October's top stories: Comac C919's revised timeline, carbon emissions deal

China mulls over a revised timeline for the Comac C919 aircraft, the first ever global deal on aviation carbon emissions has been signed, while the European Space Agency is planning to build 3D printed metal parts. Aerospace-technology.com wraps the headlines from October 2013.


Aerospace

China mulls over revised timeline for Comac C919 aircraft

Aerospace

The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (Comac) is working out a revised timeline to launch its Comac C919, the country's largest domestically produced aircraft.

The proposed move is expected give Comac rivals, Boeing Co and Airbus, time to introduce their improved single-aisle aircraft.

Despite its interest in developing a commercial aircraft in line with the US and Europe to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, the lack of experience and local industry-specific talent are impacting the project.

Sources from Comac and its Western suppliers of systems told Reuters that the Chinese company is still working out the complex project.

US university student-built satellite launched by Nasa

A small beach ball-sized satellite developed by students at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) has been successfully launched by Nasa to better understand the influence of atmospheric drag on satellite orbits.

Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on 29 September, the Drag and Atmospheric Neutral Density Explorer satellite, or DANDE, will examine the variations of a layer of Earth's atmosphere, known as the thermosphere, at altitudes from nearly 200 to 300 miles above the planet.

DANDE, which has COSGC director Chris Koehler as the primary investigator, measures about 20in in diameter and weighs just more than 100lb.

Indian Government approves Jet Airways' stake sale to Eithad

Aerospace

The Indian Cabinet has approved the nation's airline Jet Airways' proposed stake sale to UAE-based Eithad Airways in a Rs20.57bn ($335m) deal, paving the way for the biggest foreign investment in India's aviation industry.

Announced five months ago, the deal marks the first foreign investment in the aviation sector after ownership restrictions were relaxed in 2012, allowing foreign companies to own up to 49% of local airlines.

The two airlines recently secured approvals from India's markets regulator and are awaiting clearance from the industry's competitive practices regulatory authority.

Airbus expects to sell more than 1,200 aircraft in 2013

Airbus expects to sell more than 1,200 aircraft this year, after beating its full-year target of at least 1,000 airliners in the first nine months.

This forecast comes after Airbus logged a number of pending orders from European airlines.

The announcement was made at an industry conference after Airbus secured a significant deal for its A350 XWBs from Japan Airlines (JAL).

First ever global deal on aviation carbon emissions is signed

Aerospace

The first global agreement on tackling the airline industry's increasing CO2 emissions has been signed by 191 countries at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the UN specialised agency for aviation.

The latest agreement was made at the ICAO's 38th General Assembly, follwing two weeks of negotiations.

The resolution requires governments develop a global market-based measure (MBM) to curb aviation climate emissions from 2020, and will be decided at the next ICAO assembly scheduled for 2016.

Boeing and South African Airways collaborate on biofuel supply chain

Boeing is partnering with South African Airways (SAA) to develop and implement Africa's first sustainable aviation biofuel supply chain in the southern part of the continent.

The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as part of their efforts to support environmental sustainability for the airline's operations and help reduce industry emissions.

In addition, the agreement will advance social and economic development of South Africa.

European Space Agency to build 3D printed metal parts

Aerospace

The European Space Agency (ESA) is planning to build 3D-printed metal components for use in aircraft, spacecraft and nuclear fusion projects.

The agency's project, called 'Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero Waste & Efficient Production of High-Tech Metal Products (AMAZE)', aims to use 3D printing or additive manufacturing method to make metal parts that are cost-effective, lighter and stronger than conventional components.

According to researchers, the 3D-printed metal parts for rockets and jets are expected to reduce waste and save money, and the layered method used during assembly allows unique designs, geometries that cannot be achieved through conventional methods.

Boeing to slash production of 747-8 aircraft due to low demand

Boeing is planning to reduce the production rate for its biggest model 747-8 for the second time this year due to reduced demand.

The company said it would adjust the production rate for the 747-8 programme from 1.75 aircraft to 1.5 aircraft per month through 2015.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes 747 programme vice-president and general manager Eric Lindblad said this production adjustment better aligns the company with near-term demand, while stabilising its production flow, and better positions the programme to offer the 747-8's compelling economics and performance when the market recovers.

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