BAA and L3Harris

BAA Training and L3Harris agree FFS deal

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BAA and L3Harris

BAA Training and L3Harris

L3Harris, a global aerospace and defence technology innovator, and BAA Training have signed a multimillion-dollar contract which will see the acquisition of nine RealitySeven full flight simulators.

Align with its plans for global expansion, BAA have invested in nine simulators of aircraft from the Boeing and Airbus families including Boeing 737NG and the Airbus A320neo. Market specialists have stated that there will be an increase in demand for narrow-body aircraft, Boeing and Airbus specifically which are expected to accumulate 98% of all narrow-bodies delivered by 2029.

The RealitySeven simulator provides a high fidelity pilot training experience whilst “maintaining high degrees of reliability, maintainability, and supportability for training center operators. It also reduces power consumption through its digital electrified control loading and an electric motion system which also results in minimal operational life costs.

Based on a modular system, the RealitySeven includes elements that are specific to the aircraft type. The user is able to ‘swap out’ the aircraft modules to coincide with their training requirements, designed to eliminate the need to replace the entire simulator.

“BAA Training’s selection is testament to the quality of our devices and the skills and expertise of the engineers who develop them. We look forward to supporting BAA Training expand their capacity by providing these industry-leading devices,” commented Robin Glover-Faure, VP of Sales and Marketing of Commercial Aviation for L3Harris.

The first four simulators are expected to be approved and prepared within the next year, to be situated at BAA Training centres in Vilnius, Lithuania and Barcelona, Spain. The remaining amount are said to be implemented by the beginning of 2022 throughout Spain, Vietnam and Italy.

“Following the aircraft preference among the operators in Europe and Asia, we are not only set to provide training solutions of the specific types…but also to ensure the highest training equipment standards. BAA Training shares the same mind-set to aviation training quality, therefore, we are confidently entering this substantial deal,” said Egle Vaitkeviciute, CEO of BAA Training.

Loganair

KLM and Loganair agree Scottish Islands’ codeshare

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Loganair

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Loganair has announced the codeshare agreement that will connect regional Scotland to KLM’s network, reaching 165 destinations worldwide.

This partnership was described by Kay Ryan, Loganair’s Chief Commercial Officer as “a natural progression,” and will provide global connectivity to and from the Scottish Islands. Loganair’s flights to Orkney Island, the Shetland Islands and the Scottish Western Isles will connect with KLM flights from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

“We look forward to working more closely with Loganair as we further strengthen our regional network in Scotland. As a result of this codeshare partnership, we are proud to now provide global connectivity to and from seven departure points across Scotland,” said Benedicte Duval, Air France KLM’s General Manager for the UK and Ireland.

Passengers travelling in benefit of this codeshare agreement will also be exempt from UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) which was introduced in 2000 for flights from airports in the Highland and Islands.

OTT Airlines

OTT Airlines becomes launch subsidiary for China Eastern Airlines

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OTT Airlines

State-owned China Eastern Airlines announced OTT Airlines as its future regional subsidiary, operating Chinese-made airliners including COMAC ARJ21 and C919.

Flights are to be operated to and from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and serve areas in the Shanghai municipality and the neighbouring provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui. This partnership expects to promote China’s development of regional and narrowbody jet programmes, and support both commercial and business aviation in these regions.

Plans highlight that the airline will operate a mixed fleet of ARJ21 and C919. China Eastern Airlines has placed an order for five COMAC C919 aircraft – which is currently undergoing testing – and has 35 ARJ21s on order. The airline has not yet stated when the subsidiary will begin operations or whether it would run as a low-cost or full-service airline.

China Eastern chairman, Lui Shaoyong has described this project as “the first step of China Eastern to operate and support domestically developed passenger jets.”

Many Chinese-based airlines have begun restoration of services after the coronavirus outbreak. China Eastern has resumed routes including Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xi’an, Nanjing and others with cities with large demand.

