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Monday, March 21st, 2022

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Textron to acquire electric aircraft pioneer Pipistrel

Textron Inc. the multi-industry company behind brand names such as Bell, Cessna and Beechcraft, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, has agreed to purchase Slovenia- and Italy-based Pipistrel, the manufacturer of small light aircraft and the Pipistrel Velis Electro, the world’s first and currently only, electric aircraft to receive full type-certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The acquisition will provide Pipistrel with access to superior resources, together with a global network for sales and support, enabling it to accelerate its development and certification of electric and hybrid electric aircraft. With the acquisition, Textron will now create a new enterprise, Textron eAviation, devoted to the development of sustainable aircraft, including those by Pipistrel.

Pipistrel was launched in 1989 and since then has sold over 2,500 light aircraft, while the company’s history in the sustainable sector of the industry dates back to 2000, subsequent to which it has made several electric aircraft introductions, as well as having both hybrid and electric propulsion models under development. The sale of Pipistrel to Textron includes Pipistrel d.o.o., Pipistrel Vertical Solutions d.o.o and Pipistrel Italia S.r.l.

“Pipistrel puts Textron in a uniquely strong position to develop technologies for the sustainable aviation market and develop a variety of new aircraft to meet a wide range of customer missions,” said Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly.

“Under my 30-year leadership, Pipistrel’s team has achieved a unique prime position in personal, affordable, environmentally friendly and electric aviation. The trend and foundation for future projects has clearly been set,” Pipistrel founder and CEO Ivo Boscarol. “To drive Pipistrel’s ambitious goals and to continue its story of success, the joining of Textron and Pipistrel provides deep expertise and resources which would otherwise be inaccessible to Pipistrel alone.”

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bp to supply DHL Express with Sustainable Aviation Fuel until 2026

bp is to supply DHL Express with sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) until 2026 as part of a new strategic collaboration with the global logistics company. The bp agreement is one of two deals comprising the largest sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) deals in aviation to date, with a combined volume of more than 800 million litres of SAF. The other supplier, entering in to separate agreement with DHL and making up the total volume, is Neste.

In its Sustainability Roadmap, Deutsche Post DHL Group has committed to using 30% of SAF blending for all air transport by 2030. bp will provide SAF produced from waste oils. Such SAF from wastes and residues can provide greenhouse gas emission reductions of up to 80% over its lifecycle compared with the conventional jet fuel it replaces, thereby reducing DHL’s carbon footprint. DHL Express transports more than 480 million urgent documents and packages annually across its global network of 220 countries and territories.

China Eastern Boeing 737-800 crashes near southern Chinese city of Wuzhou

BBC news has reported that a crash, involving a China Eastern Boeing 737, occurred near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county, China. The Boeing 737 went down in the countryside near Wuzhou city, Guangxi region and caused a mountain fire. There are no details of the numbers of dead and injured yet.

It was reported that China Eastern flight MU5735 with 132 people onboard had not arrived at its scheduled destination in Guangzhou after it took off from the city of Kunming shortly after 1pm (5am GMT) on Monday.

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Boeing’s Australian-produced uncrewed aircraft to be named ‘MQ-28A Ghost Bat’

Boeing Australia has announced that the Australian Government and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have selected ‘MQ-28A Ghost Bat’ as the military designator and name for the first Australian-produced military combat aircraft in over 50 years.

“The introduction of the new popular name is a rare and special moment in aviation history for our RAAF partners and industry team of over 35 Australian suppliers,” said Glen Ferguson, director Airpower Teaming System Australia and International.

“Selecting the Ghost Bat, an Australian native mammal known for teaming together in a pack to detect and hunt, reflects the unique characteristics of the aircraft’s sensors and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance abilities, and is a fitting name for this pioneering capability,” said Ferguson.

With a rapid development timetable of just three years from ideation to first flight, the development programme leverages advancements in digital engineering, advanced manufacturing and unique Australian supply chain technologies.

While the RAAF Loyal Wingman development programme name will phase out, Boeing’s product name for global customers will remain the Airpower Teaming System.

During 2022, the programme will continue to accelerate the development and testing of the MQ-28A Ghost Bat, with a focus on sensor and missionisation capabilities to deliver on RAAF commitments. These requirements will continue to expand as Boeing moves towards the aim of delivering an operational capability for the ADF.

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Cebu Pacific selects SITA to enhance cockpit communication

Cebu Pacific Air has selected SITA to support its digital transformation agenda leveraging SITA’s renowned AIRCOM® Cockpit Services integrated with Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband-Safety (SB-S) satellite network service. The combined solutions will enhance cockpit communications while delivering greater operational efficiencies on the airline’s new Airbus A330neos.

SITA’s 2021 Air Transport IT Insights reveal that digitalisation is a top priority for the air transport industry’s recovery from COVID-19. Cebu Pacific is one of many airlines embarking on a digital transformation agenda, including modernizing its fleet with features that allow for real-time updates to support better decision-making around weather and flight planning.

Through its AIRCOM® Cockpit Services portfolio, SITA has integrated Inmarsat’s cutting-edge SB-S satellite network service, making Cebu Pacific the first airline to leverage the benefits of both services on its new fleet. It is also the first time SB-S has been delivered factory-fitted on an Airbus aircraft bringing more sophisticated, secure and reliable voice and data communications to the flight deck. IP connectivity, quicker data transmission with faster broadband speeds and coverage, will deliver several operational benefits for the airline.

Liebherr and HAECO extend landing gear service agreement in China

Anticipating regional jets sustained recovery in China, Liebherr-Aerospace and HAECO have extended their initial landing gear service agreement to offer state-of-the-art landing gear MRO services to Chinese Embraer E-Jet E1 operators.

While Chinese operators progressively resume to full-flight operations, Liebherr-Aerospace has optimised its landing gear maintenance offer through a service agreement in China with HAECO Landing Gear Services.

This unique relationship combines Liebherr-Aerospace's OEM expertise as the design and production responsible company for the Embraer E-Jet E1 landing gear system with HAECO Landing Gear Services, an MRO partner with vast expertise on landing gear maintenance services and a facility in Xiamen, ideally located halfway between Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Facing a stable MRO demand in the region, the OEM support to local operators who need to improve their supply chain performance became critical after aircraft grounding due to the pandemic. However, thanks to the successful cooperation of Liebherr with HAECO Landing Gear Services, the development of OEM slot capacity in China remains a distinct advantage when servicing events need to be rescheduled, and leads to cost-efficient and shorter turn-around time.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar