Aviation News in Brief 9 December 2020

Elenium Automation, Emirates, Aviation groups oppose spectrum sale, Deutsche Aircraft, ANTONOV Airlines, TUI, Condor, SunClass Airlines, CargoAi, Thai Vietjet, Storm Aviation, Cebu Pacific, VerdoGo Aero, Embry-Riddle

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Use this oneElenium Automation recognised for airport self-service: Elenium Automation has been recognised as a global leader in the airport self-service market, receiving Frost & Sullivan’s Best Practices Technology Innovation Leadership Award. Announced at the FTE Virtual Expo, Frost & Sullivan awards recognise companies at the forefront of their respective industries that are continually innovating and creating new products and solutions that serve ever-evolving customer needs. Elenium designs, develops, and manufactures self-service and automation technologies incorporating voice control and biometrics to reduce airport passenger congestion by up to 60 percent. This year, Elenium developed a touchless vital sign detection solution to reassure passengers and ensure staff safety during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Elenium is installing check-in kiosks and bag drops for airlines and airports across five continents; most recently, Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi and Avalon Airport in Australia have adopted its touchless and vital sign detection capabilities. Aaron Hornlimann, CEO and co-founder at Elenium Automation, said: “Elenium Automation is proud to be recognised by Frost & Sullivan for setting a benchmark in the automation of airports and passenger experience. Since starting the company less than five years ago, we have always been focused on improving the passenger experience. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, we combined the focus on passenger experience with finding ways to make the world safer by enhancing various customer-facing devices with touchless capability and evolving them into health screening points using contactless vital sign detection. We believe this will play a key role in restoring people’s confidence to travel and get them flying again.”

Emirates welcomes first of three A380s to be delivered in December: Emirates has welcomed A6-EVL, its 116th A380 as the first of three A380s to join its fleet in 2020. The aircraft arrived in Dubai in the early hours of Saturday morning, powered by a blend of conventional jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel. Emirates is scheduled to receive two more A380 aircraft later this month, one of which will feature its long-awaited signature Premium Economy product. Since its entry into the Emirates fleet 12 years ago, the A380 has been the airline’s flagship and a customer favourite, captivating the imagination of travellers by providing an unmatched travel experience. Signature elements such as A380 Onboard Lounge and Shower Spa, continue to be talked about around the world. The Emirates A380 experience remains highly sought after by customers, with many ensuring they book their travel on this aircraft to experience its spaciousness, quietness and comfort across every cabin. Emirates has recently reinstated its iconic products for customers to enjoy, balancing an elevated experience during the pandemic with measures that prioritise the health and wellbeing of passengers.

Aviation groups call for halt of FCC spectrum auction: A group of 15 aviation associations sent a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) expressing concern over frequency spectrum relocation affecting radar altimeters, a critical flight safety tool. The group requested that the FCC suspend Auction 107, scheduled to begin 8 December, which offers new flexible‐use overlay licenses for spectrum in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band, in order to resolve likely interference issues with radar altimeters prior to the auction. “Since 2017, the aviation industry has consistently noted during the Federal Communications Commission rulemaking process that deployment of 5G networks in this frequency band may introduce harmful radio frequency interference to radar altimeters currently operating in the globally-allocated 4.2–4.4 GHz aeronautical band,” the group wrote. “Radar altimeters are deployed on tens of thousands of civil aircraft in the United States and worldwide to support several critical safety-of-life aircraft functions throughout multiple phases of flight. Radar altimeters are the only sensor onboard a civil aircraft which provides a direct measurement of the clearance height of the aircraft over the terrain or other obstacles.” The group’s request to suspend the auction is rooted in findings from a RTCA study on the impact of C-band mobile telecommunications interference on low range radar altimeter operations. The study revealed that 5G telecommunications systems in the 3.7–3.98 GHz band will cause harmful interference to radar altimeters on all types of civil aircraft—including large commercial transport airplanes; business, regional, and general aviation airplanes; and both transport and general aviation helicopters.  Without appropriate mitigations, such interference could lead to catastrophic failures. The aviation associations signing onto the letter to the FCC Commissioners include Aerospace Industries Association; Airborne Public Safety Association; Air Line Pilots Association, International; Aircraft Electronics Association; Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association; Airlines for America; Cargo Airline Association; Experimental Aircraft Association; General Aviation Manufacturers Association; Helicopter Association International; National Air Carrier Association; National Air Transportation Association; National Business Aviation Association; RTCA; and Regional Airline Association.

