COMPOSITES TO 'FORCE TIER 1 RESTRUCTURING'
The aerostructures industry will restructure around a handful of tier 1 companies capable of investing enough to keep up with rising demand for composite products, with likely winners including Alenia, GKN, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Spirit and Vought, according to a report by consultancy Roland Berger. Other firms will form a second tier of suppliers, which to survive will have to differentiate themselves with technology, be cost leaders or provide services beyond manufacturing. Berger forecasts composite materials use will rise about 15% yearly for the next 12 years, while aluminium structures output falls by 30-40% over the next three to four years.
AVIC MAKES FIRST MOVE IN CHINA RESHUFFLE
Aviation Industry Corporation of China has merged several business units to form a company to produce a large military transport as well as major parts for China's 150- to 200-seat commercial aircraft. AVIC Aircraft Corporation, which includes Xian Aircraft, Shaanxi Aircraft, AVIC Aircraft Design Research Institute, AVIC's aircraft landing gear company and other subsidiaries, is the first step in a domestic industry restructuring that began with the merger last year of the holding companies AVIC I and AVIC II. It is intended to restructure the industry around products including air transport, helicopters and propulsion rather than by geographic regions.
ORDERS 'MAY LANGUISH BELOW TREND': MOODY'S
Moody's Investors Service has lowered the global aerospace and defence industry outlook to stable from positive, citing increasing uncertainties including the availability of financing for planned aircraft deliveries, as well as declining air passenger traffic, which reduces the need for new equipment. Aerospace "remains a solid sector with near-term results supported by a good orderbook", says Moody's, but the firm warns that even if the backlog is sustained at fairly robust levels a "protracted economic malaise implies that orders could be a fraction of the long-term trend for some time".
SPACEHAB CHANGES NAME TO ASTROTECH
NASDAQ-traded commercial space services company Spacehab has changed its name to Astrotech. Chief executive Thomas Pickens says the new name "more accurately reflects the company's current mission and vision for future growth". For now, shares will continue to trade under the symbol SPAB.
ISRAELI SATELLITE IMAGES DEAL FOR ABU DHABI
Imagesat, the Israeli company that operates the Eros Earth imaging satellites, looks set to supply services to Abu Dhabi, part of the United Arab Emirates, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, but has been using Eros A services since 2006. The contract, worth about $25 million yearly, will allow direct access to the Eros B downlink, but without images of Israel. The satellite provides images with resolution as fine as 0.7m (2.3ft).
LIAT DISTANCES ITSELF FROM STANFORD
Caribbean regional carrier Liat has distanced itself from reports that Sir Allen Stanford, the Texas billionaire charged with massive investment fraud by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, owned a stake in the airline. Stanford once owned the airlines Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun, and held high-level merger and shareholding talks with Liat in 2006 and 2007, but has never had a stake in the company, says Liat.
Source: Flight International