Airbus News in Brief

ACJ partners with Citadel; Air Greenland takes delivery of A330neo; Rega orders 12 five-bladed H145s; New partnership with CERN on superconducting tech; New hydrogen-powered zero-emission engine unveiled; Airbus and ArianeGroup partner on liquid hydrogen, SAF and electrification

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AIRBUS CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER TO LEAVE IN 2023

SeoulACJ partners with Citadel to extend its Service Centre Network: Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) has signed a partnership agreement with Citadel Completions LLC, based in Chennault International Airport, Louisiana, USA, to enter the ACJ Services Centre Network. Citadel will provide to ACJ customers a wide spectrum of capabilities, including maintenance, engineering, modification and upgrade services. The signature took place at MEBAA, the Middle East and North Africa’s leading business aviation event in Dubai. The ACJ Service Centre Network already has locations in Dubai (UAE), Xiamen (PRC), Basel (Switzerland), Bordeaux (France) and Indianapolis (US). Capabilities include all maintenance related activities, cabin-refurbishing and cabin/system upgrades, giving ACJ customers/operators a globally approved network of facilities to rely on. Citadel delivers superior customised service to its clients and is focused on design excellence and on-time aircraft redelivery. The company’s exceptional facilities include a 10,000 ft runway to accommodate the largest aircraft and a highly skilled labour force for heavy maintenance, repair and overhaul services. The facility covers a sprawling 260,000 square feet, and its multiple hangars can accommodate multiple aircraft projects simultaneously. Citadel can support aircraft registered worldwide and holds Part 145 Repair Station certifications from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Air Greenland takes delivery of A330neo: Air Greenland has taken delivery of an A330-800 widebody aircraft, becoming the latest operator of the type. The A330neo will replace previous generation aircraft in the company’s fleet, reducing operating cost, improving environmental efficiency while offering an unrivalled passenger experience.  Air Greenland’s A330neo will comfortably accommodate 305 passengers, featuring 42 Premium class seats and 263 Economy class seats. Air Greenland has also firmed up an agreement with Airbus on Flight Hour Services (FHS) covering component supply and maintenance services. Based on a circular economy model and carbon footprint reduction the Airbus FHS offers more sustainability throughout the aircraft’s life cycle. More than 1,200 aircraft worldwide are currently being contracted under  Airbus FHS. To underline Air Greenland’s sustainability strategy the delivery flight will be powered by a 30 percent blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Air Greenland will first deploy the A330neo between the arctic island and Denmark, adding North American and European routes at a later date.

Swiss Air-Rescue Service Rega orders 12 five-bladed H145s: The Swiss Air-Rescue Service Rega has ordered a second batch of 12 five-bladed H145 helicopters to be operated from its mountain bases. They will replace the current fleet of AW109SP helicopters. This new order follows an initial contract for nine H145s, announced in March this year. By 2026, Rega will operate an all-Airbus fleet consisting of 21 five-bladed H145s. The five-bladed H145s will come equipped with a state-of-the-art navigation system, especially tailored to the operator’s needs that will enhance the mission capabilities and the safety of operations. The system will use new capabilities of the Flight Management System GTN750 Xi by Garmin. It will integrate and control a multi-sensor system that provides highly accurate and reliable navigation capacities. Even in the event of GPS signal loss, the helicopter will navigate safely thanks to Thales’ inertial navigation system. This solution will further boost the navigation performance in low IFR conditions and allows the helicopter to be certified as navigation procedure RNP-AR 0.1, which is the most accurate navigation procedure in the helicopter environment. The configuration also includes a new hoist by Vincorion that is being certified on the five-bladed H145, ensuring highest safety standards. Rega operates 14 HEMS stations in Switzerland. Last year, the helicopter crews carried out 14,330 missions, including transporting 471 COVID patients. The new version of Airbus’ best-selling H145 light twin-engine helicopter adds a new, innovative five-bladed rotor to the multi-mission aircraft, increasing the useful load of the helicopter by 150kg. The simplicity of the new bearingless main rotor design also eases maintenance operations, further improving the benchmark serviceability and reliability of the H145, while improving ride comfort for both passengers and crew.

