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LATEST NEWS

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

Swissport reducing U.K. staffing levels by over 50%. 20,000 jobs at risk

Two weeks after Swissport Belgium, part of Swissport International Ltd. filed for insolvency, ground handling company Swissport UK has announced it is reducing its U.K. staffing levels from 8,500 to under 4,000. The Swissport group of companies,  Swissport, which handles services such as passenger baggage and cargo for airlines, employed 64,000 workers worldwide prior to the pandemic.

The move comes on the back of a 75% reduction in revenue as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The chief executive of Swissport Western Europe said the cuts were necessary to “secure the lifeline of funding from lenders and investors”, describing the current situation as “the most difficult times in our company’s history.” 

The Airport Operators Association (AOA), which represents more than 50 airports, said on Wednesday up to 20,000 jobs were at risk across U.K. airports because of persistently lower passenger numbers. Swissport UK was already struggling to deal with the knock-on effects of the shutting down of Flybe, the U.K. regional carrier at the beginning of March this year. Some of Swissport’s largest operations include providing services at London’s Gatwick and Heathrow, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow, alongside a host of regional airports

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Pilot distraction resulting from coronavirus worries cause fatal PIA A320 crash 

According to Pakistan minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan, constant discussions between the two pilots on board the fateful flight which crashed just outside Karachi on May 22, killing 97 of the 99 crew and passengers on board Pakistan International Airlines , were the cause of the plane’s first, failed attempt to land as the undercarriage had been raised subsequent to its initial lowering. This caused both engines to strike the ground and subsequently fail as the plane circled round to attempt a second landing.

Recordings of the conversations between the two pilots in the moments prior to and up to the crash have revealed that the focus of their attention was on the COVID-19 pandemic. "The discussion throughout was about corona," Mr Khan said, referring to a conversation between the pilot and co-pilot he had listened to on the cockpit voice recorder. "Corona was dominant over their mind. Their family was affected." He added that: "Several warnings and alerts such as over-speed, landing gear not down and ground proximity alerts, were disregarded," and that: "The landing was undertaken with the landing gear retracted. The aircraft touched the runway surface on its engines."

The report did not indicate there was any problem with the manding gear. The flight data showed the landing gear was lowered at 10 nautical miles but then raised again five nautical miles from the runway, which Mr Khan described as "beyond comprehension".

GA Telesis forms GA Telesis Rotorcraft and acquires seven Bell 206L4 helicopters

GA Telesis (GAT) has formed GA Telesis Rotorcraft (GATR) to provide lease and finance solutions in the helicopter sector. GATR has closed its first helicopter transaction, a portfolio of Bell helicopters.

GAT completed the acquisition of seven Bell 206L4 helicopters, four of which are subject to multi-year leases. Regarding the other three helicopters, one is available for lease or sale, a second helicopter will be refurbished and made available for lease or sale later this year and the final helicopter will be parted out and sold as used serviceable material. Eric Dollman, Vice President, will be leading the helicopter strategy for GATR.

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DAS/FLITE combine capabilities

Dallas Aeronautical Services (DAS) and FLITE Components (FLITE) will now work in conjunction with one another as sister companies supporting a wide range of composite and aerostructure repairs.

The joint efforts and capabilities shared between DAS and FLITE will provide a stronger foundation of services available to all commercial, regional and corporate aircraft customers. This will also allow both companies to build on their favorable industry reputations within their specialized aviation markets. Both DAS and FLITE provide a wide spectrum of composite and aerostructure repair capabilities and are centrally located in the Dallas, TX area for the convenience of the customer.

DAS (Dallas Aeronautical Services) and FLITE Components are affiliates of West Star Aviation. Both FAA and EASA approved Part 145 Repair Station locations are centrally located in Dallas, TX for customer convenience.

Airbus names Rémi Maillard President of Airbus India and Head of South Asia

Airbus has appointed Rémi Maillard as President of Airbus India and Managing Director of South Asia region, effective September 1, 2020. Rémi, currently Head of Airbus Services, will succeed Anand Stanley who will move to Singapore as President, Airbus Asia-Pacific. Both report directly to Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of International of Airbus.

In his new role, Maillard will lead Airbus’ business in South Asia. He will be responsible for commercial aircraft sales and business development, and he will manage Airbus’ regional footprint, which includes engineering, innovation, customer support and services as well as training. He will also help progress Airbus’ top defence and helicopters campaigns and boost the company’s ‘Make in India’ programs.

