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Aviation News in Brief 19 October 2020

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Use this oneIATA welcomes US military report on risk of catching COVID-19 on a flight: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) welcomed the release of the results of testing by the United States Transportation Command (US Transcom) confirming the low risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard an aircraft. The US Transcom testing, which was conducted in August, found that “the overall exposure risk from aerosolized pathogens, like coronavirus, is very low” on the types of airline aircraft typically contracted to move Department of Defense (DOD) personnel and their families, US Transcom stated. More than 300 aerosol releases, simulating a passenger infected with COVID-19, were performed over eight days using United Airlines Boeing 767-300 and 777-200 twin aisle aircraft. The US Transcom testing showed that the aerosol was “rapidly diluted by the high air exchange rates” of a typical aircraft cabin. Aerosol particles remained detectable for a period of less than six minutes on average. Both aircraft models tested removed particulate matter 15 times faster than a typical home ventilation system and 5-6 times faster “than the recommended design specifications for modern hospital operating or patient isolation rooms.” Testing was done with and without a mask for the simulated infected passenger.

Aircraft Support Industries signs deal with North American Aerospace Industries: Aircraft Support Industries (ASI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with North American Aerospace Industries (NAAI) for the development of three new dedicated aircraft recycling facilities including the facility planned at the Global TransPark in Kinston, North Carolina, USA. The other two facilities being constructed will be located at Al Ain International Airport in the Emirate Abu Dhabi, UAE and Clark International Airport in The Philippines. In providing its services ASI will rely on a phased-in project development approach. Phase one will focus on a custom-designed 30,000 square meters dismantling hangar that can accommodate three of the largest aircraft such as the A380. ASI will apply its proprietary stressed arch building system along with a 7,500 square meters annex for the construction of the 100-meter span hangar. The annex will be used to house the engineering support workshops and materials warehousing for the NAAI facility in the USA and facilities in the Middle East and Asia. Subsequent phases include for a two bay wide body MRO hangar and a dedicated wide body painting hangar.

RUAG International is selling parts of the business at Oberpfaffenhofen: RUAG International is selling its maintenance, repair and operation for business aircraft and military helicopters, as well as the production of the Dornier 228 at the Oberpfaffenhofen location to General Atomics Europe. Both companies signed a corresponding agreement on 30 September 2020. The new owner will take over all 450 employees. General Atomics Europe will take over all business activities related to maintenance work for private and military aircraft, as well as the manufacture and maintenance of the Dornier 228 aircraft. General Atomics Europe will take over all 450 employees. The takeover is still subject to approval by the responsible authorities. The transfer of ownership (contractual closing) is expected to be completed this year. The parties have agreed not to disclose the contractual terms.

Honeywell acquires Ballard Unmanned Systems: Honeywell has acquired assets from privately held Ballard Unmanned Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southborough, Mass.-based Ballard Power Systems Inc. Ballard Unmanned Systems designs and produces stored-hydrogen proton exchange membrane fuel cell systems that power unmanned aerial systems (UAS), particularly those used for energy inspection, cargo delivery, and other commercial and defense applications where demand for UAS services is growing. Honeywell is acquiring the key intellectual property, inventory and equipment of Ballard Unmanned Systems. Ballard’s team of fuel-cell experts will also join Honeywell as part of the acquisition. Fuel cells function much like traditional batteries but with a key difference: They don’t run out of power or need to be recharged. A fuel cell uses the chemical energy of hydrogen or another fuel to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity. Unmanned aerial systems powered by fuel cells can fly longer distances, are quiet and have zero greenhouse gas emissions.

Sabre and American Airlines renew global distribution agreement: Sabre and American Airlines have renewed their long-term, worldwide distribution agreement. Under the renewed agreement, Sabre will continue to distribute American Airlines flights and services through the Sabre travel marketplace, ensuring that Sabre connected-agencies will continue to have access to the same American Airlines content, including branded fares, ancillary products and services. American Airlines is a long-standing Sabre customer employing Sabre’s travel marketplace as well its SabreSonic reservations system, and multiple other airline IT solutions. With a partnership that extends over 20 years, Sabre and American are committed to delivering relevant and meaningful content that helps connect travelers with experiences that matter in their lives.

