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Thursday, August 12th, 2021

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Boeing 737 MAX begins required test flights in China

Data released by online flight-tracking Flightradar24 shows that a Boeing 737 MAX took to the skies in China, taking off from Shanghai's Pudong International Airport on August 11, at 9:24 a.m. It is understood that the plane subsequently landed at Zhoushan Putuoshan Airport, about 150 km (80 nautical miles) to the south where Boeing has a completion plant for installing interiors and painting liveries.

According to Reuters news agency the jet left Seattle last week, refuelling at Honolulu and Guam on its way to Shanghai where it arrived on August 7. Boeing confirmed that it was continuing to work with global regulators as they complete their validation processes on the 737 MAX but declined to comment on the test flight in China.

China has indicated that it will consider issuing an aircraft evaluation report for the 737 MAX for evaluation and comment. However, that will be insufficient for the jet to begin flying again after being grounded in China for over two years. China's aviation regulator previously issued three requirements for the 737 MAX's return to service: certified design changes, sufficient pilot training, and definitive findings from the crash investigations.

Tensions between Washington and China have not helped the situation and although Boeings Chief Executive David Calhoun is confident that the 737 MAX should win approval prior to the year-end. Prior to the grounding of the 737 MAX in China roughly 25% of all MAXs manufactured were sold to Chinese buyers.

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Bombardier takes delivery of 100th Pearl 15 engine

Rolls-Royce has delivered the 100th Pearl 15 engine to its customer Bombardier in Montreal, Canada. The engine, developed and built in Dahlewitz near Berlin, Germany, is the first member of the successful Pearl engine family and the exclusive option for Bombardier’s latest business jets, the Global 5500 and Global 6500.

The engine was custom-designed for these aircraft, which have the longest range and the largest cabin in their category and feature Bombardier’s signature smooth ride technology.

The Dahlewitz site, which has delivered more than 1,800 engines overall to Bombardier to date, started production in June 1995 and today employs approximately 2,500 people. As Rolls-Royce’s Center of Excellence for Business Aviation engines, the site has an important role in its global manufacturing and development footprint.

Joby Aviation becomes publicly traded company

JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), the corporate venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue Airways, has announced that its portfolio company Joby Aviation (Joby) has completed its merger with Reinvent Technology Partners (Reinvent), a special purpose acquisition company. The combined company is now listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for public trading under the ticker symbols “JOBY” and “JOBY WS,” respectively.

Joby is building a fully-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) passenger aircraft that it intends to operate for commercial use in the U.S. beginning in 2024. The piloted, four-passenger aircraft travels at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, flies 150 miles on a single charge, and will be significantly quieter than existing rotor-craft or small planes during takeoff and landing.

JTV’s initial 2017 strategic investment in Joby aligns with its commitment to identify and invest in sustainable travel technology. In doing so, the subsidiary also aids JetBlue’s mission to become a sustainability leader. This announcement follows recent news that JetBlue is working in conjunction with Joby and Signature Aviation to ensure that the carbon markets for aviation include the generation of credits for flights powered by green electric and hydrogen propulsion technologies.

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Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo extend dnata partnership in the U.K.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo have extended their long-standing partnership with dnata for a further five years, continuing the successful operation of ground handling and export services from the joint London Heathrow hub and Manchester Airport. The partnership also includes regional cargo gateways London Gatwick, Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

In conjunction with the partnership extension, the Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo teams will continue to work from the dnata City East facility. The airlines’ cargo operational and customer teams have so far benefited from working under one roof, sharing ways of working to support significant growth for the cargo sectors of the two carriers in the last year.

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Cargo are also set to take advantage of the brand new import facility, dnata City East Phase 2, later this year. The building will provide an additional 117,000 ft² in an adjacent state of the art building, as the two carriers continue to support vital supply chains across the globe.

Embraer’s Eve and Kenya Airways partner on future Urban Air Mobility

Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions (Eve) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Kenya Airways, the flag carrier of Kenya, through its fully owned subsidiary Fahari Aviation. This collaboration aims to develop operational models for the wide-accessibility of Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to support Fahari Aviation’s key markets. In addition, this partnership will establish the co-creation of a foundation of concepts and procedures to safely scale electrical vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, also known in the market as EVA (Electrical Vertical Aircraft).

Eve will support Fahari Aviation, the Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) division of Kenya Airways that promotes safe and secure UAS usage in the region, in establishing its UAM network and collaborate on the required Urban Air Traffic Management (UATM) procedures and UAM operating environment. This partnership will also allow Fahari Aviation to support Eve’s aircraft and product development process which will help guide the integration of UAM with Kenya Airways’ overall operations. Eve’s fully electric aircraft is designed to be accessible to all while being a community-friendly aircraft with a low noise signature and no emissions. It aims to drastically cut road travel time. It is ideally suited as a UAM aircraft bringing all traditional aviation travelers closer to their final destination efficiently and comfortably.

The partnership will deliver a robust strategy to provide Fahari Aviation’s passengers with a sustainable, accessible, and affordable transportation option. It is estimated that using UAM from the airport to downtown, EVA can reduce conventional road trips by up to 90% turning an hour and a half ride into a 6-minute flight.

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International cargo operator upgrades B767 flight decks with Thomas Global’s TFD-7000 series LCD displays

A major international cargo operator has selected Thomas Global’s TFD-7076 LCD displays from the TFD-7000 series to replace the legacy Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) Engine Indicating & Crew Alerting System (EICAS) displays remaining in the operator’s Boeing 767 flight decks, which had previously been retrofitted by Innovative Solutions & Support Inc. (IS&S).

The TFD-7000 Series is a drop-in replacement for all legacy CRT displays in Boeing 767, 757 and 737 flight decks. It also provides a standalone LCD solution for the CRT-based EICAS displays remaining in B757/767s installed with the IS&S flat-panel retrofit.

The TFD-7000 Series captures all the benefits of LCD technology, delivers dramatic operating efficiency and life-cycle cost improvements, and a growth platform for emerging airspace requirements. The drop-in design avoids major flight deck modifications, significantly reducing associated aircraft downtime and crew retraining costs.

Spirit Aeronautics adds Texas location

Spirit Aeronautics, a leading avionics solutions provider for business, special missions, and military aircraft, has announced its expansion in a key location at Meachum International Airport (KFTW). Serving the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, Spirit Aeronautics will operate from Baker Aviation's new 70,000 ft² hangar facilities providing avionics modifications and flight line support for local aircraft operators.

Baker Aviation has recently constructed aircraft hangar facilities at KFTW for large business class aircraft to elevate its growing repair station and charter operations. This new expansion created an opportunity for partnership with Spirit Aeronautics to provide leading-edge avionics installation and complex modifications in partnership with Baker's repair station business.

"We saw an increasing need to provide high-level avionics services in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area," stated Rick Ochs, CEO Spirit Aeronautics, "Baker Aviation has designed state-of-the-art facilities with the capability for our team to continue providing the same level of avionics services and support as we've done for more than 20 years at our OH location. "
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Tamar Jorssen
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Tamar