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Thursday, September 30th, 2021

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United to fire up to 600 employees who refuse to accept vaccine mandate

United Airlines has confirmed that 593 of its employees who are currently refusing to abide by its vaccine mandate will have their contracts terminated if proof of vaccination is not produced by next Monday.

“This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been our first priority,” chief executive Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart told employees in a memo. The company has also confirmed that if between now and then any of these employees are vaccinated, their jobs will be safe. The company has agreed to consider objections to vaccination from employees based on religious or medical grounds, with the intention of placing those with religious exemptions on temporary unpaid leave. However, this has been put on hold until October 15 because of a lawsuit challenging the policy. Exemptions on these two grounds relate to approximately 3% of the carrier’s 67,000-strong U.S. workforce, while it is understood that, to date, 99% of the rest have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.

In relation to future hires, a company spokesman indicated that there were approximately 25,000 positions which will become available in the next few years and being fully vaccinated against the virus will be a prerequisite. The same applies to all trainee pilots at its training school. United also dismissed rumors that the vaccine requirement was putting applicants off applying for jobs at the carrier, pointing out that it received 700 applications for approximately 400 openings last month at a Denver careers fair, while positions for 2,000 flight attendants has received 20,000 applications.


Boeing, U.S. Air Force extend C-17 sustainment partnership

Boeing will continue assuring the C-17 Globemaster III's worldwide mission readiness through a follow-on contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Defense, valued at up to US$23.8 billion including potential options and incentives over ten years. The program is currently funded through September 2024 with a Phase I award of US$3.5 billion.

Under the agreement, Boeing will continue performing critical sustainment activities, including engineering, field support, and material management, for the global fleet of 275 aircraft. The contract provides additional funding for new work scope such as international staffing to augment maintenance efforts and cyber security work statement.

This performance-based logistics (PBL) contract builds on more than two decades of successful C-17 sustainment, where Boeing has worked closely with the U.S. Air Force and global partners to maintain high mission-capability rates and continuously improve affordability. While sustainment costs typically rise as a fleet ages, Boeing will lower operating cost per-flight-hour for the global fleet under the new agreement.

Piaggio Aerospace partners with Safran Helicopter Engines on Ardiden 3 engine family

The Italian aircraft and engine-parts manufacturer Piaggio Aerospace and the French company Safran Helicopter Engines have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to cooperate on the production of the Ardiden 3 aero engine family. The agreement covers the manufacture of critical parts for the variants of the Ardiden 3-family, both for turbopropulsor (Ardiden 3TP) and helicopter applications.

Piaggio Aerospace and Safran Helicopter Engines already collaborate on the RTM322 and Aneto engine families for production of hot section parts of the engines.

The Ardiden 3 is a new-generation core engine in the 1,700 to 2,000 shaft horsepower range. With two EASA-certified models, the Ardiden 3 features a remarkably compact modular architecture, a best-in-class power-to-weight ratio and a low cost-of-ownership.

The turbopropulsor version, Ardiden 3TP, is developed through the Tech TP technological demonstrator of Clean Sky 2 research and innovation program. The Ardiden 3TP offers 15% lower fuel consumption over current turboprops engines.

The agreement strengthens the European team built around the Ardiden 3TP for general, regional and military turboprop applications, which already includes Safran Helicopter Engines, ZF Aviation Technology (ZF Luftfahrttechnik - Germany) and ITP Aero (Spain).


Air France takes delivery of first of 60 A220 aircraft

Air France has received its first A220-300 aircraft from an order of 60 aircraft of the type, the largest A220 order from a European carrier. The aircraft was delivered from Airbus’ final assembly line in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada and officially unveiled to the public during a ceremony held at Paris Charles-De-Gaulle Airport.

The renewal of the Air France single-aisle fleet with this latest generation aircraft will increase efficiency along with customer comfort and support Air France to meet its environmental goals and sustainability objectives. The first Air France A220-300 aircraft will be operated on its medium-haul network from the 2021 winter season. Currently, Air France operates a fleet of 136 Airbus aircraft. Air France is also renewing its long-haul fleet, and has already taken delivery of 11 A350s out of an order of 38.

The Air France A220-300 cabin is configured in a single-class layout to comfortably welcome 148 passengers. Offering superior single-aisle comfort, with the widest leather seats, largest windows and up to 20% more overhead stowage space per passenger, the Air France A220 also features full Wi-Fi connectivity throughout the cabin and two USB sockets at each passenger seat.

ATR 42-600 ready to enhance Japanese regional network

Hokkaido Air System Co.'s (HAC) latest ATR 42-600 left Toulouse bound Japan, with a brand new One World Alliance livery, and using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for the first leg of its ferry flight.

