Aviation News in Brief 21 Oct 2019

Sabre, Radixx, TurbineAero, Kopter, Korea Aerospace, Liebherr-Aerospace, SR Technics, Vistara, CFM, Embraer, CALC, AirAsia, World Aviation Safety Summit, Astronautics, AkzoNobel, Airbus, AAR, Alaska Airlines, Luxaviation, Delta, TrueNoord, Collins Aerospace, Lufthansa Technik.


Sabre survey reveals top traveller trends in Asia-Pacific: Sabre released the results of an APAC-wide study that compiles insight from over 500 travel professionals. Looking towards 2020, the company discovered five key trends including:

  1. FOREVER YOUNG: With more content for travellers to choose than ever before, it can sometimes be difficult to cut through the clutter. This means that travel agents are more relevant than ever before, acting as strategic allies for travellers on a quest to book the best fare, and holiday. Travel professionals reveal that those aged between 35-50 make up close to 60 percent of their customer-base, proving that despite the rise of online platforms meant to facilitate personal bookings, there’s nothing quite like having a professional to help enhance the booking experience. What’s more, a whopping 3-in-5 respondents indicate that personalised requests are the main reason why customers reach out, allowing them to create unique packages that reflect each traveller’s needs.
  2. SILVER IS GOLDEN: The Asian population is quickly aging, with the region on track to have the oldest population in the world in just a few decades. More than 40 percent of consumers served by travel agents are over the age of 50, and over one third of those surveyed identified that retirees are among their most popular customers, just after families and couples. In fact, 4-in-10 agents confirm that travel for groups of retired people is on the rise, with packaged tours listed as the main reason why people over 50 reach out to travel agents. A total of 46 percent of those included in the 50-69 branch, and close to 60 percent of the 70 and over age group request packaged tours that include flights, hotel and transportation bookings, with wellness or religious activities often being the main reason for their bookings.
  3. GREEN GIANT: Travel is a truly powerful tool, providing the ability to bring people and cultures closer together. However, with tourism rates continually rising from one year to the next, the ecological footprint created by the travel industry cannot be overlooked. Consumers in APAC are increasingly taking the environment into consideration when making purchases and travel is no different. Sabre’s Traveller Trend Survey found that over 60 percent of travel consultants identified a growing concern for the environment among travellers. The survey also reveals that an impressive 70 percent of travellers are asking for sustainable tourism options, and close to 30 percent are requesting for alternate modes of transportation. Sadly, the survey also reveals that only 2% of leisure travellers across Asia Pacific ask to purchase carbon credits.
  4. THE GENDER GAP: With solo travel growing year on year, the Sabre Traveller Trends Survey discloses that in Asia, men account for 10 percent more of the solo travel bookings than women. When it comes to bookings, women tend to prefer travelling in groups. However, when it’s time for a couples’ getaway, the survey reveals that both parties do their part, with nearly 40 percent of both men and women reaching out their travel consultant to assist with the booking.
  5. ME, MYSELF AND I: As consumers across the board expect customization to be part of their retail experience, a shocking 60 percent of respondents indicate that personalisation is the main reason why they are called-upon to book travel. Helping to fulfil the growing demands of those aged 34 and below to book their next sport and adventure travel, which account for approximately 50 percent of group bookings, or simply to identify better prices for their customers, travel consultants are trained professionals who play a big part in making dreams come true.

Sabre announces acquisition of Radixx: Sabre announced its acquisition of Radixx, an airline retailing software provider with an established presence in the low-cost carrier (LCC) space. LCCs have grown twice as fast as full-service carriers over the past five years and now total nearly 30 percent of global passengers boarded annually. Sabre expects the acquisition to help the company offer retailing, distribution and fulfilment capabilities to serve this rapidly expanding market. Radixx’s signature products are a best-in-class LCC passenger service system (PSS) and Internet booking engine (IBE). Started in 1993, Orlando-based Radixx was built to leverage the technology industry’s rapid advances with a focus on cloud-based airline solutions that can be deployed quickly. An established technology provider to low cost and retail-focused carriers, Radixx supports all airline business models with its industry leading travel e-commerce platform and boasts a high-quality and diverse customer base in key low cost carrier markets, including Europe, South America, Asia-Pacific and Africa. Sabre plans to operate Radixx as a standalone subsidiary through its Airline Solutions business. Sabre purchased Radixx for approximately US$110 million, including payments to debtholders, using cash on hand. Radixx is expected to generate approximately $20 million of revenue in 2019. The acquisition is expected to be accretive over the medium term, but modestly dilutive to Sabre’s Adjusted EPS in 2020 due to expected incremental investment in the fast-growing LCC space. Sabre expects an immaterial impact to its full year 2019 results from the acquisition.

