Boeing buys out Vought's share in 787 joint venture Global Aeronautica

SUPPLY CHAIN: Boeing will buy out Vought Aircraft's share of a joint venture with Alenia Aeronautica to build aft fuselage structures for the 787. The deal means Global Aeronautica will become an equal joint venture between Boeing and Alenia, while Vought will continue to be a structural supplier in the 787 programme. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The move is the first major shakeup for one of Boeing's major 787 suppliers in the wake of an at least eight-month delay for first delivery. Breakdowns in the 787's global supply chain have been blamed as a primary cause of the delay, along with a shortage of fasteners. Global Aeronautica is based in Charleston, South Carolina, and is located directly adjacent to Vought's aft fuselage assembly facility. Vought's work on the aft fuselage section will continue. "Selling our interest has no impact on our adjacent facility," says Vought chief executive Elmer Doty. Last October, Doty acknowledged that Vought was the highest-risk supplier on the 787 industry team. At the time, Doty attributed Vought's struggles to an internal liquidity crisis in 2006 that prevented the company from ramping up investment in the 787 programme at a sufficient rate. Boeing had previously appointed vice-president Scott Strode to take over management responsibility for Vought's role in the 787 programme. "All three partners in this transaction - Boeing, Vought and Alenia - believe these changes will enable the 787 team to continue to overcome supply-chain challenges of the programme," says Pat Shanahan, Boeing vice-president and general manager of the 787 programme.

Probe begins after pilot's firearm accidentally discharged

SAFETY: An investigation has begun after a US Airways pilot, who is a member of the US programme under which pilots can carry guns in the cockpit, accidentally discharged his firearm while flying an Airbus A319 on 23 March from Denver to Charlotte. According to the US Transportation Security Administration the flight was never in danger. Under the Federal Flight Deck Officer programme, authorised US airline crew members have since April 2003 been allowed to carry firearms on board flights to defend against acts of criminal violence or attempts to gain control of an aircraft.

TAM crash families file suit in florida

ACCIDENT: Attorneys for the families of passengers killed on TAM Linhas Aereas Flight 3054 filed 58 wrongful death lawsuits in Florida last week. The 17 July 2007 crash, the worst in Brazil's history, killed 187 on board and 12 people on the ground when an A320 attempted a go-around at Sao Paolo's Congonhas airport and slammed into a building just past the runway end. The investigation in part is focusing on whether the pilots mishandled landing operations in light of a known inoperative thrust reverser. Parties named in the lawsuits include TAM, leasing company Pegasus Aviation, Airbus, Airbus Customer Services, thrust-reverser provider Goodrich and International Aero Engines.

JP Airline-Fleets directory now part of Flight group

AVIATION DATA: The JP Airline-Fleets directory is now part of the Flight portfolio following its acquisition by parent company Reed Business Information UK. Also acquired from Bucher & Co in Switzerland was the Buchair UK directory distribution and data business. RBI will bring both the Swiss and UK businesses together under the same roof, to sit alongside its ACAS fleet database and Air Transport Intelligence online premium news and data service. The new JP business will be headed by Ron Harman, founder of Buchair UK, who comes over with the acquisition as JP business manager.

Source: Flight International