EADS 'INSIDER TRADING' CASE HEATS UP
Two years on from announcement of major Airbus A380 delays that led to EADS stock prices plummeting, US law firm Coughlin Stoia launched a class action suit against EADS on behalf of shareholders who bought EADS stock between January 2005 and June 2006. Meanwhile, EADS shareholder Lagardère has dismissed as a "strange approach" with "no legal relevance" a threat of legal action by French bank Crédit Mutuel over bonds Lagardère issued in April 2006 when it reduced its EADS stake. Crédit Mutuel is threatening legal action as it seeks to annul the EADS bonds. Lagardère, its German counterpart Daimler and several current and former EADS and Airbus executives are being investigated by French market regulator AMF for suspected insider trading after selling shares in the run-up to the announcement. All have denied any wrongdoing.
BOEING WITHDRAWS FROM JCA PARTNERSHIP
Boeing appears to have dropped out of an industry team that won the US Army/US Air Force Joint Cargo Aircraft competition with the Alenia Aeronautica C-27J The company had been expected to establish a new final assembly line for the type in Jacksonville, Florida. Prime contractor L-3 Communications says a Boeing withdrawal would not affect its schedule to deliver the first of 54 C-27Js before October. Alenia now plans to operate the second line by itself. The USAF intends to acquire 24 aircraft, but has yet to sign a firm contract.
VIRGIN GALACTIC CARRIER UNVEILING 28 JULY
Virgin Galactic will reveal its White Knight Two launch aircraft on 28 July, in Mojave, California and begin ground testing immediately. President Will Whitehorn says the first flight will take place around three weeks later, followed by a "very conservative flight-testing programme" its spaceship payload will not be attached before 2009. The company has invested around $100 million so far in the programme, and expects this to top $250 million by the time the first commercial flight takes place.
AIR TAXI STARTS UP IN FARNBOROUGH
Blink, which claims to be Europe's first air taxi service, started commercial operations from London Farnborough under the TAG Aviation air operator's certificate and operating licence. Blink, which has ordered 45 Cessna Citation Mustangs, is offering a day return to Paris for £1,999 ($3,880) per aircraft.
HEATHROW UNVEILS FOD DETECTION SYSTEM
London Heathrow airport is aiming to reduce the risk from undetected foreign object debris after investing in a Qinetiq-supplied millimetric-wave radar system that can detect objects on the runway surface so they can be cleared fast. Heathrow believes the system will improve timekeeping and safety.
RUSSIA CANCELS TAX ON BUSINESS AIRCRAFT
The Russian government is to cancel its 10% import duty on business aircraft seating fewer than 20 passengers and registered in Russia, as well as flight simulators and aircraft spares and components. The duty was lowered from 20% last year. Importers will still have to pay 18% VAT. The government says its aim is to promote local registration only 73 of the 350 business jets owned by Russians are Russian-registered, and almost all are Soviet-era aircraft owned by commercial entities.
Source: Flight International