Saturday, January 18, 2014

Week in review (1/12 to 1/18)

The first Airbus workers for Mobile start training in Germany; Airbus beats Boeing in sales in 2013, and considers increasing A320 production; three airports lose direct service to Reagan National Airport; Northrop Grumman Global Hawk lauded for safety record; Cygnus docks with ISS; and a community college teaming up with Rolls-Royce were among the aerospace news items of interest to the Gulf Coast I-10 region during the week.

Here's your week in review:

The first group of workers hired for the Airbus final assembly line being built in Mobile, Ala., are in Germany for training. The group has trained in Mobile for the past two months. The $600 million, 1,000-worker assembly line in Mobile will open in 2015 and eventually produce between 40 and 50 aircraft each year. (Post)

That group is only the start. Airbus is continuing its search for workers for the A320 final assembly line. It's now seeking liaison engineer candidates in three categories. The three new engineering positions will focus on installation, structure and systems, and each requires a minimum of 10 months training abroad. Liaison engineers support the production line, ensuring each aircraft meets standards of safety and reliability. (Post)

Meanwhile, the news about airplane production continues to be positive. Airbus beat rival Boeing with record sales and orders last year, but came second in airliners delivered. Airbus in 2013 took 1,503 net orders compared to 1,355 orders taken by Boeing. Last year Airbus delivered 626 planes and Boeing delivered 648 aircraft. (Post)

For Mobile the importance of all this is that Airbus is exploring higher output of A320 single-aisle and A350 wide-body aircraft. Airbus now builds 42 single-aisle jets a month, and production could rise to 44 or 46 in early 2016 according to Tom Williams, Airbus executive vice president for programs. Output of the updated A320neo, the new engine option, could rise to about 50 after 2018. (Post)

On the downside, United Continental Holdings Inc. canceled orders for six A319 and six A320 single-aisle planes valued at about $1.08 billion that the carrier said are no longer needed. That's according to Christen David, a spokeswoman for United. The orders were canceled in December, David said. (Post)

Florida's Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Tallahassee will be losing an American Airlines direct flight to Washington D.C.'s Reagan National Airport. The are among 17 small and mid-size cities being cut as a result of the American-US Airways merger. (Post)

-- The Command Headquarters at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla., was renamed in a ceremony Friday after Navy photographer Walter Leroy Richardson. About 300 people were at the ceremony that kicked off the base’s centennial celebration. The 63,000-square-foot Building 1500 recently had an $11.2 million renovation. (Post)

-- Brig. Gen. (Dr.) Kory G. Cornum, commander, 81st Medical Group, Air Education and Training Command, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is being assigned to command surgeon, Headquarters Air Mobility Command, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Cornum is also the senior market manager for TRICARE's Gulf Coast Multi-Service Market. (Post)

The Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial System was singled out for having the best safety record in the U.S. Air Force in 2013. The Global Hawk has logged more than 100,000 flight hours and carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads. The central fuselages for Global Hawk and Global Hawk variants are built by Northrop Grumman in Moss Point, Miss. (Post)

Meanwhile, the Global Hawk RQ-4A Broad Area Maritime Surveillance-Demonstrator completed 10,000 combat hours in the six years it's been deployed in the Central Command area of responsibility. The Global Hawk Block 20-based aircraft was originally intended to deploy for six months, but has had its deployment extended indefinitely ahead of the planned introduction into service of its successor, MQ-4C Triton. (Post)

Orbital Sciences' Cygnus spacecraft successfully docked with the International Space Station last weekend. Launched by Orbital's Antares rocket Jan. 9 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Cygnus delivered cargo and will remain berthed to ISS until Feb. 18. When it leaves it will take disposable cargo for a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean. Antares AJ26 engines are tested at Stennis Space Center, Miss. (Post)

Pearl River Community College in Mississippi received a $50,000 grant from the Mississippi Development Authority to support Rolls-Royce at Stennis Space Center, Miss. The funds are used to send new employees to a training center in Columbus, Ohio; the company's main test facility in Derby, England; or to training at Stennis. Rolls-Royce North America opened its engine test site at SSC in 2007 and completed a second test stand in the fall of 2013. (Post)

LCS: The Navy has been told to cut its order for littoral combat ships from 52 to 32 vessels, Pentagon sources told Defense News. Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., is one of two companies building the ships. (Post)
JHSV: The Navy's first joint high-speed vessel is on its maiden deployment to the U.S. 6th Fleet. USNS Spearhead was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. (Post)
VT Halter: VT Halter Marine laid the keel for one of two articulated tug barge units being built for Bouchard Transportation Co. Construction of the two units began in April at VT Halter Marine's Pascagoula, Miss., facility. (Post)
Signet: Signet Maritime is investing $7.2 million in infrastructure improvements at its Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard, Signet Shipbuilding & Repair. The work will support an increased workload and future growth, the company said. (Post)

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