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Friday, March 25th, 2022

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Southwest Airlines opens new technical operations hangar facility at Denver International Airport

Southwest Airlines has completed a major infrastructure investment to support its long-term vision for its Denver operation with the opening of a new Technical Operations complex at Denver International Airport (DEN). The nearly three-year, US$100 million, 130,000 ft² project includes a large aircraft maintenance hangar and room for offices, training and warehousing to support the carrier's Technical Operations team and represents Southwest's continued commitment to Denver by bringing more job opportunities to the community.

The new hangar adds an important location within Southwest's network to support scheduled, overnight maintenance of its fleet of nearly 730 Boeing 737 aircraft. The facility includes space inside the hangar for three Boeing 737s and room for eight additional 737s outdoors and serves as the new home for Southwest's more than 100 Denver-based Technical Operations employees. The Technical Operations team will begin moving into the facility in the coming weeks.

The hangar joins six other Southwest Airlines aircraft maintenance hangars located throughout the country including Atlanta, Chicago (Midway), Dallas (Love Field), Houston (Hobby), Orlando, and Phoenix.


Alaska Air Cargo expands freighter fleet with addition of two aircraft

Alaska Air Cargo will add two Boeing 737-800 aircraft to its dedicated freighter fleet serving the state of Alaska. These additions increase the freighter fleet from three to five aircraft.

The two Boeing 737-800 converted aircraft will come from Alaska Airlines existing passenger fleet. The planes will be converted from its passenger configuration to an all-freight aircraft beginning this year. The aircraft are projected to re-enter service as freighters in 2023.  

The Boeing 737-800 provides a 40% capacity increase per departure over the current Boeing 737-700 aircraft with a payload of nearly 50,000 pounds. With a range of 2,800 nautical miles, the B737-800 will be the most fuel-efficient aircraft to serve intra-Alaska. 

HydrogenOne Capital Growth and Safran to jointly invest in UK flight innovator Cranfield Aerospace

HydrogenOne Capital Growth and Safran Corporate Ventures are pleased to announce that they have signed definitive agreements for a common investment in Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) as part of a more than £10 million funding round.

HGEN is investing a total of £7 million in this funding round and Safran Corporate Ventures £3.5 million. With this purchase of a minority equity stake, each company is entitled to a board seat at CAeS.

CAeS is an aerospace market leader in the design and manufacture of new aircraft design concepts, complex modifications to existing aircraft and integration of cutting-edge technologies to meet the most challenging issues facing the aerospace industry today. CAeS has refocused the company on Project Fresson, the unlocking of commercial hydrogen-electric propulsion flight. In the early stages, CAeS will focus on CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) certification of the Britten-Norman Islander passenger aircraft using hydrogen fuel cell power.

In parallel with its investment, Safran will work in partnership with CAeS spanning the area of hydrogen fuel cell powered electric propulsion for aviation.


JetBlue and Qatar Airways plan to expand existing global partnership

JetBlue has released that it intends to expand the depth and breadth of its existing partnership with Qatar Airways to offer customers even more benefits when booking travel to and from international destinations on the global partner airline. This will include more code sharing in additional markets in the coming months, enhanced benefits for JetBlue TrueBlue® and Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club loyalty members, expanded marketing opportunities and refinements to flight schedules to create new, convenient connections across both carriers.

Already, Qatar Airways is one of JetBlue’s top partners for connecting customers across the Americas to its global network, with traffic expected to grow further through new enhancements within the partnership. This new agreement will provide more options to travel between JetBlue’s 100+ destinations across North America and the Caribbean and Qatar Airways global network of 82 countries. JetBlue places its code on Qatar Airways flights in – or offers connections through – nine US gateways.

In addition, the airlines plan to develop an integrated airside transfer option for customers connecting at New York-JFK, JetBlue’s largest focus city and Qatar Airways’ most served US destination.

Airbus Helicopters conducts successful sea trials for VSR700 autonomous take-off and landing capabilities

Off the coast of Brest, France, Airbus Helicopters has successfully carried out sea trials for the autonomous capabilities of the VSR700, which is an unmanned aerial system (UAS) developed in the frame of the Système de drone aérien de la Marine (SDAM) programme and conducted by the DGA (Direction générale de l’Armement - the French Armament General Directorate) for the French Navy.

The trials were carried out using an optionally piloted vehicle (OPV) based on a modified Guimbal Cabri G2 equipped with the autonomous take-off and landing (ATOL) system which has been specifically developed for the VSR700. Both the semi-autonomous and the fully autonomous modes of the ATOL system were demonstrated with success in different sea states.

The VSR700 uses Airbus DeckFinder to enable autonomous ship deck take-off and landings in all weather conditions, whether during the day or at night. Overall, 150 autonomous launches and recoveries took place. The handling and manoeuvring of the OPV, representative of the VSR700, on the ship deck were also tested. Designed to operate alongside other shipborne naval assets, the VSR700 is a UAS in the 500-1,000 kg maximum take-off weight range. It offers the best balance of payload capability, endurance and operational cost. It is capable of carrying multiple full-size naval sensors for extended periods and can operate from existing ships, alongside a helicopter, with a low logistical footprint.

The OPV can carry one test pilot in order to enable safer and more agile initial testing before those systems are integrated into the fully autonomous VSR700. The OPV initially conducted piloted take-offs and landings before switching progressively to fully autonomous maneuvers.

“These tests in real-life conditions constitute a crucial step towards the campaign that we will conduct at sea with the DGA and the French Navy later this year,” explained Nicolas Delmas, head of the VSR700 programme for Airbus Helicopters. “Using the OPV, we have demonstrated the unique autonomous take-off and landing capabilities of the VSR700. We have also proved the optimal functioning of the vehicle and its command station interface on board a vessel in realistic conditions.”


Pratt & Whitney to open new Capabilities Centre in Bengaluru

Pratt & Whitney has announced its plans to open a world-class global supply chain support centre in Bengaluru, India. The India Capability Centre (ICC) will employ hundreds of analysts and data scientists to augment Pratt & Whitney’s global supply chain, focused on digital capabilities.

The centre began recruiting for its first tranche of 160 aerospace analysts and data scientists and is expected to begin initial operations by April 2022. The centre will be co-located at Collins Aerospace’s campus in Yelahanka, Bengaluru.

“India provides the perfect ecosystem of aerospace talent, innovation and capabilities for us,” said Ashmita Sethi, President and Country Head, Pratt & Whitney. “Over the years we have made significant investments, including our state-of-the-art India Customer Training Centre in Hyderabad and our advanced R&D centre in Bengaluru. Our new centre is a great example of our continued commitment to India and we aim to grow our in-country capabilities further.”

The India Capability Center will collaborate with teams across Pratt & Whitney’s global supply chain, and will focus on supply chain operations, procurement, and digital analytics.

Norwegian recruits 150 crew in Finland – reopens base in Helsinki

As part of the preparations for the summer season, Norwegian has started recruitment of more than 150 air crew that will be based at Helsinki Airport HEL. Approximately 100 cabin crew and 50 pilots will be ready to operate 27 of Europe’s most popular destinations that the company will service from Helsinki Airport during the summer season.

The newly hired crew start working on a rolling basis over the coming months – March, April and May - as they undergo the necessary training before they can welcome the passengers onboard as part of their active duty. The 150 will be the first air crew with Norwegian based in Helsinki since April 2020 when the pandemic hit the global aviation industry. Norwegian received almost 2000 applications for the open positions.

Since June 2021 and the first lifting of travel restrictions, the rate of employment has been up at Norwegian and the company has reopened bases in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim.

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