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Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Lufthansa clears way to year end with short-term crisis agreement with Vereinigung Cockpit

Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest commercial airline by passenger numbers, has announced it has come to a short-term agreement with Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), the airline pilots’ union, with regard to crisis measures required to deal with the effects the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the industry.

Those pilots covered by the agreement fly for Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Aviation Training and a number of Germanwings pilots. According to Lufthansa, top-up payments for short-time working compensation benefits and employer contributions to the pension scheme will be reduced from September onwards, while collective wage increases negotiated for 2020 will be postponed until January 2021. Additionally, there will be no pilot redundancies until March 2021, but overcapacity that will likely stretch well beyond that period will probably lead to a corresponding reduction in working hours and salary for the period of the COVID-19 crisis.

Lufthansa has additionally announced that for all German flight operations, it will cease hiring new pilots from outside the Group while there is cockpit staff overcapacity. This will equally apply to the cockpit staffing of tourist-oriented flight operations - which will be open to pilots from Sun Express Deutschland and the German base of Brussels Airlines who have flown tourist routes over the past few years.

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Polish airline Enter Air signs purchase order for four Boeing 737-8 jets

Enter Air, the Polish airline is expanding its commitment to the 737 family with a new order for two Boeing 737-8 airplanes plus options for two more jets.

An all-Boeing operator and Poland’s biggest charter carrier, Enter Air began operations in 2010 with a single 737 airplane. Today, the airline’s fleet includes 22 Next-Generation 737s and two 737 MAX airplanes. When the new purchase agreement is fully exercised, Enter Air’s 737 MAX fleet will rise to 10 aircraft.

Enter Air and Boeing have also finalized a settlement to address the commercial impacts stemming from the grounding of the 737 MAX fleet. While the details of the agreement are confidential, the compensation will be provided in a number of forms and staggered over a period of time.

Delta to add two more U.S.-China weekly flights

Delta Air Lines will add two weekly flights between the U.S. and China starting Aug. 24 to meet increased customer demand and a rebound in travel.

Delta will add flights departing from Seattle and Detroit, going to Shanghai-Pudong via Seoul-Incheon. By then, Delta will operate four weekly flights between the U.S. and China. In late June, Delta became the first U.S. airline to re-connect the U.S. and China following a temporary suspension of service in February due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The SEA-ICN-PVG flights and the DTW-ICN-PVG flights will be served with an Airbus A350 aircraft.

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Honeywell achieves FAA certification for flight-critical engine part built from additive manufacturing

Honeywell has created the first certified, flight-critical engine part using additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing. The part, known as the #4/5 bearing housing, is currently in production and was installed on an in-service engine. It is a major structural component in the ATF3-6 turbofan engine used on the Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol aircraft, which are used by the French Navy for patrol and search-and-rescue missions.

Designed by Garrett in the 1960s and certified in 1967, there are only about a dozen ATF3-6 engines still flying. This presents sourcing and supply chain challenges for operators of Dassault Falcon 20G aircraft. Additionally, the #4/5 bearing housing is a complicated part to manufacture — making it extremely costly for operators to replace due to the low quantity of orders placed. This challenge is combined with the high cost of tools needed to produce parts with traditional casting methods, where molten metal is poured into a mould and allowed to harden. With additive manufacturing, these parts can be printed much more quickly and in smaller quantities without the need for expensive tools. During this process, components are built from the bottom up, with layers of powdered metal fused on top of one another using a laser.

Honeywell has been working closely with the FAA on the development and certification of multiple additive-manufactured components. These efforts have enabled the bearing housing to be the first component approved under the normal FAA delegated authority, further reducing the time for qualification.

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SITA Smart Path transforms passenger experience at Beijing Capital International Airport

SITA, the technology provider for the air transport industry, has announced its most extensive biometric deployment to date and a new completely contactless experience for passengers traveling through Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA). 

As the busiest airport in China and the second busiest in the world, BCIA has completely automated the entire passenger journey using SITA technology – from check-in and bag drop through to immigration, security, and finally boarding. Passengers only need to enroll once during check-in, then experience a seamless journey through the airport enabled by facial recognition. Improved processing efficiency means shorter queuing time and more social distancing for all passengers. An added benefit during the COVID-19 era is that the process removes the need to touch any airport equipment, reducing the risk of infection.

The deployment included the implementation of over 600 biometric checkpoints through the airport including 250 lanes of automatic gates, 80 kiosks, and 30 self-bag drop stations which will process passengers from international flights.

The biometric technology is currently activated across multiple checkpoints at BCIA including manual check-in, self-service check-in, bag drop, restricted access, security, and boarding. From an airport efficiency view, the solutions have improved capacity and created a low-touch (paperless) environment for all while allowing staff to focus on passengers who need help with their travel.

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Air bp and Neste to offer increased volume of sustainable aviation fuel in Europe

Air bp, the international aviation fuel products and services supplier and Neste, the largest producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), have signed an agreement to offer an increased volume of sustainable aviation fuel to airport customers in 2020 and 2021. The volume is five times larger than that supplied by the businesses in 2019. Air bp will make the Neste-produced SAF available at selected airports in Europe, with deliveries to airports including Stockholm (ARN) and Oslo (OSL) expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The increased supply of SAF comes in response to rising demand from existing and new airline customers, as well as from Norway, where there is a mandate requiring 0.5% of all jet fuel sold to be SAF.

Neste’s SAF is produced from 100% renewable waste and residue raw materials. In its neat form and over the lifecycle, it can reduce up to 80% of greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional jet fuel. SAF undergoes the same quality tests as regular fossil jet fuel and can be blended at up to 50% to fuel aircraft. Currently, SAF offers the only viable drop-in alternative to fossil liquid fuels for powering commercial aircraft.

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The Helicopter Company (THC) purchases ten Airbus H125 helicopters

The Helicopter Company (THC), which is fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus Helicopters to purchase ten H125 helicopters. The deal comes as part of THC’s commitment to further expand its fleet and introduce new services that fulfil market demand and support the development of the Kingdom’s wider aviation sector.

Considered a multi-task aircraft, the Airbus H125 can carry up to six passengers and be easily reconfigured to suit varying requirements. THC will utilize the new additions to its fleet to roll out new services related to scenic tourism and aerial work such as filming, banner towing, and surveying.
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