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Thursday, August 19th, 2021

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airBaltic to get €90 million state capital injection

The Republic of Latvia, the majority stakeholder in its flag-carrying airline airBaltic, has agreed to invest €90 million equity into the struggling carrier. The investment has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia and will now be subject to the approval of the European Commission.

Martin Gauss, Chief Executive Officer of airBaltic: “The support of our majority shareholder to overcome the crisis reflects the recognition of the positive impact airBaltic has on the economy.”

The carrier pared back its workforce to around 1,000 essential workers to keep the carrier operational in 2020 as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic and a drop in passenger numbers by 73% compared to the previous year. airBaltic is responsible for 2.5% of the Latvian GDP and to support the local economy, the Latvian government has provided and continues to provide aid to all industries heavily affected by the crisis, including airBaltic.

The investment is planned to be returned to the Latvian state in the form of proceeds from selling shares during a planned initial public offering of airBaltic in the future. airBaltic operates 28 Airbus A220-300 aircraft through which it connects the Baltic region to over 70 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, and the CIS. (€1.00 = US$1.18 at time of publication.)


Swoop Aero and Skyports extend partnership to take drone deliveries to new heights

After the resounding success in contributing to the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) COVID-19 response, Australian drone logistics company Swoop Aero and U.K. advanced air mobility (AAM) company Skyports are extending their partnership to deploy drone delivery networks across the Americas and Europe.

The collaboration will combine Skyports' expertise in drone delivery operations with Swoop Aero's industry-leading technology and extensive experience to enable increased access to drone delivery solutions in locations throughout Europe and the Americas. In addition to streamlining and modernizing traditional logistics networks, the partnership will improve critical supply chains to support emergency responses, such as the COVID-19 crisis.

The announcement follows Swoop Aero’s recent launch of the Kite™ aircraft. The next-generation aircraft is designed with precision for urban flight and high-impact rural and remote operations and that Swoop Aero considers will be the most advanced aircraft of its type being progressed through U.S.A. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certification programs. Kite™ is the centerpiece of Swoop Aero’s full technology stack, including hardware, software, and supporting infrastructure, which will be a core component empowering Skyports’ global operations.

With the partnership, Skyports will be the first partner organization of Swoop Aero to gain access to the next-generation Kite™ aircraft as part of Swoop Aero’s Kite™ Pioneer Program. Skyports will incorporate the Kite™ aircraft into its fleet for usage across medical, maritime, and logistics drone delivery operations across Europe, the Americas and select countries across Asia-Pacific (APAC). Through this partnership, Skyports will enable Swoop Aero to accelerate the footprint of its technology around the world, making access to the skies seamless for more communities sooner.


Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to accept IATA travel pass

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has accepted IATA's Travel Pass to confirm pre-departure COVID-19 test results for departing and arriving passengers starting September 30, 2021. Eventually this acceptance will be expanded to vaccine certification.

Travellers to/from KSA will have the choice of using either the IATA Travel Pass or Tawakkalna, the country’s national health app, owned and developed by Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).

IATA and KSA are working comprehensively to restore international travel conveniently and safely. Saudi Arabian Airlines has been a trial partner in the development of the IATA Travel Pass. And work is progressing with GACA and Tawakkalna for IATA Travel Pass to be a vehicle for pre-arrival clearance for KSA. IATA Travel Pass will simplify and enhance compliance with health requirements for travellers entering the Kingdom and contribute to the safe restart of the travel and tourism industry, which is an important contributor to the Kingdom’s economy.

“Our collaboration with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, GACA, Tawakkalna and Saudi Arabian Airlines demonstrates a shared commitment to restore international air travel safely. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s acceptance of IATA Travel Pass will demonstrate how digital solutions can effectively manage both COVID-19 vaccine and test certificates. The trust that the KSA has placed in IATA Travel Pass is an example for other governments to follow,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.


Panasonic Avionics upgrades in-flight mobile connectivity with GigSky partnership

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic Avionics) is enhancing its in-flight mobile connectivity offering through a strategic partnership with GigSky, a global mobility provider based in Silicon Valley, California.

The partnership between Panasonic Avionics, its subsidiary AeroMobile and GigSky enables any eSIM-equipped mobile phone user to enjoy their in-flight mobile connectivity service—regardless of network operator—on selected airlines and flights. By downloading the award-winning GigSky app prior to departure, passengers can effortlessly pay for and access a daily connectivity pass.

Kevin Rogers, Senior Director, Mobile Services at Panasonic Avionics, said, “Digital innovation is at the forefront of everything we do at Panasonic Avionics. Our collaboration with GigSky marks our first eSIM partnership and enables us to enhance and bring more choice to the passenger experience. With GigSky’s support of our mobile services platform, passengers can connect their mobile phones across the globe regardless of which network provider they are with, replicating on-the-ground integrated connectivity in the skies."


Direct Maintenance to provide line maintenance services for China Southern Airlines in Africa

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO, has announced the recent expansion of their partnership agreement with China Southern Airlines, one of Asia’s leading airlines and taking over full technical handling of the operator’s fleet line maintenance services in Nairobi, Kenya.

„This is the first time a Chinese aircraft has been fully handled by an authorized third-party line maintenance provider in Africa, “ said Jacco Klerk, Managing Director at Direct Maintenance, about a true joint landmark achievement.               

Since 2015 Direct Maintenance has provided line maintenance technical support and related logistics services for the airlines' Airbus A330 aircraft on the Changsha-Nairobi route for China Southern Airlines.

Dr. William Willms becomes Chief Financial Officer of Lufthansa Technik

The Supervisory Board of Lufthansa Technik has appointed Dr. William Willms as a member of the Executive Board with effect from September 1 for three years. Dr. Willms will take over the finance department. He thus completes the Lufthansa Technik Executive Board, which already includes the CEO Dr. Johannes Bussmann and Soeren Stark as COO of the company.

After working in the financial sector, the doctor of law joined the Lufthansa group in 2008, initially as Director Finance at Lufthansa Technik. In 2013, he took over as Head of Finance. In 2016, he moved to Lufthansa AG as Vice President Corporate Strategy. In 2019, he became Senior Vice President Corporate Strategy, and since May 2020, he has been Executive Vice President Group and Airline Strategy, Business Development, Organizational Development, M&A and Special Projects. At the same time, he became a Member of the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

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