GIG Aviation acquires two ATR 7 freighters to boost regional cargo services in Nigeria

By Featured

Regional turboprop manufacturer, ATR, today announces an agreement for the acquisition of two ATR 72-500 freighters from its asset management portfolio to GIG Aviation,  a subsidiary of GIG Group. The ATR 72-500s will initiate GIG Aviation journey as a freighter airline.

The ATR freighters will help GIG Logistics expand its network in Africa to meet the rapid growth of e-commerce in the country and strengthen the connections between communities from the different regions and sub regions. With its superior economics and versatility, burning 40% less fuel and emitting 40% less CO2 than a similar-sized regional jet, ATR is the perfect fit for economical and sustainable expansion.

Adetoro Fowoshere, Chief Executive Officer of GIG Aviation, said: “The acquisition of two ATR 72-500 freighters demonstrates our commitment to provide high standards of delivery services to communities of Africa and Nigeria. We are expanding rapidly through local branches, notably in Nigeria, and the entry into service of these aircraft will be significant in allowing us to expand operations with economic efficiency and reliability, key factors for an airline. With our ATR aircraft, we will continue to meet the cargo needs of communities with increased capacity.”

Tarek Ben Omrane, Head of Business Development of ATR, said: “We are delighted that GIG Aviation has chosen ATR to expand its network and use its unrivalled performance to support the connectivity and e-commerce growth in Nigeria. We believe that ATR aircraft are the perfect fit for such needs and are happy that the customers of GIG Aviation will benefit from fast efficient services provided by GIG Aviation through the use of our aircraft.”

ATR has extensive experience in the regional freighter market. There are currently around 140 converted ATR freighter aircraft in operation, representing one third of the global regional freighter fleet. ATR expresses optimism about the freighter market, which is growing strongly, and forecasts a demand for 460 freighters over 20 years in the up-to-nine-tonne category.

Ryanair announces new winter maintenance agreement with Caerdav

By Featured

Ryanair announced a new winter maintenance agreement with UK based MRO provider, Caerdav, which will see the airline undertake two lines of heavy maintenance with Caerdav at their modern MRO facility in Cardiff. Ryanair’s fleet will grow to over 600 aircraft over the coming years and this agreement will ensure that the airline has flexibility as to where it places its aircraft for the upcoming winter maintenance season.

Ryanair uses a mix of internal facilities and external suppliers to conduct its heavy maintenance. Ryanair continues to invest in its internal heavy maintenance facilities and this agreement will complement these facilities to ensure the maintenance requirements are more than met over the coming years.

Speaking on the impact of this announcement, Ryanair’s Director of Operations, Neal McMahon, said:

Our 5-year growth plan will grow our fleet to over 600 aircraft and we are pleased to announce this agreement with Caerdav to conduct maintenance at their modern MRO facility in Cardiff this winter. This agreement will allow Ryanair to utilise 2 heavy maintenance slots, with aircraft coming in nose to tail for the upcoming winter season. Caerdav has an excellent reputation for a quality service offering in the industry and we are pleased to be announcing this new deal, which will ensure that Ryanair has flexibility as to where it places its aircraft for the winter maintenance season.”

Commenting on the deal, Richard Pitts-Robinson, Head of Commercial at Caerdav said:

“We are delighted that Ryanair has felt they can put their trust in Caerdav. As a team we take great pride in offering our customers a world-leading service, and to be able to demonstrate this to an airline the size of Ryanair is very exciting indeed – we’re looking forward to welcoming the first aircraft into St. Athan.” 

Air Astana takes delivery of eighth Airbus A321LR

By Featured

Air Astana has taken delivery of its eighth Airbus A321LR, with the latest aircraft arriving in Almaty in early May.  The aircraft is on an operating lease from Air Lease Corporation and will be joined by two more of the type later this year.

Air Astana’s Airbus A321LR aircraft feature a two-class cabin layout, with 16 seats in business class and 150 in economy class. All seats are equipped with individual IFE screens.