AirAsia expands across the Philippines

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AirAsia Philippines has announced that addition of the Manila-Ho Chi Minh City route, commencing on 29 March 2020, becoming the airline’s 16th international destination from Manila.

The new route is expected to increase regional connectivity and provide passengers both business and leisure opportunities in Vietnam.

“We are pleased to announce our newest services to Ho Chi Minh City after being held over for eight months. As an Asian airline, we aim to increase regional connectivity and to provide more business and leisure opportunities in Vietnam to our AirAsia guests,” commented Ricky Isla, CEO of AirAsia Philippines.

The airline has also announced a new route from Clark, North Manila to Tagbilaran, South of Cebu and increasing multiple existing routes from Clark to Cebu in the summer of 2020. It is expected that this connectivity will aid the tourism in the area.

Isla added, “Our new route from Clark to Tagbilaran and increased flight frequencies to the top summer destinations in the Philippines are in support of the Department of Tourism towards stimulating domestic travel and encouraging everyone to explore our beautiful islands.”

Viva Air

Colombia’s Viva Air gets bigger and better

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Viva Air

 

Nicolas Takahashi, Viva Air’s Director of Engineering and Maintenance has revealed upcoming plans for the airline’s growth.

Viva Air aims to transport 7.2 million passengers in 2020, compared to the 6.3 million flown the previous year. To reach this goal, the airline is accummulating a new aircraft fleet. Within the next three years, 35 Airbus A320neos will be delivered to the airline, added to the 15 that have been received already.

There are many expected benefits of the chosen aircrafts, one being turnaround time. Currently, the airline’s turnaround time is 30 minutes for domestic flights and between 40 to 90 minutes for international flights. However, the new aircraft would result in quicker offloading and loading processes due to its wider aisles, contributing to a shorter turnaround time. Takahashi commented, “If we adjusted the measurement to compare apples to apples, we would be first in the region.”

The airline has highlighted the “need to invest in the infrastructure and people to meet growth.” Plans for a new training facility – to be opened in the first half of 2020 – and software system is underway, expected to be operating in the near future. Viva has invested in improving technology operations, including the addition of a simulator for pilots and maintenance technicians. Takahashi described finding a fitting maintenane software as “a challenge.”

Current pilot manuals are all data-based but the airline still relies heavily on paper logs for writing tech reports to the lessors and regulatory authorities, increasing the possibility of human error and reducing time efficiency. By investing in its technological systems, the airline hopes to become for efficient and produce more reliable data.

Viva Air has shown a push to improve its fleet but also, to become for green. The airline has made a big investment in its new aircraft which will aid in the reduction of its carbon footprint, as they produce 15% less carbon dioxide and reduce noise by 50%. Additionally, smaller initiatives such as paper cups replacing plastic and using iPads rather than paper, are all in aid to become a more environmentally aware airline. Viva has also worked to decrease the weight of it aircraft by facilitating two ovens rather than three or four, implementing lighter-weight seats and filling water tanks at 50%. All of these actions help to reduce the weight of the plane and therefore, contribute to saving fuel emissions.

Viva expects to become public in a few years time, operating at low costs; the airlines aims “to be the lowest-cost operator in the region – and one of the lowest in the world.”

ClearVision

ClearVision takes to the air

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ClearVision

European Union Aviation Safety Agency have certified Universal Avionics Systems’ ClearVision Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) with SkyLens head-wearable display.

The product will allow operators to obtain a clearer vision of approaching obstacles in-flight and the ability to approach or take-off in poor visibility. As a result, airlines are expected to see an improvement in schedule times and avoiding diversions

The ClearVision EFVS incorporates head-up display (HUD), head-down displays and Universal’s SkyLens head-wearable display. The product exhibits enhanced vision and synthetic vision imagery, combining both images into one vision format to create an extended, detailed path of flight.

