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Friday, March 18th, 2022

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Delta and Airbus sign MoU for hydrogen-powered aircraft development and associated ecosystem

As part of the drive towards net-zero carbon-emissions air travel, Delta Air Lines (Delta) and Airbus have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby, as part of its Flight to Net ZeroSM plan to scale and advance sustainable technologies, Delta will become the first US carrier to work with Airbus on research and development in the field of hydrogen-powered aircraft together with its associated ecosystem.

Delta will be responsible for identifying fleet and network expectations together with the operational and infrastructure requirements needed to develop commercial aircrafts powered by hydrogen fuel. In particular Delta will focus on exploring the technical and economic viability of hydrogen-fuelled aircraft and assessing the infrastructure that will be needed to develop green hydrogen, bringing it to scale and implementing at airports nationwide.

"To decarbonise aviation, we need to develop the right technology bricks and a dynamic hydrogen eco-system," said Julie Kitcher, Airbus E.V.P. Communications & Corporate Affairs. "Through close collaboration with key partners, such as Delta, we will integrate our customers' expertise and specific needs to ensure our zero-emission aircraft will be a game-changer for sustainable aerospace."

The MoU builds on Delta's recent investment through its pension plans in TPG Rise Climate fund, which focuses on supporting climate solutions at scale. Delta has also joined the First Movers Coalition, a public-private partnership and platform designed to accelerate and scale the development of breakthrough climate technologies.


Rolls-Royce North America invests US$400 million in Indiana test facilities

Rolls-Royce North America will invest US$400 million in a major modernisation of engine test facilities in Indiana, bringing total company investment in the United States to nearly US$1.5 billion in the past decade.

New facilities in Indianapolis will upgrade full engine test capabilities, following a major modernisation of advanced manufacturing at the campus. The Indianapolis facility will test engines for a variety of products, including the US Air Force B-52 strategic bomber fleet, after Rolls-Royce won a US$2.6 billion contract last fall to manufacture 650 engines for the iconic aircraft.

The total Indianapolis campus modernisation programme began with a previous US$600 million investment in new manufacturing facilities, upgraded equipment and advanced technology, which was completed in 2021. The additional US$400 million investment in test facilities will further establish the Indianapolis site among the most advanced manufacturing campuses that Rolls-Royce operates anywhere in the world. Combined with a talented UAW workforce of 1,000 among more than 3,300 total employees, the Indianapolis site is highly-efficient and competitive within the aerospace industry and other business areas in which the company operates.

Additionally, Rolls-Royce has invested over US$100 million coast to coast across the US since 2015, updating facilities in Massachusetts, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, South Carolina and California.

Boeing begins building of first P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft for Air New Zealand

Boeing P-8A team members and Spirit AeroSystems employees have laid the keel beam for New Zealand’s first P-8A. This process, also called ‘keeling,’ was done at the Spirit AeroSystems facility where all Boeing 737 fuselages, nacelles and pylons are designed and built. Laying the keel is an important production milestone during the build of any ship or aircraft and represents the cornerstone of this latest P-8.

An aircraft keel runs the length of the fuselage belly. Due to the innovative in-line approach to the build of commercial derivative aircraft pioneered on the P-8A, the keel beam on a P-8 is different from the typical 737 keel beam. The P-8 keel includes unique aspects of the P-8 configuration, such as the integration of an internal weapons bay.   

The panel and other fuselage components will be completed on Spirit's existing 737 production line.  Spirit will ship the P-8A fuselage to a Boeing Commercial Airplanes facility in Renton, Washington for final assembly. After that, Boeing Defense, Space & Security employees will install mission systems and complete testing prior to delivery to New Zealand later this year.

In total, four Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will eventually replace New Zealand’s current fleet of six aging P-3K2 Orion aircraft providing advanced capabilities to maintain situational awareness in neighboring waters on and below the surface of the ocean.

The New Zealand Defence Force is a P-8 foreign military sales customer and is one of eight global customers. Current P-8 operators include the US Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Indian Navy, United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and Norway’s Royal Norwegian Air Force.


Fokker Services unveils new component maintenance technology

Fokker Services, an independent aerospace service provider, has installed new, fully automated twin Wire Electric Arc Spray technology at its LaGrange, GA, USA facility. Together with recent investments in additional machining and grinding equipment, this thermal spray capability allows the team to manage the entire component restoration
process in-house for hundreds of part numbers.

Craig Winter, Managing Director at Fokker Services Americas, said: “At Fokker Services Americas, we continue to bring more component MRO capabilities in-house. By restoring surfaces on a variety of hydraulic, pneumatic, flight control, and high-speed rotating components in our shop, we are taking control of the total restoration process. The industry status quo is to replace these components with new parts or outsource these types of repairs. By challenging this idea, we are streamlining our processes and passing on the time- and cost-saving benefits to our customers.”

