FEAR OF NEO IMPACT ON A320 VALUES 'MISPLACED'
Fears that Airbus's introduction of a re-engined A320 will hammer residual values of current-generation variants of the single-aisle airliner have been overstated, according to lessors at the annual International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading (ISTAT) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. A year ago, financiers were concerned about the presumed immediate and negative effect on legacy A320 values if Airbus proceeded with the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered New Engine Option (Neo). But now that Airbus has set the programme in motion, with a 2016 service entry, opinion has softened, with an ISTAT straw polling revealing few delegates remaining anxious about residuals. Air Lease boss Steven Udvar-Hazy warned appraisers against "overreacting" to the Neo: "It's five years away and in the meantime a lot more current generations will be built and will have a higher proportion of the installed base. The impact will be a very slow progression."
AIRBUS EXTENDS SUPPLY CHAIN IN CHINA
Airbus is to buy aluminium plate from Southwest Aluminium (SWA), one of the largest manufacturers and suppliers in China. The move is part of a plan to extend Airbus's global supply chain, lower costs, increase sales in crucial Asian markets and build natural hedges against exchange rate fluctuations. Some SWA supplied plate will go directly to other Airbus suppliers in China. According to Airbus, its co-operation with China was worth $206 million in 2010, and could rise to around $500 million a year in 2015.
SPACEX TO EXPAND TEXAS TEST CENTRE
Launch provider SpaceX has signed a new lease agreement with the city of McGregor in Texas to more than double its rocket development facility. SpaceX has received more than $2.5 billion in launch contracts that need to be carried out over the next few years, $1.6 billion of which are with NASA to fly at least 12 missions. "McGregor is going to be a very busy place,'' says SpaceX chief executive and chief technology officer Elon Musk. SpaceX will now be leasing 255Ha (631 acres) for its test facility.
AEROFLOT TO SELL LOSS-MAKING REGIONAL UNIT
Aeroflot appears to be poised to spin off its loss-making regional subsidiary Nordavia after reaching a purchase agreement with the mining and metals conglomerate Norilsk Nickel. The two sides have not yet announced the deal, but Archangel-based Nordavia is already planning to introduce domestic services from Norilsk to half a dozen cities in the summer season.
MARKET DIP LEADS TO KLM UK ENGINEERING CUTS
KLM UK Engineering plans to cut staff due to a decrease in aircraft maintenance demand and "downward pressure" on prices in the European aviation market. The Norwich-based subsidiary of Air France Industries-KLM Engineering & Maintenance wants to save £1.7 million ($2.7 million) a year through a restructuring scheme that will include compulsory redundancies among the nearly 400 permanent and 80 temporary staff.
INTERFAST-AVIC DEAL EYES PACIFIC RIM
Toronto-based aerospace and industrial fastener distributor Interfast and China's state-owned AVIC International Zhuhai are to create a joint venture in Zhuhai, Guangdong to supply specialised fasteners and hardware to the aerospace market in China and the Asia-Pacific rim.