The system uses an external camera to display an augmented outside-view in real-time to the visor. It does not inhabit some of the limitations that traditional HUD or head-down displays possess, as the SkyLens field of view “is basically unlimited and depends on where the pilot is looking.”

“The certification of our EFVS with SkyLens is a breakthrough in commercial aviation,” said Universal CEO, Dror Yahav. “Aircraft operators can now take advantage of major enhanced flight vision capabilities and safety improvements with our proven ClearVision solution. This marks the first civil certification of a [head-wearable display] and the first EFVS to land solution for line-fit passenger aircraft.”

Wizz Air

Wizz Air negotiates for new subsidies in Bosnia

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Wizz Air

Wizz Air has announced plans to finalise an agreement with Tuzla Airport in North-East Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tuzla Airport is exclusively served by Wizz Air to currently connect the airport to 15 destinations including Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Stockholm and Vienna. Despite these spots having multiple airports, Wizz Air has chosen the ones that charge lower fees.

Negotiations of the partnership are underway as the existing agreement is due to terminate in July. It currently allows the airline to station two Airbus A320 aircraft at Tuzla, enabling the ability to launch multiple routes and adapt its schedule. The new agreement will potentially permit another aircraft to be located at the airport, again with the prospect of making additional routes and destinations possible.

Since Wizz Air’s first flight from the airport in 2013, Tuzla “has become the second busiest airport in the country”. The air traffic in the region is less than two million across its four airports so the airport depended on a low-cost carrier (LCC) to assist in working with the minimal tourist demand.

The airline used to serve London Luton and Sandefjord, Norway which could potentially be reintroduced following the new agreement.

The General Manager of Tuzla Airport, Esed Mujačić stated that he expects Wizz Air to launch new routes out of Tuzla once the agreement is settled.

Flybe

Flybe folds as funding fails

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Flybe

UK regional airline Flybe has officially folded after failing to secure the loan from the government.

In January 2020, Flybe arranged a deal with the British government for a £100m loan and deferred payment of more than $130m of Air Passenger Duty (APD) payments. After the agreement, Flybe tweeted: “Flybe remains committed to providing exceptional air connectivity for the UK regions with the full support of its shareholders.” However, there was predictions that the airline would not receive the financial aid, costing 2,000 jobs and significantly effecting the UK’s regional connectivity.

Regional air connectivity will be majorly affected in response to the collapse, described as “disastrous” for the UK, with 88 of the 120 routes flown by the airline not operated by any other carrier. In four of its UK airports, Flybe operated more than 70% of flights: Anglesey, Belfast City, Exeter and Southampton, meaning local economies are expected to be impacted too.

The UK government responded to the news by stating that it was willing to help workers find new jobs: “We are working closely with industry to minimise any disruption to routes operated by Flybe, including by looking urgently at how routes not already covered by other airlines can be re-established by the industry.”

In response to the collapse, European airline Ryanair has launched flights to help those that may have been disturbed. Routes will include Liverpool-Knock, Bournemouth-Dublin, Belfast-London Stansted, Bristol-Dublin and Belfast-Manchester. Alejandra Ruiz, the airline’s Sales & Marketing Manager said, “We are working closely with the CAA to accommodate passengers who may have been left stranded or have had their travel plans disrupted by the collapse of the airline.”

Over recent years, Flybe suffered from the accumulation of high fuel costs, currency fluctuations and Brexit uncertainty. In 2019, the airline was bought by a consortium that includes Virgin Atlantic, said to provide £30m to the business. Beside this, it was hoped that the “£100m lifeline” and a push for change to the APD tax could aid the airline. Whilst most competitors currently pay £13 per passenger in APD, Flybe hoped that figure would be halved. However, due to negative responses from other companies within the aviation industry, any alterations were not permitted which left Flybe struggling still.

More recently, the outbreak of the coronavirus added to the airline’s impending downfall as it “made a bad situation much worse.” The epidemic caused a decrease in the demand for air travel and seems to be preventing other airlines wanting to take over the routes lost along with Flybe.