The ATR has proven to be successful in connecting communities across the Japanese archipelago, thanks to its effectiveness at taking-off and landing on short runways. This is the third ATR 42-600 that the airline has received since its first delivery in December 2019 and becomes the 14th ATR-600 to operate in Japan.

Another reason for the aircraft’s Japanese success is its fuel burn efficiency in a country which is extremely diligent in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. ATR aircraft burn up to 40% less fuel than a similarly sized regional jet and therefore emit up to 40% less CO2. Further emission savings are possible by fueling the aircraft with SAF and ATR recently announced a project to fly an aircraft fueled with 100% SAF. A demonstration flight is planned for Spring 2022 with a target of 2025 for the possibility of using 100% SAF on commercial ATR flights.


AAR and FTAI Aviation announce joint sustainability initiative

AAR and Fortress Transportation and Infrastructure Investors (FTAI) have announced a joint initiative associated with their CFM56-5B and -7B partnership to help customers achieve industry-wide sustainability goals aimed at reducing CO2 emissions in international aviation.

Every year, jet engine maintenance results in a significant monetary and environmental cost for the industry. FTAI and AAR’s new initiative highlights the environmental benefits of recycling serviceable material and affords customers a path to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

AAR and FTAI will together contribute a percentage of all used serviceable material (USM) sales from the CFM56-5B and -7B partnership to purchase verified carbon offsets and grant them to the purchasing customers. The donated offsets will meet international standards, namely the ‘Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation’ (CORSIA).

“The new initiative with AAR reflects our commitment to a sustainable future for the aviation industry. We know there is a positive environmental impact from recycling engine material, and we want our customers to experience the benefit of that impact. One of our goals is to remain at the forefront of sustainable solutions in the aftermarket,” said Joe Adams, FTAI Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

King Aerospace names Brian Sinkule CFO

Brian Sinkule has been named Chief Financial Officer of King Aerospace Companies, the parent company of King Aerospace (KAI), a global operation that serves the U.S. military and government, and King Aerospace Commercial Corporation (KACC), a leading provider of VVIP and corporate aircraft services with a large campus in Ardmore, OK.

To date, Sinkule’s finance career has been primarily focused on intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) integration and missionization programs along with VVIP interior and aircraft services programs. His industry background serves as a key driver of King Aerospace’s strategic and annual operating process, capital deployment, balance sheet and cashflow management, and margin-expanding productivity initiatives. In addition to overseeing the day-to-day operations of the finance department, he has responsibility for the ongoing vibrancy of King Kulture.

Sinkule previously served as CFO of the Greenville division of what is now L3Harris Technologies. Prior to his role as CFO, Sinkule held rolls with increasing levels of financial responsibility at L3 Technologies, Raytheon and Chrysler Technologies Airborne Systems. He began his career supporting Boeing completions and through the years advanced to the role of CFO of the ISR division of this top-tier defense contractor.


JetBlue accelerates transition to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) with plans for largest-ever supply of SAF in New York Airports

JetBlue has released plans to speed up its transition to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with an offtake agreement with SG Preston, a leading bioenergy developer. With the addition of the SG Preston agreement to its previous SAF commitments, JetBlue is well ahead of pace on its target to convert 10% of its total fuel usage to SAF on a blended basis by 2030. The airline will reach nearly 8% SAF usage by the end of 2023 when delivery of SAF under this agreement is expected. JetBlue is doubling its previous SAF commitment with SG Preston, which was first announced in 2016.

JetBlue’s agreement with SG Preston also marks a major milestone for SAF in New York’s airports. This deal is expected to bring the first large-scale volume of domestically produced SAF for a commercial airline to New York’s metropolitan airports. JetBlue will convert 30% of its fuel buy across John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) from traditional Jet-A fuel to SAF (*), which is expected to reduce emissions by an estimated 80% per gallon of neat SAF, compared to traditional petroleum-based fuels.

Targeting a start in 2023 and continuing over a ten-year period, SG Preston will deliver at least 670 million gallons of blended SAF to JetBlue to fuel its flight operations at JFK, LGA and EWR, helping JetBlue avoid approximately 1.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. JetBlue expects to invest more than US$1 billion in purchasing SAF over the term of this agreement, at a price competitive to traditional Jet-A fuel, with no expected material impact to the airline’s total fuel costs. This marks the largest-ever announced near-term SAF deal for delivery in the Northeast and will be become the airline’s largest single jet fuel contract.

* The 30% value is based on JetBlue’s 2019 fuel usage across JFK, EWR, and LGA. The actual percentage may vary by the date of delivery, based on variations in JetBlue’s future fuel requirements.

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