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Tuesday, December 14th, 2021

United to invest in zero-emission engines for regional aircraft

On December 13, United Airlines (United) has become the largest airline to invest in zero-emission, hydrogen-electric engines for regional aircraft, the latest move toward achieving its goal to be 100% green by reducing its GHG emissions 100% by 2050, without relying on traditional carbon offsets.

Through a new equity stake in ZeroAvia a leading company focused on hydrogen-electric aviation solutions, United expects to buy up to 100 of the company’s new zero-emission, 100% hydrogen-electric engines (ZA2000-RJ). The engine could be retrofit to existing United Express aircraft as early as 2028. One potential use is on United’s unique CRJ-550, the only 50-seat aircraft which offers first class and other premium amenities.

Hydrogen-electric engines use electricity created by a chemical reaction in a fuel cell to power an electric motor instead of burning fossil fuel. Because no fuel is burned, there are no climate-harming emissions or carbon released into the atmosphere when the engines are operated.

The ZA2000-RJ is expected to be used in pairs as a new power source for existing regional aircraft. Under the agreement with United Airlines Ventures, United will pursue a conditional purchase agreement for 50 ZeroAvia ZA2000-RJ engines, with an option for 50 more, enough for up to 50 twin-engine aircraft which would be operated by United Express partners once they are fully developed and certified by regulators as soon as 2028.

Panasonic Avionics names Chris VandenBerg Chief Engineer, Software

Panasonic Avionics has appointed Chris VandenBerg as Chief Engineer (Software). In this role, he will be responsible for delivering the company’s highly complex, end-to-end software that redefines how airlines interact with their passengers onboard the aircraft.

He will report to CTO, Joe Bentley and will lead a multi-disciplined and talented team of highly-skilled individuals across Panasonic Avionics’ global footprint. VandenBerg will also act as the company’s primary technical contact with its customers.

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Improved travel demand enables Air France-KLM to pay back €500 million of €4 billion loan

With demand for travel showing signs of a recovery and improved access to capital markets, Air France-KLM will repay €500 million of a €4 billion loan from a consortium of nine French State banks. The original loan was provided to the carrier to help it negotiate the knock-on effects of the global pandemic. In addition to the partial repayment of the loan, Air France-KLM is looking to renegotiate the date for final settlement of the loan from May 6, 2023, to May 6, 2025.

The carrier will repay €800 million in May 2023, €1.35 billion in May 2024, and a final payment of €1.35 billion will be made in May 2025. This partial redemption combined with the now amortized redemption profile of the PGE is a new milestone on the restructuring path of the debt profile and of the balance sheet of the Group Air France-KLM, following the €1 billion capital increase and the conversion of a 3 billion euros French State loan into three perpetual bonds in April 2021, the issuances of €800 million dual tranches senior bonds in July 2021 as well as the EMTN (Euro Medium Term Notes) programme in September and the solicited ESG rating obtained from Standard and Poor’s in October.

Air France-KLM is also looking to strengthen its capital. "As previously disclosed, discussions are ongoing on further capital strengthening measures at Air France-KLM Group level. These measures could include instruments such as the issuance of equity or quasi-equity instruments, depending on market conditions," Air France KLM said. (£1.00 = €1.17 at time of publication).

Strategic Global Aviation ramps up operations with Pentagon 2000SQL

Strategic Global Aviation has implemented Pentagon 2000SQL™ to support technical and business operations at its facility in Rome, NY. The company delivers specialised aircraft maintenance and inspection services as well as a wide-range additional services.

According to Kirk Baugher, Executive Vice President at Pentagon 2000 Software, “the team at SGA are seasoned industry veterans and have been able to quickly deploy the facilities, staffing and systems to deliver market leading MRO and technical services. In addition to specialised Military C-130 MRO services, the company offers Aircraft Management, Aviation Consulting, Repair Station Manual authoring along with a range of other services”.

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Delta Air Lines will make investments in Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico and LATAM

Delta Air Lines will make investments in Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico and LATAM as the partner airlines transform their businesses to emerge from the global pandemic stronger and more resilient.

Prior to the pandemic, Delta was achieving record international growth attributed to a combination of organic growth and its global partner network. Over the past ten years, Delta has built industry-leading partnerships with flagship airlines across Europe, Asia and Latin America. As international travel demand returns, the connectivity, relevance and breadth of Delta’s global network with its partners remains critical to continuing this success.

