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Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

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Austria’s ASQS joins Germany’s Volocopter with focus on UAM safety

Austrian software company ASQS GmbH, the global provider of aviation safety and quality management solutions, has announced it is joining forces with Volocopter, the German Urban Air Mobility (UAM) pioneer. Through the integration of ASQS’ IQSMS quality and safety management system, Volocopter is looking to create a proactive safety culture in all its areas of operation.

Founded in 2011, Volocopter is the first and only eVTOL developer to receive both Design Organization Approval (DOA) and Production Organization Approval (POA) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), enabling the company to design and produce electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft in house and to certification standards.

The company’s product portfolio includes sustainable, fully electric and emission-free solutions: the VoloCity air taxi for urban passenger flights, the VoloDrone for cargo transportation, and the VoloConnect for longer passenger flights between suburbs and city centres. Volocopter is  is developing the entire physical and digital infrastructures, including VoloPorts (eVTOL takeoff and landing points) and its urban air mobility software platform, the VoloIQ, the digital backbone of the ecosystem that connects the aircraft, ground infrastructure and air traffic management.

ASQS will provide support to Volocopter on the industry’s regulatory requirements. The company’s web-based quality and safety management tool, IQSMS, supports more than 280 aviation companies worldwide with key features which include intuitive hazard and event reporting, internal and external auditing, and proactive and systematic risk management which, combined, enable comprehensive monitoring of all compliance and safety-related aspects of the business.


Finnair introduces new strategy to return to profitability

Finnair’s strategy has long been based on connecting Europe and Asia via the short northern route, using Russian air space. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent closure of Russian air space, flight times to Finnair’s Asian destinations are now considerably longer, weakening the profitability of the company.

Finnair’s new strategy aims to return to profitability regardless of closed Russian air space. As Finnair is now faced with a different competitive situation and the weight of the different markets in Finnair’s business is changing, significant structural renewal is required to be competitive.

“The changes in our operating environment require a new strategy and significant renewal of Finnair, especially related to costs”, says Finnair CEO Topi Manner. “We have, however, an excellent foundation to build on: our excellent, differentiating product, strong safety culture, strong brand, our high-quality execution capabilities, our commitment to sustainability and our track record of adapting and renewing ourselves.”

Finnair’s new strategy focuses on building a competitive airline, with the target of reaching the pre-pandemic comparable EBIT level of at least 5% from mid-2024.

To reach the desired outcome, the support of all key stakeholder groups is needed. Strategy implementation starts now and it includes discussions with all key stakeholders on the changes that are needed for Finnair to be competitive. The unit cost reduction target covers all cost categories, including personnel costs. Finnair will start discussions with employees on, for example, adjustments in employment terms and will also evaluate other measures, such as route-specific outsourcing of cabin service, potential outsourcing of certain operational activities and actions to improve the efficiency of shared functions. Savings in other costs are sought through contract negotiations with suppliers, structural changes in operations, and optimisation of premises.  

During the past two and half years, Finnair has undergone a major transformation to make itself a way out of the COVID-19 crisis through a series of determined measures, including personnel reductions, cash preservation through furloughs, contract amendments and temporary labour agreement amendments with employee unions, a €500 million rights issue, sizeable loans and the successful completion of a €200 million cost savings programme.


CDB Aviation expands cooperation with Turkish Airlines with introduction of carrier’s first A320neo

CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., (CDB Leasing), has delivered one Airbus A320neo aircraft to Turkish Airlines, the flag carrier of Türkiye. The transaction marks the introduction of the inaugural A320neo to the carrier’s fleet.

With the recently awarded IATA IEnvA Stage 2 certificate, which signifies the highest level of compliance with the IATA Environmental Assessment programme, Turkish Airlines has become a pioneer among airlines in undertaking sustainability-focused projects for every stage of its flight and ground operations in recent years.

NAC completes aircraft sale to American Airlines and signs lease agreements with Connect Airlines

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has completed the sale of four E170 aircraft and four CRJ900 aircraft to American Airlines based in Dallas, Texas. The eight aircraft will be placed into service by Envoy Air and PSA Airlines, both subsidiaries of American Airlines.

Furthermore, NAC has executed a lease agreement for three Q400 aircraft with Connect Airlines based in Bedford, Massachusetts. The newly formed carrier aims to provide regional service between Canada and the U.S. Northeast and Midwest.


Israeli four-engine ban set to hit converted 747 freighters and boost wide-body twin freighter demand, reveals IBA

IBA, a leading aviation market intelligence and consulting company, has revealed a range of insights following Israel’s decision to ban Boeing 747s and other four-engine aircraft in its airspace amid environmental concerns.

Following the widespread demise of the passenger-carrying Boeing 747 following COVID-19, IBA reports that the largest impact of the ban is likely to be on the converted 747 freighter aircraft operated by Israeli flag carrier El Al Israel Airlines (EI AI). Although the ban is mandated to come into effect from March 2023, it is believed that operators may be discouraged from operating such aircraft even sooner.

Mike Yeomans, Director – Valuations and Consulting at IBA, comments: “According to IBA Insight, around 98% of four-engined aircraft departures from Tel Aviv this year have been freighters. Four-engine passenger aircraft numbers are dwindling and few still operate from Tel Aviv following the withdrawal of El Al’s Boeing passenger 747 fleet from service in 2019.

