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Wednesday, August 12th, 2020

Further woes for Rolls-Royce as cracks found in Trent XWB engines

While the British engine manufacturer struggles to deal with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company’s Trent XWB engine has been hit with technical problems.

Having incurred costs approaching £2.4 billion (US$3.1 billion) as a consequence of problematic turbine blades fitted to its Trent 1000 engine which powers the Boeing 787, this is seen as only a small-scale problem. By that, Rolls-Royce estimates the costs to put right the cracking issue in the XWB engine, which powers the Airbus A350 jet, to be in the low-to-mid-tens of millions of pounds.

Rolls-Royce is currently struggling to deal with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic as with so many planes stopping flying, the company’s revenues it receives from flying hours has diminished dramatically. Rolls-Royce pre-emptively issued a statement concerning the problem with the XWB engine, having found wear in one or two blades of the Intermediate Pressure Compressor in a few engines which had been in service for between four and five years.

Currently there are believed to be approximately 100 of the Trent XWB engines in service, none of which had reported any flight abnormalities prior to this fault being discovered. Rolls-Royce said wear on the Trent XWB-84 engine will be subject to an Airworthiness Directive from regulator EASA.


GECAS Cargo tops up orderbook with more 737-800BCF narrow-body freighters

GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services) has signed an agreement with Boeing, converting 11 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) options to firm orders and adding nine additional options to the GECAS Cargo order book.

This agreement marks a repeat order by the commercial aircraft leasing and financing arm of General Electric for the 737-800BCF, bringing their total orderbook for the type to 74 (60 firm and 14 options) since the narrow-body conversion program was announced in 2016. The 20 in this agreement are scheduled to complete conversions between 2022 and 2024.

Honeywell to provide flight deck technologies for Vertical Aerospace demonstrator vehicle

Honeywell and Vertical Aerospace have signed a letter of intent naming Honeywell as the supplier for flight deck technologies for its demonstrator aircraft program.

The demonstrator program will help Vertical Aerospace understand flight characteristics, system requirements and the flight deck user interface to further the development of its urban air mobility (UAM) vehicle. The agreement deepens the collaboration between the two companies following the signing of contracts in 2019 to equip Vertical demonstration aircraft with the Honeywell Compact Fly-By-Wire System and flight control software.

The new agreement includes several other technologies present in the front end of the aircraft. These include multi-touch displays, avionics system controls, avionics software and the vehicle operating system.


Emirates ramps up passenger services to Pakistan

Emirates has announced it will increase its passenger services to/from Pakistan starting August 10, offering enhanced connectivity to over 70 destinations within its current network, via Dubai.

The airline is set to ramp up its flight frequency to/from Karachi, Islamabad, Lahore, and Sialkot; and resume passenger services to Peshawar.  Emirates will now offer 53 weekly flights to Pakistan, which will increase to 60 weekly flights starting August 16. All flights will be operated with Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER.

APOC Aviation closes fifth deal in 2020 and acquires another A320 for teardown

APOC Aviation has purchased another A320 family airframe for teardown. Built in 2000, the aircraft was last operated in Europe and it is the fifth narrow-body acquisition that APOC has successfully closed this year.

Funding for the purchase was swiftly secured through private placement.  It is anticipated that the first serviceable parts, including landing gear but not engines, will be parted out from the teardown facility in Spain in the fourth quarter of the year.

Jasper van den Boogaard, VP Airframe Acquisition & Trading at APOC Aviation, says the Company is confident it can continue to secure investment for the right assets. “APOC Aviation were quick to seize this opportunity and we had secure financing in place to close the deal.  Even in these difficult times I am pleased to say that, despite the constraints of COVID-19, APOC is able to source and finalize deals for our target aircraft.  If something is for sale, we’ll look at it but I must emphasize that we are focused on the youngest assets at a price we can afford.” Inevitably there will be a decline in the market value of older narrow-body parts – so the A320 and B737 family aircraft APOC Aviation seeks are those equipped with the latest modifications."


