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AERONAUTICS PLANS NEW UNMANNED CONVERSION

Israel's Aeronautics Defense Systems is soon to test-fly a second manned aircraft it intends to modify as an unmanned system. Sources say that it will be "bigger and more advanced than the Dominator 2", its unmanned development of the twin-engined Diamond DA42. Aeronautics and Boeing have agreed to jointly market medium-altitude, long-endurance UAV systems.


TRENT 700 TO POWER THAI'S NEW A330S

Thai Airways International has chosen Rolls-Royce's Trent 700 engines to power seven new Airbus A330 twinjets in a deal worth $390 million, including a TotalCare service agreement for the aircraft, which will be delivered from 2011. The carrier already operates eight Trent 700-powered A330s.


DISTRACTED ENGINEER LEFT ENGINE DOORS OPEN

Simple distraction led to an engineer's failing to lock the right-side engine cowl doors on a Flybe Embraer 195 after repair work at Jersey. The doors were torn off during take-off on the subsequent ferry flight to Birmingham on 23 February. The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch says that a telephone call interrupted the engineer's work before he had latched the doors.


AEI WINS 737-400SF CONVERSION WORK

Aeronautical Engineers has been selected by an undisclosed customer for a single 11 pallet Boeing 737-400SF passenger to freighter conversion. The aircraft was built in 1989, and is undergoing freighter modification and heavy maintenance at AEI's conversion centre, Commercial Jet.


SKY'S THE LIMIT FOR 737 INTERIOR ORDERS

Boeing has secured orders from 45 customers for 1,100 737s with the airframer's new Sky Interior, accounting for more than half of its single-aisle backlog. FlyDubai is expected to take delivery of the first 737 with Sky Interior in October. The new weight-neutral interior includes 787-style overhead bins, LED lighting, revised passenger service unit and sculpted windows and sidewalls.


CARGOLUX IN TALKS OVER 747-8F CONTRACT

Cargolux is in discussions with Boeing over its contract to acquire 747-8 freighters, although the launch customer remains committed to taking 13 of the jets despite the latest delivery delay, to mid-2011. A senior official at the cargo airline declines to comment on whether these discussions involve price, but says "Cargolux is working on additional aircraft for early 2011 to cover the delay, and our preference is the 747-400".


WESTERN AIR'S SAAB FLEET GROWS TO FIVE

Bahamas-based Western Air has grown its Saab 340A fleet to five aircraft after it introduced its first international service to Kingston, Jamaica in April. Western Air now operates from Nassau to Kingston and Montego Bay.


SUPERJET PASSES NOISE BARRIER

Sukhoi's Superjet 100 has completed an eight-flight noise-testing programme in Italy, which makes it "the first aircraft in Russia [to comply] with international noise standards," says Sukhoi senior vice-president for certification Igor Vinogradov.