Monday, August 31, 2009

Northrop Grumman's Laser Systems Business Unit Announces Innovative Educational Partnership With Wekiva High School Photonics Academy

APOPKA, Fla., Aug. 31, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC - News) has helped establish the new Wekiva High School Photonics Academy by contributing $20,000 in cash plus laboratory equipment valued at $30,000.
Northrop Grumman, which operates its Laser Systems business unit in Apopka, helped to create the photonics academy in partnership with Orange County Public Schools and Valencia Community College. The Northrop Grumman financial contribution will be used to help defray program costs.
The academy is open to students at Wekiva High School in Apopka, with classes expected to commence later this month. To participate in the program students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average. Students are also required to also enroll in Valencia Community College, where they will receive college credits for the courses taken at the Photonics Academy.
"This is a great opportunity for the students at Wekiva High School and for us," said Gordon Stewart, vice president and general manager of Northrop Grumman Laser Systems. "Once they graduate from this program, they will be well on their way to becoming laser technicians. And, since we have a continuing need for trained and certified laser technicians, we are very pleased to be a part of this innovative education and training process."
Under this first-of-its-kind program, the students will take coursework in mathematics, science, communications, electronics, and optics. An in-depth sequence of laboratory learning experiences will develop the hands-on skills needed for operating and maintaining laser and photonics based systems.
"I am very excited about this opportunity, as it will not only enhance our students academically in establishing relevance to their science and math studies, but also because it will enhance their critical and creative thinking skills," said Wekiva High School principal Dr. D. Elise Gruber. "The opportunity to leave Wekiva High School 'job-ready' in a competitive and financially rewarding field is unique."
Northrop Grumman Laser Systems is one of the world's leading manufacturers of military Electro-Optical (EO) targeting systems. These include ground-based (manportable, handheld, and vehicle mounted) EO imaging/ranging systems for target location, laser designators/markers for precise guidance of smart munitions, and airborne laser rangefinders and designators fielded onboard many of the world's most sophisticated manned and unmanned aircraft.
Northrop Grumman Corporation is a global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

2009 Modern Day Marine Exposition Set for September 29 - October 1

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the international defense industry's most important annual events, the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition, will be held at Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, September 29 through October 1.
This 29th edition of the exposition will again provide Marines, members of other U.S. and allied forces, and civilian defense officials with up-close and personal views of current and future Marine Corps equipment and systems. Representatives from more than 400 companies will display products which support the ground, air and sea operations of expeditionary forces.
The event is sponsored by the Marine Corps League, a 70,000-member Marine Corps veterans' organization, and co-sponsored by Marine Corps Systems Command and Marine Corps Base, Quantico. It is endorsed by the Marine Corps Aviation Association.
Much of the equipment now being employed by Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan was first seen by military leaders, operations planners, acquisition managers, and the end users - air and ground combat Marines - at previous editions of the exposition.
New to the exposition this year will be an Expeditionary Force Aviation Pavilion spotlighting Marine Corps air assets - with emphasis on modernization of the service's air combat element for its worldwide missions. The Aviation Pavilion will present equipment, services and systems designed and produced specifically for Marine air/ground task forces. Marines serving as pilots, in other flying roles, and in aviation maintenance and logistics support have become renowned as innovators. They pioneered many techniques that have become doctrine for close air support by fixed-wing aircraft, defense of airspace, aerial reconnaissance, and employment of helicopters in combat and peacetime support missions.
The 2009 edition of the expo will also again feature special demonstrations in which ground robotics manufacturers will present real-time operations of their equipment over the Robotic Rodeo Demonstration Course.
Hundreds of defense experts, overseeing exhibits throughout several indoor and outdoor display areas, will represent the foremost U.S. and allied industries working to assure this country continues to field an expeditionary fighting force of Marine air-ground task forces better equipped - and even more formidable - than those now serving so successfully in high-tempo operations around the world.
Another of the event's most important activities will be a special, by-invitation-only, Report to Industry presented by Marine Corps general officers closely associated with all aspects of the Corps' equipment and systems research, development, testing and acquisition programs and policies. It will be followed by Marine Corps Systems Command Program Group Director Exhibitor Meetings in which members of industry will receive direct input from the men and women who manage the programs through which Marines acquire and field weapons and equipment for the Marine Corps.
Another special activity is a colorful Enlisted Awards Parade, honoring distinguished Marines and sailors with awards sponsored by the Marine Corps League. Additionally, a black-tie Grand Banquet and Awards Dinner will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Pentagon City section of Arlington, VA.
The 2009 Modern Day Marine Military Exposition is not open to the general public but will have its traditional "Family Day" on Thursday, October 1st - a day during which family members of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel may tour the exhibits to learn more about today's and tomorrow's military equipment, systems and technology.
Companies interested in exhibiting at the 2009 exposition may call Charlie Baisley (703) 812-2741, or may visit the expo web site:
This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit

Innovative Research and Technology Transfer Conference to Be Held in West Virginia for First Time Ever

Morgantown to host mid-Atlantic conference in late fall as researchers and technologists compete for federal SBA R&D funding
MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Researchers and technologists from the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses will gather in Morgantown for the 2009 Mid-Atlantic SBIR/STTR Conference from November 30 through December 2. The event marks the first time West Virginia has played host to a conference focusing on the two nationally competitive U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs -- Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).
The SBIR and STTR programs award more than $2.5 billion to small high-tech businesses. The SBIR program has participation by 11 federal agencies, while five federal agencies participate in the STTR program. The conference is officially hosted by the INNOVA Commercialization Group, an initiative of the West Virginia High Technology Consortium (WVHTC) Foundation, and the West Virginia Development Office.
"We are excited to be hosting the first SBIR/STTR conference to be held in West Virginia," said Guy Peduto, Director of INNOVA. "Participants from several states will take part in this conference, which will see presentations by and interaction with federal agencies, collaboration by attendees and opportunities to match people with resources to obtain federal research and tech transfer dollars."
The purpose of the 2009 Mid-Atlantic SBIR/STTR Conference is to bring together key technology and acquisition personnel from government and industry to enable the transition of SBIR- and STTR-funded research and development into products for government and private sector commercial markets.
West Virginia Department of Commerce Cabinet Secretary Kelley Goes, who oversees the West Virginia Development Office, said the two programs and the conference represent opportunities for this and other states.
"Today's high-tech entrepreneurs must innovate and commercialize to compete globally. This is a pivotal moment for the state to host the SBIR/STTR conference and nurture our high-tech businesses," said Goes.
"West Virginia's 'Bucks for Brains' program helps university research programs hire national talent and was a first step to fostering technology-based economic development. Other ingredients include technology transfer, demonstrations and venture capital that lead to new products, companies and jobs. That's where SBIR and STTR come in.
"These will be new jobs and good jobs for West Virginia and our region. This investment diversifies the economy, while nourishing the current industry base with innovation," Goes said.
Event organizers said that information on the Mid-Atlantic SBIR/STTR Conference is available on the conference web site at The web site will be regularly updated as more information on the conference becomes available.
Several states have indicated strong interest in attending the conference, and a number of federal agencies have already confirmed participation in the form of providing SBIR program managers to speak about their respective programs.
"We are extremely happy with the feedback we have received from federal agencies and from SBIR contacts in a number of states," said Peduto. "We are putting together a strong agenda that will blend federal agency expertise and experience with valuable information from experts."
The INNOVA Commercialization Group, an initiative of the WVHTC Foundation, is a statewide commercialization effort designed to advance economic growth by increasing the number of new products introduced into the marketplace by West Virginia innovators. INNOVA drives this economic advancement by delivering high-quality entrepreneurial education programs, professional technical assistance and seed investment capital to regional businesses.
The WVHTC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Fairmont, W.Va., functioning as an engine of economic change for growing a statewide and regional high-tech business sector. The Foundation has established a multi-faceted approach to maximize economic growth, including emphasis on business infrastructure, research and development, and commercialization and workforce development.
The West Virginia Department of Commerce is the cornerstone of economic development for West Virginia, and through the West Virginia Development Office it serves companies from small entrepreneurs to global corporations. Commerce focuses on attracting and expanding business opportunities in the Mountain State, with a goal of creating good-paying jobs with benefits for the state's citizens.
Contact: Patrick Gregg at or 304.333.6773
This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit

Aerospace Industry Leaders Join the National Technical Systems Engineering Services Group

CALABASAS, Calif.-- Monday August 31, 2009, (BUSINESS WIRE)--National Technical Systems (NASDAQ: NTSC - News) announced today that two leading aerospace industry management experts have joined its Integrated Engineering Services Group.
Mr. Louis Winoski will head the Integrated Engineering Services Group. Mr. Winoski comes to NTS with 23 years of experience in the aerospace industry, having served in ownership and senior leadership roles for a variety of international aerospace manufacturing and design organizations.
Mr. Winoski has worked as President, CEO and member of the Boards at Tubetronics Inc., Vista, CA and Advanced Metal Components Inc., Menlo Park, CA. His international experience includes serving as Managing Director and board member of RSM Fabrications in Farnborough England. Prior to joining NTS, Mr. Winoski completed an assignment with Garner CAD Technik GmbH, a German-based provider of design services to the Aerospace Industry, where he headed its US subsidiary as COO. He concurrently served as Executive Program Manager for PFW Aerospace AG supporting the Boeing 787 Program and its global strategic partners.
Mr. Randy Groom has been appointed to the NTS Engineering Services Advisory Board. Mr. Groom is the former president of Beechcraft, the renowned manufacturer of business and general aviation aircraft that include the KingAir, Baron, and Bonanza brands.
In 2007, Mr. Groom left Beechcraft and established Groom Aviation, a consulting firm focused on improving business strategy, sales, distribution, marketing, product development, customer support, acquisition and divesture support, interim management, and board leadership. He is an accomplished executive and pilot, with an impressive background of improving business operations. Mr. Groom will help guide NTS’ transformation from a testing company to an integrated engineering and testing service organization.
Derek Coppinger, Senior Vice President of NTS, responsible for overseeing the development of the Company’s Engineering Services Group, remarked, “We are delighted that Lou and Randy have joined us. They bring seasoned leadership, significant aerospace experience and strong relationships in the industry. Randy’s addition to our Advisory Board is an endorsement of NTS and affirms our belief that we are responding correctly to evolving market conditions in these challenging times.”
NTS has been providing Engineering and Testing services to the Aerospace industry for over 45 years. Recent acquisitions and investments into growing business units are positioning NTS to provide unparalleled levels of services and offerings to the industry.
About NTS
National Technical Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of engineering and testing services to the defense, aerospace, telecommunications, automotive and high technology markets. Through a world-wide network of resources, NTS provides full life-cycle product integrity support, offering world class design engineering, compliance, testing, certification, quality registration and program management. For additional information about NTS, visit our website at or call 800-270-2516.

The statements in this press release that relate to future plans, events or performance, are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including risks associated with uncertainties pertaining to customer orders, demand for services and products, development of markets for the companies’ services and products and other risks identified in the companies’ SEC filings. Actual results, events and performance may differ materially. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The companies undertake no obligation to release publicly the result of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding National Technical Systems' business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.

