AAV News in Brief 15 March 2021

Amadeus, Aviation Festival Asia, BOC Aviation, CHC, Babcock International, Indra, China ATM, CFM, Titan Airways, Embraer, AirSprint, Skandia, Air New Zealand, Qantas, CommonPass, Nova Systems

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Domestic traffic is rising in some Asia-Pacific countries but international traffic is still being held back by COVID-19. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Use this oneAmadeus rolling out digital travel pass: Aviation technology provider Amadeus is jumping on the digital travel pass bandwagon with its release of Traveller ID, a secure platform for its travel provider customers, that connects, digitises and automates traveller identification and document validation across the traveller journey, while meeting regulatory requirements. This platform connects the health certification touchpoints end-to-end, integrating multiple stakeholders involved in the process, providing a secure and frictionless way for passengers to show that they have the health documentation needed to travel. Privacy and security have been central to the design of Traveller ID, ensuring that passengers choose when and where they want to provide digital evidence of their health status. Amadeus is integrating this solution with multiple health information aggregators, such as CommonPass and ICC AOKpass1, to enable travellers to retrieve digital records through the provider of their choice, without leaving the airline website, mobile or app. The platform also has direct connections to test centres partnering with airlines.

Aviation Festival Asia physical event postponed: Having postponed Aviation Festival Asia to later this year in June, the event’s organisers have been keeping a close eye on the global situation to ensure the event runs safely. With the recent vaccine news, IATA’s digital COVID 19 passport and a solid plan from various regions to vaccinate the greater population by the end of 2021, everything is looking positive however progress has perhaps not followed everyone’s initial expectations.  As a result, in order to appropriately run Aviation Festival Asia as a physical conference, more time is clearly needed to allow the airline industry and regions to recover. As a result, organisers said the physical event will be pushed back to 22-23 February 2022. Organisers said the online event in 2021 will still take place on 22-23 June 2021.

BOC Aviation earns US$510 million net profit: BOC Aviation said it earned a net profit of US$510 million in 2020. Total revenues and other income exceeded US$2 billion for the first time in 2020, up 4 percent year-on-year, and total assets rose to US$23.6 billion as of 31 December 2020, 19 percent higher than 2019. Operating cash flows net of interest paid increased 13% for the full year compared with 2019. The company said it had increased its purchase and lease back activity, reduced and deferred orders from manufacturers in the near term. BOC Aviation delivered 54 aircraft to airline customers, taking its owned and managed fleet to a new high of 398 aircraft.

CHC acquiring Babcock oil and gas aviation business: CHC Group, one of the world’s leading helicopter services and maintenance, repair and overhaul providers, announced that it has entered into a conditional agreement for the acquisition of the oil and gas aviation business of Babcock International Group. The business provides offshore oil and gas crew transportation services in the UK, Denmark and Australia. It is headquartered in Aberdeen (UK), employs over 500 people and operates around 30 aircraft across its three locations. The deal, which is subject to pre-closing conditions, is expected to complete in the second calendar quarter of 2021.  It is intended that CHC will seek clearances for the transaction from antitrust authorities in the UK and Australia, though completion is not conditional upon such clearances being received. Financial details were not disclosed.

Indra deploys ATM systems to China: Indra has won new contracts to deploy up to 35 navigation aid systems in China, which will reinforce safety at airports and along major air routes. The new contracts bring the number of systems of this type deployed by the company in China to over 950, in addition to the automation systems implemented in control centres and towers, surveillance radars, communications and information systems, which takes the total amount of ATM systems deployed over the 1,000 mark and bolsters the company’s leadership in the Chinese ATM market. Specifically, Indra will deliver DVOR and DME systems that enable aircraft to determine the angle and distance they are from a specific point on the ground, in order to perform precision approaches to airports and track airways once they are en route. The new systems will be supplied by Indra’s team in Australia and deployed with the help of the company’s professionals in Beijing. The work carried out from Indra’s centres in these two countries has enabled the company to overcome the mobility constraints imposed by COVID and continue providing a service as normal to its customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region, a market in which aviation is already recovering.

First CFM-powered A321P2F delivered to Titan Airways: Titan Airways has taken delivery of its first passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft, a CFM56-5B powered Airbus A321P2F. The delivery is the first of three Airbus A321 converted passenger to freighter aircraft on order. The UK airline is among the first carriers in the world to operate the converted aircraft since the plane’s initial production in 2020. The aircraft is leased to Titan Airways by an investment vehicle managed by affiliates of BBAM Limited Partnership (BBAM), which oversaw the aircraft conversion, together with Airbus affiliated partners, that was completed in Singapore. In 2020, Titan also took delivery of its first A321neo powered by LEAP-1A engines. The Airbus A321 Passenger to Freight conversion program was launched by ST Engineering and Airbus through their joint-venture Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in 2015. Modifying an A321 from passenger to the P2F version involves integrating a large main deck cargo door in the forward fuselage, plugging the passenger windows and deactivating most passenger doors. It’s also more fuel efficient, resulting in lower emissions.

