Thursday, January 9th, 2020

Boeing contradicts original selling point of 737 MAX with new position on pilot training

Boeing has announced a change in its previous position regarding the required training of pilots for the operation of the 737 MAX by recommending all future pilots undergo simulator training as opposed to the previous exclusively computer-based training. Boeing had last year suggested that such training would not be required for the operation of its latest version of 737 narrowbody aircraft, a selling point used to market the aircraft against Airbus, Boeing’s European rival.

In the case that U.S. and international regulatory-bodies green-light Boeing’s most recent proposal, which isn’t projected to be the case before February or March, the result would be an even further delay in Airline’s preparation of crews to fly the 737 MAX. As it stands simulators for the 737 MAX are sparsely available (CAE having delivered 23 MAX full-flight simulators as of December), with American Airlines Group and United Airlines each having one such simulator.

The FAA has responded to Boeings recommendation by stating it would consider the suggested change in operator training during training evaluations of U.S. and international flight crews. Later this week Boeing will meet with aviation safety regulators from both Europe and the U.S. in an effort to complete a 737 MAX software documentation audit, which would mark an important milestone on the road to returning the aircraft to service.


EmbraerX and Elroy Air to collaborate on unmanned air cargo

EmbraerX, Embraer’s disruptive business subsidiary, has reported its expansion into the commercial air cargo market, via a collaboration agreement with Elroy Air, at CES 2020. This collaboration will allow the companies to accelerate the unmanned air cargo market worldwide, leveraging Embraer’s 50 years of industry experience with Elroy Air’s bold new developments in autonomous aircraft systems.

This collaboration is part of EmbraerX’s multi-project approach to further develop the air mobility ecosystem and create the conditions for people and goods to move from A to B in a seamless and affordable way. Beyond cargo, EmbraerX is engaged in several projects, including the development of an Urban Air Mobility focused eVTOL, a tailored Urban Air Traffic Management (UATM) system and a fleet-agnostic business platform, designated Beacon, to streamline services.

Air freight demand down 1.1% in November 2019

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometers (FTKs), decreased by 1.1% in November 2019, compared to the same period in 2018. This marks the thirteenth consecutive month of year-on-year declines in freight volumes.

Despite the decline in demand, November’s performance was the best in eight months, with the slowest year-on-year rate of contraction recorded since March 2019. In part, November’s outcome reflects the growing importance of large e-commerce events such as Singles Day and Black Friday.

While international e-commerce continues to grow, overall air cargo demand continued to face headwinds from the effects of the trade war between the U.S. and China, the deterioration in world trade, and a broad-based slowing in global economic growth.

Freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometers (AFTKs), rose by 2.9% year-on-year in November 2019. Capacity growth has now outstripped demand growth for the 19th consecutive month.

Airlines in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East suffered sharp declines in year-on-year growth in total air freight volumes in November 2019, while North American carriers experienced a more moderate decline. Europe and Africa were the only regions to record growth in air freight demand compared to November last year.


NovAtel delivers first shipment of signal generators to modernize FAA’s WAAS navigation service

NovAtel announced that shipments of next-generation Ground Uplink Station (GUS) Signal Generators have commenced in fulfillment of the contract with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support the FAA’s safety of life Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) navigation service.

Developed by the FAA for civil aviation, WAAS is a safety-critical navigation aid that provides integrity monitoring and differential corrections for all phases of flight. The next-generation NovAtel GUS Signal Generator replaces the legacy product which has operated successfully for over 15 years and ensures continued operation for years to come. Along with the GUS Signal Generator modernization, the contract includes ongoing engineering support services for the complete
portfolio of NovAtel Ground Reference Receiver products deployed by the FAA.

Latest spaceship in Virgin Galactic’s fleet completes major build milestone

Virgin Galactic has completed a major milestone in the build of its next spaceship. In a moment comparable to a ship taking to the water for the first time, the latest spaceship is now bearing its own weight in a stage of its assembly termed Weight on Wheels. At this critical juncture, 80% of the vehicle’s major structural assembly is complete.

This Weight on Wheels milestone has been reached considerably faster than it took to get to this stage with the first SpaceShipTwo, VSS Unity, which is currently in flight-test. This has been achieved through experience curve benefits which include an evolution to a more modular-based assembly process.

With the spaceship now bearing its own weight, the teams are starting work connecting the modules’ integrated systems, including the flight control systems from fuselage to tail booms.

A secondary benefit of Weight on Wheels, is the mobility it affords the spaceship, allowing better access and greater efficiencies for the engineers as they complete the build. The teams will also now be able to check and confirm the vehicle’s weight.

As this work completes, the spaceship will be positioned in the hangar for the start of integrated vehicle ground testing which verifies the integrity of all its systems. This is a precursor to moving the spaceship from Mojave to Spaceport America in New Mexico where it will start its flight test program.

