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Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

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Safran looks to acquire Thales’ aeronautical electrical systems activities and expand role in electrical power generation

International high-technology group Safran Electrical and Power (Safran) has announced its intention to acquire Thales aeronautical electrical systems business which plays a role in power generation and electric motors in the civil and military aeronautics sector. The intended purchase will include Thales Avionics Electrical Systems and Thales Avionics Electrical Motors companies in France, with sites in the Paris region in Chatou, Meru, and Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, as well as the support, maintenance and production activities for aeronautical electrical equipment in Orlando (USA) and Singapore.

The acquisition will see Safran Electrical & Power pursue its strategy as an equipment manufacturer positioned across the whole electrical chain. The electrical conversion business will make a significant contribution to Safran's portfolio of activities, which would expand further in the area of electrical power generation, particularly in the defence and helicopter markets.

For Thales, the proposed sale to Safran forms part of the Group's strategy to refocus on its core businesses in aerospace, defence and security, and digital identity and security. The proposed transaction is subject to the information and consultation procedure with the relevant employee representative bodies of Thales and Safran, as well as the usual regulatory approvals. The transaction is expected to conclude in 2023.

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IAG Cargo trials first electric terminal tractor at London Heathrow airport

IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG) has begun to trial the first electric terminal tractor, known as a Terberg YT203EV, at London Heathrow airport. This is the first electric Terberg operating airside worldwide.

By replacing an existing terminal tractor with an electric Terberg, approximately 30 tonnes of CO2 will be saved per vehicle per year – this is the equivalent of planting over 1 million trees or taking more than 6,000 cars off the road.

Terberg has been creating electric vehicles since 2014 with the team constantly revising the designs. The latest vehicles can deliver the same capability as the current diesel units in a more environmentally sustainable way, allowing drivers to carry out their work pattern whilst avoiding diesel engine emissions. In addition to its electric solution, Terberg are also exploring the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, having placed a unit to test on an off-airfield application. This additional environmentally friendly solution will afford Terberg customers such as IAG Cargo further options to achieve their environmental goals.

IAG Cargo is trialling the electric Terberg YT203EV for 12-months, with the ambition to transition its current diesel fleet to more sustainable alternatives, including electric. In the coming years the trial will help IAG Cargo and its partners understand the challenges the business may face when adopting an electric airside fleet, how future electric vehicles could be charged and what additional infrastructure will be needed to support a fleet of electric terminal tractors.

Malaysia Airlines plans to utilise Sabre technology to help optimise scheduling, reduce costs and grow revenue

Sabre, a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, has signed an agreement with Malaysia Airlines to enable the carrier to enhance its network planning and optimisation with Sabre technology as it continues to ramp up operations.

The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier and Sabre have a successful, valued, long-standing relationship, having worked together for more than two decades. This latest agreement supports Malaysia Airlines’ efforts to deliver robust schedules that are operationally feasible and profitable. It will use Sabre’s network planning and optimisation products for critical decision support to help it to forecast schedule profitability, match capacity and demand, and improve aircraft utilization and network connectivity.

Malaysia Airlines flies an extensive route network spanning across Asia Pacific, Middle East and the UK. With travel restrictions having eased in Malaysia earlier this year, bookings immediately surged for both inbound and outbound travel. The carrier is now firmly focused on longer-term plans including launching new routes, expanding codeshare partnerships, replacing aircraft and exploring sustainable aviation fuel options. In a further sign of the recovering premium travel sector, the airline has also re-opened its three Golden Lounges at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

The carrier has selected a full suite of Sabre scheduling solutions, made up of Schedule Manager, Fleet Manager, Profit Manager, Codeshare Manager as well as Slot Manager.

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Embraer concludes flight tests for firefighting capability for C-390 Millennium

Embraer has successfully completed the flight test of the certification campaign for the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II), which provides the C-390 Millennium with the required capability to perform firefighting missions. The tests, carried out at the Embraer facility in Gavião Peixoto, São Paulo State, in Brazil, represent an important advancement in the certification campaign of this capacity by the Brazilian Military Certification Authority (IFI). After certification, the firefighting capability will be available to aircraft operators.

The MAFFS II is a firefighting system capable of deploying up to 3,000 gallons of water (approximately 11,300 litres), both with and without fire retardant, according to the standard ground cover level criteria and in various types of terrain.

Designed to interface with the aircraft’s cargo handling system (CHS), the MAFFS II is rapidly installed on the cargo compartment of the airplane, using only its own trailer. The system requires only aircraft power to operate.

The conclusion of these tests, which included several in-flight water-drop, proved the system's ability to integrate with the aircraft, and demonstrated excellent aspects of flight quality and manoeuvrability, which are extremely necessary for this type of operation at low speeds.

