January’s top stories: EADS rebranded as Airbus Group, flydubai’s $8.8bn Boeing jet order

Low-cost airline flydubai placed an $8.8bn order for Boeing jets, European aeronautics firm EADS rebranded as Airbus Group, while FCC launched a public consultation to lift the ban on in-flight phone use. Aerospace-technology.com wraps up the key headlines from January 2014.


EADS renamed

European aeronautics firm EADS rebranded as Airbus Group

At the beginning of January, European aeronautics company EADS rebranded as Airbus Group, in a move that combined all the firm's activities in a single brand.

The group also renamed two of its three divisions. It now comprises Airbus, engaged in commercial aircraft activities; Airbus Defence and Space, integrating the group's defence and space activities from Cassidian, Astrium, and Airbus Military; and Airbus Helicopters, comprising all commercial and military helicopter activities.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said: "Joining forces under the strong Airbus brand gives all our operations and employees the thrust and lift to capture global markets."

flydubai places $8.8bn Boeing jet order

flydubai order

Low-cost airline flydubai placed an order for 75 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 11 Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft, worth $8.8bn at list prices.

The deal was originally announced at the 2013 Dubai Airshow, and is the aircraft maker's largest single-aisle jet order in the Middle East.

The order also provides flydubai with purchase rights for 25 more 737 MAX aircraft.

FCC launches public consultation to lift ban on in-flight phone use

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officially published the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) concerning the ending of a ban on in-flight use of mobile devices.

The NPRM allows 30 days for public comment, until 14 February 2014. The FCC proposal seeks to revise outdated rules and adopt consistent new rules that will govern mobile communications services on airborne aircraft.

Although the proposal filed by the federal agency does not aim to mandate that carriers permit airborne mobile services, it will allow an airline company to take a decision on whether to permit passengers to use cell phones for talking, sending text messages or browsing the internet in-flight.

India launches GSAT-14 communication satellite onboard GSLV-D5

India satellite

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched a GSAT-14 communication satellite onboard its Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5), powered by a domestic-built cryogenic engine.

The rocket was launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota, in the state of Andhra Pradesh on 5 January at 4.18pm IST.

It completed all key flight phases, the core stage and strap-on stage propulsion, payload fairing separation, second stage propulsion, cryogenic stage propulsion and spacecraft separation.

Boeing and Etihad partner on UAE aviation biofuel initiative

Boeing, Etihad partnership

Boeing collaborated with Etihad Airways and several other organisations to support an initiative to develop the UAE's aviation biofuel industry.

The fuel emits nearly 50% less carbon dioxide over its lifecycle compared to fossil fuels.

The partnership also includes oil company Total, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company subsidiary Takreer and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

Airbus, Fokker and TenCate extend thermoplastic composite materials partnership

Airbus, Fokker

Airbus, Fokker and TenCate are set to enter into an agreement for the next stage of the Thermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure innovation programme (TAPAS).

The partnership started in 2010 with other partners, and primarily focuses on further increase of the proportion of thermoplastic composites in current aircraft.

The latest TAPAS 2 agreement will now run until the end of 2017 with a budget of €24.3m. The Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs is funding the ongoing partnership with a loan of €9.5m.

Esterline to supply sensors for Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 aircraft engines

Esterline Advanced Sensors business platform of Esterline Corporation agreed on an exclusive partnership to supply sensors for the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97 engines that power Airbus A350-1000 aircraft.

Under the partnership, Esterline Advanced Sensors will be responsible for the integration of the sensors system package for the engine.

Esterline president and CEO Curtis Reusser said: "We're pleased with the progress we've made in the marketplace together with Rolls-Royce on these projects and look forward to continued success from our cooperation."

Boeing begins high-speed wind tunnel tests on 777X in Seattle

Boeing 777X

Boeing started high-speed tests on the Boeing 777X at its Transonic Wind Tunnel in Seattle, US.

The move marks a key milestone in the development of the 777X.

777X programme vice-president and chief project engineer Terry Beezhold said: "Data from these tests will allow us to validate our airplane cruise performance models in support of our ongoing design efforts."