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Monday, October 18th, 2021

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First A320-family jet in Pakistan takes to the skies with airblue

Pakistani regional and international carrier airblue has taken delivery of the first of two Airbus A320-family aircraft, a narrow-body A321-200NX. The aircraft was flown from Hamburg in Germany to Karachi in Pakistan and the CFM LEAP-powered aircraft was from GECAS’ skyline. The aircraft is also the first A320-family aircraft to be operated by a Pakistani airline.

“GECAS is delighted to support airblue’s fleet expansion with this CFM LEAP-powered neo as they grow their operations throughout the region,” commented Mick O’Mahony, GECAS SVP & Region Manager.

“Airblue is privileged to bring this new-technology 237-seat A321NX narrowbody into service. It is a great complement to our all Airbus A320 family fleet with 95% airframe commonality and enhanced fuel-efficiency”, explained airblue Deputy Managing Director Operations Ms. Sadia Mohammad, adding that: “Additionally, we look forward to the delivery of our second Airbus A321NX from GECAS later this year.”


ST Engineering and UPS introduce Skills Progression Program to train aircraft maintenance technicians

In a joint effort to create a pipeline of qualified aircraft maintenance technicians to support the growing needs of the aviation industry, ST Engineering and UPS have entered into an agreement to work together on a skills progression program that will provide on-the-job training to prospective aviation technicians. Such an initiative is among the first established between an airline and MRO service provider to provide training and career opportunities to individuals interested in an aircraft maintenance career, and is one of the many talent recruitment and development initiatives that ST Engineering collaborates in with its partners.

Under the program, participants recruited from diverse backgrounds will undergo three years of on-the-job accelerated trade and skills training that is dedicated to UPS aircraft work. The program, which includes progressive training in the levels of apprentices, mechanics and technicians, will be conducted at ST Engineering’s airframe MRO facilities in Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida in the U.S. Trainees can apply for career openings at UPS upon graduation from the program and be considered for employment by the airline.


Last MD-11F leaves Lufthansa Cargo

On October 17, a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 landed at Frankfurt Airport for the last time. Flight LH8161 from New York (JFK) touched down ahead of schedule at 12:03 p.m. local time on runway 07R. This marked the end of commercial service of the three-engine MD-11F aircraft type at Lufthansa Cargo after more than 23 years. The aircraft with registration D-ALCC, also the last MD-11F registered in Europe, will now be sold to an American cargo airline.

Lufthansa Cargo took delivery of its first two MD-11 freighters (former registrations D-ALCA and D-ALCB) in June 1998, followed by the third aircraft in August of the same year, given the registration D-ALCC. In total, Lufthansa Cargo operated nineteen MD-11 aircraft, including the last ever manufactured (former registration D-ALCN, serial number 48806, delivered 25 January 2001) and the last ever delivered (former registration D-ALCM, serial number 48805, delivered 22 February 2001) aircraft of this type.


IAG's CFO Steve Gunning to step down

International Airlines Group (IAG) has released that Steve Gunning has decided to stand down from the role of Chief Financial Officer and leave the Group after the release of the company’s full year 2021 results.

Nicholas Cadbury will be joining IAG as Chief Financial Officer. He joins from Whitbread PLC, where he is Group Finance Director, having joined the group in 2012. He is also a non-executive director and Chair of the Audit Committee for Land Securities.

Luis Gallego, IAG´s Chief Executive Officer commented: “I’m delighted that Nicholas will be joining IAG. He is a well-respected, accomplished and experienced CFO with a fantastic track record at Whitbread, Premier Farnell and Dixons Carphone. In the short term, our focus remains on delivering the best end possible to 2021 and ensuring we are set up to return to profitability in 2022 and Steve continues to play a key role in enabling the Group to achieve this.”


Eirtech Aviation Services acquires U.K.-based H4 Aerospace

Eirtech Aviation Services has announced the acquisition of H4 Aerospace U.K. Limited (H4A).  Based in Hemel Hempstead in the U.K., H4A brings with it over 20 years of engineering P21 J design experience.  The principals of H4A, Russell Wenman and Nicholas Knox, will continue to grow the business and the business will trade as H4 Aerospace an Eirtech Aviation Services Group Company.

The acquisition of H4A is in line with the continued global expansion plans of Eirtech and brings to its now wider customer base both CAA P21 J approval and EASA P 21 J approval capability all under one roof.

Eirtech CEO Niall Cunningham commented: “H4A are a very experienced and capable team and will be an excellent fit to our suite of services growing in particular our engineering division which will be now boast a 50 strong engineering team.  We look forward to working closely with the H4A team and to continuing our plans for further geographic expansion going forward.”

Eirtech Aviation Services is headquartered in Shannon, Ireland with engineering facilities in Dublin, Belfast, Great Britain, and Singapore.


Sine Draco announces induction of prototype A321-200 SDF for passenger to freighter conversion

Sine Draco Aviation Development (Sine Draco) has announced the induction of the prototype A321-200 airplane at Ascent Aviation Services in Tucson, Arizona, for conversion from passenger to cargo configuration. The airplane will be designated the A321-200 SDF with FAA Supplemental Type Certificate approval anticipated in the third quarter 2022.

The Sine Draco A321-200 SDF passenger to freighter conversion offers the optimal economic solution for the next generation narrow body freighter. The conversion includes the installation of a 142-inch-wide by 86-inch-high main deck cargo door, Class E main deck cargo compartment with 14 container positions and Ancra International cargo handling system. The lower cargo compartments can also accommodate ten containers, with the A321 being the first airplane type in the narrow-body freighter class with this capability.

Ascent Aviation Services will be performing the conversion of the airplane by completing the touch labor,
modification planning and inspection requirements. A partial heavy-maintenance check was recently completed
on the prototype airplane and will be completed during the modification. Ascent will also provide maintenance
and flight line support during the ground and flight test program following conversion.


Aviator signs a partnership agreement with Ryanair

Aviator, a full-range provider of aviation services at 15 airports across the Nordics and a family member of Avia Solutions Group, has signed a partnership agreement with Ryanair for ground handling services.

Under the new partnership, Aviator will provide Ryanair with full passenger- and ramp-handling services, including de-icing, at Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. The five-year agreement was signed in July for services to be provided starting in October 2021. Aviator performs emission free turnarounds at Arlanda Airport and is in the process of becoming totally electric in all its operations.

Ryanair Holdings plc, Europe’s largest airline group, the parent company of Buzz, Lauda, Malta Air and Ryanair, has been leading the European market for over 35 years. The company operates 450 aircraft with another 210 on the way. Ryanair continues its expansion and is opening 21 new routes at Stockholm Arlanda Airport, adding 89 new weekly departures.

Additionally, Aviator and Ryanair have extended ground handling services partnership at Helsinki Airport for four more years for ground handling and de-icing services. From October, Aviator will support 29 weekly Ryanair departures from Helsinki. These two agreements continue strengthening Aviator’s partnership with the low-cost carrier and adds to the relatively new agreement, signed in March 2020, for ground handling and de-icing services in Copenhagen Airport for a five-year period.

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