Aviation News in Brief 17 December 2020

Cebu Pacific, Strata Manufacturing, China Airlines, Rostec, CAFUC, AVIAGE SYSTEMS, FedEx Express, ATR, FREQUENTIS, Curtiss-Wright, Eviation


Use this onecebu-pacific-joins-iataCebu Pacific extends unlimited rebooking: Cebu Pacific (CEB), the Philippines’ largest carrier, continues to extend the validity of its flexible options for passengers traveling until 31 March 2021. These options include unlimited rebooking and a travel fund valid for two years. Passengers traveling until 31 March 2021 may rebook their flights as many times as they want or put the full cost of their ticket into a Travel Fund valid for two years, with rebooking and cancellation fees waived. A minimal fare difference may apply for rebooking of flights. The two-year Travel Fund may be used not only to book new flights, but also to purchase add-ons, such as baggage allowance, preferred seats, pre-ordered meals, hygiene kits, and travel insurance. Those with cancelled flights will continue to have the following options: Travel fund valid for two years; unlimited rebooking – both rebooking fee and fare difference are waived if new travel date is within 90 days from the original departure date; or full refund.

Strata delivers first 787 vertical fin: Strata Manufacturing, the advanced composite aero-structures manufacturing facility wholly-owned by Mubadala Investment Company PJSC, has successfully delivered its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner vertical fin shipset to Boeing during an official ceremony held following the UAE’s 49th National Day. The delivery, which underpins the Al Ain-based manufacturer’s evolving industrial and engineering capability, marks the first 787 vertical fin completely assembled outside of Boeing’s facilities in the US.  The vertical fin will be installed on 787 fuselages at Boeing’s North Charleston facility in South Carolina beginning early 2021. Earlier this year, Strata announced the creation of Strata Plus, an expansion of its facility at Nibras Al Ain Aerospace Park dedicated to Boeing’s 787 vertical fin assembly operations. So far, assembly has also commenced on an additional five 787 vertical fin shipsets. The Strata 787 vertical fin production line is run by 47 technicians, inspectors and engineers, of which 40 per cent are UAE nationals. Additional people are due to be on boarded to support future growth plans, with an aim to have 75 full-time staff by the end of 2022.

China Airlines readies first 777F cargo carrier: China Airlines announced that its first 777F is ready to enter service. The new 777F twin-engine freighters being introduced by China Airlines will bring greater performance and fuel efficiency to the carrier’s freighter fleet, paving the way for the launch of next-generation air cargo services in the post-pandemic era. China Airlines Chairman Su-chien Hsieh said that the freighter fleet played a crucial role even as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global airline industry almost to a standstill. The carrier not only put all 18 of its 747-400 freighters into service but also increased weekly freighter flights by 20 percent. It also put the belly hold of its passenger aircraft to good use and pioneered the use of passenger cabins for carrying cargo. Cargo revenues between January and November this year were increased by 83 percent over the same period last year as a result, becoming a lifeline for China Airlines during these trying times. Special appreciation must therefore go to all employees and the cargo services team in particular.

Rostec starts assembling first Mi-171A3: Russian Helicopters has started assembling the first prototype of Mi-171A3 offshore helicopter. Equipment for assembling the fuselage was put into operation at the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant. Mi-171A3 comes with several significant upgrades when compared to Mi-171A2: a new airframe that integrates a crash-resistant fuel system into the cargo bay floor and modernized avionics, upgraded for offshore operations and flights in the Arctic. The model also features widespread use of composite materials, which significantly reduce its weight. The Mi-171A3 offshore helicopter will meet the latest international safety requirements, including the international IOGP standard developed by oil companies for offshore operation of helicopters. “We have modernized our production process, allowing us to launch the assembly line for the new Mi-171A3 offshore helicopter. The equipment for the new helicopter was manufactured and installed using coordinate-measuring machines and laser trackers, which will significantly increase the quality and accuracy of the assembly. We are planning to present the first prototype at the MAKS-2021 air show,” said the director general of Russian Helicopters, Andrey Boginsky.

