Thai moving into freighter conversions

FLEET Thai Airways is building new widebody hangars at Bangkok's Don Muang airport in a bid to expand its heavy maintenance business and get into freighter conversions. Vice president heavy maintenance Chailerk Thipayachan says a deal is being negotiated with Israel Aerospace Industries to do Boeing 747-400 passenger-to-freighter conversions and Thai also plans to convert some of its Airbus A300-600s using the FSI supplemental type certificate. The first freighter conversion will be for a third-party but the move is significant because Thai does not currently operate freighters.

MTU expects 20% rise in net profit this year

PROPULSION Germany's MTU Aero Engines expects to turn in a 20% increase in net income, to around €180 million ($281 million), this year after posting a 73% rise in net profit to €154 million for 2007 on revenues of €2.58 billion. Revenues this year should remain flat and operating profits be "close" to last year's €393 million. Chief executive Egon Behle says "further cost-optimisation measures will be necessary" to offset the effect of the weak US dollar.

Boeing to Establish India aftermarket office

PARTS Boeing's Dallas, Texas-headquartered Aviall parts and aftermarket subsidiary is to open a business office in the Noida Special Economic Zone near New Delhi during the second half of this year. Sachin Taparia, who has been responsible for supply chain services at Aviall in Dallas, will relocate to India to head the new operation.

Alcoa buys two fastener manufacturers

SUPPLY CHAIN Alcoa has acquired aerospace fastener makers Republic Fastener and Van Petty, both of Newbury Park, California. The combined companies generated $51 million in sales in 2007 and employ 240 people. Alcoa has recently expanded fastener production with new plants in China, Hungary and Mexico.

Pemco stretches conversions offer to 767

FREIGHTERS Pemco World Air Services is to expand its conversion-to-freighter capabilities from Boeing 737s to the 767 model with the acquisition of most of the assets of Wagner Aeronautical. Wagner has been developing its 767 design for a year and a formal launch is expected in the second quarter. Pemco expects to deliver its first converted 767 in the third quarter of 2010.

Cobham promoted to FTSE100

EQUITIES London-listed aerospace and defence group Cobham has been moved up to the FTSE 100 index of the UK's 100 largest companies by market capitalisation. FTSE reviews the index quarterly.

Italy broke aid rules with aerospace loans

EUROPEAN COMMISSION Some €450 million ($700 million) in no-interest loans made by the Italian government to support 17 research and development projects undertaken largely by Finmeccanica and Avio will be reimbursed after Brussels ruled the money breached European Union state aid restrictions. The ruling covers loans supporting development of: Agusta A109DEF, A109X and A119 Koala helicopters various Aermacchi airframe components ATR 42/72, Boeing MD-11, "MD-95" (717) and Falcon 2000 programmes at Alenia another Falcon 2000 project at Piaggio and Avio's work on General Electric GE90B, "GE90 Growth" and Pratt & Whitney Canada PW308 engines. The Commission has yet to rule on whether Agusta's A139 and BA609 helicopters are military projects eligible for state aid.

Source: Flight International