Aviation News in Brief 16 Feb 2020

SIA Engineering, South Korea, Singapore Airlines, Boeing, Virgin Galactic, Willis Lease, Vietjet, Vistara, Sembcorp, Maldivian, De Havilland Canada, Philippine Airlines, Airinmar, Bell, Sumitomo, Japan Airlines, Collins Aerospace, Lufthansa Technik, TAG Aviation.

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Planes taking off at sunset
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

SIA-ENGINEERING-COMPANYSIA Engineering in MRO JV deal with Korea: Singapore’s SIA Engineering (SIAEC) announced that it has entered into a joint venture agreement with Air Innovation Korea( AIK), to form a line maintenance joint venture based in South Korea. Under the agreement, SIAEC will hold an equity stake of 51 percent with AIK taking the remaining 49 percent stake. The partnership supplements the Aero-K Airlines’ (Aero-K) A320 CEO / NEO fleet Inventory Technical Management Programme where SIAEC will support the airline for component pooling as well as repair and overhaul management services commencing in March 2020. The services will be provided for a period of six years for each fleet type. Aero-K, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIK, plans to commence operations in March 2020 from their base in Cheongju International Airport in the Republic of Korea. Aero-K is expected to operate four A320 aircraft by end 2020, growing to 15-20 aircraft within five years.

Singapore Airlines GroupSingapore Airlines Group financial results: The SIA Group said it delivered a strong set of results in the third quarter of the 2019/20 financial year. Group revenue for the quarter was at a record high of S$4 billion boosted by initiatives arising from a “transformation” programme. Operating profit increased S$61 million (+15.7 percent) from last year to S$449 million, driving a group net profit improvement of S$31 million (+10.9 percent) to S$315 million. For the nine months ended 31 December 2019, group operating profit rose S$48 million (+5.9 percent) to S$862 million and net profit was up S$40 million (+8.3 percent). The growing scale of the COVID-19 outbreak poses significant challenges to the SIA Group. Demand for services to mainland China has been severely affected. The parent airline company and SilkAir have drastically reduced frequencies on all mainland China routes in February and March 2020, while Scoot has suspended all flights to mainland China until 28 March 2020. Volatility in fuel prices is likely to persist, in view of recent geopolitical tensions and the demand-side uncertainties in the global oil market. However, the group’s hedging policy provides stability in net fuel costs. For the fourth quarter, the group has hedged 79 percent of its fuel requirements in MOPS at a weighted average price of US$76.

Vietjet announces five direct routes to IndiaVietjet announces five direct routes to India: Vietjet has opened five direct routes connecting Vietnam’s largest cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang with the capital of New Delhi and Mumbai in India. The Da Nang – New Delhi and Hanoi – Mumbai routes will commence operations starting from 14 May 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 15 May. The airline currently operates the HCMC/Hanoi – New Delhi services at a frequency of four weekly flights and three weekly flights respectively.

Vistaras-20th-AircraftVistara opens service to Kathmandu: India’s Vistara, a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has started flying from Delhi to Kathmandu. Kathmandu is the fifth destination outside of India in the airline’s growing network. The airline inaugurated its international operations in August 2019 with Singapore as its first destination, followed by Dubai, Bangkok, and Colombo. Vistara continues to grow rapidly across India and abroad, as it adds over 40 narrowbody and widebody aircraft until 2023. The new aircraft help Vistara further expand within India as well as in starting medium and long haul international routes.

solar_confSembcorp to build solar system on SIA, SIA Engineering properties: Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) have signed a power purchase agreement with Sembcorp Solar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries (Sembcorp), to install and operate rooftop solar panels on their premises. The solar panels will help to power onsite operations at various locations, with surplus power generated channelled to Singapore and Changi Airport Group’s electrical grids. Under the agreement, Sembcorp Solar will install, own and operate over 20,000 solar panels. The panels will be installed at SIA’s Airline House, SIA Training Centre, TechSQ, five of SIAEC’s hangars and its Engine Test Facility. With a total capacity of 8.2 megawatt-peak (MWp), this will be the largest combined solar-power energy project for the aviation industry in Singapore. Upon completion in June 2020, the project is expected to produce over 10,200 megawatt hours of power annually that will help offset over 4.3 million kilogrammes of carbon dioxide emissions a year, equivalent to taking approximately 930 cars off the road or planting over 52,000 trees.

SIA EngineeringMaldivian signs service agreements with De Havilland Canada: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada said it has signed service agreements with Maldivian that will significantly enhance the airline’s operational performance. The agreements will provide A and C Check Maintenance Interval Extensions, as well as Enhanced Structural Inspection Requirements (ESIR) for the airline’s fleet of 10 Dash 8-200 and Dash 8-300 aircraft. Maldivian, owned and operated by Island Aviation Services Limited, is the national airline of the Maldives.

SIA EngineeringPhilippine Airlines selects Airinmar’s services: AAR subsidiary Airinmar has signed a three-year support services agreement with flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). Working in conjunction with PAL’s Aircraft Material Management team, Airinmar will provide a full suite of support services covering both new aircraft warranty and value engineering. The services will supplement PAL’s current activities and focus on maximizing the recovery of PAL’s new aircraft warranty entitlements and reducing the cost of component repair. Airinmar’s new aircraft warranty management services will cover the identification, claim and recovery of the multiple aircraft warranty entitlements provided by Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier and their suppliers. Airinmar’s value engineering support will provide cost oversight services to assure compliance with PAL’s contracted component repairs and minimise component flight-hour out-of-scope repair charges.

