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Thursday, October 8th, 2020

Boom Supersonic reveals X-B1 demonstrator ahead of next year’s flight testing

Eying a return to supersonic transatlantic air travel that ceased with the decommissioning of the Anglo-French Concorde 2003, Boom Supersonic (Boom) has unveiled its innovative XB-1 which has a 21.6 m (71 foot-long) fuselage, a carbon-composite airframe and three GE-designed J85-15 engines.

Carbon-neutral flight testing is scheduled to begin towards the end of next year (2021) in Mojave, California. One of the principal challenges for the aircraft is to meet with noise and carbon emission standards which are in place for more traditional commercial aircraft.

According to Reuters news agency, when interviewed, Boom’s Chief Executive, Blake Scholl, commented that he anticipates that the passenger-carrying supersonic version of the jet, Overture, will enter into service by the end of the decade.

The supersonic airlines will have between 65 and 88 seats, with the target market being business travelers. The jet will be capable of reducing the length of transatlantic flights by 50%, resulting in a three-and-a-half-hour flight. Scholl confirmed that he has already received advanced orders for the jet from both Japan Airlines and the Virgin Group. He also said he expects the aviation market, hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic, to rebound by the time Overture comes to market. “The nice thing about supersonic jets is if you’re concerned about time on airplanes, less time is better.”.


Liebherr supplies landing gear actuators for Boeing’s 777 and 777X aircraft

Since the contract for the power control actuator of the 777 and 777X’s main gear steering components was signed in 2018, Liebherr and Boeing have been working diligently to design, manufacture and test the new actuator.

The first delivery of two units to Boeing’s lab marks a major milestone for this built-to-print project.

A dedicated team of manufacturing and qualification engineers has been working meticulously to ensure that this new actuator exceeds all requirements.

Liebherr-Aerospace will manufacture (or build) these parts specifically for Boeing’s 777 and 777X programs.

The power control actuators are part of the main gear steering system. They support taxi maneuvers of the aircraft and reduce tire wear. Together with the main gear steering control unit and the nose gear steering position transducer, Liebherr supplies the complete main gear steering system.

Dragon Aviation Capital enter partnership agreement with SOFEMA Aviation Services

Dragon Aviation Capital of Singapore (DAC) has entered into an agreement with SOFEMA Aviation Services of Bulgaria (SAS) to support SAS to expand its footprint into the ASEAN market. DAC is one of SE Asia’s leading technical consultants with head office in Singapore and satellite offices in Seoul and Hong Kong.

DAC aim to offer SOFEMA’s extensive package of online and in house training courses to customers in emerging markets such as Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Cambodia, South Korea and, of course Singapore. DAC will further provide facilities in Singapore for in house training and other regions as we continue to expand our own offices in these countries.

Sofema Aviation Services has for the last 12 years been providing regulatory support services to major aviation companies throughout the world. With more than 550 Regulatory and Vocational training courses on offer SAS is a leading provider of EASA/FAA/OTAR and DGCAA complaint regulatory training across a range of subjects specializing in SMS, 145 & Continuous Airworthiness Subjects including Maintenance Planning, and Reliability.


GKN Aerospace leading smart manufacturing project to increase productivity

GKN Aerospace is leading the Smart Connected Shop Floor project as part of the U.K.’s Manufacturing Made Smarter challenge. The U.K. government and industry are jointly investing to support businesses to implement new technology to boost manufacturing productivity.

GKN Aerospace is leading a cross-sectoral team of experts trialling advanced digital technologies in the manufacturing environment. The project will focus on technology exploitation of artificial intelligence, machine learning, intelligent robotics, augmented reality, smart devices and data analytics.  This will aim to exploit the productivity opportunities of the digital space, empowering end users, creating an eco-system of digital technologies and aiding real-time cost effective manufacturing decisions across the various supply chains. The project will also have a strong focus on developing new skills and capability in this important field and will enable improvements in environmental sustainability, which can be scaled globally.

GKN Aerospace, Nissan, Rolls-Royce, GlaxoSmithKline, Meggitt, BAE Systems, Airbus and AT Engines Controls Ltd. will bring together their expertise across sectors. 25 highly-specialized engineers and operators will work together on the program, of which a number will be based out of GKN Aerospace’s Global Technology Centre in Bristol.

Qatar Airways to launch flights to San Francisco starting December 2020

As Qatar Airways has announced that it will operate four weekly flights to San Francisco – the fifth new destination launched by the national carrier of the State of Qatar since the start of the pandemic – from December 15, 2020. The San Francisco service will be operated by Qatar Airways’ state-of-the-art Airbus A350-900.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are thrilled to welcome San Francisco as our newest destination, and our ninth current gateway in the U.S. As we navigate the crisis, we have made it a priority to not only reinstate our existing destinations and be the airline travellers can rely on, but to also grow our network and increase connectivity with new and relevant destinations for our customers to enjoy.


