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Thursday, September 23rd, 2021

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Airbus extra-performing wing contributes to decarbonization roadmap

Airbus has launched a new project for an extra-performing wing demonstrator which will focus on accelerating and validating technologies in order to improve the wing performance of any aircraft produced in the future.

According to Airbus, “This scaled demonstrator will integrate and fly breakthrough wing technologies on a Cessna Citation VII business jet platform in representative flight conditions.” The intention is for the new extra-performing wing to be compatible with any aircraft configuration and propulsion solution and will help to reduce CO2 emissions. Airbus describes the concept behind the extra-performing wing as a solution similar to how an eagle adjusts its wings and feathers when soaring and this demonstrator will be geared towards flight efficiency.

Various technology bricks will be investigated to enable the active control of the wing, including: gust sensors, pop-up spoilers or plates that are rapidly deflected perpendicular to airflow, multifunctional trailing edges that dynamically change wing surface in flight and a semi-aeroelastic hinge. “Airbus’ extra-performing wing demonstrator is another example of Airbus’ novel technology-oriented solutions to decarbonize the aviation sector,” says Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer.

“Airbus is continuously investigating parallel and complementary solutions such as infrastructure, flight operations and aircraft structure. With this demonstrator, we will make significant strides in active control technology through research and applied testing of various technologies inspired by biomimicry.” The demonstrator is hosted within Airbus UpNext, a wholly owned Airbus subsidiary.

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IAG Cargo powers up its customer experience team with new leadership appointments

IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG), has announced new key customer-focused appointments to its leadership team. Pat Dobie, previously Chief Transformation Officer, is appointed Chief Customer and Infrastructure Officer. George Efkolodis joins the business as Head of Customer Experience, with over 20 years’ experience in the aviation industry.

These appointments underline the business‘ 'always moving’ mantra and its commitment to ensuring customers are at the heart of the business. They will focus on the end-to-end customer experience as the business continues to increase capacity on its network whilst offering cargo-only services and its popular charter product.

Dobie, who has been with IAG Cargo since 2017 and has over 30 years' experience in the logistics and aviation sector, has been instrumental in the business’s strategic change and transformation initiatives, fostering an agile culture whilst advancing digital capabilities.

Efkolodis has over 20 years’ experience in the aviation sector, having held senior roles at Munich Airport International, Heathrow and IATA. Dobie and Efkolodis will be supported by an expanding global customer services team.

Bamboo Airways signs agreement for GEnx engines

Bamboo Airways has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GE Aviation to purchase GEnx engines for its Boeing 787-9 aircraft order of ten firm and 20 options valued at close to US$2 billion list price. The MOU agreement is the largest deal in this signing series for Bamboo Airways.

According to the agreement, GEnx engines to be delivered in 2022 will power the wide-body Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet of Bamboo Airways. This fleet will operate on nonstop routes between Vietnam and the U.S. The Boeing 787-9 is currently one of the few modern wide-body aircraft capable of fulfilling the requirements of long-distance international routes like this 13-hour flight between the two countries.

The GEnx is a high-thrust jet engine developed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and 747-8 aircraft. It has the advantage of low fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions up to 15% compared to the GE’s CF6 engine. Representing a giant leap forward in propulsion technology, GEnx uses lightweight durable materials and advanced design processes to reduce weight, improve performance, and lower maintenance, making it the best engine choice for many long-haul flights.

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Norse Atlantic Airways and British Airline Pilots Association announce partnership

Norse Atlantic Airways (Norse) and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have entered into an agreement that will deliver hundreds of jobs in the U.K.

Norse plans to commence affordable flights between Europe and North America in 2022, with a fleet of more environmentally friendly Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

BALPA’s National Officer Terry Brandon, said: “This is a glimmer of hope for the struggling U.K. aviation industry that is much needed. We are pleased to welcome Norse Atlantic to London and the new jobs they will deliver at this critical time.”

“Our negotiating team has been incredibly impressed with the company’s business plan as it will provide sustainable long-term careers for our members on its transatlantic route network. This collective agreement will facilitate a fruitful relationship between BALPA and Norse to ensure that Norse is a great place to work.”

“With some government restrictions now being lifted, we hope the newest member of the BALPA family flourishes, and our new agreement with Norse provides opportunities for hundreds of our members.”

Boeing selects Toowoomba, Australia, for first final assembly facility outside North America

Boeing, in partnership with the Queensland Government, has selected Toowoomba as the preferred site for the company’s first aircraft assembly facility of its kind outside of North America.

Boeing Australia will establish the facility in the Wellcamp Aerospace and Defense Precinct at Wellcamp Airport to produce and assemble the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (also known as Loyal Wingman), the first military combat aircraft designed, developed and manufactured in Australia in half a century. The aircraft made its first flight in February 2021.

The partnership to establish the facility will create new opportunities for Toowoomba, bringing jobs and skill development to the region and the state.

“In choosing Wellcamp Airport, Boeing have taken an important step towards delivering their purpose-built final assembly facility. This has the potential to greatly improve our state’s advanced manufacturing capability and help shape a workforce of Queenslanders with the skills to build some of the world’s most cutting-edge aircraft,” said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Wagner Corporation expects that this facility will support approximately 300 jobs during construction and will create highly skilled jobs, furthering Queensland’s status as a center for defense industries.

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Finnair and Turkish Airlines sign code share agreement

Finnair and Turkish Airlines have signed a codeshare agreement that brings more choice to the airline's customers. Starting September 29, the Finnair AY code will be added to Turkish Airlines route between Helsinki and Istanbul, and from Istanbul to Athens, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Amman, Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Luxor, Antalya and Gazipasa.  Respectively, the Turkish Airlines TK code will be added to the following routes from Finnair’s Helsinki hub: Kuopio, Vaasa, Oulu, Rovaniemi, Reykjavik, Tallinn, Tartu, Riga, Vilnius, Antalya and Gazipasa.

