AAV News in Brief 8 February 2021

Cirium data, Magnetic MRO, SITA, Kopter

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Use this oneNorth America expected to pass APAC in daily flights: Asia-Pacific appears destined once again to slip behind North America by volume of tracked daily passenger jet flight arrivals as China’s drive to discourage holiday travel in the run-up to Lunar New Year takes its toll on passenger demand in the region, according to data and analytics company Cirium.  Including both domestic and dramatically-curtailed international operations, seven-day rolling average flight arrivals at Asia-Pacific airports had declined to just over 13,000 by 1 February, down from December’s peak of nearly 20,000. North America meanwhile spent the second half of January holding steady at close to 13,000 daily flights, dipping slightly to below 12,800 on 1 February as snowstorms affecting the East Coast of the USA began to spur an uptick in flight cancellations. As the first region to feel the full impact of the initial COVID-19 wave, Asia-Pacific flight levels fell below North America in early February 2020 but a faster recovery rate saw their positions reversed again by mid-April as the Chinese domestic market powered ahead to record year-over-year growth by early-October. Chinese operators have subsequently suffered a dramatic reversal in fortunes just as the Lunar New Year holiday period approaches. Cirium fleets data shows Asia-Pacific operators have 19 percent of their 8,200 passenger jets in storage, while their North American counterparts have nearly 33 percent of their more than 7,700 aircraft classified as inactive. Global passenger jet flights remain down nearly 54 percent compared with last year, while approximately 40 percent fewer aircraft are being tracked each day operating commercial services.

Magnetic MRO brings digital to the audit process: Magnetic MRO, a Total Technical Care and asset management organisation, together with teams of auditors from PwC as well as from company’s co-owners, Guangzhou Hangxin Aviation Technology, has trialled unconventional stock-taking method and performed their first virtual stock-taking. Due to the recent pandemic, travel and hangar visits are temporarily suspended, which has had an effect on various business units and processes from maintenance to financial operations and stocking. Stock-taking, on a regular basis, would normally be done with the team of external auditors visiting the hangar and performing checks on the existing inventory. However, when visits are limited, inventory check done online can be the way around. In this case, both teams of auditors have been sampling certain inventory articles and the whole process, conducted and recorded for future references via Microsoft Teams, which in total took around four hours. “Online stock-taking is, indeed, a unique process, and for us all it has been a challenge – and also the opportunity to perform it in the current setting and gain this experience. My goal was to meet expectations of both auditors’ teams, as well as to gain efficiency in the process by combining two separate stock-taking into one, especially when auditors are in different time zones across the world. I am glad our partners are open-minded and also willing to adapt processes to the situation and together we can navigate any challenges,” said Jekaterina Piskunova, business controller at Magnetic MRO.

SITA launches Health Protect: A new system that works with IATA’s Travel Pass and the Commons Project CommonPass has been launched by SITA. Called “Health Protect”, the programme is meat to help airlines, airports, governments, and passengers safely and securely share information on health tests or vaccinations needed during travel. Successful trials have already been undertaken with travellers to the United Arab Emirates, and soon to start at Milan Malpensa Airport. For many countries, economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic relies heavily on travel and tourism. As governments globally seek a way to resume safe and secure travel in the wake of COVID-19, the ability for passengers to share vital health information such as PCR test results or vaccination history with authorities is increasingly important. SITA’s Health Protect allows airlines and passengers to submit these required documents safely and securely in line with specific government requirements.

Kopter’s SH09 flies after major retrofit: Kopter’s third SH09 prototype (P3) recently took off at Mollis, Switzerland, following a major modification. This was part of the planned product development roadmap, towards the final Type Certificate configuration, as presented by Kopter during the 2020 HAI exhibition. This modification programme was successfully implemented thanks to the joint efforts of the Kopter and Leonardo teams. It includes a new main rotor head design, a new main gear box with an extended mast, and new flight controls configuration. Another significant change is the installation of the state-of-the-art Garmin G3000H integrated flight deck, flown for the first time on a helicopter. The expected improvement of P3 handling qualities and stability were immediately apparent to the crew; during the first flight it was possible to complete a set of low-speed envelope maneuvers up to 35 kts, including forward, rearward and sideward flights as well as spot turns. Subsequently, several flights have taken place and the crew has been able to expand the flight envelope to climb, descents, autorotation and turns up to 5,000 ft. The flight test programme is now continuing with the expansion of the weight, speed and altitude envelopes while assessing the new flight deck avionics suite.

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