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Friday, July 1st, 2022

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FAA’s role in Boeing 737 and 787 production oversight to be audited

The office of the inspector general of the U.S. Transportation Department has confirmed that it will now audit the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) oversight of Boeing’s manufacture of the 737 and 787 jet. In particular the FAA will review the FAA's processes for "identifying and resolving" production issues and "addressing allegations of undue pressure within the production environment."

Deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner were suspended in May 2021 after concerns were voiced over proposed inspection methods. According to Reuters news agency, House Transportation Committee chair Peter DeFazio and aviation subcommittee chair Rick Larsen said in a statement late Wednesday the audit "should be thorough and unsparing to help prevent a repeat of safety issues previously identified by FAA and to ensure the manufacture and production of safe aircraft."

Back in February of this year the FAA made it clear it would not permit Boeing to self-certify new 787s and that instead the government watchdog would retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates until it is confident "Boeing's quality control and manufacturing processes consistently produce 787s that meet FAA design standards." A Senate report issued in December 2021 made it clear that the FAA needed to improve the way it oversaw Boeing and new-plane certification while also reviewing a series of whistleblower allegations.  The Senate report stated that the "FAA's certification process suffers from undue pressure on line engineers and production staff."


Embraer and P&W complete 100% SAF flight testing of GTF-powered E195-E2 aircraft

Embraer and Pratt & Whitney have successfully tested a GTF-powered E195-E2 aircraft on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The test, with one engine running on 100% SAF, validated that GTF engines and the E-Jets E2 family can fly on both engines with blends of up to 100% SAF without any compromise to safety or performance. The aircraft completed two days of ground tests at Fort Lauderdale International Airport, culminating in a 70-minute flight test at Vero Beach Regional Airport in Florida.

All Pratt & Whitney engines and Embraer aircraft are currently certified to operate with SAF blended up to 50% with standard Jet A/A1 kerosene, according to ASTM International specifications. Future specifications will enable blends of up to 100% SAF to maximise the emissions reduction potential of using fuel derived from sustainable, non-fossil-based feed stocks.

IAG converts 14 A320neo-family options into firm orders

International Airlines Group (IAG) is converting 14 A320neo-family options, announced in August 2013, into firm orders for 11 A320neos and three A321neos.

This is in addition to the conversion of eight A320neo-family options which IAG exercised in March 2022 for six A320neos and two A321neos.

These aircraft will be delivered in 2024 and 2025 and will be used to replace A320ceo-family aircraft in the Group’s short-haul fleet.

These modern, more fuel-efficient aircraft will bring both cost efficiencies and environmental benefits to IAG airlines.

LCI acquires 19-helicopter portfolio

LCI, a leading aviation company and a subsidiary of the Libra Group, has announced the acquisition of a portfolio of 19 helicopters from Lobo Leasing, alongside RIVE Private Investment and Turning Rock Partners.

The portfolio is valued at over US$115 million (£94 million) and comprises helicopters from leading manufacturers including Airbus Helicopters, Bell, Leonardo and Sikorsky. The acquisition will see LCI continue to diversify its fleet, increase its customer base and expand its geographical reach. Eight of the aircraft are currently placed on lease in South America, with the remainder in Europe and Africa, and will bring the total number of countries served by LCI’s assets to 28.


Government of Canada invests in projects to improve supply chain efficiency for Canadian airlines

The Government of Canada is committed to strengthening Canada's trade corridors, which support its supply chains, help grow its economy and ensure its recovery, while creating good, middle-class jobs.

The Minister of Transport, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, announced close to CA$105 million for three new projects with NAV CANADA under the National Trade Corridors Fund. These projects will help improve supply chain efficiency for Canadian airlines across the country.