CAFUC partners with AVIAGE SYSTEMS: The Civil Aviation Flight University of China (CAFUC) has signed a contract with AVIAGE SYSTEMS to develop New-Type Civil Airborne Fire Protection System. Under the contract, AVIAGE SYSTEMS will provide avionics solutions and lab products to support the research and development. Founded in 1956, CAFUC is a university under the direct leadership of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). It is known as the “Cradle of Chinese Civil Aviation Pilots” and is also a key scientific research base for civil aviation flight technology and aviation safety in China. In 2020 CAFUC was granted as the Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province of Civil Aircraft Fire Science and Safety Engineering, and the new airborne fire protection system for civil aircraft is one of the strategic research areas of the lab. Since AVIAGE SYSTEMS signed the strategic cooperation MOU with CAFUC in January 2019, the two parties have discussed on multiple R&D projects and finally decide the development of the airborne fire protection system to be the first joint project. As a supplier and integrator of the C9 9 core avionics system, AVIAGE SYSTEMS have strong expertise and best practice in the integration of avionics systems, laboratory deployment, and airworthiness certification, which CAFUC can take advantage of.

FedEx Express modernises fleet with ATR freighter: FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx and the world’s largest express transportation company, announced the delivery of the first purpose-built turboprop regional freighter to the FedEx fleet. This follows the company’s 2017 signing of a firm order of 30 aircraft, with the option to purchase 20 more. The aircraft will arrive at Shannon Airport and will be operated by ASL Airlines Ireland, a FedEx ATR operator since 2000, as part of the FedEx Express Feeder fleet. This global fleet allows the company to provide fast, economical services to small and medium-sized business areas around the world. ATR has extensive experience in the regional freighter market. There are currently around 130 converted ATR freighter aircraft in operation, representing one-third of the global regional freighter fleet. The new ATR 72-600F incorporates the benefits of this knowledge to provide FedEx with a freighter that conforms to needed requirements. With the changing market and the growth of e-commerce, the ATR is perfectly fit to connect communities and economies around the world.

ASECNA African Nations sign on with FREQUENTIS: ASECNA, the Agency for the Safety of Air Navigation in Africa and Madagascar, has selected the advanced aviation message handling system (AMHS) from Frequentis Comsoft to enhance message handling for eight African countries. Cote d’Ivoire, Central African Republic, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Comoros will all benefit from the most advanced upgrade of their outdated legacy AFTN (aeronautical fixed telecom network) messaging service with an innovative, fully integrated SITA/AFTN/ AMHS messaging technology, which allows the harmonised operation of all messaging services in one application. This marks a major step in the modernisation of each country’s international communication centre, as well as of the domestic messaging infrastructure, in line with the latest ICAO AMHS standards. In addition, the delivered systems provide new major functionalities incorporating the AMHS/SOAP gateway and ICAO FPL/FIXM and TAC/iWXXM converters. This will enable ASECNA to smoothly migrate to new technologies for reporting weather information and a future SWIM-based environment. ASECNA is undergoing a program to modernise airspace facilities in all 17 of its member countries. Frequentis Comsoft was selected to complete the modernisation of the eight countries based on its experience and technical ability, having the most integrated and mature AFTN/AMHS solution available on the market. This will not only guarantee a stable and reliable messaging service for several member states, but also open the migration path to the future SWIM-based environment.

Curtiss-Wright selected by Eviation for actuation technology: Curtiss-Wright’s Actuation Division, a supplier of electromechanical actuation products and systems for demanding aerospace, defence, and industrial automation applications, announced that it was selected by Eviation Aircraft, manufacturer of Alice, the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft, to provide primary flight control actuation technology. Curtiss-Wright’s high power density electromechanical actuators (EMA) provides Eviation with a modular, distributed solution that enables a flexible control architecture. Curtiss-Wright’s proven commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) EMA design delivers a lightweight, plug-and-play solution that helps reduce cost, schedule risk, and program risk to support Eviation in preparation for its first flights in 2021. “We are very pleased to have been selected by Eviation to help support the development of their historic all-electric Alice aircraft,” said Kevin Rayment, president, Commercial/Industrial Segment. “Curtiss-Wright is committed to leading the industry in bringing the revolutionary advantages of electric actuation to flight, from fixed wing to rotorcraft, from business jets to military platforms.”

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