Aviation Training Centre of Volga-Dnepr Technics Moscow receives EASA approval for Boeing 777-200/300 aircraft type training

Volga-Dnepr Technics Moscow Aviation Training Centre (VDTM ATC) has obtained European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval to provide Boeing 777-200/300 (GE 90) aircraft type training to B1 and B2 categories of engineering and technical personnel.

Since August 2020, VDTM ATC instructors have been able to provide theoretical and practical parts of training to all specialists of the industry. VDTM ATC, which opened its doors in 2016, offers more than 54 training programs including basic courses and training programs for aircraft types, such as Boeing 737NG, Boeing 737CL, Boeing 747-400, Boeing 747-8, Airbus A320 and the new Boeing 777.

Apart from conducting training in one of the three ATC classes near Sheremetyevo airport, the center can provide theoretical and practical aircraft type training in the customer’s premises in accordance with the current EASA approval (Out-House Location Approval)

Leadership changes at ST Engineering

Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engineering) has announced leadership changes that will take effect on October 1, 2020.

Lim Serh Ghee, currently President of the Group’s Aerospace sector, will assume a new role as Chief Operating Officer for the Group. His responsibilities include driving operational and cost efficiencies across the Group, and promoting further integration of the Group’s business sectors.  He will also oversee IT, Procurement and Estate & Facilities Management functions, and remain as a member of the Management Committee. He will step down as President of Aerospace sector upon assuming his new role.

Jeffrey Lam, currently Deputy President of the Aerospace sector will be appointed as President of the Aerospace sector. In this role, he will continue to drive the growth of the sector, focusing on enhancing its position as a global integrated aviation solution provider with original equipment manufacturing and aftermarket capabilities. He will be appointed a member of the Management Committee.

Eleana Tan has decided to retire from her position as Chief Corporate Officer, a role she took on in mid-2017 to oversee the Group’s newly set up corporate management services, and with functional responsibilities for IT, Procurement as well as Estate & Facilities Management. Before this appointment, she was the Chief Financial Officer from 2008.


FL Technics renews GCAA Part 21 certificate

MRO services provider FL Technics, has renewed its GCAA Part 21 (Design) certificate for yet another year. The news comes after a series of rigorous checks and audits performed by the GCAA of the UAE, prolonging FL Technics’ certification in UAE for the fourth year since 2017.

The Part 21 certificate is of great importance for FL Technics, as the MRO provider aims to offer clients the widest possible service portfolio. The certificate enables the company to continue carrying out interior, avionics and passenger cabin modifications as well as providing materials required for the project’s implementation.

During the years, FL Technics has performed various projects for a number of carriers located in the Gulf region with the most recent works for flydubai. The renewal of the certificate will also allow the company to keep supporting its long-term customer Wizz Air, with its newly established joint venture, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi. Additionally, the renewal will enable FL Technics to propose ideas and implement safety-oriented solutions related to the Covid-19 situation for all local operators to contribute to UAE airline market growth.

Finnair cuts frequencies in Europe in September due to travel restrictions

Finnair will fly fewer frequencies to European destinations in September than previously planned. Many countries have imposed new travel restrictions in recent weeks due to the corona situation, resulting in lower-than-expected demand. Some domestic destinations are also served at a lower frequency than before.

The company is scheduled to fly in September to all European destinations that were flown in August, but at a lower frequency. The exceptions are Nice and Turku, to which the company will stop flights in September. Frequencies to some domestic destination will be adjusted. In September, Finnair will fly to Kuopio once a day and to Vaasa and Mariehamn five times a week. The company had also planned to start flights to Tampere in September, but due to the demand situation these flights will be postponed.

“The corona situation has changed in many countries in recent weeks, which is why several countries have imposed new travel restrictions. There are still no connecting passengers from Asia and the United States to support European flights because of severe travel restrictions in these regions. Also, the local demand is more moderate than estimated due to the same restrictions. Therefore, we must adjust flights accordingly,” says Mikko Turtiainen, VP, Market Management. “In September, we will operate about 30% of the flights we had in September 2019.”

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