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Wednesday, March 23rd, 2022

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Air Canada to buy 26 XLR Airbus A321neos with option for 14 more

Air Canada has announced it has agreed to buy 26 of the extra-long-range (XLR) Airbus A321neos with deliveries to run between Q1 2024 and Q1 2027. The Canadian flag carrying airline has included an option for an additional 14 of the XLR variant which, if exercised, will be delivered between 2027 and 2030.

The increased range of the new aircraft to 8,700 km will enable Air Canada to cover all of North America and certain transatlantic routes, subject to obtaining approval for overseas operations from Transport Canada. 15 of the jets will be leased from Air Lease Corporation, five leased from Aercap, while six will be purchased under an agreement with Airbus S.A.S.

While increasing the size of Air Canada’s fleet of aircraft, several of the new planes will replace older, less fuel-efficient aircraft, providing both cost savings and environmental benefits. Air Canada projects it will have up to 17% lower fuel burn per seat than the previous-generation narrow-body on a typical transcontinental flight and a projected reduction of up to 23% when compared to previous-generation wide-body aircraft on a transatlantic flight.

"Air Canada is committed to further strengthen its market-leading position, especially through investments in new technology. The acquisition of the state-of-the-art Airbus A321XLR is an important element of this strategy and will drive our core priorities of elevating the customer experience, advancing our environmental goals, network expansion and increasing our overall cost efficiency,” said Michael Rousseau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Air Canada. The carrier is yet to make a decision on the engines which will power its new A321neos.

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Skyports raises US$23 million in first close of Series B funding round

Skyports, the electric air taxi infrastructure and drone services provider, has raised US$23 million in the first close of its Series B funding round. The capital, from a combination of new and existing investors, will enable Skyports to consolidate its position as a global leader in the advanced air mobility infrastructure and drone operations markets.

All existing institutional shareholders participated in the round including Deutsche Bahn Digital Ventures, Groupe ADP, Solar Ventus, Irelandia and Levitate Capital with a number materially increasing their stake. These investors were joined by Japanese conglomerate Kanematsu Corporation, global industrial property group Goodman Group, Italian airport platform 2i Aeroporti, backed by Ardian’s Infrastructure Fund and F2i Italian Infrastructure Fund, and US based VC firm GreenPoint.

Kanematsu Corporation will take a seat on the Skyports board and will be joined by Ken Allen, CEO of DHL eCommerce who joins the board as an independent non-executive director.

The new capital and the sizeable balance sheets of the investors enables Skyports to accelerate its work with the world’s leading electric air taxi manufacturers and operators, providing take-off and landing infrastructure in key launch markets. Skyports will also materially scale its Drone Services operations in new and existing markets, building on active operations in the UK, Europe and Asia.

Duncan Walker, CEO of Skyports said: “This is another great milestone for Skyports as we continue our journey to be the leading vertiport owner and operator in the world. The support of our original investors who have deep experience in aviation and infrastructure and the addition of new capital from world class companies with a global footprint enables us to build the air taxi eco-system alongside our best-in-class vehicle partners for initial operations within a couple of years. Our growing Drone Services business puts us ahead of the curve with technology development, regulation and operational experience whilst reducing carbon emissions by using drones for a broad range of customers.”

Evonik invests in new ROHACELL® production facility

Evonik is investing a significant double-digit million Euro sum in a new, modern production facility for its high-performance foams for fiber composites manufactured in Darmstadt, Germany. At the same time, parts of the original production plant, which went into operation in 1972, will be shut down or extensively modernised. These measures will enable Evonik to continue to meet growing demand for its structural foams, for example from the aerospace industry.

Evonik's original production facility in Darmstadt has been manufacturing ROHACELL® structural foam, which is used as a core material for sandwich composite materials, for 50 years. Sales have risen steadily in recent years due to increasing market demand for lightweight components in a wide range of industries, including medical technology and sports applications to parts for the electronics industry and automotive and aircraft construction. ROHACELL® plays a role in emerging technology developments, such as high frequency equipment for 5G networks as well as the design of air taxis. In addition, the product range of high-performance foams will soon be expanded with new developments beyond ROHACELL® polymethacrylimide structural foam.

With modern, state-of-the-art buildings and a production environment that meets the latest safety standards, Evonik is well equipped to meet growing customer demand and the high-quality requirements of industries such as aerospace and automotive. "With this contribution, Evonik continues on its path of investing in products that support sustainable solutions for our customers," says Dr Claus Rettig, head of Evonik's Smart Materials Division. "Manufacturers in many industries want to efficiently produce high-performance lightweight components. Our high-performance foams for composites make this possible." 

Production will continue at the existing plant in Darmstadt during the construction and modernisation phase. The first new production plant will start operation in April 2022 and further plants will follow over the course of the year.

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IAI completes delivery of dozens of SATCOM terminals for fighter aircraft

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has completed the delivery of dozens of SATCOM (Satellite Communication) terminals with a conformal electronically-steered antenna for fighter aircraft. The SATCOM terminals are based on AESA (Active Electronic Scanned Array) technology and are installed on advanced 4.5 generation Western fighter jets.

IAI's beyond line-of-sight solution ensures seamless voice and data communications, at any location, and even during fast, low-altitude flight. Utilising a unique flush-mounted antenna, the compact AESA SATCOM system eliminates antenna and radome drag, and is therefore optimally suited to a fighter aircraft’s aggressive flight envelope, as well as to other platforms requiring low-drag performance. By relying on a single LRU phased array, the technology is installed and integrated smoothly and ensures a low life cycle cost. With a high-performance and robust network design, the system connects hundreds of registered users, and switches seamlessly between frequencies, at any given moment, according to the mission scenario and requirements. 

