Aviation News in Brief 13 July 2020

ATR, China, ExecuJet MRO Services Australia, FTS, Qingdao Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, Jet Aviation, GlobalData, Boeing, Kazan Helicopters, Nordic Aviation Capital, ACI World, COVID-19, Strata, Airbus, ICAO

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(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

ATR 42-600 test flight performed with Chinese and European authorities: As part of the validation for the certification process of the ATR 42-500 with modification 5948 in China, a certification flight test took off and landed from Francazal airport in Toulouse. The flight, which took place on 3 July, is a major step toward ATR type certification validation in China, expected in autumn 2020. The ATR 42-500 with modification 5948 is also known as the ATR 42-600 and certification will allow the first delivery of this latest generation aircraft to a customer in China. The three-hour test was performed in cooperation with the Chinese and European airworthiness authorities CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the latter of whose pilots were on-board the flight alongside an ATR crew. China is looking to expand its connectivity, with 100-seat-below regional aircraft representing only 2.5 percent of the overall Chinese fleet, compared to a worldwide average of 25 percent.

ATR 42-600 ATR 42-500ExecuJet MRO Services Australia reaches 10-Year milestone with Embraer: ExecuJet MRO Services Australia has reached the 10th anniversary milestone of being an Embraer authorised service centre. The maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) company – which became an Embraer authorised service centre in 2010 – serves Embraer operators throughout the Asia Pacific region. ExecuJet is certified to work on the Phenom 100, Phenom 300, Legacy 450, Legacy 500, Legacy 600, Legacy 650 and Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 aircraft. Some of the company’s recent work on Embraer aircraft includes a 60-month scheduled inspection on a Legacy 500 performed at its Sydney facility. The Legacy 500 is a relatively new aircraft type and this was only the second time in the world that a 60-month inspection had been undertaken. Earlier this year, ExecuJet’s Melbourne facility, which is based at Essendon Airport, completed a 48-month inspection on a Legacy 650 and a 48-month Inspection on a Phenom 300. The Sydney facility completed 144-month inspections and landing gear overhaul on two customer Legacy 600 aircraft.

ATR 42-600 ATR 42-500FTS Ka-band in-flight connectivity goes live on Qingdao Airlines: FTS, a provider of wireless in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions, announced its XStreamSAT Ka-band in-flight connectivity system has officially gone live on Qingdao Airlines. FTS XStreamSAT is the first Ka-band in-flight connectivity system to launch in China, following the award of both FAA STC and CAAC VSTC airworthiness certification, after installation on one Qingdao Airlines A320 aircraft. XStreamSAT is FTS’ state-of-the-art flagship product that equips the aircraft with high-speed satellite broadband connectivity. The full on-board system is made up of a Cabin Wireless Network, MODMAN (Modem and Manager), satellite antenna subsystem, radome, adapter plate and other structural parts. For the China market, it has been optimised to connect with China Satcom’s Chinasat-16 Ka-Band High-Throughput Satellite (HTS). 

Pegasus Airlines is restarting flights to Tel Aviv: Following the temporary suspension of flights as part of the restrictions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, Pegasus Airlines flights to Tel Aviv are resuming. The three-times weekly flights, which will restart on Wednesday 15 July 2020 between London Stansted Airport and Tel Aviv via Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen will depart on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to Ben Gurion International Airport while flights from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv to London Stansted Airport via Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport will depart on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

ATR 42-600 ATR 42-500Jet Aviation launches ‘hullo Aircrew’ in the United States: Jet Aviation announced the launch of ‘hullo Aircrew’, its new collaborative software platform for flight-crew staffing services, in the United States. Collaboration between the two companies began in 2019 with Jet Aviation’s investment in hullo Aircrew’s technology. The new aircrew staffing platform already has over 3,000 crew registered globally. The hullo Aircrew platform provides a fast and simple means to connect operators with freelance and contract crew members. It also helps crew members find their next job quickly and easily, while offering a custom dashboard that allows crew to review their trip requests, manage their calendar, view notifications of expiring documents and gain access to reduced-cost training courses — in addition to faster payment.

B737 MAX’s troubles could extend far beyond current crisis: Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense Analyst at GlobalData said Boeing’s MAX troubles may last far beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.“Bad news appears to come unabated since the beginning of the year for Boeing’s B737 MAX. After the deferral of 68 B737 MAX from leasing company SMBC Aviation Capital last month, Avolon announced the cancelation of an additional 27, adding to 75 previous cancelations announced last April. While Boeing is still formally planning on a return to flight this year for the fuel-efficient version of its bestselling narrow-body, its B737 order book is shrinking at a dangerous pace, suggesting that the MAX’s troubles could extend far beyond the current COVID-19 crisis that has wiped out air travel in the past few months. The pandemic appears to be the reason for cancelations and deferrals, at least formally. For instance, SMBC declared that the deferral would extend until 2025, which is a reasonable timeframe to assess the true long term impact of COVID-19 on commercial aviation. However, while COVID-19 has certainly had a profound impact on MAX’s troubles, it is not the sole cause as companies such as Air Canada or Air Lease Corporation canceled orders in massive proportions earlier this year without even directly invoking COVID-19 disruptions. It is becoming increasingly likely that we will see a FAA recertification before the end of the year, but doubts remain regarding the potential of the MAX to preserve, let alone conquer, market shares in a shrinking commercial aviation industry.”

Kazan Helicopters has certified the Ansat simulator: Kazan Helicopters of the Russian Helicopters holding company (part of Rostec State Corporation) has received positive qualification of Ansat helicopter training simulator’s compatibility to international standards. The evaluation was carried out by the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after N.E. Zhukovsky (TsAGI). The comprehensive Ansat simulator was tested for its compliance with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Evaluated characteristics included the layout and design of the cockpit, simulation of flight and engine dynamics, controlling on ground, helicopter systems, acoustic, visual and vibration effects and navigation. The assessment result was positive. The simulator model was developed on the basis of helicopter flight test data provided by the design bureau of  Kazan Helicopters. The cockpit and interior of the simulator are completely authentic. Instrumentation is replaced with simulator devices, but their appearance and functionality fully correspond to the originals.

Nordic Aviation Capital agrees debt standstill with lenders: Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), the world’s largest regional aircraft lessor, announced that its lenders have voted unanimously to approve its proposed scheme seeking to implement a standstill on and deferral in respect of certain payment of interest and principal on its borrowings, covering the next 6-12 months. The positive vote clears the way for a court to formally approve the scheme. The scheme provides a stable platform for the company and allows it to continue to operate during this challenging period for the aviation sector. While NAC entered the current global crisis in a strong liquidity position, the fallout in the aviation sector as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the company receiving requests from the majority of lessees seeking to defer some or all elements of their lease payments. To mitigate this, the company has been liaising with its lenders and their advisors since April to agree a standstill on and deferral of its debt obligations. This agreement will ensure NAC’s stability as the aviation market gradually recovers.

ACI World issues vision for the future of airport security in the wake of COVID-19: Airports Council International (ACI) World has released its Smart Security Vision 2040 which sets the foundation for achieving a seamless airport security screening experience in a post-COVID-19 operational reality. This is part of the Smart Security programme which promotes concepts and solutions that take a risk-based approach, increase efficiency, and enhance the passenger experience, while also ensuring secure airport operations. It brings together a coalition of leading airports, regulators and airlines. While the vision explores several long-term trends affecting aviation and airports, it takes full account of the present context of the economic and operational recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and the industry’s increased focus on health and cleanliness. The Smart Security Vision includes innovations such as artificial intelligence and the increasing use of big data and stand-off detection. These innovations that promote a more touch-less, seamless approach to airport security screening – which has become an even more important objective during the current pandemic – have the potential to radically transform the way that passengers and baggage are screened.

ATR 42-600 ATR 42-500Strata delivers 100 shipsets of inboard flaps for Airbus: Strata Manufacturing (Strata), the advanced composite aero structures manufacturing facility wholly-owned by Mubadala Investment Company, has successfully delivered 100 shipsets of the assembled A350-900 Inboard Flaps (IBF). Having completed the full First Article Inspection for the fabrication of six IBF components at its state-of-the-art facility in the Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park, Strata now assumes fabrication and assembly duties in partnership with Airbus. To fully-automate the IBF manufacturing process, Strata will utilise Hot Drape Forming (HDF) and computer-controlled robotic Automated Tape Layup (ATL) machines, which gained First Part Qualification and First Article Inspection design and quality verifications early this year. As part of the manufacturing process, Strata’s HDF machine pre-forms carbon fibre components for aircraft parts and enables faster production of high-quality composite parts.

ATR 42-600 ATR 42-500New ICAO iPACKs to provide COVID-19 support: ICAO has introduced a new series of implementation packages or ‘iPACKs’ to support states’ aviation response, recovery, and resilience efforts during COVID-19. The ICAO iPACKs will comprise guidance material, training, tools, expert assistance and, if needed, procurement assistance. They can be acquired by government decision makers, civil aviation authorities, national air transport facilitation committees, aviation service providers, and supply chain stakeholders. The deployment of the iPACKs represents a determined coordination effort within ICAO, led by its Technical Cooperation Bureau (TCB) and with support from the Air Navigation and Air Transport Bureaus, all ICAO Regional Offices, and the agency’s Strategic Planning, Coordination and Partnerships (SPCP) Office. The first two iPACKs now being deployed will feature resources for Strengthening National Air Transport Facilitation Committees for Re-Start and Resilience of Civil Aviation, and Aviation Safety Risk Management related to COVID-19 for Civil Aviation Authorities.


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