Global Crossing Airlines signs maintenance support agreement with US-based Spirit Airlines

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Global Crossing Airlines Inc. (the “Company” or “GlobalX”) has signed an initial agreement with Spirit Airlines, a US-based airline that operates A320 family aircraft (including the new A320neo) and serves destinations across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Spirit will provide on-call and line maintenance for GlobalX, including daily and weekly checks, in support of the GlobalX fleet of A320 and A321 aircraft. The contract will commence in December when GlobalX expects to take delivery of its first A320 and A321 aircraft.

Chris Toro, VP-Tech Ops of GlobalX, stated “We are very pleased to be working with Spirit and have them support us, particularly through the final stages of our certification as we get ready to fly our A320 aircraft in proving runs for our flag carrier certificate. Spirit runs a world-class airline, and we expect to learn from their best practices in A320 maintenance.”

Kirk Thornburg, Vice President of Technical Operations for Spirit Airlines, stated “We look forward to supporting GlobalX through their certification and as they begin revenue charter operations both at Miami International Airport and at select Spirit maintenance stations.”

allair delivers the world’s first Airbus A321 freighter converted aircraft to launch operator Qantas Freight

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Vallair, the mature aircraft asset specialist, has delivered its pioneering Airbus A321 P2F (passenger to freighter) conversion to launch operator Qantas. The aircraft, MSN 835, was converted by EFW in at ST Engineering’s facility in Singapore and will be the only aircraft phased into Qantas’ fleet this year.

“The A321 is the future of freighter conversions,” says Gregoire Lebigot, CEO – Vallair. “Not only is this freighter variant better for the environment due to its 20% reduction in fuel burn, but it offers enhanced performance across range, payload and volume with a unique capacity for fourteen container positions in the upper deck and ten more on the containerised lower cargo deck. Thanks to its fly by wire technology, the A321 is more advanced and the aircraft is still in production.”

Lebigot affirms that Vallair understood the potential of the A321P2F at the outset. “We took the decision early on to invest in the prototype conversion.  Converting a passenger plane to cargo is an extremely complex undertaking which needs to be managed by highly experienced people. This applies not only to the physical conversion process, but also in terms of engineering and project management. The development and launch of the A321 freighter is testament to all the teams that have worked tirelessly on this unique project. It has taken several years of hard work to reach this milestone and Vallair is delighted to be in the position to deliver the very first conversion of this type to Qantas Freight who will operate the aircraft on behalf of Australia Post.”

With a number of future aircraft deliveries already scheduled, Vallair’s narrow body cargo conversion programme is experiencing firm interest from well-established and forward-looking freight operators worldwide. A lease agreement with SmartLynx Malta for two newly converted A321-200 freighters was recently concluded and last week Vallair announced a ground-breaking deal with GlobalX, the new Miami-based airline, who have signed an LoI to lease ten A321F conversions which will be delivered and operational by Spring 2023.

It is anticipated that cargo specialists will require about 1,500 narrowbody converted aircraft over the next ten years.  Of this total, 1,000 will replace the existing older fleet and 500 will be needed to support increased demand fuelled particularly by booming e-commerce. For the same period, Vallair believes the industry could see around 400 A321Fs take to the skies.

Wizz Air takes off to the Canary Islands with increased flights

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Wizz Air now has additional tickets on sale throughout the winter months from London Luton and Doncaster Sheffield to the Canary Islands, as the UK government announces the addition of the islands to the list of Travel Corridors as of 25 October 2020.

From the 26 October, Wizz Air will operate flights twice a week from London Luton to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and three times a week from London Luton to Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Flights from Doncaster Sheffield to Lanzarote, Gran Canaria and Tenerife will operate two times a week. Just in time for winter, sun-seeking Brits who want to escape the cold and cloudy UK weather can relax and unwind in the Canary Islands, rated as one of Britain’s top winter sun destinations. Whether it’s exploring the historic towns in Tenerife, sailing around Gran Canaria or relaxing on the white sandy beaches of Fuerteventura.

Collins Aerospace inks MRO agreement with GKN Fokker services

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Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., and Fokker Services, a GKN Aerospace company, has announced the expansion of an existing ten-year FlightSense On-Site Support agreement for Collins Aerospace’s Integrated Drive Generators (IDGs). The expanded contract will add new IDG part numbers for the Airbus A320neo, while Collins Aerospace will continue to manage Fokker Services’ onsite inventory of IDG components, providing competitive rates for OEM-quality parts and improved shop efficiency. Fokker Services, in turn, will now be able to repair Collins Aerospace IDGs for the A320neo at its Amsterdam Airport Schiphol facilities.

The IDG provides primary electric power for the aircraft electrical system by converting variable engine input speed to a constant output speed, thus enabling the generator portion of the IDG to produce alternating current at a constant frequency.

“Collins Aerospace is pleased to continue building on its longstanding relationship with Fokker Services,” said Ryan Hudson, vice president, Aftermarket, Power & Controls for Collins Aerospace. “This agreement will help Fokker Services streamline supply chain operations, increase repair reliability and lower operational cost to better serve its customers with quality repairs of Collins Aerospace components.”

“As a leading aerospace service provider, we are proud to work with Collins Aerospace to provide MRO support for these components to operators,” said Ben Scharrenberg, director, Procurement for Fokker Services. “We bring added value based on many years of experience in supporting component MRO, our high quality standards including FAA, EASA and CAAC approvals, and our service expertise. We look forward to supporting our customers and to further expanding our relationship as Collins Aerospace’s channel partner.”

As part of the contract, Fokker Services will support airlines, MROs and Integrators with flexible, reliable and competitive OEM solutions for Collins Aerospace IDGs. The support includes:

  • OEM parts & warranty
  • Dedicated 24/7 customer service representative
  • Quick Turn-Around-Time and performance guarantee
  • Reliability monitoring services to ensure top quality
  • Exchange inventory available to support the next removal

De Havilland Canada delivers two Dash 8-400 aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines

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De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited has announced the delivery of another two Dash 8-400 aircraft to Ethiopian Airlines (“Ethiopian”), including the airline’s milestone 30th Dash 8-400 aircraft. The 30th aircraft – MSN 4617 – is preparing to depart for Ethiopian’s hub in Addis Ababa, along with aircraft MSN 4615. Ethiopian first welcomed the Dash 8-400 aircraft into its fleet in March 2010.

“This milestone 30th delivery highlights our confidence in the Dash 8-400 aircraft and is a testament to the joint success in supporting our network and strategic partnerships with several carriers across Africa,” said Tewolde GebreMariam, Group Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines. “The Dash 8-400 aircraft continues to provide the operational flexibility, exceptional performance capability, capacity and passenger comfort we need. Most importantly, the Dash 8-400 aircraft supports the cost leadership strategy we rely on in our market – particularly in these unprecedented times during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“We congratulate Ethiopian Airlines on continuing a phenomenal growth trajectory and increasing connectivity within Africa,” said Sameer Adam, Regional Vice President, Sales – Europe and Russia, Middle East, Africa, and South America/Caribbean. “Ethiopian has taken tremendous positive steps to strengthen their capabilities with the acquisition of the first Dash 8-400 simulator for Africa and by recently adding a second simulator; achieving recognition as an Authorized Service Facility; and proving the value of a business class configuration on regional aircraft in Africa. We certainly look forward to more examples of Ethiopian’s continuing leadership and the success of their ongoing strategic partnerships with ASKY Airlines, Malawi Airlines, Ethiopian Moçambique Airlines and Tchadia Airlines in the operation of Dash 8-400 aircraft across Africa.”

Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System to join oneworld as Japan Airlines affiliates

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Japan Airlines Group airlines Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System will join oneworld® as affiliates on the 25 October, providing more options to customers to earn and redeem flights across a wider network in Japan.

The two airlines operate to more than 20 regional destinations in Japan with more than 90 daily flights, carrying almost 900,000 passengers in 2019. Japan Airlines, which joined oneworld in 2007, is the majority shareholder in both Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System. JAL Group airlines J-AIR and Japan Transocean Air are already oneworld affiliates.

With Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System joining oneworld as affiliates, customers will be able to access oneworld benefits on more flights in Japan and access a greater range of destinations beginning 25 October. The two airlines will add four destinations in Japan to the oneworld network to the more than 50 airports already served, offering more options to customers to earn and redeem miles. The four destinations are: Kikai, Okinoerabu, Tajima and Yakushima (KUM).

Based in Kagoshima on Japan’s Kyushu island, Japan Air Commuter serves the islands of Kagoshima, Okinawa and the western cities of Japan. Established in 1983, Japan Air Commuter operates a fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft. Starting 25 October, flights will be offered under the JL airline code.