The Government of Canada will contribute:
  • Up to CA$39.2 million to provide new technology to improve the reliability, safety, and performance of Canada's air transportation system, especially in the event of extreme weather and in remote communities. NAV CANADA will contribute $59.7 million toward the project, for a total investment of CA$98.9 million.
  • Up to CA$34.5 million to implement technology to improve air traffic management. The proposed project would also allow for the implementation of drone traffic management services to monitor and control drone operations in Canada's airspace. NAV CANADA will contribute $50.7 million toward the project, for a total investment of CA$85.2 million.
  • Up to CA$31.2 million to improve the technology and infrastructure at four major airports (Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, Calgary International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport) to respond to increased air traffic demand. The project will reduce flying time, decrease aircraft fuel consumption, increase the movement of cargo, and provide more efficiencies to meet the growing demand at these airports. For this project, NAV CANADA will contribute CA$45.8 million, which represents a total investment of CA$77 million.
Through the National Trade Corridors Fund, the Government of Canada is investing in well-functioning trade corridors to help Canadians compete in key global markets, trade more efficiently with international partners, and to keep Canadian supply chains competitive and resilient. It represents a long-term commitment to work with stakeholders on strategic infrastructure projects to address transportation bottlenecks, vulnerabilities, and congestion along Canada's trade corridors (£1.00 = CA$1.57 at time of publication).

Aergo Capital delivers one Boeing 737-8 aircraft to Lion Air

Aergo Capital Limited (Aergo) has successfully delivered the first of eight 737 (Max) aircraft to Lion Air. The aircraft, bearing manufacturer serial number 43016 will be operated by Batik Air, a member of the Lion Air group.

Fred Browne, Chief Executive Officer of Aergo, commented: “We are delighted to deliver the first of eight 737 (Max) aircraft to Lion Air. We look forward to completing all deliveries in the coming months and would like to commend all those involved in the transaction for getting this deal over the line.”


SITA's research shows pent-up demand for air travel, with passengers embracing mobile and touch-less technologies

SITA’s 2022 Passenger IT Insights research highlights pent-up demand for both business and leisure travel emerging from the pandemic, with passengers further embracing mobile and touch-less technologies to make the journey as convenient and seamless as possible.The survey reveals an increase in passenger use of mobile devices for booking, on board the airplane, and for bag collection in Q1 2022 compared to Q1 2020, while automated gates saw increases in adoption for identity control, boarding, and border control.

The results clearly reflect the accelerated digitalisation of air travel since the outbreak of the pandemic and passengers’ willingness to adopt technologies. However, health verification is a pain point that has slowed end-to-end automation. In Q1 2022, despite some uptake of technology at this stage, over half of passengers were still doing their own research on health verification requirements and manually submitting documentation. SITA’s research also finds reduced technology adoption in the early stages of the journey (check-in, bag tag, and bag drop) in favor of manual processing. Uncertainty about health requirements and travel rules has likely led travelers to seek more staff interaction when starting the journey.

The survey shows that the more technology there is during travel, the happier passengers are. As many as 87% of passengers have positive emotions about identity control, up 11% from 2016; the same is true for 84% of passengers about bag collection (up 9%). These are also the areas where technology adoption has risen the most, driven by mobile and automated gates, with half of passengers now additionally receiving real-time information at bag collection on time until delivery.

Asked about comfort levels with bio metric identification throughout the journey, passengers scored an average of almost 7.3 out of 10 (with 10 representing most comfortable), most likely reflecting their desire for ease of travel moving forward from the pandemic.

AJW Aviation appoints Rachael Caston as Chief Executive Officer

AJW Group, a producer of aircraft component parts, repair, and supply chain solutions provider, has appointed Rachael Caston as CEO of AJW Aviation.

Caston, who has an honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering, an MA in Strategic and International Defence, and qualifications in strategic leadership and management from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), will guide the organisation in its mission to transform aviation efficiency, focusing on continued strategic, operational and financial strength in delivering an exceptional customer experience.

From September 1, 2022, Caston will assume the role, joining AJW from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) where she provided executive level leadership for the at Royal Air Force UK Airprox Board (RAF) Northolt. Ms Caston has a long and distinguished career in aviation, including active service as a professional pilot, Executive Officer, and Commanding Officer in the RAF, and extensive business transformation experience, leading teams with a people-centric mindset.

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