GE contract, Southwest normalcy, JetBlue lawsuit - Jan 3 Aero News
New GE Aerospace Contract with US Air Force
The US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center awarded GE Aerospace ($GE) last week with a contract worth up to $203 million. The contract covers "technology maturation and risk reduction services," according to the US Department of Defence. GE Aerospace was also awarded a $99.5 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for research and development.
GE Aerospace's scope will primarily be to further development of efficient adaptive engine component technologies to be utilized on next-gen combat aircraft. The US Air Force chose GE and four other companies four months ago to begin development of next-gen fighter jet engine prototypes. GE's prototype engine is the XA100, and is intended for use in Lockheed Martin's ($LMT) F-35A and F-35C.
Work on the new contract will take place in Cincinnati, OH, and is set to be completed in late 2024.
Southwest Airlines operations returning to normal as stock rises
Sourthwest Airlines ($LUV) canceled 37% of its schedule, or more than 15,800 flights between Dec 22 and Jan 1, owing to a winter storm and major technology issues. The airline said Monday that operations have returned to normalcy, with only routine cancelations for weather.
Among the technology issues were problems with crew scheduling and missing baggage. To alleviate the baggage issues, Southwest utilized support from United Parcel Service ($UPS) and FedEx Corporation ($FDX), and recruited volunteers from among its employees to help process customer refunds. After the airline's stock dropped over the holiday week, Southwest shares are climbing back up as of early Tuesday.
United Airlines to park 38 Embraer E175s in favor of Mesa Airlines' Bombardier CRJ900s
Following American Airlines' ($AAL) announcement last month that it is cutting ties with Mesa Airlines ($MESA) as an operator for many of its regional flights, Mesa came to an agreement with United Airlines ($UAL). Under the agreement, Mesa will transfer Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft currently flown under American branding to begin operating United Express flights for United. In order to avoid conflicts with its pilot contract, United confirmed Friday that it will park up to 38 United Express Embraer E175s to accommodate the new Mesa fleet.
Lawsuit Alleges Spirit merger with JetBlue will cause fares to rise
A group of Florda-based travelers and agents have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the merger of Spirit Airlines ($SAVE) with JetBlue ($JBLU). The lawsuit alleges that by effectively eliminating Spirit, airfares to and from several major Florida airports where Spirit and JetBlue currently have major market share will rise due to a near monopoly on certain routes by JetBlue. Fort-Lauderdale-Hollywood (FLL) and Orlando International (MCO) are markets in which the two airlines currently compete fiercely.
New State Capital Partners acquires Blackhawk Aerospace
New State Capital Partners' New State Aviation Holdings division announced its acquisition of Blackhawk Aerospace this morning. Blackhawk Aerospace is based in Waco, TX, and provides engine upgrades for turboprop aircraft that aim to increase their speed, safety, climb capabilities, and engine life. Blackhawk joins New State's anchor aviation investment, AVEX, which focuses on sales and maintenance for Daher TBM turboprop aircraft.
Deal figures were not released.