The Virgin Galactic spaceship fleet is beginning to take shape with a third spaceship, also under construction in Mojave, currently around 50% structurally complete. In the coming months, that vehicle will achieve its next major milestone, with completion of its wing and tail boom structure. Virgin Galactic plans to build 5 spaceships in total and a second mothership to meet the demand for
human space flight beyond the 600 Future Astronauts from 60 countries, who have already purchased tickets to fly.


Hawaiian Airlines opens new IT Center in Arizona

Hawaiian Airlines has announced the opening of an Information Technology Center in Tempe, Ariz., the carrier’s largest office outside its Honolulu headquarters.

The airline, which has offered daily nonstop flights between Phoenix and Honolulu since 2002, welcomed 60 employees to its 15,000-ft² center. The new space complements Hawaiian’s technical capabilities in Honolulu and enhances the company’s ability to hire IT professionals from across the U.S. mainland.

Hawaiian, Hawai‘i’s largest and longest-serving airline, opened a temporary IT office in Arizona early last year before moving to the current location two months ago. It plans to nearly double the staff at the center by continuing to partner with Arizona State University and other local educational institutions to offer IT internships and recruit positions ranging from software engineers and architects to database managers and business analysts.

Magnetic MRO launches leasing arm - Magnetic Leasing

Magnetic MRO along with Crestline Investments, a U.S. institutional alternative investment management firm, have announced the launch of a joint venture company that will focus on long and short-term aviation asset management and leasing – Magnetic Leasing.

The recently established JV specializes in mid-life Airbus A320 Family and Boeing 737 CL/NG, as well as engines and landing gear systems for narrow-body aircraft. By the end of 2020, Magnetic Leasing expects to have a portfolio worth US$100 million under its management.

“Magnetic MRO with its universal mindset and global presence, already had various aviation assets that were acquired from our customers and partners, restored, and successfully remarketed. As 2020 was approaching, there was a strategic decision made to continue diversifying our business in order to ensure further growth in the next decade. Thus, we decided that, amongst other business objectives, we need to expand our asset management activities, and teaming with Crestline Investments as our partners in this endeavor, created Magnetic Leasing. We are extremely confident that the expertise and talent of our joint team will drive Magnetic Leasing to establish a US$500 million portfolio by 2025,” shared Alex Vella, Chief Operations Officer at Magnetic Leasing.

Currently, Magnetic Leasing already manages an asset portfolio which includes Airbus A320 FAM, Boeing 737 NG and Boeing 737 CL aircraft, as well as CFM56-3, CFM56-5B, CFM56-7B, V2500-A5, RB211-535 engines and multiple Airbus A320 FAM and Boeing 737 NG/CL landing gear sets. In
five years, the company expects to manage at least 30 narrow-body aircraft and 20 engines.


Spirit Airlines unveils new Series 6LC Economy Class seat

On December 17, Spirit Airline has revealed its new A320neo aircraft at its Detroit hangar, with redesigned cabin interiors featuring the Series 6LC Economy Class seat by Acro.

Spirit is the launch customer for this next-generation seat which has been designed to fulfil the product requirements of low-cost carrier airlines who want to achieve a robust and lightweight seating solution, without compromising comfort and the ability to offer seat features which will improve the passenger experience.

Spirit selected Acro for the delivery of Series 6LC on forty linefit and forty-three retrofit A320 aircraft, with first deliveries and installations taking place this month at the Detroit hangar.

Norwegian reports higher unit revenue in December 2019

Norwegian has reported that total capacity decreased by 25% in December 2019, while total passenger traffic decreased by 21%. The load factor was 83.5%, up by 4.9 points compared to the previous year. The unit revenue increased by 21%.


176 passengers and crew killed as Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 crashes in Iran

A Boeing 737-800 belonging to Ukraine International Airlines has crashed shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport, Tehran at 6.12 a.m. local time, Wednesday. The plane, flight PS752, was heading for the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv.

According to eyewitnesses, the plane was ablaze prior to crashing into the ground two miles to the north-east of the airport. Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including 9 crew, ten Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko confirmed.

Ukraine International Airlines has suspended flights to Tehran indefinitely. The airline said that the aircraft had had its last scheduled maintenance on Monday. It is understood that the aircraft was manufactured in 2016 and was delivered new to the carrier. One of the black boxes has already been recovered and while Iranian, Ukrainian, U.S. and French authorities would all be involved in the investigation, it may prove to be a more complicated exercise as Iran is currently under U.S. sanctions.


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MRO Latin America
January 22 - 23, 2020 – Cartagena, Columbia

Manufacturing World
February 26 - 18, 2020 – Makuhari Messe, Chiba-city, Japan

Operating Lease & Aviation Finance Seminar
March 24 - 26, 2020 - London, UK