Aviation News in Brief 20 May 2020

Qantas Group, Brisbane Airport, Cessna SkyCourier, Amerijet, FLYdocs, ACC Aviation Group, GKN Aerospace, Eviation, Etihad Holidays, dnata, APG Platform, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Kerry Logistics, ADB SAFEGATE, Beijing Daxing

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(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ plan: The ‘Fly Well’ programme brings together a number of temporary measures already in use by the Qantas Group, including on repatriation flights from virus hot-spots, and represents a combination of best-practice medical advice and feedback from customers. Rolling out from 12 June, the key measures at each point of the journey will be: Pre-flight: Information sent to all customers before they fly, so they know what to expect; Contactless check-in (via online/app) and self-serve bag drop strongly encouraged, including use of Q Bag Tags; Hand sanitising stations at departure gates; Temporary changes to Qantas Lounges, including increased physical distancing, hand sanitising stations, enhanced disinfection of surfaces and adjustments to food and drink service; Working with airports on other safeguards in the terminal, including regular disinfection of security screening points and installing hygiene screens at airline customer service desks, wherever practical. On-board: Masks provided to all passengers on each flight – while not mandatory from a safety point of view, they are recommended to be worn in the interests of everyone’s peace-of-mind; Enhanced cleaning of aircraft with a disinfectant effective against Coronaviruses, with a focus on high contact areas – seats, seatbelts, overhead lockers, air vents and toilets; Sanitising wipes given to all passengers to wipe down seat belts, trays and armrests themselves, if preferred; Simplified service and catering to minimise touchpoints for crew and passengers; Passengers asked to limit movement around cabin, once seated; Sequenced boarding and disembarkation to minimise crowding; In addition, the air conditioning systems of all Qantas and Jetstar aircraft are already fitted with hospital-grade HEPA filters, which remove 99.9% of all particles including viruses. Air inside the cabin is refreshed on average every five minutes during flight.

New flights in Brisbane: From 21 May 2020 Brisbane residents may notice some changes overhead with new flight paths coming into effect in preparation for the opening of the city’s new runway at Brisbane Airport (BNE). Marking the last significant milestone of the project, the airspace changes are installed in line with one of two annual international publication dates for major airspace changes. This process means airspace changes are installed into aircraft navigation systems and air traffic control systems so aircraft, pilots and controllers are ready to use the new flight paths and runway. The time between the 21 May publication date and opening of the runway on 12 July is known as the ‘interim operating’ period and during this time interim flights paths, which ensure aircraft using the new flight paths can still use the current runway, will be used. Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, said with the publication of the new airspace and the practical completion of construction, Brisbane Airport is officially ready for Brisbane’s new runway to take off. “From today community members may notice some minor changes to where some aircraft fly but, during the interim operating period, as the new runway is not yet open, all aircraft will still be arriving and departing from the current runway. This means that around 70 per cent of flight path changes are in place now, with the remainder to come into effect from 12 July 2020 when we can operate from both runways.”

First Cessna SkyCourier twin utility turboprop takes flight: Textron Aviation announced the successful first flight of its new twin utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier. The milestone flight is a significant step toward entry into service for the clean-sheet aircraft, and it kicks off the important flight-test programme that validates the performance of the Cessna SkyCourier. The prototype aircraft, along with five additional flight and ground test articles, will continue to expand on performance goals, focusing on testing flight controls and aerodynamics. The Cessna SkyCourier, featuring Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65SC engines, will be offered in various configurations including a 6,000-pound payload capable freighter, a 19-seat passenger version or a mixed passenger/freight combination, all based on the common platform.

Amerijet switches to FLYdocs: Amerijet International Airlines, the US-based cargo airline  announced that it has signed a contract to use the FLYdocs Aircraft Records Management Platform to manage its maintenance records. Under the five-year agreement with FLYdocs, the partnership will elevate the digital migration of aircraft records as well as an ERP integration to allow Amerijet to benefit from full digital aircraft compliance on-demand.

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ planACC secures US$100 million: Aviation service provider, ACC Aviation Group, announced that it has secured a US$100 million in Non-Owned Third-Party Legal Liability (NOL) policy, covering aircraft charter and the wet leasing business undertaken by the company. While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the global business community, ACC has continued working with airline suppliers to support their clients worldwide, repatriating displaced nationals and keeping critical supplies and equipment moving. The NOL policy further strengthens ACC’s service offering, providing much-needed peace of mind during this period of uncertainty in the aviation market.

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ planGKN Aerospace and Eviation sign deal: GKN Aerospace has signed a deal with Eviation to provide lightweight wing, empennage and wiring systems expertise to the world’s first all-electric commuter aircraft designed from scratch. The collaboration agreement covers the design and manufacture of wings, empennage and electrical wiring interconnection systems (EWIS) for Alice, the ground-breaking regional electric aircraft recently launched by Eviation. The aircraft is aiming to change the way people travel, by making journeys of distances up to 650 miles more sustainable. John Pritchard, president, Civil Airframes GKN Aerospace, said, “We are excited to collaborate with Eviation and to support the development of this all-new electric aircraft. The development of all-electric aircraft is ground-breaking; it’s a step change in aviation and we are delighted to contribute. As technology leaders in wing, empennage and EWIS design, we can bring unrivalled knowledge and expertise to the project.”

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ planEtihad Holidays to be operated by dnata: dnata Travel Group, a UK-based travel services provider, has signed a partnership agreement with Etihad Airways to provide sales and service, ground product and brand marketing functions for Etihad Holidays in the UK. The collaboration will significantly increase Etihad Holidays’ distribution power in this market providing opportunities for greater engagement with UK travellers. The partnership formally commences in May 2020, with holidays for later in 2020 available and 2021 already on sale. The initial priority of the partnership will be to promote Abu Dhabi.

APG platform to launch upgraded back-office for travel agents: APG Platform, the fully NDC-based online airline booking system for travel agents operated by APG has just completed a full upgrade to its back-office system which will provide travel agents with a more user-friendly portal for booking administration and management. APG plans to launch the update as soon as booking trends start to return. The APG Platform operates exclusively via NDC connectivity with a growing number of airline customers including American Airlines and more recently Pegasus Airlines, the low cost airline from Turkey.

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ planQatar Airways to add more safety measures: Qatar Airways has further enhanced its on-board safety measures for passengers and cabin crew. The airline is implementing several changes, including the introduction of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) suits for cabin crew while on-board, as well as a modified service that reduces interactions between the passengers and the crew inflight. Cabin crew have already been wearing PPE during flights for a number of weeks, including gloves and face masks. Cabin crew will wear the PPE suit over their uniforms in addition to safety goggles, gloves and a mask to provide even greater reassurance to customers in addition to enhanced hygienic measures already in place. The airline now requires passengers from 25 May to wear face coverings in-flight and recommends people bring their own for fit and comfort purposes. In addition, Qatar Airways has revised its distribution of cabin crew on flights, sending two groups on short-haul and medium-haul flights – the first to manage the outbound trip, the second to manage the inbound trip. For long-haul flights, crew members who have to stay overnight in a foreign city can only travel in Qatar Airways-approved transport and must remain in their rooms, limiting human interactions. In terms of passengers, Qatar Airways is encouraging social distancing where possible, especially on flights with lighter loads. Distancing is also implemented during the boarding process, ensuring passengers are allocated seats far apart from each other. The airline is also encouraging passengers to follow hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), such as regular hand washing and refraining from touching the face.

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ planEtihad increases special flights: Etihad Airways is continuing to increase the number of special flights it is operating worldwide to and from Abu Dhabi. Throughout May and June, the airline will increase frequencies on previously announced special flights and will add new services to Belgrade, Dublin, Geneva, Milan, Paris Charles de Gaulle, and Toronto. In addition to the recently launched link between Melbourne and London, Etihad will also add services to Sydney, allowing a direct transit connection to and from the UK capital via Abu Dhabi.  Etihad continues to follow UAE and international government, regulatory and health authority directives, and is playing its part in helping to limit the spread of COVID-19. The airline has implemented an extensive sanitisation and customer safety programme and is practicing the highest standards of hygiene at every part of the customer journey. This includes catering, aircraft and cabin deep-cleaning, check-in, health screening, boarding, inflight, crew interaction, meal service, disembarkation and ground transportation, among others.

Qantas Group announces ‘Fly Well’ planKerry Logistics helps UK charities: Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics has supported two food charities facing increased demand for help during the COVID-19 pandemic to set up delivery networks across Manchester, home of its UK headquarters. The Kerry Logistics UK team delivered groceries and ready meals for social enterprise Open Kitchen MCR and charity The Bread and Butter Thing free of charge at the beginning of the pandemic, and has helped them to establish reliable delivery networks to meet the growing needs of homeless and at risk people in the city. Open Kitchen MCR is a caterer, which uses food that would otherwise be wasted and invests its income in community projects such as food banks. Community-led charity The Bread and Butter Thing is providing emergency food support through the coronavirus crisis and recently moved into a temporary warehouse in order to upscale meal deliveries from 150,000 to an expected one million a week.

ADB SAFEGATE now at Beijing Daxing International Airport: Beijing Daxing International Airport relies on full-scale, round-the-clock Follow-the-Greens (FTG) guidance since it opened in October 2019. Aircraft are steered safely via the shortest, most efficient route, even when extreme weather triggers CAT III operations. ADB SAFEGATE’s RELIANCE LED intelligent lighting and control systems in the airfield, and Safedock Advanced Visual Docking Guidance systems (A-VDGS) at the gate, power this mega airport which is envisioned to become one of the busiest airports globally. ADB SAFEGATE has delivered 12,000 LED intelligent lights that allow individual monitoring of each light, and 500 units of its latest-generation constant current regulators (CCR). Its RELIANCE Airfield Lighting Control and Monitoring System (ALCMS), and Individual Lighting Control and Monitoring System (ILCMS), are integrated with the airport’s Level IV Advanced Surface Movement and Guidance Control System (A-SMGCS). The company has also set up 79 Safedock Advanced Visual Docking Guidance Systems (A-VDGS) to support precise automated aircraft parking in all weather conditions.

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