HAC receives special SAF delivery

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Hokkaido Air System Co., Ltd.’s (HAC) latest ATR 42-600 left Toulouse bound for Japan, with a brand new One World Alliance livery, and using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for the first leg of its ferry flight.

The ATR has proven to be successful in connecting communities across the Japanese archipelago, thanks to its effectiveness at taking off and landing on short runways. This is the third ATR 42-600 that the airline has received since its first delivery in December 2019 and becomes the 14th ATR -600 to operate in Japan.

Another reason for the aircraft’s Japanese success is its fuel burn efficiency in a country that is extremely diligent in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. ATR aircraft burn up to 40% less fuel than a similarly sized regional jet and therefore emit up to 40% less CO2. Further emission savings are possible by fuelling the aircraft with SAF and ATR recently announced a project to fly an aircraft fuelled with 100% SAF. A demonstration flight is planned for Spring 2022 with a target of 2025 for the possibility of using 100% SAF on commercial ATR flights.

Airbus delivers first of 60 A220s to Air France

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Air France has received its first A220-300 from an order for 60 aircraft of the type, the largest A220 order from a European carrier. The aircraft was delivered from Airbus’ final assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada, and officially unveiled to the public during a ceremony held at Paris Charles-De-Gaulle Airport.

The A220 is the most efficient and flexible aircraft in the 100 to 150 seat market segment today. The renewal of the Air France single-aisle fleet with this latest generation aircraft will increase efficiency along with customer comfort and support Air France to meet its environmental goals and sustainability objectives.

The first Air France A220-300 will be operated on its medium-haul network from the 2021 winter season. Currently, Air France operates a fleet of 136 Airbus aircraft. Air France is also renewing its long-haul fleet and has already taken delivery of 11 A350s out of an order of 38.

The Air France A220-300 cabin is configured in a single-class layout to comfortably welcome 148 passengers. Offering superior single-aisle comfort, with the widest leather seats, largest windows, and up to 20% more overhead stowage space per passenger, the Air France A220 also features full WiFi connectivity throughout the cabin and two USB sockets at each passenger seat.

SKY express to commence international flights from Thessaloniki

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SKY express initiates the first route that connects Thessaloniki, Macedonia, with Cyprus. From 31 October an A320neo will be conducting flights between Thessaloniki International Airport Macedonia and Larnaca International Airport four times a week.

In addition to Thessaloniki’s existing domestic network (Heraklion, Mytilene, Chios, Samos, and, of course, the daily flights to Athens), passengers will now have a direct connection with Larnaca.

As Vassilis Krasanakis, Pricing Policy and Network Manager of SKY express stated: “After naming one of our new, contemporary aircraft My Thessaloniki and the opening of our lounge in July, we are taking another big plunge from Thessaloniki, this time to start international flights. Our first destination is Cyprus. A symbolic but also substantial move that underscores our vested interest in the development prospects of the city. By connecting two extroverted, prosperous areas with the youngest and greenest fleet in the country, we provide more options to our passengers and create multiply beneficial synergies in Northern Greece and Cyprus”.

Air Astana returns to profit in 2021

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Kazakhstan’s Air Astana Group has registered a net profit of US$4.9 million for the first six months of 2021, recovering from a loss of US$66.2 million for the period January to June 2020. Passengers carried increased by 91% to 2.97 million, of which 2.5 million were carried on domestic routes, an increase of 125%.

Commenting on the turnaround, President and CEO Peter Foster ”The two brands, Air Astana and our LCC FlyArystan, have both performed well on domestic routes. Strong market growth and a preference for air travel over long rail journeys have transformed Kazakhstan into the world’s fastest-growing domestic market, with 31% passenger growth over 2019, undoubtedly stimulated by FlyArystan’s ultra-low fares.” FlyArystan was launched in May 2019.

Whilst international capacity remains at 45% of the level of 2019, Foster pointed out that “higher yields on regional routes, coupled with high demand on ‘lifestyle’ routes to The Maldives, Red Sea, Montenegro, Dubai, Turkey, Georgia, and Sri Lanka, have also contributed to the turnaround, assisted by regular cargo charters on our converted Boeing 767”.

Foster cautioned on guidance for the remainder of the year, however. “Covid case numbers are again moving in the wrong direction in Central Asia and many of the countries to where we are flying. Whether the recovery will be sustainable will come down to a race between covid variants and vaccine take-up.”    

Air Astana is a joint venture owned by the Samruk Kazyna Wealth Fund (51%) and BAE Systems PLC 49%). It presently operates 36 aircraft of which ten A320s are operated by FlyArystan.

Ethiopian Airlines leases new Dash 8-400 from TrueNoord

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Ethiopian Airlines has signed an eight-year operating lease agreement with TrueNoord, the specialist regional aircraft lessor. Manufactured by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (“De Havilland Canada”), the new Dash 8-400 (MSN 4621) will be integrated into the fleet for immediate operation. Funding for the aircraft was provided by TrueNoord’s revolving warehouse facility underwritten by Citibank, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Canada. Pillsbury acted as legal counsel for TrueNoord on the acquisition with Milbank advising on the financing and Clifford Chance advising the lenders.

Sibert van Leeuwen, TrueNoord’s Sales Manager for Africa, Middle East, India, Russia, and CIS comments that the whole team is proud to conclude this first lease programme in Africa. “Ethiopian Airlines has a growing portfolio and a strong reputation for service and innovation. TrueNoord is pleased to be chosen to support their regional connectivity with the versatile and economical Dash 8-400. Based in Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, the aircraft is enabling them to boost services domestically and broaden the choice of routes across neighbouring East African countries. We are proud to be joining the ranks of lessors supporting an airline that is a driving force behind much-needed airline consolidation in Africa and liberalisation of the air transport market in the region.”

Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) is the flag carrier of Ethiopia and over the past 70 years, it has become one of the Continent’s leading carriers. Operating at the forefront of aviation technology, the airline has also become one of Ethiopia’s major industries and a respected institution in Africa. A dominant force across the pan African network it currently serves 100 international and 21 domestic destinations operating the newest and youngest fleet in the region.

Mr Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said “We are expanding with an important remit to explore new technologies alongside environmental matters and economic solutions. Ethiopian is committed to a sustainable future for regional aviation and meets new demands through collaboration with partners in the industry such as TrueNoord. We are growing our domestic and regional network and the addition of the new aircraft will enhance our operations.”

Philippe Poutissou, Vice President, Sales & Marketing at De Havilland Canada commented: “We are extremely pleased to see our Dash 8-400 aircraft join TrueNoord’s growing portfolio and are confident that it will be a valuable asset in the rapidly expanding regional aircraft sector of the leasing marketplace. We also congratulate TrueNoord on its lease agreement with Ethiopian Airlines. As a leading operator of the type, Ethiopian Airlines continues to demonstrate that the Dash 8-400 aircraft provides the operational flexibility, exceptional performance capability, capacity and passenger comfort to support its operations and we wish the airline and its strategic airline partners much-continued success.”

Anne-Bart Tieleman, CEO – TrueNoord, acknowledges the potential throughout Africa for leased regional aircraft. “Air transport remains one of the key components to the development of this huge continent and we are enthusiastic about Africa’s untapped air travel potential. The lack of services between even highly populated African countries means travellers often take long and arduous road journeys, or fly via other continents, just to reach a neighbouring African country.

“Pre-COVID-19 there were only 500 scheduled routes between domestic African destinations versus around 800 between African airports and the rest of the world. As we try to find ways to emerge from the crisis and support our lessors globally it is clear that if we can work with esteemed operators, like Ethiopian Airlines, to help them offer commercially viable direct flights between domestic African destinations via increased load factors – then it’s a powerful move in the right direction.”

CPaT announces new contract with Brazilian start-up, Itapemirim

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CPaT Global, the world’s leading provider of distance learning for the airline and aviation industry, has announced it’s been awarded a new contract by Itapemirim Transportes Aereos (Itapemirim) for the provision of Aircraft Systems courses, and CPaT’s General Subjects library for initial and recurrent training on the Airbus A320.

“CPaT is pleased to have won this award with Itapemirim, a start-up airline in Brazil,” said Capt. Greg Darrow, CPaT’s Vice President of Sales. “This award demonstrates CPaT’s reputation in South America, as the leading provider for aviation training distance learning in the region.”

Itapemirim was founded in 2020, and flies to 13 Brazilian cities. From December, the airline will be operating from 15 destinations across Brazil with its fleet of ten aircraft.

Airbus begins assembly of first future ‘eco-wing’ prototype

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‘Wing of Tomorrow’, a major Airbus research and technology programme, has reached a key milestone with the assembly of its first full-size wing prototype.

The Wing of Tomorrow programme will not only test the latest composite materials and new technologies in aerodynamics and wing architecture but, importantly, explore how wing manufacturing and industrialisation can be improved to meet future demand as the sector emerges from the pandemic.

Three full-size prototype wings will be manufactured in total: one will be used to understand systems integration; a second will be structurally tested to compare against computer modelling, while a third will be assembled to test scaling-up production and compare against industrial modelling.

Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer, said: “Wing of Tomorrow, a crucial part of Airbus’ R&T portfolio, will help us assess the industrial feasibility of future wing production. High-performing wing technology is one of several solutions – alongside sustainable aviation fuels and hydrogen – we can implement to contribute to aviation’s decarbonisation ambition.  Wing of Tomorrow is also an example of how large-scale industry collaboration will be critical to achieving our sector’s agenda for a more sustainable future.”

