Aviation News in Brief 23 April 2020

Etihad Airways, CALC, Lufthansa Technik, Emirates, Avinode Group, Curtiss-Wright, Magnetic MRO, APOC Aviation

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(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

CALC outlines reactions to COVID-19: The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting repercussions on all industries. China Aircraft Leasing Group has issued a corporate update to share its view on repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic. CALC said it has been selective in engaging airline clients with Chinese clients making up 65 percent of CALC’s fleet of 139 aircraft (self-owned and managed) as of 31 March 2020, the majority of which are state-owned airlines with strong financial and liquidity strengths. These shield CALC from impacts of disruptions in international traffic given the strong domestic demand. The majority of CALC’s non-Chinese clients are flag-carriers or backed by strong shareholders. The lessor also said it has been very selective in identifying aircraft assets with 92.8 percent of CALC’s fleet being narrowbody aircraft, which are considered a very liquid asset class and an aircraft type poised to be highly sought-after for domestic and regional routes once the market recovers. CALC has also been maintaining one of the industry’s youngest and most modern fleet with long remaining lease tenors. This has alleviated the pressure on CALC for remarketing of aircraft assets in the coming years. CALC has developed a diversity of different financing channels using both Chinese sources and offshore means including Pre-Delivery Payment (PDP) syndicated loans, aircraft project loans, US dollar bonds, Renminbi medium-term notes, corporate bonds and others, on top of its asset-light business model.

Etihad works to cut carbon footprint: Etihad Airways is using the breakdown in commercial air traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic to test initiatives to lower its carbon footprint. Tony Douglas, group chief executive officer said: “In these challenging times, and beyond Covid-19, our response to the climate change crisis will not be neglected. Earlier this year, we pledged a target of net zero emissions by 2050, and to halve our 2019 net emission levels by 2035. Through the Etihad Greenliner Programme, we remain committed to reducing our impact on the environment, in collaboration with partners across the aviation industry.” When it was delivered from Boeing’s North Carolina assembly plant, the signature aircraft of the Etihad Greenliner Programme – a ‘green-themed’ Boeing 787 – was fuelled with a 30 percent blend of sustainable aviation fuel, refined from agricultural waste. Boeing engineers used the delivery flight to research new fuel efficiency measures, based on real time data from the aircraft, to maximise efficiency and minimise emissions by providing customised data to the pilots. Recently, on Ireland’s national day, the signature Etihad Greenliner operated an optimised roundtrip flight between Abu Dhabi and Dublin, reducing the usual journey time by 40 minutes, cutting fuel consumption by 800 kilograms and reducing carbon emissions by three tonnes over a standard Boeing 787 flight on that route. The sustainable performance of this Boeing 787 flight was also measured against the same flight one year prior, which was operated with a less efficient aircraft type. Compared to the 2019 flight, the 2020 service operated with eight tonnes less fuel and a staggering 26 tonne reduction in carbon emissions.

Lufthansa Technik gains nod for cargo conversions for medical supplies: Lufthansa Technik has obtained Engineering Order Specific Tailsign approvals from the German Federal Aviation Authority for four Lufthansa passenger aircraft. They will from now on transport medical goods to meet the growing demand for airfreight during the coronavirus crisis. Within 36 hours, the Airbus A330-300 aircraft were modified for cargo transport. The prerequisite for such a conversion from a passenger to a cargo aircraft is a comprehensive technical documentation. Normally, long-haul aircraft of this type fly up to 236 business and leisure travellers around the world. Now, four of them transport medical supplies. Currently, it is not only the demand for air transport of medical supplies that is growing, but also that for commercial goods. Lufthansa Technik is therefore currently working to obtain Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for all common aircraft types so that airlines all over the world can quickly convert their passenger aircraft into auxiliary freighters.

Emirates increases health checks: Emirates said it is stepping up precautionary measures at the airport and on-board to ensure the health and safety of its employees and customers. All cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff in direct contact with passengers will now don personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes a protective disposable gown over their uniforms, and a safety visor, in addition to masks and gloves. At Dubai International airport, gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees. Thermal scanners monitor the temperatures of all passengers and employees stepping into the airport. Physical distancing indicators have been placed on the ground and at waiting areas to help travellers maintain the necessary distance during check-in and boarding. The airport team has also installed protective barriers at each check-in desk to provide additional safety reassurance to passengers and employees during interaction over the counter. On-board Emirates’ flights, seats are pre-allocated with vacant seats placed between individual passengers or family groups in observance of physical distancing protocols.

Avinode Group launches Avinode Aid to support medical relief efforts: Business aviation technology company Avinode Group is launching Avinode Aid, a goodwill initiative utilising Avinode technology to assist the aviation community in their relief efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Avinode Aid is providing a new service allowing operators to place available ambulance aircraft and helicopters on the Avinode platform for free. Avinode Aid is accessible to all operators whether or not they are existing Avinode members. The initiative ensures ambulance-only aircraft are not open to passenger flight requests, so operators can respond to urgent medical transportation enquiries quickly and efficiently. Brokers can easily find available fixed-wing air ambulances by filtering search results, while medical helicopters will be placed in a separate category in Avinode’s helicopter search. New ambulance aircraft placed on the platform will be further promoted through Avinode’s email communications and social media, so brokers can quickly find the flight option they need to assist a client’s relief efforts.

Curtiss-Wright expands flight test instrumentation portfolio: Curtiss-Wright’s Defence Solutions division announced that its Aerospace Instrumentation (AI) group has added the popular IADS real-time and post-test display and analysis software product line to its industry-leading flight test instrumentation (FTI) solution portfolio. Curtiss-Wright IADS products will continue to be developed and supported, with no interruption in service for all current IADS customers, by the original IADS team based in Palmdale, California. The addition of the fully featured IADS software product line enables Curtiss-Wright to provide its customers with a more complete FTI solution from a single source.

Magnetic MRO tools up to expand capabilities: Magnetic MRO has announced that the company has acquired tooling, dedicated to the engine workshop and drastically expanding its capabilities. New tooling has already been delivered to Magnetic MRO’s engine workshop in Tallinn, Estonia. This latest addition adds more than 40 new services in company’s list, including the ability to perform modular maintenance and repair of CFM56-5B and CFM56-7B engines. Also, new capability includes Fan, LPT MM, Hot section modules replacement, special procedures, partial and full replacement of HPT blades, HPT NGVs, HPT shrouds, LPT Stage 1 Vanes and others.

APOC Aviation acquires young A319 for teardown: APOC Aviation has purchased an A319-111 from SMBC Aviation Capital for tear-down. MSN 3380 was previously operated by Spanish flag-carrier, Iberia, and it is the fourth A320 family plane acquired this year. Two are already being parted out in Marana, Arizona, and this particular aircraft is already located at eCube in Wales, awaiting the easing of COVID-19 restrictions before work can begin. Over the next few months, the secured A319 parts will be assessed, and then APOC’s audited group of repair stations worldwide will return the stock to serviceable status.  All stock will be located at their Rotterdam warehouse forming part of the company’s rapidly expanding inventory of spares for sale and lease.

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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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