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AES awarded EASA STC installation of forward cabin closets for Boeing 737 Next Generation aircraft

By Featured

Leading aerospace design and engineering specialists, Aerospace Engineering Solutions, has received the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the installation of forward cabin closets.

Recently issued by EASA, this latest STC (No. 10079922) applies to the Boeing B737-800 Family. Developed in conjunction with Causeway Aero in Northern Ireland, this modification installs seat track mounted underbin coat stowages to the forward left and right hand cabin area of the aircraft.

Targeted for operators with limited stowage accommodation, each 12.5” unit features 2 x coat stowage rails behind an inboard opening door while Décor is a standard Isovolta 70F1 type customised to suit.

Through the company’s Design Organisation Approval (DOA), the closet units are delivered with UK CAA Form 1 approval.

Commenting on this STC approval, Aerospace Engineering Solutions director, Andrew Dolby, said:

“Working closely with Causeway Aero and the agency [EASA] to receive this latest STC is a great achievement. This underpins our reputation for delivering high quality and cost-effective design and engineering solutions within the aerospace industry as we anticipate developing many more to the marketplace.”

Boeing 737NG Forward Underbin Closet

Chris Brady CEO – Unum Aircraft Seating Ltd

By Five Questions

July 2022


Redefining business class comfort, Unum’s CEO Chris Brady spoke to LARA about how he believes seats should be comfortable, and how working with aircraft OEMs should be an easy exchange of ideas.

What are the fundamentals that any airline seat has to have, no matter what class or whether a single or twin-aisle aircraft?

At Unum, we believe there is a universal model for aircraft seating with a hierarchy of requirements. The first priority is comfort, the second is robustness, the third is being easily maintainable, the fourth is being lightweight and the fifth is being able to offer the seat at the right price.

Comfort is at the top of the list because the sole purpose of the seat is to provide a comfortable experience for the passenger. We think that a helpful way to think about it is that seats can’t be comfortable, only people can. Therefore comfort is found in the spaces between the seats. This makes us think about space and movement rather than features and materials.

Seats must be robust in terms of durability, but also in terms of protecting the passenger from their surroundings. Mass transportation is unique in the way that it forces strangers into proximity for several hours.

We’ve always wanted to ensure that our seat was easy to maintain. When bits break they should be quick to replace – this was the design challenge.  Later we came to realise that repairable seats are good, but repaired seats are even better, and so we started to think about proactive training and support too.

What does Unum stand for and how is your company different compared to other seating companies out there?

Our motto is “Reliably Comfortable, Responsibly Made” – which tries to capture the ethics that guide us as individuals. We’re concerned about our impact on the environment and we have tried to build a business that prioritises people first and money second.

To support this, we have put an emphasis on building business systems that are easy to work with and that focus on the risks around delivery, so that we always deliver on time.

We also measure our impact on the environment in all of the small decisions we make, such as by relying on local supply chains rather than using suppliers from overseas. Through this decision, we are ensuring that our suppliers are family-run businesses that hold the same values as us.

Post-COVID, what has your company learned and have you since introduced any new ways of working moving forward?

I think we’ve been lucky in that we were born during the pandemic and are fundamentally a lockdown project, so we had to build our culture and systems around working remotely.

I can imagine how hard it was for established businesses to relearn their habits and rituals for a remote working world and how tempting it would be to re-enforce office working, but I’m excited to explore what the future holds for us in the hybrid working environment.

For us, it has been a lockdown dividend and through the innovation of remote learning software, such as Microsoft Teams, we’ve managed to continue business operations as normal and collaborate effectively on projects as a team.

With the need for aviation to be more environmentally friendly across the board, from SAF to material inside the cabin, in what ways is the seating industry going to adapt?

I think the industry first needs to get curious about the topic of sustainability. I’ve made a conscious effort to learn about this topic and it’s a really exciting opportunity to make different decisions, think of measurements and build sustainable systems and products. A sustainable business is about lots of small decisions, each informed by the right information and not “silver bullet” initiatives. I think it’s a fundamental organisational challenge rather than a technical one.

Sustainability is an opportunity for renewal and after my 30 years in aircraft seating I’m excited about it, especially after seeing how the aviation industry has grown and adapted during this time frame.

