Vallair names director of material management: Vallair has named Armando Filho as director of material management. Filho will be responsible for Vallair’s component support division complementing the activities of the teardown team ensuring that customers extract maximum value from their assets. Vallair offers an integrated supply chain in conjunction with a component repair shop allowing it to oversee the return to full service of all components requiring repairs or overhauls, and ensuring customers have timely access to parts, worldwide. Vallair has recently augmented its MRO capability by signing a letter of intent with the Centre-Val de Loire and the Châteauroux Airport Establishment. The LOI will see Vallair awarded a 10-year lease for a state-of-the-art full-service aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul and cargo conversion hangar adjacent to its existing aerostructures repair and logistics facility in Châteauroux, France. Vallair’s technical support teams oversee the return to service of all components requiring repair or overhaul, whilst minimising costs and streamlining the return to service of critical parts. The Company’s capability further extends to accommodating concurrent aircraft and engine teardowns.
Frequentis works on drone system for Estonia: Estonian Air Navigation Services (EANS) has been working with Frequentis to create an environment where drones and civil aviation can coexist in the shared airspace. By integrating air traffic management (ATM) and unmanned traffic management (UTM) on the same platform, situational awareness and safety will be enhanced, allowing increased use of drones in Estonia. The project will accelerate the roll out of Estonian U-space (unmanned airspace) and allow drones to serve critical industry. The project delivers a pre-operational system, hosted in the Frequentis cloud environment, to allow use cases and business cases to be defined, verified, and trialed. The flexibility of the system, and the experience Frequentis gained from previous projects, allowed the system to be adapted to the needs of EANS. This has allowed EANS to take a leading role in creating the Estonian drone ecosystem and a step closer to their U-space roadmap for Estonian airspace. The current cooperation will validate the pre-operational system for EANS for monitoring and authorising unmanned flights and create preliminary capabilities for common information sharing as outlined in the new U-space regulatory framework. The validation of the pre-operational solution will enable EANS to decide on how to best proceed with deploying U-space in the upcoming years and support the growing unmanned ecosystem.
Southwest expands LEAP-1B fleet: Southwest Airlines announced the purchase of advanced CFM International LEAP-1B engines to power 100 Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft. The MAX aircraft, with CFM International’s LEAP-1B engines, enables exceptional operational efficiencies such as a 14 percent lower rate of fuel burn that reduces carbon emissions, quieter engines, and excellent dispatch reliability to support on-time operations. In 1984, Southwest Airlines played a pivotal role in CFM’s history by launching the CFM56-3 engine as the sole powerplant for what is now called the Boeing 737 Classic. In 1997, the airline launched the CFM56-7B as the sole powerplant on the Boeing Next-Generation 737. Today, the airline is CFM’s largest commercial customer, operating a fleet of more than 700 CFM-powered 737s. CFM’s advanced LEAP engine continues to set new industry standards for fuel efficiency and asset utilisation, logging more than 10 million engine flight hours in commercial operation.
Air New Zealand says business travellers returning: After a year of talking to a computer, Kiwis are leaving the office to re-connect with their clients, suppliers, and staff. New figures released by Air New Zealand show domestic business and corporate travel has defied global trends by returning to 90 percent of pre-COVID levels. Air New Zealand Chief Customer and Sales Officer Leanne Geraghty says the airline has been blown away by the swift recovery, particularly since the last alert level change. “Our initial hopes were a return to 70 percent next year, so to recover to near normal levels this quickly really reinforces the strength of our domestic network and the desire of Kiwis to reconnect in person.” In many places around the world, such as the United States, business travel is only sitting at around 15 percent of domestic travel. Geraghty says in response to increased demand, Air New Zealand has added more seats, more business-timed flights and bringing on more crew.
ASL Airlines UK operates first flight: ASL Airlines United Kingdom has received its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and its Operating Licence from the UK Civil Aviation Authority, becoming the world’s newest cargo airline. This is the first fixed-wing AOC issued by the CAA post-Brexit and ASL Airlines UK has now taken its place in the ASL Aviation Holdings group of airlines which already includes four European airlines and two associated non-European airlines. The new airline’s first flight was operated by an ATR72-200 freighter from East Midlands Airport to Belfast International Airport. The aircraft, registered G-OASL, became the first aircraft on the AOC and it will operate to Belfast International Airport daily from ASL Airlines UK’s new base at East Midlands. Currently the ASL Airlines UK AOC is for the operation of cargo flights on a single route, but the airline is looking at opportunities to grow its domestic UK network and is applying for an EASA Third Country Operator (TCO) authorisation for cargo flights from the UK to Europe.
Lödige Industries HK unit gets triple ISO certification: Lödige Industries, a supplier of material handling systems, has achieved certification for the quality management (ISO 9001:2015), environmental management (ISO 14001:2015), and occupational health and safety management (ISO 45001:2018) of its Hong Kong subsidiary. The certification is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to quality, health, safety, environment and continuous improvement, a journey that began with the certification of its German head office in 1997. Lödige Industries’ Hong Kong operations were audited by SGS, one of the world’s leading inspection, verification and certification companies. In Hong Kong, Lödige Industries delivers airport logistics, automated parking systems, lifts, warehouse logistics solutions and logistics control software, from planning, designing, and manufacturing through to installation and maintenance. The local subsidiary, launched in 2004, serves as the regional headquarter for the Asia Pacific region and employs over 250 staff across eight offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
AMAC Aerospace opens new hanger: After only 12 months of construction time, the latest hangar of AMAC Aerospace has opened its doors to welcome the first mid-size jets. The new building offers space for up to seven mid-size jets and adds 4,850m2 respectively 30,000m2 of new apron to the four existing hangars at EuroAirport in Basel, Switzerland. “We are proud to have managed this project successfully in this demanding time,” said Bernd Schramm, Group COO of AMAC Aerospace. “The hangar will be dedicated to mid-size jets maintenance and can accommodate up to 7 midsize jets like Bombardier Global or Challenger series or Gulfstream series or a combination thereof. The maintenance services for these types of aircraft were always high in demand and is steadily increasing due to our highly recognized quality of work.” AMAC’s hangars are known for the wooden structure. The solid wood frame structures consist of several layers of wood, specially laminated to increase the rigidity and are harmoniously ecological. The wooden bars were cut and shaped in the factory, so by the time they reached Basel, they were ready to be installed like Lego bricks. The transport of the massive wooden beams was exceptional and impressive: eleven special-purpose trucks had to be organized to bring these wooden elements from Alsace to AMAC’s hangars at the EuroAirport Basel.
Vietjet adds five routes: Vietjet has opened a series of new flight routes linking Phu Quoc with Da Nang, Thanh Hoa, Nha Trang, Da Lat and Vinh. Specifically, flights connecting Vinh and Phu Quoc operate from 28 March, routes from Da Nang and Thanh Hoa to Phu Quoc will commence from April 2. Nha Trang – Phu Quoc and Da Lat – Phu Quoc routes will be in service from 29 April with daily operation. The flight frequency of current routes between Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong and Phu Quoc and other Vietnam’s domestic routes have also been increased to serve the peak travel season of summer.
EVA Air trials Affinidi’s health check: Taiwan’s EVA Air and Affinidi, a Singapore-based technology company, announced that the airline will be utilising Affinidi’s digital credential verification solution in a pilot programme with Singapore Changi Airport to verify passengers’ Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results for EVA’s Singapore to Taipei flights. The airline plans to extend this service to flights from Malaysia and Indonesia to Taipei and is evaluating the introduction of digital systems on other routes based on trial outcomes. EVA is pursuing the development and deployment of digital verification platforms as part of its commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of passengers and crew members. Affinidi’s open, privacy-preserving and interoperable technology solution will enable airline ground staff to quickly and accurately determine the authenticity of PCR test results, including the name of the medical institution, date of the test and whether the passenger meets relevant policy requirements in their destination country.
dnata Singapore picks LAMINAAR Aviation Infotech: dnata Singapore has signed LAMINAAR Aviation Infotech to jointly deliver the next-generation application software for airport ground handling services at Singapore Changi Airport. The world leader in aviation ground handling services chose the ARMS application software suite’s Airport Ground Handling Sub-System (APGH) as the foundational block to deliver this future proof system. Among many features and advantages, the solution will enhance efficiency, reduce turn-around-time (TAT) and introduce a fully connected and paperless eco-system in the airport ground operations. For staff, a utility-rich and mobility-enabled module will enhance their quality of life as well as keep them at peak efficiency levels. A special machine learning-based predictive analytics component will optimise contingency resources, effectively handle disruptions and help achieve on-time-performance (OTP) for dnata’s airline clients. The system is intended for phased delivery, starting with a mid-2021 roll-out of the base module and completion of the final deployment by mid-2022. Supporting the build effort will be subject matter experts from dnata and LAMINAAR, with development and project teams from Singapore and India.
Syphax Airlines selects Avsoft for online pilot training: Syphax Airlines, based in Ariana, Tunisia, has awarded Avsoft International a long-term contract for online pilot training. Syphax is using Avsoft’s CRJ900 aircraft systems and an extensive package of aviation general subject online courses for initial and recurrent pilot training running on Avsoft’s AvLMS platform. Avsoft’s AvLMS is being used to deliver courses structured for initial as well as recurrent training taking account of pilot recency due dates with comprehensive reporting facilities to administer all aspects of courses and exam results to satisfy regulatory requirements.
Air Charter celebrates five years in Australia: Aircraft charter specialist Air Charter Service opened the doors to its Sydney office back in 2016, moved into a more spacious office to accommodate a larger team which has tripled in size since opening in 2019 and now the company is celebrating its fifth year in Australia. Paul Crook, ACS managing director in Australia, had worked for ACS in Dubai previously and couldn’t resist the opportunity to take the reins in the Australian office. It opened with just three staff but became profitable soon after. Despite 2020 being a turbulent one for aviation, the Sydney team has had a strong year across all of its three divisions: private jets, commercial jets and cargo. The team was also accepted onto the government Department of Defence panel last year. Crook said “the last year has been a very strange one for our industry and the world as a whole. We have been fortunate enough to have experienced a good year business-wise though. All three of our divisions grew, but cargo especially, as we stepped in to help fill the gap caused by the reduction in scheduled services.”