China Southern Airlines says 1H profit down 97 pct

China Southern Airlines: 1H profit down 97 pct on lower revenue, weaker foreign exchange gains
SHANGHAI August 31, 2009,(AP) -- China Southern Airlines Ltd., one of China's three major state-owned carriers, said Monday its first-half profit fell 97 percent due to falling revenue and lower foreign exchange gains. Profit for January-June was 25 million yuan ($3.7 million), or 0.004 yuan per share, the carrier said. That compared with 818 million yuan in the first half of 2008.
Traffic revenue fell 9.8 percent to 23.6 billion yuan ($3.5 billion), despite an increase in traffic volume. International routes were the most severely affected.
China's state-owned airlines are struggling with weak demand amid the global economic crisis and have received billions of dollars in aid. China Southern's earnings were also hit by a sharp decline in foreign exchange gains in the first half of the year, due to a slowing in the Chinese yuan's appreciation against the U.S. dollar.
China Southern, based in the southern city of Guangzhou, reported a 4.8 billion yuan loss in 2008.
China Southern Airlines Ltd.:

NCC Sweden Networks 200 Remote Sites and 32 Major Offices Using Solutions From Aruba Networks

Major Scandinavian Construction Group Cuts Cost of Temporary and Fixed Networking by up to 90%
SUNNYVALE, CA--(Marketwire - 08/31/09) - Aruba Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARUN - News), a global leader in wireless LANs and secure mobility solutions, today announced that NCC Construction Sweden has deployed Aruba's Remote Access Point (RAP) solution at more than 200 remote sites and 32 major offices across Sweden. NCC is one of the leading construction and property development companies in the Nordic region. Within the NCC group, NCC Construction Sweden is responsible for projects spread across the length and breadth of one of Europe's largest countries, and its IT department provides data services throughout the service area from its headquarters in Solna, near Stockholm. The simple provisioning, high security, and centralized management of Aruba's remote networking solutions made it the vendor of choice for the project.
RAP software can be loaded into any standard Aruba access point and offers a truly instant-on, no set-up connectivity solution with the security of a VPN but no client software to manage. "Managing the operation of hundreds of remote, temporary offices was previously an expensive challenge, but Aruba's RAP solution has addressed that issue," said Anders Eklind, Datacom Manager at NCC Sweden. "The Remote Access Point has cut the cost of our remote office deployments by 90% compared to our traditional remote site solution. It has similarly reduced support costs. Despite the scope of the region and remote sites we cover, our IT team needs to spend just 5 hours a week deploying, operating, and supporting the 200 plus remote sites currently using Remote Access Points."
In addition to its remote sites in Finland, Russia, Poland and Estonia, NCC Sweden uses Aruba wireless LANs at its 32 major offices across Sweden. The new Malm� office adhered to Aruba's network rightsizing model of deploying wireless everywhere possible, wired LANs only where needed. By running less cable and buying fewer LAN switch ports, NCC Sweden was able to slash the IT installation costs by 50%, netting a savings of $30,000 for a network of 200 users.
"We did not originally set out to deliver a wireless network with 100% coverage at our offices," continued Eklind. "However we ultimately did so because the Adaptive Radio Management built into the Aruba operating system enabled the wireless network to automatically take account of local conditions. The result was excellent wireless performance without a dense deployment of access points."
Network rightsizing is a three step process that matches infrastructure with user needs. The first step entails assessing the actual or projected utilization of closet switches and ports. In a typical facility it is not unusual for 40% of wired ports to be underutilized or not used at all. The second step involves consolidating required ports into fewer switches to lower deployment and maintenance costs, and reduce electricity and HVAC usage. The third and final step involves deploying 802.11n Wi-Fi with Adaptive Radio Management to enhance the mobility and productivity of users who don't need a wired link. Aruba has developed a calculator to show the estimated monetary and CO2 emissions savings resulting from rightsizing.
"NCC Sweden's experience demonstrates that both capital expenditures and operating expenses can be significantly reduced through network rightsizing," said Andreas Ferm, Sales Manager for Aruba Nordics. "Breaking with the tradition of using wired networks not only saved money for NCC Sweden, but also improved employee efficiency and enhanced network security. Especially in these economic times, it makes sense to look for cost savings with fresh eyes, and Aruba's network rightsizing and RAP initiatives have much to offer in this regard."
Additional information about network rightsizing can be found on-line at
About Aruba Networks
People move. Networks must follow. Aruba securely delivers networks to users, wherever they work or roam, using a combination of award-winning solutions:

-- Adaptive 802.11n Wi-Fi networks optimize themselves to ensure that
users are always within reach of mission-critical information. Rightsizing
expensive wired LANs by replacing them with high-speed 802.11n Wi-Fi
reduces both capital and operating expenses;
-- Identity-based security assigns access policies to users, enforcing
those policies whenever and wherever a network is accessed;
-- Remote networking solutions for branch offices, fixed telecommuters,
and satellite facilities ensures uninterrupted remote access to
-- Multi-vendor network management provides a single point of control
while managing both legacy and new wireless networks from Aruba and its
The cost, convenience, and security benefits of our secure mobility solutions are fundamentally changing how and where we work. Listed on the NASDAQ and Russell 2000� Index, Aruba is based in Sunnyvale, California, and has operations throughout the Americas, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific regions. To learn more, visit Aruba at For real-time news updates follow Aruba on Twitter at
� 2009 Aruba Networks, Inc. AirWave�, Aruba Networks�, Aruba Mobility Management System�, Bluescanner, For Wireless That Works�, Mobile Edge Architecture, People Move. Networks Must Follow., The All-Wireless Workplace Is Now Open For Business, RFprotect, Green Island, and The Mobile Edge Company� are trademarks of Aruba Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Jive and Carahsoft Partner to Power Web 2.0 Initiatives in Complex Multiagency Environments

RESTON, Va., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Jive Software, the Social Business Software leader, today announced that its Social Business Software (SBS) is now available via GSA schedule through a partnership with Carahsoft Technology Corp., a leading government IT solutions provider.
Already in use by numerous federal government agencies including members of the U.S. intelligence community, NASA, the U.S. Army and Air Force Medical Services, Jive SBS helps traditionally siloed organizations overcome challenges associated with teams and initiatives being divided by country, region, bureau or assignment.
Carahsoft is a top-ranked GSA Schedule Contract holder that serves as the master government aggregator for many of its best-of-breed vendors. Jive is the only social business platform offered by Carahsoft. As part of this partnership, Carahsoft will provide proactive sales and marketing support to drive demand for Jive SBS in the public sector.
Due to the complex and changing organizational structure at many government agencies, information is often difficult to find or inaccessible, resulting in duplication of effort and lost time. In addition, limited peer-to-peer interaction among government personnel across global offices and the inability to track and manage multiple conversations impedes decision making. Government agencies have historically relied on inefficient email or word of mouth to identify experts and locate relevant content in other bureaus. Information is often trapped in siloed systems, charts and presentations, forgotten archives, or retained by the individual, making it nearly impossible to identify, exchange and analyze data quickly and efficiently.
"Social Business Software is rapidly becoming a top imperative across organizations in both the private and public sectors. Increasingly, government organizations are relying on Jive to find and involve the right people in critical initiatives," said Robert Brown, senior vice president of Client Services at Jive Software. "Our partnership with Carahsoft makes it possible for these organizations to better align with President Obama's call for government transparency, participation, collaboration and innovation."
"Jive supports the public sector as it takes a more collaborative approach to service delivery and policy making through the adoption of social media technologies," said Craig P. Abod, Carahsoft president. "We are pleased to welcome Jive as our leading Web 2.0 solution partner, and to add the company's products to our GSA schedule."
Working with organizations including NASA, the U.S. Army, Air Force Medical Services and members of the U.S. intelligence community, Jive is helping to connect the dots - agency to agency, department to department, people to people and system to system. Jive SBS employs the most rigorous security measures in the industry, and is essentially the defacto standard for the intelligence community, with tens of thousands of users.
About Jive Software
Jive frees people to engage in open, natural business conversations and workflows that typically are trapped inside of emails, phone calls or meetings. As the leading enterprise-class suite of SBS applications for Global 2000 companies and governments, Jive's collaboration software and community software solutions are the first to effectively manage employees, customers, and partners on a unified platform built for tens of thousands of users and millions of page views.
About Carahsoft
Carahsoft Technology Corp. is the trusted Government IT solutions provider, combining technological expertise with a thorough understanding of the government procurement process to help federal, state and local government agencies select and implement the best solution at the best possible value. As a top-ranked GSA Schedule Contract holder, Carahsoft is the largest government partner and serves as the master government aggregator for many of its best-of-breed vendors. The company's dedicated Solutions Divisions support proactive sales, marketing and delivery of Symantec, Storage Solutions, VMware, Adobe, Open Source, HR, HP Software, Intelligence, and SAP.
Carahsoft is consistently recognized by its partners as a top revenue producer and is listed among the industry's fastest growing firms by VARBusiness, CRN, Inc., Washington Technology, and the Washington Business Journal. In 2009, Carahsoft was listed among the top ten revenue producers on the Inc.500 list of fastest growing privately held companies, and received the VAR Business Top Revenue Generator Award. Visit

TuVox and Virgin America Renew Partnership

Airline Signs Three Year Agreement With Leading Speech Solution Provider
CUPERTINO, CA--(Marketwire - 08/31/09) - TuVox, a leading provider of Hosted Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and On Demand speech applications, today announced that Virgin America has renewed their partnership for three years with TuVox to further build-out Virgin America's call routing and voice self service applications.
TuVox has been providing Virgin America guests with no-wait, voice self service since Virgin America first took flight in 2007. This latest agreement extends Virgin America's association with TuVox through 2012.
"Virgin America has always been about providing the air travel industry's best customer experience, whether it be with their revolutionary aircraft or their unique approach to guest service," said John Kirst, TuVox' SVP for Global Sales and Marketing. "From the beginning, Virgin America embraced the idea of having a conversational, state-of-the-art, speech based telephone self service solution that reflected their cutting edge approach to air service."
A TuVox telephone "front door" has always greeted Virgin America's guests who contact the airline via 1.877.FLY.VIRGIN. An expanded array of Virgin America self-service options -- powered by TuVox -- is on deck for deployment in the near future. These customer self-service options include identifying and verifying a guest's identity and then allowing guests to manage their flight itineraries using the power of their voice.
About TuVox
Since 2000, TuVox has become synonymous with superior caller experience. TuVox customers achieve improved customer retention and increased revenue through innovative combinations of technology and live agent service. Companies benefit from reduced costs by optimizing the mix of live and automated service. TuVox caller experience solutions shorten and improve calls by anticipating caller intent, personalizing call flows, and overcoming the limits of touch-tone systems by using natural-language, conversational speech applications. TuVox leverages customer investments in next-generation technology with a choice of hosted or premise deployment. TuVox customers regularly receive awards for innovation and excellence, and include companies such as, AMC Theatres, Canon, Progress Energy, Telecom New Zealand, Time Customer Service, Virgin America and Wachovia.
Visit TuVox on the web at
About Virgin America
Virgin America is a new, California-based airline that is on a mission to make flying good again -- with brand new planes, attractive fares, topnotch service, and a host of fun, innovative amenities that are reinventing domestic air travel. The Virgin America experience is unlike anything else in the domestic skies, with mood-lit cabins, custom-designed leather seats, power outlets, in-flight internet available on every flight, and a video touch-screen and remote control at every seatback that offers guests 25 films, live TV, videogames, seat-to-seat chat, an on-demand food ordering, and much more. The airline's base of operations is San Francisco International Airport's ultra-modern International Terminal.
Since launching in August 2007, Virgin America has captured a list of travel industry best-in-class awards, including: "Best Domestic Airline" by Cond� Nast Traveler; "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards for two consecutive years; and No. 1 among U.S. carriers for quality in First Class in Zagat's 2007 and 2008 Global Airlines Survey.
Visit Virgin America on the web at