Airbus and CERN to partner on superconducting technologies: Airbus UpNext, a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus, and CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, are launching a project to evaluate how superconductivity can contribute to the decarbonisation of future aircraft systems. The Super-Conductor for Aviation with Low Emissions (SCALE) demonstrator aims to promote the adaptation and adoption of superconducting technologies in airborne electrical distribution systems. “In its research, CERN pushes the limits of science and engineering, and partners with industry to enable innovation, with positive environmental impact,” said Raphael Bello, CERN’s Director of Finance and Human Resources. “Our technologies have the potential to be adapted to the needs of future clean transportation and mobility solutions, as demonstrated by this agreement with Airbus. This partnership is only a first step in our journey with the European leader in aviation, and shows how much we value the excellence of our Member States’ industry.” The SCALE demonstrator combines CERN’s experience in superconducting technologies with Airbus UpNext’s capabilities in innovative aircraft design and manufacturing. First results are expected at the end of 2023. It is a first step of a long term collaboration that will pave the way to superconducting power distribution for aircraft. The initiative seeks to develop and test in laboratory conditions, an optimised generic superconductor cryogenic (~500kW) powertrain by end 2025. SCALE will be designed, constructed and tested by CERN using Airbus UpNext specifications and CERN technology. The demonstrator consists of a DC link (cable and cryostat) with two current leads. The cooling system is based on gaseous helium.

Airbus reveals hydrogen-powered zero-emission engine: Airbus has revealed that it is developing a hydrogen-powered fuel cell engine. The propulsion system is being considered as one of the potential solutions to equip its zero-emission aircraft that will enter service by 2035. Airbus will start ground and flight testing this fuel cell engine architecture onboard its ZEROe demonstrator aircraft towards the middle of the decade. The A380 MSN1 flight test aircraft for new hydrogen technologies is currently being modified to carry liquid hydrogen tanks and their associated distribution systems. “Fuel cells are a potential solution to help us achieve our zero-emission ambition and we are focused on developing and testing this technology to understand if it is feasible and viable  for a 2035 entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft,” said Glenn Llewellyn, vice president Zero-Emission Aircraft, Airbus. “At scale, and if the technology targets were achieved, fuel cell engines may be able to power a one hundred passenger aircraft with a range of approximately 1,000 nautical miles. By continuing to invest in this technology we are giving ourselves additional options that will inform our decisions on the architecture of our future ZEROe aircraft, the development of which we intend to launch in the 2027-2028 timeframe.” Airbus identified hydrogen as one of the most promising alternatives to power a zero-emission aircraft, because it emits no carbon dioxide when generated from renewable energy, with water being its most significant by-products. There are two ways hydrogen can be used as a power source for aircraft propulsion. First via hydrogen combustion in a gas turbine, second, by using fuel cells to convert hydrogen into electricity in order to power a propeller engine. A hydrogen gas turbine can also be coupled with fuel cells instead of batteries in a hybrid-electric architecture.