Hokkaido Air System, established in 1997, is based in Hokkaido, Sapporo. Operating a fleet of Saab 340B and ATR 42 aircraft, the airline serves Hokkaido Prefecture and Aomori Prefecture on Honshu.

Japan Airlines Regional Vitalization Division Executive Officer Shunsuke Honda said: “With our oneworld partners, we look forward to welcoming customers across the world to rediscover the joy of travel and help revitalise regional sites throughout the country. These two airlines feature flights to beautiful destinations on the northern island of Hokkaido and Kagoshima, located at the south end of the Japanese archipelago.” International Relations and Alliances Executive Officer Hideki Oshima added: “It is an honour for the JAL Group to further strengthen the alliance, providing more choices for our mutual customers. Our dedicated team of professionals will be ready to offer a safe and secure travel experience once international travel resumes on a global scale.”

oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said: “We are pleased to expand the oneworld footprint in Japan alongside our valued partner Japan Airlines, through the addition of another two of their high-quality affiliates to the alliance. Japan Air Commuter and Hokkaido Air System will provide even greater connectivity in Japan to customers, growing our position in one of the key markets in Asia.”

Air Astana announces operational plans for autumn-winter services

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Air Astana will continue to operate flights to international destinations with some changes during the autumn-winter period. From October 21, 2020, in accordance with the directive from the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Air Astana will reduce the number of international flights to Turkey, the UAE, Ukraine and Germany. The weekly frequency of flights to Istanbul will decrease from 16 to 12 flights, to Dubai – from 12 to eight flights, to Kiev – from three to one flight and to Frankfurt – from six to four flights. At the same time, Air Astana intends to supplement these with charter flights to Sharm El Sheikh on the Egyptian Red Sea coast, and to the Maldives. The domestic flight schedule remains unchanged.

“We appreciate and understand the Government’s reasons for and efforts to suppress the spread of the virus. At the same time, travel, tourism and leisure industries are, collectively, a massive generator of global economic activity and jobs. It is vital that these industries are able to restart in a meaningful way at a point early in 2021. Failure to do so will have extreme financial and social consequences which will impact both national economies and peoples’ lives. We firmly believe, in line with IATA and the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA), of which we are full members, that pre-departure COVID-19 testing for passengers intending to take international flights holds the key to a restart,” commented Peter Foster, CEO and President.

Seeing Machines signs MOU with L3Harris Technologies for global licence agreement

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Seeing Machines, the advanced computer vision technology company that designs AI-powered operator monitoring systems to improve transport safety, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with global aerospace and defence technology company, L3Harris Technologies.

The MOU frames the intent to enter into a global non-exclusive license agreement to collaborate to enhance pilot training technology with the Company’s dedicated precision eye-tracking system for flight crew training in the full flight simulator (FFS) environment.

L3Harris and Seeing Machines will work together to implement this technology into simulators at L3Harris’ training centers and offer the integrated solution to L3Harris’ customers into existing and future simulators. According to the MOU, L3Harris will be appointed global supply chain partner and manage the requirements of aviation customers. Seeing Machines will collaborate on design and integration of flight training customer solutions, and L3Harris will look to optimise the visualisation and analytic capability, to create the optimum solution for enhanced flight training.

Based on Seeing Machines’ precision eye tracking capability, the system helps advance flight simulator training by enabling instructors to better understand pilot behavior, decision-making patterns, scanning patterns, and attention levels in real time and also recorded for debrief.

The timing of this arrangement is important as the aviation industry starts to recover from the impacts of COVID-19, noting that training and simulator-based activity will be a major contributor to this recovery process.

L3Harris has a strong focus on using innovation through technology to optimise flight training both in their own training centres and through the training devices that they supply to customers across the world. L3Harris has an advanced data analytics capability supporting the transition to evidence-based training. It is a natural fit for L3Harris to further this capability, developing an ever deeper understanding of the pilot.

Seeing Machines and L3Harris have previously and successfully delivered the world’s first fully integrated eye-tracking system into a Boeing 787 FFS for a major Australian airline and will continue to work together to provide solutions for L3Harris customers and across the Aviation industry more broadly.

Sanjay Kaeley, Head of Product Solutions for Commercial Aviation at L3Harris said: “Working closely with Seeing Machines through this agreement will help to enhance the understanding and measurement of the pilot decision making process within the simulator and, in due course, in the aircraft. It is an exciting development to further support our shift to data in training, leading to an enhanced evidence-based training approach.”

Patrick Nolan, GM of Aviation at Seeing Machines added: “We are very excited about our continued momentum with L3Harris, a world leading and globally recognised brand. L3Harris was the first major simulator OEM to fully support and look to understand the flight training benefits of integrated eye tracking. This has led to a great collaboration and now, a strong commercial channel to build our partnership. In such an automated environment like today’s cockpit, to understand pilot attention and have a mechanism to better develop pilot monitoring skills is a game changer.”

Euramec leads the way in smart flight simulation upcycling

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Euramec, the European flight simulation solution providers today accepted their first Airbus A320 Cockpit from aerospace upcycling specialists AeroCircular to pave a smart way forward for highly cost-efficient Flight Simulation Programs.

“The A320 is the workhorse in an airline industry facing extreme headwind toay. We at EURAMEC put our expertise at work to deliver a safe, highly cost-efficient and fully EASA compliant Flight Simulator solution for 2021 and beyond,” Bert Buyle, CEO EURAMEC said.

“Our strategic partnership with AeroCircular, specialists in upcycling aircraft airframes, puts us in the cockpit for a new era in commercial aviation.”

“Cost issues and Environment-friendly business solutions today are a high priority. Airlines working with the new EURAMEC A320 Cockpit Simulator, taken from a genuine airframe, is a smart way to helping solve both mission-critical issues.”

EURAMEC’s A320 Cockpit Simulators are cut from recently retired Airbus A320 airliners and prepared for Flight Schools in cooperation with airlines and aircraft manufacturers.

The EURAMEC upcycled A320 Flight Simulator uses original flight controls and bespoke cockpit instruments to help future aviators receive training for their Commercial Pilot License (CPL) or Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL). The genuine A320 cockpit presents students and pilots with a world-class flying experience at a much lower cost base than is the norm today.

Airlines looking at maintaining the highest air safety standards of their cockpit crew at a lower operating cost will equally benefit from this EURAMEC solution capable of handling part of the recurrent training requirements.

This new approach to refurbishment combined with serious cost-saving measures of the EURAMEC A320 Flight Simulator is a milestone for the industry as it prepares for the future of the airline industry.

PIMCO & GECAS to create US$3 billion aviation leasing investment platform

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PIMCO, one of the world’s premier fixed income investment managers, and GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), a world-leading lessor and business unit of GE, announce that they have reached a preliminary agreement to develop an aviation leasing platform to support up to US$3 billion in aircraft asset financings. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and receipt of required regulatory approvals.

This strategic investment platform will enable GECAS and PIMCO­-advised accounts to acquire new and young fuel-efficient aircraft to meet the needs of a diverse set of global airlines over many years.

The platform looks to provide much-needed financing for airlines which are looking to upgrade their fleets with young and new aircraft. The portfolio will initially focus on narrowbody aircraft while allowing flexibility to invest in attractive opportunities in the widebody market. PIMCO and GECAS will consider a range of investment criteria including an airline’s assets and credit quality and also geographic factors.

PIMCO is already one of the world’s largest investors in aviation-backed debt and its presence in aviation financing markets combined with GECAS’ leadership role in the aircraft-leasing segment will provide this joint platform enormous flexibility to provide funding to the global airline industry. GECAS will source transactions for the platform, act as servicer and provide asset management services for the platform.

“As the airline industry struggles with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PIMCO-GECAS platform will inject essential liquidity into this critical industry by providing financing solutions at a time when there are fewer traditional financing options for airlines,” said Dan Ivascyn, PIMCO’s Group Chief Investment Officer. “Aircraft remain an attractive asset class in a critical infrastructure sector supported by solid long-term growth drivers.  GECAS’ expertise as a world class aircraft lessor aligns with our longstanding investment strategy in aviation finance.”

“We are delighted to team up with a premier institutional investor such as PIMCO in this strategic relationship which will enable opportunistic plays to support our airline customers around the globe,” said Greg Conlon, President & CEO of GECAS. “While GECAS maintains an industry-leading position, this platform will ensure we can continue providing our airline customers with the aircraft needed to sustain their franchises.”