AAV News in Brief 3 May 2021

AIX, ABL Aviation, Pegasus Airlines, Christchurch Engine Centre, Leonardo, Safran Nacelles, Corsair, JetBlue, Airbus, Cebu Pacific, Korean Air, Textron Aviation, Spirit AeroSystems, Evergreen Aviation Technology, Ventus, Sky Logistica, Skyport, Barfield, Donecle, Lufthansa Technik

(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Use this oneAIX and WTCE 2021 transition to virtual: Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo (WTCE) and Passenger Experience Conference (PEC) will transition to a virtual event in 2021, taking place 14-16 September. Speaking about the announcement, Polly Magraw, event director at Reed Exhibitions, said: “We know how much people want to get back to meeting face-to-face.  But the situation around the world remains unpredictable due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing challenges and global restrictions on international travel faced by the global aviation sector.  We have therefore made the difficult decision to postpone our physical events to June 2022. This has been another incredibly difficult decision to take, and we are very disappointed that we will not be able to bring the industry together in person in 2021, but we believe it is the right course of action at this time. We remain extremely grateful to all our stakeholders, partners, exhibitors and visitors for their understanding and patience and we look forward to seeing you all face to face again from 14-16 June 2022 at the Hamburg Messe.”

ABL Aviation ‘e-delivers’ second A320NEO for Pegasus: ABL Aviation, the global independent aircraft investment management firm, said it has successfully completed another e-delivery of a new Airbus A320neo aircraft for Pegasus Airlines, on behalf of ABL Aviation’s Japanese partner. The transaction follows the first 100 percent remote delivery of an aircraft, also arranged by ABL Aviation for Pegasus Airlines last April in the immediate wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both arrangements reflect ABL Aviation’s focus on technology-led solutions to ensure the aviation industry continues to innovate and drive efficiency.  During the pandemic, the e-delivery also secures a safe working environment on behalf of investors, clients and employees. E-deliveries comprise three phases: technical acceptance completion, electronic transfer-of-title; and ferry-flight and subsequent reception of the aircraft at the customer’s base. E-deliveries mean that none of the customer’s own staff need to be physically present at the Airbus delivery centre, making it more environmentally friendly too. Nishimura & Asahi acted as legal counsel to the lessor, Clifford Chance represented the lender, and Holland & Knight acted on behalf of Pegasus Airlines.

Christchurch Engine Centre celebrates 20 years: Christchurch Engine Centre, a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and Air New Zealand, celebrated its 20-year anniversary recently. The Christchurch Engine Centre employs approximately 350 people and is one of the world’s best-in-class centres performing maintenance, repair and overhaul work for the V2500 engine. The  V2500 engine is offered through IAE International Aero Engines AG, a multinational aero engine consortium whose shareholders comprise Pratt & Whitney, Pratt & Whitney Aero Engines International, Japanese Aero Engines Corporation and MTU Aero Engines. It is the engine of choice for the A320ceo passenger and cargo airlines around the world, including Air New Zealand. Employees celebrated the milestone with an afternoon tea that opened with appreciation remarks from Graham Jack, general manager at Christchurch Engine Centre. “We operate in a very competitive global marketplace, but thanks to the integrity, hard work and quality of service delivered by our employees, past and present, we’re able to put Christchurch on the map and attract business from all over the world,” said Jack. “I’ve been with this company for 25 years and still look forward to coming to work and working alongside some incredibly talented people.”

Leonardo opens Helicopter Training Academy in the US: Leonardo announced a further major reinforcement of its presence and customer service and technologies in US with the official opening of a new Helicopter Training Academy, located on the existing campus in northeast Philadelphia that also includes production, support and administrative functions for the United States. The new academy was first announced at the 2019 Heli-Expo in Atlanta and, despite the challenges of COVID-19, was able to open two years later, on schedule. The new academy in Philadelphia is part of an $80 million investment in United States operations that will provide training services for a growing demand and need for pilots, cabin crews and maintenance technicians across North and South America. The Training Academy in the US will mirror the services provided by its sister facility in Sesto-Calende (Italy) offering ground, air and virtual training and leverages also simulator capabilities jointly developed by Leonardo and CAE and operated by their Rotorsim JV.

