Aviation News in Brief 16 Dec 2019

Nova Systems, China Southern Airlines, AFI KLM E&M, IATA, Collins Aerospace, ADCC, AEROTHAI, SIA Engineering, Safran Aircraft Engines, Korean Air, Airbus, MTM Robotics, BOC Aviation, ATR, HiAir, Embraer, Fuji Dream Airlines, GTR.

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(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Nova-SystemsNova Systems completes second stage of UAS flight trials: Nova Systems in Singapore said it has successfully completed the second stage of flight trials for the first UAS Traffic Management (UTM). The two-year project is focused on enabling safe and efficient Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) delivery operations and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) within Singapore’s densely populated urban environment. Nova Systems leads a consortium in collaboration with OneSky. Other significant partners collaborating in this flight test included M1, Scout Aerial, and Rohde and Schwarz. The next round of flight trials will be held in 2020, with an expansive review of the UTM prototype’s functionality against an operational backdrop of multi-platform drones conducting a mix of VLOS and BVLOS operations.

Nova-SystemsChina Southern Airlines signs deal with AFI KLM E&M for A350s: China Southern Airlines has signed a long-term contract for the provision of component support for its 20 newly acquired aircraft. With the A350 model having just made its debut within the fleet, the airline has opted for a pooling solution to secure its operational capacities. The maintenance programme includes maintenance, repair and logistic services. In addition to AFI KLM E&M’s global pool located at Paris, Singapore and Detroit, the airline will gain access to the central China pool of Shanghai as well as dedicated Main Base Kits (MBK) in Guangzhou and Beijing.

IATA works to improve cargo handling audits: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new programme to raise global standards in cargo handling operations. The Smart Facility Operational Capacity (SFOC) programme aims to reduce audit complexity and duplication for cargo handling facilities. Singapore will be the initial focal point for this important new initiative. SATS Ltd and Singapore Airlines are the first organisations to join the Smart Facility Operational Capacity (SFOC) programme. SATS is the first Cargo Handling Facility to receive the new SFOC Audit Certification and Singapore Airlines is the first airline to join the programme by signing the ARC.

Collins Aerospace, ADCC and AEROTHAI sign MOU: Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies, is teaming up with its GLOBALink partners – Aviation Data Communication Corporation (ADCC) and Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Limited (AEROTHAI) – to enhance safety and efficiency for flight and tarmac operations in Asia. The three companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to leverage each company’s existing technology to provide communication solutions to stakeholders on the tarmac. For more than two decades, Collins Aerospace, ADCC and AEROTHAI have partnered to provide the industry standard for crisp, clear communications between flight and ground crews across the globe. Equipped with a vision to now provide data-centric solutions for the tarmac, the partnership stands to transform the efficiency of airports, airlines, ground handlers and air traffic controllers. ADDC is a joint venture invested by Air Traffic Management Bureau of CAAC, and key airlines, including Air China, China Eastern and China Southern.

Nova-SystemsSIA Engineering signs deal with Safran Aircraft Engines: SIA Engineering and Safran Aircraft Engines have signed an agreement for SIAEC to provide engine maintenance services to Safran Aircraft Engines. The 10-year agreement encompasses engine Quick Turn (QT) and modification embodiment services for both CFM LEAP-1A and LEAP-1B engines. SIAEC will set up a dedicated facility with the latest engine and QT processes and state-of-the-art technology to support these services. The facility is expected to commence operations in 2020. The LEAP-1A is one of two engine options for the Airbus A320neo family, while the LEAP-1B is the exclusive powerplant for the Boeing 737 MAX. The LEAP engine is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE (United States) and Safran Aircraft Engines (France). The transaction is not expected to have a material impact on the earnings per share or the net tangible assets per share of SIAEC for the financial year ending 31 March 2020.

