P&W in frame to power Mitsubishi MRJ

SELECTION Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has reportedly selected Pratt & Whitney over General Electric and Rolls-Royce to supply the powerplant for its MRJ regional jet that is in development and due to enter service in 2012. A report in Japan's Nikkei newspaper says, without citing sources, that MHI has chosen P&W. The report also says that MHI is establishing a new company to oversee the programme in which MHI will have slightly more than 50% equity, with the remainder held by trading companies and financial institutions. Other engines under evaluation were the General Electric's CF34 engine and an offering from Rolls-Royce.

AirAsia X in talks for A350 or 787 order

LONG HAUL AirAsia's new long-haul carrier AirAsia X is having preliminary discussions with Airbus and Boeing about the A350-1000 and 787-10 and hopes to place an order next year, says the airline's chief executive, Azran Osman-Rani. AirAsia X will launch its first scheduled operations on 2 November with flights from its Kuala Lumpur base to the Gold Coast in Australia. It has one A330-300 on lease and 15 additional aircraft on firm order. Ranis expects a similarly sized order will be placed for the new long-haul aircraft.

Rocketplane Kistler criticises NASA in leaked letter

SPACE TRANSPORT The NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) demonstration programme participant Oklahoma based-Rocketplane Kistler has criticised the US space agency and insinuated it would take legal action in a leaked letter days before it is expected to be formally cut from COTS. COTS was to partially fund private efforts to demonstrate International Space Station re-supply transport systems and see them compete for a servicing contract. RpK's letter identifies three actions by NASA that doomed the company's financing activities. The US agency did not include ISS servicing in COTS' phase one, in May it ordered Russian transport for 2010-11 that was to be COTS' initial ISS servicing phase two period, and finally in August a request for information was released asking for transport capabilities to apparently fulfil COTS' ISS servicing phase two needs.

Alitalia to review possible buyers

PRIVATISATION Italian flag carrier Alitalia will hold a board meeting on 8 October to consider a report from financial advisor CitiGroup over possible candidate investors in the airline. CitiGroup was appointed at the end of August to assist new Alitalia chief Maurizio Prato in his search for investors, after Italy's earlier attempt to privatise the loss-making carrier broke down. While three consortia were shortlisted for the final stage of the airline's privatisation, all ultimately baulked at conditions attached to the sale. These consortia members, together with other potentially interested parties - including existing Alitalia partner Air France-KLM - are all thought to have been among those sounded out by Alitalia and its advisers over the last month. Prato, who recently described Alitalia's condition as being "comatose", has previously said he would like to tie up a strategic partner for the carrier by the year end. Italy holds a 49.9% stake in the airline.

Tony Ryan

OBITUARY Aviation entrepreneur and Ryanair co-founder Tony Ryan has died at the age of 71 following a long illness. Ryan, whose investment arm is also a significant minority shareholder of Singapore's Tiger Airways, helped start the Irish airline that bears his family's name 23 years ago. Ryan, a former Aer Lingus executive, was also the founder of aircraft leasing company GPA, which was ultimately absorbed as part of AerCap.

Aviation needs enough radio spectrum - ICAO

COMMUNICATIONS The International Civil Aviation Organisation general assembly will campaign to secure guarantees of radio frequency spectrum to meet commercial aerospace industry requirements, including the allocation of common global bandwidth for the safe operation of unmanned air vehicles. The assembly agreed on 28 September to co-ordinated action by member states as well as from the ICAO secretariat to engage with the International Telecommunication Union and the 2011 World Radio Congress. The resolution followed warnings from ICAO that "as demand for spectrum from non-aviation users was constantly growing, aviation faced increasing competition for the limited available spectrum, in particular from commercial telecommunications services".

Source: Flight International