Boeing Australia completes first Loyal Wingman fuselage: The Boeing Australia team recently completed major fuselage structural assembly for the first Loyal Wingman. The aircraft is one of three prototypes that will be developed as a part of the Loyal Wingman – Advanced Development Program in partnership with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The Australian team has applied digital engineering and advanced composite materials to achieve cost and agility goals for the 38-foot (11.7-meter) aircraft, which is designed to use artificial intelligence in teaming with other manned and unmanned platforms.
Vietjet opens three more direct to India: To meet rising demand for travel between Vietnam and India as well as across the region, Vietjet has opened three new direct routes connecting Vietnam’s three largest hubs, Da Nang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, with two of India’s largest economic, political and cultural centres of New Delhi and Mumbai. The Da Nang – New Delhi and Hanoi – Mumbai routes will commence operations starting from May 2020 with a frequency of five flights per week and three flights per week respectively. The Ho Chi Minh City – Mumbai routes will operate four weekly flights from May 2020.
Russian Helicopters signs roadmap for Ka-226T localisation in India: Russian Helicopters Holding Company (part of Rostec State Corporation) has signed a roadmap at the Defexpo 2020 exhibition with the Russian-Indian company Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited (IRHL) for localisation of Ka-226T helicopter production in India. The document defines the main stages and terms for organising production of the Ka-226T helicopter and its units in India with respect to the date when the corresponding contract will be signed. In particular, the roadmap reflects timelines for setting up production in India, contracting with suppliers, transferring design documentation, supplying technological equipment and machine kits, training Indian personnel and other key stages of the project to localize production of the Ka-226T helicopter in India.
Etihad extends carge deal with WFS: Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has extended its global cargo handling agreements with Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), the world’s largest air cargo handler, with Frankfurt and Madrid joining six existing gateways in Europe, Asia and the United States. The three-year framework extension will see WFS continue to provide Etihad Cargo with warehouse and cargo handling services at various international airports. Following that expansion WFS will now also begin services at Frankfurt Airport from 15 February 2020.
Magnetic MRO acquires four airBaltic’s Boeing 737s: Magnetic MRO has acquired four Boeing 737 Classic aircraft from airBaltic. Following the delivery from Latvia’s flag carrier, all aircraft will continue their service in the fleets of new owners. Being the launch operator of Airbus A220, airBaltic operates a fleet of 36 aircraft, including 21 Airbus A220s, 12 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 NextGens, and four Boeing 737 CLs. The decision to sell Boeing 737 CL aircraft was a pre-planned move by airBaltic in order to focus on its new Airbus 220 fleet which delivers higher fuel efficiency and reduces the carbon footprint.
STELIA Aerospace awarded “Top Employer” international certification: STELIA Aerospace has just been awarded the “Top Employer” certification for 2020, for the second consecutive year. The certification was delivered after several months of an audit led by the international Top Employers Institute, comparing STELIA Aerospace’s HR strategies, policies, processes and tools with the best practices worldwide, and after a second audit led by an independent organisation. The international “Top Employer” certification was awarded to 91 French companies this year, among which only two companies were in the aeronautical industry.
Airbus January activity: Airbus logged net orders in January for 274 commercial aircraft from its A220, A320 and A350 XWB product lines in activity that included two new customers for the A220, additional market traction for the A320/A321 as reference products in the single-aisle segment, and further endorsements for the A350 XWB with repeat orders from two customers. During the month, 31 deliveries were made from the A220, A320, A330 and A350 XWB aircraft families. The single-aisle new business was led by the purchase finalisation by Spirit Airlines for 100 A320neo family aircraft, involving 47 A319neo, 33 A320neo and 20 A321neo versions and Air Lease Corporation’s 102-aircraft order for 50 A220-300s, 25 A321neo versions and 27 A321XLRs (becoming a new customer for this extra long-range version). Another single-aisle transaction in January was the order from Philippine low-cost airline Cebu Pacific for five A320neo aircraft and 10 A321XLRs, also making it a new customer for the extra long-range version. Completing the month’s new single-aisle business was Air Senegal’s order for eight A220-300s. January’s widebody orders involved A350 XWB acquisitions in the A350-900 configuration by two repeat customers: Air France, which signed for 10; and Air Lease Corporation, for one aircraft. Before cancellations were taken into account, Airbus’ gross order total in 2020 was for 296 aircraft as of 31 January.
Industry partners launch MRO blockchain alliance: Several aviation industry partners have formed the MRO Blockchain Alliance to investigate the use of blockchain to track, trace and record aircraft parts. The new alliance includes: Bolloré Logistics, Cathay Pacific, FLYdocs, HAECO Group, Ramco Systems, SITA, and Willis Lease Finance Corporation, supported by Clyde & Co. In the coming months, the alliance will launch a proof of concept to demonstrate the use of blockchain to digitally track and record the movements and maintenance history of parts across a wide number of players. These include airlines, lessors, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as engine producers, logistics suppliers, and maintenance providers. PwC estimates that the use of blockchain could increase aerospace industry revenue by as much as 4 percent, or US$40 billion, while cutting MRO costs globally by around 5 percent or US$3.5 billion. Savings will be derived from secure document storage, ensuring confidentiality and data privacy, improved insights on repair time and inventory, automated workflows and more efficient record reconciliation.