Aviation News in Brief 11 November 2020

Rolls-Royce, BOC Aviation, Air Astana, ICAO, IFAR, Etihad Engineering, Global AVX, Arianespace

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

Use this oneRolls-Royce plans future tech programme: A new project led by Rolls-Royce with support from the ATI Programme will make future aerospace servicing technologies a reality. Engineers will work on 20 technologies that will reduce disruption for airlines and lessen environmental impact by repairing components rather than scrapping them. Other industries such as nuclear and off-shore renewables will also benefit from the project. The technologies include: Snake robots that travel inside jet engines to access complex parts, enabling repairs which are not possible with today’s tools; Engine sensors that send data from the sky to better predict when engines need maintenance; Inspection and analysis tools to inspect parts buried deep within engines while they are being repaired; Advanced automated repair technologies targeting parts which cannot currently be repaired, meaning they do not need to be scrapped. Miniature maintenance and inspection tools as well as new repair technologies will be used on existing engines such as the Trent XWB, while engineers will explore how to repair and maintain aerospace materials and components for future low-carbon engines, including electric technology.

BOC Aviation delivers first Airbus A321neo to Indigo: BOC Aviation announced that it has delivered the first of four new Airbus A321neo aircraft for lease to IndiGo. The aircraft will be powered by CFM Leap engines. Robert Martin, managing director and chief executive officer of BOC Aviation, said “we are very pleased to deliver the first of four new Airbus A321NEO aircraft on lease to IndiGo, India’s largest passenger airline, and we’re pleased to have an opportunity to build on our relationship with IndiGo. This incremental capital expenditure for larger narrow-body new technology aircraft continues to reflect our disciplined investment in popular and in-demand aircraft, as we work closely with industry-leading airlines such as IndiGo, to provide more fuel-efficient and technologically advanced aircraft solutions,” added Martin.

Air Astana cuts flight frequencies: Air Astana advised that effective from 9 November, it must reduce the number of flights it operates to Istanbul from the Kazakhstan cities of Almaty, Nur-Sultan and Atyrau. The airline will now serve Istanbul four times weekly on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Almaty, twice-weekly on Mondays and Thursdays from Nur-Sultan and once a week on Fridays from Atyrau. Air Astana passengers affected by this change in schedule will be able to rebook their travel on future dates, free of charge, from wherever the original booking was made.  Alternatively, a full refund of the ticket price paid will be arranged.

New ICAO-IFAR agreement to enhance innovation integration: ICAO and the International Forum for Aviation Research (IFAR) formalised a new agreement  aimed at accelerating and improving the effective assessment of new aviation technologies and innovations. The agreement establishes two new ICAO-IFAR Expert Groups which will review latest innovations in the areas of urban air mobility and AI in aviation. After their first year, each group will report back to ICAO and IFAR and the two organisations will use the findings to optimise and formalize IFAR’s future contributions to ICAO and international aviation. The agreement was signed during IFAR’s 11th summit.

Etihad Engineering launches face mask facility: Etihad Engineering, the MRO arm of Etihad Aviation Group, has accepted an order for 1.3 million facemasks to be manufactured at its newly established in-house face mask production facility. Over the next three months, the medical face masks will be distributed to staff across the entire Etihad Aviation Group from cabin and ground crew, to catering, cargo, engineering employees, and medical professionals. The new facility operates fully automated cutting-edge machines that produce up to 20,000 masks daily. The masks are three layered and provide up to 98 percent filtration which ensures the highest levels of protection and safety. Before initiating mass production, prototypes of the mask underwent a series of stringent tests where microbial cleanliness and bacterial filtration efficiency levels were thoroughly examined. After the successful completion of the testing phase, the face masks were medically certified by two certifying bodies, Laboratorio Analisi Tecnal (Italy) and CNTAC (China).

Global AVX launches online auction platform: Global AVX, the digital auction platform for aircraft transactions, has begun preparations for its first online aircraft auction on 10 December 2020. Dedicated to supporting international aircraft sales and two years in the making, it is the brainchild of corporate lawyer Robert Bourke. The concept was conceived to enable bankruptcy professionals to adequately address their disposal obligations and duties by ensuring the distressed aviation assets were receiving a fair market price.  The platform addresses this critical need by establishing an independent market-based price through a global auction process. Combined with Global AVX’s industry-first full transparency report, bankruptcy professionals can now deliver complete accountability to all of their transaction stakeholders. To eliminate time wasters Global AVX vets all potential bidders, while looking to also deal with qualified acquisition consultants on behalf of proposed purchasers. This pre-qualification is further enhanced by anti-money laundering interrogation, and a validation of adequate funding. Each potential purchaser is also required to place a certain percentage of the minimum reserve price in an escrow account prior to becoming a qualified bidder. Bidders and/or their acquisition consultants, are then given access to the Global AVX secure data rooms where they are encouraged to examine the aircraft specifications and relevant documentation including airframe logbooks, flight manuals, interior manuals, maintenance tags, and technical information about the engines which are supplied by the broker. Buyers remain anonymous, the auction is automated to ensure fair bidding, and lasts for a period of two days to ensure all genuine global bidders have the opportunity to participate. The sale must complete within two months of the auction taking place.

Arianespace announces latest Ariane 5 contract, new exec committee: Arianespace announced a new contract to launch a communications satellite into geostationary orbit using Ariane 5 for a communications satellite into geostationary orbit, for an undisclosed operator. The launch is planned for 2022. This contract follows a contract signed with Intelsat in September to launch three satellites, along with 16 Soyuz launches for OneWeb. Ariane 5 still has eight more launches to carry out before it is retired and passes the baton to Ariane 6, scheduled to make its first flight in 2022. Arianespace is gearing up for a very busy year-end, with up to four launches planned in less than six weeks. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and a business slowdown, Arianespace could still surpass its operational performance in 2019, by logging a total of ten launches in 2020, including three by Ariane 5, five by Soyuz and two by Vega. Following the creation of two new business units, Arianespace has also expanded and raised the European profile of its Executive Committee. Effective 1 November 2020, the committee comprises nine members: Stéphane Israël, Chief Executive Officer; Michel Doubovick, Executive vice-president, Chief Financial Officer; François Barreau, Head of Ariane/Soyuz Business Unit; Claudia Flöte, Chief Operating Officer; Marino Fragnito, Head of Vega Business Unit; Emmanuel Franc, Chief Commercial Officer; Gregory Gavroy, Chief Brand and Communications Officer; Roland Lagier, Chief Technical Officer; Philippe Nicolaï, Chief Human Resources Officer.

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