Can you talk us through the process for designing a new seat for a commercial aircraft? What makes the change necessary, how much communication is there with the OEM and the operator, and how long does it take before a final design is signed off?

When designing a new seat for commercial aircraft, it takes around three to four years from the drawing board, through design engineering and acquiring certification, to then installing it on the aircraft.

Typically the first two years will see advanced product development and then you’ll witness new product development alongside an industrial design programme – this part is typically outsourced (which is not uncommon). At Unum, we have chosen to work with Acumen Design Associates for this process.

An airline will typically become a customer after two years or sometimes earlier and then a further design engineering programme will run to personalise the seat to the airline’s requirements and integrate product features from third parties (in premium class that will be in-flight entertainment systems and in-seat power) before final certification is carried out.

PW127XT engine series now the benchmark in turboprop regional aviation

By Whitepaper — ★ Sponsored Content ★

By: Tim Swail, Vice President, Regional Aviation and APU Product Marketing & Sales, Pratt & Whitney Canada

We have had a highly positive response to our new PW127XT Engine Series which we unveiled at the Dubai Airshow in mid-November 2021. The new engine takes aim at reducing regional airlines’ cash operating costs and offers 40% more time on wing, a 20% reduction in engine maintenance costs and a 3% improvement in fuel efficiency.

ATR has selected the engine — the PW127XT-M to be exact — for future ATR 42/72 regional turboprops and their order book is expanding. We are advancing with the engine certification testing certifying the engine with Transport Canada which we anticipate for summer this year, followed shortly thereafter by aircraft certification and first aircraft delivery.  The ATR announcement was made as the OEM was celebrating its 40th year of operation. Since its inception, ATR has exclusively used our PW100 regional turboprop family for its aircraft.  It was a fitting way to mark the milestone.

As you know, regional turboprops consume up to 40% less fuel and emit 40% less CO2 emissions than regional jets on flights of up to 400 nautical miles. With its 3% improvement in fuel consumption, the PW127XT builds on that inherent advantage. The reduction in maintenance costs come primarily from design and component efficiencies extending the intervals for scheduled maintenance. In a common 10-year period (assuming typical mission lengths and 2,000 annual flying hours) the previous PW127M engine required three scheduled events — a hot section inspection, an overhaul, and finally a second hot section. With same usage on the PW127XT-M, only two scheduled events — a hot section and an overhaul — would be required in the 10-year period.

Next-Level Efficiency

We purpose-built the PW127XT engine series for the regional mission and incorporated the latest materials and technologies delivering more efficiency and extended time on wing. The engine has a reduced turbine operating temperature and features design changes for additional durability in hot and salty environments.

The introduction of the new engine is consistent with our track record for the past near-40 years. Our PW100/150 engine family helped build the regional aviation industry. Today, nine out of every 10 regional turboprops in the 30-to-90-passenger category are powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada engines and no one can match our depth of expertise or dedication to the regional turboprop segment.

Pratt & Whitney Canada has produced 38 PW100/150 engine models for different aircraft, and we currently have 6,600 engines flying with more than 520 operators located around the world. In addition to ATR aircraft, the engine family also powers Embraer’s EMB120 Brasilia, Xian Aircraft’s MA60 and De Havilland’s Dash 8 series, to name a few.

More of a Good Thing

Given the rapid success of the PW100 engine family, it was not long before non-regional aviation OEMs got on the bandwagon. More than two decades ago, Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) selected an engine from the PW100 family to power its versatile C295 Tactical Airlifter. Because of the attributes of the aircraft’s twin PW127G engines, the C295 can operate effectively in virtually any environment from high heat and humidity to desert climates and arctic storms. ADS offers the aircraft in a variety of mission configurations ranging from firefighting to search and rescue, from troop transport to humanitarian services, and from medical evacuation to air-to-air refuelling. It can also easily handle unpaved airstrips that larger aircraft cannot accommodate.

De Havilland additionally uses the PW123AF for its Canadair CL-415 water bomber which the company claims is the most productive aviation fire-fighter in the business. Canadair says the aircraft can stay on the fire for more than three hours at a time and only return to base for fuelling three times a day.  In March of this year, De Havilland announced the DHC-515 Firefighter, a new generation of the iconic aircraft that can refill its water tanks in 12 seconds by skimming the surface of local bodies of water.

