Southwest and undisclosed buyers order 18 Boeing 737s

NARROWBODIES Boeing last week sold 17 Boeing 737s to undisclosed buyers and added one order by Southwest Airlines. The deals raise Boeing's order tally in January for next-generation 737s to 19, and raised its total orders for the year to 61. The buyers have not disclosed their engine choices. Southwest's move to order one new narrowbody comes as the Texas-based low-cost carrier reduces its 737 delivery count from 34 aircraft to seven. It was not immediately clear when the new 737 order would be delivered. Boeing set the all-time record for annual orders in 2007, logging 1,413 aircraft sales compared with 1,341 for Airbus. But Boeing is off to an even faster start this year. The 61 aircraft orders received up to 29 January beats last year's count of only 13 orders placed during the month.

Israel ups funding of airline security measures

SECURITY The Israeli government has increased state funding of security measures taken by the country's three airlines from 50% to 80% of the total $100 million annual cost as part of a move to end El Al's monopoly on some major routes. When El Al was privatised, the government agreed it would keep its monopoly on some major routes until annual passenger traffic in Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv reached 10.7 million. Arkia and Israir will now be able to fly to main European airports as second designated carriers. The two airlines have already announced plans to operate scheduled flights to London, Paris and Berlin.

Single European Sky transition plan detailed

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL Eurocontrol has accepted a three-part implementation package detailing a step-by-step transition to the air traffic management concept derived from its Single European Sky research programme SESAR. The first package, covering 2008-12, will implement short-term initiatives enabling latent capacity in the en-route and airport networks to be released. Under the second package, which runs from 2013-20, network efficiency will be increased by dynamic large-scale information-sharing, greater automation and improved trajectory management. These two stages will increase network capacity by 63%, reduce delays by 40% to 1.2min per flight and increase fuel-efficiency by 2.9% compared with 2007. SESAR's most advanced concepts will materialise beyond 2020, including self-separation and four-dimensional trajectory contracts. Eurocontrol will accept the master plan and a work programme for 2008-13 in March.

France to bridge to A400M with C130 avionics upgrade

TRANSPORTS Sabena Technics and Thales have been awarded an avionics upgrade contract for the study, development and supply of kits for the French air force's fleet of 14 C-130 transports. This complete avionics makeover will give the C-130 ergonomic coherence and enable it to operate throughout the European airspace and, later, worldwide. As the C-160 fleet is retired, the C-130 fleet will become the French air force's principal tactical transport from 2008-2019, when the Airbus Military A400M fleet is scheduled to be totally operational.

Latecoere beats revenue target for 2007

RESULTS Rising sales of aerostructures, such as fuselage sections and doors, helped French aerospace firm Latecoere boost full-year revenues 13% in 2007 to €489.4 million ($729.1 million). Its year-end backlog was 20% up at €1.8 billion, boosted by strong airframer orders, representing four years' production. Latecoere says: "This growth, exceeding the objective of 10% set by the group, is the result of positive dynamics from all its activities and confirms the previous outlook in line with the earnings recorded for the first half of the year." The firm forecasts a further 10% increase this year. Late last year, Airbus selected Latecoere as preferred bidder for its Meaulte and Saint Nazaire Ville sites. Latecoere says it expects to complete the deal in 2008, putting it on track to generate €1.5 billion in revenues by 2010.

JetBlue partners colleges and Cape Air for pilot recruitment

TRAINING With a potential pilot shortage looming in North America, JetBlue Airways has partnered Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the University of North Dakota as well as codeshare partner Cape Air to create an "Aviation University Gateway" that will identify and recruit people to become professional pilots. Participants will intern at Cape Air - and eventually other regional airline partners - and then serve as instructors at their respective flight schools. Candidates will then fly with Cape Air for at least two years and be eligible for a final interview at JetBlue. The Aviation University Gateway will create a "clearly defined career path for aspiring pilots, beginning early in an aviator's college career and culminating in the possibility of a final interview at a major airline", says JetBlue.

Source: Flight International