Qatar Airways says it’s taking firm steps on COVID-19: Qatar Airways says it is taking “firm” steps response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. The airline has amended its flight schedule, is working with governments to take people home, and introducing new policies to ensure the health and safety of staff, and maintaining its vital cargo operations. In addition, the airline continues to support the State of Qatar’s efforts to manage the coronavirus outbreak, and has acquired and transported 500,000 test kits. Qatar Airways continues to temporarily hold flights to severely affected countries due to entry restrictions implemented by many governments to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The airline will place a temporary hold on flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) from 1 April 2020, Madrid Barajas Airport (MAD) from 4 April, and Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN) from 5 April, with the intention to reinstate flights in line with a return to regular conditions. The airline is working with governments around the world to maintain a strong schedule of flights, and organising charter flights where needed. 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.
Airbus to produce 3D-printed hospital visors: The majority of Airbus sites in Spain have joined forces to produce 3D printed visor frames, providing healthcare personnel with individual protection equipment in the fight against COVID-19. More than 20 3D printers are working day and night. Hundreds of visors have already been produced and dispatched to hospitals close to the Airbus facilities in Spain. Airbus leverages a patented design to manufacture the visor frames, using PLA plastics. Despite the pause of the majority of production at Airbus’ sites in Spain following the Royal Decree of 29 March, Airbus employees are allowed on site to continue with this essential activity. In addition, Airbus in Germany also joined the project. The Airbus Protospace Germany and the Airbus Composite Technology Centre (CTC) in Stade, together with the 3D-printing network named “Mobility goes Additive,” are now supporting this project in Spain, also coordinating the collection and transport of visors to the Madrid region.
Lufthansa Technik Shenzhen MRO back up: Lufthansa Technik Shenzhen (LTS) has returned to full operations with the approval of local government. “We are responsive for all our customer and employees. With the joint efforts of the employees and management, our staff is again working at almost 100 percent productivity. After nine weeks of practical lock down there are currently no new local infections in Shenzhen, therefore the Chinese government has classified the metropolis as low risk,” the company said.
First EASA-certified commercial cargo seat bags released: Colibri Aero, an international supplier of aircraft parts and interior solutions, together with J&C Aero, an international aircraft design and production organisation, have developed universal Cargo Seat Bags for commercial and humanitarian cargo transportation inside Airbus A319/A320/A321 passenger cabins. The newly developed interior modification kit has already been approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and has received its Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). The Cargo Seat Bag comes as a spacious 76x76x147 cm (30x30x58 inches) kit for a triple seat, with up to 75 kg (165 lbs) of cargo to be stored on the seat and additional 9 kg – under the seat, totalling 252 kg (555 lbs) per a triple seat block. The kit can be easily installed and can include a wide range of cargo types: from postal correspondence, household goods, electronics and other commercial cargo to medical equipment and other kinds of humanitarian supplies. “We started the development of the modification back in 2019, with numerous testing and continuous consultations with both aviation authorities and airlines along the way. In February 2020, amidst the growing concerns over what now is known as the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided to put additional resources to the project in order to have a certified modification as soon as possible. We are thankful to our team and European aviation authorities whose close cooperation will allow us to deliver the modification to the market at a time of need,” shared Laurynas Skukauskas, the chief commercial officer at J&C Aero.
Etihad continues special flights: Etihad Airways has been operating special flights which have allowed stranded passengers to return home, and to support the ‘UAE Food Security Programme’ as part of previously announced plans to utilise belly-hold capacity of passenger aircraft for cargo. These services give citizens of other nations who are unable to leave the UAE due to current COVID-19 restrictions, the opportunity to fly home. In some instances, Etihad has also been able to repatriate UAE citizens, and carry fresh produce as belly-hold cargo, on the return segments back to Abu Dhabi. To date, these services have covered a number of destinations, including the United States, Australia, and Sri Lanka. Etihad will continue to offer such services, and from 5 April, will operate a regular service to a number of destinations starting with Seoul Incheon, and following with others such as Melbourne, Singapore, Manila, Bangkok, Jakarta and Amsterdam. These destinations are subject to government approvals.
Dassault Aviation contributes jets to France virus efforts: To deal with the health crisis linked to COVID-19, Dassault Aviation has made two Falcon business jets available to the French Defence Ministry as part of the Operation Resilience intended to supply logistics and medical support for civilian corona virus control activities. The first mission, involving the two aircraft, took place on Sunday 5 April. It brought a team of 26 doctors and other medical personnel from Brest, Brittany back to Paris. The team had accompanied COVID-19 patients to Brest on a special medical train. The two Dassault aircraft, a Falcon 8X and a Falcon 900, are equipped for 15 and 13 passengers, respectively. They are operated by Dassault Falcon Service (DFS), a subsidiary of Dassault Aviation specialising in maintenance and flight operations, based at Le Bourget airport. DFS also supplies the flight crews.
Airbus A350-1000 deployed in fight against COVID-19: Airbus continues to purchase and supply millions of face masks from China, the large majority of which will be donated to governments of the Airbus home countries, namely France, Germany, Spain and the UK. An Airbus flight test crew has just completed its latest mission with an A350-1000 test aircraft. This is the third of such missions between Europe and China. The aircraft returned to France with a cargo of 4 million face masks on Sunday 5 April. The A350-1000 left Toulouse, France, on Friday 3 April, reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin, China on 4 April and returning to Hamburg the same day. Since mid-March, the previous two missions were performed by and A330-800, and A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). Airbus also deployed an A400M and its Beluga fleet to transport shipments of masks between its European sites, in France, Germany, the UK and Spain.
Avion Express enters cargo transportation market: Originally established as a cargo and passenger airline back in 2005, Avion Express announced it is re-entering the airfreight market. This move comes as a response to a rapidly changing situation in the market. Although commercial passenger flights were suspended around the world due to coronavirus pandemic, cargo-carrying flights are in huge demand now. Passenger aircraft are being turned into cargo to carry medical supply, equipment of various kinds, industrial parts and high-demand consumer goods. Avion Express is ready to offer freight capabilities of up to 17 tonnes of cargo with A320, and up to 24 tonnes with A321 in the cargo compartment as well as in the cabin. Currently, numerous A320s and A321s, based in Central and Eastern Europe are ready for service. With an FAA approval for a subsidiary airline Avion Express Malta in place, the company can also offer cargo transportation to and from the US.
AAR and Sumitomo Corporation announce joint venture: AAR and Sumitomo Corporation are launching a joint venture called AAR Sumisho Aviation Services. This Chicago-area-based joint venture will distribute aircraft parts and offer aviation logistics management solutions to the Japanese defence market. Additionally, the partnership will distribute parts from OEMs based in Japan to the global aviation aftermarket. This business initiative builds upon the parties’ successful, long-standing relationship, under which AAR has served as a stocking distributor for OEM factory-new parts to Japanese defence customers via Sumitomo Corporation since 2012. By combining AAR’s global network and competitive expertise in aviation supply chain and parts distribution with Sumitomo’s logistics specialisation and large footprint in the Japanese market, AAR Sumisho Aviation Services will be equipped to provide quality services to our Japanese defence customers, as well as play a key role in the export of parts from Japanese OEMs.
APOC Aviation closes on three airframe deals in Q1 2020: Part-out activity has commenced in Marana, Arizona, for two A319-132 airframes recently acquired by APOC Aviation. MSN 1758 and 1790 were formerly operated by Air Macau and the parts are expected to arrive into APOC’s stock during April/May. The company also negotiated the sale of a recently purchased 1999 vintage A321-211 to an undisclosed European operator. Further acquisitions are in the pipeline for APOC Aviation and these will come on-stream in the second quarter of 2020.
Garmin G3X Touch Avionics Advance for Electric eFlyer 2: Bye Aerospace, the developer of the two-seat all-electric eFlyer 2 aircraft, announced significant advances with Garmin to provide Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer 2 with the full suite of electric-specific Garmin G3X Touch avionics. Garmin is supplying the full VFR to IFR instrument capability, ADAHRS, GPS, transponders and standby instruments. “Bye Aerospace continues to mature the integration of the G3X Touch avionics with the next-generation instrument panel and electric propulsion system displays for the eFlyer 2,” said George Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace. “We are working closely with Garmin to produce the safest, most reliable and most innovative electric pilot training aircraft ever produced.” The eFlyer family of aircraft, including the eFlyer 2 and the 4-seat eFlyer 4, aims to be the first FAA-certified, practical, all-electric airplanes to serve the flight training and general aviation markets.
ALSIM launches new simulator: ALSIM announced the launch of their new AL40, an exact replica of a new Diamond DA40 NG. Developed specifically for flight training institutions, the high-fidelity simulator is built to Flight Training Device (FTD) Level 5 standards and contains the durable, reliable technology that ALSIM has become known for over the past 25 years. The AL40 boasts a real Garmin G1000 NXI and GFC 700 Autopilot / Flight Director. The FTD has electric pitch trim, and flight controls with electric control loading in pitch, roll and yaw axis. The AL40 comes standard with ALSIM’s new in-house VFR image generator and visual system with 210 degree screen. The buyer also receives a maintenance spare parts kit to help ensure low downtime and increased longevity. Newer options for the AL40 include professional Live Air Traffic Control and ALSIM’s Advanced Simulator Virtual Assistant. As with all ALSIM simulators, it provides a plethora of failure options allowing the student to become more familiar with possible dangerous scenarios, and enables them to work through the situation in a safer, learning focussed environment.