Global Support

Our PW100/150 engine family has grown so quickly in popularity and application also because of the global support network we have built around our operators over the past four decades. Aside from our physical network of more than 50 facilities strategically located around the world, and our teams of Field Support Managers and Mobile Repair Team technicians, we also have a suite of specialized engine maintenance services designed to meet operator needs for every stage of the engine’s lifecycle.

Many regional airlines opt for our comprehensive Fleet Management™ Program (FMP®) which is designed for the regional market to maximize long-term engine value while easily managing sizeable engine fleets. The FMP offers superior predictability of engine maintenance costs. The program can be used to guarantee costs and tailored to suit individual airline needs and specific operating environments — making it an effective financial and maintenance planning tool.

Digital Engine Services

Our FAST™ diagnostic and prognostic solution is also playing an important role with many of our Regional Airline customers and is the cornerstone our Digital Engine Services portfolio. FAST — the acronym stands for Full flight data Acquisition, Storage and Transmission — is helping our customers plan their maintenance activities, reduce their operating costs and increase aircraft availability. The technology gives customers a connected engine that is helping them evolve the way they run their business.

FAST has been certified for both ATR and de Havilland’s Dash 8-400 aircraft; and more than half of Dash 8-400s flying today are equipped with FAST.

Toward a Sustainable Future

Pratt & Whitney Canada engines — including the PW100/150 family — have been certified since the late 2000s for up to a 50% blend of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) with standard jet fuel. Pratt & Whitney, along with many of its OEMs, is dedicated to creating a greener future for our aviation products.

In February, ATR flew a new PW127XT engine on its ATR 72-600 prototype aircraft fueled with 100% SAF. The SAF was produced from renewable waste and residues of raw material, such as used cooking oil. We are currently working with ATR and Braathens to support certification of ATR aircraft for 100% SAF by 2025.

Last year, we introduced our Hybrid Electric Propulsion technology and flight demonstrator program which uses a De Havilland Dash 8-100 aircraft as a demonstrator platform. Pratt & Whitney is developing the hybrid engine, the electric motor of which will be developed by our sister company Collins Aerospace. We expect this hybrid electric propulsion technology will deliver a 30% improvement in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Ground tests will be conducted this year with flight testing in 2024. It will, of course, be SAF-compatible and function as a learning platform with the ability to scale the technology both up and down to serve multiple aircraft applications.

We continue to invest in our products and new technologies across all our market segments.  We also work closely with the broader industry to establish standards and collaborate to address challenges at a system level, especially in the areas of alternate fuels and innovative engine technologies.  This year will be an important one for Pratt & Whitney as the PW127XT goes into commercial production and we announce later in the year some of the new and innovative support services we are bringing forth to support it.

Stay tuned.

flydubai operates repatriation flights

By Featured

On 19 March, flydubai operated flights across four continents in order to repatriate citizens.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, airlines have played a big role in returning people to home soil but flydubai has reached destinations including Thailand, Sudan, Russia, Iran, Croatia, and Egypt under the approval of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). The airline has even reached Somaliland and Afghanistan, operating 23 rescue flights so far.

Visitors stuck in the UAE were flown out of Dubai International Airport Terminal to their home countries, with UAE nationals boarding the plane for the return flight. Not only were people bought back to their home countries, but the airline was able to deliver various medical supplies in both directions on these flights, and whilst many airlines are providing repatriation flights, flydubai excelled by offering them free of charge.

The CEO of the airline, Hamad Obaidalla stated that the airline will remain focused on contributing to an easy movement of goods to where they are needed and bringing people home before adding, “We look forward to resuming our operations when the time is right and we are working closely with the authorities.”

LOT Polish Airlines pulls out of Condor purchase

By General News

LOT Polish Airline owner, PGL, has pulled out of its purchase of German carrier Condor, after announcing in January that it would make a bid.

The decision has arisen due to the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has damaged the whole aviation industry. PGL announced that the company “informed Condor about its withdrawal from the purchase of this company.”

In January 2020, Condor broke from the Thomas Cook Group and shortly after was contacted by PGL who wanted to purchase the airline. This deal would have accumulated to 300-million euros but is now unlikely to be carried out due to the current situation facing the industry.

Remaining hopeful, a Condor spokesperson stated that “We are also in talks about state aid because of the effects of the Corona crisis. Our flight operations will continue as normal – as far as possible due to the effects.”