AIG weighing many options for ILFC -sources

* AIG, Udvar-Hazy weigh several options for ILFC -sources
* Options include carving out separate firm -sources
* Udvar-Hazy in early talks to buy ILFC portion -WSJ (Rewrites throughout, adds details, byline, changes dateline)
By Paritosh Bansal and Jui Chakravorty Das
NEW YORK, Aug 31 (Reuters) - American International Group Inc (AIG.N) and Steven Udvar-Hazy, head of its International Lease Finance Corp unit, are weighing several options for the aircraft leasing business, including breaking up the company, two sources familiar with the matter said on Saturday.
The alternatives include the possibility of carving out a new, independent company, the sources said, but added that discussions were in preliminary stages and nothing had been determined yet.
Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported that Udvar-Hazy was in early talks to buy a portion of ILFC's aircraft portfolio and start a new leasing company.
AIG and ILFC President John Plueger declined to comment. Udvar-Hazy could not be reached immediately for comment. The sources declined to be identified because discussions are private.
ILFC, one of the biggest customers of Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus (EAD.PA), has been on the block since late last year after its parent's near-collapse.
But a sale has proven to be a challenge due to its mountain of debt and funding needs amid the financial crisis. The company had more than $30 billion in debt, some of which starts to mature in October.
ILFC had a book value of about $8 billion as of June 30, but it drew bids that valued it at less than half that.
In June a source told Reuters that AIG had picked a consortium that included private equity firms Onex Corp (OCX.TO) and Greenbriar Equity Group as the preferred bidder for the unit.
Udvar-Hazy was expected to stay on and head the unit under the new buyer as part of any sale, the second source said. Initially, Udvar-Hazy had considered becoming one of the buyers in a consortium of bidders, but eventually decided against it, the source added.
Another source familiar with the situation said on Friday that the auction process had been paused as AIG's new CEO, Robert Benmosche, reviews the divestiture process.
Benmosche told Reuters this week that the fate of the airplane leasing company was under review. "I am looking at ways we can structure this so we can get more value for what that business is today. Remember that we own more than 1,000 commercial aircraft," he said.
"We have to look at ways of financing the debt on those planes as we continue to take very good, healthy lease income," he told Reuters. (Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Chicago, editing by Eric Walsh)

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne's Space Shuttle Main Engines Deliver Extra Supplies to Expand International Space Station

CANOGA PARK, Calif., Aug. 31, /PRNewswire/ -- Three Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) successfully powered the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery on Mission STS-128 yesterday to deliver extra supplies and equipment to support a six-person crew onboard the International Space Station. The SSME is the world's only fully reusable high performance rocket engine rated for human space flight. Discovery launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on the 30th flight to the space station. Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne is a United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX - News) company.
"The additional crew and supplies are extremely valuable to scientific research and discovery, and we're proud to help NASA as it continues to expand the International Space Station," said Jim Paulsen, SSME program manager, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. "The successful launch speaks volumes about our talented, dedicated work force."
Discovery's main payload is the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, which is carrying extra supplies and equipment to help establish a six-astronaut crew capacity on the space station. The payload includes science and storage racks, a treadmill and a crew quarter. In a series of spacewalks, astronauts will also remove and replace material processing equipment outside Columbus, the European Space Agency's laboratory, and retrieve an empty ammonia tank assembly.
Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc., a part of Pratt & Whitney, is a preferred provider of high-value propulsion, power, energy and innovative system solutions used in a wide variety of government and commercial applications, including the main engines for the space shuttle, Atlas and Delta launch vehicles, missile defense systems and advanced hypersonic engines.
Pratt & Whitney is a world leader in the design, manufacture and service of aircraft engines, space propulsion systems and industrial gas turbines. United Technologies, based in Hartford, Conn., is a diversified company providing high technology products and services to the global aerospace and commercial building industries.