Mark Anderson, Flybe’s Chief Executive commented, “Despite every effort, we now have no alternative – having failed to find a feasible solution to allow us to keep trading. I am very sorry that we have not been able to secure the funding needed to continue to deliver our turnaround.”

Flybe began attempts to re-establish itself in the industry over the last 10 years, aiming to adapt its fleet and fly the comparably larger Embraer ERJ-170 and ERJ-190 within its network. This did not work, which left them paying for four aircraft that they could not use.

Flights have been cancelled, aircraft seized, and the website vanquished. Anderson added, “The UK has lost one of its greatest regional assets. Flybe has been a key part of the UK aviation industry for four decades, connecting regional communities, people and businesses across the entire nation.”

Bamboo Airways Vietnam

Bamboo Airways extend its European network

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Bamboo Airways Vietnam

Vietnamese airline, Bamboo Airways, has announced plans to launch direct flights between Vietnam and Germany in July 2020.

Munich Airport is to be the airlines second European route with flights to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, to be operated by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Bamboo Airways has begun to branch out its network from Asia and Vietnam and an increased frequency of the Germany-Vietnam route will depend on the response it receives over the following months.

The airline plans to expand its network to 85 routes which will be complete of 60 domestic routes and 35 international routes. It is expected that these new connections with boost tourism in both regions, with over 226,000 visitors coming from Germany to Vietnam in 2019, increasing by 6% from the previous year.

Flights to Prague were also announced by the airline earlier this year and are expected to launch later in March 2020.

“The new connections to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will give us direct access to this important future market for the first time. This is the excellent response to the steadily growing interest in Vietnam as a travel destination. And we are especially pleased that Bamboo Airways will serve these routes with the environmentally friendly Boeing 787 Dreamliner,” commented Andreas von Puttkamer, Senior Vice President of Aviation at Munich Airport.

Bamboo’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft will use 20% less fuel in comparison to similarly-sized airplanes. The innovation of new engines, lightweight materials, more efficient systems and modern aerodynamics all contribute to the aircrafts eco-friendly performance.

“In addition to the goal of increasing visitor exchange, providing favourable travel conditions for German tourists to visit Vietnam, promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two countries, these direct routes are also Bamboo Airway’s new products in the process of connecting Europe with countries in Asia and Southeast Asia through the hub Vietnam,” said Mr Bui Quang Dung, Deputy General Director of Bamboo Airways.

The airline has also debated on an additional order for the Boeing 777X aircraft route as a part of its aim to expand its network to potential destinations in the Netherlands, Spain, France, Ireland and the UK.

Delta and LATAM are to begin codesharing

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Delta Air Lines and LATAM have announced the launch of codesharing on LATAM flights in Brazil as a part of their new partnership.

Delta first revealed its agreement with LATAM in 2019, expecting to provide customers with wider connectivity on up to 65 routes throughout Delta’s US and Canada network, and up to 37 of LATAM’s routes in Brazil. Affiliates of the companies have already applied codesharing in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. A potential of 74 onward routes in the US and up to 51 onward routes in South America could be on offer when codesharing is fully implemented.

The agreement also includes the launch of frequent flyer reciprocity, offering customers benefits across more than 435 worldwide destinations. This would allow passengers to collect reciprocal miles and redeem them on all flights in the Delta and LATAM networks. This will be effective in April 2020 and will comply with Delta’s new flight schedule. Designed to maximise the airline’s connectivity with LATAM.

Delta President of International and Executive VP of Global Sales, Steve Sear said, “Together with LATAM, we are building an industry leading and customer-focused partnership that connects North and South America like never before. With frequent flyer reciprocity and new codeshare flight options, we’re already beginning to deliver on this partnership for our customers, with much more to come.”

It is forecast that when the Delta and LATAM partnership is fully implemented, it “will hold the leading position in five of the top six South American markets from the US.”