Aviation News in Brief 22 Jan 2020

Brisbane Airport, Gazpromneft-Aero, Mactan-Cebu International Airport, TrueNoord, Tigers Australia, Elbit Systems, Ideagen, ExecuJet, IBA, Etihad Aviation Training, Airbus, FlightSafety Textron Aviation, Sabre, Google.

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Planes taking off at sunset
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

brisbane-airportRecord-breaking year for passengers at Brisbane Airport: Passenger numbers at Brisbane Airport (BNE) exceeded 24.1 million for the first time, with Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) recording the strongest international and domestic growth among Australia’s major gateway airports in 2019. International traveller numbers grew by 266,182 to more than 6.3 million passengers for the calendar year, with a 2.2 percent year-on-year increase in international seats recorded (+180,700 seats). Domestic passenger volumes increased by 1.3 percent to more than 17.7 million. In total, BNE’s passenger numbers – domestic and international – grew by 2.1 per cent to more than 24.1 million.

brisbane-airportGazpromneft-Aero ups operations in fuel supply: Gazpromneft-Aero, the aviation fuel operator of Gazprom Neft, expanded its refuelling network to 282 airports (+13) in 67 countries in 2019. The total volume of overseas refuelling increased by 26 percent year-on-year and amounted to more than 310,000 tonnes. The strong sales were driven by Gazpromneft-Aero’s active development in China. The volume of jet fuel sales in China’s airports grew by 2.5 times and reached over 78,000 tonnes. To date, China hosts the largest Gazpromneft-Aero refuelling station network with 33 airports in the country. The sales growth over the past year has also been achieved thanks to the significant increase in the volume of refuelling of Russian and international airlines in Serbia, Montenegro, Spain, Thailand, India, Vietnam, South Korea and Malaysia.

brisbane-airportMactan-Cebu unveils revamped terminal: Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the unveiling of a commemorative marker at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) Terminal 1, which signified the completion of its full renovations. The ceremony was held at the new Airport Village in the Terminal 1 arrivals area.

brisbane-airportPhilippine Airlines leases two De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 aircraft: Specialist regional aircraft lessor, TrueNoord, is leasing two new Dash 8-400 aircraft to Philippine Airlines on long-term operating lease agreements. MSN 4610 has been delivered and MSN 4612 will join the fleet in February. These aircraft are the first Dash 8-400 aircraft manufactured by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada to enter service in TrueNoord’s portfolio and have been financed within the new US$360 million warehouse facility that was announced last October and is underwritten by Citibank, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Canada. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman advised TrueNoord and Norton Rose represented Philippine Airlines on the transaction. The Dash 8-400 aircraft will be based at Clark International Airport flying domestic routes throughout the Philippine archipelago of over 7,600 islands.

Tigers Australia expands in Sydney: Tigers has opened a new omni-channel facility in Yennora, Sydney, Australia to meet rising demand in domestic and cross-border e-commerce for B2B, B2C fulfilment and retail scan pack. The omni-channel warehouse is fitted with Tigers’ Automated Transport Sortation System and SmartHub: Connect (SH:C) technologies that enable customers to manage orders and view their inventory remotely. The new facility expands Tigers’ processing capacity at its Sydney operations to 17,000 pallet locations. The new facility is part of Tigers’ two-year strategy to invest in e-commerce and B2B verticals, and similar facilities are planned for construction in Sydney and Melbourne. The Sydney hub is part of an ongoing global expansion plan for Hong Kong-headquartered Tigers, and the facility was developed by Fife Capital.

brisbane-airportElbit Systems demonstrates aerial firefighting solution: Elbit Systems completed a successful field demonstration of its patented Hydrop system to enable high-altitude, high-precision aerial firefighting. The field demonstration took place as part of an exercise led by the Israel Fire and Rescue Authority. During the exercise two Air Tractor aircraft from the Israeli Fire Fighting Squadron were directed to extinguish a burning field, from as high as 500ft, more than four times higher than the average altitude of a standard aerial firefighting sortie. Using the HyDrop system each aircraft launched 1.6 tonnes of 140 gram liquid pellets in a computed ballistic trajectory, achieving a precise hit with saturation of 1-2 liter per 1 square metre. The Hydrop system includes a pellets manufacturing machine (static or mobile). Housed in a standard container, the manufacturing machine can produce up to 10 tonnes of pellets per hour. The biodegradable pellets which can be filled with either water, foam or fire retardant, have been proved to have no harmful residues and their dropping has also been tested and found to be safe to crews on the ground.

Ideagen and ExecuJet in global software project: Dassault-owned, ExecuJet MRO Services, is to roll out several software applications from Ideagen across its global operations to standardise a series of processes as it prepares for a three-year growth project. Q-Pulse, Q-Pulse Risk and Academy will handle processes associated with quality, safety, risk and training across ExecuJet MRO Services’ global sites. Dassault Aviation Company acquired ExecuJet MRO Services in March 2019, and took ownership of the company’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities from business aviation services provider, Luxaviation. Ideagen’s Q-Pulse, Q-Pulse Risk and Academy software products will now be rolled into each site, with the company’s Compliance team working with Q-Pulse and Q-Pulse Risk while its Technical staff focus on Academy.

Aviation consultancy IBA Group crowned Appraiser of the Year: IBA Group has won the coveted Appraiser of the Year 2020 award at the Airline Economics Aviation 100 awards in Dublin. This is the second time in three years that IBA has won this prestigious award, having previously won in 2018, and is testament to its best practice and strategic focus. The firm was voted for by industry peers in the aviation banking, leasing and brokerage sectors in recognition of its independent valuation expertise and significant depth of experience. Headed by Dr Stuart Hatcher, chief intelligence officer IBA Group, the valuations team at IBA comprises over 20 analysts including six ISTAT appraisers and the largest number of senior appraisers of any aircraft valuations and consulting firm worldwide.

Etihad Aviation Training gets European approval for 777, 787 training: Etihad Aviation Training, the specialist training division of Etihad Aviation Group, has become the first aviation company in the Middle East to gain approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to train Boeing 777 and 787 pilots for European operators and carriers elsewhere which adopt Europe’s air safety standards. The approval to train pilots for these two widebodied Boeing aircraft types expands the global capabilities of Etihad Aviation Training, which in 2018 also became the first Middle Eastern aerospace business to gain EASA designation as an Approved Training Organisation for pilots of Airbus A320, A330 and A340 aircraft. The suite of offerings ranges from ‘ab-Initio’ courses to type rating and recurrent training, as well as Upset Recovery Training and Performance Based Navigation. Etihad Aviation Training has 11 full motion training simulators, including five for Boeing 777 and 787 training, as well as fixed base devices, and training teams include senior pilots actively flying for Etihad Airways.

Airbus to add A321 production capabilities in Toulouse: Airbus has decided to create new A321 production capabilities at its site in Toulouse. By mid-2022 the current A380 Lagardère facility in Toulouse will accommodate a digitally-enabled A321 line as a step to modernise the A320 production system in Toulouse. The new facilities will provide more flexibility for A321 production, while keeping the overall single aisle industrial capacity in Toulouse flat. Currently, the only European Final Assembly Line to assemble A321s is at Airbus’ Hamburg site. In addition, the A321 is also being assembled and delivered from Mobile, Alabama. Toulouse was selected for several reasons such as: overall competitiveness, time to market, investment cost, available floor space and resources. The decision has been communicated to Airbus’ social partners.

FlightSafety Textron Aviation named trainer for Garmin-equipped Citations: FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training has been selected as the exclusive training provider for Garmin G5000-equipped Cessna Citation Excel and Citation XLS aircraft. Pilot initial and recurrent courses are now offered at the FlightSafety Textron Aviation Training Learning Centre in Wichita. Differences training is also available using a Garmin G5000 training kiosk. A Garmin G5000-equipped Level D qualified simulator will be added to the training program later this year. The Garmin G5000 retrofit replaces the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics. It offers a fully integrated, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out solution that complies with FAA and EASA requirements. The G5000 also features PBN/RNP 0.3 with LPV/APV approach capability and supports a variety of options. They include SVT synthetic vision technology, enhanced situational awareness with SurfaceWatch, Link 2000+ and CPDLC support for terminal and en route operations, as well as Datalink weather.

Sabre forges 10-year partnership with Google to build the future of travel: Google Cloud and Sabre have announced an agreement to help digitally transform the traveller’s experience, and “co-create the future of travel”. As part of the agreement, engineers and business leaders at both companies will work side-by-side on three main initiatives: 

  1. Improving Sabre’s technology capability: Sabre will begin the process of migrating its IT infrastructure to Google Cloud’s highly available and secure services. The partnership provides Sabre advanced support and greater flexibility to meet its technology objectives. 
  2. Using Google Cloud tools to enhance and optimise travel: Google Cloud’s data analytics tools will enable Sabre to enhance the capabilities of current and future products. They will provide Sabre with insights to help them improve operational efficiency and create and optimise travel options, improving both loyalty and revenues for its customers.
  3. Driving a broader innovation framework: The two companies have aligned upon a framework that leverages talent and assets of both companies to imagine, develop and deploy future capabilities that will advance the travel ecosystem, benefiting all market participants.
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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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