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Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

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Cyprus turns to SITA for ATC Datalink Services to operate CPDLC in its airspace

Cyprus, a member state of the European Union (EU) will become the first south-eastern European country to use digital messages instead of voice communications to comply with EU-mandated air traffic control (ATC) standards for routine airspace clearances.

Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) must be provided by all member states in upper airspace.  The Cyprus Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (CYTA) have chosen SITA's ATC Datalink Services to support the efficient and safe operation of CPDLC in Cyprus' airspace, which covers a land and sea surface of 175,000 km².

DCA's Haris Antoniades, Head of Area Control Center Nicosia, said: "SITA provides complete VHF coverage of our airspace, including the maritime area, and ensures that the air/ground data exchange meets the stringent performance requirements of modern ATC operations. The new set-up allows dynamic routing of ATC messages between Cyprus' ground control center and aircraft flying in the Cyprus airspace or its vicinity. In terms of CPDLC compliance, we are closing an important gap in European airspace.”

To cover Cyprus' airspace, SITA is adding two new VDLm2 ground stations in Larnaca and Paphos to its existing VHF stations. SITA is also supplying the ATN (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network) ground router (based on Thales' ProATN) and connecting to its AIRCOM® ATC services via the pan-European NewPENS ATC network.

CPDLC is a means of communication between air traffic controllers and pilots to exchange routine ATC clearance messages in digital format. Controllers can issue clearances (e.g., flight level and speed assignments), assign radio frequencies, and request information. Pilots, via their cockpit display, can respond to the messages or request information themselves.

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Star Alliance to establish management office in Singapore

Star Alliance will establish a management office in the city state of Singapore later this year. This was a decision taken by its Chief Executive Board, comprising the Chief Executive Officers of its 26 member airlines, who considered a new center of excellence to be an important dimension of positioning the Alliance to deliver on its post-Coronavirus strategy, and for it to remain innovative, resilient and nimble. The new setup reflects the global character of the Alliance.

All businesses are reimagining a post-pandemic world fundamentally changed by COVID-19, and the associated disruption to global networks, economies, and the livelihoods of many. A consequence of the world’s reaction to COVID-19 has been the destabilizing effect it has had on aviation. This decision to future-proof the Alliance was made against this backdrop. Effectively, Star Alliance will maintain two centers of excellence internationally, in keeping with the global character of the Alliance. 

The Singapore office will complement the long-standing office in Frankfurt, Germany and will focus on progressing its strategy in digital customer experience. Two members of the Alliance, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, have established innovation hubs in the City, another benefit as the Alliance continues its ground-breaking digital customer experience innovations.


Sage-Popovich to acquire Togs Aircraft

Sage-Popovich (SPI) has agreed to acquire Togs Aircraft, LLC (TOGS), an FAA Part-145 Repair Station. TOGS has been in business for more than 20-years and has maintained a wide array of both fixed-wing and rotary aircraft since its inception. TOGS’s capabilities range from light to heavy turboprops, helicopters, corporate jets, and regional airline equipment. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2021.

Nick Popovich, chairman of SPI, discussed his 35-year history with Blake Groat, president of TOGS.

“I met Blake when repossessing aircraft from a charter operator in Michigan,” Popovich said. “The aircraft and records were so well maintained that I approached, and retained, Blake to become the director of maintenance for an aviation group in Illinois that I was managing as a consultant. When my contract there ended, Blake left and created TOGS. Since then, TOGS has been our maintenance repair and overhaul provider of choice.”

Throughout the years, SPI has continued to utilize TOGS for pre-purchase inspections, maintenance of corporate aircraft and helicopters, and repossession support for clients worldwide.

SPI is eager to add FAA Repair Station capabilities to its family of companies, which for 42-years have offered aviation expertise globally. With this acquisition, SPI further expands its capabilities to provide pre-purchase inspections, scheduled and unscheduled Maintenance, AOG and mobile services, aircraft importing and exporting as well as logbook reviews.


JetBlue announces US$650 million convertible senior notes offering

JetBlue Airways has announced that it intends to offer US$650 million aggregate principal amount of convertible senior notes due 2026, subject to market and other conditions. The notes are being offered only to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A (the offering) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the Securities Act). JetBlue also expects to grant the initial purchasers of the notes an option to purchase, within a 13-day period from, and including, the date of original issuance of the notes, up to an additional US$100 million aggregate principal amount of the notes. JetBlue intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, which may include the repayment of indebtedness.

The initial conversion price, interest rate and certain other terms of the notes will be determined by negotiations between JetBlue and the initial purchasers. The notes will mature on April 1, 2026, unless repurchased, redeemed or converted in accordance with their terms prior to maturity. The notes will also be redeemable, in whole or in part, for cash at JetBlue’s option at any time, and from time to time, on or after April 1, 2024 in certain circumstances.


Alaska Airlines names Constance von Muehlen Chief Operating Officer

Alaska Air Group has appointed Constance von Muehlen as Chief Operating Officer of Alaska Airlines, effective April 3, 2021. Upon assuming this role, von Muehlen will join Alaska's Executive Committee and report to Ben Minicucci, who becomes Chief Executive Officer on March 31, 2021. She succeeds current COO, Gary Beck, who has announced his retirement following an impressive 47-year career in aviation.

A 30-year aviation veteran who received her leadership training flying Black Hawk helicopters as a Captain in the U.S. Army, von Muehlen brings a proven track record of safety and operational excellence to the role. As COO, von Muehlen will oversee the day-to-day operations on the ground and in the air for Alaska Airlines, focusing on delivering on Alaska's commitment to genuine, caring service that ensures a safe, reliable, hassle-free, and welcoming experience for all guests. She will also serve as board chair of McGee Air Services, where she will oversee operations at Alaska's ground services subsidiary.

Breeze Airways takes delivery of third Embraer E190 from NAC

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has delivered one Embraer E190, MSN 19000075, to ultra-low-cost start-up airline Breeze Airways on lease. This is the third aircraft to deliver as part of a fifteen E190 aircraft lease agreement made with Breeze Airways.

Breeze Airways, based in Salt Lake City, was founded by David Neeleman, an aviation veteran who had previously founded JetBlue Airways, low-fare carrier WestJet and Morris Air, which was purchased by Southwest Airlines.

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