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Monday, June 13th, 2022

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Boost for airlines as US drops COVID testing for inbound international passengers

The United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) has rescinded a seventeen-month-old requirement that air travellers entering the country from abroad are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Originally the test had to be taken within three days of the flight’s departure, but this was tightened by the CDC to the test being within one day of the flight’s departure.  

The announcement comes at the beginning of the summer travel season and airlines are already gearing up for record demand. For many Americans the greatest worry has been the fear of travelling abroad, catching COVID-19 and then being unable to return to the States for several weeks.

The lifting of the requirement is subject to review after 90 days and the CDC has made it clear it "will not hesitate to reinstate a pre-departure testing requirement, if needed later." The CDC is also continuing to recommend travellers wear masks and get COVID-19 tests before and after international flights.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) stated that it was "great news" that the administration is "removing the ineffective pre-departure COVID test for travel to the US," while JetBlue Airways Chief Executive Robin Hayes told Reuters news agency on Friday that the testing requirement was "the last obstacle to a really full international travel recovery," saying that it "served no purpose anymore."

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Hawaiian Airlines and Par Hawaii plan to jointly explore SAF in Hawaiʻi

Hawaiian Airlines and Par Hawaii (Par Hawaii) an affiliate of Par Pacific Holdings, Hawaiʻi’s largest supplier of energy products have announced plans to join forces to study the commercial viability of locally produced sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) — to replace all or a percentage of traditional kerosene-based jet fuel with fuel that is made with sustainable feedstocks.   

This is a major step for both organisations to reduce carbon emissions, to address climate change and to create a more sustainable energy future for Hawaiʻi.

Based on a memorandum of understanding signed by both companies, Hawaiian Airlines and Par Hawaii will jointly evaluate the potential to convert two of the processing units at Par’s Kapolei refinery to produce renewable fuels, including sustainable aviation fuel; explore the production of locally grown, oil-yielding crops; study the feasibility of importing sustainable feedstocks to produce sustainable aviation fuel and other renewable products; and convene stakeholders to continue to support and identify federal and state policies and programs that accelerate Hawaiʻi-based production of renewable fuels.

In 2019, Par Pacific invested US$27 million in a distillate hydrotreater at its Kapolei refinery to produce more jet fuel and ultra-low sulphur diesel. This relatively new processing unit, along with the refinery’s distillate hydrocracker – which produces high value transportation fuels by converting heavier, lower value products under high temperature and pressure – are the two primary units being considered for renewable fuels production.

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ATR targets increasing opportunities for regional aircraft in Japan

ATR is stepping up its presence in Japan as the country sees an increase in demand for regional aviation in the wake of the pandemic.

ATR CEO Stefano Bortoli, said: “We see 100 ATR aircraft flying in Japan in a few years. Air transport is crucial for the archipelago, where air routes are essential for domestic travel and transportation. We want to help ensure that aviation contributes to a prosperous future for Japan by connecting its regions ever more sustainably and affordably. Most of the new ATRs will replace older, less efficient models and will connect islands and remote regions with the country’s major cities.”

Promoting economic development and connecting communities in all parts of the country while ensuring the lowest level of environmental impact is one of Japan’s main challenges. ATR aircraft already provide an immediate answer as they burn 40% less fuel and emit 40% less CO2 than similar-size regional jets, contributing to the Japanese government’s goal to cut emissions by 46% by 2030. The numerous innovations shortly available including the new PW127XT engine and the possibility to use up to 100% sustainable aviation fuel will further reduce ATR’s emissions.

ATR entered the Japanese market six years ago. There are already 15 ATR aircraft flying across Japan, with three operators: Amakusa Airline, JAC and HAC. Late September 2021, HAC took delivery of a brand-new ATR 42-600, using sustainable aviation fuel for the first leg of its ferry flight. At the beginning of May 2022, ATR delivered an ATR 42-600 to JAC. The aircraft sports a livery representing the leaves of Kaikouzu, which represent the preservation of nature.

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GoAeroMx receives integrated Anuvu system STC

GoAeroMx, a premier aerospace solutions provider and consulting firm focused on VIP, special missions and transport category aircraft, has received an FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for installation of the Anuvu Airconnect Ku high-speed connectivity and entertainment solution with live streaming TV. GoAeroMx has completed the installation and certification of the Wi-Fi package on a Boeing 767-200ER VIP aircraft.

Anuvu's Global aircraft hardware provides network services through a modem infrastructure and high-performance Ku antenna, enabling high-speed internet and simultaneous live streaming television to be delivered across the aircraft's network efficiently and reliably. Anuvu's custom high-performance coverage provides a consistent connection for broadband internet, voice, and entertainment.

"This is a tremendous accomplishment for our team and a significant addition to our client's aircraft that will fulfill their mission needs," said Neil Sparkman, Vice President of Technical Operations. "Boeing 767 operators now have an alternative to enhance in-flight connectivity while having support from an industry-leading connectivity solutions provider."

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Britishvolt acquires EAS, the German-based advanced technology battery cell manufacturer

Battery cell pioneer Britishvolt has signed a sale and purchase agreement with the Monbat Group, one of Europe’s leading battery solutions companies, to purchase its subsidiary EAS, the advanced technology battery cell innovator and manufacturer based in Nordhausen, Germany. The agreement values EAS at €36 million and is subject to completion and any regulatory approvals.

EAS, which is currently fully owned by the Monbat Group, has more than 25 years’ experience in developing and producing large format cylindrical lithium-ion battery cells from 7.5 Ah to 50 Ah. The company uses compact and unique production technology to guarantee the highest quality standards for its high power and energy cells at the lowest environmental impact.

EAS battery solutions have been adopted for aerospace and defense, submarine and marine, and automotive applications in Europe, Asia and North America, and prominent business partners such as NASA are already powered by the company’s cells.

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New UK airline Hans Airways advances cabin crew recruitment

Hans Airways, the UK’s newest long-haul airline, has attracted a highly experienced and diverse group of cabin crew as its front of house ambassadors looking after passengers on its planned long-haul flights between the UK and India. Its second group of new cabin crew recruits commenced ground training on the Airbus A330 at Birmingham last week, overseen by Neeru Prabhakar, Head of Cabin Safety and Service at the airline.

Prabhakar joined Hans Airways this spring following a 30-year career at British Airways and has been active in helping the start-up carrier with crew training ever since. She and COO Nathan Burkitt worked closely with the Resource Group who helped identify suitable candidates.

The first group of nine cabin crew successfully completed their training in Birmingham at the end of April including practical safety training at EDM Aviation Training Academy in Manchester.
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Tamar Jorssen
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