Wednesday, August 28th, 2019


World’s largest fire-fighting aircraft deployed over Amazon region

Viru Viru International Airport near Santa Cruz de la Sierra is Bolivia's most important airport. From the end of last week a red and white jumbo jet is taking off up to four times a day from the 3.5-kilometer-long runway. A "Global Supertanker", the largest fire-fighting aircraft in the world and it is there at the request of the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales to help fight the fires in the Amazon savannah region of Chiquitania.

The home base of the converted Boeing 747-400 is in Sacramento, California and it is operated by Global SuperTanker Services. “The Spirit of John Muir differs from other firefighting planes not
just because it is capable of variable rate drops,” commented Jim Wheeler, President and CEO of Global SuperTanker Services when the four-engine aircraft was first converted. “As the world’s largest aerial firefighting asset, the John Muir can fly 600 miles per hour for long ranges at efficient altitudes, reaching and combatting any fire in the Western U.S. in less than three hours.” The aircraft bears the name "Spirit of John Muir" after the Scottish-American natural philosopher who, as one of the co-founders of the Sierra Club, brought nature conservation to the USA. On the tail fin, the white number "944" is emblazoned on a red background, an internal registration number of the operator.

The aircraft, which was first used as a passenger aircraft for Japan Airlines and later as a freighter for Evergreen International, is particularly unique because of what will be found in its interior: There are eight pressurized tanks that, combined, can hold up to 90,000 liters (20,000 gallons) of water or fire-retardant chemicals. The liquids can be pumped out through four individual openings in the hull which can either be emptied simultaneously with great force or discharged more slowly to create artificial rain.


5,200 Alaska Airlines employees ratify new five-year agreements

5,200 Alaska Airlines employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, have voted to ratify two new five-year agreements. The two agreements cover the nearly 4,500 clerical, office and passenger service employees and more than 700 ramp service and stores agent employees. The two new agreements include wage increases, work security and retirement enhancements among other improvements.

Collective bargaining agreements in the airline industry do not expire, they become amendable. Once an agreement becomes amendable, that agreement remains in effect until a new agreement is ratified. 

Boeing introduces Tailored Charts for Avionics Services

Boeing is offering a new navigation service to enhance efficient flight deck operations for pilots. Jeppesen Tailored Charts for Avionics is being introduced initially with Honeywell Primus Epic INAV avionics systems for tailored chart customers operating Embraer E2 commercial aircraft. Regional airline Wideroe of Norway is the first operator to use the new tailored navigation service.

Jeppesen Tailored Charts for Avionics now provides pilots with operator-specific charting navigation information that is available through installed, front-panel avionics systems. It allows pilots to view different navigation data points on different display platforms, including Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro tablet-based electronic flight bag (EFB) in addition to the front panel avionics, based on pilot preference.

While it is currently only available with Honeywell Primus Epic INAV avionics systems on Embraer E2 aircraft, Jeppesen Tailored Charts for Avionics is planned to include other popular avionics manufacturer systems in the future to serve airlines, government operators and business aviation pilots.


Flughafen Zürich posts profit of CHF 143.4 million for first half of 2019

Flughafen Zürich has reported a profit of CHF 143.4 million for the first half of 2019. After adjusting the one-off effect for additional provisions for sound insulation measures in 2018, profit rose by CHF 13.1 million (+10.1%).

Between January and June 2019, 14.9 million passengers used Zurich Airport as their departure, transfer or destination airport, representing an increase of 2.4% over the prior-year period. The number of local passengers rose by 1.1%, while transfer passengers recorded an increase of 5.7%. As a result, the proportion of transfer passengers went up from 28.4% to 29.3% compared with the prior-year period. Markets in all regions performed well. While the European market grew by 0.4%, the number of passengers heading for intercontinental destinations increased by 8.4%.

The number of flight movements climbed by 0.9% to 135,871 take-offs and landings in the first half of 2019. The seat load factor per flight movement fell from 76.7% to 75.9%, while the average number of passengers per flight movement (scheduled and charter) remained stable at 125 passengers. Compared with the prior-year period, the volume of freight handled at Zurich Airport fell by 7.5% to 226,003 tonnes.

Revenue grew by 8.8% compared with the first half of 2018 to CHF 588.0 million. In line with the growth in traffic, aviation revenue rose by 2.1% to CHF 315.4 million. Non-aviation revenue increased by 17.9% to CHF 272.6 million.

West Star Aviation appoints Rusty Gardner as Avionics Install Manager

West Star Aviation has appointed Rusty Gardner as the new Avionics Install Manager at their East Alton (ALN) location.

Gardner has over 19 years of aviation experience and formally served as a project manager in the avionics department at West Star, along with previous positions held at Flying Colours, Jet Aviation and Duncan.  He has also served in the Air Force for seven years as a Guidance and Control Systems Specialist (GACS).

