By Tim Hepher PARIS (Reuters) - After dramatically improving sales of its A320 jet by revamping it with newer and more efficient engines, Europe's Airbus is studying whether to apply the same formula to the larger A330, industry sources and analysts said. Sales of the 20-year-old A330 have enjoyed an unexpected boom in recent years after three years of delays in Boeing's radically new 787 Dreamliner drove many airlines to invest in the cheaper and proven Airbus model. But momentum is fading and analysts say Airbus faces questions over whether it can maintain current A330 production rates in the second half of the decade without something else to offer airlines trying to contain their high fuel bills. "They have been doing fine with the A330 because Boeing was late, but it is becoming painfully obvious that Boeing has newer technology than the A330," said Adam Pilarski, senior vice president at U.S.-based aviation consultancy Avitas. Officially, Airbus is happy with the way sales of its most popular big jet are holding up, following a steady pattern of design tweaks that have increased range and capability. Last month it sold 25 A330s worth $6 billion to AirAsiaX . But behind the scenes, suppliers and industry experts say Airbus is looking seriously at whether to re-engine the A330 to cut fuel consumption, something AirAsiaX is also pushing for. "It is being discussed. It is one of the options in the mix," said an industry source briefed on the plans. Airbus said it had nothing to add to recent comments made by a senior marketing executive, Crawford Hamilton, who told Air Insight website there was no immediate pressure to revamp the A330. Airbus holds its annual news conference on Monday. The idea of a facelift for A330 is not new. Airbus originally planned to compete with the 787 with such a maneuver but abandoned it for a bolder and costlier carbon-fiber A350, which is due to enter service this year. Now, after a turbulent period of ambitious and challenging plane developments, the world's largest aircraft manufacturers are once again focusing on derivatives of existing models. Since the A350 is on its way, a revamped A330 would now address a smaller market niche. Still, the decision could have an impact on the broader battle between planemakers. Fresh competition from the A330 could, at least for a while, sap margins for the 787 by forcing Boeing to offer bigger discounts. For Airbus, it could provide profits that keep open a lifeline of cash for other projects. CONCERNS OVER RESOURCES The proposal must first overcome concerns about scarce engineering resources and satisfy Airbus bosses that it can generate an adequate return without drawing away sales from the A350. With execution risk uppermost in the minds of investors, Airbus is heavily focused on testing and preparing the A350 for first delivery, expected in the last quarter of this year. At the same time, it needs to decide whether to add a bigger version to the A350 series to compete with Boeing's new 406-seat 777X mini-jumbo. The A350-1000 will seat 350 people. Some industry experts said that on paper, Airbus could tackle a A330 re-engining project and a larger A350, informally nicknamed A350-1100, at the same time as engineers start to come off other the main A350-900 version. But the business case would have to stack up first. After a decade of costly developments and rollercoaster share prices, Airbus has pledged to focus on doubling its margins by 2015. Shares in parent EADS, recently renamed Airbus Group, have doubled in the past year on the success of the re-engined A320 but the wide-body market is fragmented and harder to navigate. Analysts say an A330 engine upgrade would cost at least $1 billion, much of which could be picked up by engine makers Rolls-Royce or General Electric . Modifications needed to carry the latest engines, which need more room and weigh more while using less fuel, could treble the cost. The industry source briefed on the situation said Airbus was not expected to make a decision for at least a year. That might leave time for Airbus to resolve yet another dilemma - what to do about the smallest member of the A350 family which lies closest to the 250-300-seat A330. Airlines are steadily ditching the A350-800 for the next-largest model. But some analysts say Airbus cannot afford to wait. "The most likely entry to service date (for a re-engined A330) would be 2018, but for that they would need to make a decision pretty soon," said Leeham Co analyst Scott Hamilton, who has blogged actively about the A330 re-engining idea. "A re-engining would give the A330 another 10 years of life but it would accelerate the demise of the A350-800 which is likely to fall away as customers upgrade," he said. (Editing by Peter Graff)
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden's first calls to foreign leaders went to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at a strained moment for the U.S. relationship with its North American neighbors. Mexico's president said Saturday that Biden told him the U.S. would send $4 billion to help development in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala — nations whose hardships have spawned tides of migration through Mexico toward the United States.
- The Telegraph
Russian police detained Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, at a protest in Moscow on Saturday as demonstrations in support of the opposition leader swept across Russia. Authorities detained at least 1,600 people at unauthorised rallies in Moscow and dozens of cities across the country, with some reports of violent clashes between protesters and riot police. At least 10,000 people joined protests in Moscow, according to estimates, in a test to Vladimir Putin. Protests began in Russia’s Far East and Siberia on Saturday morning. Seven time zones east of Moscow, about 3,000 people marched across the city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, chanting “Navalny!” In Novosibirsk, chants “Putin is a thief” rang out in freezing minus 19 C temperatures as opposition supporters walked across the city to the main square.
A U.S. aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt has entered the South China Sea to promote "freedom of the seas", the U.S. military said on Sunday, at a time when tensions between China and Taiwan have raised concern in Washington. U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement the strike group entered the South China Sea on Saturday, the same day Taiwan reported a large incursion of Chinese bombers and fighter jets into its air defence identification zone in the vicinity of the Pratas Islands.
