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Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

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GE targets future with creation of three new public companies with focus on aviation

General Electric (GE) has announced its intention to create three independent industry-leading, global, public companies in the aviation, healthcare and energy sectors. It will achieve this through pursuing a tax-free spin-off of GE Healthcare, creating a pure-play company at the centre of precision health in early 2023, in which GE expects to retain a stake of 19.9 percent. It will also combine GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital into one business where it will be positioned to lead the energy transition, and then pursue a tax-free spin-off of this business in early 2024.

Subsequent to these transactions, GE will then be an aviation-focused company intent on shaping the future of flight. The company will be focused and de-risked through strategic portfolio actions including the recent GECAS transaction, resulting in a simpler, stronger and more focused high-tech industrial company. GE will expect to achieve greater than US$75 billion of gross debt reduction from the end of 2018 through the end of 2021. I

In today’s portfolio of businesses, GE is on track to reduce debt by more than US$75 billion by the end of 2021 and is now on track to bring its net-debt-to-EBITDA ratio to less than 2.5x in 2023. GE will also continue to drive operating improvements for sustainable profitable growth, and the company now expects to achieve high-single-digit free cash flow margins in 2023. As a result, GE is in a strong position to execute this plan to form three well-capitalized, investment-grade companies. (£1.00 = US$1.36 at time of publication).

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SITA tackles issue of offline verification of electronic personnel licenses

SITA, the technology provider for the air transport industry, has developed a proven blockchain-based solution enabling the verification of an electronic personnel license (EPL) without network connectivity. Allowing offline verification in an efficient and privacy-preserving way, SITA’s contribution supports the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) adoption of an industry-wide digital standard for the use of EPLs on international flights.

After setting out to create a digital standard for the use of EPLs on international flights, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) determined that the ability to verify EPLs without network connectivity would be a necessary feature to ensure functionality across civil aviation authorities globally. SITA began to work on a solution to the issue of offline license verification in 2019. Following a successful Proof of Concept in 2020 where SITA integrated its solution for offline verification into the Civil Aviation Authority of China’s EPL system, SITA has become the first industry partner to prove offline verification for pilot licenses, made possible specifically by using blockchain-based decentralized identity technology.

Having a proven example of integrating offline verification capabilities has enabled the ICAO Air Navigation Commission to issue a recommendation to move forward with developing an international standard for EPLs. In March 2022, the ICAO Council will consider adopting a new international Standard that will pave the way for EPLs to become valid licenses, with offline verification systems in place by the end of 2022, citing SITA’s solution as an example.

IAI to convert ten B737-800 passenger aircraft to cargo configuration for World Star Aviation

Israel Aerospace Industries' (IAI) Aviation Group has signed an agreement with World Star Aviation to convert ten B737-800 passenger aircraft to cargo configuration, with an option for an additional ten conversions. The cargo conversions will take place at IAI's partially owned subsidiary, Bedek Lingyun (Yichang) Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Belinco) in Yichang, Hubei Province, China and in other locations.

World Star Aviation is a global leading aircraft lessor, specialising in mid-life aircraft and engine leasing/trading with a highly experienced team of professionals. Established in 2003, World Star has been providing aircraft solutions to both passenger and freighter airlines worldwide. World Star Aviation provides full, in-house asset and investment management services with end-to-end aircraft marketing and technical capabilities.  

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Gulfstream to build sustainable aircraft service centre in Arizona

Gulfstream Aerospace has announced that it will construct a new aircraft service centre at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, its first facility in Arizona. The new 225,000-ft² facility, a more than US$70 million investment, is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification and will expand Gulfstream’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) capabilities in the Western United States. The new facility is scheduled to open in 2023.

The Arizona service centre complements Gulfstream Customer Support’s growing network around the world and follows recent expansions in Savannah, Georgia; Van Nuys, California; Fort Worth, Texas; Palm Beach, Florida; Appleton, Wisconsin and Farnborough, England. The company’s in-service fleet totals nearly 3,000 aircraft worldwide and this latest announcement comes following the introduction of two all-new aircraft, the large-cabin Gulfstream G400 and the Gulfstream G800, the long-range business aircraft.

