL Services, Servisair Globe Ground, Lufthansa Technik, MITA Technik and Malta Customs.

Romania, Slovenia and Malta are the 33rd, 34th and 35th e-freight countries worldwide to deliver paper-free cargo. Europe now has 19 countries that are e-freight live. The latest list of live locations includes: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dubai, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States.

The Romanian e-freight implementation team was led by:
Airlines: Air France/KLM
Government Entities: Romania Customs
Freight Forwarder: Schenker

The Slovenian e-freight implementation team includes the following participants:
Airlines: Lufthansa
Government Entities: Slovenia Customs
Freight Forwarders: DHL

In Malta the team comprises the following participants:
Airlines: Emirates, Lufthansa
Government Entities: Malta Customs
Freight Forwarders: BAS Ltd, MAL Services
Ground Handlers: Servisair Globe Ground

For more information, please contact:
Chris Goater
Manager, Corporate Communications
Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

Notes for Editors:

  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 230 airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.

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Continental Airlines and Its Fleet Service Employees Reach Tentative Agreement on New Labor Contract

CHICAGO and HOUSTON, Nov. 29, 2010

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL) today announced that Continental Airlines has reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) representing Continental fleet service employees. The IBT is expected to hold a ratification vote in the coming weeks.

“This tentative agreement is the product of a lot of hard work by the negotiating committees, and I’m pleased that the Continental ramp, cargo and airport operations agents have the opportunity to ratify an agreement that is fair to our co-workers and fair to the company,” said Scott Dolan, senior vice president of Airport Operations at United. “We look forward to continuing the productive working relationship with the Teamsters.”

The agreement covers approximately 7,000 Continental fleet service employees located throughout the United States.

About Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: UAL). Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 2,400 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia, serving 142 domestic and 131 international destinations. Continental is a member of Star Alliance, which overall offers 21,000 daily flights to 1,160 airports in 181 countries. Continental has hubs serving Cleveland, Guam, Houston and New York/Newark Liberty, and together with its regional partners, carries approximately 63 million passengers per year.

United Continental Holdings, Inc.became the holding company for both United and Continental upon close of the merger transaction.The two airlines will operate separately as they begin to integrate key customer services, marketing activities and airport processes. For more company information, go to continental.com and follow on Twitter and Facebook.

SOURCE United Continental Holdings, Inc.

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Bristow Group Inc. Announces $375 Million Credit Facility

BRS announced today that it has entered into a $375 million senior secured credit facility, replacing the Company’s existing bank credit facilities and providing funds to redeem a portion of Bristow’s senior notes.  

The new credit facility includes a five-year, $175 million revolving credit facility and a five-year, $200 million term loan.  The term loan will be used to redeem the Company’s $230 million, 6 1/8% senior notes due 2013 on December 23, 2010.  The revolving credit facility, which represents a $75 million increase in corporate liquidity, increases strategic and financial flexibility and will be used for general corporate purposes, including working capital.  It is anticipated that the Company also will draw on the new $175 million revolver to fund the remaining portion of the redemption of the 6 1/8% senior notes.

“We are committed to lowering our cost of capital and improving our financial performance in order to create superior value for all our stakeholders.  This new credit facility is just one step toward achieving that goal,” said William E. Chiles, Bristow’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  ”We expect this new facility to support our strategic and growth initiatives going forward, while improving overall liquidity.”

Borrowings under the revolving credit facility and term loan bear interest at a rate equal to, at the Company’s option, a Base Rate or LIBOR plus a borrowing margin ranging from 0.625% to 2.875% based on the Company’s leverage ratio.  These margins were flexed downward by 0.125% across all levels from the initial syndicated pricing grid.  The initial margin for borrowings will be the greater of 2.50% per annum or the appropriate percentage based on the leverage ratio until delivery of the financial statements for the quarter ended June 30, 2011, when the borrowing margin will be determined by the Company’s leverage ratio.  Based upon current one-month LIBOR levels plus the borrowing margin of 2.50%, the all-in borrowing rate would be approximately 2.75% today.  Base Rate is defined as the higher of the per annum rate the administrative agent publicly announces as its prime lending rate as in effect from time to time and the Federal Funds rate plus 0.50% per annum.

The Company’s obligations under the new credit facility are guaranteed by certain of the Company’s principal domestic subsidiaries and secured by the U.S. accounts receivable, inventory and non-aircraft equipment of Bristow Group Inc. and the guarantor subsidiaries, and all and 65% of the capital stock of certain of the Company’s principal domestic and foreign subsidiaries, respectively.