Bell-NexusBell teams up with Sumitomo and Japan Airlines on air mobility: Bell Textron has signed a memorandum of understanding with Sumitomo Corporation and Japan Airlines to explore Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) and to develop the required infrastructure and regulatory environment. This collaboration will inform the development of an on-demand air mobility ecosystem utilising Bell’s air mobility solutions including Bell’s Air Taxi, the Nexus 4EX, in Japan. The companies will develop policy and planning recommendations, identify entry into service use cases and pilot programmes, and develop infrastructure requirements that integrate into both current and future transportation systems and city standards to provide safe, accessible and sustainable multi-modal transportation system to our communities.

Boeing_767-300ER_Japan_AirlinesJapan Airlines expands 787 MRO deal with Collins Aerospace: Collins Aerospace Systems said it has signed a five-year tailored FlightSense agreement, valued at approximately US$200 million to service air management and electric power components for Japan Airlines’ (JAL) growing fleet of Boeing 787 aircraft. The agreement with JAL, which builds on a 14-year relationship between the two organisations, now includes a total of 51 aircraft through 2025. The FlightSense agreement is a tailored asset management and maintenance programme designed for JAL’s unique operational requirements. Collins Aerospace will help ensure availability of JAL’s onsite assets by providing access to a global pool network, and maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) supply chain management.  In addition, Collins Aerospace will continue to provide JAL with MRO services at a reduced cost, while relying on Collins’ distinctive OEM technical capabilities for optimised product performance and aircraft uptime. In addition, Collins Aerospace will continue to support JAL’s in-house repair capabilities including test equipment, technical support, and personalised reliability enhancement programmes.

SIA Engineering

Lufthansa Technik and Vistara sign deal for 787 fleet support: TATA SIA Airlines (Vistara) and Lufthansa Technik have signed a 12-year component support agreement for the Boeing 787 fleet to be operated by Vistara. The Indian carrier has six firm orders and four options for this aircraft type. The agreement covers a wide range of aircraft components for the Boeing 787. Service provision will start as early as the first quarter of 2020.

TAG-AsiaTAG Aviation Asia now an authorised service centre for Bombardier aircraft in Hong Kong: TAG Aviation Asia has been appointed as an Authorised Service Facility for Bombardier Aviation in Hong Kong. This approval includes the Bombardier Global 5000 GVFD, Global 6000 GVFD, Global 7500, and the Challenger 605, for line maintenance services in the region. TAG Aviation Asia has maintenance centres in Hong Kong and Macau. The company provides world class maintenance and cleaning services include internal and external aircraft cleaning services, and Permaguard paint protection at either Hong Kong / Macau permanent stations or across APAC region with Mobile Repair Party teams. TAG Aviation Hong Kong is located in one of the busiest and most important business aviation airports in Asia.

SFS_and_SpaceportVirgin Galactic welcomes SpaceShipTwo Unity: Virgin Galactic Holdings has completed another step on its path to commercial service, relocating SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, to its commercial headquarters at Spaceport America’s Gateway to Space building. VSS Unity, attached to the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve, made the journey from Mojave, California, where the company’s manufacturing facilities are based. The captive carry flight provided an opportunity for engineers to evaluate VSS Unity for over three hours at high altitude and cold temperatures, a longer period of time than is experienced during missions to space. These environmental evaluations of system performance are difficult to replicate at ground level, making captive carry missions a vital component of VSS Unity’s flight test plan. The flight also provided a valuable opportunity to conduct pilot training and familiarisation. The relocation of VSS Unity to Spaceport America enables the Company to engage in the final stages of its flight test programme. This will begin with a number of initial captive carry and glide flights from the new operating base in New Mexico, allowing the spaceflight operations team to familiarise themselves with the airspace and ground control. Once these tests are complete, the team will carry out a number of rocket-powered test flights from Spaceport America to continue the evaluation of VSS Unity’s performance.  During this phase, the final spaceship cabin and customer experience evaluations will also be concluded in preparation for the start of commercial spaceflight operations.

SIA EngineeringWillis Lease announces bond deal: Willis Lease Finance Corporation announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Willis Engine Securitization Trust II, to be renamed Willis Engine Structured Trust V (“WEST”), plans to offer bonds worth US$366.2 million that will be secured by WEST’s direct and indirect interests in a portfolio of 54 aircraft engines and three airframes, including 25 aircraft engines and three airframes which WEST will acquire from Willis pursuant to an asset purchase agreement. The remainder of the assets are currently owned by WEST.

SIA EngineeringBoeing and unions agree on contract terms: Boeing has reached a tentative agreement with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) on a new four-year contract extension that would run through 2026 covering approximately 18,000 engineering and technical employees, nearly all of whom are in Washington and Oregon. SPEEA’s Executive Board has endorsed the offer, which will be put up for a vote by the membership and is expected to run from 24 February 9 March. The current contract is set to expire in 2022. “We are pleased to come to a tentative agreement that recognizes the tremendous contributions of our engineering and technical teammates. We listened to our employees and addressed areas that are important to them,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology. “These early discussions and ongoing dialogue will further enhance our efforts to focus on safely returning the 737 MAX to service and facilitating our engineering realignment and ongoing commitment to engineering excellence.” Under the tentative agreement, Boeing and SPEEA will establish fixed salary adjustment funds for each year, 2020 through 2026, replacing the prior indexed formula. Boeing will apply the company’s existing 12-week Paid Parental Leave policy to SPEEA-represented employees. By virtue of the contract extension, SPEEA-represented employees in Washington will now also be covered by the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. Under the tentative agreement, employees will continue receiving competitive benefits with no change in plan design for medical, dental and vision plans. Beginning in 2023, employees’ contributions will be based upon their salary. The Employee Incentive Plan target will be raised from 3.85 percent of eligible earnings to 5 percent of eligible earnings.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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