Aircraft values in distress says IBA as COVID drives down demand

There is a growing divergence between aircraft base and market values as the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic drive down demand, according to data from leading independent aviation consultancy, IBA.

The gap between aircraft base values – the underlying economic value of an aircraft in an open, unrestricted, stable market with a reasonable balance of supply and demand – and market values have grown by as much as 40%.

Phil Seymour, President of IBA, says: “Aircraft base and market values are diverging at the greatest extent ever seen and to the extent that, across the  global commercial aircraft fleet owned by airlines, there is now a gap of around US$60 billion. This figure is not related to leased aircraft, only those that are owned by the airline.

“This could become an impairment issue for airlines unless those aircraft are earning revenue, either now or as part of the long-term plan for an airline, which makes getting the right valuation imperative. Those valuations must be assessed by a reputable valuer (ISTAT accredited) and one that has been subject to IAS 620 assessment by the auditors rather than a rough order of magnitude opinion of the management team which may have been acceptable in the past.”

The fall in passenger demand caused by Covid-19 is driving a dramatic fall in new aircraft commitments, with lease starts down 57% on 2019 levels according to data from IBA.iQ - the leading platform for aviation intelligence.

Each aircraft not earning revenue attracts a wide range of significant costs including parking and storage, CAMO, remarketing and maintenance. These cost burdens, coupled with the oversupply of aircraft against current demand, are driving aircraft market values downwards to distressed levels.

For example, IBA’s current half-life market value for a 2015 built Boeing 787-8 is circa US$74 million against a base value of circa U$73 million. However, its distressed value range for that aircraft is significantly lower at between US$42.69 million and US$57.74 million.


TP Aerospace goes into distribution and continues to expand wheel and brake business

TP Aerospace has added a third commercial division to the company and officially entered the distribution business with the inauguration of TP Aerospace Distribution. This is another step in TP Aerospace’s plan to offer fully comprehensive wheel and brake solutions for aircraft operators worldwide and is a continued testimony to the company’s expansion strategy: the Green Sunrise.

With TP Aerospace Distribution, together with the existing businesses TP Aerospace PRO and TP Aerospace Trading, the company now extends its portfolio to not only include aftermarket wheels and brakes, but also piece parts, rotables and OEM supported brake MRO services.

The main objective of TP Aerospace Distribution will be to simplify supply chain and logistics operations for the customers, by providing aircraft operators and maintenance providers with easy and immediate access to parts and components, anytime, anywhere.

TP Aerospace’s distribution division will be headed by Anne Kalman, Global Distribution Director, who has been with the company since 2019 and brings vast experience dealing with aircraft operators as well as suppliers and OEMs.

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Finnair publishes traffic figures for September 2020

In September, Finnair carried 115,500 passengers, which is 91.0% less than in the corresponding period of 2019 and 40.1% less than in August 2020. The COVID-19 impact, including the exceptionally strict travel restrictions imposed by Finland, still affected all passenger traffic figures. It was visible especially in the North Atlantic figures (no scheduled flights in September) and, compared to August, also in European figures.

The overall capacity measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK) decreased in September by 87.6% year-on-year. Finnair operated 83 daily flights (cargo-only included) on average which was 21.8% compared to September 2019. The differences between capacity figures are explained by the shorter operated flights on average and by smaller operated aircraft compared to September 2019. Finnair's traffic (RPKs) decreased by 95.2%. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) decreased by 49.9% points to 31.8%.

The ASK decline in Asian traffic was 86.7%. The North Atlantic capacity decreased by 100.0%. In European traffic, the ASKs were down by 87.9%. The ASKs in domestic traffic decreased by 64.2%.

RPKs decreased in Asian traffic by 96.9%, in North Atlantic traffic by 100.0%, in European traffic by 93.8% and in domestic traffic by 66.5%.


Beechcraft King Air 360/360ER achieves FAA type certification

Textron Aviation has achieved Type Certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its newest flagship twin turboprop Beechcraft King Air 360/360ER aircraft, paving the way for customer deliveries to commence in the coming weeks.

Announced in August 2020, the Beechcraft King Air 360 demonstrates the company’s commitment to ongoing product development, bringing the latest innovations to the legendary aircraft and providing added value for customers.

The King Air 360 ushers in the next generation of the legendary King Air turboprop family, building on its reputation of versatility and reliability. The newly upgraded aircraft offers the latest technological advancements in the cockpit, a redesigned cabin and enhancements to passenger comfort.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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