Aviation News in Brief 18 Nov 2019

Airbus, Emirates, Boeing, Eithad, Garuda, Lufthansa Technik Middle East, Fiji Airways, Jet Aviation, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Leonardo, Falcon Aviation Services, BOC Aviation, Air China

The national flag carrier last March filed a petition to be rehabilitated under court supervision and was one one of the world's first legacy carriers to go under due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Boeing-and-AirbusBoeing, Airbus announce green moves at Dubai: Boeing and Airbus both announced moves at the Dubai Airshow to improve their environmental work as well as aircraft performance. Airbus unveiled “fello’fly”, its latest demonstrator project inspired by biomimicry, that it hopes will help boost the environmental performance of commercial aircraft and make a significant impact on emissions reduction for the aviation industry. Airbus’ fello’fly project aims to demonstrate the technical, operational and commercial viability of two aircraft flying together for long-haul flights. Through fello’fly, a follower aircraft will retrieve the energy lost by the wake of a leader aircraft, by flying in the smooth updraft of air it creates. This provides lift to the follower aircraft allowing it to decrease engine thrust and therefore reduce fuel consumption in the range of 5-10 percent per trip. The technical solution that Airbus is working on involves pilot assistance functions necessary to ensure the aircraft they are flying remains safely positioned in the updraft of air of the aircraft they are following, maintaining the same distance, at a steady altitude. In terms of the operational solution, Airbus is working, in collaboration with airlines and Air Traffic Control (ATC) providers, to identify the operational needs and suitable solutions for planning and executing fello’fly operations.  This highlights the importance Airbus places on driving industry-wide activities to achieve emissions reductions targets defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP). Airbus is due to commence flight tests with two of its A350 aircraft in 2020. Given the high potential for a positive environmental impact for the industry, Airbus is targeting an ambitious timeline for a controlled Entry-Into-Service (EIS), which is expected before the middle of the next decade.

Boeing-and-AirbusBoeing meanwhile, said it has signed a deal with Etihad to turn one of the airline’s 787 Dreamliners into a flying laboratory for testing procedures and initiatives that could further reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions, as a part of a growing partnership to advance the sustainable growth of aviation. “Innovation, productivity and sustainability are core values and objectives of Etihad Airways and of Abu Dhabi  said Tony Douglas, group CEO of Etihad Aviation Group, at the 2019 Dubai Airshow. “The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a key enabler of all three.” The specially-themed 787 will enter service early next year and operate regular flights in Etihad Airways’ network, while periodically serving as a test bed for assessing environmental sustainability initiatives. The project builds on Etihad’s ample experience with the super-efficient airplane. Boeing and Etihad Airways also announced that Boeing will provide multiple services for the airline’s Dreamliner fleet, including the Component Services Programme, Landing Gear Exchange, and High-Value Components Exchange, programmes that help an airline simplify asset and maintenance management, reduce spare parts costs while improving parts availability. The agreements also include a customised material parts package and three Quick Engine Change (QEC) kits that enable Etihad to quickly return an airplane to service if an engine needs to be repaired or replaced.

Emirates Airline orders 50 A350XWBs at Dubai Airshow: Airbus and Emirates Airline have signed a purchase agreement for 50 A350-900s, Airbus’s newest generation widebody aircraft. The order was signed at the Dubai Airshow. “We are honoured by Emirates’ strong vote of confidence in our newest widebody aircraft, taking our partnership to the next level. The A350 will bring unbeatable economics and environmental benefits to their fleet,” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus CEO.

Garuda Indonesia takes delivery of its first A330neo: Garuda Indonesia has received its first A330-900. This new generation widebody aircraft is the first of 14 A330-900s ordered by the airline. The airline currently operates 24 A330 family aircraft on regional and long-haul routes. The A330-900’s increased range and enhanced economics will contribute to Garuda Indonesia’s fleet modernisation and growth plans, allowing the airline to launch non-stop services from Jakarta to key destinations in Europe. Garuda Indonesia’s A330-900 is configured for 301 passengers in a comfortable two class lay-out with 24 Business Class seats and 277 in Economy. The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines and features a new wing with increased span and new A350 XWB-inspired Sharklets.

Boeing-and-AirbusLufthansa Technik Middle East expanding: Lufthansa Technik Middle East (LTME) has  increased its footprint for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services in the Gulf region and is set to continue on its recent growth path. The wholly-owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG has recently expanded both its production capacity as well as its product and capabilities portfolio. In addition, the company welcomed several new major regional and supra-regional customers and moreover greatly increased its workforce at the Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub at Dubai South Airport (DWC). The number of people employed by LTME recently surpassed the mark of 100 and is set to grow even further in 2020. During the recent expansion, special emphasis was put on the acquisition of local talent in cooperation with Middle Eastern universities such as the Emirates Aviation University in Dubai and the American University of Sharjah.

