Aviation News in Brief 14 December 2020

United Airlines, Leonardo, Inmarsat, Airbus, Jet Aviation, Etihad, APEX, FIATA, Bamboo Airways, AFI KLM E&M, Brisbane Airport, Korean Air, Skytrax

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Use this oneUnited Airlines opens nonstop New Delhi-Chicago route: United Airlines inaugurated its new daily nonstop service between Indira Gandhi International Airport and its hometown hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport recently. These daily flights will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. With the introduction of this new route, United will operate four daily nonstop flights from India. The airline additionally operates daily year-round services from Mumbai and New Delhi to New York/Newark, and from New Delhi to San Francisco. United also expects to introduce a new daily nonstop service between Bengaluru and San Francisco commencing 8 May 2021. United will be the first US carrier to provide nonstop service from Bengaluru to the US and will offer more nonstop services from India than any other U.S airline. “We are excited to inaugurate our daily, nonstop service between New Delhi and our hometown Chicago O’Hare hub,” said Harvinder Singh, United Country Manager India. “This new flight strengthens our international route network and provides our customers from India with even greater travel choice, as well as the option of our Polaris business class service with flat-bed seats.”

Leonardo gets additional loan tech development: Leonardo and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed a loan agreement of 200 million euros.The financing has the purpose of supporting the investment projects planned in the Group’s Industrial Plan against the background of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This further loan by the EIB brings the investment support of the loan signed on 29 November 2018 from 300 to 500 million euros. This is the third operation carried out between the EIB and Leonardo; the first of 500 million euros, in 2009, was aimed at developing technologically innovative aeronautical components; the second one of 300 million euros in 2018, to which is added the new contract signed, aimed at supporting investment projects in four main areas: development of highly innovative products in the Helicopter Division, Cyber Security, Advanced Manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and infrastructure projects needed to increase the production efficiency of the plants.

Inmarsat satellite enters service for aviation broadband: Inmarsat said its newest and most advanced satellite to date, the GX5, is now delivering capacity to Europe and the Middle East as part of the industry-leading Global Xpress (GX) network, which powers the GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) inflight Wi-Fi services. Conceived, designed and procured principally to meet the needs of airline and business aviation customers, GX5 delivers approximately twice the capacity of the entire existing GX satellite fleet (GX1-GX4) combined. Together with a significantly expanded ground station network and enhanced cloud-based processing, the powerful satellite is essential to support rapidly growing demand for aviation connectivity in Europe and the Middle East. GX5 will transform Inmarsat’s offering to aviation customers, bringing significant layered capacity and network redundancy over Europe and the Middle East, which form one of the world’s busiest travel corridors. Launched in November 2019, GX5 underpins the growth plans for Inmarsat’s aviation unit in the region, as part of the company’s wider commitment to drive innovation and support digital transformation within the airline and business aviation industries.

Airbus quantum computing challenge helps advance sustainable flight: Airbus has concluded its global Quantum Computing Challenge (AQCC) announcing the winning team of the competition. The Italian team at Machine Learning Reply – a leading systems integration and digital services company part of Reply Group – won the challenge with their solution to optimise aircraft loading. Airlines try to make the best use of an aircraft’s payload capability to maximise revenue, optimise fuel burn and lower overall operating costs. However, their scope for optimisation can be limited by a number of operational constraints. By creating an algorithm for optimal aircraft cargo loading configurations, taking these operational constraints -payload, centre of gravity, size and shape of the fuselage- into account, the winners of the competition proved that optimisation problems can be mathematically modelled and solved through quantum computing. The winners are set to start working with Airbus experts, as early as January 2021, to test and benchmark their solution in order to assess how the mastering of complex calculations can tangibly impact airlines, enabling them, as predicted, to benefit from maximised loading capabilities. With operations being made more efficient, the overall number of required transportation flights could be reduced, having a positive impact on CO2 emissions, thereby contributing to Airbus’ ambition for sustainable flight.

Jet Aviation celebrates 15 years of service in Dubai: Jet Aviation announced it is celebrating 15 years of successful operation in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The company’s MRO and FBO facility at Dubai International Airport was officially inaugurated at the 2005 Dubai Airshow. Three years ago, also at the Dubai Airshow, it launched a second FBO at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South. As the first executive aviation maintenance facility at the Dubai International Airport, Jet Aviation launched its MRO and FBO facility with the intention of strengthening its global services network and supporting its growing clientele in the Middle East. Now a major hub in the Middle East, the company has received numerous awards for outstanding safety and service, most recently voted #1 in the Professional Pilot 2020 PRASE Survey’s Best Middle East & African FBO category as well as Fixed Base Operator of the Year at the 2019 Aviation Business Awards. Following a recent audit, the company’s safety standards were also just acknowledged by the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) through re-issuance of IS-BAH Stage Two certificates to Jet Aviation Dubai at both of its FBO locations (DXB and DWC).

