This Week Briefing

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737 RAMP-UP DECISION DUE BY YEAR-END

Boeing will decide within four months on whether to increase the monthly 737 production rate from 35 units to 40. Chief financial officer James Bell says that he prefers to keep production rates beneath overall demand, but "demand is pushing us to look at rates higher than we've ever been at 40 [per month]". In May, Boeing move to boost 737 monthly output from 31 to 35.


POLAND COMPLETES BALTIC AIR POLICING DUTY

The Polish air force has completed its third four-month tour providing air policing cover for NATO nations Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with four of its RSK MiG-29s having returned to Minsk Mazowiecki air base on 1 September. The Baltic air policing mission will be delivered until year-end by four US Air Force Boeing F-15C fighters drawn from RAF Lakenheath in the UK.


ENGINE LESSOR BUYS SUPERJETS

US engine leasing specialist Willis Lease Finance has signed a tentative agreement to buy six Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft, with options to take another four, in a deal worth up to $300 million. Chief executive Charles Willis says the company was "encouraged" by tax regime reform in Russia that made it "easier to acquire or lease modern engines and aircraft".


GERMAN PLANT STARTS A350 PRODUCTION WORK

Airbus has started making the upper wing shell for its A350 twinjet at its facility in Stade, near Hamburg. At 31.6 x 5.6m (104 x 18ft), the shell is the largest integrated component Airbus has built from carbonfibre reinforced plastic.


FAA CALLS FOR CRJ700/900 STABILISER FIX

The US Federal Aviation Administration has followed Transport Canada in issuing an airworthiness directive calling on operators of Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 regional twinjets to check for and replace incorrectly installed bearings that can cause the aircraft's horizontal stabiliser trim system to jam.


HENAN ORDERS FATAL CARRIER NAME-CHANGE

China's Henan province has ordered Henan Airlines to change its brand, days after the carrier suffered a fatal landing accident that killed 42 of the 96 occupants on board an Embraer 190, because the tragedy has had "great negative impact" on the province. The carrier was registered in 2007 as Kunpeng Airlines but became Henan Airlines last year.


DELTA'S COMAIR TO SLASH FLEET, STAFF

Delta's remaining wholly owned subsidiary Comair is to slash its fleet from 97 aircraft to 44 by the end of 2012 in a bid to remain competitive. Comair's decision to cut its fleet and adjust staff to support a smaller operation follow Delta's sale of Connection carriers Compass and Mesaba to Trans States and Pinnacle in July.


LANDING INCIDENT GROUNDS CHINA EXPRESS

The Civil Aviation Administration of China has ordered China Express Airlines to suspend operations and review its safety procedures following a 28 August landing incident at Guiyang airport in which a Bombardier CRJ200 operated by the airline scraped its right wing against the runway while landing after a flight from Shijiazhuang. No one was injured in the incident.