Boeing-and-AirbusFiji Airways takes delivery of its first of two A350 XWBs: Fiji Airways has become the first airline from the South Pacific region to take delivery of the A350 XWB. The A350-900 which was delivered following a ceremony in Toulouse, is the first of two A350 XWBs that will join Fiji Airways’ fleet. Both aircraft are being leased from Dubai-based DAE Capital. The aircraft are the first to be directly purchased by DAE Capital from Airbus. Fiji Airways will operate the A350 XWB on its Nadi-Los Angeles and Nadi-Sydney routes. This will further boost the airline’s position as a leading carrier from the South Pacific region, as well as to contributing to the ongoing growth of Fiji’s tourism sector and wider economy. Configured in a two-class  layout with 334 seats including 33 full flat Business and 301 Economy class seats, 39 of which are designated as BULA SPACE seats with extra legroom, passengers will enjoy new levels of space and comfort as well as Thales in-flight high definition entertainment systems.

Boeing-and-AirbusJet Aviation’s new Riyadh FBO location redesigned for Q1 2020 opening: Jet Aviation’s new and improved 600 square-meter facility within the shared FBO terminal at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport is being redesigned and enhanced for customer comfort. The company expects the newly refurbished facility to be operational by the end of Q1 2020. Jet Aviation currently operates the largest FBO network in the Middle East. Jet Aviation is celebrating its 40th anniversary in Saudi Arabia this year and the company is investing in a new state-of-the-art FBO facility location at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh. The newly designed facility is fully equipped to handle all types of aircraft. Amenities include a refreshment pantry and buffet, a large customer lounge, three VIP lounges (including a snooze room), a conference room, a duty-free shop, a prayer room, and weather and flight planning facilities. The facility also features an office located airside for handling and line crew. Jet Aviation plans to open the new facility for operation in Q1 2020.

airbus and boeingBoeing, Biman Bangladesh Airlines announce order for  787-9 Dreamliners: Boeing and Biman Bangladesh Airlines announced at the 2019 Dubai Airshow that the carrier is expanding its 787 Dreamliner fleet with two additional airplanes valued at US$585 million at list prices. The purchase – recorded in October as an unidentified order on Boeing’s website – complements Biman’s fleet of 787-8 jets with the larger and longer-range 787-9 variant. The national flag carrier of Bangladesh says the addition of the 787-9 will help modernise its fleet and expand its international network. “One of our key priorities is to have a modern fleet with technologically-advanced airplanes that will enable us to expand our international reach,” said Air Marshal Muhammad Enamul Bari, former Chief of Air Staff and chairman of Biman Bangladesh Airlines. “While we have a good domestic network, we plan to extend our international network to include more destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The 787 with its technological superiority, excellent operational performance and passenger experience will enable us to achieve that goal,” he added.

Leonardo and Falcon Aviation Services launch urban mobility concept: Leonardo and Falcon Aviation Services are launching a new rotorcraft-dedicated terminal concept. This initiative will meet the growing demands for sustainable and modern vertical lift mobility as well as greater access to urban areas. The new rotorcraft terminal combines a helipad, a showroom and lounge areas in a single city-based heliport. The terminal will be supporting the development of a network of point-to-point connections for both urban transfers and connections between cities. VIP and charter services users and passengers will be provided with levels of service typically available only in larger private airport facilities far from downtown and urban areas. The rotorcraft terminal features strong environmentally friendly design and modularity using recyclable materials and, if required, it can be transported. A rotorcraft terminal will be established in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, next year in close proximity to the Expo 2020 area, comfortably supporting helicopter transport operations to and from the site. Falcon Aviation Services will use the terminal to deliver helicopter transport services.

BOC Aviation delivers first of 10 Airbus A320neos to Air China: BOC Aviation announced that it has delivered the first of 10 new Airbus A320neo aircraft to Air China. The aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF PW1100G-JM engines. “We are pleased to deliver the first of ten new Airbus A320NEOs on lease to Air China. This transaction of 10 aircraft with the Chinese flag carrier speaks to BOC Aviation’s capability to execute large-volume transactions and to provide our customers with fuel-efficient and technologically advanced aircraft,” said Robert Martin, CEO of BOC Aviation. “We look forward to working closely with the Air China team in the delivery of the remaining nine A320neo aircraft and to continuing to build on our long and successful relationship with Air China,” he added.

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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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