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Monday, March 29th, 2021

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Boeing recommences 787 deliveries, but FAA strengthens inspection procedures

Boeing has announced it has recommenced deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner jet, having handed over one of the wide-body jets to United Airlines on Friday, March 26. The American planemaker is currently working through a raft of production defects that have kept dozens of the aircraft on the ground. However, Boeing remains on target with its previously projected delivery schedule for a few of the aircraft.

Deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner were suspended back in October 2020 and since then Boeing has dealt with structural integrity flaws embedded in dozens of the jets, during which period the company has suffered from the loss of a major source of revenue. It is understood that inspections and any necessary retrofits have the potential to take months for each individual Dreamliner, the result being costs for Boeing running into hundreds of million, if not billions of dollars.

The delivered jet was one of four that have been inspected by the FAA which last week had said it would handle pre-delivery checks on these particular aircraft. It was back in September 2020 that Boeing grounded eight 787 Dreamliners after finding two manufacturing flaws that could compromize the jet’s structural integrity.

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Norwegian appoints Adrian Dunne Executive Vice President Operations

Adrian Dunne will join Norwegian as the company’s new EVP Operations. Dunne has more than thirty years of experience as a leader within the aviation industry. The first 16 years of his aviation career, Dunne spent with the Irish airline Aer Lingus where he held various positions, including managing all the airline’s operations at Heathrow airport in London and in Dublin. Following this, he held managerial positions with Ryanair over the last 15 years, including Director of Ground Operations and Director of Operations.

Dunne will take over from Johan Gauermann, who was appointed interim head of Operations in June 2020. Gauermann will continue to act as interim until future notice and return to his permanent role as SVP Flight Operations when Dunne takes over as the new EVP Operations. Dunne will have his base at the Norwegian headquarters outside Oslo. The start date will be announced in due course.

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SITA launches WorldTracer Lost and Found Property

SITA has launched WorldTracer Lost and Found Property, an artificial intelligence-enabled solution that solves a million-dollar headache for the air transport industry: how to quickly return items left behind on aircraft or in airports to their owners.

Every year passengers leave millions of items – including phones, wallets and bags – on planes and in airports, costing the industry millions of dollars in repatriation costs. It can cost up to US$95 to manage and repatriate a lost item, including registration, handling inquiries and customer calls, storage and postage.

Leveraging SITA’s WorldTracer solution, which is used in 2,200 airports by the majority of the world’s airlines, Lost and Found Property cuts the cost of repatriating lost items by 90%. Airline employees can register a found item, create a missing item report, and validate a match in under two minutes. The solution also dramatically speeds up the time taken to find and return found items, with 60% of these items returned within the first 48 hours.

The process of handling lost property today is also still largely manual. Multiple stakeholders are involved, and very often the airline lacks control or visibility of the entire chain of events. Further complicating this manual process is the protracted time taken to match an item to a missing report. Passengers can now register a claim using their mobile device in a matter of seconds to report, pay for and organize repatriation as well as track their item at every step.

Using cutting-edge technology such as computer vision, machine learning and natural language processing, WorldTracer Lost and Found Property searches a global database of images and descriptions to match the found item to a missing item report. The solution uses image recognition to identify details such as brand, material and color of the missing item. It is also recognizes similar words in the description to make a definitive match.

The airline can then immediately notify the owner and have the item returned to them. The passenger and the airline have full visibility of the process through the WorldTracer portal no matter where in the world the item was lost, a feature that is expected to significantly improve passenger satisfaction.

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Rolls-Royce officilly starts building of largest aero-engine, UltraFan

Rolls-Royce has officially started building the world’s largest aero-engine, UltraFan®, which will help redefine sustainable air travel for decades to come.

Work on the first module is underway at Rolls-Royce's dedicated DemoWorks facility in Derby, U.K., and the demonstrator engine, which has a fan diameter of 140 inches, will be completed by the end of the year. The engine is the basis for a potential new family of UltraFan engines able to power both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft and deliver a 25% fuel efficiency improvement compared with the first generation of Trent engine.

That performance improvement is crucial to achieving aviation sustainability. Gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years, and UltraFan’s efficiency will help improve the economics of an industry transition to more sustainable fuels, which are likely to be more expensive in the short-term than traditional jet fuel. The first test run of the engine will be conducted on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Significant investment has been made to develop the UltraFan demonstrator and associated technologies by Rolls-Royce and a variety of funding agencies, including the Aerospace Technology Institute and Innovate U.K. (United Kingdom), LuFo (Germany) and Clean Sky Joint Undertaking (European Union).

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Leonardo delivers tenth “SAR Queen” to Norway

Leonardo has successfully delivered the tenth AW101 All-Weather Search and Rescue (AWSAR) helicopter to the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security.

The remaining six aircraft out of 16 are currently being assembled, integrated and tested at Leonardo’s site in Yeovil, U.K. The 330 squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which operates the platform, has completed more than 200 flight hours, largely on SAR operations, which have included several life-saving missions in the inhospitable Norwegian environment, such as a night mountain rescue, an offshore rescue, as well as a challenging emergency transportation. Further to the go-live of Sola in September 2020, further bases in Ørland and Banak are expected to become operational this year.

SAS enters financial agreement on deliveries of new aircraft

SAS has secured financing of three Airbus A320neos and one Airbus A350-900 aircraft through a S&LB-agreement with CDB Aviation Lease Finance. The A350 was delivered on March 26, and the three A320neo aircraft will be delivered to SAS during spring of 2022. In addition, the agreement also includes PDP (Pre Delivery Payments) financing of five A320neos to be delivered in 2022. The agreement means that SAS will sell the aircraft to CDB Aviation Lease Finance and then lease them back on a long-term lease.

Through the agreement, SAS has secured financing of all Airbus aircraft deliveries until the second quarter of 2022. In total SAS has ordered 80 A320neos, three A321LRs and eight A350-900s.

Continuing to add A320neo and A350-900 aircraft types into SAS' fleet is an important strategic step in SAS' sustainability development and the goal of a “one type fleet” on SAS short haul operations. Both aircraft types are state-of-the-art with superior fuel efficiency and the lowest environmental footprint and operating costs available.
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Tamar