AAV News in Brief 27 February 2022

EHang, GKN Aerospace, Skybus, Airhub Airlines, Constant Aviation, SAEI, Liebherr, Vallair, Satair, VD Gulf, SWISS, Lufthansa Technik, Air Sial, EPCOR, AFI KLM E&M

Singapore-based Mystifly


CAAC adopts special conditions for EH216-S AAV type certification: EHang, an autonomous aerial vehicle (AAV) technology platform company, announced that the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has formally adopted the Special Conditions for EH216-S1 AAV Type Certification, which was effective on 9 February and published on the CAAC website on 22 February. The Special Conditions provides EHang with basis for compliance and safety of EH216-S AAVs, including flight performance, structures, design and constructions, propulsion systems, systems and equipment, data link and ground control station. The company expects to deploy the EH216-S unmanned aircraft system in low-altitude passenger-carrying commercial operations in the Urban Air Mobility sector.

GKN Aerospace-led Skybus collaboration project completes feasibility studies: The Skybus collaboration project has reached a key milestone by completing the initial feasibility studies. The research project has explored the potential for a six-rotor, 30-person eVTOL concept to help decarbonise and decongest urban landscapes. The studies have identified significant opportunities for air ‘buses’ to feasibly operate alongside air taxis in future air mobility transport networks. The Skybus consortium also developed a Thames-based Vertiport concept as well as economic models and demand forecasts for a London based intra-city use case, with further analyses now to be carried out. GKN Aerospace is the leading Tier 1 airframe supplier for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) platforms, and leading the Skybus project has helped develop further understanding of the emerging UAM sector. Skybus was launched in January 2021 in order to explore the feasibility for mass transit eVTOLs of this size to operate from Vertiports on scheduled journeys in the future, akin to bus network on today’s roads. These would operate alongside air taxis to help bypass road congestion in major cities – reducing travel time and emissions – and potentially improve access to more remote areas, such as islands and mountainous regions.  A successful zero emissions mass transit system in the air would also ease congestion on the road network, reducing overall travel time, cost and emissions for all travellers.

Airhub Airlines expands aircraft portfolio: Airhub Airlines has inducted one A330-343 into the fleet, bearing the Maltese registration 9H-AHQ (MSN 1754). The addition of a new aircraft type will strengthen the competitive position of Airhub Airlines in the ACMI and charter market, complementing its product and services. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 772B-60 engines, the five-year-old aircraft is the youngest in the Airhub Airlines fleet, having performed its maiden flight in December 2016. According to the Ch-Aviation Aircraft database, the subject aircraft is considered one of the top three youngest widebody aircraft bearing a Maltese registration. The young age of the aircraft will offer Airhub Airlines and its customers better fuel efficiency gains and enhanced technical reliability. The A330 will be in ZERO LOPA configuration, supplementing the cargo fleet of Airhub Airlines. The aircraft bear a maximum volume of 256 m3 and a payload of 50 tons, respectively. The maiden flight under the Airhub Aviation livery is scheduled for the next week. The 9H-AHQ will be deployed on all international markets worldwide, including the USA, India, Vietnam, Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

FAA approves Constant Aviation’s safety management system: Constant Aviation announced that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recognised it as having a single, corporate-wide Safety Management System (SMS), making it only the second maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) so designated. Achieving FAA-Accepted Corporate SMS status means that Constant is operating under a single safety system companywide, which generally reduces safety risk and ranks it as a leader in business aviation maintenance safety. “The improvements throughout our organization because of SMS implementation are clear, as evidenced by this latest recognition by the FAA,” said Constant Aviation Chief Executive Officer David Davies. “This honour underscores that we are a leader in moving from a reactive safety culture to one that is highly proactive, continuously improving and dynamically driving safety organization-wide.” SMS is the standard for safety programmes in aviation worldwide. Although SMS processes are optional for MROs such as Constant, they are seen as highly beneficial and frequently are requested by both domestic customers and foreign certificate holders.

SAEI and Liebherr deepen their collaboration: Saudia Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI) and Liebherr-Aerospace have expanded their collaboration by renewing their current component service agreement and signing a new General Term Agreement for heat exchanger services. The cooperation between the two companies began in 2017, when SAEI selected Liebherr to repair the flight controls and air management equipment on-board the SAUDIA Airbus A320 and 32 A330 aircraft. In 2021, SAEI renewed its trust in the OEM with a multi-annual extension of this Components Service Agreement. This long-term collaboration evolved now further with the signature of a new General Terms Agreement, through which SAEI will join Liebherr’s network for heat exchangers services. SAEI will thus have the in-house capabilities to handle heat exchanger tests or cleaning on behalf of Liebherr-Aerospace for all equipment operated in the Middle East region.

Vallair opens new multi-purpose hangar in France: Vallair has opened the doors to its new maintenance hangar located at Marcel Dassault Airport in Châteauroux, France. The facility can accommodate up to five A321 size aircraft simultaneously, or a combination of A330/A340 and A321s. Grégoire Lebigot, founder and CEO of Vallair, said “We are part of ‘Aérocentre’, the regional centre of excellence in Centre-Val de Loire that works to develop and sustain the aeronautical sector across the area with over 120 member organisations. Vallair stands as one of its key players over the last fifteen years and we are proud to be part of the rich aviation heritage in the heart of France.” Parking and storage at CHR airport can already accommodate widebodies and Vallair believes this is the perfect timing and opportunity to enhance its capabilities and reach those airlines who are presently struggling with maintenance slots. Vallair will initially focus on Airbus A330 heavy maintenance capabilities with a view to adding A340, A350, and possibly Boeing B777 capabilities in the near future. In-house cargo conversion services will also commence with narrowbodies and quickly expand to a range of other popular platforms, including widebodies.

Satair and VD Gulf extend supply deal: Satair, an Airbus Services company, and VD Gulf, a commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company, renewed their partnership with an extended agreement that covers spares for Boeing and Airbus aircraft while utilising Satair’s Dubai warehouse. With growing relations over the last seven years, this deal further strengthens the partnership between Satair and VD Gulf. The agreement has global coverage and is set to go into effect from 23 February 2022. Oleg Novak, VD Gulf’s chief pperating officer, said: “We are pleased to strengthen our strong, long-standing relationship with Satair. With this agreement, we are able to provide a greater level of parts support to our valued customers.” Terry Stone, Satair’s managing director and head of sales and support, EMEA, added: “We are increasing Satair’s footprint in the Middle East and enhancing our support efforts for the regional MRO community, and we look forward to building further on our strong partnership with VD Gulf.”

SWISS equips entire Boeing 777-300ER fleet with AeroSHARK: SWISS has decided to equip its entire Boeing long-haul fleet with the fuel-saving AeroSHARK surface technology. Starting in the middle of the year, a total of 12 Boeing 777-300ERs will gradually be fitted with the riblet films developed jointly by Lufthansa Technik and BASF. The significantly reduced frictional resistance resulting from this modification will make the sub-fleet more than one percent more fuel-efficient and lower in emissions. With approximately 950 square metres of riblet film, the modification of the “long” Boeing 777-300ER will be even larger than the 800 square meters on the Boeing 777F of AeroSHARK’s launch customer Lufthansa Cargo. The potential for fuel and CO2 savings on this scale is around 1.1 percent. Converted to the operational profile of the 12 Boeing 777-300ERs at SWISS, this means annual savings of more than 4,800 tonnes of kerosene and roughly 15,200 tons of carbon dioxide, as much as is usually generated on approximately 87 long-haul flights from Zurich to Mumbai.

Air Sial signs APU deal with EPCOR: Air Sial has signed an exclusive long-term contract with EPCOR for the comprehensive maintenance of the auxiliary power units (APUs) equipping its fleet of three Airbus A320 aircraft. EPCOR has designed an adaptive, competitive offer for its new customer, adapted to the needs of a young airline. As part of the AFI KLM E&M network, EPCOR is providing Air Sial with its airline-MRO mindset: the benefits of its first-rate technical know-how, as well as its experience as an operator in the management of the maintenance plan. In order to secure its operations and limit the risks of AOG, Air Sial will be able to rely on PROGNOS for APU, the predictive maintenance solution developed by EPCOR. Maintenance services will be delivered by EPCOR, the AFI KLM E&M subsidiary that is recognised worldwide for its expertise on a wide range of APUs solutions. Thanks to this extensive know-how, Air Sial will benefit from a single point of contact to facilitate its operations. Indeed, the particularity of its fleet is that it includes both Pratt & Whitney APS3200s and Honeywell GTCP131-9As. Two types of APU for which EPCOR is the world’s leading dual licensed APU MRO.

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