“According to early reports, there are likely to be some exemptions under a licence agreement. IBA predicts that such exemptions will be applied to Boeing 747 factory freighters, as there is no viable no-loading alternative aircraft for oversized air freight.”

IBA believes that the ban will most-likely affect the converted Boeing 747 fleet. This in turn will likely drive demand for the new generation of converted twin-aisle widebodies, including the Boeing 777-300ERSF, which is being developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and AerCap. According to IAI, the 777-300ERSF will offer 15% more volume than the 747-400BCF, and 21% lower fuel burn compared with the 747-400F. If more countries and airports adopt similar stances on four-engine aircraft, the 777-300ERSF and its contemporaries should benefit.

The Airbus A350F and the Boeing 777-8 freighter are expected to enter service in 2025 and 2027 respectively, with the former firmly targeting the replacement market for ageing Boeing 747 freighters.

Sustainability goals and the drive for net-zero emissions has been a key factor in the demise of many four-engine aircraft. The most prolific four-engine aircraft in global passenger operations today is the Airbus A380. This type does not operate into Tel Aviv at present and there are currently only 122 active aircraft worldwide. Despite this, IBA noted a recent resurgence in A380 utilisation in its aviation Carbon Index, indicating a year-on-year increase of 177% in July 2022.

Carbon emissions data from IBA NetZero reveals that four-engine aircraft represented only 0.8% of departures from Tel Aviv so far in 2022 and have accounted for 2.2% of total CO2 emissions on departing routes.


Airbus partners with Hiratagakuen to develop advanced air mobility services in the Kansai region

Airbus is partnering with Japanese helicopter operator Hiratagakuen to develop advanced air mobility services in the Kansai region and beyond. This is a key addition to the company’s strong regional footprint and growing international network to pioneer the future of mobility.

Through this agreement, Airbus and Hiratagakuen will tackle crucial aspects required to launch a commercial transportation service with CityAirbus NextGen. As a major first step, the partners’ joint project to organise a simulation of ideal routes, concepts of operations and necessary equipment for safe eVTOL flights in the Kansai region, has been selected by the Osaka prefecture, with a demonstration flight scheduled for later this year.

With the aim to implement air mobility services beyond urban environments, the joint work of Airbus and Hiratagakuen will support the development of advanced air mobility solutions with CityAirbus NextGen, for use cases ranging from air medical services to commercial air transport and ecotourism in a variety of operational contexts. To reach this objective, and with the support of local stakeholders, Airbus and Hiratagakuen will use an H135 helicopter to test advanced navigation and communication technologies for safe operations of eVTOLs in urban environments, while simulating CityAirbus NextGen’s flight configuration.

Hiratagakuen is a Kansai based helicopter operator who specialises in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS), transportation of personnel, flight training, and maintenance. The company’s current fleet includes 14 H135 and two H145 helicopters.


Rolls-Royce receives U.S. military contracts valued at US$1.8 billion

The U.S. Department of Defence has awarded two contracts, valued at over US$1.8 billion over the next five years, for Rolls-Royce to service engines for U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.

The contracts show continued confidence in Rolls-Royce and its defence services, which support multiple U.S. and allied military fleets around the world.

One contract includes intermediate, depot-level maintenance and logistics support for over 200 Rolls-Royce F405 engines that power U.S. Navy T-45 flight trainer aircraft. The contract is based on availability metrics, providing engines as needed to facilitate training Naval and Marine aviators. The work will be performed primarily at Naval Air Stations in Meridian, Mississippi, and Kingsville, Texas. The contract is valued at up to US$1.013 billion, spanning five years.

The other contract includes depot-level engine repair services for Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 turboprop engines powering C-130J and KC-130J transport airport aircraft flown by the U.S. Marine Corps and the government of Kuwait. The contract is valued at US$854 million over the next five years, with the work performed at multiple sites in the U.S., Canada and Portugal.


Spirit Aeronautics appoints Greg Diognard new Regional Sales Manager

Spirit Aeronautics, a leading Avionics solutions provider for business, special missions, and military aircraft, has appointed Greg Diognard as its new Regional Sales Manager for the Southern half of the United States. He will provide outside sales support for new avionics upgrades, cabin management systems and extended warranty protection programmes such as HAPP & CASP.

Diognard served in the U.S. Airforce as Crew Chief on the F111E aircraft and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Technology and AAS in Aircraft Maintenance. His previous employment includes ATP/Flightdocs as a Director of Sales, Technical Sales Manager at Standard Aero and Northeast MRO Sales Manager at Landmark Aviation.

Ricardo invests in new aerospace centre in Quebec, Canada

Ricardo, a global strategic, environmental and engineering consulting company, has announced the opening of an aerospace centre of excellence in Quebec, having successfully expanded its capabilities and secured several new contracts for aerospace customers in North America.

The new office will initially be home to around 25 engineers and experts, who will build on Ricardo’s strong heritage and existing specialist knowledge in automotive and industrial technologies to meet the needs of customers in the aerospace sector. As a Ricardo global centre of excellence for aerospace, the office will focus on growing the company’s expertise in Canada and serving its customers globally.

The opening of the new office follows the announcement in July that Ricardo had signed a multi-year deal with Pratt & Whitney Canada to support the development of advanced hybrid-electric propulsion technologies for next generation aircraft. It will also enable Ricardo to serve its customers better locally and expand its delivery of policy, strategy, technology implementation and consultancy services across North America.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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