TransDigm to buy aerospace supplier Esterline Technologies for $4bn

US-based producer and supplier of highly engineered aircraft components, TransDigm Group, agreed to acquire aerospace-parts maker Esterline Technologies in an all-cash transaction valued at around $4bn, including debt.

As part of the deal, TransDigm will pay $122.50 in cash for each outstanding stock of Esterline. This payment represented a premium of 38% to the acquired company’s closing price on 9 October 2018.

Boards of directors of both the companies have approved the deal. Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is scheduled to be closed by the second half of next year.

Lion Air flight crashes into sea with 188 people on-board

A Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft operated by Indonesia’s Lion Air crashed into the sea off the coast of Java shortly after take-off.

The aircraft had 188 people on-board and took off from the city of Pangkal Pinang at 6:20am local time on Monday 29 October. It was due to reach Indonesia’s capital Jakarta an hour later.

Around 13 minutes after take-off, Flight JT 610 lost contact with ground control staff while flying over the Java Sea.

China to launch satellite to detect space-based gravitational wave

China is set to launch its first satellite to help detect space-based gravitational waves by the end of next year.

The satellite will be launched to test technologies for China’s space-based gravitational wave-detection programme called ‘Tianqin’.

Started by China’s Sun Yat-sen University in 2015, the Tianqin programme will consist of three satellites forming an equilateral triangle around the earth.

Brazil’s GOL to upgrade fleet with 135 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft

Brazilian airline GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes (GOL) placed an order with Boeing for 135 737 MAX aircraft to renew its current fleet.

The order includes 105 737 MAX 8 and 30 737 MAX 10 planes.

Between June and October, GOL received the first three MAX 8 aircraft and deployed them for commercial service.

SpaceX launches SAOCOM 1A satellite

SpaceX launched the SAOCOM 1A satellite into orbit from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.

A Falcon 9 rocket was used to launch the satellite, which was deployed around 12 minutes after lift-off.

After completing separation, the rocket’s first stage landed at SpaceX’s Landing Zone 4 (LZ-4) launch site at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

UK signs space partnership with Australia

The UK Space Agency and Australian Space Agency signed an agreement to co-operate on communication technologies, space situational awareness and satellite navigation.

The agreement is based on an existing collaboration between the UK and Australia in space science, technology and applications, space policy, law and regulation, and human capital development.

Both countries will work on several related activities as well as share information, technology and personnel.

ESA selects OHB System to lead development of Plato mission

The European Space Agency (ESA) selected Germany’s OHB System as the prime contractor for its PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (Plato) mission that aims to search and study planets beyond the Solar System.

OHB System will be responsible for delivering the satellite, including the testing phase leading to launch.

The company will also provide support during the launch and throughout the in-orbit commissioning phase.

Bell and Garmin partner to develop VMC systems for VTOL aircraft

Textron unit Bell Helicopter signed an agreement with Garmin International to jointly develop and integrate autonomous vehicle management computer (VMC) systems for Bell’s vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft.

Bell will be responsible for the design, development and production of VTOL systems.

Garmin will look after the design, development and production of avionics hardware and software required for on-demand mobility (ODM) vehicle management. This will include primary flight information, navigation/communication, flight guidance and flight management systems.

Lufthansa Technik and MTU Aero Engines construct €150m MRO shop

Lufthansa Technik and MTU Aero Engines began the construction of their new joint venture (JV) shop, EME Aero, in Jasionka, near Rzeszów city in Poland, with an investment of €150m.

The facility will provide maintenance repair operations (MRO) for the Pratt and Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engine family, which currently powers five regional and narrowbody aircraft platforms, including Airbus’s A220 and the A320neo family, as well as the Embraer E190-E2 aircraft.

Expected to be equipped with 40,000m² of workspace, EME Aero is scheduled to begin service by the end of next year.

Air New Zealand and Zephyr Airworks partner on air taxi

Air New Zealand signed a deal with Zephyr Airworks to bring autonomous electric air taxi services to New Zealand.

Zephyr currently operates Cora, an autonomous electric aircraft, in New Zealand. It was developed by Zephyr’s parent company Kitty Hawk with the aim of easing traffic congestion on roads and offering a cleaner energy solution for air travel.

Unveiled around six months ago, Cora has so far completed 700 flight tests worldwide.