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Wednesday, July 7th, 2021

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Deutsche Aircraft and H2FLY sign MoU to explore hydrogen-powered commercial flights

Deutsche Aircraft and H2FLY have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to combine resources and collaborate in researching and developing hydrogen fuel cell technology for regional commercial aircraft.

At the heart of the project is a Dornier 328 twin turboprop aircraft that will be converted to become a demonstrator aircraft with its maiden flight scheduled for 2025. The goal of the project is to deliver carbon-neutral hydrogen-powered regional air travel for an aircraft up to 40 seats in capacity. The joint venture plans to equip the demonstrator aircraft with a 1.5MW hydrogen system, making it the most powerful hydrogen-electric-powered aircraft to date. H2FLY has already successfully demonstrated effective hydrogen fuel cell technology with its four-seat hydrogen-electric-powered HY4 which has carried out over 70 successful take-offs and landings, and which has a range of 750km. The project will also see the two companies combine to integrate the power system into the aircraft as well as defining the specific technical and certification requirements for fuel cell systems in EASA’s large aircraft class (“CS25”). The project is designed to complement the German Federal Government’s Aviation Strategy.

Commenting on the announcement, Prof. Dr. Josef Kallo, co-founder and CEO, H2FLY, said: “Flying provides an incredibly important opportunity for humankind, but today that opportunity comes at a significant cost to our planet. Hydrogen fuel cell technology provides an opportunity for us to completely eliminate carbon and NOx emissions from regional flights and the technology to make that happen is closer than most people think.”

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New Hardide Coatings' facility receives Airbus approval

Hardide Coatings, the developer and provider of advanced surface coating technology, has received full approval from Airbus to coat and process its components at the new and larger Longlands Road facility in Bicester, U.K.

This approval follows the relocation of the company and its equipment from Wedgwood Road, Bicester to newly built premises at Longlands Road, Bicester last year. The final coating reactor that remained in the Wedgwood Road site specifically to coat Airbus parts has now been relocated to the Longlands Road facility. The old Wedgwood Road site is now in the process of being decommissioned before the lease terminates in October 2021.

Greek airline SKY express to begin fleet modernization with ATR 72-600

Turboprop manufacturer ATR has delivered one ATR 72-600 aircraft to Greek airline SKY express. This deal represents a new country of operations for the ATR 72-600 which is currently flying in over 50 countries around the world. With a fleet of 10 ATR-500 series aircraft, the airline has opted to continue its long relationship with ATR for its fleet modernization project. When the ATR 72-600 enters service later this month, it will be the first step in ensuring continued and sustainable operations to Greece’s many islands.

In the context of the aviation industry’s collective goal of decarbonization and with many communities reliant on air links to supply essential connectivity, ATR aircraft represent the ideal solution to creating a more sustainable industry. The ATR 72-600 burns up to 40% less fuel and emits up to 40% less CO2 than a similarly-sized regional jet. In 2019, this advantage allowed it to become the first aircraft eligible for Green Financing loans.

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WestJet names Diederik Pen new Chief Operating Officer

WestJet announced the appointment of a new Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Diederik Pen, who will join the airline's executive leadership team in the early fall, following the completion of the immigration process. At that time, acting interim COO, Robert Antoniuk will take on a new role as Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer.

Pen has more than 25 years of aviation-industry experience in the Asia-Pacific and European regions, and joins WestJet most recently from Wizz Air, a fast-growing, ultra-low-cost business, where he was chief operations officer.

BA, Virgin Atlantic, and Heathrow launch trials to simplify travel rules for full vaccinated customers

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Heathrow have joined forces to prove it’s possible to quickly and easily verify those arriving into the U.K. who are fully vaccinated – an identification process already in place for outbound travel to several countries. Earlier this week, Germany became the latest country to confirm it would accept fully vaccinated U.K. travellers without the need to quarantine. The new U.K. proving trial, enabling inbound travelers to present their fully vaccinated status, will support the Government to move forward with its plans to remove quarantine for double jabbed passengers entering the U.K. from ‘amber list’ countries.

