Aviation News in Brief 17 August 2020

IATA, Rolls-Royce, Foodpanda, ST Engineering, Jet Aviation, Honeywell, Vertical Aerospace, Cathay Pacific, CALC.

Changi Airport
Countries like Singapore are turning to "vaccinated travel lanes" to restore international air travel. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

Use this onecovid-19-iata-calls-for-relief-for-african-middle-eastern-airlinesIATA warns aviation situation dire in Europe, Africa and Middle East: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has issued more warnings over the aviation industry situation in the Middle East, Europe and Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shutdown in international flights. On Europe, IATA said flights are still more than 50 percent below the same period in 2019. Passenger numbers are currently forecast to fall by around 60 percent in 2020, which represents about 705 million passenger journeys. The near-term outlook for recovery in Europe remains highly uncertain with respect to the second wave of the pandemic and the broader global economic impact it could have. Passenger demand in Europe is expected to recover gradually and will not reach 2019 levels until 2024. IATA said more than 7 million jobs supported by aviation (including tourism) in Europe are now at risk (up from around 6 million estimated in June). In the Middle East, job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 1.5 million. That is more than half of the region’s 2.4 million aviation-related employment and 300,000 more than the previous estimate. Full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 56 percent compared to 2019. Previous estimate was a fall of 51 percent. GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by up to US$85 billion. Previous estimate was $66 billion. In Africa, IATA said job losses in aviation and related industries could increase by up to 3.5 million. That is more than half of the region’s 6.2 million aviation-related employment and 400,000 more than the previous estimate. Full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 54 percent (more than 80 million passenger journeys) compared to 2019. Previous estimate was a fall of 51 percent. GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by up to US$35 billion. IATA previously estimated a US$28 billion decline.

Rolls-Royce works on low-emissions engine testing: Rolls-Royce has started its latest phase of testing on its low-emissions technology for its next generation of engines. An ALECSys (Advanced Low Emissions Combustion System) demonstrator engine – with technology that features in both the Advance3 and UltraFan programmes – has resumed ground test runs in Derby UK. Reducing emissions from gas turbines is part of the wider Rolls-Royce sustainability strategy, which also involves support for the increased use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and intensive research into disruptive propulsion architectures and technologies. The lean-burn combustion system improves the pre-mixing of fuel and air prior to ignition – delivering a more complete combustion of the fuel, resulting in lower NOX and particulate emissions. The first series of tests began in 2018 and this latest phase will focus on validating emissions performance, engine control system software and functional performance. The tests commence as Rolls-Royce starts to build the first parts for the UltraFan demonstrator, which will start ground tests next year. UltraFan offers a 25 percent fuel saving over the first generation of Trent engine. The ALECSys programme  is supported by the EU via Clean Sky, and in the UK by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate UK.

Foodpanda takes to the skies with pandaFly: Foodpanda, a Singaporean delivery business, has tested food delivery via drone with pandaFly, which completed its delivery test flight recently. The company worked with engineering group ST Engineering for an order of five packets of Ayam Penyet (‘smashed’ fried chicken) that was delivered from Marina South Pier to PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) Vessel, located 3km off the pier, in under 10 minutes. The latest flight test demonstrated by ST Engineering using its DroNet solution proves that it’s possible to simultaneously deliver longer distances and cut delivery times by half. Intended as a complement to the company’s delivery drivers, the drones will be able to pick up and deliver orders at designated collection points throughout Singapore where one of Foodpanda’s 12,000 riders will be waiting to complete the last-mile delivery. In March this year, Foodpanda inked a partnership with ST Engineering to adapt its DroNet solution to trial the delivery of light food items over short distances of up to 3km. DroNet is an end-to-end drone network solution designed to carry out specific tasks or services autonomously in an urban environment. ST Engineering’s DroNet is a drone-agnostic operating platform capable of integrating autonomous and multi-function Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) networks. An end-to-end system designed to carry out specific tasks or services in an urban environment, DroNet is developed in close consultation with aviation regulators and industry partners, incorporating the latest smart technologies such as face recognition and visual imaging to meet existing and future uses of UAS in a robust and safe manner. It can be tailored for military and commercial applications.