Airbus A321LR aircraft are operated on Air Astana’s international network, with destinations currently including Antalya (Turkey), Dubai, Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Phuket (Thailand), Podgorica (Montenegro), Seoul and Sharm-El-Sheikh (Egypt). The aircraft will also soon be operated on the new service to Heraklion on the Greek island of Crete.

The Air Astana Group now operates a fleet of 37 aircraft, including 29 Airbus, three Boeing and five Embraer family aircraft. The average age of the Air Astana fleet is 4.9 years.

Improving Airline Passenger Loyalty with Today’s Connectivity

By Whitepaper — ★ Sponsored Content ★

Published by Valour Consultancy

From page 2 of the whitepaper: Countless whitepapers, studies and technical analyses of the connected aircraft have been published in recent years. Many of these have tended to focus primarily on the potential for airlines to realise cost savings through the deployment of various connected aircraft applications. Very few papers have zeroed in on the many ways in which connectivity can be used to indirectly enhance the on-board experience, drive passenger loyalty and boost revenues via increased ticket sales and repeat business. And that’s precisely the angle this paper takes…

Patrick Cusk, CEO, MIT Group

By Five Questions

March 2021

Open Aviation Strategic Engineering System (OASES) allows airlines, fixed wing and helicopter operators, MROs, and CAMOs to join their teams together from frontline engineers to warehouse and stock management staff. As a cloud-based web system OASES is now viewed as the platform for driving and monitoring all MRO operations throughout the industry. Patrick Cust, CEO Patrick Cusk, CEO of Commsoft/OASES explains its success and development.

 

OASES was designed by and for engineers, can you explain how this occurred and what key elements did the system have to include or were requested?

We developed OASES over many years in collaboration with our users to provide their required functionality. In 2021, for example after consultation with several our customers we added modules for structural damage and repair management, and a shipping and resource planning module.

Given the impact of COVID-19 to the aviation industry has this impacted any developments for the system and how are you preparing for the anticipated rush when airlines return to widespread service?

Our development pipeline is constantly under review and we took the opportunity to accelerate our technology renewal strategy during 2020.

Already in 2021, we are seeing an increase in user requests although we’re experiencing some impact from Brexit on UK companies and those importing and exporting between the UK and EU. As a direct result we’re about to release a new OASES feature to enable customers to capture and audit customs data for imports and exports.

Can you explain how the dedicated help desk operates, and what is the process once a customer asks for help?

The OASES service desk runs 24/7/365 and is used to ask questions, to request services, to report issues or suggest improvements.

It’s monitored by the service team around 15 hours a day Mon-Fri with “Out of Hours” Monitoring for Business Critical/P1 issues.

The technologies we use is industry recognised and are accepted tools of the trade, namely Atlassian JIRA Service Desk & Confluence, TeamSupport, and PagerDuty. In addition, OASES service desk also integrates with our software development and business development tools and processes for improved service.

Most tickets raised by our users are answered by the service team and where necessary they are triaged to subject matter experts. This ensures that every issue is resolved in the most timely and efficient manner possible.

Every one of our 130+ customers is added to the Help Desk as part of their OASES implementation and they can have one or as many accounts as they see fit.

For added efficiency gains in 2021 we are looking to implement Tier 0 Support tools.

How has the introduction of the ‘private cloud’ been received by customers, is there further growth in this area for OASES?

OASES Private cloud means that our customers don’t have to worry about commissioning and managing their own servers or worrying about data backups. Additionally, they can access the system worldwide, not just at the same location their server is located.

We are currently undertaking major work in this area and launching “OASES Cloud” backed by AWS which brings even better availability and redundancy than the current OASES private cloud.  OASES Cloud facilitates evergreen continuously deployed versions of all our platforms – desktop, web and mobile – straight to our customers’ fingertips.  This means that our customers always have the latest version of each of the platforms in terms of features and bug fixes updated nightly.

You offer a software tailoring system for airlines; can you explain how this works and what makes it different from similar systems?

Customer success is a central tenet of our philosophy.  We host an ideas portal for each of our platforms where customers can create, share, and vote on ideas for features to be added to the OASES roadmap.  It is this mantra of agility and continuous improvement and delivery of the product that sets us apart from other systems.

