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Monday, February 22nd, 2021

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The FAA now uses satellite data to track all Boeing 737 MAX jets

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that from January 29 this year, it has been monitoring the flights of all Boeing’s 737 MAX jets using data supplied by Aireon LLC, a traffic surveillance company. In November 2020, both Aireon and L3Harris Technologies announced a new partnership with the FAA which gave the FAA comprehensive access to Aireon’s real-time air traffic surveillance Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) data.

According to a statement from the agency on Friday: “Aireon is providing the agency with ADS-B flight data for all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.” It added that: “Aireon’s system will flag deviations from certain parameters during all phases of flight and alert the FAA’s aviation safety division. Safety engineers and inspectors will use the early notification to further analyze the incident.” 

Aireon data was used by the FAA when it decided to ground all 737 MAXs in March 2019, shortly after the second fatal MAX crash in five months. The 20-month grounding of the 737 MAX was lifted by the FAA back in November 2020 after a series of software safety enhancements and training changes were implemented by Boeing.

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Brian Pearce, IATA’s Chief Economist, to retire

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released that its Chief Economist, Brian Pearce, will retire from the organization in July 2021. A recruitment process has been launched to find a successor in time for a smooth transition.

Pearce joined IATA in 2004. Since then he has built IATA’s evidence-based economic analysis capabilities into the most authoritative source of insight on aviation’s global performance. He also serves on the Association’s Strategic Leadership team.

Astro Aerospace acquires Horizon Aircraft

Astro Aerospace has entered into a binding agreement to acquire Horizon Aircraft – the Canadian company which is currently developing its Cavorite X5 eVTOL.

The transaction is expected to close on or before the start of Q2 2021 pending customary closing conditions. In a press release, Astro has said the acquisition ‘will only push the company further, with the ability to reach greater heights working in tandem with Horizon’s exceptional team’.

Astro CEO Bruce Bent, said: “The acquisition of Horizon will allow the visions of both Horizon and Astro to align, creating a powerful force in the eVTOL market. Astro shareholders can soon anticipate exponential growth as we enter this next chapter as an even greater player in the aerospace industry.”

In 2018, Astro was at the time one of the first electric aircraft developers to successfully fly a piloted eVTOL aircraft, which was named ‘Elroy’. In the same year it bought PassengerDrone, which was the brainchild of Boyan Zhelev and Ivaylo Nikolov and conducted its first manned flight in September 2017 in Bulgaria.

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Air New Zealand trials global digital travel pass

With constantly changing entry and departure testing and paperwork requirements, Air New Zealand wants to streamline the health verification process for its customers. The airline will trial the digital Travel Pass app developed by International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its Auckland-Sydney route starting in April.

Air New Zealand Chief Digital Officer Jennifer Sepull says the goal is to enable customers to seamlessly manage their digital travel documentation throughout their travel experience.

"Once borders reopen, travel is going to look very different, with customers' health data needing to be verified at check-in. It's essentially like having a digital health certificate that can be easily and securely shared with airlines. This will give customers peace of mind that they meet all travel requirements for the different countries around the world before they even get to the airport.

"Reassuring customers that travel is in fact safe is one of our priorities. By using the app, customers can have confidence that everyone onboard meets the same government health requirements they do. By having a place to store all your health credentials digitally in one place, it will not only speed up the check-in process but unlock the potential for contactless travel."

Customer privacy is at the heart of the design. There is no central database storing personal information - rather it is shared at the travellers' discretion, in a safe and secure way.

Spatial doubles production capacity with latest expansion in RAKEZ

Spatial, one of the leading manufacturers of aviation training equipment, has announced its relocation to a bigger facility in RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone), a powerhouse business and industrial hub established by the Government of Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates.

The newly acquired 12,775 m² land is 73% larger than its previous location, in which the company is set to increase its production capacity by more than 50% and to serve its global customer base, including blue-chip airlines such as Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and British Airways. The new facility will be fully operational by the end of Q1 2021.

Spatial Composite Solutions in an ISO9001 certified provider of cabin crew training equipment, specializing in the manufacture of cutting edge emergency evacuation, cabin service and door trainers. Additionally, the company provides consultancy services in relation to the design and fit-out of cabin crew training facilities.

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Lorenzo Stoll named new Head of Swiss WorldCargo

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has appointed Lorenzo Stoll as the new head of its Swiss WorldCargo airfreight division. He will assume his new position, reporting to CFO Markus Binkert, on April 1. He succeeds Ashwin Bhat, who will take up new duties as Chief Commercial Officer of Lufthansa Cargo on March 1.

Stoll joined SWISS as its Head of Western Switzerland in 2013, and has since achieved the turnaround of the company’s Geneva business and operations together with his team. His wide experience in the consumer goods segment, his innovative flair and his keen focus on the customer, has further enhanced product and service quality. His success in Western Switzerland has been assisted by the extensive deployment from Geneva of SWISS’s advanced and efficient Airbus A220 aircraft fleet. Under his leadership, SWISS has also created over 200 new jobs at its Geneva location.

Stevens Aerospace acquires high-performance CNC machine to manufacture parts in-house

Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems (Stevens) has announced that its Greenville, S.C. (GYH) location has acquired a Hass VF-2SS high-performance super-speed Vertical CNC machine, giving them capabilities to manufacture parts in-house. This capability will serve all four Stevens locations and will decrease customer costs and down-times when immediate or lower cost parts needs arise, or when vendor lead times and price points can be improved.

The investment will also aid in Stevens’ STC development projects, resulting in quicker solutions to market at reduced costs. Combining this new capability with Stevens’ in-house engineering support ultimately gives the customer a better product, at a lower cost, and a quicker return to service.

“In-house machining is a big part of our strategy to complete major modifications and in-depth repairs efficiently and effectively,” said Travis Fleshman, Maintenance Manager at Stevens’ Greenville location. “The ability to fabricate custom parts, then walk out on the floor and fit them to the airplane reduces cost and saves precious time. Every process at Stevens Aerospace is designed and implemented with an eye to our customers and their needs. Our machining capability is no different.”
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