American Airlines receives financial aid

By General News

American Airlines Group Inc has announced that the US Department of the Treasury has approved $5.8 billion in financial aid from the Payroll Support Program (PSP).

The funding is aimed to support team member salaries and benefits, sustaining the critical air service that the frontline service is providing. American is still operating important connections to those in need including medical professionals and people returning to their families.

American Airlines Chairman and CEO, Doug Parker commented, “The support our government has entrusted to us carries immense responsibility and an obligation that American Airlines is privileged to undertake.”

The airline is also seeking a potential addition loan of about $4.75billion to support its staff until September 2020, when the programme ends. Parker added, “It is our privilege to continue flying through the downturn and to be in a ready position as our country and the world return to the skies.”

South African airways

SAA repatriation flight lands in Miami after 20 years

By General News
South African airways

As a part of its repatriation service, South African Airways has flown to Miami for the first time in 20 years in order to bring citizens home.

South African Airways has used one of its new A350s to carry out this mission, although it has parked 39 of its 44 other aircraft.

The flight departed from Johannesburg, stopping at Dakar before continuing the journey. Despite this connection to Miami International Airport (MIA), “it’s likely it won’t be a regular sitting there.” SAA’s US focus is on New York and Washington DC with its codeshares with other airlines including United and Jetblue.

VA Airline Training supports students

By General News

With many airlines and companies requesting government aid due to the coronavirus, VA Airline Training (VA) has announced it will be stepping up to support its candidates “in various ways during this extremely challenging period, with further service enhancements.”

VA state it will provide additional APS MCC (Airline Pilot Standard Multi-Crew Cooperation) training free of charge, believing that “APS MCC graduate core skills and currency should be maintained in preparation for attending future airline assessments.”

The BA’s ‘Bursary 24’ will offer further financial help, providing 24 more £500 bursaries throughout April and May 2020. This means pilots booking a VA or Ryanair APS MCC will be able to secure the course, with dates moved to a later time in order to accommodate the delays in  flight training due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Petteford, Managing Director of VA Airline Training stated that “The current situation is difficult for everyone…We will do what we can to support and help them achieve their APS MCC certificate so that they are genuinely airline ready when the recovery does come.”

Australian regional airlines hold onto lifeline

By General News

The Australian government has offered a “lifeline” to the country’s regional airlines with a suspected aviation aid package of AUS$1 billion.

This support will allow airlines such as Regional Express (Rex) to continue operations despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, unions and ground-handling companies have stated that they are receiving little aid which has failed to support its workers.

Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack has announced that an $198 million Regional Air Network Assistance package aims to maintain critical air services throughout regional Australia by securing operations to certain routes. The funding will focus on safety-related costs, regulatory compliance and support “minimum operational capability.”

A further $100 million has been provided for smaller regional airlines to continue operations. Airlines including aero-medical and service providers will potentially be eligible for monthly assistance until 30 September.

McCormack further stated that the package will: “provide vital financial support for airlines servicing regional and remote locations”, allowing core routes for domestic air freight to remain functional and essential workers to remain employed.

With the reduction of about 80% of flying activity, many flight crew and engineers have been suspended. Therefore, this funding is expected to support many jobs in order to reduce the impact on the airlines and airports staff.

Airlines for Australia and New Zealand (A4ANZ) has also benefited from the financial package as airlines have become “critically disrupted by border closures.” A4ANZ Chief Executive, Alison Roberts said: “as a nation, we are more dependent on aviation than most countries around the world and, the Deputy Prime Minister said today, regional aviation has been smashed by COVID-19.”

However, the Transport Workers’ Union has highlighted that some of the country’s biggest ground-handling companies including Menzies Aviation believe that they have been ignored. They have stated that “no planes can operate if the airports – regional or major – do not have any ground handlers.”

Final flight for Trans States Airlines

By General News

American regional airline, Trans States Airlines has operated its final flight after announcing in early March that it would go out of business in response to the COVID-19 impact on capacity.

The airline operated for United Express and originally planned to operate until the end of 2020.

Trans States’ President and CEO, Rick Leach stated: “While I’m still grappling with the fact that this sad day has come much sooner than planned, I can’t help but reflect with great pride on our journey together and some of the many accomplishments that have made us a true pioneer in the regional industry.”