Gabi Matic, Programme Director, ATI Boeing Accelerator

By Five Questions

January 2021

Gabi Matic is the Programme Director at ATI Boeing Accelerator, a three-month programme for world-class start-ups building industry 4.0 and sustainability enabling technologies, with the potential to bolster the growth and competitiveness of the UK aerospace industry.

 

 Under the current environment, which is hitting aviation hard, what do you see as the biggest challenge for start-ups?

Start-ups are used to facing challenges! However, I think the main challenge for them at the moment is to stay alive and survive this period. Projects will highly likely be delayed or even cancelled and the industry will need time to recover. Founders also need to make sure they keep questioning any assumptions they might have about their client’s priorities. Those priorities will most likely have changed when COVID hit and being able to react to that change and tweak one’s solution can make the difference between just surviving this or getting out on the other end successfully.

I think that there are – and will be – new opportunities for start-ups because of this changing world. The status quo of industries like aviation has always been a barrier and that ‘normality’ does not exist anymore. Everyone needs to innovate a lot faster than anticipated in 2020 and start-ups can really help with that.

What has been the feedback from companies who are willing to offer sponsorship/support, how have you pitched it to them?

This programme was put together by the Aerospace Technology Institute and Boeing. Our corporate sponsor is GKN Aerospace and we recently welcomed Rolls-Royce as a programme partner. The programme team and I design and deliver the accelerator itself, using experience from our time at leading European accelerator Ignite.

All of our partners want to work with truly innovative start-ups that will make a difference to their businesses. We had nearly 300 applications for the ten places on our first cohort and the quality really spoke for itself. These ten start-ups are in the process of beginning their commercial relationships with one (or more) of the programme stakeholders – bringing start-up innovation and expertise to real-world areas of interest that our partners have. For our next cohort, we’ve had a key thematic focus on sustainability, and we have scouted some incredibly innovative start-ups to match with our partners. We’re really excited about the start of the programme and to see how the partners and start-ups can work together!

I think what makes this programme so attractive to our partners is the fact that the accelerator is truly trying to bring key industry players together with start-ups and, through these collaborations, we hope to see real industrial change. The upcoming programme is focused on sustainability-related solutions – which is a big challenge for this industry that is striving for zero carbon emissions by 2050. We have seen world-leading research in novel fuel systems, new approaches to manufacturing and supply chain management through to COVID-response solutions to help get the industry flying again. We also know that our partners are working on their operational resilience so that they can come out of this pandemic stronger than before. The programme is helping them with that by giving access to great innovation in this space.

What help will Boeing offer during the process?

As the programme’s platinum sponsor, Boeing’s investment arm offers a £100k equity investment (structured as an uncapped SAFE note) to each start-up in the cohort. The Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures team and colleagues from a range of business units around the world are actively involved from the application process to the 12-week programme itself.

They work hard to find opportunities for the start-ups internally and offer mentors and resources for our founders throughout the accelerator. Our Boeing HorizonX Global Ventures champion (and the day-to-day Boeing programme lead) also has entrepreneurial experience which makes her the perfect connector who understands both sides of the relationships between start-ups and corporates.

What is the goal of this programme, and how do you think it benefit will be for the industry in both the short/long term?

The ATI Boeing Accelerator is a start-up accelerator programme designed to support the growth of start-ups in the UK’s aerospace ecosystem. By supporting these innovative early-stage technology businesses, the programme aims to bolster the growth and competitiveness of the UK aerospace industry. Through the programme curriculum, founders get support to scale their businesses and learn about the value the UK aerospace industry can bring to their companies. Our inaugural cohort has (so far) gone on to secure a further £8M in funding, created 50+ new jobs, and engaged organisations including Rolls-Royce and Chevron Technology Ventures.

How would you like to see the Accelerator programmes develop?

We would love to see this initiative grow well beyond just a couple of accelerator programmes a year. Our vision is to support start-ups in different stages of development – both across the UK (not just in London) and further afield. The programme stakeholders have already seen a real industrial benefit to being involved in this programme; POCs are already well into development between Cohort One and the stakeholder group and with the follow-on funding figure continuing to rise we’re seeing ROI on the investment side of things, too.

With our experience of designing and delivering the Ignite accelerator programmes, my team and I have worked hard to create start-up ecosystems all over the UK and we would love to see the same happen for start-ups in aerospace and its adjacent industries. Strong ecosystems foster real innovation and growth, and we’d love to bring more start-ups and industry partners to the table. In our experience, programmes like this only deliver real value to industry if the industry as a whole is involved so we’d be really excited to continue to expand our sponsor and partner relationships and bring in new businesses on the corporate side of things!

Erik Varwijk, CEO, Avion

By Five Questions

November 2020

With the ability to set-up a training centre tailored to a client’s specific needs, Avion is revolutionising the way full-flight simulators are operated. CEO Erik Varwijk, explains the innovation and inspiration that’s behind this remarkable Dutch company.

 

What are you offering that is different to other flight simulators, what makes yours different?

The Avion Full Flight Simulator has a unique self-contained design and does not require an access bridge or separate server room, or air conditioning room. This results in simplified building requirements and therefore lower costs. Our simulators are built using strong and lightweight materials, making the simulator weighing only 7,5 tons – approximately 5 tons lighter than other simulators. This significantly reduces energy consumption.

We can set up single bay Flight Training Centres designed to the specific needs and requirements of our customers at our customers’ preferred location. This will substantially lower their flight crew training cost by avoiding hotel cost and daily allowances. It also reduces travel risks and improves crew productivity.

At present you have just the A320, will you be looking to add other aircraft types in the future?

Next to the Airbus A320 Family, the Boeing 737 MAX is still the most ordered aircraft of this moment. Advantages in terms of maintenance costs and fuel efficiency makes the 737 MAX a very suitable aircraft for both regional airlines and LCCs. That is why we are developing the Avion B737 MAX Full Flight Simulator to meet the expected high demand for FFS for this aircraft. The Avion B737 MAX will be ready for training in 2021.

What are some of the innovations you are currently working at?

Reliability, efficiency, and unconventional solutions are at the core of our thinking. A self-contained simulator design, simple building requirements, lower operating costs, spacious interior, and the intuitive touch screens of the instructor station are examples of our innovative solutions. One of our latest projects is getting Upset Prevention and Recovery Training to a higher level. With the help of the acclaimed organization International Development of Technology (www.uprt.aero), we go above and beyond the mandatory requirements for UPRT.

How do you go about reducing the connections down to just 200 on your A320 sim’?

To clarify, we are talking about aircraft systems and instrument connections. Avion uses original aircraft instruments to have the real cockpit look and feel in the simulator. These instruments normally make use of the ARINC 429 Data Bus communication. By using a small circuit board, we can convert the data of the instruments to a signal that can be transferred through a normal ethernet cable. This results in a fast and clean installation and commissioning.

Although ARINC 429 is a reliable system, it consists of multiple cables. Since malfunctions often occur at the connections we strongly believe in ‘less is more’. Our solution can be accessed easier and faster and replacing an ethernet cable is much cheaper. Keep in mind that a simulator will have to endure significantly more exceptional situations of turbulence and severe stall buffets than a real aircraft with the same life cycle of 20 to 25 years. In the end the most important part for the user is the result: the average reliability of our simulators is over 99%.

You currently have two locations one in London and the other in Malta, are you seeking other regions to move into and if so where?

Yes, we will open more locations around the world, particularly outside Europe. We give aviation companies of all sizes the opportunity to reduce training costs and minimize travel time of pilots. Therefore, our solution of setting up regional Flight Training Centres is also available as a single bay operation. This makes Avion’s simulators interesting for customers all around the world.

Joshua Ng, Engagement Manager, Alton Aviation Consultancy

By Five Questions

September 2020

The mentions of creating ‘travel bubbles’ to allow passengers, either business or for pleasure, to begin travelling again has never been far from the media spotlight these last few weeks. What are they? How will they work and are they practical? As the world’s aviation industry slowly gets moving Joshua Ng, Engagement Manager for Alton Aviation Consultancy provides an insight to their application.