As a result of the redemption of the 6 1/8% notes, the Company will incur an approximately $2.3 million redemption premium and $2.4 million in non-cash expense associated with the write-off of unamortized debt issuance cost in the third fiscal quarter.  The $2.3 million redemption premium will be recorded to other income (expense), net, and the $2.4 million non-cash expense will be recorded to interest expense.  The approximately $4.7 million in total expense is expected to reduce earnings per share by approximately $0.12 in the third fiscal quarter, which includes a portion of the tax benefit recognized on this expense.  On an annualized basis, Bristow expects earnings per share to be reduced by $0.08, reflecting the full-year tax benefit.

“We are fortunate to be partnering with such a solid bank group with better terms than our previous credit facilities and competitive rates for this new credit facility, as it will enable us to lower our cost of debt and increase our liquidity going forward.  Although we take an upfront cash charge of $2.3 million, the cash net present value benefit of this bank refinancing to the maturity date of the 6 1/8% notes in June 2013 assuming a constant borrowing rate of 2.75% would be approximately $14 million,” said Jonathan Baliff, Bristow’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. “This new facility, coupled with our prudent capital structure, should provide our Company with ample strategic and financial flexibility for managing our business, while improving our ability to make debt repayments and restricted payments such as dividends and stock repurchases.”

Bristow partnered with SunTrust Bank as administrative agent and JPMorgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Regions Bank and BBVA Compass as other senior lenders.  

Bristow Group Inc. is the leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry based on the number of aircraft operated and is one of two helicopter service providers to the offshore energy industry with global operations. The Company has major transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, as well as in most of the other major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world; including Alaska, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Trinidad.  For more information, visit the Company’s website at http://www.bristowgroup.com/.

Statements contained in this release that state the Company’s or management’s intentions, hopes, beliefs, expectations or predictions of the future are forward-looking statements.  These forward-looking statements include intended use of proceeds, expense related to the redemption, earnings per share reduction, net present value benefit and affect of the credit facility.  It is important to note that the Company’s actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements.  Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained from time to time in the Company’s SEC filings, including but not limited to the Company’s registration statement relating to the offering.  Bristow Group Inc. disclaims any intention or obligation to revise any forward-looking statements, including financial estimates, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Dassault Reaches Milestone With 100th Falcon 7X Delivery

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas, — Dassault yesterday delivered the 100th Falcon 7X during a ceremony at its completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The aircraft was delivered to a Brazilian financial services company.

“We promised to design and build the most technically advanced and best flying aircraft in the industry and we’ve already achieved that 100 times,” said John Rosanvallon, President and CEO of Dassault Falcon. “During that time, feedback from pilots and passengers alike has been very positive. Pilots said they appreciate, in particular, the digital flight control system which makes the Falcon 7X so responsive and easy to maneuver. The superb cabin environment is praised by passengers for its smooth flying comfort and quietness.

To date, the 5,950 nm Falcon 7X fleet has accumulated more than 57,000 flight hours, operating in over 25 countries with orders coming from more than 40 countries. The fleet leader has logged more than 3,000 flight hours since its delivery mid 2007. “The high usage rate (higher than other Falcons) demonstrates that the Falcon 7X is a very active part of many flight departments,” said Jacques Chauvet, Senior Vice President of Customer Service. “Its versatility helps account for its popularity and having gathered over 200 orders”.

The Falcon 7X has received type certification from 16 aviation authorities and is the only long range business jet with EASA and FAA approvals to use the challenging London City airport.

7X Background
The Falcon 7X has the longest range of any Falcon business jet and is the most fuel efficient jet in its class. Since its entry into service in 2007, the 7X cabin has set a new standard for business jets. The cabin has 28 windows which are 10% bigger than previous Falcons. It also features a low in flight cabin altitude of 6,000 feet, even while cruising at an altitude of 51,000 ft, and an advanced temperature control system that maintains the environment to within one degree throughout the entire cabin. Internal sound level has been reduced to 52 dB which is the result of breakthroughs in design, materials and cushioned engine mounts.

First announced at the Paris Air Show in 2001, the Falcon 7X is the first business jet with a digital flight control system and was simultaneously certified by both the EASA and the FAA on April 27, 2007. It features the award-winning EASy Flight Deck and is powered by three Pratt & Whitney Canada PW307A engines. Its 5,950 nm range (eight passengers, M.80 with NBAA IFR reserves) can comfortably connect 95% of the commonly used business aviation city pairs.

About Dassault Falcon
Dassault Falcon is responsible for selling and supporting Falcon business jets throughout the world. It is part of Dassault Aviation, a leading aerospace company with a presence in over 70 countries across five continents. Dassault Aviation produces the Rafale fighter jet as well as the complete line of Falcon business jets. The company has assembly and production plants in both France and the United States and service facilities on multiple continents. It employs a total workforce of over 12,000. Since the rollout of the first Falcon 20 in 1963, 2,000 Falcon jets have been delivered to 67 countries worldwide. The family of Falcon jets currently in production includes the tri-jets-the Falcon 900DX, 900LX, and the 7X-as well as the twin-engine 2000LX.

