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Friday, January 28th, 2022

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United officially opens United Aviate Academy

United Airlines has officially opened its United Aviate Academy on January 27 and welcomed a historic inaugural class of future pilots, 80% of whom are women or people of colour. United Aviate Academy is a key part of the airline’s goal to train about 5,000 new pilots at the school by 2030, with at least half women or people of colour. This unprecedented training commitment will dramatically expand access to this lucrative and rewarding career while upholding United’s world-class safety standards.

Last summer, United unveiled its ambitious 'United Next' strategy to revolutionize the United flying experience and introduce more than 500 new, narrow-body aircraft into its fleet to match the anticipated resurgence in air travel. United plans to hire at least 10,000 new pilots by 2030 to meet this need with about 5,000 of those coming from United Aviate Academy.

Lilium expands flight test campaign to Spain and appoints Chief Test Pilot

Lilium, the manufacturer of an all-electric vertical take-off and landing jet (eVTOL) has transferred its 5th-generation technology demonstrators to the ATLAS Flight Test Centre in Villacarrillo, Spain where it will continue its flight test campaign.

The intention is to fly at higher speeds and over longer distances than those achieved in Germany. In addition, Lilium has appointed Andrew Strachan as its Chief Test Pilot. Strachan had originally served in the RAF, followed by working as Chief Test Pilot at Leonardo Helicopters, so he is accustomed to flying a wide range of aircraft types.

Commenting on his new role, Strachan said: “I’m thrilled to join Lilium at such an exciting moment in the company’s growth. As someone who has been influenced by aviation since childhood, it’s inspiring to be part of a company driving the next phase of sustainable, aeronautical technology.”

Working with aerospace, technology and infrastructure leaders, Lilium has announced planned networks in Germany, the United States and Brazil. Lilium’s 750+ strong team includes approximately 400 aerospace engineers and a leadership team responsible for delivering some of the most successful aircraft in aviation history. Founded in 2015, Lilium’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities are in Munich, Germany, with teams based across Europe and the US.

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JetBlue reports fourth-quarter 2021 results

JetBlue Airways Corporation has reported its results for the fourth quarter of 2021: the company reported GAAP loss per share of ($0.40) in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to diluted earnings per share of $0.56 in the fourth quarter of 2019. Adjusted loss per share was ($0.36) in the fourth quarter of 2021 versus adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.56 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

GAAP pre-tax loss of (US$163) million in the fourth quarter of 2021, compared to a pre-tax income of US$220 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding one-time items, adjusted pre-tax loss of (US$145) million in the fourth quarter of 2021 versus adjusted pre-tax income of $221 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Capacity declined by 5.4% year-over-two years ago, in-line with JetBlue's planning assumption of a 4% to 7% decline, year-over-two years ago . Revenue declined 9.7% year-over-two years ago, compared to JetBlue's planning assumption of an 8% to 13% decline year-over-two years ago. This was within the range of the company's initial assumptions despite a late quarter impact from the Omicron wave, driven by strong holiday peaks. (£1.00 = US$1.35 at time of publication.)

VoltAero selects Electric Power Systems’ EPiC™ energy storage system for prototype Cassio 330 hybrid-electric aircraft

The VoltAero prototype Cassio 330 hybrid-electric aircraft will be equipped with Electric Power Systems’ EPiC™ energy storage system, bringing industry-leading battery technology to VoltAero’s first-built versions of its Cassio airplane family. 

An agreement, announced on January 27 by the two companies, calls for the initial EPiC™ energy storage system to be delivered in the first half of 2022 for integration on VoltAero’s no. 1 Cassio 330 – the company’s four-seat variant with a combined hybrid-electric power of 330 kilowatts.

The EPiC™ energy storage system contains advanced cell technology that offers an energy density of over 200 Wh/kg (watt-hours per kilogram) at the battery pack level, while providing over 2,000 fast-charge cycles before replacement is required. The EPiC Ecosystem developed by Electric Power Systems consists of modular building blocks that allow customization at the aircraft level.

Cassio aircraft are to be built in a dedicated production facility at Rochefort Airport in France’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. Ground breaking is scheduled for the first half of 2022.

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China Airlines signs order for four Boeing 777 freighters

China Airlines, the Taiwan flag carrier, has ordered four 777 freighters, adding to its extensive fleet of Boeing airplanes. Valued at US$1.4 billion at list prices, the order will enable the airline to capture new market opportunities as global air cargo demand continues to grow.

In 2021, China Airlines' air cargo revenue was up 186% above the pre-pandemic year of 2019, which nearly balanced out a 96% drop in passenger revenue. Last year China Airlines Cargo recorded the best year in its history – over TWD 100 billion (US$3.6 billion) in revenue – by leveraging its existing all-Boeing fleet of (18) 747-400 freighters and (three) 777 freighters. With three 777 freighters already on order, China Airlines' 777 Freighter is the perfect complement to the airline's existing 747-400 freighter fleet, seamlessly accommodating the three-metre (10-foot) tall pallets and maximizing flexibility for its air cargo operations. (£1.00 = US$1.35 at time of publication)

Lars Wagner awarded seat on Governing Board of 'Clean Aviation'

Clean Aviation, the successor to the European aviation research programme Clean Sky, officially kicked off at the end of last year. MTU Aero Engines is not only contributing new key technologies but has also been awarded a seat on the Governing Board of the clean aviation joint undertaking, thus COO Lars Wagner will be representing the company.

“This appointment is a big success for MTU and it serves as a clear affirmation,” Wagner comments. “Like with the previous programme, Clean Sky, it gives us a chance to actively shape the direction the research programme takes.”

The Governing Board functions as the central decision-making body, with overall responsibility for strategic alignment and for carrying out all activities. Clean Aviation brings together 27 partners from industry, academia and the research sector to work on new technologies, all with the aim of making aviation climate-neutral by the year 2050. That means the new aid programme launched by the European Commission, which has billions of euros in funding, is advancing the world’s most ambitious research and innovation agenda aimed at sustainability in the aviation sector.

MHIRJ opens new MRO facility in Macon, Georgia

MHI RJ Aviation Group (MHIRJ) is expanding its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul network with the opening of a new facility in Macon, Georgia. The new facility will be located at the Middle Georgia Regional Airport and is part of MHIRJ’s growing footprint in North America servicing the CRJ Series fleet.

The lease has been signed for two additional lines of maintenance, with the potential to grow that number to four, which would bring the total up to 40 lines of maintenance within the MHIRJ network. The new facility will add around 200 jobs in the local community at full capacity, for which MHIRJ will kickstart hiring efforts immediately.

MHIRJ now has facilities in Macon Georgia, Bridgeport, West Virginia and Tucson, Arizona.

Atlas Air and Flexport expand partnership with addition of third Boeing 747 freighter

Atlas Air has signed an agreement to expand its partnership with Flexport, the technology platform for global logistics, to add a third Boeing 747-400 freighter to its existing fleet beginning in September 2022.

The agreement between Flexport and Atlas Air will broaden Flexport’s network of dedicated freighters to include service from Asia to Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA) and soon, Chicago (ORD). The additional freighter will increase Flexport’s dedicated airfreight capacity from Atlas Air by 50% and allow for enhanced schedule flexibility as new origins and destinations are added in 2022 and beyond.

The move eastward across the United States will improve airfreight accessibility for global shippers and enable them to design airfreight networks that best serve their interests as part of strong, resilient multi-modal supply chain strategies.
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