 

What are the core elements that a successful travel bubble needs to have to be a viable option? 

The overarching criteria for a successful ‘travel bubble’ are firstly, the ability to ensure the safety of the foreign visitor and the local citizen at all times though preventive action(s), and secondly, the ability to mount an effective healthcare response when preventive actions have been compromised.

Preventive actions help stop the spread of a virus and limit its import into the community. Examples include the 14-day quarantines and border lockdowns seen at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as more is known about coronavirus, the tools available in each government’s arsenal have also increased. Preventive actions such as testing have helped identified symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers in the population, while effective healthcare responses; from ensuring healthcare services are tooled up to support a prolonged and enlarged patient pool, to the use of antiviral drugs; have helped increase capacity, and reduced the burden on critical healthcare facilities.

In terms of Australia to New Zealand, Singapore to China, and to those established in Europe, do you think it’s possible to establish a standardized global protocol for travel bubbles, or do you believe that they need to be regionally tailored?

COVID-19 has not affected all regions uniformly – even countries within the same region have had differing outcomes. Political factors such as the ability and willingness to shut down borders early, country demographics and density, as well as individual behaviours have all influenced the impact of the virus.

At Alton, it is our view that we are unlikely to see a global protocol for travel bubbles given that governments have tended to err on the side of caution and are willing to shut down borders to contain the domestic situation. Looking ahead, travel bubbles are likely to be on a bilateral rather than a multilateral basis, as seen by the uneven policy implementation even among EU member states.

The pre-conditions for setting up travel bubbles between governments include mutual trust and respect for the policy mechanisms within each country to prevent, detect and respond to virus waves. In terms of implementation, policy decisions must consider a wide range of factors such as traveller eligibility criteria, implementation as well as wind-down procedures for travel bubbles, and safety and security issues.

The implemented travel corridor between Singapore and China has the following requirements, for example:

  • Eligibility: only essential business and official travel is allowed
  • Testing: Requires travellers to undergo a COVID-19 test prior to, and after arrival at their destination
  • Ports of call: Travelers can start or end their journey only within six defined provinces in China. Notably, Beijing is excluded from this list
  • Traveller journey: Prior approvals by authorities, and strict adherence to the approved itinerary

What long term impact do you feel travel bubbles/travel corridors will have on the industry on regional flights?

China, USA, and Japan are the three largest domestic markets globally. Using flight activity as a proxy for air travel demand, we have seen domestic seat capacity increase in China and the US while Japan has maintained a high share of domestic seats despite the pandemic. (see chart above).

The next phase of growth would be regional travel. Countries that are in close proximity with each other are more interconnected and interdependent – they may share similar cultural heritage or have strong economic and trade relationships.

Alton expects that regional traffic will pick up out of that necessity. People will want to travel between countries to visit friends, family, or relatives, or to go on holiday. Cargo and goods will need to be transported for manufacturing, assembly, and export.

The successful implementation of travel bubbles has the potential to add 1.3 billion seats into the air travel market, based on 2019 capacity data. This is equivalent to 44% of domestic seat capacity, 54% of international seat capacity, and collectively with domestic flights represents 82% of all seat capacity.

The mention of a 14-day quarantine upon returning to the UK was initially disliked, then dropped once European governments established specific links. What do you think of this, and will similar practices become more widespread between nations?

It is worth noting that 14-day quarantines were universally adopted globally in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic as they were seen to be effective in limiting the spread of the virus. Governments have since dialled back these measures depending on the pandemic situation. Cases in the UK peaked two weeks after peaks in Spain and Italy, and it would be natural to expect some lag in the UK’s recovery against continental Europe.

When contemplating a restart of travel, governments tread a fine line between maintaining public safety and economic growth.

Based on World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) data, the UK travel and tourism industry contributes 9.0% of total GDP, employs 11% of the total population and earns the country GBP $28.2B in foreign visitor spend. From an economic perspective, travel is an essential foundation for restarting the UK economy.