Safran Nacelles signs 12-year contract with Corsair: Safran Nacelles said it has signed a 12-year contract with Corsair for the nacelles of its five Airbus A330neos. With this contract, Safran Nacelles commits to the repair of the nacelles and the general service of the thrust reverser at the time of their programmed removals with the support of its network of experts for on-site nacelle inspections and its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) centres. Alain Berger, Safran Nacelles’ executive vice president for sales and marketing commented: “I am delighted that Corsair is renewing its trust in Safran Nacelles following their first contract on their Airbus A330ceo nacelle fleet in 2019. This new contract for the A330neo nacelles demonstrates that we are a partner of choice when it comes to the support and service of its nacelles.” Safran is an international high-technology group, operating in the aviation (propulsion, equipment and interiors), defence and space markets.

JetBlue takes delivery of A321LR with first Airspace interior: US-based JetBlue Airways has taken delivery of its first of 13 A321LR aircraft featuring Airbus’ new Airspace interior. These new A321LRs support JetBlue’s plan to open its highly anticipated transatlantic services, starting with direct flights to London later this year. In addition to these 13 new A321LRs, the airline also has on order another 57 Airbus aircraft comprising other A321neo variants – which will also feature Airspace cabins. By bringing Airspace to the Single-Aisle Family, JetBlue’s A321 cabins will be the very first to feature Airbus’ new award-winning cabin design-language and passenger-pleasing cabin features — which are consistent with Airbus’ A330neo and A350 Widebody aircraft. Robin Hayes, CEO of JetBlue Airways Corp. said: “At JetBlue we are eagerly looking forward to introducing the Airbus A321 Long Range single-aisle aircraft with Airbus’ Airspace interior for our new transatlantic services. These aircraft will allow us to offer our customers attentive, boutique-style service, while also ensuring ample personal space, larger overhead bins, customised lighting and a design that gives the cabin a widebody feel.”

Cebu Pacific delivers first Chinese vaccines: Cebu Pacific recently delivered the first government-procured vaccine shipment from Beijing, China to Manila in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH). A total of 500,000 doses of Sinovac vaccines arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). The continuous arrival of vaccines underpins the Philippine government’s commitment to curb the cases of COVID-19 in the country as it paves the path to recovery. “Our number one priority is to get the country back on track, and we are doing all we can to secure millions of vaccines from various sources all over the world. Collaborating with airlines in this endeavour is of utmost importance – the sooner we secure the vaccines and the faster these are distributed, the quicker we can finally get past this pandemic,” said vaccine czar, Sec. Carlito Galvez, Jr., chief implementer of the National Task Force against COVID-19. These vaccines, carried via a chartered A330 flight, were immediately released to the DOH upon arrival at the NAIA. These are expected to be strategically distributed to various provinces in the archipelago in the coming days, which CEB can fully support through its widest domestic network. To date, Cebu Pacific has already transported more than 760,000 doses of vaccines, approximately 264,000 of which were delivered to six key cities in the Philippines, namely Bacolod, Cotabato, Puerto Princesa, Tacloban, Tuguegarao, and Zamboanga.

Korean Air expands baggage notification service to all routes: Starting 1 May, Korean Air’s baggage notification service, will be available for all international and domestic flights. Passengers will receive a message such as “Your baggage KE123456 has been loaded on flight KE1211 bound for Jeju (CJU)” on Korean Air’s new mobile app “Korean Air My” as soon as their checked baggage is successfully loaded on their aircraft. The messages can be checked in the app’s notifications or baggage tracking sections. The push notification service is available for SKYPASS members who have enabled push notifications on “Korean Air My.” The service is based on the Baggage Reconciliation System (BRS) developed by Korean Air, which scans and verifies barcode information created during check-in before loading onto the aircraft. The BRS ensures that baggage is loaded onto the correct flight and not overlooked. Korean Air began the service from June 2020 for international flights departing from Incheon Airport, and continued to expand to flights departing from many overseas airports. The expansion of the service to all international and domestic flights is expected to improve customer experience by providing real-time information and enhance baggage handling procedures, especially at domestic and small international airports where it has been done manually.

Deliveries for King Air 360 and 260 aircraft to commence in Brazil: Textron Aviation has achieved certification from the National Civil Aviation Authority of Brazil (ANAC) for its newest twin-turboprop aircraft models, the Beechcraft King Air 360/360ER and King Air 260, clearing the way for deliveries to begin in country this quarter. “The Beechcraft King Air´s operational versatility is its key selling point in Brazil and around the globe,” said Marcelo Moreira, vice president of Sales, Latin America. “The King Air is a high-performance turboprop that can operate in almost any environment, from large metropolitan airports to short unprepared strips, which is why the aircraft is so popular in this region of the world.” With nearly 500 King Air turboprops operating throughout the country, Brazil has the second-largest active fleet of King Airs outside of the United States. The aircraft is a popular choice by owners in large metropolitan areas to connect them with remote farms or factories in the interior of the country, as well as reaching vacation getaways or international locations. “The Beechcraft reputation for quality and robustness, along with the combination of efficiency and advanced technology in the cockpit and cabin, ensure the latest King Air models meet nearly all of the needs of an owner with one aircraft,” Moreira added.

Spirit AeroSystems signs JV with Evergreen Aviation Technology: Spirit AeroSystems announced a planned expansion of its aftermarket presence in the Asia-Pacific region by signing a joint venture agreement with Evergreen Aviation Technologies (EGAT). The new agreement is expected to complement Spirit’s recent acquisition of Applied Aerodynamics and last year’s acquisition of select Bombardier assets, and further strengthen its global maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities. Under the joint venture agreement, Spirit and EGAT will form a new company, Spirit Evergreen Aftermarket Solutions (SEAS), and will transfer repair capabilities to SEAS, increasing manufacturing expertise and services to meet growing fleet demands in the region. Previously, Spirit entered into a multi-year agreement with EGAT in September 2020 in which Spirit provided maintenance services in the Taiwan facility on products the aerostructures company manufactures, including the 777 GE90/Trent800 nacelle, 737 CFM56-7B thrust reverser, and flight control surfaces along with broader nacelle MRO services on the CF6 powered aircraft and A320. By enhancing this existing commercial agreement with a joint venture agreement, Spirit and EGAT will continue working to expand capabilities to better service customers in the region.

Ventus, Sky Logistica acquire Skyport: Infrastructure investment firm Ventus and Singapore company Sky Logistica have acquired Prague-based Skyport, a central European air cargo infrastructure company. Skyport is the leading cargo handler at Prague Airport in the Czech Republic and also has operations in Bratislava and Košice, both in Slovakia. Skyport operates in a modern semi-automated airside facility and processes more than half of all air cargo passing through Prague Airport. The airside cargo handling facility in which Skyport operates was acquired by Singapore-headquartered Elite Logistics Fund in connection with the acquisition of Skyport by Ventus and Sky Logistica. Ventus is an infrastructure investment and asset management firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Founded in 2020, it focuses on investing in air cargo and robotic industrial infrastructure mainly in Europe and North America.

Barfield, Donecle sign drone inspection deal: Barfield, a subsidiary of Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) in the Americas, continues to expand its active participation in the UAV industry by signing a partnership agreement with Donecle, an innovative Inspection Drone manufacturer, whose product allows a range of airplane structure inspections. This agreement is another milestone in the development of Barfield’s UAV growth strategy. “We are extremely happy to be partnering with Donecle. We have been studying the Donecle development and results with AFI KLM E&M and found that Donecle is now offering solutions which are not only increasing the quality of airplane inspection but increasing the team productivity as well. This is exactly the type of solutions Barfield brings to the market and we strive to continue along these lines for this strategic addition to our expertise in aircraft engineering,” said Herve Page, Barfield’s CEO.

Airbus, Lufthansa Technik partner on cargo in the cabin: Airbus and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) have signed a cooperation agreement to co-develop temporary “Cargo in the Cabin” solutions for A330s. This new Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) solution will enable operators to load cargo into the cabins of their A330-200 and A330-300 aircraft. Under the agreement LHT owns the STC and will provide the modification kits for customers, while Airbus’ role as the OEM includes providing technical data, engineering validations and operational calculations. The procedure consists of first removing the seats and then installing industry standard “PKC” pallets and nets on the main deck. This configuration takes advantage of the A330’s good operational economics and versatile cabin. This new solution offers a volumetric cargo capacity of around 78m3 on the main deck of an A330-200 with 12 PKC pallet positions and 18 nets. Meanwhile, the A330-300’s main deck cargo capacity will be around 86m3 with 15 PKC pallet positions and 19 nets.  Finnair is the launch customer. The operator modified an Airbus A330 at its home base in Helsinki, the approval process for the STC is underway. The simple embodiment can be carried out at any Part 145 provider worldwide. “With this EASA Approved STC solution we are able to continue our successful cargo operations even during ramp-up. The solution is technically simple and does not require massive investments like traditional cargo conversions”, adds Juha Ojala, vice president of Finnair Technical Operations.

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