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Friday, September 3rd, 2021

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IATA blames government restrictions for failure in recovery of international travel

Willie Walsh, Director General, International Air Transport Association, has identified governments’ refusal to allow unrestricted travel, particularly for those passengers who are fully vaccinated. Commenting on travel demand for the month of July, 2021, Walsh said: “July results reflect people’s eagerness to travel during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Domestic traffic was back to 85% of pre-crisis levels, but international demand has only recovered just over a quarter of 2019 volumes. The problem is border control measures. Government decisions are not being driven by data, particularly with respect to the efficacy of vaccines. People traveled where they could, and that was primarily in domestic markets. A recovery of international travel needs governments to restore the freedom to travel. At a minimum, vaccinated travelers should not face restrictions. That would go a long way to reconnecting the world and reviving the travel and tourism sectors.” However, when compared to June this year, there is significant momentum in demand, despite this still being well below pre-COVID levels.

Total demand for air travel in July 2021 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) was down 53.1% compared to July 2019. This is a significant improvement from June when demand was 60% below June 2019 levels. International passenger demand in July was 73.6% below July 2019, bettering the 80.9% decline recorded in June 2021 versus two years ago.

All regions showed improvement and North American airlines posted the smallest decline in international RPKs (July traffic data from Africa was not available). Total domestic demand was down 15.6% versus pre-crisis levels (July 2019), compared to the 22.1% decline recorded in June over June 2019. Russia posted the best result for another month, with RPKs up 28.9% vs. July 2019. Where international passenger markets are concerned,

European carriers saw their July international traffic decline 64.2% versus July 2019, significantly bettering the 77.0% decrease in June compared to the same month in 2019. Capacity dropped 53.8% and load factor fell 19.9 percentage points to 69.0%.

Asia-Pacific airlines’ July international traffic fell 94.2% compared to July 2019, barely improved over the 94.7% drop registered in June 2021 versus June 2019 as the region continues to have the strictest border control measures. Capacity dropped 86.0% and the load factor was down 48.2 percentage points to 34.3%, by far the lowest among regions.

Middle Eastern airlines posted a 74.5% demand drop in July compared to July 2019, surpassing the 79.2% decrease in June, versus the same month in 2019. Capacity declined 59.5%, and load factor deteriorated 30.1 percentage points to 51.3%. North American carriers’ July demand fell 62.1% compared to the 2019 period, much improved on the 69.4% decline in June versus two years ago. Capacity sank 52.0%, and load factor dipped 18.6 percentage points to 69.3%.

Latin American airlines saw a 66.3% drop in July traffic, compared to the same month in 2019, improved over the 69.8% decline in June compared to June 2019. July capacity fell 60.5% and load factor dropped 12.6 percentage points to 72.9%, which was the highest load factor among the regions for the ninth consecutive month.

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David Neeleman to join Lilium Board following business combination with Qell

Lilium will appoint David Neeleman to the Board of Directors, effective upon completion of Lilium’s business combination with Qell Acquisition Corp.

With nearly 30 years of experience in commercial aviation and as the founder of five airlines, including JetBlue Airways and Azul Brazilian Airlines, David Neeleman brings significant expertise in building and scaling a mobility business across new markets. Neeleman currently serves as Chairman of Azul, which recently entered a strategic alliance with Lilium to transform high-speed regional transportation in Brazil.

“As a serial entrepreneur who has spent decades working in the aviation industry and watching it grapple with the challenge of sustainability, it’s clear to me that Lilium has the right team, technology, and vision to fundamentally transform how we travel. I’m excited to join this accomplished team of Board members and help build a new kind of network and service powered by electric flight” Neeleman states.

Neeleman joins other recently announced appointees to the post-combination Board, which is expected to be chaired by former Airbus CEO Thomas Enders and include Gabrielle Toledano, Chief Operating Officer at Keystone Strategy, and Henri Courpron, Founder and Chairman of Plane View Partners, and former CEO of International Lease Finance Corporation and Airbus North America.

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Eve and Microflite announce partnership to develop urban air mobility services in Australia

Eve Urban Air Mobility, an Embraer spinoff, and Microflite, have announced a partnership that will lay the foundation for urban air mobility operations in Australia that is expected to start in 2026.

Microflite and Eve plan to begin their partnership using helicopters, where appropriate, as a proof of concept to validate parameters that will apply to future electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft operations, also known in the market as EVA (Electrical Vertical Aircraft). This partnership also aims to develop new services and procedures that will create a safe and scalable operating environment for EVA operations together with communities and other industry stakeholders.

