8 | Flight International | 28 January-3 February 2020 flightglobal.com
SAAB STARTS T-7A AFT FUSELAGE WORK
PRODUCTION Saab has started work in support of the US
Air Force’s Boeing T-7A advanced jet trainer programme, with
seven aft fuselage sections in progress at its Linkoping site in
Sweden. Future production will move to a new facility in West
Lafayette, Indiana, with Boeing to perform final assembly in St
Louis, Missouri. Boeing won a $9.2 billion contract in
September 2018 to supply the USAF with 351 of the type.
BAE TO BUY COLLINS, RAYTHEON UNITS
ACQUISITIONS BAE Systems intends to acquire Collins
Aerospace’s military GPS business and Raytheon’s airborne
tactical radios unit: divestments that were mandated as part of
the US companies’ ongoing merger process. Worth a
combined $2.2 billion, the purchase affects around 775
employees in Florida, Indiana and Iowa, with the interests to be
integrated within BAE’s US-based Electronic Systems business.
FAA EXTENDS GE90 SEAL WARNING
SAFETY Operators of Boeing 777-300ERs are being ordered
urgently to remove another batch of interstage seals from GE
Aviation GE90 engines, following an uncontained failure last
October involving a Thai Airways International-operated
example. The US Federal Aviation Administration had already
issued such a directive, but this second emergency order
expands the serial numbers of the seals involved.
MA700 TRACKS TOWARDS LATE 2020 FLIGHT
PROGRAMME AVIC seems likely to fly its developmental
MA700 turboprop in late 2020, after an initial aircraft entered
the final stages of production. A report by Chinese state news
agency Xinhua indicates the first MA700 is expected to roll off
the assembly line by the middle of the year. AVIC had
previously been targeting an end-2019 maiden sortie.
BRAHMOS READY FOR INDIAN AIR FORCE
INDUCTION The Indian air force has resurrected its 222 Sqn
“Tigersharks” unit as the first Sukhoi Su-30MKI squadron to be
equipped with the Mach 2.8 BrahMos air-launched cruise
missile. Based at Thanjavur air base, the aircraft will be able to
carry the 8.5m (28ft)-long 2.5t anti-ship and land-attack
weapon, which has a range of up to 162nm (300km).
AFRL PREPARES HYPERSONIC X-60A
TESTING The US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
test-fired the Hadley rocket engine for its X-60A hypersonic
demonstrator at Cecil Spaceport in Jacksonville, Florida, on 15
January. Designed to test air-breathing propulsion, advanced
materials and vehicle subsystem technologies above Mach 5,
the X-60A will be launched from a NASA C-20A (Gulfstream III)
platform for the first time later this year.
COULSON C-130 LOST IN AUSTRALIA
ACCIDENT Canadian fire-fighting operator Coulson
Aviation has confirmed the loss of a Lockheed Martin C-
water bomber that was being used to combat bush fires in
New South Wales, Australia. All three occupants were killed.
The Hercules (N134CG), which Cirium fleets data records as a
1981-built airframe, was acquired by Coulson in 2017.
ombardier is “reassessing” its
involvement in the Airbus-led
partnership that owns the A220,
citing the need for additional cash
investment and lower-than-ex-
pected long-term profits.
The Montreal-based airframer
holds 33.6% of Airbus Canada
Limited Partnership (ACLP),
which owns the A220 business.
Divesting that stake would align
with Bombardier’s strategy in re-
cent years of moving away from
“With its exit from commercial
aerospace, Bombardier is reassess-
ing its participation in ACLP,” the
company said on 16 January.
It notes that ACLP’s latest
financial plan “calls for addition-
al cash investments to support
production ramp-up, pushes out
the break-even timeline and gen-
erates a lower return over the life
of the programme”.
“This may significantly impact
the joint venture’s value. Bombar-
dier will disclose the amount of
any write-down when we
complete our analysis and report
our fourth-quarter and 2019 fi-
nancial results [on 13 February],”
says the airframer.
Bombardier’s original agreement
with Airbus gives the Canadian air-
framer the right to require that the
European firm acquire its shares in
ACLP after seven and a half years
of the deal closing, which occurred
in July 2018.
Bombardier had struggled for
years under financial strain
caused by designing, developing
and certifying what was then
called the CSeries, subsequently
handing majority ownership of
the programme, for free, to Airbus.
The programme has since re-
sided under the ACLP venture:
Airbus has a majority stake of
50.06%, Bombardier 33.6%, and
Investissement Quebec 16.34%.
As part of the divestment,
Bombardier agreed to “fund the
cash shortfalls” of the programme,
up to $350 million in 2019 and
another $350 million during the
2020-2021 period. In exchange,
Bombardier receives shares pay-
ing a 2% annual dividend.
The three partners are also on
the hook for any additional cash
that the programme may need
during the period.
As of 30 September 2019, Bom-
bardier had invested $575 million
in ACLP, documents reveal.
Bombardier’s CSeries sale
sparked a broader exit by the
company from commercial
aviation: it has or is in the
process of divesting its Q400 tur-
boprop line, CRJ regional jet
family and aerostructures manu-
The company says it intends to
focus on business jets and its
transportation business, which
manufactures trains. ■
See Air Transport P
PARTNERSHIP JON HEMMERDINGER BOSTON
towards A220 exit
Risk of rising costs and declining returns leads Canadian
airframer to ‘reassess’ its involvement with former CSeries
Airbus currently has a 50.06%
stake in the programme