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Thursday, June 11th, 2020

Airflow launches electric short take-off and landing aircraft

Airflow, an aerial logistics company building next-generation aircraft and services, is developing the first electric Short Take-Off and Landing (eSTOL) aircraft designed for middle-mile logistics. Airflow’s aerial logistics network can move short-haul cargo quickly and cost-effectively over traffic by utilizing the unused airspace around cities.

Five former Airbus Vahana team members, who have over 60 years of combined aerospace experience, started Airflow when they determined eSTOL aircraft could address the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) market for one-third the operating cost of electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. UAM is a transportation system using next-generation aircraft to move cargo and people in and out of urban areas by air.

The need for rapid middle-mile logistics capabilities (between 50 - 200 miles) is growing significantly due to e-commerce growth. To address that need, Airflow’s aerial logistics service can move cargo and time-sensitive medical supplies directly between warehouses without using traditional airports. Airflow’s eSTOL aircraft requires less than 150 feet to take off and land using a 300-foot runway, about the length of three helipads next to each other.

Airflow’s first eSTOL aircraft includes an electric propulsion system, single-pilot operations, and the ability to carry 500 lbs of cargo. This aircraft is a relatively simple fixed-wing aircraft, which dramatically reduces development and certification risk when compared with more complex aircraft. From a certification standpoint, eSTOL aircraft are conventional aircraft with new technology that is focused on enabling short-field capabilities. eSTOL aircraft can be certified under standard Part 23 regulations, whereas eVTOL aircraft must be certified using a more complicated and expensive process due to their more complex systems and potential failure modes.


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Cathay Pacific announces intention to repay Hong Kong government US$2.52 billion within five years

As part of a US$5 billion recapitalization package which the airline announced on Tuesday this week, Cathay Pacific has made it clear it intends to repay the Hong Kong government for US$2.52 billion of preference shares within five years.

According to Reuters news agency, the notes carry a coupon rate of 3% for the first three years, rising to 5% in year four, 7% in year five and 9% in year six, giving the airline an incentive to redeem them. “We would certainly be expecting to repay that over a 3-5-year period,” Chief Financial Officer Martin Murray said in an analyst briefing posted to the airline’s website late on Tuesday. The total package also includes a US$1.5 billion rights issue to current shareholders including Swire Pacific Ltd Air China Ltd and Qatar Airways, which would more than halve the airline’s gearing levels. “That in turn restores access to both the equity and debt market and allows us to tap that market later in the year or next year for equity and debt,” Murray added.

The Hong Kong government could obtain a 6% stake in Cathay via US$252 million of warrants convertible to shares, though its Finance Secretary, Paul Chan, confirmed on Tuesday it was not the government’s intention to remain a long-term shareholder in Cathay Pacific. Swire owns 45% of Cathay and has agreed to remain a controlling shareholder for as long as the government owns preference shares, or any amount of a HK$7.8 billion bridging loan remains outstanding.

Gulfstream names Naveed Aziz VP and General Manager of Dallas operations

Gulfstream Aerospace has promoted Naveed Aziz to vice president and general manager of the Gulfstream Dallas facility. He will oversee service center operations and Gulfstream G280™ completions. He succeeds Robby Harless, who retires this month.

Aziz began his career at Gulfstream in 1996 as an engineering co-op, designing avionics and electrical systems for the Gulfstream GIV™ and Gulfstream GV™. He has held several positions within the company and was most recently promoted to director of Completions Research and Development in 2012. In this role, Aziz was responsible for designing, engineering, testing and certifying interior elements and cabin systems for new products.

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Colibri Aero and J&C Aero to develop cargo containers for Airbus and Boeing widebody passenger cabins

Colibri Aero, an international supplier of aircraft parts and interior solutions, together with J&C Aero, an international aircraft design and production organization, have announced the development of cargo containers for widebody passenger cabins thus allowing cabin conversion between passenger and cargo operations within just 24 hours.

The Cargo Containers come in five different sizes and are designed for widebody passenger cabins of Airbus A330, A340 and Boeing 767, 777. Each equipped with its own smoke detector, the Cargo
Containers are intended for temporal replacement of passenger seats while converting the aircraft's cabin for transportation of cargo of any type.

The initial modification will be intended for use in cabins with the supervising cabin crew members. After certifying Cargo Container under EASA STC requirements, J&C Aero and Colibri Aero plan to upgrade the modification for other aircraft types and size variations.