Airbus and ArianeGroup to pioneer liquid hydrogen technology: Airbus and ArianeGroup, a joint venture equally owned by Airbus and Safran, and a world leader in space propulsion technologies, will work together to build the first liquid hydrogen refuelling facility for ZEROe aircraft at Toulouse, Blagnac airport. The station will be operational in 2025. ArianeGroup will design, produce and support the operations of the liquid hydrogen fuelling system necessary for Airbus’ ZEROe demonstrator as it embarks on its ground and flight test campaign – due to start in the middle of this decade. “Airbus’ choice of us as partner is a vote of confidence, recognising half a century of expertise in liquid hydrogen for Ariane rocket propulsion,” said André-Hubert Roussel, CEO of ArianeGroup. “We are proud to be working with Airbus on these first steps towards liquid hydrogen-powered aircraft. Aviation and space are two pioneering industries. Uniting our expertise is our responsibility to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. ArianeGroup, with its unique skills and know-how in the storage, testing, and use of liquid hydrogen, enables new industrial sectors in Europe to accelerate their energy transition.” “Many of the technologies required for a zero-emission aircraft are already available in other industries, and liquid hydrogen handling is no exception,” said Sabine Klauke, Chief Technical Officer, Airbus. “Preparing for the entry into service of a zero-emission aircraft in 2035 means that we need to mature all of the required technologies in parallel. By partnering with ArianeGroup, we will leverage well known hydrogen expertise and other relevant space technologies in the pursuit of this goal.”

Airbus teams up to advance green hydrogen availability at airports: Airbus has signed a partnership agreement with HyPort, a joint venture between ENGIE Solutions and the Regional Agency for Energy and Climate in Occitanie (AREC), a leader in the development of green hydrogen in France, to support the development of one of the world’s first low carbon hydrogen production and distribution stations at an airport. Construction of the hydrogen station at Toulouse-Blagnac airport was completed earlier this year and the production, storage and distribution systems are currently undergoing final testing. The station which is slated to enter-into service in early 2023 will have a capacity to produce around 400 kg of hydrogen per day, providing the possibility to power some 50 ground transportation vehicles. Airbus is working with HyPort to put in place a deployment plan for the expansion of these hydrogen fuelled ground operations, adapting production and distribution means, as well as infrastructure capacity, to cope with the expected increase in hydrogen demand in the coming years. The partnership will also enable a blueprint to be prepared outlining requirements and providing guidance on safety of operations, regulatory compliance, social acceptance as well as the financial investment necessary for the widespread use of hydrogen at airports.

Airbus and Neste join forces on SAF development: Airbus and Neste, a world-leading producer of renewable fuels, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly advance the production and uptake of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). Both parties share a vision that SAF is a key solution to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions of air travel. This collaboration aims to accelerate the aviation sector’s transition to SAF. Neste and Airbus recognise that one of the biggest challenges in accelerating SAF use is the ramp-up of SAF production. This collaboration is laying the foundation for both Airbus and Neste to drive SAF development across the global aviation industry. It will allow the partners to explore business opportunities together and jointly promote the production and use of sustainable aviation fuel. The focus will be on the technical development of SAF, fuel approval and testing of current and future production technologies, and investigating how “100 percent SAF” use can be enabled. “SAF is one of aerospace’s most promising decarbonisation solutions that can be used in both in-service aircraft fleets and those of tomorrow. We are honoured to be partnering with Neste to drive forward the development and uptake of SAF, to stimulate the creation of a commercially viable market for renewable aviation fuels,” says Julie Kitcher, executive vice president Communications and Corporate Affairs, Airbus. “All Airbus aircraft are already certified for flying with up to 50 percent SAF and this partnership will be instrumental to reaching certification for up to 100 percent SAF before the end of the decade.”

Airbus and Renault Group to advance research on electrification: Airbus and Renault Group, worldwide leaders in the aerospace and automotive industries, have signed a research and development agreement which aims at enhancing transversalities and synergies to accelerate both companies’ electrification roadmaps, improving their respective range of products. As part of this partnership, Airbus’ and Renault Group’s engineering teams will join forces to mature technologies related to energy storage, which remains one of the main roadblocks for the development of long-range electric vehicles. The cooperation agreement will notably cover technology bricks related to energy management optimisation and battery weight improvement, and will look for the best pathways to move from current cell chemistries (advanced lithium-ion) to all solid-state designs which could double the energy density of batteries in the 2030 timeframe. The joint work will also study the full lifecycle of future batteries, from production to recyclability, in order to prepare the industrialisation of these future battery designs while assessing their carbon footprint across their entire lifecycle.


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