TurbineAero Asia unveils new facility near Bangkok: TurbineAero, a portfolio company of The Gores Group, recently unveiled its new facility in Chonburi, just outside of Bangkok and near its former location. The new 90,000 square foot facility has maintenance, repair and overhaul capabilities for GTCP131-9A/-9B/-9C, 331-200/-350/-500, 85-129 and PW901A/C Auxiliary Power Units (APUs), APU components (piece parts) and accessories (LRUs). TurbineAero provides commercial, military, regional and international airline customers with comprehensive maintenance solutions for their APUs, accessories and components. Component repair capabilities include 208 in-house developed repair schemes on the GTCP131-9 platform, 308 repairs on the GTCP331-200/-250 product, 355 repairs on GTCP331-350/-500 and many more on TSCP700, GTCP85series, APS2000/3200, PW901, PW980, and turboprop components.  Having such advanced engine and APU component repair, along with parts & trading services and APU LRU overhaul services allows TurbineAero to provide superior customer service with cost-effective solutions. The average APU turnaround time is 26 days with component and accessories MRO TAT at 15 days. TurbineAero Asia’s APU component repair product line holds all main part-145 certifications such as CAAT Thailand, FAA, EASA, CAAC China, JCAB Japan, Indonesia DGCA, ISO AS9110 and more.

Kopter Group and Korea Aerospace Industries enter into cooperation: Kopter Group AG (Kopter) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) have signed a memorandum of understanding, paving the way for a close cooperation between the two companies. This framework officially launches the start of a collaboration between Kopter and KAI around local assembly, production, customisation and sales of Kopter’s SH09 single-engine helicopter in South Korea. This cooperation might equally lead to helicopter sales to other Asian countries from South Korea.

Liebherr-Aerospace signs new agreement with SR Technics: Liebherr-Aerospace and SR Technics renewed their partnership with a five-year global service contract. The partners will work to support a fleet of more than 500 aircraft operated by airlines around the world, including Airbus A320 family and A330/A340 family aircraft as well as Embraer E-Jets. In the five-year global service agreement, Liebherr-Aerospace and SR Technics will provide services on air management systems and flight control systems to a global fleet of more than 500 aircraft; Liebherr from its facilities in Toulouse (France), Lindenberg (Germany) and its repair station in Singapore.

Vistara finalises LEAP-1A engine order and services deal: Vistara, a joint venture of Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, has finalised an engine order for 26 LEAP-1A engines to power 13 new Airbus A320neo aircraft, in addition to the 37 leased aircraft from the A320neo family, ordered in July 2018 and the ten leased aircraft already in service. Alongside this engine order, Vistara signed a long-term Rate Per Flight Hour (RPFH) agreement for the maintenance of the 120 LEAP-1A engines that power 60 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft in service or in order. The combination of the RPFH agreement and the engine order is valued at more than US$2.4 billion at list prices. Under the terms of the agreement, CFM Services guarantees maintenance costs for the Vistara’s LEAP-1A engines on a dollar per engine flight hour basis. The Delhi-based airline took delivery of the first LEAP-1A-powered Airbus A320neo in May 2017 and currently operates ten leased LEAP-1A-powered Airbus A320neo aircraft. As part of the airline’s aggressive expansion plan, Vistara will take delivery by the end of October its first LEAP-1A-powered A320neo aircraft out of the latest order.

Embraer Achieves 100 percent E-Jet Operator Enrolment in APAC: Embraer announced that all E-Jet operators in the Asia-Pacific region have enrolled in Embraer’s Pool Programme. This follows a Pool Programme deal signed between Myanmar National Airlines and Embraer for their E190 fleet. There are currently a total of 60 E-Jets operated by six airlines, including Japan Airlines, in four countries spread across the sub-regions of Asia-Pacific (excluding China). “In a region where our E-Jet operators constantly attain a high schedule performance, the 100 percent Pool Programme enrolment rate is a reflection of our customers’ trust in our excellent support,” said Johann Bordais, president and CEO for  Embraer Services & Support. “Cost management is key for airlines and we are committed to delivering value for our customers, anywhere and all the time.” Embraer’s Pool Programme offers full repair coverage for components and parts, airframe maintenance, and unlimited access to a large stock of components at the company’s distribution centres. Operators benefit from significant savings on repair and inventory costs, reduction in required warehousing space and resources required for repair management, while ultimately providing guaranteed performance levels. Singapore is the base for Embraer’s warehouse in the Asia Pacific region.

