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Most airline delays occur on the ground. Ground operations have long been static because the fundamentals of aircraft pushback and taxiing have not changed much.  Nevertheless, there seem to be some real opportunities to save time, especially by reducing a common source of ground delays: tugs and ground crews.

An innovative solution, advanced at one time or another by companies such as Crane, L-3, Airbus, Lufthansa, and a Safran / Honeywell joint venture (EGTS), is to provide the aircraft with an on-board drive – motorized wheels that are powered by the onboard APU.

WheelTug, the smallest of the innovators in this space, has received FAA approval of its certification plan. Interestingly, it is also the only company left that is known to be actively working on what is more popularly called “E-Taxi.”  WheelTug also chose a different technical solution than the other players by putting the… Continue reading

India is a market that has been attractive for OEMs for many years.  The following two charts explain why.  The first chart shows how strongly the domestic air travel market has grown.  Typically, passenger traffic doubles every 15 years – in India between 1995 and 2010 traffic grew by four times.  If we look back 15 years from 2015, traffic has grown by over fives what it was.

Just to provide some perspective – India’s railway network is the world’s fourth largest and in 2014 transported 8.4 billion passengers. For every Indian domestic air passenger in 2014, 138 passengers took a train. Continue reading

The excitement of trading with Iran’s airlines is bringing OEMs some uncertainty.  This is going to be unwelcome to suppliers who dislike adding uncertainty to an already uncertain industry.

Let’s start with Superjet. News from Iran now suggests the SSJ is not going to be welcomed in Iran.  The Association of Iranian Airlines is the source, and to see the comment from that source as saying “the plane is not well-known to Iranian airline companies” is fatuous. Virtually every modern commercial aircraft is unknown to Iran’s airlines and the SSJ issue has been fixed. Then to ascribe concern about the recent technical fix after saying as recently as December 10th that Iranian airlines were interested in buying the SSJ is perplexing.

Meanwhile ATR is about to sign a finalize its deal with Iran this week and the first aircraft looks ready for delivery.  The first Iran Air… Continue reading

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