Air Methods chooses Airbus HCare to support its fleet of 31 EC145 helicopters: Air Methods Corporation – the largest civil operator of Airbus helicopters worldwide with more than 450 aircraft in operation – has signed a US$24 million, five-year HCare Smart support contract with Airbus Helicopters to cover its fleet of 31 EC145 helicopters. This is Air Methods’ first HCare contract with Airbus, and discussions are underway to extend similar support coverage to other aircraft models in the Air Methods fleet, which also includes the H125, H130, H135 and H145.  Air Methods is the leading air medical service provider, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. Air Methods has a fleet of owned, leased, or maintained aircraft with more than 450 aircraft. HCare is Airbus Helicopters’ comprehensive services offering, delivering tailor-made and competitive solutions to customers. It spans five domains: material management, helicopter maintenance, technical support, training and flight operations, and connected services, with experts available on-call 24/7. The HCare material management service starts out with Easy (on-request catalogue services) and Smart (four by-the-hour options), before progressively building up to Infinite (full availability commitments).

AirAsia and GE Aviation implement network operations software: GE Aviation has partnered with low-cost carrier AirAsia to implement the Network Operations Insights (NOI) to help reduce flight disruption impacts and save costs across AirAsia Group’s airlines.  Network Operations Insights (NOI) highlights the impact and cost of a disruption enabling airline operations managers to make data driven decisions as the operations change in real time. Before NOI, obtaining the data from multiple systems was very manual and impractical. Now, live views quantify impacts of operational disruptions on passengers, crew, costs and revenue. Managers can run what-if simulations of cancelations, delays or downgrades to assess options and they can review disruption event history to identify potential process improvements.

VALLAIR leases two A321-200 freighters to SmartLynx Malta: VALLAIR, the mature aircraft and asset specialist, and launch customer for the A321 freighter conversion (A321F), has signed an agreement with SmartLynx to lease two newly converted A321-200 freighters. The aircraft will be the first cargo planes to be operated by SmartLynx. Vallair has been engaged in cargo conversions since 2015 and is the launching lessor of the Airbus A321 freighter. The A321F is the greenest narrowbody freighter currently available. “Converting younger aircraft into freighters certainly has environmental advantages,” VALLAIR said in a statement. “As the technology used within the aircraft is younger by default, operators of this freighter can expect to see a 20 percent reduction in fuel burn per payload. With the surge in demand for air cargo as a result of the pandemic, and the availability of feedstock, we believe that the A321F will be the future of e-commerce and satisfy market demands for the next 20 years.”

Inmarsat to support new digital aviation R&D centre: Inmarsat announced that it will provide engineering support, communications services and equipment to Cranfield University’s Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre (DARTeC) consortium, supported by Honeywell Aerospace. Set to open at Cranfield University during the first quarter of 2021, DARTeC will spearhead UK research into digital aviation technology. The centre will address the most pressing research challenges facing the aviation industry, including the integration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles into civilian airspace, increasing the efficiency and reliability of airports and aircraft through technology, and creating a safe and secure shared airspace. Inmarsat and Honeywell Aerospace will support the Centre’s research by providing Aspire 400 satellite communications terminals, airtime and engineering expertise in the Saab 340B flying testbed and test lab for evaluation and development of future applications and solutions. The Saab 340B will effectively serve as a ‘flying laboratory’ to evaluate multiple advanced radar systems and airborne digital communications.