IATA lauches first industry-developed passenger CO2 calculation methodology

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched the IATA Recommended Practice Per-Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology. IATA’s Methodology, using verified airline operational data, provides the most accurate calculation methodology for the industry to quantify CO2 emissions per passenger for a specific flight.

As travelers, corporate travel managers and travel agents are increasingly demanding precise flight CO2 emission information, an accurate and standardised calculation methodology is critical. This is particularly true in the corporate sector where such calculations are needed to underpin voluntary emissions reductions targets.

“Airlines have worked together through IATA to develop an accurate and transparent methodology using verified airline operational data. This provides the most accurate CO2 calculation for organisations and individuals to make informed choices about flying sustainably. This includes decisions on investing in voluntary carbon offsetting or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) use,” said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.

IATA’s Methodology takes into account:

Guidance on fuel measurement, aligned with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)

Clearly defined scope to calculate CO2 emissions in relation to airlines’ flying activities

Guidance on non-CO2 related emissions and Radiative Forcing Index (RFI)

Weight based calculation principle: allocation of CO2 emission by passenger and belly cargo

Guidance on passenger weight, using actual and standard weight

Emissions Factor for conversion of jet fuel consumption to CO2, fully aligned with CORSIA

Cabin class weighting and multipliers to reflect different cabin configurations of airlines

Guidance on SAF and carbon offsets as part of the CO2 calculation

The IATA Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology is the most authoritative tool and it is ready for airlines, travel agents and passengers to adopt," adds Walsh.

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Turkish Technic posts 2021 financial results

Turkish Technic, the MRO provider with headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, has released its financial results for 2021 which marked a successful growth and strong strategic acceleration compared to the previous year. The company recorded a 15.7% growth compared to 2020 with US$1,034 billion revenue and increased its market share to 1.6%.

Showing its effect starting from 2020 at a global scale and bringing aviation sector to an almost complete halt, the COVID pandemic also affected Turkish Technic negatively just like others in aviation related sectors. Yet, by quickly overcoming this negative effect and showing a successful performance, Turkish Technic received base maintenance authorisation for C/D Hangars of Istanbul Airport. Performing base maintenance of a Boeing 787-type aircraft for the first time, the company increased its number of landing gear maintenance by 40% and enhanced its landing gear maintenance repair capabilities.

VINCI Airports sells stake in Stockholm Skavsta Airport management company to Arlandastad Group

Private airport operator VINCI Airports and Arlandastad Group AB, a real estate Swedish group, have signed a purchase agreement for the 90.1% stake in Stockholm Skavsta Flygplats AB held by VINCI Airports, owner of Skavsta Airport (Stockholm’s secondary airport). The agreement is expected to be completed by April 2022 after fulfilment of the conditions precedent.

Arlandastad Group is committed to develop the 484 hectares of airport land in partnership with the municipality of Nyköping. The local urban plan has already been initiated, paving the way for the development of a logistics zone and a large-scale business park.

In this context, Arlandastad Group and VINCI Airports have signed an agreement enabling SunMind, a VINCI Concessions subsidiary, to develop, finance, build and maintain a solar farm on the airport site. Covering an area of 100 hectares and with a capacity of almost 100 MWp, it will be one of the largest solar power plants in Sweden. Connected to the public grid, it will help supply energy to the municipality of Nyköping. Arlandastad Group and VINCI Concessions will together explore opportunities for developing a programme of photovoltaic power plants in Sweden, in particular by using the land in Arlandastad Group’s portfolio.

NAC delivers one ATR 72-600 to Loganair

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has delivered one ATR 72-600 aircraft, MSN 1237, to Loganair on lease. The 72-seat ATR, which will be registered G-LMTD and named Clan Duncan in service with Loganair, will become the airline’s tenth ATR and forms part of its continuing fleet renewal programme.

Loganair is the one of the largest regional airlines in the UK, operating 43 aircraft on a network covering over 40 destinations in the UK and Europe. In addition to its scheduled services, the airline operates contract services for several large companies across the distribution and oil & gas sectors together with charters for a wide range of sports teams.

DC Aviation completes ten-year check on Global 5000

DC Aviation's maintenance centre at Stuttgart Airport has successfully completed a ten-year check on a Global 5000 aircraft, including an avionics and internet upgrade as well as cabin refurbishment.

The extensive maintenance work included a general overhaul of the nose and main landing gear, including installation and removal. The airframe and flap fairings were partially painted for sustained protection against environmental influences. The idle period was also used for an overhaul of the aircraft cabin.

In addition to the structural work, an avionics upgrade was performed in accordance with the latest standard. By using iPad Tablet Solutions for the electronic flight bag, constantly updated data (such as flight altitude) can be accessed using iPads. The cabin of the Global 5000 was also equipped with the KU-LuxStream ultra-high-speed internet service that enables data transmission of 15 Mbit/s worldwide, and even 25 Mbit/s in North American as far as Hawaii. The best communication and entertainment options for customers will be ensured in the future by the installation of three MIMO (multiple-input, multiple-output) antennas and new iPads as well as Apple TVs and Mac minis with a PLEX Home Theater server.
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