Delta is investing in Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico and LATAM as each carrier emerges from restructuring or recapitalisation. Upon completion of their respective processes, Delta is targeting a 20% equity stake in Aeromexico and a 10% equity stake in LATAM. In addition, Delta will maintain its 49% equity stake in Virgin Atlantic. The airline’s investment in these carriers will be approximately US$1.2 billion.

With new wide-body aircraft on the way, record hiring and significant investments in international readiness, Delta is positioned to lead the industry through the ongoing recovery. Delta’s partnerships with Virgin Atlantic, Aeromexico and LATAM expand that growth potential, helping to fuel route additions, customer connectivity and associated job creations.

RBI Hawker Australia appointed rotor blade repair service centre for Leonardo Helicopters

RBI Hawker Australia has been appointed a rotor blade repair service centre for Leonardo Helicopters. The Brisbane-based facility has been operating in Australia since receiving its Part 145 maintenance organisation approval from the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in June 2021. It was appointed a customer service facility for Bell in July 2021.

With this latest approval, RBI Hawker Australia is authorised to offer OEM-approved helicopter rotor blade repair services to Leonardo AW139 and AW109 models from its 1,000 m² maintenance facility in Eagle Farm, Brisbane.

RBI Hawker has been providing maintenance support to both commercial and military helicopter operators in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and wider regions from Dubai since 2005. It is the authorized Bell CSF and Leonardo Service Center with an extensive OEM-approved standard and expanded repair portfolio.

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GAT Logistics Solutions Group receives approval to operate under TSA's Indirect Air Carrier Standard Security Program (IACSSP)

GA Telesis' (GAT) subsidiary GAT Logistics Solutions Group has received approval from the US Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to operate under TSA's Indirect Air Carrier Standard Security Program (IACSSP).

This approval coincides with the launch of GAT Logistics Solutions Group, a worldwide provider of transportation, logistics, storage and supply chain solutions. GAT Logistics Solutions Group is a standalone, wholly-owned subsidiary of the GAT Ecosystem™. It is a result of the requests from the company's global customers to manage their third-party logistics and transportation. GAT Logistics Solutions Group was created to be an innovative freight forwarding and contract logistics provider that utilises technology to enhance supply chain efficiency.

Stemming from an industry pioneer in the commercial aviation sector, GAT Logistics Solutions Group will be best positioned to provide competitive domestic and international shipping of all modes while putting a heavy emphasis on reliability and cost.

flydocs adopts Microsoft Azure to power its asset management solution

flydocs, a global technology leader that develops asset management software used by the world's largest aviation companies, has adopted Microsoft Azure to deliver strengthened product capabilities on security, scalability, availability and accessibility to its customers.

“When we look at today's digitally driven climate, it has become imperative for software businesses to deliver an efficient, intuitive and friction-free customer experience,” said Andre Fischer, CEO at flydocs. “For us, this digital transformation journey was amplified in 2019 and the following year we started to invest in initiatives to enhance operational efficiencies for our valued clients – supporting our strategic objective of being the partner of choice. The global pandemic was undoubtedly one of the toughest periods for the aviation industry, but for us, it presented an unanticipated opportunity for accelerated growth as our software platform supported business continuity plans for airlines and leasing companies through aviation asset recovery.”

As flydocs grew and expanded its customer base, the previous infrastructure implemented could not meet the future needs and requirements for providing a robust, secure, and scalable environment. Selecting the best infrastructure for sustainable growth and security became the number one priority for rapidly transforming into a customer-centric, integrated asset management solution provider.

“Leveraging Microsoft’s innovative approach of being digital-first and technology forward, we hope to illustrate the continuation of our commitment to provide an unparalleled customer experience,” commented Carl Davis, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer at flydocs. “Following a sharp increase in customer demand for flydocs’ aviation asset management services, Microsoft Azure helped us begin our cloud migration journey with a new document processing solution which is capable of processing more than 10x the volume of files compared to its data centre-based predecessor. The new solution can process millions of documents per day, resulting in one of the largest Azure document processing use cases in the world. This is just the beginning of our partnership with Microsoft which will also enable us to integrate other technologies such as machine learning, AI and blockchain so we deliver the best performing system.”
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