CALC’s FL ARI becomes China’s first CAAC-accredited disassembler: CALC announced that the group’s MRO joint venture company, FL ARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering, has obtained accreditations for aircraft disassembly from  Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), making it China’s first accredited aircraft disassembler under the CAAC’s CCAR-145 Civil Aircraft Maintenance Organisation Certificate Regulations. The new policies on aircraft disassembly spark the development of the industry, and fill the previous void in policy for China’s aviation industry. With the fast development of China’s civil aviation industry, the number of retired aircraft continues to increase. The aircraft disassembling business has changed from a passive model of satisfying demand from aircraft retirement, to proactively getting involved in fleet upgrades for airlines that enhance the value of aircraft assets. Winnie Liu, executive director, deputy CEO and CCO of CALC Group said: “We are delighted to see recognition of the outlook of China’s aircraft disassembly industry on a national level. CAAC’s introduction of the standards and guidelines would definitely facilitate healthy development of the industry. With full recognition from CAAC, FL ARI is honoured to be the first accredited enterprise to conduct aircraft disassembly business. This also represents a strong bond between the aviation community and the government, which is a positive start for the future development of the industry.”

AirAsia urges Malaysia Airports to address klia2 immigration congestion: As Malaysia gears up to welcome 30 million foreign tourists for Visit Malaysia 2020 (VM2020), AirAsia is urging airport operator Malaysia Airports Holdings (MAHB) to urgently address the worsening congestion at klia2 immigration counters. AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat and AirAsia X Malaysia CEO Benyamin Ismail said: “The congestion caused by long queues at immigration counters for foreign passports at klia2 is a daily occurrence. It has gotten so bad that countless guests have complained to us about missing their connecting flights as well as important meetings and appointments. The airport is the first encounter visitors have with Malaysia, and it is shameful that their first experience of our country is one that showcases inefficiency and poor customer service, particularly with VM2020 just around the corner.” In some cases, guests have had to queue for over an hour at immigration, especially during peak hours between 3.00am to 7.00am, 2.00pm to 7.00pm and 9.00pm to midnight. “The problem is caused by the poor design and flawed configuration of klia2. We have raised this issue with MAHB and were given an assurance that adjustments would be made to extend immigration clearance into the area presently occupied by the duty-free outlets. However, up to now we have not seen anything done to address the problem and congestion has worsened daily, with some passengers having to endure long queues that stretch all the way back to the disembarkation gates,” said Riad and Benyamin.

World Aviation Safety Summit 2019 to advise industry on impact of big data: The impact of increasing flight data analytics and digitalisation will be a key topic of debate at the World Aviation Safety Summit (WASS) 2019 that will be held in Subai from 9-10 December. The event, which is being hosted by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, is returning to Dubai this year for its seventh edition. WASS 2019 will advise how use of data is vital in real-time and how data management has moved from a responsive function into being a core planning and prevention tool – transforming the way safety is approached by airlines and aircraft manufacturers. Industry leaders will showcase trends on the collection, analysis and sharing of safety data and how this is evolving across the world. They will look at how analysis of millions of data points on board aircraft leads to the successful prevention of incidents and effective management of threats and hazards. When aircraft health and performance data is sent to on the ground controls in real-time, it makes predictive maintenance easier and turn-arounds faster. This also allows more regular and faster aircraft position reporting, enabling a greater number of planes to fly safely in the same airspace. An industry example of this is Airbus’ ‘safety process’ which manages all potential identified safety risks on more than 10,000 commercial aircraft. This process is now reinforced to include use of digitalisation technologies, enabling a big-data approach to monitoring and analysis of aircraft safety. Khalid Al Arif, executive director, Aviation Safety & Environment Sector at the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority said: “The World Aviation Safety Summit provides our industry with an opportunity to learn about the latest advances in digitalisation, big data and predictive safety. These technologies are advancing rapidly and it’s important that we understand how they can be used to ensure improved safety with the sector. We are looking forward to welcoming global experts from across different markets for the seventh edition of the Summit.”

Astronautics’s AFI4700 RoadRunner EFI gets FAA nod: Astronautics Corporation of America’s AFI4700 RoadRunner Electronic Flight Instrument (EFI) received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Standard Order (TSO) authorisation and Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the Leonardo A109/119 helicopters, along with STC bilateral agreements with European Union Aviation Safety Agency and Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Aviação Civil. STC bilateral agreement from India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation expected in the near future. Astronautics is working with certification agencies for additional STCs by platform, with Bell 212/412 targeted for approval by January 2020.

AkzoNobel receives supplier award from Airbus: Airbus has selected AkzoNobel to receive the inaugural Responsibility & Sustainability Award at the aerospace manufacturer’s Supplier Conference in Toulouse, France. Chosen from approximately 12,000 organisations supplying Airbus, AkzoNobel stood out for their efforts in responsibility and sustainability, earning them the distinction of being first to receive the esteemed award. “We’re thrilled to receive this prestigious award from Airbus, and particularly pleased that our commitment to sustainability across AkzoNobel has been recognized,” said Maud Khelstovsky, key account manager at AkzoNobel. “As a paints and coatings company in the Airbus supply chain, it’s even more challenging to get this recognition, so it really represents our shared effort with partners to turn environmental challenges into product innovations.” AkzoNobel has been an Airbus supplier since their aircraft production began, a partnership which has grown steadily over the past decade. AkzoNobel supplies Airbus – as well as common airline customers and Airbus contractors around the world – with advanced decorative and protective coatings.