Uber Elevate and GE Aviation partner on ridesharing program: Uber Elevate selected GE Aviation’s Digital Group as an ecosystem partner for their aerial ridesharing programme. The initial phase of the programme will develop requirements for a flight data monitoring program to support electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles on the Uber platform. The Uber Elevate team is working toward transforming the world through aerial ridesharing at scale. Initial launch of its Uber Air service is planned for 2023 utilising —electric VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) aircraft in Dallas and Los Angeles.  Flight Data Monitoring (FDM), is the process of analysing and reviewing routinely recorded flight data. Airlines and operators that adopt Flight Data Monitoring are better able to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards in flight operations. Since its introduction in the airline industry more than 20 years ago, Flight Data Monitoring has been widely credited with reducing incident and accident rates at airlines and aircraft operators where it has been adopted.

SKY express orders four A320neo aircraft: Athens-based airline SKY express has placed a firm order for four A320neo aircraft, becoming a new Airbus customer. In addition, the Greek airline recently leased two A320neos from ACG Aviation Capital Group and on that occasion joined the global list of 430 Airbus operators. The airline has selected CFM-International’s Leap-1A engines to power its aircraft. The οwner of SKY express and head of IOGR Group of Companies, Ioannis Grylos, said: “Our cooperation with Airbus, through the acquisition of six brand new Α320neo aircrafts, meets our ambition to modernize our fleet and have our company transition to a new era. The combination of the most advanced technology along with the fuel efficiency that this type of aircraft offers, are elements that perfectly match the business planning of SKY express for a contemporary fleet that respects the environment and offers safe and quality services to its passengers.” At the end of September 2020, the A320neo Family had received 7,450 firm orders from over 110 customers worldwide.

Airinmar selected by Wizz Air for warranty management services: AAR subsidiary Airinmar signed a new services agreement with European low-fare carrier Wizz Air. Airinmar will provide a full suite of warranty management services covering airframe, engines and components. The agreement covers the identification, claim and recovery of the multiple airframe, engine and component warranty entitlements provided by Airbus and its suppliers. These services will integrate with Wizz Air’s current materials management activities and focus on maximizing the recovery of Wizz Air’s warranty entitlements and reducing the cost of aircraft maintenance. “We are delighted to expand our services with Wizz Air, Central and Eastern Europe’s largest ultra-low-cost carrier” said Matt Davies, Airinmar general manager. “With a proven track record of already delivering our value engineering services to Wizz Air, we are excited to continue our contribution to Wizz Air’s ambitious growth and sustained success over the coming years.”

Micro Nav completes ATC tower sim project in Qatar: Micro Nav has completed a project to design, deliver and commission a 360° 3D Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower simulator for Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) at Hamad International Airport, as well as a technical refresh of the existing Micro Nav ATC simulators. This included hardware, software, consoles, training and a 10-year support agreement, and civil works by Bayanat Engineering. The Beginning to End for Simulation and Training (BEST) simulator was delivered to Qatar’s ANSP to support the country’s growth, and accommodate increased airport demands. In addition, it will be used for supporting the development of operational procedures and testing proposed changes. The BEST 3D Tower simulator was installed in the new Air Traffic Control Centre and Training facility at Hamad International Airport and provides them with the next generation in high fidelity ATC simulation capability. The simulator utilises 18 high-performance Norxe projectors, each operating a solid-state optical engine and providing stable high performance, reliability and longevity. Comprising the latest Micro Nav Visual Display System, the simulator features a curved Glassfibre Reinforced Plastic (GRP) screen and Automatic Display Alignment System (ADAS) with split mode display operations and enhanced viewing capability to complete the 360° 3D tower environment. The ADAS solution allows the customer to save time and money through the fast projector alignment process, matching brightness and colour across the full 360° display, with no need for third party involvement, or specialist skills.

HAECO Xiamen completes first A350 C-check: HAECO Xiamen, a member of the HAECO Group, announced that it has completed its first Airbus A350 C-Check for Cathay Pacific Airways. This redelivery marks another significant milestone in the development of HAECO Xiamen’s capabilities. With around 370 Airbus A350 aircraft now in operation, the aircraft type is well received by airlines from around the world. HAECO Xiamen is dedicated to expanding its technical capabilities so it can meet the growing demand for airframe services support for new generation aircraft in the aviation industry. HAECO Xiamen currently holds approval from multiple authorities around the world for all major and new generation commercial aircraft types, including A320neo and Boeing 787. HAECO Xiamen will continue to ensure the highest standards in terms of safety, quality, and on-time performance to provide best-in-class aircraft maintenance services for customers worldwide.

