Aviation News in Brief 9 April 2020

Airways NZ, FlightSafety, Tigers, Routes Asia, Lufthansa Technik, Skylegs, Ontic, Honeywell, Magnetic MRO, COVID-19.

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NZ regional airports
An empty airport shows the current state of the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (PHOTO: Shutterstock)

NZ regional airportsNZ regional airports worried about Airways NZ move to close facilities: Seven regional airports said they were “shocked that Airways NZ, the national air traffic management organisation, wants to discuss the removal of air traffic control at their facilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Napier, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Invercargill Airports, and the flight information service at Kapiti Coast and Milford Sound Airports, are reeling at the news their control towers face closure, says the chief executive of the association for New Zealand’s airports (NZ Airports) Kevin Ward. Airways only advised airports Wednesday (8 April) that, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, it is considering closing its towers at Napier, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Invercargill Airports, and the flight information service at Kapiti Coast and Milford Sound Airports. Airways provides the services under contract to each airport. Ward says serious concerns arise from the proposals. “We obviously understand that changes have to be made to reflect the current, unprecedented, low levels of air traffic. But these seven regions and the whole air transport network are focussing on what needs to be done to emerge quickly and resume flights when restrictions are lifted. This move is deeply concerning because it is so unclear if the Airways plan will cater for anything like a return to some form of normality,” he says.

FlightSafety delivers ground school training online: FlightSafety International now provides the ground school portion of its recurrent training programs online through the instructor-led LiveLearning training system. “FlightSafety’s web-based and instructor-led recurrent ground school provides our customers with the benefits of classroom learning and the convenience of taking courses remotely,” said Steve Gross, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing. “FlightSafety worked with the FAA and other regulatory agencies to obtain approval for this innovative new approach, which includes the requirement to complete the simulation portion of the course within 90 days of finishing the online ground school.” FlightSafety will offer these courses for more than 20 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft models.

NZ regional airportsTigers releases SmartHub:Connect portal: Global logistics and transportation company Tigers has released new updates for its SmartHub:Connect freight and e-commerce portal, which are designed to help customers during current disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. SmartHub:Connect has seen a spike in logins and has been supporting increased e-commerce volumes since the beginning of March. The new features, which will help manage rapidly changing customer demands, include streamlined purchase order functions, online notification to the customer or operations if a booking needs attention, and bulk upload of order exceptions. “In the last month, we have continued to see an upsurge in health-related products and some of the more essential e-commerce items, with conversely B2B and luxury clothing items seeing a dip,” said Mark Gatenby, chief information officer. Tigers plans to release real-time alerts for delayed sailings or flights, and is further developing its SmartHub:Connect app as part of the ongoing improvements.

Routes Asia rescheduled again: Organisers of the 2020 Routes Asia conference have postponed the event again due to continued travel restrictions around the world. The June event in Chiang Mai , Thailand will now be held, hopefully, on 8-10 October. Any exhibitor contract and delegate attendance fees and payments already made for Routes Asia will carry over to the revised dates, organisers said. Steven Small, director of events for Routes, which is an Informa Markets business, stated: “We continue to remain in constant communication with our hosts, Airports of Thailand, and their key stakeholders. After much discussion and consideration, and in light of the constantly evolving situation, we have taken the difficult decision to reschedule the event to later this year. The safety of our customers and staff is always our top priority.”

NZ regional airportsLufthansa Technik, workers reach deal on part-time work: Lufthansa Technik said it has reached an agreement with its worker representatives to introduce shorter working hours that applies to all German sites and companies with the exception of Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey (LTAA) and Lufthansa Bombardier Aviation Services (LBAS). The agreement thus applies to around 12,000 employees and will initially run until 31 August 2020. The scope of “short-time” working as the company called it, is determined in relation to the loss of working hours and in consultation with the co-determination bodies responsible for the respective area. The loss of working hours and thus short-time working can amount to up to 100 percent. In order to keep the financial impact on employees as low as possible, Lufthansa Technik will initially top up the short-time working allowance paid by the Federal Employment Agency to 90 percent of the net salary lost through short-time working. This regulation applies to both tariff and non-tariff staff. Managerial staff will also be put on short-time work due to the extensive reduction in workload. Lufthansa Technik AG will top up their short-time working allowance to 80 percent of their net salary. These employees had already voluntarily waived part of their salary. Wherever possible in the respective countries, more than 30 international subsidiaries and affiliates of the Lufthansa Technik Group will seek similar arrangements.

Skylegs delivers new products for COVID-19 protection: Flight operations company Skylegs has released new features to help operators combat COVID-19. Free of charge for the Skylegs user community, the first three are now online, available and in compliance with EASA requirements to reduce the risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus. They include: EASA compliant Aircraft Disinfected tag for operators as part of the post-flight procedure; Disinfection tracking via business intelligence; and a pandemic checklist.

NZ regional airportsOntic signs deal with Honeywell: Ontic, which makes extended life solutions, has signed an exclusive license agreement with Honeywell for aircraft windshield wiper product lines currently manufactured at Honeywell’s facility in Urbana, Ohio in the US. The license covers windshield wiper assemblies, including wiper motor, arms, blades and components. The products are fitted on commercial and military platforms that include B757, B767, B777, B777X, C-17, KC-46A and ERJ. This is the 38th such agreement between the two companies adding products under license.

NZ regional airportsMagnetic MRO offers temporary passenger aircraft cabin modifications: Magnetic MRO announced it is offering new cabin modifications COVID-19 medical cargo transportation in primarily passenger cabin aircraft. The company has certification and experience in providing both types of modifications that are allowed by European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). One modification option can be done while leaving the seats and fixing cargo boxes on them with the special straps, meanwhile the second option allows the removal of seats. “Being able to support both options allowed by EASA, our team can offer prompt support so airlines can continue to operate and contribute to their countries during this difficult time,” said Vytis Petrusevicius, head of design organisation at Magnetic MRO.

Etihad expands pax-freighter coverage: Following its recent launch of passenger freighter flights to 10 destinations, Etihad Cargo said it will lay on five additional routes using Etihad Airways passenger aircraft to increase the flow of essential supplies into the United Arab Emirates and provide further east-west connectivity between major markets. Using belly-hold capacity on a mix of Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft, Etihad Cargo is introducing services between Abu Dhabi and Melbourne, Chennai, Kerala, Karachi, and Amsterdam, in addition to passenger freighters already operating scheduled cargo-only flights to Seoul, Beijing, Bangkok, Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Riyadh. The new routes will further ensure continuity of fresh imports to the UAE including meat, fish and seafood, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, as the nation continues to take responsible measures to ensure food security and national health as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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