April's top stories: Boeing and Aseman Airlines sign deal, UAL and Lufthansa finalise cargo JV

Boeing has entered a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Iran’s Aseman Airlines to sell 30 new 737 MAX jets for $3bn, and United Airlines (UAL) has entered into a joint venture agreement with Germany’s Lufthansa Cargo. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up key headlines from April 2017.


Boeing and Aseman Airlines sign $3bn deal for 30 737 MAX aircraft

Boeing entered a $3bn memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Iran’s Aseman Airlines to sell 30 new 737 MAX jets.

The agreement also offers purchase rights for 30 additional 737 MAXs to the airline.

The latest MOA is the second deal Boeing has signed with an Iranian airline since sanctions were lifted from the country last January, following a global agreement on the country's nuclear programme, reported CNN Money.

Rockwell Collins acquires B/E Aerospace for $8.3bn

Rockwell Collins concluded the $8.6bn acquisition of aircraft cabin interior products and services provider B/E Aerospace.

Announced last October, the total consideration of the deal is comprised approximately $6.4bn cash and stock, as well as an assumption of $1.9bn net debt.

The latest transaction is expected to produce run-rate pre-tax cost synergies of $160m, including $125m after tax.

Rolls-Royce secures $300m engine order from Lion Air Group

Rolls-Royce won a $300m deal from Indonesia’s Lion Air Group to supply its Trent 700 engines that will power three new Airbus A330 aircraft.

The deal also includes Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare engine service, which enables the aircraft owner and the engine maker to improve engine reliability and improve engine’s time on aircraft wing.

Rolls-Royce civil aerospace customers senior vice-president Ewen McDonald said: “Lion Group is a valued customer and we are delighted to support its growth plans for the future."

Airbus develops new staircase concept for A380 aircraft family

Airbus developed an innovative new forward stairs (NFS) concept for its A380 aircraft family to accommodate additional passengers.

The NFS requires relocation of the forward stair from the door one to door two of the aircraft, and combining the entrance of the NFS to the upper deck, with the adjacent staircase to the lower-deck crew-rest area.

The staircase will enable A380 operators to include 20 additional passengers in the business, premium economy, and economy class categories.

Mitsubishi Electric to build JAXA’s new ETS-9 satellite

Mitsubishi Electric was selected by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) as the prime contractor to build its Engineering Test Satellite 9 (ETS-9).

Expected to be launched by 2021, the ETS-9 will support the development of an advanced satellite bus, or common model, for various high-throughput satellites (HTS) for communications.

The proposed satellite bus will require up to 25KW to support HTS communications.

Nasa develops 3D-printed metallic fabrics for use in space missions

Scientists at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, US, developed 3D-printed metal fabric prototypes for various space applications.

Developed by JPL systems engineer Raul Polit Casillas and his colleagues, the foldable fabrics are used for large antennas and other deployable devices.

It could also be used to protect a spacecraft from meteorites, capture objects on the surface of another planet, or for astronaut spacesuits.

Aero Gearbox International JV opens new aircraft engine facility in Poland

The Aero Gearbox International (AGI) joint venture (JV) between Rolls-Royce and Safran Transmission Systems (Safran) opened a new facility in Ropczyce, Poland.

The 13,500m² facility will manufacture accessory drive trains (ADT) or accessory gearboxes for all future Rolls-Royce civil aircraft engines.

The facility currently employs more than 50 people and is planning to add up to 200 direct positions. 

Recaro wins €35m deal from Gulf Air to provide economy class seats for new aircraft

Germany-based Recaro Aircraft Seating secured a €35m deal from Bahrain’s national airline Gulf Air to supply its CL3710 line of economy class aircraft seats.

The seating will be equipped with Gulf Air’s ten new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, and 29 Airbus 320/321neo aircraft.

Designed to offer more comfort on long-haul flights, Recaro’s CL3710 incorporates a flexible and individually adjustable headrest, in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems, and extra legroom for passengers.

ESA urges global space fraternity to jointly resolve space debris issue

The European Space Agency (ESA) urged the international space stakeholders to formulate a joint action plan to address the issue of space debris.

The joint action should be taken to ensure the long-term sustainability of spaceflight and keep Earth’s orbital environment clean.

It is estimated than more than 750,000 pieces of space debris are currently orbiting Earth.

NTT Docomo develops flying spherical drone display

Japan-based NTT Docomo developed the world’s first spherical drone display, which features an unmanned aerial vehicle that displays LED images on an omnidirectional spherical screen mid-air.

The structure was developed by putting a drone inside a spherical external frame. The drone’s legs are protruding under the frame.

An internal LED frame comprising eight curved LED strips, which extend from the top to bottom of the external frame, were also included in the device.