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LATEST NEWS

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Transport Canada intends to play greater role in aircraft validation after 737 MAX crashes

In a tone which now underlines the country’s wariness of the relationship between Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Transport Canada has announced its intention to play a far greater part in the validation process of aircraft.

We “have to look at the interaction that different authorities have with their manufacturers,” Nicholas Robinson, Transport Canada’s director of civil aviation, told a Canadian hearing on aircraft certification and the MAX.

Currently Transport Canada is yet to approve the 737 MAX despite the FAA having already approved the jet to return to the skies. In particular, Transport Canada is likely to require additional pilot training before giving the 737 MAX the all-clear. Bearing in mind the criticism that the FAA has come in for over its relationship with Boeing in relation to the certification processes for the MAX, other regulators are now being more cautious rather than simply accepting what the FAA reports.

“It’s public record that information was not forthcoming with regard to particular aspects of this aircraft,” Robinson said. “That will have to change,” adding: “We’ll see a greater involvement in validation, but we do have to keep with the system where the state of design certifies the aircraft and the other leading authorities go ahead and validate the aircraft independently.”

However, Robinson conceded that in the case of Boeing, the FAA would still be responsible for the majority of the ‘heavy lifting’ of any validation process and that Transport Canada would not be looking to create a totally independent process.

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Qantas to outsource ground handling operations at ten airports across Australia

Qantas has notified around 2000 employees that it will move to outsource ground handling operations at ten airports across Australia as it works to recover from the COVID crisis.

In August, the airline announced its reasons for needing to restructure its ground handling operations, which includes baggage handling and aircraft cleaning, and commenced a review of external bids from specialist ground handlers and in-house bids from employees and their representatives.

The bids were required to meet the following objectives:

- Reducing the overall cost of ground handling operations (as Qantas anticipated it could save approximately S$100 million annually, based on pre-COVID levels of flying, through the use of third-party providers)

- Avoiding large spending on ground handling equipment such as aircraft tugs and baggage loaders (S$80 million over five years).

- Better matching its ground handling services and cost, with fluctuating levels of demand.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) submitted a bid on behalf of employees in accordance with terms in the enterprise agreement. Teams from some individual airports submitted local proposals. Unfortunately, none of these bids met the objectives.

A number of external bidders, some of whom already provide these services at 55 airports across Australia, were able to meet all of the objectives, including reducing annual costs by approximately US$103 million. The preferred bidders are being notified today and, subject to consultation and finalising contract terms, transition is intended to occur in the first quarter of 2021.

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Pel-Air receives first Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft

Pel-Air, a subsidiary of Rex, has taken delivery of the first of five Beechcraft King Air 350 aircraft for the NSW Ambulance fixed-wing patient transport service commencing Air Ambulance operations in January 2022. Pel-Air was awarded this contract in February 2020.

The aircraft will undergo modifications locally, to meet the very stringent requirements of NSW Ambulance. This will allow the aircraft to carry out a range of operations like standard patient transfers, new-born and paediatric emergency transport service operations, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation operations, intra-aortic balloon pump operations, bariatric patient operations, over-water aeromedical transfers and major incident responses.

The King Air 350 aircraft, with serial number FM-88, will be registered as VH-AMD. Pel-Air’s preparations for the start of operations are progressing to plan and Pel-Air is currently recruiting the pilots needed for the beginning of operations on January 1, 2022.

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Fly Gangwon selects Sabre as first global GDS partner

Sabre Corporation has announced that new low-cost South Korean carrier Fly Gangwon, has selected Sabre to be its first global GDS partner to deliver flight content to hundreds of thousands of travel agents worldwide, while powering recovery, reaching new customer segments and driving higher sales.

Launched in 2016 and making its inaugural flight during 2019, Yangyang-based Fly Gangwon flies domestically as well as regionally to the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam and has ambitious future expansion plans to scale operations to Vietnam and China.

Being part of Sabre’s extensive, global GDS network will make Fly Gangwon’s content available to travel agents for the first time, enabling the carrier to target a broader geographic market, to reach new customer segments and secure higher yield business.

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MTU Maintenance Zhuhai completes expansion

MTU Maintenance Zhuhai, a joint venture between MTU Aero Engines and China Southern Airlines, has completed its facility expansion to increase existing capacity by 50% to 450 shop visits per year and adding ca. 13,600 m² as well as employee sport and parking facilities. Teams will start moving into the office buildings from December and the shop will ramp up initially to full capacity as market demand increases post COVID-19 crisis. 

“We’re extremely confident in the recovery of the Chinese and Asian market region, as underlined by our commitment to building a second facility in the region announced earlier this week,” says Michael Schreyögg, Chief Program Officer, MTU Aero Engines. “Despite a slow second quarter, MTU Maintenance Zhuhai is back operating at nearly 100% and assuming this trend continues, we’re very optimistic about 2021 at the facility.” 

The shop just completed its 3,000th engine, a V2500 from its joint venture partner.

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Embraer delivers first modernized E-99 jet to the Brazilian Air Force

Embraer has delivered the first modernized EMB 145 AEW&C (Airborne Early Warning and Control), designated E-99, to the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). Four additional E-99 aircraft will be modernized as part of the contract.

The mission systems and related subsystems, including electronic warfare, command and control, electronic countermeasures, and aerial surveillance radar were updated as part of the modernization process, expanding FAB's capacity to carry out Flight Control and Alarm missions and Electronic Reconnaissance, among others.

The E-99M project is conducted by COPAC with support from Embraer and various international suppliers, such as SAAB, Aeroelectronica International (AELI), and Rohde & Schwarz. In addition to modernization, the project entails technology transfer agreements that will enable technological advancements for the Brazilian defense industry.

Atech, an Embraer Defense and Security company, participates in the development of the command and control system. Six mission planning and analysis stations were also acquired, which will be used for the training and improvement of crews.

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