Wing of Tomorrow, part-funded by the UK’s Aerospace Technology Institute, is a fully transnational Airbus programme involving global partners and teams across Airbus’ European sites, including Bremen in Germany, where the ‘Wing Moveables’ team is based. The three wing demonstrators will bring together more than 100 new technologies to explore new manufacturing and assembly techniques with the goal of making aviation more sustainable.

Sub-assembly of the complex wing cover took place at Airbus’ Filton site, England, having been manufactured at the National Composite Centre in Bristol. The wing cover and a major component from GKN Aerospace – the Fixed Trailing Edge – were delivered to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Wales, facility on Airbus’ wing-production plant in Broughton, Flintshire, for assembly to begin.

LATAM Airlines to upgrade more than 200 A320 family aircraft with Airbus’ fuel-saving Descent Profile Optimisation function

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LATAM Airlines is to upgrade their A320 Family fleet with Airbus’ “Descent Profile Optimisation” (DPO) function – a fuel-saving enhancement to the aircraft’s on-board Flight Management System (FMS) performance database. This upgrade will be performed on over 200 of their A320 family fleet, becoming the biggest Airbus fleet equipped with this powerful fuel saving solution.

All the equipment kits required for the installation of the DPO performance software on LATAM’s A320 Family fleet will start to be delivered from the end of 2021 until early 2022.

The DPO function allows aircraft to descend from cruise altitude using only idle engine thrust, which reduces fuel consumption, bringing proportional CO2 and NOx (nitrogen oxide emissions) reductions. To further enhance the fuel reduction DPO maximises the time spent at efficient cruise level -by not starting the descent too early- and subsequently minimising the amount of time spent at an inefficient ‘level-off’ stage at the bottom of the descent –when the aircraft’s engines generate thrust to maintain level flight in dense air prior to final landing approach.

Optimisation of the aircraft’s flight trajectory is one of the key factors to further improve efficiency in cooperation with Air Traffic Control. By optimising the descent trajectories of its aircraft and reducing the fuel flow to the engines -arising from the lowest ‘idle’ thrust setting during the descent phase- thanks to the DPO function, LATAM Airlines will generate over 100 tons fuel savings per year per aircraft across their network, including constrained airports like Lima, Santiago and São Paulo. This will reduce CO2 emissions by over 300 tons per year per aircraft, representing a significant contribution to more sustainable flight operations with 60,000 tons of CO2 each year for the entire LATAM Airlines’ A320 Family fleet.

DPO is one of the several flight operations optimisation solutions offered by Airbus and its flight operations services subsidiary Navblue. Together with improved Air Traffic Management, these fuel savings solutions enable operators to start aviation decarbonisation now.

Norwegian appoints new EVP Network, Pricing & Optimisation

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Norwegian has announced Mr Magnus Thome Maursund will take up the position of EVP Network, Pricing & Optimisation on 1 October. He has held several managerial positions in Norwegian for more than a decade.

“I am pleased to welcome Magnus Thome Maursund into the management team of Norwegian. His analytical skills, extensive aviation experience and personal style will be highly valued in the entire organisation,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.

Magnus Thome Maursund joined Norwegian in 2007 as a revenue analyst. He has since held several positions within revenue management, short-haul route planning, charter and airline partnerships. He comes from the position as SVP Commercial Short-Haul.

“I appreciate this opportunity, and I look forward to working with the team in my new capacity. The challenges ahead are truly exciting, in a time where the entire aviation industry will continuously change and develop following the pandemic,” said Magnus Thome Maursund, newly appointed EVP Network, Pricing & Optimisation.

Mr Maursund, a Norwegian national, was born in 1981. He holds a MSc in Business, specialising in strategy from BI Norwegian Business School. Maursund will continue to be based at the Norwegian headquarters outside Oslo.

Airbus to deliver US-completed commercial aircraft with SAF

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Airbus will start delivering all aircraft from its US Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on board later this year. The initiative is a further step toward fulfilling Airbus’ commitment to carbon-neutral growth in the aviation sector.

Airbus has reached an agreement with Signature Flight Support to supply SAF to its Mobile facility. No later than November 2021, all aircraft delivered to customers will be powered by a blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel. Signature Flight Support is working in partnership with World Energy to provide the US-sourced SAF to Airbus.

“Delivering our Mobile-produced aircraft with SAF is an important, iterative step toward solving the carbon challenge,” said Jeff Knittel, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, Inc. “SAF is a positive contributor to enhanced sustainability in aviation since it enables up to an 80% reduction of CO2 across the fuel lifecycle.  We are committed to making sustainable fuels an everyday reality with use on an increasingly larger scale, and this announcement is further evidence of that.”

From its US Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, Airbus delivers both A220 and A320 Family aircraft to US-based customers. Since 2016, the company has delivered more than 260 Airbus aircraft from Mobile — 54 of which have been turned over to airlines in 2021 alone.