Embraer delivers Praetor 500 conversion to AirSprint: Embraer has delivered the first conversion of a Legacy 450 to a Praetor 500 jet for AirSprint Private Aviation. The Canadian fractional ownership company has another Legacy 450 scheduled to convert to a Praetor 500 this year, in addition to the delivery of a brand-new Praetor 500, also in 2021. With these additions, AirSprint will have three Praetor 500s in their fleet, and a total of nine Embraer aircraft. In total, Embraer has already converted 16 Legacy 450s into Praetor 500s in Europe and North America. The full conversion process can be performed at Embraer Owned Service Centres. “We are continuously looking for ways to elevate and enhance our Fractional Owners’ experience,” said James Elian, president of AirSprint, “The introduction of the Legacy 450 to the fleet in 2016 was a game changer for AirSprint as it opened up the world to our fractional owners like never before. With an increase in range of 15 percent over the Legacy 450, the Praetor 500 is the perfect complement to the fleet and the next step towards providing our fractional owners with direct access to many more destinations, more experiences, and more opportunities.”

Skandia awarded EASA STC for acoustic soundproofing: Skandia has received final EASA STC approval on its acoustic soundproofing kit for the Bombardier Global line of large cabin business jets. FAA STC approval was received in late 2020. Skandia engineered and tested the soundproofing kit for the Global aircraft in 2020. The kit delivers an exceptional cabin experience, reducing overall dB(SIL) levels significantly with minimal net weight penalty. The available Global kit is provided as turnkey with installation schematics and instructions for a straightforward install process. Jarod Triplett, Skandia’s president, has led the company’s effort to offer the business aircraft market approved turnkey acoustic solutions to the full-spectrum of aircraft sizes and classes, from turboprop to large-cabin jets. This latest soundproofing kit from Skandia adds to the list of over 80 airframe-specific soundproofing kits available.

Air New ZealandAir New Zealand resumes quarantine-free flights to Sydney and Melbourne: Air New Zealand has resumed quarantine-free flights to Sydney and Melbourne following an update from the Australian government. Quarantine-free flights to Brisbane remain suspended until 20 March at the request of the Queensland government. Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says the airline is operating three Auckland-Sydney services and two Auckland-Melbourne services today to enable customers impacted by the travel suspension to get to where they need to go. Customers travelling to Melbourne are required by the Victoria state government to apply for a Victoria Travel Permit prior to check-in. Those commencing their air travel in Auckland and travelling to Melbourne or Sydney are required to carry out a COVID-19 test within 72 hours after their arrival and remain in self-isolation until a negative test result is received.

Qantas trials CommonPass: Qantas has run its first customer trial of the CommonPass digital health app on its international repatriation flight from Frankfurt to Darwin. This follows a successful trial with crew last month and comes as the national carrier prepares to support the resumption of COVID-safe international travel from late October. The CommonPass smartphone app offers a convenient and secure method for verifying COVID test results and vaccination information to border or health officials and airline staff. The app connects customers to certified testing labs so that results can be uploaded to the platform and customers can show they have proof of a negative COVID test result  before their flight, which is a requirement on all repatriation flights Qantas is operating on behalf of the Australian government. CommonPass is one of two digital solutions that Qantas is assessing, alongside the IATA Travel Pass.

NOVA Systems tests UAS traffic management system: Nova Systems, a multinational engineering services and technology firm, and OneSky, a global UTM company developing airspace assessment, operations, and traffic management solutions, announced the successful completion of Singapore’s first Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Traffic Management (UTM) trials. This brings to a close a two-year consortium project led by Nova and co-founded as part of the UAS Call-For-Proposals (CFP) by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS). It marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s journey towards a future driven by UAS technology, as private and government sector stakeholders look deeper into the possibility of the large-scale, integrated deployment of such technology in Singapore’s unique urban environment. To conclude the trials, a UTM demonstration was held for CAAS on 10 March 2021. Using a mix of live flights and simulations, the demonstration showcased key developments and findings from the team’s work in UTM technologies over the past two years, in particular the handling of the mass deployment of drones flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight. The technology developed and lessons learned present numerous opportunities for Singapore’s UAS industry as a whole with large-scale drone deployment capable of supporting a range of critical operations, including surveillance patrols and delivery of essential supplies.

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