Korean Air rejigs SKYPASS programme: Korean Air is revamping its SKYPASS frequent flyer program. Starting in November 2020, Korean Air will introduce the option to use a combination of miles and cash/credit card to purchase flight tickets for a test-run period. In April 2021, the airline will implement a more rational and segmented system for mileage accrual and redemption based on airfares and distances flown. Additionally, a new SKYPASS elite membership system consisting of four levels — silver, gold, platinum and diamond — will be introduced in February 2022. Elite membership levels will be granted based on the number of miles accrued during the previous year, lowering membership entry barriers.

Airbus acquires Seattle-area’s MTM Robotics: Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, MTM Robotics, for an undisclosed sum. The move deepens Airbus’ commitment to expanding advanced robotics capabilities within its manufacturing processes. The MTM business will retain its current leadership and 40-person staff, as well as its facility in Mukilteo, Washington, near Seattle. The acquisition is the latest chapter in a 10-year-plus relationship between the companies, with multiple MTM light automated robotics systems currently in use at Airbus manufacturing facilities. While MTM will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus Americas, it will continue to serve other customers in the aerospace industry. Since 2003, MTM has deployed more than 40 aerospace manufacturing systems comprised of machines, tools, machine software, enterprise software and support throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Nova-SystemsBOC Aviation announces board, senior management changes: Wang Jian will retire from his role as an executive director, vice chairman of the board, deputy managing director and a member of the Strategy and Budget Committee on 31 December 2019.  Replacing Wang as executive director, vice chairman of the board, deputy managing director and a member of the Strategy and Budget Committee from 1 January 2020 is Zhang Xiaolu. Zhang, aged 52, is to be responsible for overseeing the Board Secretariat and Procurement Departments. The company also said Phang Thim Fatt will step down from his role as deputy managing director and chief financial officer on 30 September 2020 and will remain with the company to ensure a smooth transition of his duties until his retirement on 31 December 2020. He will be replaced by Steven Townsend, who will be appointed as deputy managing director and chief financial officer with effect from 1 October 2020. Townsend, aged 50, currently serves as the company’s chief commercial officer (Europe, Americas and Africa).

ATR to start flying In South Korea: ATR said South Korean start-up HiAir has received its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and will be launching passenger services this month on the Seoul Gimpo-Ulsan route. HiAir will operate two ATR 72-500s and will also benefit from ATR’s strong track-record and experience of opening regional routes in Asia. ATR aircraft are proven route openers, opening on average over 100 routes per year globally. With around 500 aircraft operating in Asia, out of a total fleet of 1,200 aircraft, Asia is the biggest market for ATR. ATR also runs training centres in the region.

Embraer’s 15th E-Jet for Fuji Dream Airlines lands in Nagoya: Fuji Dream Airlines is due to start operations with its 15th E-jet flying from Nagoya (Komaki Airport) to Iwate Hanamaki and Aomori. This delivery follows the contract Fuji Dream Airlines signed earlier this year for two E175 jets. 2019 marks 10 years since Embraer delivered the first E-Jet, an E170, to Fuji Dream Airlines.

Nova-SystemsGTR launches cargo hub in Malaysia: GTR (Ground Team Red), a joint venture between AirAsia and SATS has launched its air cargo hub at the KLIA Air Cargo Terminal 1 (KACT1). Located at the former low-cost carrier terminal in Sepang, the facility spans 93,000 sq ft. It adds additional storage to the existing 40,000 sq ft warehouse, and the combined facilities will handle 300,000 tonnes of air freight annually, strengthening Malaysia’s goal of being a regional logistic hub. The new air cargo hub enables GTR to expand its capabilities by handling both narrow and widebody aircraft cargo operations and has motorised material handling system that facilitates efficient handling of Unit Load Devices (ULDs). The new air cargo hub also has a purpose-built 10,000 sq ft cold-chain facility for specialised handling for perishable and pharmaceutical products and dedicated zones for dangerous goods, pets and valuable cargo handling. Modern security cargo scanners offer both horizontal and vertical views of cargo to enhance detection.

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