The initiative will see fully vaccinated volunteers traveling on selected flights from Athens, Los Angeles, Montego Bay and New York to London Heathrow showing proof of their vaccine status. The trial aims to reassure Government that airlines and airports can check vaccine status upstream and away from the Border, ensuring no further pressure in U.K. immigration halls. Those taking part in the trial will be able to use a dedicated arrivals lane at the border and British Airways customers will be able to access a discounted rate for the mandatory arrivals tests.

Internationally recognized vaccination credentials will be accepted in the proving trial including the NHS app, CDC card, U.S. state-level digital certification and EU Digital Covid Credential. British Airways will also support customers’ vaccine verification through the VeriFLY app and Virgin Atlantic customers can verify their vaccine certificate through a new digital uploader tool, developed in partnership with Delta Air Lines and backed by TrustAssure™ technology. As the proof-of-concept develops, the options for customers to show vaccine status will rapidly be expanded, across physical, digital and integrated formats, including IATA Travel Pass.

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Digital Propulsion: significant U.K. R&D program positions Dowty Propellers for sustainable, next generation hybrid platforms

Dowty Propellers, a global leader in composite propeller systems, has announced the successful completion of its largest ever propeller R&D program.

Dowty led the four-year Digital Propulsion (DigiProp) research and development program in collaboration with three of seven of the U.K.’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult centers. This was an ambitious £20 million project, part funded by the U.K. government, that sought to innovate every aspect of the design, manufacture, and testing of its propeller systems.

Dowty Propellers collaborated with three U.K. innovation centers on the DigiProp project. The National Composites Centre (NCC), The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and The University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC); all members of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The partners offered subject matter expertise on both established and emerging technologies, allowing Dowty Propellers to unlock some of the best next generation capabilities and innovations that the U.K. has to offer.

“This project has delivered innovations in propulsion performance and cost through design and productivity which has helped to transform R&D for propellers,” said Mark Scully, Head of Technology for Advanced Systems & Propulsion at the Aerospace Technology Institute. “With the assistance of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult partners, the manufacturing innovation has been deployed into the new state-of-the-art Dowty facility in Gloucester. This provides an excellent foundation for Dowty and the U.K. to secure future sustainable aerospace opportunities.”

Dowty Propellers is now beginning to use the next generation technologies realized in DigiProp for evolving aircraft applications and to target next generation platforms. Potential customers are benefiting from its ability to support customer attribute trade studies with short turnaround time on performance analysis.

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New Ulaanbaatar International Airport opens in Mongolia

Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Narita International Airport Corporation (NAA), Japan Airport Terminal Co., (JAT), and JALUX (JALUX) have announced that the new Ulaanbaatar International Airport (Official name: Chinggis Khaan International Airport) has been officially opened to the public on July 4, 2021. The new airport will be operated by the partners' joint venture with the Mongolian government that was established in 2019. Under the terms of its concession agreement with the government, New Ulaanbaatar International Airport LLC (NUBIA) will be in charge of airport operations for the next 15 years.

The new airport was originally scheduled to commence operations in 2020, but the opening was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All assets have now been safely transferred from the old airport (Buyant-Ukhaa International Airport), thereby readying the new airport for flights and passenger traffic.

Although the pandemic has significantly reduced air travel in Mongolia, demand for flights is expected to increase over the medium to long term, particularly in Ulaanbaatar, the country's capital and center of its political and economic activity. The new airport will likely play an increasingly prominent role over the coming years.

In operating the new airport, NUBIA will be taking advantage of the combined expertise of its four shareholders. MC boasts a strong track record in airports and other infrastructure projects in Japan and around the world, while NAA and JAT operate Narita International Airport and the passenger terminal buildings at Haneda Airport respectively. JALUX is engaged in airport retail businesses and also has experience managing overseas airports. In addition to prioritizing passenger safety, security and comfort, NUBIA plans to leverage the new airport to increase the number of routes and flights servicing Ulaanbaatar, develop attractive in-terminal commercial facilities, and otherwise enhance the new airport's services and profitability.

While maintaining all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, NUBIA is committed to building on a facility that is already being heralded as a symbol of bilateral cooperation between Japan and Mongolia, and in operating the new airport efficiently, the joint venture will do its best to contribute to the sustainable development of Mongolia's economy and society.
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