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LATEST NEWS

Friday, November 20th, 2020

France’s VoltAero to receive substantial EU funding for its Cassio hybrid-electric aircraft

VoltAero, based in Médis, France, has been awarded an initial grant of €2.1 million (US$2.5 million) by the European Innovation Council in support of Europe’s Green Deal Strategy and Recovery Plan.

The company has been identified from a total of 2,077 candidates for funding as one of several game-changing startups, having received a “seal of excellence” which recognized the Cassio project for its motivated team, aviation knowledge and experience, as well as its sound business model and commercial analysis. VoltAero has also been earmarked for “blended financing” at a higher value that includes an equity portion of up to €11 million (US$13.1 million.)

“The European Innovation Council supports visionary entrepreneurs who create transformative solutions to pressing societal and environmental challenges, supporting the Green Deal and the Recovery Plan for Europe,” said Mariya Gabriel, the European Union’s Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. “These start-ups and SMEs are set to scale up, creating jobs and growth and giving Europe the global lead in green technologies and solutions.”

VoltAero is developing a family of hybrid-electric airplanes for commercial flights on point-to-point regional routes, air taxi/charter companies, deployment in various utility-category applications, and also for private owners. The aircraft will be available in three versions ranging from four to ten seats.

“The European Innovation Council’s grant is another vote of confidence for our commitment in taking electric aircraft to an entirely new level,” explained Marina Evans, VoltAero’s Director General and Co-founder. “This is a recognition of how hybrid-electric aircraft can unleash a revolution in fast, convenient, and eco-efficient regional travel – in which our Cassio airplane family will have an important role.”

VoltAero’s Cassio design brings together a sleek, aerodynamically-optimized fuselage, a forward fixed canard, and an aft-set wing with twin booms that support a high-set horizontal tail. The company’s hybrid-electric module that will power these aircraft is currently undergoing full-scale flight evaluations using a testbed aircraft at VoltAero’s headquarters at Royan-Médis Airport in southwest France.

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French Navy orders seven Falcon 2000 Albatros

During a visit to the Dassault Aviation plant in Seclin, in northern France, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, has announced the upcoming notification of the contract for the “Albatros” Maritime Surveillance and Intervention Aircraft (AVSIMAR) program, which will be based on the Dassault Aviation Falcon 2000LXS. In accordance with the multiyear military spending bill (LPM), the initial order is for seven aircraft, to be delivered from 2025, out of the planned total of 12.

In line with the aeronautical maintenance transformation policy initiated by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, the Albatros contract commits Dassault Aviation to a guaranteed availability clause, favoring industrial support in close cooperation with Navy personnel for 10 years.

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Delta launches first domestic digital identity test in U.S.

Delta customers at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport will soon have the option to move through the airport faster and more easily. In partnership with Transportation Security Administration, Delta is launching the first facial recognition option for domestic travelers using a digital ID made up of a customer’s passport number and TSA PreCheck® membership.

Beginning next month, customers traveling in the U.S. will be able to use that digital ID – verified by facial recognition technology – to move through the Edward H. McNamara Terminal’s dedicated TSA PreCheck domestic checkpoint. This will expand to bag drop and boarding in early 2021, making Detroit the first airport to have a facial recognition option from curb to gate for TSA PreCheck customers traveling domestically – an important step on the path to an easier and more touchless airport experience. This builds on Delta’s existing facial recognition option for any customer traveling to an international destination.

To be eligible to participate in the Detroit test, customers need a passport number and a TSA PreCheck membership. Facial recognition technology uses this information as a digital ID to confirm a traveler’s identity at airport touchpoints.

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Alaska Air Cargo introduces innovative in-seat containers to carry more freight

Alaska Air Cargo is introducing a new in-seat package stowage system to allow full use of an Alaska Airlines passenger aircraft in a cargo-only configuration. As the North American launch customer for HAECO Cabin Solutions’ design, the interior package stowage containers allow Alaska Air Cargo to fill the main cabin passenger seats with an additional 13,500 pounds of cargo on top of what a passenger-only cargo flight can carry.

Alaska Air Cargo has used passenger aircraft previously with limited freighter service, but until now, was unable to use the passenger seats. This innovative, FAA-approved design allows cargo personnel to use all available space on the main deck for essential goods like mail, medical equipment, e-commerce packages and other freight.

In addition to Air Cargo's dedicated three freighters, one Boeing 737-900 passenger aircraft is being utilized as a cargo-only aircraft. Each flight will carry up to 30,000 pounds, which includes belly capacity. The crew for these cargo flights will consist of two pilots and two Cargo Load Agents. Cargo Load Agents provide oversight of loading, ensure proper tagging, cargo integrity, provide fire suppression if required, and make sure cargo is safe and secure within the in-seat package stowage system.

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MTU sees recovery in commercial maintenance and spare parts business for 2021

At its virtual Capital Market Day, MTU Aero Engines AG provided an initial outlook for 2021. The company expects the clearest recovery from the effects of the coronavirus crisis to be in the commercial maintenance business. The spare parts and military business should also pick up. In 2021, commercial series business is expected to remain at the 2020 level. “All market analyses indicate that aviation will remain a growth business in the long term,” said Reiner Winkler, CEO of MTU Aero Engines AG. “We see the coming years as a restart phase in which we will use our technological leadership, innovative strength and flexibility to extend our good starting position, so that we can derive above-average benefit from the growth of the sector from 2024.” MTU will be able to capitalize on its future-oriented product portfolio, diversified customer base and solid financial structure. Winkler: “We will continue to focus on organic growth in the future.”

Commercial maintenance should show the strongest upward trend in 2021, with revenue growth in the twenty percent range. “Key drivers here are our strong position in engines for narrow-body aircraft and our large customer base in the cargo sector,” said Chief Program Officer Michael Schreyögg. Cargo has proven robust during the coronavirus pandemic. In the passenger sector, domestic flights are recovering faster than international routes, so demand for narrow-body aircraft is higher than for wide-bodies. “Use of modern aircraft like the A320neo is strong, so we will see a significant rise in maintenance of PW1100G-JM engines in the future,” said Schreyögg. In view of the good outlook for commercial maintenance, MTU is sticking to its expansion plans, including establishing a component repair site in Serbia and expanding MTU Maintenance Zhuhai.

The commercial spare parts business should post slightly higher revenue in 2021. The main revenue drivers here are the V2500 for the A320, the CF6, which is used in many Airbus and Boeing models, and the PW2000 for the Boeing 757 and the C-17 military transporter.

MTU anticipates that the commercial series business will make a stable contribution to revenue in 2021. “Lower output of aircraft is reflected in engine production,” said Schreyögg. “There are signs that production will be ramped up again in the mid-term, especially production of the A320neo. On the engines side, we are optimally prepared for that.” MTU is focusing on the entire value chain, from product design and supplier management, through procurement strategy, quality management and cost management to automation and digitalization.

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The Av8 Group receives FAA approval for Embraer Phenom 100/300 landing gear overhaul

The Av8 Group has received FAA approval to provide complete landing gear overhaul services for Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 aircraft.  The new Embraer program is a result of the company's deep resources in engineering, PMA parts certification and experience in redefining landing gear overhaul processes.

The Houston, Texas-based Av8 Group provides exceptional value for the Phenom 100 and 300 gear overhaul through the use of PMA parts, while being engineered and certified in-house to OEM and FAA specifications.  The company anticipates a savings of 10% or more from traditional factory overhaul, along with confirmation of a firm completion date and locked pricing for each overhaul project.

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United States and the United Kingdom sign new open skies agreement

On November 17, the United States and the United Kingdom have completed the signature of the Air Transport Agreement (the Agreement) between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed the Agreement for the United States. Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps signed the Agreement for the United Kingdom.

“This historic U.S.-U.K. Open Skies Agreement builds upon the special relationship that exists between our nations,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

The signing of the Agreement, which was concluded on November 28, 2018, will facilitate a seamless transition in international air transportation markets for the traveling public, airlines, shippers, and other stakeholders. The Agreement meets all the criteria of the U.S. Open Skies policy and provides for additional traffic rights for U.S. all-cargo operations to and from the United Kingdom.

The Agreement also includes the U.K. Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, expanding and modernizing the air transport relationship with those regions. The Parties plan to begin applying the Agreement on January 1, 2021.

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Lilium appoints Geoffrey Richardson as new CFO

Lilium, the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for regional air mobility, has appointed Geoffrey Richardson as the company’s new Chief Financial Officer. Effective immediately, the former CFO of autonomous car company Cruise, will work closely with CEO Daniel Wiegand on the company’s next phase of accelerated growth.

Based in San Francisco, Richardson brings with him over 20 years of proven expertise in international finance, M&A, fundraising and operations. During his tenure at Cruise, he was instrumental in scaling and growing the company, raising over US$7 billion in funding.
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