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Fact Sheet – Regulating and Licensing Commercial Space Transportation Activities


The FAA is responsible for regulating and licensing U.S. private companies and individuals involved in commercial space transportation. To date, the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation has licensed over 200 successful launches.

Licensing Requirements

  • An FAA license is required for any launch or reentry, or the operation of any launch or reentry site, as carried out by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, or by any individual or entity within the United States.
  • An FAA license is not required for space activities the government carries out for the government, such as most NASA or Department of Defense launches.
  • Once the FAA determines a license application package is complete, the FAA has 180 days to complete an evaluation and issue or deny a license.
  • The FAA evaluation includes a review of: public safety issues; the activity’s environmental impact; any payload to be flown; any national security or foreign policy concerns, and whether or not the commercial space operator is appropriately insured.

Experimental Permits

  • To help facilitate in the eventual licensing process, the FAA can issue experimental permits, rather than licenses, for the launch or reentry of reusable suborbital rockets.
  • Experimental permits are issued for research and development; demonstrating compliance with requirements leading to licensing; or crew training prior to obtaining a license.
  • No person may operate a reusable suborbital rocket under a permit for carrying any property or human being for compensation or hire.


  • When an FAA licensed space activity is scheduled, FAA safety inspectors will attend even if it takes place outside the United States.
  • The FAA has the authority to suspend or revoke any license or issue fines when a commercial space operator is not in compliance with statutory or regulatory requirements.

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Press Release – FAA Proposes $221,650 Civil Penality Against Flying Vikings

For Immediate Release
November 29, 2010

LOS ANGELES – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposes to assess a $221,650 civil penalty against Flying Vikings, Inc. a flight school in Hayward, Calif., for allegedly failing to complete the required training for its staff and failing to maintain training records, as required by Federal Aviation Regulations.

The FAA alleges that from Feb. 1, 2008 to Oct. 23, 2008, the school did not have a chief instructor, assistant chief instructor or instructor who had completed an approved list of training or refresher courses within the previous 12 calendar months, as required. During that time period, the school provided training to 20 students and graduated 10 of them. The FAA reviewed student records and training during the time the school was not in compliance, and took appropriate action when it found discrepancies, including revocation of one pilot certificate.

The FAA also alleges that the school failed to properly maintain and certify the training records for 11 students between Feb. 1, 2008 and Sept. 10, 2008.

“Good solid basic training and accurate pilot records are the foundation for pilots to operate safely throughout their flying careers,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We expect flight schools to help provide that solid safety foundation.”

Flying Vikings, Inc., has 30 days from receipt of the FAA’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.


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Cathay Pacific Diverts to Karaganda

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Co van den Heuvel

What: Cathay Pacific Boeing 747-400 en route from Amsterdam to Hong Kong
Where: Karaganda
When: Nov 28 2010
Who: 306 passengers and 20 crew
Why: While en route, the cabin suffered a loss of pressure. Oxygen masks were released and the crew descended to a lower altitude as they diverted to Karaganda Kazakhstan. The plane landed at the nearest airport, and were served breakfast aboard the plane while “emergency visa exemptions” were secured for the passengers. Hours later, passengers were taken to hotels to await the arrival of another flight.

Cathay Pacific confirmed the air pressure problem related to outflow valve assemblies they are replacing on their fleet.

George’s Point of View

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Egypt Air Hydraulics Failure

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Szabo Gabor

What: Egypt Air Express Embraer ERJ-170 en route from Budapest (Hungary) to Cairo
Where: Cairo
When: Nov 23rd 2010
Why: On approach to Cairo, the crew reported problems with the jet’s hydraulics. The flight made a safe landing but could not exit the runway under its own steam and required a tow to the gate.

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Emergency Landing in Little Rock

What: American Airlines Boeing 757 en route from Boston to Dallas to Los Angeles
Where: Little Rock National Airport, Arkansas
When: November 28, 2010
Who: 165 passengers, 2 pilots, 4 flight crew
Why: While en route, the plane made 15 explosive bangs, jerking with the impact of each. The engine stalled, and pilots landed the plane safely in Little Rock. When the jet was grounded for maintenance, Passengers transferred to another plane that continued without a problem.

The issue with the plane is being compared to a car backfire. Unlike a car, a 757 has 2 engines. Normal procedure when an engine is having issues, is to shut down that engine and land with the one remaining engine.

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