Allegiant repays its obligations under the CARES Act Payroll Support programme

Allegiant has reported that it has repaid the US$24.8 million dollar emergency relief loan the company received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act in April 2020.

The government assistance, coupled with proactive initiatives from Allegiant and its employees, allowed the airline to preserve liquidity and strategically position itself to withstand the uncertainty surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19. Allegiant's unique business model, focused entirely on leisure travel, helped the company respond to the unprecedented challenges that the entire airline industry faced when demand for air travel dropped so suddenly and precipitously in 2020, as a result of the global pandemic.

The CARES Act, signed into law in April 2020, established the Payroll Support Program to provide assistance to U.S. companies that were impacted by the global pandemic. The funds helped Allegiant support the airline's employee salaries and benefits.

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Finnair reports good passenger load factor and clear improvement in other passenger traffic figures

Finnair carried 880,500 passengers in August 2022, which was 230.4% more than in August 2021. The number of passengers in August 2022 was 11.9% less than in July 2022.

The COVID-19 impact, including the strict travel restrictions imposed by many countries, still affected passenger traffic figures, and it was particularly visible in the Asian figures. The Russian airspace closed at the end of February due to the counter sanctions related to the war in Ukraine, which resulted in route and frequency cancellations in Asian traffic. Thanks to robust demand for cargo, Finnair, however, continued operating to most of its Asian destinations despite the longer routings. Thus, the negative impact of the airspace closure on Asian passenger traffic figures, which were already affected by the pandemic, remained moderate in August. The distance-based reported traffic figures do not take into account longer routings caused by the airspace closure as they are based on Great-Circle distance.

The overall capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), increased in August by 151.3% year-on-year but decreased by 3.4% month-on-month. Finnair operated, on average, 253 daily flights (cargo-only included), which was 99.2% more than in August 2021 but 1.6% less than in July 2022. The differences between capacity figures compared to August 2021 are explained by the longer average stage length of flights operated and by the larger gauge of aircraft operated. Finnair's traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), increased by 365.0% year-on-year but decreased by 13.2% month-on-month. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) increased by 35.7% points year-on-year but decreased by 8.8% points month-on-month to 77.8%.

The ASK increase in Asian traffic was 142.8% year-on-year. The North Atlantic capacity increased by 119.2%. In European traffic, the ASKs were up by 187.3%. The ASKs in domestic traffic increased by 53.8%.

RPKs increased in Asian traffic by 853.8%, in North Atlantic traffic by 486.1%, in European traffic by 260.4% and in domestic traffic by 62.9% year-on-year.

In August, the PLF improved particularly in Asian traffic (77.6%) and North Atlantic traffic (75.7%) year-on-year. The PLF was 79.0% in European traffic and 75.8% in domestic traffic.

Passenger numbers increased in Asian traffic by 863.7% year-on-year. In North Atlantic traffic, the number of passengers increased by 475.0%. In European traffic, passenger numbers increased by 226.7% and in domestic traffic by 85.4%.

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Spatial completes factory acceptance testing on three new cabin crew training devices

Spatial, a provider of cabin crew simulators, has just completed a factory acceptance test for three training devices with representatives of the Polish Aviation Academy 

The devices include a B787 main cabin door trainer, an EMB 170/190 main door and over-wing exit trainer and a B737 cabin emergency evacuation trainer (CEET). The devices will provide their crew with the necessary skills required to operate all doors on each of these aircraft types whilst also incorporating a number of advanced features in the B737 CEET including dynamic visuals, fire and smoke simulation and decompression scenarios. Polish Aviation Academy intends to conduct crew training for their business partners such as LOT Polish Airlines.

The doors will all be equipped with the latest in visual technology to fully immerse each crew member into their individual training scenario creating an environment that not only looks real but also feels real too, the doors will also simulate all types of malfunctions to help the crew train for operations in emergency scenarios.

Norwegian carries two million passengers in August

Norwegian flew 1,996,211 passengers in August, compared to 790,220 in August 2021. The load factor in August was 85.5%. The capacity (ASK) was 2,998 million seat kilometres, while actual passenger traffic (RPK) was 2,563 million seat kilometres.

In August, Norwegian operated an average of 69 aircraft and 99.7% of scheduled flights were completed. Punctuality, as measured by the number of flights departing within 15 minutes of scheduled time, was at 63% in August.

“The congestion at European airports has begun to improve, which is positive for our operations but also, importantly, to the travel experience of our customers. It is uplifting for the industry in general that we are continuing to return to normal operations after these extraordinary years for aviation,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.
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