"While developing Cargo Containers, our main focus was safety, the volume of cargo, and the time required to change the seats with containers and vice versa. With one container being able to transport up to 850 kg (1870 lb) of commercial cargo, a typical Airbus A330 cabin can be converted in just 24 hours fitting 36 containers. This means that almost 27 tons (58,640 lb) of cargo per single flight can be transported inside the passenger cabin. We see stable demand for this product not only in the nearest future but also in a longer perspective as the aviation industry adapts to the new, post-COVID-19 world," says Laurynas Skukauskas, the Chief Commercial Officer at J&C Aero.

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GKN Aerospace obtains FAA certification for aero-engine parts repair facility in Malaysia

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued the base certification to GKN Aerospace’s Johor facility in Malaysia for the repair of CFM56 aero-engine parts.

The site will focus on servicing engine low pressure compressor (LPC) components for CFM56-5B, CFM56-7 and V2500. The facility will complement GKN Aerospace’s existing component repair facility in El Cajon, California. In addition, the Johor site, in collaboration with other GKN Aerospace sites and local universities, will research the application of additive manufacturing technology into engine parts repair.

Around 70 employees are currently on site in Malaysia to support the initial phase of the business. Strong growth in capabilities and people is expected over the coming years. GKN Aerospace has invested US$30 million in both the facility and its state-of-the-art equipment and technologies. The expansion to Asia is an important part of GKN Aerospace’s long-term growth strategy and global operating model.

Spirit AeoSystems announces 21-day layoff for staff doing production and support work for 737 MAX program

Spirit AeroSystems has received a letter from Boeing directing Spirit to pause additional work on four 737 MAX shipsets and avoid starting production on sixteen 737 MAX shipsets to be delivered in 2020, until otherwise directed by Boeing, in order to its customers' needs in light of COVID-19's impact on air travel and airline operations, and in order to mitigate the expenditure of potential unnecessary production costs.

Based on the information in the letter, subsequent correspondence from Boeing dated June 9, 2020, and Spirit's discussions with Boeing regarding 2020 737 MAX production, Spirit believes there will be a reduction to Spirit's previously disclosed 2020 737 MAX production plan of 125 shipsets.

The 737 MAX grounding coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging, dynamic and evolving situation. During this time, Spirit plans to work with Boeing to determine a definitive production plan for 2020 and manage the 737 MAX production system and supply chain.

Due to the matters described above, Spirit has elected to place certain Wichita hourly employees directly associated with production work and support functions for the 737 MAX program on a 21 calendar-day unpaid temporary layoff/furlough effective Monday, June 15. In addition, Spirit will declare an immediate reduction of the hourly workforce in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla., effective Friday, June 12.

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Honeywell to introduce ultraviolet cleaning system for airplane cabins

Honeywell and Dimer LLC have announced a partnership to bring an ultraviolet cleaning (UVC) system to airlines that, when properly applied, significantly reduces certain viruses and bacteria on airplane cabin surfaces. The Honeywell UV Cabin System can treat an aircraft cabin in less than 10 minutes for just a few dollars per flight for midsize to large airline fleets.

“This offering is a big win for our airline customers, which are seeking affordable ways to clean their cabins effectively and quickly between flights,” said Mike Madsen, Honeywell Aerospace president and CEO. “Honeywell is working on a range of solutions to help make passengers more comfortable about flying.”

The Honeywell UV Cabin System is roughly the size of an aircraft beverage cart and has UVC light arms that extend over the top of seats and sweep the cabin to treat aircraft surfaces. Properly applied, UVC lights deliver doses that medical studies find reduce various viruses and bacteria, including SARS CoV and MERS CoV. Results vary based on UV dosage and application, and no testing has been done specifically on protection against COVID-19.

Dimer and Honeywell have entered into a worldwide, exclusive license as part of a strategic partnership for Honeywell to produce, advertise and sell portable UV technology devices for use within the aerospace industry. Honeywell is currently in discussions with multiple airlines and service providers for the UV Cabin System.

UVC has been used in hospitals, air and water filters, microbiology labs, and other applications.

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Bell Boeing delivers 400th V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft

The Bell Boeing V-22 team has delivered its 400th aircraft, a CV-22 for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command.

The first production V-22 was delivered on May 24, 1999, and today deliveries occur under the Multi-year Procurement III contract valued at US$5 billion. That contract runs through 2024 and includes variants for the Marines, Air Force, and Navy, as well as the first international customer, Japan.

The V-22 takes off, hovers, and lands like a helicopter yet flies long distances like a turboprop aircraft. The CV-22 variant performs special operations missions, including infiltration, extraction, and resupply, that conventional aircraft can’t. The Marine Corps variant, the MV-22B, provides the safe and reliable transportation of personnel, supplies, and equipment for combat assault, assault support, and fleet logistics. The Navy variant, the CMV-22B, is the replacement for the C-2A Greyhound for the carrier onboard delivery mission.
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