SR Technics

Swedish Air Ambulance Organisation opts for six Pilatus PC-24s

The Kommunalförbundet Svenskt Ambulansflyg (KSA) has opted for six Pilatus PC-24s in a fully equipped air ambulance configuration. These PC-24s will provide aeromedical care across Sweden from 2021.

KSA is a national organisation formed, mutually owned and financed by all 21 regions in Sweden. The regions are responsible for ensuring that everyone living in Sweden has equal access to good healthcare. Time is the essence for patients in an emergency and given the vastness of Sweden, the establishment of a national air ambulance service provides all residents with access to rapid, professional aeromedical care. Combining the speed of a jet with the ability to use short runways – one of the great strengths of the PC-24 – the Super Versatile Jet from Pilatus is the ideal aircraft for KSA.

Qantas Freight welcomes first Boeing 747-8F freighter

Qantas Freight has welcomed a new addition to its fleet with the first of two Boeing 747-8F freighter aircraft touching down in Sydney on August 27. The next generation freighters will be operated by Atlas Air, on behalf of Qantas. Each aircraft offers 20% more freight capacity and space for seven extra cargo pallets compared to the 747-400F.

The two freighters will operate between Australia, China and the USA with additional routes currently being explored. The second 747-8F aircraft will enter service later this week.

While the aircraft will be painted in Atlas Air livery, the Qantas Freight logo will be displayed on either side of the nose and underneath the freighters’ nose cargo door.

Werner Aero Services

S7 Technics to maintain Embraer E170s at Irkutsk line station

S7 Technics’ Irkutsk line station has won approval from the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA)
to provide line maintenance services for the Embraer E170 aircraft type.

Previously, the only facility able to maintain Embraer E170s in Siberia and the Russian Far East was the S7 Technics base at Novosibirk’s Tolmachevo airport where specialists have been performing periodic maintenance checks on the aircraft type for two years.

S7 Technics’ Irkutsk line station won its authorisation to perform line maintenance works on the
E170 aircraft in August and the organisation’s specialists plan to start maintaining the type within the fleet of S7 Airlines – the only Russian operator of the E170 – in September.

Atlas Air prevails in pilot labor arbitration

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings has confirmed that its subsidiary, Atlas Air, prevailed in an important arbitration between the Company and the union that represents its pilots, the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224.  The August 26, 2019 arbitration decision affirms that the merger provisions of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) apply in connection with Atlas Air’s acquisition of Southern Air, in April 2016.

It further affirms the Company’s long-standing position that the Union has been in violation of the existing CBA by refusing to follow the merger provisions for a new joint collective bargaining agreement (JCBA), and by failing to present an integrated pilot seniority list to the Company.  In a separate, but related, proceeding, the Union was also found to be in violation of the Southern Air CBA for refusing to follow the merger provisions for this JCBA on behalf of the Southern Air pilots.

The arbitrators in both cases ordered the Union to now proceed with contractually required negotiations for a new JCBA in connection with the merger.  The Union is required to submit an integrated seniority list of Atlas Air and Southern Air pilots to the company within 45 days, followed by a period of bargaining, after which any unresolved issues would be submitted to timely, interest-based arbitration.


Sabre opens Boston Innovation Lab

Texas-based Sabre Corporation, a leading technology provider to the global travel industry, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on August 27, to mark the grand opening of its Boston Innovation Lab.

The Innovation Lab will serve as the headquarters for Sabre Labs, Sabre’s global research and development arm that explores novel uses of big data, machine learning, AI and other emerging
technologies to shape the future of travel. Sabre strategically selected Boston’s popular Seaport District and plans to draw upon the City’s innovation economy powered by its world-renowned research institutions and community of leading technology companies.

“Boston was an obvious choice for the location of our Innovation Hub,” said Sundar Narasimhan, president of Sabre Labs and Product Strategy. “It has a vibrant technology community and access to talent from the nation’s foremost technical universities. In this Lab, our team of software engineers will work in close collaboration with Sabre’s product development teams and customers to accelerate ideas into next-generation solutions that reimagine the business of travel.”

Sabre’s technologies produced US$3.9 billion in revenue in 2018, reflecting longstanding strengths in travel and technology. Sabre operates the world’s largest travel marketplace and processes more than US$120 billion in travel spend annually. Its range of SaaS solutions, from baggage tracking solutions to intelligent retailing offerings serve hundreds of airlines, over 42,000 hotel properties, thousands of travel agencies, and many more players throughout the travel industry including car rental companies and cruise lines.


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Advanced Engineering 2019
October 30 - 31, 2019 – NEC, Birmingham, UK

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November 26 - 27, 2019 – Hotel Novotel Amsterdam City, Amsterdam, NL