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IATA proposes alternatives to quarantine

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) urged governments to avoid quarantine measures when re-opening their economies. IATA is promoting a layered approach of measures to reduce the risk of countries importing COVID-19 via air travel and to mitigate the possibility of
transmission in cases where people may travel while unknowingly being infected.

“Imposing quarantine measures on arriving travelers keeps countries in isolation and the travel and tourism sector in lockdown. Fortunately, there are policy alternatives that can reduce the risk of importing COVID-19 infections while still allowing for the resumption of travel and tourism that are vital to jumpstarting national economies. We are proposing a framework with layers of protection to keep sick people from traveling and to mitigate the risk of transmission should a traveler discover they were infected after arrival,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“Safely restarting the economy is a priority. That includes travel and tourism. Quarantine measures may play a role in keeping people safe, but they will also keep many unemployed. The alternative is to reduce risks through a series of measures. Airlines are already offering flexibility so there is no incentive for sick or at-risk people to travel. Health declarations, screening and testing by governments will add extra layers of protection. And if someone travels while infected, we can reduce the risk of transmission with protocols to prevent the spread during travel or when at destination. And effective contact tracing can isolate those most at risk without major disruptions,” said de Juniac.

There are some hurdles to being able to implement the full suite of measures. “Data transmission, required for health declarations, testing and tracing, raises privacy concerns. And mutually recognized standards would be needed for testing. Governments have a common interest in finding solutions. The rapid agreement by governments to ICAO’s Take-Off guidelines demonstrates that progress on complex issues is possible where there is the political will to do so,” said de Juniac.

There is every economic incentive to make a layered approach work. The World Traven and Tourism Council estimates that travel and tourism accounts for 10.3% of global GDP and 300 million jobs globally (direct, indirect and induced economic impact).

Mandatory quarantine measures stop people from traveling. Recent public opinion research revealed that 83% of travelers would not even consider traveling if quarantine measures were imposed on travelers at their destination. And analysis of trends during the lockdown period shows that countries imposing quarantine saw arrivals decrease by more than 90%—an outcome that is similar to countries that banned foreign arrivals.

“A layered approach to safety has made flying the safest way to travel while still enabling the system to function efficiently. That should be an inspirational framework to guide governments in protecting their citizens from the terrible risks of both the virus and joblessness. Quarantine is a lop-sided solution that protects one and absolutely fails at the other. We need government leadership to deliver a balanced protection,” said de Juniac.

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GAMECO breaks ground on component business- and composite repair center

GAMECO (Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering) celebrated the groundbreaking of its CBC (Component Business Center) and CRC (Composite Repair Center). With a total investment of about 600 million yuan, the two facilities are expected to go into operation in early 2022.

Ideally located at the northwest corner of Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport with easy access to the north extension of the airport highways, the new facilities will be close to GAMECO’s headquarter and replace the existing facilities 20 km away at downtown Guangzhou Baiyun district. A total construction area of 54,000 m², divided in 38,000 m² for the CBC and 16,000 m² for the CRC, will give ample space to integrate all critical processes under one roof and realize a highly advanced "one-stop total service" concept. With GAMECO's experienced staff and the support of China Southern Airlines, these two facilities will continue to be a leading force and benchmark in the Chinese MRO industry.

Already today GAMECO, covers most of the common aircraft types with deep and comprehensive component repair capability. With the establishment of these two facilities, GAMECO will usher in a phase of accelerated development, leading to more comprehensive modification/refurbishment/out-of-manual repair capabilities of airborne components, such as avionics, electrics, instrumentation, IFE, pneumatics, hydraulics, mechanical, fuel, hot air and wheel brake, as well as composite structure parts, such as nacelle, inlet cowl, thrust reverser, fan cowl, nozzle, radome, slat, flap and rudder, etc. Beside our important A320/330 and B737/777 component business, GAMECO will also invest into the development of capabilities for new generation aircraft, esp. B787 and A350.

DRA – Deutsche Regional Aircraft appoints Jose Costas VP Aircraft Sales

As part of the ongoing development of its senior leadership team, DRA and sister company 328 Support Services GmbH, have appointed Jose Costas as the company’s vice president of aircraft sales. Leveraging his significant aviation industry experience, Costas is responsible for all aircraft sales, including that of the D328eco™ aircraft and legacy D328® aircraft, as well as marketing and customer experience.

Costas brings to DRA 20 years of experience in the global aviation industry. Most recently, Costas held senior positions with Embraer S.A. in both the company’s Commercial and Executive branches. Costas was responsible for sales, contracts management and aircraft deliveries (Brazil), as well as aircraft marketing and sales in Asia-Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
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Tamar Jorssen
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