Test flights began yesterday for the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey helicopter to check a problem that was discovered a few months ago. The Defense Acquisition Board is scheduled to review the Osprey program in June.
The U.S. Navy avoided competitive bidding for the replacement of cargo aircraft by ordering 44 Bell-Boeing V-22 Ospreys under an existing $6.5 billion contract. The Ospreys will replace the existing fleet of 35 C-2 Greyhound aircraft.
Executives say that Bell-Boeing's V-22 Osprey will have two international buyers by year's end. "There's nothing that's turned into an [letter of offer and acceptance] yet, but we're working on that," said Vince Tobin, a Bell-Boeing V-22 program director.
The Department of Defense has pointed out defects in Bell Helicopter's V-22 Osprey program that raise "serious questions" about manufacturing and quality, Bloomberg News reports. Analysts say Bell Helicopter, which has partnered with Boeing on the project, must show it has improved the program if it wants full production approval for the V-22 Osprey.
JetBlue Airways ranked No. 1 overall in an annual survey of airlines, while Southwest Airlines received the lowest number of customer complaints. Northwest Airlines' move up the list made it the most-improved airline for 2003.
United Airlines officially said it no longer would use Atlantic Coast Airlines as one of its regional carriers, starting in June. The move allows Atlantic Coast to begin its transformation into low-cost carrier Independence Air, for which the airline has ordered 25 new Airbus jets.