'Decisive progress' on open skies

Negotiations European Union and US officials have reached agreement on a new framework for establishing an open skies aviation accord, with European negotiators claiming "decisive progress" has been made. While details were unclear late last week, the Association of European Airlines (AEA) said the EU and the USA have agreed to proceed to a second stage in negotiations, noting there has been "substantial movement in the US position" on issues relating to opportunities for European airlines to invest in US carriers and access the market for US government-related travel.

NetJets breaks into profitability

Results Fractional fleet operator NetJets Europe has achieved its first full-year net profit. Warren Buffett, chief executive of NetJets owner Berkshire Hathaway, says 589 new customers were added between 2005-06. "NetJets is now operating profitably in Europe, and we expect the positive trend to continue," he says. The company now has more than 1,300 customers in Europe. In 2006 its customers flew more than 62,000 flights, 33% up on 2005.

Ontario pays to prepare D-Jet for production

Investment The Ontario government is to invest C$975,000 in Diamond Aircraft to help prepare for production of the D-Jet very light jet. This is in addition to the C$10 million repayable loan the provincial government gave London, Ontario-based Diamond in June last year. Diamond says it still needs Canadian federal government support. Viking Aircraft, which plans to put the de Havilland Twin Otter back into production, is also hoping for support from the Ottawa government, which is expected to unveil a new research and development funding programme later this month.

Kaman awaits Australian decision

Provision Kaman says it is still waiting for a decision from the Australian government on whether the SH-2G(A) helicopter programme will be cancelled, after posting another $9.7 million in pre-tax charges to cover further cost overruns on the contract in its full-year 2006 results. The company has reported almost $70 million in charges, losses and adjustments on the programme since winning the 11-aircraft Royal Australian Navy contract in 1997.

P&WC chosen to power EC175

Selection Pratt & Whitney Canada's (P&WC) PT6C-67E engine has been selected to power the EC175/Z15 medium helicopter being developed by Eurocopter and Harbin Aviation Industry Group, a subsidiary of China's AVIC II. The PT6C-67 - the latest derivative of the PT6 turboprop/turboshaft family - already equips the AgustaWestland AW139 and Bell/Agusta Aerospace BA609 Tiltrotor.

PIA dismisses threat of EU ban

Blacklist Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is playing down reports that most of its aircraft may be barred from serving destinations in the European Union (EU), claiming it is "unaware of any reported ban". Several media reports last week said the European Commission is likely to bar the airline from serving destinations in the EU with any aircraft apart from its Boeing 777s as a result of safety concerns.

Avio extends GEnx workshare

Stake Italian aircraft engine maker Avio has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with General Electric to extend its participation as a risk-sharing partner in the GEnx programme to include the -2B version of the turbofan, the powerplant for the Boeing 747-8. Avio will take a stake of around 12% in the GEnx-2B, covering the design, development and production of engine's gearbox drive and low pressure turbine stator, as well as components for the lubrication system. The company has a similar agreement for the GEnx-1B for the Boeing 787, taking its total investment in the programme to €250 million.

Source: Flight International