US Customs and Border Protection expands King Air fleet: Textron Aviation announced it was awarded a contract for the 26th and 27th Beechcraft King Air 350CER turboprop aircraft for the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO). The Beechcraft King Air 350CER is designed and manufactured by Textron Aviation. The agency’s aircraft are equipped with a sophisticated array of technology that can be deployed for ground interdiction operations, air-to-air intercept operations and medium-range maritime patrols, including active and passive sensors and an optimized communications suite. The aircraft are operated by skilled crewmembers who employ the mission equipment and coordinate information flow to the ground.

airbus-posts-loss-in-q1-as-company-faces-gravest-crisis-the-aerospace-industry-has-ever-knownWTO to authorise tariffs on $4 billion in Boeing subsidies case: The WTO has announced its decision that the European Union will be authorised to impose tariffs on US$4 billion of US goods exported to the European Union every year. This follows four previous WTO panel and appellate reports from 2011 to 2019 confirming that subsidies to Boeing violate WTO rules. The decision finds that illegal subsidies to Boeing cost Airbus US$4 billion dollars in lost sales and market share annually. The EU Commission has already completed its public consultation on the planned countermeasures and has published the preliminary list of US products they will apply to, including Boeing aircraft. Airbus fully supports the EU Commission in taking the necessary action to create a level playing field and seek a long overdue agreement.

FL Technics signs deal with Wizz Air: FL Technics, part of Avia Solutions Group, has signed a long-term contract to support international low-cost carrier Wizz Air Abu Dhabi with complete Continuing Airworthiness Management (CAM) services. FL Technics will perform continuous airworthiness management for Airbus A320 NEO and CEO family aircraft, and will provide full CAM services in accordance with the requirements of the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) ensuring a proper control in AMOS system. The scope of work is not limited to full CAM services. It will also cover other engineering services, which Wizz Air requires on a regular and ad hoc basis.

dnata goes live at six Australian airports with Hermes 5: dnata has gone live with Hermes Logistics Technologies (HLT)’s Cargo Management System (CMS) Hermes 5 (H5) at six airports across Australia. H5 is a scalable CMS offered as a cloud-based Software as a Service, which streamlines cargo ground handling processes in the warehouse, and can be used with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms to optimise business and handling processes. dnata now has H5 as part of HLT’s New Generation (NG) suite of cargo management applications across its facilities in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Darwin, Perth, and Brisbane. Extensive H5 generated events populate a massive data lake and can now be run through machine learning algorithms in the Hermes cloud to produce predictive models helping dnata to refine their cargo handling offering. Hermes NG’s modules can be used on a pay-as-you-go basis, and as a cloud-based system, no extra IT infrastructure is required to host them, allowing for maximum flexibility and savings on capital expenditure.

L3Harris selected for BAA Training: L3Harris Technologies has been selected by BAA Training to supply eight new flight training devices (FTDs) to further support BAA Training’s expansion programme. L3Harris will install the new FTDs at BAA Training’s locations across Europe and Asia from 2021. The agreement builds on the purchase of full flight simulators (FFS) announced in March 2020. The eight FTDs are for a combination of A320, 737 MAX and 737 NG aircraft. All devices will be certified to European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Level 2 and provide a realistic training environment incorporating an enclosed cockpit, visual system and aircraft specific controls. The devices will support BAA Training with upcoming EASA regulatory changes, which allow for a better mix of training time to be recognized across the device suite. The devices will also feature L3Harris’ latest instructor station that has been redesigned to provide an instructor centric experience, supporting effective training from the start of each session.

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