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Monday, May 3rd, 2021

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Leonardo opens U.S. Helicopter Training Academy on schedule

Having announced at the 2019 Heli-Expo in Atlanta that it intended to create a U.S.-based Helicopter Training Academy, Leonardo S.p.A. has officially opened its brand-new, state-of-the-art Helicopter Training Academy in Philadelphia on schedule, despite the problems faced dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academy is located on its existing campus in northeast Philadelphia that also includes production, support, and administrative functions for the United States. The new Academy is part of an US$80 million investment in U.S. operations that will provide training services for pilots, cabin crews, and maintenance technicians across the Americas. The Training Academy in the U.S. will mirror the services provided by its sister facility in Sesto-Calende (Italy) offering ground, air and virtual training, and leverages also simulator capabilities jointly developed by Leonardo and CAE and operated by their Rotorsim JV.

The Academy features training services for the AW119, AW169, AW139 models and will be the sole venue for training services for the world’s first tiltrotor, the AW609, set to receive civil certification. Leonardo as the only helicopter OEM that has an own capability of designing, developing, delivering, qualifying, supporting, and operating the most complete range of training systems, with certified OEM-data into the simulated environment.

Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo CEO, said: “In our sector, only organizations with a clear vision, strategy and consistency in execution can aim for a sustainable long-term business and become strategic assets for their countries. We want to be regarded as a partner, not just a supplier, by continuing to ensure an outstanding service and training experience. And we integrate these capabilities into our unique helicopter offer with the ambition of becoming the world leader in the sector. Advanced simulation, augmented reality, artificial intelligence – all embedded today in our US Academy - are examples of this vision. It can leverage on game-changing technologies we are deploying and on investments in the deep digitalization of our offer and processes.”


National Aviation Services (NAS) Jordan to operate and manage Aqaba Air Cargo Terminal for another 20 years

National Aviation Services (NAS), the leading airport services provider in the emerging markets has renewed its contract with the Aqaba Development Corporation (ADC) and Aqaba Airports Company (AAC) to operate and manage Aqaba Air Cargo Terminal (AACT) for another 20 years. Aqaba with its strategic location and status as Jordan’s special economic zone is a regional hub for trade, tourism, and culture. The air cargo terminal, located within the King Hussein International Airport has been key to Aqaba’s logistics capabilities since its establishment in 2004.

As the exclusive cargo services provider, NAS has been the driving force at AACT since 2006, providing world class services including ground operations, cargo handling, warehousing services, bonded storage, safety and security services as well as ground equipment. The company introduced an advanced cargo management system to comprehensively manage every aspect of the cargo business ranging from pricing, cargo operations and billing to supply chain management. NAS also invested in the modernization of the cargo services by automating processes and providing transparency and tracking services to customers, which greatly supports import and export in the country.

ABL Aviation makes second innovative e-delivery of A320neo for Pegasus Airlines

ABL Aviation, the global independent aircraft investment management firm, has successfully completed another e-delivery of a new Airbus A320neo aircraft for Pegasus Airlines, on behalf of ABL Aviation’s Japanese partner.

The transaction follows the industry’s first ever 100% remote delivery of an aircraft, also arranged by ABL Aviation for Pegasus Airlines last April in the immediate wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both arrangements reflect ABL Aviation’s focus on technology-led solutions to ensure the aviation industry continues to innovate and drive efficiency. During the pandemic, the e-delivery also secures a safe working environment on behalf of investors, clients and employees. This deal completed against the backdrop of growing airline demand for newer, more fuel-efficient narrow-body aircraft, driven by the anticipation of a quicker recovery of short-haul and domestic travel.

E-deliveries comprise three phases: technical acceptance completion, electronic transfer-of-title; and ferry-flight and subsequent reception of the aircraft at the customer’s base. E-deliveries mean that none of the customer’s own staff need to be physically present at the Airbus delivery center, making it more environmentally friendly too.


EASA approves first Virtual Reality (VR)-based flight simulation training device

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has granted the first certificate for a Virtual Reality (VR) based Flight Simulation Training Device (FSTD).

The device, for rotorcraft pilots, enhances safety by opening the possibility of practicing risky maneuvers in a virtual  environment. This addresses a key risk area in rotorcraft operations, where statistics show that around 20% of accidents occur during training flights.  The device was developed and built by VRM Switzerland (VRMotion).

The suitability of the VR-concept was verified through a training evaluation program involving pilots from industry and aviation authorities, including helicopter flight instructors and test pilots. This evaluation confirmed the suitability of the VR-concept for training purposes, particularly for cases such as autorotation, hovering and slope landing where exact height perception and wide field of view are required.

As this is the first VR-based FSTD qualification, the process applied by EASA had to be adapted to ensure an equivalent safety level compliant with the FSTD certification specifications. EASA applied Special Conditions from the existing regulations that take account of the specificities of the new technology adapted to cockpit, display and motion systems. 

The FSTD is qualified as Flight and Navigation Procedures Trainer (FNPT) level II for a Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter, the most used helicopter worldwide for the initial training of helicopter pilots.


MTU Aero Engines posts first quarter 2021 adjusted net income of €58 million

MTU Aero Engines has published its figures for the first quarter of 2021: Revenue was €989 million, compared with €1,273 million in the first quarter of 2020. The operating profit decreased from €182 million to €86 million. The adjusted EBIT margin was 8.7% (1-3/2020: 14.3%). Adjusted net income was €58 million, compared with €128 million in the prior-year period.

“In the year-on-year comparison, it should be noted that the first three months of 2020 were a very strong quarter and the coronavirus pandemic had not yet affected our business figures,” said Reiner Winkler, CEO of MTU Aero Engines AG. “We are still operating profitably, even in the most severe crisis in our sector, and are confident that we will achieve the targets we have set for the full year.” MTU is therefore confirming its forecast for 2021.

There was a sharp drop in revenue in the first quarter of 2021, especially in the commercial engines business, where revenue fell by 37% to €250 million (1-3/2020: €399 million). “In this crisis, the airlines are focusing mainly on modern narrowbody aircraft,” said Winkler. “In view of this, it is not surprising that in the first quarter revenue in the commercial engine business was driven mainly by the PW1100G-JM engine for the A320neo.”

Revenue from the commercial maintenance business declined by 15% in the first quarter – from €795 million to €678 million. “The drop in revenue in our core business was partially offset by rising maintenance work on Geared Turbofan™ engines,” said Winkler. The most important revenue generators in the commercial maintenance business were the PW1100G-JM and the V2500 for the classic A320 aircraft-family.

Revenue from the military engine business contracted by 11% to €87 million in the first quarter (1-3/2020: €98 million). “The figures reflect the typical shifts within the quarters. The military business has not been affected by the coronavirus crisis,” said Winkler. The main source of revenue in the military engine business was the EJ200 engine for the Eurofighter.


Rajeev Bhalla named Director of the Board at Next Level Aviation

Seasoned senior finance executive Rajeev Bhalla has been named a Director of the Board at Next Level Aviation, a leader in the aerospace used serviceable materials (USM) market. He brings wide-ranging financial, operational, and strategic expertise to the company as it plans substantial growth in the coming years, both organically and through acquisition.

Bhalla’s background includes demonstrated discipline and expertise in finance, governance, and team development. This comes through current work as a Cerberus operating partner, board of director roles as well as experience in a number of successful companies.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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