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Thursday, April 1st, 2021

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Korean Air Lines to integrate with Asiana over two years and merge three low-cost carriers

Having announced in November last year that it intended to become the major shareholder in Asiana Airlines Inc with a US$1.59 billion investment. Korean Air Lines (Korean Air) has revealed that it anticipates that two years after the purchase has been concluded the two rival airlines will be integrated. In addition, Korean Air intends to merge its low-cost carrier Jin Air with Asiana’s two low-cost carriers, Air Busan and Air Seoul, to create a single budget airline that will maximize the advantages of economies of scale. “By consolidating these three airlines, it can become a top-level low-cost airline not only in Korea, but also in Asia,” Korean Air President Woo Keehong said.

Korean Air anticipates receiving competition approval from nine countries by the end of 2021. The merged carriers will aim to integrate their large aircraft fleets, some of which have different engine types for the same aircraft model, Woo said, adding that it would be easier to phase out Asiana’s planes because a large number of them had leases which are due to expire within the next five years. There are approximately 1,200 roles which will overlap between the airlines, but Korean Air hopes to resolve the problem through attrition and retirements as opposed to redundancies.

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Southwest Airlines opts for CFM LEAP-1B engines to power 737 MAX 7 aircraft

Southwest Airlines has announced the purchase of advanced CFM International LEAP-1B engines to power 100 Boeing 737 MAX 7 aircraft. Southwest originally launched the LEAP-1B engine on the 737 MAX in 2011 with an order for 150 firm aircraft. The new airplanes are scheduled to begin delivery in 2022.

CFM’s advanced LEAP engine continues to set new industry standards for fuel efficiency and asset utilization, logging more than 10 million engine flight hours in commercial operation. The fleet is providing better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, as well as a significant improvement in noise compared to the best CFM56 engines. The LEAP-1B engine entered into service on the Boeing 737 MAX in 2017. More than 460 aircraft have been delivered to some 50 operators worldwide and the fleet has logged 1.7 million engine flight hours.

Corsair takes delivery of first A330neo on lease from Avolon

Corsair has taken delivery of its first A330-900 aircraft, on lease from Avolon, to join the French airline’s fleet.

By selecting a total of five A330neos, Corsair is executing its strategy to become an all-A330 operator. Thanks to the A330neo’s latest technologies, Corsair will benefit from cost-effective and eco-efficient solutions.  

The aircraft features 352 seats in a three-class layout, providing all the comfort and amenities of Airbus’ ‘Airspace’ cabin, including state-of-the-art passenger in-flight entertainment (IFE) and full WiFi connectivity throughout the cabin.

The A330neo is powered by Rolls-Royce’s latest-generation Trent 7000 engines. The Corsair aircraft will also be the first A330neo to feature an increased maximum take-off weight of 251 tonnes. This capability will allow the airline to fly long-haul destinations up to 13,400 km (7,200nm) or benefit from ten tons more payload on board.

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U.S. Navy places order for more P-8A aircraft

The U.S. Navy has awarded Boeing a US$1.6 billion production contract for the next 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Nine aircraft will join the U.S. Navy fleet and two will go to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), a cooperative partner in the P-8A joint program since 2009. The contract brings the total number of U.S. Navy P-8A aircraft under contract to 128 and the RAAF total to 14.

The P-8A is a long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft used by the U.S. Navy. It’s vital for intelligence gathering, surveillance reconnaissance and search and rescue. Deployed around the world, with 103 aircraft in service and more than 300,000 flight-hours, the P-8’s performance and reliability deliver confidence to customers operating in an uncertain world.

RINA acquires Interconsulting Engineering in move to strengthen Space and Defense arm

RINA, the multinational inspection, certification and engineering consultancy company, has acquired the entire share capital of Interconsulting Engineering, headquartered in Rome, through its subsidiary RINA Consulting.

Interconsulting Engineering brings cutting-edge know-how in the design and development of integrated systems, applications and high-tech solutions in avionics to the group. With a turnover of approx. €5 million and 50 employees specializing in electronic systems, the company has participated in major Italian and international aerospace programs.

The acquisition, which has obtained the sector-specific authorisations, represents a further step forward in the implementation of RINA's strategy to grow in the Space and Defence sectors. This strategic move will augment RINA's existing expertise in safety-critical software engineering and complex electronic systems prototyping.

RINA has established a strong track record in research and technological development. It already operates in the Aerospace, Defence and Security sectors as a reference supplier, contributing to technology transfer from the space sector into general industry. In addition, RINA has a long history of collaboration with the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency and key players in the supply chain and participates in some of Europe's most important space projects such as the evolution of the Vega launcher and Galileo, the global navigation satellite system. Through this acquisition, RINA strengthens its position as a national body qualified to carry out highly strategic activities.

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SWISS appoints Romain Vetter as head of Western Switzerland

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has appointed Romain Vetter as its new Head of Western Switzerland. Together with his team, Vetter will be in overall commercial charge of SWISS’s business activities throughout Western Switzerland, reporting directly to Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour. He succeeds Lorenzo Stoll, who will assume his new duties as Head of Swiss WorldCargo on April 1.

Vetter joined SWISS’s Sales Channel Management in 2015. He went on to serve in Application Management as a project leader for new distribution channels such as the New Distribution Capability or NDC. Most recently he has been Head of Purchase Management Leisure for the Lufthansa Group, developing collaborations with key system partners within the travel sector.

Alaska Airlines officially joins oneworld

Marking a milestone in its 89-year history, Alaska Airlines celebrated its first day as a member of oneworld on March 31. Alaska becames the 14th full member of the global alliance, just eight months after receiving a formal invitation from oneworld in July 2020.

With safety protocols in place due to the pandemic, Alaska and oneworld hosted a virtual celebration and news conference in Seattle, the airline's hometown. Fellow airline members from around the world welcomed Alaska to the alliance with video greetings and provided versions of employees performing the Alaska Safety Dance, briefly renamed the Global Safety Dance.

For Alaska and its guests, oneworld provides a global network of flights to as many as 1,000 destinations across more than 170 countries and territories. With its membership in the alliance, Alaska will add seven new airline partners and enhance its six existing partnerships with oneworld members.

"We're delighted to welcome Alaska to the oneworld family. As the industry recovers from COVID, airline alliances are going to be more important than ever. Alaska will be an asset to the alliance, positioning oneworld to deliver even more value to our customers and member airlines," said oneworld Governing Board Chairman and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce.
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