Sabre-surveyAAR and Alaska Airlines announce new digital trial, integration of Airvolution: AAR announced that Alaska Airlines has signed on for a digital trial of Airvolution, AAR’s cloud-based platform for component repair cycle management. The two organisations will work closely over the coming months to achieve seamless integration of Airvolution with Alaska Airlines’ existing technology stack and selected supplier base. Incorporating AAR’s expertise in component repair management and digital service integration, the platform enables customers to centralise and gain maximum visibility into their component repair cycle — as well as provides access to AAR’s proprietary analytics and business intelligence capabilities. Through this partnership, Alaska Airlines can expect to improve efficiencies, reduce operational costs, maximize productivity and gain enhanced component availability.

Sabre-surveyLuxaviation UK adds London-based Global 6000 to fleet: Luxaviation UK said it has added a Bombardier Global 6000 to its fleet, based at London Luton Airport. The aircraft, now available for charter with a full-time crew, is only a year old and comes complete with a refined interior and high-speed Ka Band Wi-Fi. The Global 6000 is suitable for up to 15 passengers, with a four-place club configuration in the front, followed by a four-place conference group. The aft cabin is separated by a bulkhead and includes a divan opposite two single armchair seats that can also be converted into a bed. The jet joins Luxaviation UK’s fleet of Embraer Legacies and Phenoms, Dassault Falcons, Bombardier Challengers and Citation Excels.

Sabre-surveyLiebherr and ATR sign ATR42/72-600 global maintenance agreement: Liebherr-Aerospace and ATR signed recently a 10-year agreement covering the supply of components, repairs and associated Pay-by-the-Hour services for the more than 300 ATR42/72-600 aircraft fleet. After two years of development, the new air management system developed and manufactured by Liebherr-Aerospace, will enter into service next year on ATR’s 42/72 aircraft family. The regional aircraft program will benefit from this highly reliable system as it generates and enhances on-board comfort for passengers and crew while substantially reducing operation costs. Liebherr will also include predictive maintenance services to enhance the support of the aircraft operators, by reducing operational interruptions (OI rate), optimising the Line Replaceable Units spares inventory planning, and reinforcing the capabilities in fleet technical management with deeper understanding of the component behaviour. The Original Equipment Manufacturer will develop an advanced algorithm to analyse data of the new air management system, taking advantage of its thorough product and system know-how.

Sabre-surveyAirbus and Delta form digital alliance on predictive maintenance: Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020. To be accessed via a unified portal through the Skywise platform, the cross-fleet solutions will harness each member’s expertise in airframes, systems and engines. Delta Air Lines will be the first user of the enriched predictive maintenance solution. The partnership builds on an already successful platform of technical collaboration between Airbus and Delta: In October 2018 Delta entered into a multi-year contract with Airbus to apply Skywise Predictive Maintenance to its A320 and A330 fleets – covering around 400 aircraft. Moreover, in June this year Airbus and Delta joined forces to offer A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ A220 Flight Hour Services (FHS) programme.

Sabre-surveyTrueNoord leases six Embraer E170 to Republic Airways: Republic Airways, the regional airline operating a service as American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express in the US, has leased six Embraer 170s from TrueNoord. The aircraft have been operating with Republic Airways since 2005 and have now been purchased by TrueNoord with leases attached from GA Telesis. This is TrueNoord’s first fleet deal in North America. Financing was provided under a bilateral term loan facility supported by Erste Bank. Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman LLP advised TrueNoord on the transaction. In closing this milestone deal, TrueNoord adds a new aircraft type to its portfolio and increases their E-Jet fleet to 28, of which six are Embraer E170s, and the total fleet to 41 including 12 turboprops.

Sabre-surveyA380 main landing gear MRO license inked with Collins Aerospace: Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of United Technologies, and Lufthansa Technik AG today announced a first-of-its-kind licensing and asset agreement for Airbus A380 main landing gear MRO services. Under the agreement, which spans the life of the A380 programme, Lufthansa Technik will be able to provide A380 main landing gear MRO services and access to assets supporting customer layover schedules. To help Lufthansa Technik develop MRO capabilities for the A380 main landing gear, Collins Aerospace will provide training, parts and proprietary repair procedures, including access to technical publications required to perform A380 main landing gear MRO services. Lufthansa Technik will offer asset management services through access to a collaboratively managed main landing gears pool of Collins Aerospace.

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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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