Microflite has worked with Eve since 2019 by contributing to the concept of operations developed jointly between Eve and Airservices Australia. This work laid the foundation for exploring new and practical concepts to safely facilitate the introduction of air taxis using Melbourne, Australia.

GA Telesis awarded ISO 14001 Certification for environmental management

GA Telesis, (GAT) has been awarded ISO 14001 certification reflecting GAT’s recognition of environmental sustainability and commitment to compliance with all relevant necessary regulations at GA Telesis facilities around the globe. The certification process follows standards set by ISO – the International Organization for Standardization - to reduce the effect of global warming and to avert any and all adverse impacts to the global climate. In addition, the new Environmental Management System (EMS) is a voluntary commitment that GAT has initiated to benefit its customers, employees, and the environment.

The ISO implementation took place over a span of six months. Audits were conducted at GAT distribution centers and offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Istanbul, and Taiwan. As a result of this certification, GAT has greatly improved its environmentally sensitive operations by reducing the adverse impact our activities, processes, products, and services have on the environment using a systematic approach embodied in ISO 14001.

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NASA begins air taxi flight testing with Joby

NASA has begun flight testing with Joby Aviation’s all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft as part of the agency’s Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) National Campaign. This testing runs through Friday, Sept.10, at Joby’s Electric Flight Base located near Big Sur, California. This is the first time NASA will test an eVTOL aircraft as part of the campaign. In the future, eVTOL aircraft could serve as air taxis for those in cities and surrounding areas around the country, adding another mode of transportation for moving people and goods.

NASA’s goal is to collect vehicle performance and acoustic data for use in modelling and simulation of future airspace concepts. This test will help identify gaps in current Federal Aviation Administration regulations and policies to help incorporate AAM aircraft into the National Airspace System. This multi-event campaign to advance airspace mobility in the U.S. will take place at multiple locations over several years.

During this round of testing, NASA will collect data from Joby’s eVTOL aircraft, which is intended to serve as a commercial passenger service in the future. Analyzing that data readies the AAM National Campaign to execute the first set of campaign tests, known as NC-1, slated for 2022, with more complex flight scenarios and other industry vehicles.

As the Joby aircraft flies planned test scenarios, the NASA team will collect information about how the vehicle moves, how the vehicle sounds, and how the vehicle communicates with controllers. Future partners will fly similar scenarios to evaluate their vehicle readiness.

The team will deploy the mobile acoustics facility and construct an array of more than 50 microphones to measure the acoustic profile of Joby’s aircraft in different phases of flight.

When fully integrated into the national airspace, AAM will provide an efficient and affordable system for passenger and cargo transportation, and other applications in the public interest. This system could include aircraft like package delivery drones, air taxis and medical transport vehicles.

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Rolls-Royce Ultrafan power gearbox tops world aerospace record

Rolls-Royce has announced that its UltraFan power gearbox has set a new world aerospace record at its facility in Germany.

The gearbox has reached 87,000 horsepower or 64 megawatts – enough to power a city the size of Bath, United Kingdom - on test at Dahlewitz, near Berlin. The power milestone was achieved as build continues on the power gearbox that will be delivered for the actual UltraFan demonstrator engine, UF001, later this year.

UltraFan, which is scalable for narrowbody or widebody aircraft, is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s commitment to making travel more sustainable. Gas turbines will continue to be the bedrock of long-haul aviation for many years, and UltraFan’s efficiency will help improve the economics of an industry transition to more sustainable fuels, which are likely to be more expensive in the short-term than traditional jet fuel. The first test run of the engine will be conducted on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

The PGB is playing a central role for the UltraFan engine, helping to deliver excellent efficiency levels over a wide range of thrusts. It has a planetary design, with each ‘planet’ capable of holding the force of a Trent XWB engine at full throttle. It is designed to allow the turbine at the rear of the engine to run at a very high speed while the fan at the front runs at a lower speed. This makes the engine very efficient, making the UltraFan engine 25% more fuel efficient than the first generation of Rolls-Royce Trent engines.

Development testing of the first prototype gearbox, focused on validation, endurance and reliability, began in 2017 at the dedicated PGB test facility in Dahlewitz. During a rigorous test regime, the power gearbox has since accumulated more than 650 testing hours and proven its capability of managing the equivalent power of an entire grid of Formula 1 cars.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar