AAV News in Brief 6 September 2021

Airbus Space, Air Astana, IATA Travel Pass, Qatar Airways, Sabre, HAECO Group, Satair, FACC, AeroCity, Airbus. Jet2.com, PLAY, OEMServices, Goshawk, Fraport USA, Servy, ThinKom, Intelsat, Constant Aviation, Burrana, Greater Bay Airlines, Aviator Airport Alliance, Airlink Cargo South Africa, Astral Aviation, FL Technics, ATPCO, AWS

Travel technology company Amadeus has launched travel audience in Asia Pacific.
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

New tasks for Airbus CIMON: The AI-controlled, flying sphere will take on scientific experiments on board the International Space Station ISS with ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer and provide educational services from orbit. CIMON-2 is already on board the ISS and Matthias Maurer is scheduled to launch with ‘Crew-3’ on his ‘Cosmic Kiss’ mission this autumn. The space agency DLR and Airbus have signed a mission contract to provide ‘in-orbit’ missions with four human partners. After the successful technology demonstration with Alexander Gerst (CIMON-1) in November 2018 and Luca Parmitano (CIMON-2) in February 2020, the focus is now on the operational, scientific use of CIMON. The pilot scientific study, ‘Human interaction with Al and CIMON’, makes CIMON itself the research subject. It includes further activities in support of routine tasks and documentation of complex scientific tasks. These new missions will mark the first time that a complete experimental procedure is guided by CIMON, and more specifically, documented according to the individual wishes of the scientists or the crew. In addition, scientific support is to be provided by CIMON-2 for an educational experiment known as ‘3D kinetic gas theory’. Kinetic gas theory explains the properties of gases, with the idea that gases consist of a very large number of small particles that are in constant motion.

Air Astana trials Travel Pass: Air Astana will be undertaking trials of the IATA Travel Pass mobile application on services between Nur-Sultan and Istanbul between 2-16 September 2021. The IATA Travel Pass mobile application combines passenger PCR testing and vaccination information in relation to health requirements in different countries. The application also contains information on certified national laboratories where passengers can undertake a PCR test. “The IATA Travel Pass will greatly contribute to the resumption of international air travel, with the application significantly simplifying the organization flights,” said Air Astana Vice President Alexander Neboga. “This  process delivers considerable convenience to passengers, reduces time for ground services and staff contact, as well as heightening identification of fake PCR certificates and vaccinations.”

Qatar Airways signs new deal with Sabre: Sabre and Qatar Airways are finalising a new distribution deal that will provide long-term access to the airline’s content through the Sabre travel marketplace. Qatar Airways intends to strengthen its partnership with Sabre to take advantage of Sabre’s global reach and leading position in corporate travel for the distribution of Qatar Airways’ products to travellers worldwide. Implementation work is starting to enable unique NDC offers created by Qatar Airways to be distributed through Sabre’s new distribution capability (NDC), which provides a consistent end-to-end workflow that integrates within well-established agency operations. “A new approach to retailing is required in order to respond to the personalized service and enhanced flexibility that travelers expect,” said Roshan Mendis, Chief Commercial Officer, Sabre Travel Solutions. “Sabre is committed to supporting Qatar Airways in enhancing its retailing capabilities by enabling the airline to distribute personalized offers through our marketplace to corporations and travel agencies around the world. Collaboration will be crucial in travel’s recovery, so I’m proud that we are now finalizing a long-term, sustainable agreement with Qatar Airways that is beneficial for all parties in the travel ecosystem.”

HAECO Group launches new commercial org: HAECO Group announced that its new group commercial organisation is operating. Four regional commercial teams are now in place to support customers based in Asia-Pacific (APAC), the Chinese mainland, Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and the Americas. These dedicated commercial teams will provide customers with easy access to the full range of HAECO Group products and services covering Airframe, Cabin, Component and Engine. The establishment of this new organisation will help enhance HAECO’s customer focus and supplement the existing commercial relationships with our customers. Through the new structure, customers will benefit from closer collaboration with HAECO, more innovative solutions to meet their operational needs, and enhanced efficiency in the services that we provide.

Satair, FACC sign first agreement: Satair and FACC, a manufacturer of advanced aircraft components and systems for the global aerospace industries, have signed their first agreement. The multi-year agreement signed covers the global exclusive distribution of Airspace XL bins (overhead stowage compartments), the entrance area, ceiling panels and all related spares for the entire A320 aircraft family. As part of the new agreement, Satair will perform Supplier Support Conditions on FACC’s behalf related to covering the spares related activities. Besides furnishing ceiling panels that illuminate the cabin with ambient LED light, the overhead stowage compartments covered by the agreement provide 40 percent more space. Specifically, the Airspace XL bins, the largest overhead stowage compartments in the short and medium-haul class, can hold up to 60 percent more luggage – eight pieces of hand luggage instead of the previous five, measuring 61 x 40.6 x 25.4 cm.

AeroCity launches new fund: AeroCity in Vilnius has launched the AeroCity Tech Venture fund to help the best aviation technology ideas and companies to take off and establish themselves as a global player in the industry. The AeroCity project being built by the global aerospace service group Avia Solutions Group and the AeroCity Tech Valley will bring the most innovative companies, ideas, and top-class professionals to promote the development of modern solutions for the aviation sector. “Although aviation is a modern industry, there is still a lot of room for novel ideas, solutions and digitization. As the industry is protected by numerous licences, entry barriers, and flight safety requirements, changes can be more difficult to implement. Regardless, we see great potential in this industry and want to help it grow,” said Head of AeroCity Tech Valley Business Incubator Julius Norkunas. The AeroCity Tech Ventures Fund, established by Avia Solutions Group, will invest in new and growing companies that have valuable tech ideas for the aviation sector, but lack resources to implement or develop them.

Jet2.com orders 36 A321neos: Jet2.com has placed an initial order for 36 A321neos making the airline based in Leeds, United Kingdom, a new Airbus customer and a new Airbus A320neo family operator. The order reflects Jet2.com’s ambitious fleet expansion and renewal plans. Engine selection will be made at a later date. The aircraft will be configured for 232 seats with an Airspace cabin featuring innovative lighting, new seating products and 60 percent larger overhead baggage bins for added personal storage. “We very much welcome Jet2.com’s decision. Traditionally having been operating non fly-by-wire aircraft, we note with great satisfaction that after having tested a couple of leased A321s and run a comprehensive evaluation, Jet2.com is forward looking and investing in modern and future proof Airbus fly-by-wire technology. This is a testimony to Jet2.com’s vision of efficiency, quality, performance and environmentally friendly flying,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International.

PLAY awards OEMServices component deal: PLAY is the new Icelandic LCC start-up and started its operations with its inaugural flight in June this year. The company successfully raised US$90 million in fresh capital from in an initial public offering (IPO) and is traded on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Iceland. The airline received its air operator certificate (AOC) from the Icelandic Transport Authority in May and launched its Reykjavik-London Stansted service with A321 NEO equipment on 24 June, followed by six other European destinations in June and July. PLAY already operates three A321 NEOs and plans to grow the company’s fleet to six A320/1 NEOs in Q2 2022 in order to begin its USA service, and to operate more than 15 aircraft by 2025 while servicing destinations in North America and Europe. OEMServices as a key MRO supplier provides its expertise in nose to tail servicing to airline fleet operators and ensures the immediate availability of adequate solutions to optimise the airlines’ fleet operations.

Goshawk completes US private placement: Goshawk, the Dublin-based aircraft lessor, announced that it has entered into an agreement to issue US$202.5 million of new unsecured US Private Placement (USPP) notes. The announcement represents Goshawk’s fourth unsecured USPP issuance following previous issuances in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and is highly significant as it makes the company the first aircraft lessor to access the unsecured USPP market since the COVID pandemic struck. The Issue comprises tranches of 5-, 7- and 10-year notes and the transaction successfully priced on 12th August 2021, achieving Goshawk’s lowest blended coupon in the unsecured USPP market. Colin Golden, CFO at Goshawk said “Feedback from investors was extremely positive, and the up to 10-year maturity of the notes reflects long-term investor confidence in Goshawk. We were delighted to see such levels of interest and the overwhelming demand for the transaction allowed us to upsize the transaction from our initial target. This is a reflection of the entire company’s hard work over the past 18 months, it demonstrates confidence in both our investment strategy and our management of the COVID crisis, and it is another positive step for the company”. The Lead Agent on the transaction was Citi, with Suntrust and Natixis acting as Co-Agents. Milbank acted as legal counsel to Goshawk.

Fraport USA partners with Servy: Airport retail concessions developer Fraport USA is partnering with Servy, the enterprise self-service platform for hospitality, to bring its new Fraport-branded mobile ordering and delivery service, GateWaiter, to select US airports. The new platform, powered by Servy’s Grab Airport Marketplace technology, launched this month at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) and Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) with plans to expand to other airports. Passengers and staff at participating airports will be able to place contactless orders for food and drink using their smartphones, with the option of having their choices delivered to them at a location of their choosing. The GateWaiter delivery service, managed by AtYourGate in partnership with Servy, integrates with the GateWaiter mobile ordering experience to conveniently deliver the order to guests. For example, QR codes will be placed on rocking chair armrests and across common area seating at BWI Marshall. These codes can be scanned on digital devices to bring up menu options and act as a delivery point for meal orders. For launch, the service includes over a dozen restaurants as well as select retail outlets at BWI Marshall Airport with more locations slated to be added regularly in the coming weeks; at CLE, hometown favourites Great Lakes Brewing Company and Inca Tea Café join other popular restaurants with more locations being added.