- Associated Press
President Joe Biden attended Mass for the first time since taking office, worshipping Sunday at the church he frequented when he was vice president. Biden, the nation’s second Catholic president, picked Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood, a few miles from the White House. It's where the nation’s only other Catholic president, John F. Kennedy, often went to Mass.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), incoming chair of the Senate Budget Committee who caucuses with the Democrats, told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Democrats plan to push a coronavirus relief package through the chamber with a simple majority vote. Why it matters: "Budget reconciliation" would allow Democrats to forgo the Senate's 60-vote requirement and could potentially speed-up the next relief package for millions of unemployed Americans. Democrats hold the the 50-50 split in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie-breaking vote.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.What he's saying: "What we cannot do is wait weeks and weeks and months to go forward. We have got to act now," Sanders said. * "We're going to use reconciliation — that's 50 votes in the Senate, plus the vice president — to pass legislation desperately needed by working families in this country right now." * When asked if he wants a relief bill passed before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins the week of Feb. 8, he said: "We've got to do everything. This is not — you don't have the time to sit around, weeks on impeachment and not get vaccines into the arms of people."Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America.
- NBC News
"I couldn't believe it, it was like an animal. That's the only way I can put it, it was like an animal," the woman said of the assault in Harlem.
A prominent U.S. Senate Republican warned on Saturday that former President Donald Trump's second impeachment trial could lead to the prosecution of former Democratic presidents if Republicans retake the chamber in two years. Trump this month became the first U.S. president to be impeached twice after the Democratic-controlled House, with the support of 10 Republicans, voted to charge him with incitement of insurrection for a fiery Jan. 6 speech to his followers before they launched a deadly assault on the Capitol.
- Business Insider
Barely any time has passed since President Biden's inauguration, and Republicans have already returned to their bag of shenanigans.
- Yahoo News Video
It's a club Donald Trump was never really interested in joining and certainly not so soon: the cadre of former commanders in chief who revere the presidency enough to put aside often bitter political differences and even join together in common cause.
- Associated Press
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday said Israel will be closing its international airport to nearly all flights, while Israeli police clashed with ultra-Orthodox protesters in several major cities and the government raced to bring a raging coronavirus outbreak under control. The entry of highly contagious variants of the virus, coupled with poor enforcement of safety rules in ultra-Orthodox communities, has contributed to one of the world's highest rates of infections. It also has threatened to undercut Israel's highly successful campaign to vaccinate its population against the virus.
President Vladimir Putin would respond in kind if the new U.S. administration showed willingness to talk, a Kremlin spokesman said on Sunday, while also accusing Washington of meddling in mass protests in support of detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The Kremlin also downplayed the scale of Saturday's demonstrations, which saw police detain more than 3,000 people and use force to break up rallies across Russia. Prior to the protests, the U.S. Embassy in Moscow had issued a "Demonstration Alert", warning U.S. citizens to avoid the protests and naming the venues in Russian cities where protesters planned to gather.
- NBC News
Speaking with NBC's "Meet the Press," Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., called the impeachment trial "a moot point."
President Biden plans to sign executive orders each day this week that will address issues from racial inequity to climate change, report says
Biden's second-week of executive orders will reportedly address American workers, racial equity, climate change, health care, and immigration.
- Associated Press
Four Zimbabwean Cabinet ministers have died of COVID-19, three within the past two weeks, highlighting a resurgence of the disease that is sweeping through this southern African country. President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the coronavirus is reaping a “grim harvest” in the country. Then came the death of the transport minister.
Germany expects British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to deliver 3 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in February despite the company's latest production problems, Health Minister Jens Spahn told Bild am Sonntag newspaper. AstraZeneca informed European Union officials on Friday it would cut deliveries of its COVID-19 vaccine to the bloc by 60% to 31 million doses in the first quarter of the year due to production problems, a senior official told Reuters. The decrease deals another blow to Europe's COVID-19 vaccination drive after Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech slowed supplies of their vaccine to the bloc this week, saying the move was needed because of work to ramp up production.
Stripped of presidential powers and silenced online, can Trump still make a political comeback?
- NBC News
Samuel Camargo faces four charges including civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities said that they seized an Iranian tanker and Panamanian tanker suspected of carrying out the illegal transfer of oil in their country's waters Sunday. The tankers — the Iranian-flagged MT Horse and the Panamanian-flagged MT Frea — were seized in waters off Indonesia's West Kalimantan province, said Wisnu Pramadita, a spokesman for the Indonesian Maritime Security Agency.
- Miami Herald
Six days after Daytona Beach area man Bobby Scott was last seen, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office arrested DeLand man Michael Harris Saturday night for Scott’s murder.
India said it will administer homegrown coronavirus vaccine COVAXIN in seven more states from Monday as it seeks to inoculate 30 million healthcare workers across the country. The government this month gave emergency-use approval to the vaccine, developed by Bharat Biotech International Ltd and state-run Indian Council of Medical Research, and another licensed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca PLC that is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.