“We are happy to be able to offer more options to our customers, as travel now starts to recover and our customers are again able to fulfil their travel dreams”, says Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer, Finnair. “We also welcome Turkish Airlines’ customers to explore the beautiful Nordics through our extensive network of connections from Helsinki.”

GKN Aerospace delivers first fixed trailing edge for Airbus’ “Wing of Tomorrow” program

GKN Aerospace has delivered the first FTE for Airbus’ ”Wing of tomorrow” research program from its global technology center (GTC) in Bristol. This builds upon the successful production earlier this year of the single piece composite wing spar, one of the most challenging wing components produced.

Chris Everett, GKN Aerospace Senior Vice President – Airbus Business said “The delivery of the first Wing of Tomorrow program trailing edge into Airbus marks a significant step forward in technology deployment for this type of application. Advances in composite manufacture and automated assembly techniques are set to demonstrate the ability to both produce such items at high rate whilst delivering significant reductions in energy utilization and waste.”

The technology deployed sees a move away from traditional, pre-impregnated resin material to dry composite fibers that are injected with resin as part of the initial manufacturing process. This results in significant weight savings, removes one third of the production steps and significantly reduces energy consumption.

Advances in the automation of assembly of the FTE equally are set to demonstrate significant benefits in quality, repeatability and assembly time necessary to meet the requirements of high rate wing manufacture.

GKN Aerospace is using its capability in design and manufacture of composite Wing Spars and assembly of Fixed Trailing Assemblies - as proven on the A330ceo/neo (on assembly technologies), A400M and A350 - to mature the key technologies.

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Mammoth Freighters adds wide-body MRO facility to B777 cargo conversion program initiative

Mammoth Freighters (Mammoth) has announced a strategic investment in a world-class wide-body maintenance and modification facility to support its Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER passenger-to-freighter conversion programs.  

Through its investment, Mammoth is embarking on a long-term partnership with GDC Technics (GDC), a global aerospace company with extensive expertise in engineeringand technical services, modifications, electronic systems, R&D, and MRO services. 

Located at Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, Texas, GDC has a state-of-the-art facility with 840,000 ft² and six wide-body hangar bays for modification and maintenance work on Boeing 777 aircraft.

Atlas Air Worldwide and FedEx sign new ACMI contract

Atlas Air has entered into a long-term agreement with FedEx to provide two Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft on a full-time aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) basis. This new agreement is in addition to the company’s existing multi-year peak season contract that provides FedEx with a minimum of five aircraft during the fourth quarter.

Both 747-400 freighters have entered service and are flying on behalf of FedEx to support its growing express and e-commerce network.

“We are pleased to grow our long-term relationship with FedEx. This agreement reflects the continued strong demand for airfreight capacity, particularly in the express and e-commerce markets,” said John W. Dietrich, President and Chief Executive Officer, Atlas Air Worldwide. “Atlas is a leader in supporting express networks, with a focus on operating the most modern, fuel-efficient aircraft to deliver high levels of on-time performance for our customers.”

Aeroclass, the online aviation training start-up attracts US$1.2 million in seed funding

Aviation e-learning platform Aeroclass has attracted US$1.2 million in seed funding from AeroCity Tech Ventures, a venture capital investing in aviation technologies. Aeroclass is the world’s first start-up to offer a modern online training platform specifically for aviation professionals.

According to the company’s CEO and co-founder, Lukas Rasciauskas, Aeroclass aims to revolutionize the aviation training industry by offering aeronautical professionals high-quality training on a convenient, ‘any time, any place’ platform. “The global pandemic has highlighted a long-standing problem with aviation training. The previously rigid sector was for the longest time in need of someone to come and shake the market from the ground up. That’s why we are here.”

Tech start-up Aeroclass is the first to introduce a virtual learning platform focused on the aviation industry, designed for professionals to acquire and deepen their knowledge in the aviation sector. The Aeroclass head emphasises that the uniqueness of the start-up lies in the focus on the peculiarities of the aviation business. “Until now, the main focus in the application of new technologies in aviation training has been on pilot and crew training. We, on the other hand, target the areas of aviation management, law, communication, finance, audit, and crisis management that have received less attention so far. Aeroclass training will help newcomers to the sector and professionals seeking to improve their skills to understand aviation more quickly,” he said.

Although Covid-19 has shone a light on online training, the potential of the sector had already been on the industry’s radar. “Even before the pandemic, the value of the e-learning market grew steadily and in 2018 reached as much as US$100 billion. In 2020, the market doubled to US$200 billion, and it is expected that by 2027 we will have another doubling of the market value. Therefore, we have decided that now is the best time to develop online learning solutions for the aviation sector. We are pleased that the potential of this business has been noticed by the AeroCity Tech Ventures and we believe that this investment will contribute towards our rapid and successful growth,” said Rasciauskas.

According to the head of the AeroCity Tech Ventures, Julius Norkunas, who has been intrinsically involved with innovations and start-ups for many years, this investment in Aeroclass is the venture capital's contribution to the aeronautical technology revolution. “We see huge potential in the virtual training sector, so we believe this investment will help modernise the aviation tech industry. AeroCity Tech Ventures plans to invest US$20 million in new and growing companies with valuable technological and modernisation ideas for the aviation sector. We believe that with our help, many industry-changing ideas will see the light of day. ”
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