Etihad awarded 5 stars in APEX ratings: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has been officially rated a Five-Star Global Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX). The award was presented to the airline at the virtual APEX Award Ceremony, part of the FTE APEX Virtual Expo, on 9 December. The APEX Official Airline Ratings were created based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights gathered through APEX’s partnership with TripIt from Concur, the world’s highest-rated travel-organising app. Using a five-star scale, nearly one million flights were rated by passengers across more than 600 airlines from around the world. The APEX Official Airline Ratings were independently certified by a professional external auditing company.

Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year announced: FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations and TT Club announce the 2020 winner of the Young International Freight Forwarder of the Year Award (YIFFYA). Umair Aamir Sheikh from the Pakistan International Freight Forwarders Association, and Asia-Pacific regional winner, is awarded this year’s global award. The YIFFYA demonstrates recognition by FIATA, and TT Club as a sponsoring partner of the award, of the need to develop quality in the freight forwarding industry and reward young talent. For over 20 years, the YIFFYA has been providing valuable training opportunities for young freight forwarders in the industry. Sheikh joined the freight forwarding industry four years ago and comes from a country where 64 percent of the population is under 30 years old – emphasising the relevance and timeliness of this award. His dissertation took into account the effects of digitalization on freight forwarding activities and concluded that, despite the technology currently available, the role of the freight forwarder remains essential.

Bamboo Airways selects AFI KLM E&M for components support: Bamboo Airways in Vietnam, has contracted with Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) to provide component support for its Boeing 787 fleet. The long-term component contract, between Bamboo Airways and AFI KLM E&M covers component repair, spares pool access and logistics for a fleet of 14 aircraft. Moreover, Bamboo Airways becomes the 21st member to join the AFI KLM E&M 787 Operators Community and will benefit from AFI KLM E&M global network and reliable predictive maintenance tool, Prognos. This agreement constitutes the first genuine cooperation between the two airlines and strengthens AFI KLM E&M’s already strong position in the Asia-Pacific region. “I am very pleased with this significant cooperation and feel confident that AFI KLM E&M would support our 787 operations with superb services of outstanding quality as recognized by many leading aviation industry players” says Mr. Eric Dang, CEO of Bamboo Airways.” Bamboo Airways – member of FLC Group – was officially established in 2017 in Vietnam with a head office in Hanoi. The airline started operations in January 2019, with the strategy to become a 5-Star airline with the strong combination of FLC’s resort ecosystem. The airline currently operates a mixed fleet of Airbus A320, Boeing 787 and Embraer EJets.

Brisbane Airport celebrates domestic milestone: Brisbane Airport is set to welcome more than 30,000 daily passengers for the first time since 16 March 2020, a clear sign that Australian domestic travel is recovering. The Domestic Terminal will see more than 16,000 arrivals and 14,000 departing passengers from a total of 309 flights. Off the back of interstate borders reopening, there has been a significant week-on-week increase in interstate passenger volumes, jumping from 118,008 total passengers during the week commencing 23 November, to 155,875 during the week commencing 30 November. While there have been significant increases, average daily domestic passenger numbers are still down 55 percent when compared to the same time last year. Gert-Jan de Graaff, BAC chief executive officer, said the last few weeks show there has been pent-up demand for travel with airlines putting on additional capacity. “After what has been an incredibly slow and challenging year for Brisbane Airport and the wider aviation industry, it is a most welcome sight to see the Domestic Terminal spring back to life. We still have some way to go before we reach complete recovery of our domestic network, but the last few weeks have shown Australians are ready and willing to explore our beautiful state and country once more.”

Korean Air awarded ‘5-star airline’ by Skytrax: Korean Air has been designated as a 5-star airline by SkyTrax, one of the world’s most prestigious air transport rating organisations. Headquartered in London, Skytrax has evaluated and awarded the service quality of global airlines since 1999. The 5-star rating recognises the world’s best quality in aviation service. Skytrax auditors travelled on Korean Air flights as mystery shoppers for three weeks. They evaluated the quality of customer service in all areas, including check-in counters, lounges, seating, in-flight meals, in-flight entertainment, cabin crew services and in-flight service items, among others. “We’re excited to receive a 5-Star Certification from Skytrax, the world’s most recognised customer service experience and airline ratings organisation. It’s positive and meaningful news during this challenging time, and I’m sincerely proud of all our Korean Air employees who make this achievement possible,” said Keehong WOO, Korean Air’s president. “We continue to upgrade our aircraft and equipment to improve our customers’ experience and ensure safe and clean flights. Korean Air is ready for the new, post-COVID era,” he added.

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