This Weeks briefings

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FINMECCANICA IN COMPOSITE TIE-UP WITH MUBADALA

Abu Dhabi's Mubadala has secured its second partnership deal with a major European aerospace house to build aircraft composite components in a new plant in the oil-rich emirate from 2010. The agreement with Finmeccanica follows a similar one with EADS, announced at Farnborough in July. Finmeccanica subsidiary Alenia Aeronautica will provide technology, technical assistance and training to the new factory, which will manufacture components such as spoilers, flap-track fairings as well as primary structures including outboard flaps and horizontal and vertical stablilisers. Like its neighbour Dubai, which until recently has simply been a customer of the aerospace industry's end-products, Abu Dhabi wants to diversify its economy into aerospace and provide high-tech careers for its citizens, and it has the resources to achieve it quickly. "Mubadala's commercial strategy to evolve Abu Dhabi's existing aerospace industry into a global aerospace hub is progressing quickly," says chief operating officer Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi.


ARAB AIRLINES CALL FOR UNIFIED AIRSPACE

Arab carriers are urging governments to look more closely at optimising commercial air traffic routes to make more efficient use of airspace and reduce fuel consumption. Speaking at the Arab Air Carriers Organisation annual general meeting in Tunis last week, secretary general Abdul Wahab Teffaha said the region still faced restrictions on air routes that had been in place for 50 years. "Restrictions that used to prevent passage over no-fly zones are no longer viable," he said. International Air Transport Association director general Giovanni Bisignani said at the event that the "next challenge" was to redesign the region's airspace. He says a restructuring of Gulf airspace should be able to deliver a threefold increase in capacity.


HESS SUCCEEDS FINGER AT PRATT & WHITNEY HELM

United Technologies has named Hamilton Sundstrand president David Hess as successor to Pratt & Whitney president Stephen Finger when the latter retires at the end of the year after 38 years. Hess will take up his new role on 1 January and will be replaced at the helm of Hamilton Sundstrand by P&W Canada president and executive vice-president for P&W group strategy and development Alain Bellemare. Hess has headed Hamilton Sundstrand since 2005, while Bellemare has served as president of P&WC since 2002.


INDIA BEGINS ROBOTIC MOON MISSION, FIFTH SPACE TOURIST RETURNS

India's 1,380kg (3,036lb) Chandrayaan-1 lunar orbiter was launched on 22 October at 06:22 Indian standard time by an Indian Space Research Organisation's enhanced C11 variant Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Its larger solid rocket boosters contain one-third more propellant. The spacecraft, the country's first mission to the Moon, has 11 scientific instruments, three of which are European, two are American and one Bulgarian. Russia's Soyuz TMA-12 capsule landed in Kazakhstan at 08.37 local time on 24 October with ISS Expedition 17 crew members, and Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononeko, and the world's fifth space tourist Richard Garriott, the son of NASA Skylab-3 mission astronaut Owen Garriott.


ROYAL JET IMPLEMENTS MAJOR BBJ UPGRADE

Royal Jet is undertaking a comprehensive interior upgrade of its fleet of five Boeing Business Jets. Work on the first refurbishment, due to be completed in early 2009, will be carried out by Canadian-based Genesis Holdings through its subsidiaries DRB Aviation Consultants and Goderich Aerospace. "By the time we have upgraded our entire BBJ fleet, the investment is likely to be in excess of $50 million," says Royal Jet chief executive Shane O'Hare.


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