Virgin Atlantic and Airbus finalise $4.4bn order for 12 A350-1000 aircraft

UK-based Virgin Atlantic Airways finalised a $4.4bn deal with Airbus to buy 12 A350-1000 aircraft, including eight A350-1000s and four new aircraft on long-term leases.

Delivery for the eight A350-1000s will begin in 2019, and the remaining four aircraft will be delivered from 2020 onwards and leased on a long-term basis from ALC.

The deal also includes a lease option for a fifth aircraft.

EPA makes progress on aircraft emission regulation

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed a final endangerment and contribution findings, which reveal that carbon emissions from certain aircraft engines are a risk to public health and environment.

The confirmation enabled the EPA to set emission regulation for passenger planes in the US.

The findings noted that carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) have contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.

China’s AVIC unveils new amphibious aircraft AG600

Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) unveiled the world’s largest amphibious aircraft, known as the AG600, in a production line in the southern city of Zhuhai.

With a maximum take-off weight of 53.5t, the aircraft will be used to fight forest fires and execute marine rescue missions.

The AG600 has a maximum flight range of 4,500km, a maximum cruising speed of 500km/h, and a maximum endurance of 12h.

Facebook tests solar-powered Aquila drone prototype

Online social networking service provider Facebook completed the test flight of a solar-powered drone or unmanned aircraft prototype, Aquila, in a bid to provide internet connectivity to remote locations.

During the test, the lightweight, high-altitude aircraft flew for more than 90 minutes in Yuma, Arizona.

Designed to fly for up to three months at a time, Aquila requires 5,000W of power during cruising.

Vector Space Systems completes Garvey Spacecraft acquisition

Micro satellite space launch company Vector Space Systems completed the acquisition of Garvey Spacecraft in a move to help improve micro satellite launch capabilities.

The deal enabled Vector Space Systems to speed up its goal of developing new ways to boost the space commerce industry through dependable and regular launch opportunities.

Following the acquisition, Garvey Spacecraft’s founder and CEO John Garvey joined Vector Space Systems in the position of chief technology officer.

SpaceX launches ninth cargo flight to ISS

US-based aerospace company SpaceX launched its Dragon cargo craft on a Falcon Nine rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida as part of the company’s Commercial Resupply Services-9 (CRS-9) mission.

Set to arrive at the International Space Station (ISS), the 5,000lb of cargo includes instruments that would help perform the first-ever DNA sequencing in space, and the first international docking adapter for commercial spacecraft.

SpaceX’s ninth cargo flight to the space station under Nasa's commercial resupply services (CRS) contract, the mission will be executed by astronaut Jeff Williams and supported by astronaut Kate Rubins.

Boeing secures $2.75bn order for 25 737 MAX 8 jets from Malaysia Airlines

Boeing won a $2.75bn order for 25 737 MAX 8 aircraft from Malaysia Airlines.

The order also includes purchase rights for additional 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Peter Bellew said: "This deal is a game-changer for Malaysia Airlines with much lower costs and greater efficiency, which we will pass on to our loyal customers with lower fares."

Triumph collaborates with Northrop Grumman for advance UAS production

US-based aerospace component supplier Triumph Group signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Northrop Grumman to increase the production of high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The new partnership will provide resources to facilitate sustained success of high-altitude, long-endurance UAS over the next five years.

According to the new deal, both the companies will support near-term delivery commitments, achieve knowledge transfer, and improve future quality and affordability for the programme.

Emirates signs ten-year after-market services agreement with Unison

Emirates signed a ten-year after-market services agreement with Unison Industries for the support of GE90 and GP7200 engine fleets.

Running until 2025, this agreement includes external Unison new parts and component repairs for GE Aviation and Engine Alliance engine families in the Emirates fleet.

Unison Industries president Giovanni Spitale said: "Unison is now primed to provide unparalleled support to Emirates operations."

CALC to buy 60 ARJ21 aircraft from COMAC for $2.3bn

China-based lessor China Aircraft Leasing (CALC) placed a $2.3bn order with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) for 60 ARJ21-700 aircraft.

The deal includes a confirmed order for 30 ARJ21-700s and an option to purchase 30 ARJ21 series aircraft.

CALC will lease the newly ordered aircraft to an undisclosed Indonesian airline, in which CALC parent company Friedmann Pacific Asset Management (FPAM) plans to invest.