AAV News in Brief 22 November 2021

GE Aviation, AUTOFLUG, Diehl Aviation, Stratos, Women in Aviation and Logistics, Rostec, Etihad Cargo, SPEEDCARGO, FIATA International, SAMAD Aerospace, Aerosud Aviation, Airpoints, Aergo Capital, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, flypop, Hi Fly, Spirit AeroSystems, PacSim, Aero Strategies Group, J&C Aero

ground crew
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

GE Aviation validates durability of GE9X: The FAA-certified GE9X, designed specifically for the Boeing 777X, has accomplished another milestone, with a new series of tests validating the enhanced durability of the engine. GE Aviation engineers injected a stream of dust debris into a GE9X test engine to analyse how it would perform throughout the entire flight envelope, from take-off through cruising speed and landing. These test simulations represent the everyday flying the GE9X engine will perform in some of the harshest environments found around the world. The GE9X is infused with the latest technology from GE’s toolbox, including a highly efficient, next-generation 27:1 pressure-ratio high-pressure compressor; a third-generation low emissions TAPS III combustor; more than 300 3D-printed parts including dust separation technology via a 3D-printed particle separator; and lightweight and durable ceramic matrix composite (CMC) material in the combustor and turbine. GE Aviation anticipates it will complete GE9X Extended-range, Twin-engine Operations (ETOPS) testing, which supports FAR Part 33 and Part 25 certification, in the first half of 2022.

AUTOFLUG, Diehl Aviation join forces: AUTOFLUG and Diehl Aviation are joining forces to provide solutions for equipping transport aircraft to meet mission requirements. To this end, representatives of both companies have signed a cooperation agreement. The MULTIBASE modular pallet system from AUTOFLUG serves as the basis. Using the system, transport aircraft can be individually equipped and converted for the respective mission in the shortest possible time. Diehl Aviation is complementing the existing broad range of AUTOFLUG equipment with further essential components, allowing for a much greater variation in use. Drawing on its decades of experience in equipping passenger cabins with various modules, the company has developed its own solutions that are compatible with the MULTIBASE concept. Such modules contribute, for instance, to significantly increasing operational mobility and the possible mission duration. A crew rest compartment specially developed by Diehl for use on the AUTOFLUG MULTIBASE allows the cockpit crew to be changed during the flight, thereby considerably extending the flight time. The sleeping compartment is soundproofed and makes it possible for a crew to take rest periods during a long-haul flight. Up to four crew members can sleep comfortably in the compartment. There is also plenty of privacy and storage space for personal belongings. Ambient lighting and individual connection options for personal equipment provide for a comfortable stay.

Stratos announces its second ABS: Stratos announced it is the servicer of the new aircraft-backed ABS, SOLRR 2021-1, which raised US$706.5 million of securitised debt for a portfolio of 22 narrowbody aircraft leased to 10 airlines in eight countries. The equity was provided by a fund managed by Sculptor Capital Management and press reports indicate that the debt achieved the tightest three-class pricing in the aircraft securitisation market to date. Deutsche Bank was sole structuring agent and bookrunner and the deal featured widely distributed A, B and C notes. Moody’s rated the transaction. The 22 aircraft were all acquired since the onset of the COVID crisis, all with leases in place and purchased via a combination of sale/leasebacks from various lessors. With over 40 percent of the lessees rated investment grade, a weighted average life of 4.2 years and most of the fleet in developed economies, the deal represents one of the highest quality aircraft portfolios introduced to the market. This is the second ABS for Stratos and this fleet will increase Stratos’ portfolio under management to just under 60 aircraft and confirms its position as one of the fastest growing independent aircraft servicers.

Call for mentees for Women in Aviation and Logistics: Movement for change Women in Aviation and Logistics (WAL) is calling for mentees to sign up to its mentorship programme and for organisations to nominate their aspiring young female professionals to join the free-to-access scheme. The new WAL Mentorship programme, which will kick start in January 2022, is designed to support and encourage the next generation of female leaders in the aviation and logistics industry, bringing them together with a mentor who can introduce them to new ideas, help build confidence, and share knowledge and insight. The scheme is free to join and requires a minimum four-hour commitment over four months, with mentees asked to provide a short write-up at the end of their mentorship. “The air cargo industry needs to have more female leaders and we are proud to take concrete steps to make this happen,” said Céline Hourcade, founder and managing director, Change Horizon, and co-Founder, WAL. “A more diverse air cargo industry will be stronger, more resilient and more sustainable.” WAL will be matchmaking mentors and mentees this December ready for a January start. Mentee nominations close on 10 December.