The new facility will include hangar space, back shops and employee and customer offices. In addition to the anticipated LEED Silver certification, Gulfstream is designing the facility with sustainable operations in mind. It will feature a fuel farm with a dedicated sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supply, low-flow plumbing fixtures, LED lighting, building management systems and an energy-efficient HVAC system. Designers are also incorporating occupancy sensor-controlled lights, a white roof to reflect heat, native plants and low-water-demand landscaping. Gulfstream is also working with the airport authority to explore using green power from the electrical utility and installing solar panels on-site.

Spairliners and Fokker Services finalise MRO component support agreement

Spairliners and Fokker Services have finalised a long-term agreement during MRO Europe 2021 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Fokker Services team will perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for a variety of line replaceable units (LRUs) related to power generation, bleed air valves, starters and avionics for the Embraer E-Jet family.

Menzo van der Beek, CEO of Fokker Services, said: "Fokker Services and Spairliners have a shared mission: to provide highly reliable aftermarket services for customers worldwide. We are delighted to be chosen by Spairliners to support its global component support solutions. With decades of repairs expertise, the team at Spairliners can count on our support for this range of critical components. At Fokker Services, we are continuously expanding our MRO capabilities, especially for Embraer aircraft and we look forward to offering our strong repair solutions to Spairliners in the years to come."

All units will be repaired in-house at Fokker Services' facilities in the Netherlands and the United States. Both shops feature state-of-the-art technology, such as the eddy current dynamometer test stand, electric test stand, generator test stands and more, to ensure complete reliability. By utilising the extensive experience in repairing these units at both shops, Fokker Services can offer cost-effective solutions on both continents.

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First Airbus H225 helicopter performs flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel

An Airbus H225 has performed the first ever helicopter flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) powering one of the Safran Makila 2 engines. The flight, which took place at the company’s headquarters in Marignane, France, marks the start of a flight campaign aiming to assess the impact of unblended SAF on the helicopter systems in view of certifying the use of SAF blends that exceed today’s 50% limit.

“While all Airbus helicopters are certified to fly with up to a 50% blend of SAF mixed with kerosene, it is our company’s ambition to have its helicopters certified to fly with 100% SAF within the decade. Today’s flight is an important first step towards this goal”, said Stefan Thome, Executive Vice President, Engineering and Chief Technical Officer, Airbus Helicopters.

The flight campaign, which follows earlier unblended SAF bench tests performed by Safran Helicopter Engines at its Bordes plant, will provide further understanding of the technical challenges associated with the use of 100% SAF. The H225 test helicopter flew with an unblended SAF derived from used cooking oil, provided by TotalEnergies, which offers a net 90% CO2 reduction compared to regular jet fuel.

In order to drive the deployment of biofuels, Airbus Helicopters has launched a SAF User Group dedicated to the rotary-wing community. The company has also started using SAF for training and test flights at its French and German sites.

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J&C Aero to support SmartLynx Airlines with EASA STC approval for in-cabin cargo transportation

J&C Aero, an international aviation design and production company and SmartLynx Airlines, an EU full-service ACMI aircraft lease provider, have signed an agreement under which J&C Aero’s engineers will manage the certification process for the air carrier to receive a permanent EASA STC for cargo transportation inside Airbus A330 cabins. Previously, J&C Aero had provided engineering support for SmartLynx Airlines to receive temporal approval for the modification of five Airbus A330 with Zero LOPA.

Under the Zero LOPA project, J&C Aero has developed all the necessary technical and legal documentation required to conduct cabin modification on five wide-body aircraft operated by SmartLynx Airlines. In addition, the company’s engineers conducted technical oversight of the modification works and ensured the subsequent temporary certification by aviation authorities. Completed modifications enabled the air carrier to operate Airbus A330s that can be relatively easily converted from passenger to cargo operations and vice versa.

Each of SmartLynx Airlines’ seatless Airbus A330 has up to 34 cargo zones for cargo containers or nets with a total transportation capacity of 260 m3 and up to 55.000 kg of cargo. With all necessary temporary approvals by aviation authorities received, the airline already operates the modified aircraft on transatlantic and transpacific routes, transporting medical supplies and other cargo types and being ready for the growing demand as the pre-Christmas season approaches. With the support of J&C Aero engineers, the airline anticipates completing the certification for a permanent EASA STC by the end of autumn 2021.
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