ThinKom antennas qualified for Intelsat Flex networks: ThinKom Solutions announced that its land-mobile ThinSat 300 phased-array antenna has been qualified for use on Intelsat’s FlexMove for government satellite network. The qualification was awarded following an extensive battery of over-the-air tests conducted at Intelsat’s Mountainside Teleport in Maryland with Intelsat General. As a result, the ThinSat 300 is now fully authorised for use with Intelsat’s FlexMove service packages. Intelsat’s FlexMove next-generation tiered service offerings are built around a high-performing multi-layered Ku-band satellite fleet centred on the Intelsat high-throughput Epic satellites combined with the world’s largest wide-beam satellite constellation to create a global service area. Bandwidth is dynamically prioritised across different satellite beams automatically to meet demand.

Constant Aviation, Western Technical College sign cooperation deal: Constant Aviation announced that it is partnering with Western Technical College of El Paso, Texas, to provide flexible, long-term career paths for students looking to enter the high-technology world of aviation maintenance. Under the new partnership, students will be able to exit the Western Tech program and enter directly into the aviation workforce, earning their Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certifications while also working at Constant Aviation, learning from the best and using the most advanced technology. The partnership comes at an opportune time, since Constant Aviation is seeing a rapidly growing demand for its services, having expanded its nationwide AOG mobile response network by more than 15 percent this year alone. In order to fulfil needs in AOG and at facilities in Cleveland and elsewhere, the company is recruiting for positions including technicians in avionics, AMT, paint, wire harness and other areas, with many positions offering US$2,000 signing bonuses.

Burrana signs deal with Greater Bay Airlines: Burrana announced that it has been awarded a contract from Hong Kong-based start-up carrier Greater Bay Airlines (GBA) for the supply of in-seat cabin power (USB) on its Boeing 737-800 fleet. GBA has applied to operate to a total of 104 destinations across the region, including Chinese Mainland, North Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Critical to Greater Bay’s selection was Burrana’s ability to offer an easy installation with the lightest weight system in the industry. A Hong Kong-based start-up carrier, founded by Hong Kong tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau, GBA is run by industry veteran Algernon Yau, former CEO of Cathay Dragon. GBA plans to have 10 B737-800 aircraft in service by 2022, and more than 30 by 2026.

Aviator Airport Alliance signs de-icing deal: Aviator Airport Alliance, a full-range provider of aviation services at 15 airports across the Nordics and a family member of one the largest aerospace service groups Avia Solutions Group, has signed a new partnership agreement with Norway’s largest airline Norwegian for de-icing services. The new de-icing contract with Norwegian was signed for a three-year period and will go into effect on 22 September in Bergen, Bodø, Bardufoss, Tromsø and Trondheim Airports in Norway. Aviator will provide the airline with de-icing services, ensuring safe flights for the airline over the harsh winter seasons. One of the largest low-cost carriers in Europe Norwegian offers a high-frequency domestic flight schedule within Scandinavia, convenient business destinations such as London, as well as popular holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands.

Airlink Cargo South Africa, Astral Aviation sign interline deal: Airlink Cargo South Africa and Astral Aviation have signed a broad interline agreement connecting the networks of the two companies. This new commercial partnership is bound to boost airfreight cargo logistics in Africa, providing more options and access to the Sub-Saharan market through the two airlines’ hubs in Johannesburg and Nairobi. Thanks to the interline agreement, that was effective from 1 August, Airlink Cargo is widening its network with Astral Aviation to include Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. Astral Aviation will also have access to many services operated by Airlink Cargo beyond Johannesburg to: Beira, Tete, Pemba and Maputo (Mozambique); Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban (South Africa); Lubumbashi (Congo DRC); Gaborone (Botswana); Victoria Falls and Harare (Zimbabwe); Ndola and Livingstone (Zambia); Maseru (Lesotho); Antananarivo and Nosy Be (Madagascar); Walvis Bay and Windhoek (Namibia).

FL Technics awarded certification: FL Technics has been awarded the Certificate for Continuous Airworthiness and Technical Asset Management Services by the Bureau Veritas. The certificate confirms that FL Technics Quality Management System meets the requirements of EN 9110:2018 and EN ISO 9001:2015 standards, and defines the company’s capabilities to match the needs of the market; including those of major players such as Airbus, Boeing, and other leading stakeholders. The successful certification was based on the significant support and guidance of the FL Technics Quality Department and aptly demonstrates the principle that continuous airworthiness and technical asset management services rank as priorities for FL Technics. This certification defines the company’s competencies and acknowledges its capabilities to deliver best-in-class services to a global pool of clients across the aviation industry.

ATPCO, AWS work on collaboration: ATPCO, the technology company that is the world’s primary source for airline retailing and pricing data, announced it will use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to drive further innovation in flight shopping. The multi-year relationship will enable ATPCO to continue modernising its applications to support faster, large-scale growth for airlines and partners while enabling new solutions to be built more rapidly. ATPCO, which sits at the centre of airline distribution, powers global flight shopping through its hosting of more than 289 million fares in its database for over 400 airlines. This pricing and retailing content serves as the foundation of global flight shopping results distributed through every major distribution channel.

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