Deutsche Aircraft accelerates transition to zero emissions aircraft: Deutsche Aircraft, the new purpose-driven German aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), unveiled plans to develop the D328eco, a game-changing platform that will align the future of aviation towards a zero-emission flight objective. Deutsche Aircraft is built on the heritage and expertise of 328 Support Services GmbH, the Type certificate holder of the Dornier 328 aircraft (D328). Together with participation of the German government, Deutsche Aircraft will lead the way in a new era of clean aviation through the development of the D328eco platform, a more efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly aircraft. The D328eco will offer an alternative, eco-efficient solution within the sub-50-seat regional commuter and multi-role aircraft markets, which the OEM plans to introduce by 2025. State-of-the-art flight deck design and capabilities offered by the latest avionics’ suite will target future single pilot operation for greater operational efficiency. Pratt & Whitney PW127S engines and a SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) compatible airframe, set the stage for the D328eco to change the way the world flies while reducing our carbon footprint. The stand-up and new cabin design will offer increased comfort and compliance with the latest health and safety requirements.

ANTONOV Airlines puts giant AN-225 into commercial service: Ukrainian airline ANTONOV Airlines is launching its AN-225 Mriya into commercial operation to support customers in the heavy-lift market, where capacity is in high demand. The Mriya, which has onboard loading equipment, and a cabin, which can be pressurised, will compliment ANTONOV’s fleet of seven AN-124s, two with a capacity of up to 150 tonnes. Earlier in the year, the AN-225 was actively involved in delivery of humanitarian and medical cargoes and safely transported more than 1,300 tonnes of such cargoes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is a surge in demand for AN-124 aircraft at the present time and therefore ANTONOV Airlines is doing its best to help customers in this difficult situation and support them worldwide, providing the required airlift capability,” said Andriy Blagovisniy, commercial director, ANTONOV Airlines. “Taking into consideration the current very limited availability of AN-124 aircraft on the market, we are giving priority to time-critical cargo and to give additional lifting capacity, we will enter our AN-225 aircraft into commercial operation after running routine maintenance.”

TUI, Condor and SunClass Airlines now live on CargoAi: CargoAi is increasing its offer to freight forwarders by making real-time prices and electronic bookings available on its platform for major leisure carriers: TUI, Condor and SunClass Airlines. This roll-out has been made possible thanks to the support of ECS Group, the GSSA of these airlines in Total Cargo Management. Pursuing its digitization strategy for air freight, CargoAi thus offers its users access to a variety of air transport solutions anywhere in the world. ‘These three airlines offer a multitude of destinations. Our users can now benefit from this by reserving their capacities on our platform in a few seconds’, says CargoAi CEO Matthieu Petot. For ECS Group, the approach also aims to provide a premium service to its airline customers and above all, to offer them an additional sales tool for their cargo capacities.

Thai Vietjet wins award: Thai Vietjet was named the Fastest Growing Low-Cost Carrier of the Year in Thailand, conferred by Global Business Outlook Magazine. The award highlights Thai Vietjet’s achievements in the growth of both fleet and new destinations since its inception in late 2016 with three aircraft, servicing both international and domestic routes. The carrier has since seen triple-digit growth with 13 aircraft, across 14 Thai domestic destinations and 17 other international routes serviced to Vietnam, Taiwan, and mainland China. “The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great damage to the global economy and tourism in general, leaving the aviation industry with a lot of challenges. With our efforts and better defining our mission in the economy in general and the tourism industry in particular, we have urgently changed our development strategies to help keep travel and tourism active following a good disease prevention and control. People will not bear the missing of traveling due to the Covid-19. They still can fly whenever they like as we have offered and will bring more traveling opportunities by opening new flights with safe, fun and enjoyable experience,” said Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh, Chairwoman of Thai Vietjet. Vietjet has also been awarded the highest ranking for safety with 7 stars in 2018 and 2019 by safety and product rating website airlineratings.com, and listed among the world’s 50 best airlines for healthy financing and operations by Airfinance Journal in 2018 and 2019. The airline has also been named as Best Low-Cost Carrier by organisations such as Skytrax, CAPA, Airline Ratings, and many others.

Storm Aviation acquires UK line station network: Storm Aviation, an international provider of line and base maintenance services and training, a subsidiary of FL Technics and a part of a global aerospace business group Avia Solutions Group, acquired the United Kingdom-based line station network from MRO service provider SR Technics. The SR Technics UK line station network provides fully supported aircraft turn around services, including planned and casualty maintenance, transit, pre-departure and overnight defect rectification as well as other checks for most commercial types of aircraft. The assets transferring to Storm Aviation ownership include five UK-based line stations located in London Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport, Manchester Airport, Birmingham Airport along with a tooling, loan, repair and calibration centre in Stansted Airport. The transaction strengthens Storm Aviation’s international network of line stations and adds two new locations – Stansted Airport and Birmingham Airport. Together with its parent company FL Technics and other group companies, Storm Aviation offers line maintenance services at 70 airports globally and base maintenance services at five locations.

cebu-pacific-joins-iataCebu Pacific begins COVID testing: Cebu Pacific has introduced Test Before Boarding (TBB), so passengers can undergo antigen testing conveniently at the airport just before their flight. A first-of-its-kind in the Philippine, TBB aims to reduce the risk of infection between testing and boarding, finding infected passengers in a timelier manner. Only passengers with negative antigen test results will be allowed to board the CEB aircraft. Together with the local government of General Santos, and in coordination with the Philippine Airport Diagnostic Laboratory (PADL), CEB has piloted TBB for a two-week trial period. All CEB passengers flying from Manila to General Santos will be required to undergo TBB, free-of-charge during the pilot run. This is in compliance with the Executive Order of General Santos; passengers no longer need to take any other test prior to their flight. Passengers must fill out an electronic passenger information form (E-PIF) through PADL’s portal and pre-register via Trace and Protect Action Team (TAPAT) System for non-residents entering General Santos at least 24 hours before their flight. They must also secure a travel authority to be allowed entry into the city, and check-in online before going to the airport, as part of Contactless Flight procedures.

VerdoGo Aero, Embry-Riddle team up on noise mitigation: VerdeGo Aero, a hybrid-electric aerospace powertrain firm and tenant in Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Research Park, has teamed up with the university to develop and commercialize patent-pending technology designed to mitigate electric aircraft noise. Under an exclusive option agreement, VerdoGo Aero CEO Eric Bartsch and Executive Chair Erik Lindbergh will further develop the Embry-Riddle technology for commercialisation. “Although electric aircraft show great promise for reducing carbon emissions, fossil fuel use and operating costs, the propellers or rotors can be relatively noisy,” Bartsch explained. “Traditionally, electric aircraft rotors can spin faster to gain efficiency while also increasing noise levels, or spin slower and be less efficient but quieter.” The patent-pending invention sprang from work by an Embry-Riddle graduate student, Lenny Gartenberg (now a Northrop Grumman engineer), Aerospace Engineering professor and Eagle Flight Research Center Director Dr Richard “Pat” Anderson, and research engineer Dr. Borja Martos. The technology being commercialised by VerdeGo Aero would automatically adjust the pitch of rotating propeller blades, while also adjusting motor torque to maintain constant thrust, Bartsch said.

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