Jet Aviation Geneva delivers 240-month check on a Bombardier Global Express: Jet Aviation’s maintenance facility in Geneva has recently re-delivered its first 240-month check on a Global Express. The inspection was successfully performed in conjunction with an avionics modification and a number of service bulletins. The company has since initiated a combined 120/180-month check on a Global Express XRS — with more in the pipeline. Essentially a repeat (the second) of the largest inspection for the Global Express, the 240-month check involves an extensive overhaul of all major aircraft systems and structures, including the internal side of the aircraft’s fuselage. Gaining access for such rigorous scrutiny necessitates removal of the entire cabin and soundproofing materials, ensuring exceptional care in their storage, while paying great attention to detail for the duration of the check. Jet Aviation Geneva offers full heavy maintenance services for the Bombardier Global Express series, Gulfstream aircraft and Boeing BBJ. Since achieving this impressive milestone, the facility has already commenced a 120/180-month check on a Global Express XRS.

Honeywell to provide flightdeck tech for UAS vehicles: Honeywell and Vertical Aerospace have signed a letter of intent naming Honeywell as the supplier for flight deck technologies for its demonstrator aircraft programme. The demonstrator programme will help Vertical Aerospace understand flight characteristics, system requirements and the flight deck user interface to further the development of its urban air mobility (UAM) vehicle. The agreement deepens the collaboration between the two companies following the signing of contracts in 2019 to equip Vertical demonstration aircraft with the Honeywell Compact Fly-By-Wire System and flight control software. “One of the most important outcomes of this program will be the successful demonstration of simplified vehicle operations, which essentially is about making these aircraft more intuitive and flattening the learning curve to safely fly them,” said Stéphane Fymat, vice president and general manager, UAS/UAM, Honeywell Aerospace. “Vertical Aerospace has been a wonderful partner, and we’re excited to be part of its demonstrator aircraft to address this challenge and, in doing so, help move the entire industry forward.” The new agreement includes several other technologies present in the front end of the aircraft. These include multitouch displays, avionics system controls, avionics software and the vehicle operating system. These technologies will work together with other systems onboard the aircraft to make the aircraft simpler to operate than a traditional airplane or helicopter, while still ensuring safety of the operator and other occupants. This type of “simplified vehicle operation” will be a transformative next step in the UAM industry.

Cathay releases July traffic figures: The Cathay Pacific Group released its combined traffic figures for July 2020 that reflected the airlines’ continued substantial capacity reductions in response to significantly reduced demand as well as travel restrictions and quarantine requirements in place in Hong Kong and other markets amid the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 42,984 passengers in July, a decrease of 98.7 percent compared to July 2019. The month’s revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs) fell 98.1 percent year-on-year. Passenger load factor dropped by 62.6 percentage points to 23.4 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 92.9 percent. In the first seven months of 2020, the number of passengers carried dropped by 79.4 percent against a 69.9 percent decrease in capacity and a 76.6 percent decrease in RPKs, as compared to the same period for 2019. The airline group said the global aviation sector continues to face major headwinds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated travel restrictions that have been implemented. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has now adjusted its forecast for when international passenger demand will return to pre-pandemic levels to 2024, one year later than its previous estimate.

CALC announces 2020 interim results: China Aircraft Leasing Group, a full value chain aircraft solutions provider for the global aviation industry, announced the group’s results for the six months ended 30 June 2020. Total revenue and other income of the group for the period reached HK$1.6 billion, level to that of the last corresponding period. Profit attributable to shareholders grew by 6.1 percent year-on-year, amounting to HK$331.6 million. During the period, the group delivered seven aircraft and disposed of four aircraft. As of 30 June 2020, CALC had 137 aircraft in its fleet, including 114 owned and 23 managed aircraft. CALC’s aircraft were on lease to 35 airlines in 15 countries and regions. In March, CALC acquired a 72.82 percent interest in Aviation Synergy, which holds a 49 percent indirect equity interest in PT TransNusa Aviation Mandiri, an Indonesian airline. This transaction further expands the group’s aircraft downstream business. Also in March, FLARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Company, the group’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) joint venture set up with FL Technics obtained certification as an approved EASA Part 145 Maintenance Organization, and permitted to provide line maintenance services for aircraft from the Boeing 737 NG series to Airbus A320 families.

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