Rostec starts flight tests of upgraded Ka-32A11M: The upgraded Ka-32A11M fire-fighting helicopter produced by Russian Helicopters took off for the first time and began flight tests. The rotorcraft fitted with new engines, radio-electronic equipment and fire extinguishing system is to undergo preliminary and certification tests in 2022-2023, after which it will be available for Russian and foreign customers. The first flight of the Ka-32A11M took place in hover mode at the flight-testing complex of the Kumertau Aviation Production Enterprise (KAPE) in Bashkortostan. The Ka-32A11M was first presented at the MAKS-2021 Aviation and Space Salon. The modernisation program of Ka-32 includes equipping it with a “glass cockpit” with an onboard avionics system, more powerful VK-2500PS-02 engines, and a new fire extinguishing system. VK-2500PS-02 engines will significantly improve flight performance of the helicopter in hot and mountainous environments. According to calculations of engineers, helicopter load-carrying capacity in such conditions can be increased by the value of about 1600 kg.

Etihad Cargo to deploy AI-powered airfreight loading: Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Aviation Group, has entered into a Proof-of-Concept agreement with SPEEDCARGO, the leading-edge logistics technology solutions provider, to utilise the Singapore-based provider’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) products to boost cargo capacity on flights. The agreement makes Etihad Cargo only the second aviation company worldwide to leverage the CARGO EYE dimensioning system, and among only a few global carriers to trial SPEEDCARGO’s AI-powered CARGO MIND software solution, which delivers optimal cargo space planning and utilisation in seconds in full adherence to regulations and business constraints. CARGO EYE, developed with Microsoft’s Time-of-Flight sensing technology, captures imagery of incoming cargo and calculates accurate dimensions based on cargo type, size and packaging in real time, while seamlessly integrating the data into existing warehouse management systems. The solution also feeds data into CARGO MIND to accurately build load plans, monitor and promote data compliance, and identify damaged cargo to reduce potential claims.

Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award 2021: FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations and TT Club, international freight transport insurer, revealed this year’s global winner of the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award (YIFFYA) during an online event. FIATA and TT Club announced that Justin Goedhart, the regional winner of Region Africa and Middle East, representing SAAFF, South Africa, has been awarded the title of Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year. “With his dissertation, presentation and video today focused on the international shipment of rhinos and large ball mill, Justin has demonstrated exemplary understanding, knowledge and passion for his profession – showing how the next generation is truly resilient and adequately equipped to meet the current and future challenges of the supply chain”, said Michael Yarwood, TT Club’s Managing Director, Loss Prevention.

SAMAD Aerospace signs MOU with Aerosud Aviation: SAMAD Aerospace is pleased to announce that it has signed an MOU agreement with Aerosud Aviation for the development and manufacturing of its fully electric VTOL Starling Cargo aircraft. Aerosud Aviation is a South African aerospace engineering company specialising in commercial aerostructure part design and manufacturing for international Tier 1 suppliers. The Starling Cargo aircraft will be remotely piloted with auto pilot capability. It will have a cruising speed of 83 knots, flight ceiling of 10,000 feet and a range of up to 117 nm. The electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft will enable flexible point to point air cargo of up to 60 kg payload. The SAMAD Aerospace team have seen interest in its Starling Cargo aircraft from a number of industry sectors that need to transit high value cargo.  These include oil and gas corporations, gemstone mining companies, medical logistics and emergency response companies.

Airpoints is launching its own credit card in 2022: Airpoints, Air New Zealand’s loyalty programme, will launch a portfolio of products, starting with its own credit card in 2022, to take Kiwi travellers further and faster than they’ve ever been before. Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the airline is focussed on bringing back the magic of travel, and the airline’s most loyal customers need to be taken care of first. “At a time when travelling is limited, we’re looking at different ways to connect with our customers. Our own branded credit card will deliver new and innovative ways for customers to earn Airpoints Dollars. From the very first swipe, it will provide Airpoints members with best-in-class rewards and a range of exclusive benefits tailored to how people will travel in a post-pandemic world.” To ensure digital technology and innovation is at the heart of the project, Airpoints is working in partnership with hummgroup to develop a unique credit card that looks beyond traditional travel rewards and benefits. hummgroup will be the creditor and issuer of this Air New Zealand branded credit card and will bring deep expertise to the partnership with a number of credit card and BNPL products in New Zealand, Australia and Europe. The Airpoints credit card will be available in 2022 and will sit alongside Air New Zealand’s existing co-brand cards, giving 2.6 million New Zealand based Airpoints members additional opportunity to earn Airpoints Dollars and be rewarded with other great benefits.

Aergo Capital delivers DHC-8-Q400 aircraft: Aergo Capital delivered two DHC-8-Q400 aircraft bearing manufacturers serial number 4185 and 4180 to 748 Air Services. The first delivery was completed during October 2021 and the second on 12 November 2021. The 2007 and 2008 vintage aircraft are two of the 20 DHC-8-Q400 acquired by the Aergo group earlier in 2021. Fred Browne, CEO of Aergo, commented: “We are delighted to add another customer to Aergo’s growing customer base with the delivery of these aircraft to 748 Air Services. It is exciting to be working with one of East Africa’s premier air charter services and we look forward to future cooperation with 748 Air Services. We continue to see growing appetite from the regional traffic sector which we believe will lead the recovery post COVID. This delivery confirms Aergo’s strategic focus on the investment in the regional and turboprop space.”

Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines expand codeshare: Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced that they will reactivate their codeshare arrangement between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, and expand it to include 15 domestic points in Malaysia, seven destinations in Europe, and two cities in South Africa. This follows the announcement that Malaysia and Singapore will launch a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangement beginning 29 November 2021, providing customers with seamless journeys for their business or leisure travel. The substantial expansion of the codeshare arrangements, within Malaysia and beyond the two countries, comes amid the gradual reopening of international borders and an increase in the demand for air travel. From 29 November 2021, Singapore Airlines customers will be able to progressively connect on Malaysia Airlines services out of Kuala Lumpur as the carrier adds 15 new codeshare destinations in Malaysia. These are Alor Setar, Bintulu, Johor Bahru, Kota Kinabalu, Kuala Terengganu, Kuantan, Kuching, Labuan, Langkawi, Miri, Penang, Sandakan, Sibu, and Tawau. From 1 January 2022, Malaysia Airlines customers will be able to connect on SIA flights from Singapore to seven points in Europe Barcelona, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Moscow, Munich, Rome, and Zurich as well as Cape Town and Johannesburg in South Africa.

flypop partners with Hi Fly to meet international cargo demand: flypop has confirmed that it has partnered with Hi Fly airline to commence its zero LOPA cargo operations. Hi Fly is the largest widebody aircraft wet lease specialist in the world, EASA and IOSA certified and FAA approved, with AOC’s in Portugal and Malta, and licensed to operate globally. The airline operates a large fleet of all Airbus aircraft, Airbus A320, A330 and A340. (Nino) Navdip Singh Judge, CEO of flypop, said, “This is another major milestone in the flypop journey as we have inducted the first of our four aircraft.  We hope our cargo routes will assist with the global demand for cargo and help to alleviate cargo shortages for the Christmas holidays and beyond.” flypop is focused on serving the Indian and South Asian diaspora communities living in the UK and their visiting friends and relatives. flypop believes the most effective way to start flying operations is with cargo until the frequency cap on UK-India flights is increased. flypop plans to commence its first passenger services between London Stansted and India once the global pandemic situation becomes clearer. Several destinations on the Indian subcontinent are currently being considered including Amritsar, Hyderabad, Goa, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi and Chandigarh.

Spirit AeroSystems wins composites award: Spirit AeroSystems has won the 2021 SME Excellence in Composites Manufacturing Award (Large Company) for its advanced composite wing spoiler program for the Airbus A320 aircraft family. The spoilers are produced using Spirit’s pioneering Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) technology at its Prestwick, UK facility. Spirit leveraged its unmatched design-for-manufacturing expertise to redesign the A320 spoiler to a fully integrated, out-of-autoclave, single-shot RTM solution. The new spoiler production system delivers significantly improved manufacturing and cost efficiencies, including reduced energy consumption and material waste, compared to the previous hand laid-up, honeycomb core stiffened, and autoclave cured process. The elimination of multiple autoclave cure cycles means that production requires fewer tools and a shorter flow time, contributing to a more sustainable process. By redesigning the product and production system in parallel, Spirit was able to evaluate alternate design architectures, material and process selections, tooling approaches, assembly solutions, and equipment configurations. The end result is a highly automated system, which is optimised across quality, rate, and cost.

PacSim delivers FTD to North Carolina: New Zealand FTD manufacturer Pacific Simulators (PacSim) has delivered another flight simulator into the USA. Aero Strategies Group (ASG) based in Morrisville, North Carolina, took delivery of a NextGen ProJet PS4.5 FTD, which is a fully enclosed, fixed-base simulator representing the Boeing 737NG. ASG have established a brand-new, training center which is located just 5 minutes’ drive from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. The training facility can accommodate multiple ground school schedules and provides exclusive use of all onsite amenities. The PacSim FTD includes the all new PacVision 220° Visual System and spacious Instructor Station suitable for training larger student groups. The ASG Center and FTD will be used by local flight schools and airlines for a range of different training applications. ASG’s president, Tom Armstrong was excited at the handover. “We started this journey with PacSim earlier this year and they have done a brilliant job to complete the project despite the challenges the Covid pandemic has thrown at them. The simulator itself is terrific and we look forward to building our business around this great training tool.”

J&C Aero receives first EASA Part 145 approval: J&C Aero, an international aviation design and production company, has announced the receipt of its first EASA Part 145 approval and the launch of an in-house Component Repair Shop. In addition, the company is set to more than double its production and MRO facilities in early 2022. Received in October 2021, the EASA Part 145 approval certifies J&C Aero to conduct in-house component maintenance and repairs, covering air conditioning and pressurisation, doors and hatches, electrical power and lights, equipment, windows, and structural components. The company will provide in-house component MRO services at its newly launched Component Repair Shop in Vilnius, Lithuania. Currently, J&C Aero operates 1500 sqm facilities that include cabin interior design, production and print shops, as well as testing laboratories, a warehouse, and the recently launched component repair shop. By the end of 1Q 2022, J&C Aero plans to more than double its main facilities near Vilnius International Airport (VNO) by increasing total space to 3500 sqm.

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