In the face of an evolving situation, we should expect policy decisions to be fluid and change considering case numbers. If the UK government has the confidence that it can successfully prevent the importation of COVID-19 from foreign travellers, and effectively respond to localised spread, risks are sufficiently mitigated and the travel corridors announced on 10th July may be widened.

Regionally, which areas do you feel with benefit, or suffer from the adoption of travel bubbles in terms of operators in these regions?

Based on our research, the region with the largest potential is in Europe, with the potential to enlarge the market by almost 750m seats. Europe has many countries in close proximity with each other, and coupled with the overarching EU framework, has the ability to coordinate policy between nation states within the bloc. Asia Pacific will also benefit from the adoption of travel bubbles due to the cultural and trade interdependence between APAC countries.

Airlines that primarily serve international routes would certainly benefit from travel bubbles, to regain their primary source of revenues and income. Operators that rely on transit travel, and especially those that have small or non-existent domestic markets, such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, or the Middle Eastern carriers, would also stand to gain from such agreements.

Ian Cooper, Chief Operating Officer, Skyborne Airline Academy

By Five Questions

July 2020

Pilot training academies such as Skyborne has been created to meet the global demand for commercial airline pilots. Despite impact of COVID-19 on operators, the need for the next generation of pilots remains. Skyborne quickly modified its classroom syllabus to online learning which is proving highly effective during the lockdown.

 

Following the impact of lockdown and the COVID-19 pandemic, how long did it take to set up your online pilot training given that Skyborne is very technology-orientated training school already?

As it became increasingly clear the UK would enter lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, our thoughts at Skyborne followed two key strands. First, how to ensure the safety of our trainees, staff and their families. Second, how to maintain continuity of education for our students so they weren’t left without direction or support.

Within one week in March, our team took our pilot training online. We set up a web portal called the Skyborne Virtual Airline Training Platform (VATP) so cadets could continue to receive their ATPL ground school lessons from home. This portal uses video conferencing, along with document and screen sharing capabilities to create a virtual classroom that students and flight instructors can check in to every day at an agreed time.

After submitting the platform to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, we received approval within 24 hours, with confirmation that all teaching would count towards the 750 hours of theoretical knowledge training our EASA Integrated and Modular ATPL students need to complete.

What were the challenges during the early weeks?

Moving to virtual classrooms for pilot training was a definite shift. It was perhaps a little harder at first for our instructors than for our younger cadets, who have grown up online in a digital space. Furthermore, people react differently when they are studying remotely – you can’t always read body language and it can be harder to engage or ask questions. However, day by day, we adjusted together.

One of the biggest changes we implemented in the early phases of the lockdown was to split up our teaching into more bitesize blocks, interspersed with breakout sessions and Q & A time. This helped boost concentration and keep conversation flowing for each topic. The pace of teaching is faster with online learning and we found that by keeping content manageable, our instructors and cadets engaged with each other more. Every week, we gather feedback from across the board and adapt the next week’s lessons accordingly.

Did you need to introduce any new software to ensure teaching and training methods were maintained in order to maintain grading standards etc.?

At Skyborne, we use Bristol Ground School training software for our ATPL programmes and this includes regular progress tests. While physically distanced from our trainees, these tests mean we can continually monitor and review their grades, highlighting any areas where they need a bit more time or support.

We then use Google Classrooms to supplement group lessons with valuable 1-to-1 time. If a cadet wanted to run through in more detail a Meteorology class covering cloud formation, for example, they could talk through a worksheet on this topic on a video call with their instructor. This session would test their level of understanding and knowledge, ensuring they were on track to maintain their grades and progress throughout the course.

With the lack of actual hands-on flying, how is this being addressed along with simulator time? What’s the plan for when the lockdown is lifted?

The aviation industry has been severely impacted by COVID-19, with long-term economic implications. Our instructors and management have been constantly monitoring the situation and adapting our training in line with government and local health authority advice. When lockdown and social distancing policies meant flying had to be put on hold, we focused on ATPL ground schoolwork, developing the skills and knowledge of our trainees ready for when core flight training could resume.

We also launched the Skyborne Skills Continuation Training commitment, providing all our EASA Integrated or Modular ATPL graduates from April 2020 with 12 months of free support after they finished their studies. This includes ongoing simulator training and revalidation of their Instrument Rating (IR) if they are not placed with an airline during this period. Ahead of airline selection, our graduates will also receive assessment preparation training to ready them for the interview process.

Despite the current industry challenges, I believe there are real reasons for optimism. The next generation of airline pilots will be the most resilient and adaptable cohort we’ve seen in decades. They will have experienced the joy of travel, and seen how aviation brings families, friends and loved ones together. They will have lived through drastic change and uncertainty but kept going. Most of all, they will be passionate and determined, helping shape the future of aviation for decades to come.

What’s been the feedback from the trainees, and will elements of what you have learnt during this process be continued in some way or form in the future?  

When I began my career 20 years ago, receiving ground school teaching from home would have been almost unthinkable. But innovation has always been at the heart of the aviation industry, and technology has fuelled rapid change.

I’ve been so impressed by the way our cadets adapted to remote learning. With their ground school syllabus already downloaded to their Skyborne-issued iPads, they turned their bedrooms, sofas and garages into offices, keeping up the routine and discipline we had already seen from them in person.

This has been the first big life event many of our trainees have experienced, with many born after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, or being too young to remember the 2008 global financial crisis. It’s been encouraging to see how they’ve made a real effort to support each other throughout the lockdown, setting up group WhatsApp chats to help their classmates with particular topics, and team Zoom calls to keep morale high with quizzes and film nights.

Virtual learning won’t ever replace the value of face-to-face contact, particularly in pilot training, where you are developing the student’s character and work ethic as well as their practical skills and knowledge. But this experience has taught us a lot about how we can enhance our offering through technology, and we will be taking elements from our Skyborne virtual classrooms further to enrich the pilot studies of our future intakes.

A statement from HMG Aerospace

By Featured

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we find ourselves feeling increasingly proud of the industry’s ability to adapt, respond and become ever more resilient to the critical challenges that confront it. Although the long-term effects of this crisis will reach far and strike deep, many within the industry have already taken the first few steps back towards normal – or at least “new normal” – service. Ryanair has announced that as of July 1, it plans to reinstate 40% of its scheduled service. Wizz Air intends to increase operations from Gatwick Airport, and Boeing has asked its largest supplier of 737 MAX parts to restart manufacturing. Whilst many airlines have had to reshape and resize their operations, this forced restructure gives them the opportunity to strengthen their business model and consolidate their fleet. They will rebuild on stronger and hopefully greener foundations.

The pandemic has created a more charitable and democratic aviation industry. The web is awash with news stories detailing the contributions made by businesses around the globe to the fight against COVID-19. From helicopter manufacturers like Leonardo supplying HEMS helicopters for aircraft availability and mission effectiveness, to airlines like flydubai operating flights across four continents to repatriate citizens, the industry has shown willing to rally round and support those in need. In addition, there has been a significant increase in companies seeking to engage with their customers, offering them the chance to directly influence future business decisions. We have been particularly impressed by a recent Eurowings initiative, whereby the company utilises social media to ask its customers what services they would like the airline to provide both during and post-COVID-19. Discussions and decisions are being released from the confines of the corporate boardroom and presented to the people who will be most affected by them: the passengers.

Taking inspiration from the industry we serve, here at HMG Aerospace we have adapted in order to continue delivering. We have taken advantage of the various digital services available to ensure that our products are published on schedule and that our editorial content is topical, rich and often exclusive. From dynamic digital magazines to video interviews with senior aviation executives; from digital marketing solutions to news websites and weekly newsletters, not forgetting our participation in pioneering online broadcast events like FlightPlan by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX, HMG Aerospace remains as committed as ever to supporting and reporting on the industry.

On behalf of all the team at HMG Aerospace, keep safe and well.

Best wishes,

Mark Howells and Becky Howells