Aerospace

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Airbus A380 flying in the sky over San Francisco

Daniel Thomas

Business reporter, BBC News

It was billed as the future of air travel, but airlines increasingly saw the jet as too big and inefficient.

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The rover Europe sends to Mars in 2020 to look for life will carry the name of DNA pioneer Rosalind Franklin.

Franco-German fighter plan takes off

Rafale jet
Getty Images
Frances wants to replace its Rafale fighter

France and Germany have announced a €65m (£57m) contract financed equally by both countries as the first act of the joint programme to design a next-generation fighter jet.

Dassault Aviation and Airbus will build the system which is expected to be operational from 2040 with a view to replacing over time Dassault's Rafale and Germany's Eurofighters.

"This contract is entrusted to Airbus and Dassault who are the prime contractors of this ambitious system," French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said in a speech alongside her German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen. "This contract is the very first brick of a stupendous building."

Although the contract means work can officially begin, the value is a fraction of what will be a multi-billion-euro project.

Boeing goes supersonic

Aerion's business jet
Aerion

Boeing has made what it calls a significant investment in supersonic business jet developer Aerion.

Boeing will provide engineering, manufacturing and flight testing services for Aerion's $120m (£92m) supersonic business jet, which is due to make its maiden flight in 2023.

The jet, Aerion AS2, can fly at speeds of up to Mach 1.4, or about 1,000 miles per hour, 70% faster than conventional business jets.

Investors seem to like the move by the world's biggest planemaker. Boeing shares topped $400 the first time and are currently about $407 each.

German carrier files for bankruptcy

Germania plane
Germania

Berlin-based airline Germania has filed for bankruptcy and cancelled all flights with immediate effect.

The airline, which had 37 aircraft, had flown mainly Mediterranean, North African and Middle Eastern holiday routes for German holidaymakers, and transported more than four million passengers a year.

It blamed rising fuel prices and currency headwinds, among other difficulties.

"Unfortunately, we ultimately failed to successfully complete our financing efforts to meet short-term liquidity needs," said managing director Karsten Balke.

"We very much regret that, as a consequence, we had no choice but to file for bankruptcy."

Ryanair reports third-quarter loss

Ryanair plane
Reuters

No-frills airline Ryanair has reported a €20m loss for the third quarter due to weaker fares.

The airline had warned on profits just a couple of weeks ago, and the company reiterated in its latest results that it could not rule out a further downgrade.

"We do not share the recent optimistic outlook of some competitors that Summer 2019 airfares will rise," Ryanair said.

"In the absence of further EU airline failures, and because of the recent fall in oil prices (which allows loss-making unhedged competitors to survive longer), we expect excess short haul capacity to continue through 2019."