The application and grinding of multiple thermal spray coatings is completed precisely, efficiently, and safely with the use of a robotic arm. As a result, the team offer high-quality repairs and improve turnaround times while restoring and salvaging various parts, such as housings, shafts and pistons. This technology is the latest addition to a range of wellestablished equipment at the facility, including the Eddy Current Dynamometer test stand, Air Driven Pump test stand, Air Cycle Machine test cell, and more.

Acciona enters strategic partnership with Eve UAM with investment of US$30 million

Acciona, a global company leader in the provision of regenerative solutions for a decarbonised economy and Eve UAM, an Embraer company, have entered into a strategic partnership to accelerate the development of a global and sustainable Urban Air Mobility ecosystem. Under the terms of the partnership, upon the consummation of Eve’s business combination with Zanite Acquisition Corp., Acciona will invest US$30 million and will join the group of strategic investors that are currently supporting the development of Eve and its business plan. As part of the agreement, José Manuel Entrecanales, Acciona’s Chairman and CEO, will become one of the seven members of the Board of Directors after Eve’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which is expected to happen in the second quarter of 2022.

The partnership will also benefit novel industrial initiatives in the development of a sustainable UAM ecosystem, including vertiports, power purchase agreements, battery charging solutions, and handling. In 2021, 93% of the Acciona Group’s investments were aligned with the European Union’s taxonomy for sustainable activities. The company avoided the emission of 13.4 million tonnes of CO2 (+1.5%) during the year, ending that year as the most sustainable electricity company in Spain and the second most sustainable worldwide, according to the Sustainability Yearbook 2022 published by S&P Global.


Next Level Aviation appoints Martin Curtis as President of new subsidiary Next Level Aviation-Ireland

Next Level Aviation (NLA) has appointed Martin Curtis as President of its new subsidiary in Dublin, Next Level Aviation-Ireland. Curtis will lead this new subsidiary to significant growth in the coming years through used serviceable material sales in the European, Middle East and African (EMEA) region and through aircraft and engine transactions globally.

Curtis has held senior management positions at AAR, Pratt & Whitney and Quantum Aviation during his career.  Most recently he owned and operated an aviation asset and spare parts trading company located in Dublin. He has also acted as a trusted advisor to the leasing community on aircraft/engine portfolio transactions and has served as a director on the boards of trading and aircraft lease companies including Q Aviation.

Next Level Aviation-Ireland will commence operations in the Dublin area next month. 

MTU Maintenance and LATAM Airlines use sustainable fuels for engine tests

MTU Maintenance has joined forces with LATAM, Latin America’s largest airline, to use sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) in test runs. A V2500 engine of the airline was recently tested at the MTU site in Hannover, Germany, with a 10% SAF fuel blend.

The fuel used is derived from waste fats, oils and lubricants and produces up to 80% less greenhouse gas emissions per gallon than paraffin over its entire life cycle. Thus, around 0.6 tonnes of CO2 were saved during the test run. In future tests, the SAF proportion will be increased to up to 50%, which is the maximum limit currently permitted.

Canada Jetlines announces Stage 1 licensing approval from CTA

Canada Jetlines Operations (Canada Jetlines) has received a determination from the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) that Canada Jetlines meets the regulation requirements with regards to Canadian ownership and control, subject to filing confirming corporate documents. The CTA also completed Stage 1 “Determination of Financial Requirements” for Canada Jetlines’ application.

“I am very excited that Canada Jetlines has now received Canadian ownership and control approval and the Stage 1 determination from the CTA,” stated Eddy Doyle, CEO of Canada Jetlines. “We are now in the final stages of the licensing process and I am confident we will satisfy the final requirements in time for a summer launch date.”

In 2021 Canada Jetlines commenced the application process for a license to operate air service, large aircraft pursuant from the CTA. The application process requires Canada Jetlines to provide information regarding the ownership structure and financial information in two stages. The first stage requires the provision of information and documentation regarding the funding requirements for the start-up and operation of an air service for a 90-day period. The second stage requires the provision of evidence that the requisite funding is in place to finance the proposed air service. Jetlines is advancing the completion of the funding to satisfy stage 2 requirements with the intention to commence air service in the summer of 2022, subject to final CTA and Transport Canada approval.

The Air Operator Certificate (AOC) application process with Transport Canada is progressing as planned, these include the approval of the majority of submitted manuals, conditional approval for pilot training, the completion of the first pilot course and simulator check ride. Subject to receiving Transport Canada approval, Canada Jetlines intends to start flight attendant training next month.

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