This week in aviation news: Gulfstream to stop G450 production to make way for G500, Garmin to extend G5000 suite to Cessna aircraft, Rockwell Collins and B/E Aerospace announce merger, U.K. government approves third runway at Heathrow
Last week, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced that it will deliver the last G450 aircraft in early 2018, ending production to make way for the upcoming launch of the G500. The G500 is essentially the updated version of the G450, flying 34 miles further than its predecessor per hour while utilizing the same fuel supply. “At Gulfstream, we have a long history of delivering on our promises. We are highly pleased with the progress of the G500 as it makes great strides in the flight-test program and moves steadily toward certification and entry into service,” said Burns. “This transition is an important milestone in Gulfstream’s history of taking business aviation to new heights.” The G500 is currently in the flight testing phase, and Gulfstream reports that the aircraft has accumulated over 1,600 flight hours to date. Seating up to 19 passengers, the aircraft is outfitted with PW814GA engines and can travel at speeds up to Mach .85.
Garmin International will expand its G5000 flight deck modernization program to the Cessna Citation Excel and Citation XLS. The program is expected to see approval by the end of 2018. “For over five years and across multiple airframes, the G5000 has received the enthusiastic praise from aircraft operators as it offers an unprecedented level of situational awareness, yields a significantly lower cost of operation and delivers an exceptional in-flight experience,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president of aviation sales and marketing. The suite will include fully automated flight control systems, and a variety of optional and standard technologies that will provide the aircraft with enhanced capabilities including advanced GPS navigation, weather reporting, and a 3D terrain mapping system.
Avionics systems corporation Rockwell Collins has announced its pending merger with B/E Aerospace, which is involved in the manufacture of interior products for commercial and business aircraft. Out of a deal worth $8.3 million total, Rockwell Collins acquired the company for $6.4 billion in cash and stock and $1.9 billion its net debts. B/E Aerospace manufactures aircraft seating, lavatories, and galley equipment while employing approximately 10,000 people. Cedar Rapids-based Rockwell Collins is an industry leader in cockpit technologies and communications. The merger will allow each company to work on different parts of new aircraft simultaneously, providing time-saving benefits to customers.
The United Kingdom’s government has granted permission for a third runway to be built at London’s Heathrow Airport, ending a largely contested debate. Supporters of the airport’s expansion have argued that adding a third runway is an inevitable reality, and one that will bring economic benefits to the city. However, some have protested the environmental and noise impacts, while others proposed alternatives including additional runways at nearby Gatwick Airport, or the opening of a third airport in London. A spokesperson for Heathrow Airport said, “expansion of Heathrow is the only option that will connect all of the UK to global growth, helping to build a stronger and fairer economy. We await the full details, but Heathrow stands ready to work with government, businesses, airlines and our local communities to deliver an airport that is fair, affordable and secures the benefits of expansion for the whole of the UK.” Voting on the specifics of the airport’s expansion won’t occur until next year, but in addition to the new runway a sixth terminal is expected to be added. The expansion is expected to bring in an estimated $74.5 billion USD in revenue for the city and create up to 77,000 jobs.