Monday, March 4th, 2019


AMFA sued for second time by Southwest Airlines

The Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) is being sued by Southwest Airlines (Southwest) for what is being claimed as an illegal work slowdown which has seen an average 14 planes per day out of service spiking at a high of 62. This is the second time AMFA has been sued by the airline, the previous case was in February 2017 when it was claimed the union was behind a refusal of mechanics to work overtime, that suit still pending after a new contract agreement was offered and subsequently turned down by union members.

The lawsuit was filed by Southwest in the federal district court in Dallas, Southwest charging that workers are pulling planes out of service for minor mechanical items to gain leverage in contract talks.

Federal law prohibits airline employees from striking or being locked out unless an impasse in negotiations is declared by a federal mediation board, which has yet to happen with the current dispute, though a mediator is trying to get the two sides together. Contract negotiations have been ongoing for the last six years and has resulted in raw feelings on both sides.

Southwest, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is the world’s largest low-cost carrier with a fleet of 754 predominantly Boeing 737 jets, each of which averages six flights per day. As of February this year, the airline carries the most domestic passengers of any U.S airline with 99 national destinations.

TP Aerospace

Magnetic MRO acquires Dutch Direct Maintenance, enters wide-body market

Magnetic MRO has completed the acquisition of Direct Maintenance, an Amsterdam-based independent MRO provider that’s specialized in Line Maintenance for narrow- and wide-body aircraft. The deal adds Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 to Magnetic MRO group’s capabilities, and doubles its global line stations network while allowing the Dutch company to keep the Direct Maintenance brand.

Signed in February 2019, the deal covers the transfer of 100% of Direct Maintenance's shares from its previous owner Direct Aviation Group to Magnetic MRO. It also includes the right for the newly
acquired company to keep operating under the Direct Maintenance brand.

With a team of 140 employees, the Dutch MRO company provides a wide range of line maintenance services for narrow- and wide-body aircraft, including Airbus A340, A380 and A350, as well as Boeing 747, 777 and 787. The company also supports Embraer 170/190 and MD-11 aircraft types.
Direct Maintenance's network includes 8 countries and 11 line stations serving national flag carriers
and major leisure airlines from Europe, Middle East, USA, Asia and Africa.

Air New Zealand Reports Lower Profit

Air New Zealand has posted earnings before taxation of NZ$211 million for the six month period ended 31 December 2018, compared to NZ$323 million in the prior period. Net profit after taxation was NZ$152 million.

Key drivers of the interim result included operating revenue growth of 7.1%, which was more than offset by a 28% increase in fuel price and increased operational costs. Operating cash flow of NZ$475 million remained strong despite the headwinds faced over the period.

IATA Names Ma Tao Regional VP for North Asia

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has appointed Ma Tao as its Regional Vice President (RVP) for North Asia effective from 1 March 2019.

Ma joins IATA from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) where he is currently the Head of the Airworthiness Certification Center of CAAC. Over his more than 30 years in aviation,
Ma served in a number of positions within the CAAC before being appointed as the Permanent Representative of China to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). During his tenure at ICAO (2006-2017), Ma held key posts including as the Chair of the
Technical Cooperation Committee (2008-2009), the First Vice President of the Council (2010-2011), and the Chair of the Working Group on Governance and Efficiency of the Council (2013-2015).

Ma will be based at IATA's North Asia Regional Office in Beijing.

GA Telesis

Comlux Raising the Bar on Large VIP Aircraft

Comlux Completion is raising the bar in maintenance services on large VIP aircraft such as ACJ and BBJ. During the 2018 year, Comlux maintained a steady stream of recurrent maintenance clients but also gained 4 new operators including 3 BBJs based in the US and 1 BBJ2 based in the Middle East. In parallel with the growing maintenance business, Comlux has simultaneously worked to complete 2 VIP completions on both a BBJ and an A330-200 while gearing up for the arrival of the first ever BBJ Max 8 completion and ACJ320neo.
Comlux Completion is an approved Airbus and Boeing outfitter, an Authorized Service Center for ACJ, and a Warranty and repair Center for BBJ type aircraft. On top of scheduled maintenance checks, most of the work accomplished in 2018 required several interior modifications and avionics upgrades. One BBJ was upgraded with a complete Collins Aerospace’s VenueTM cabin management system, for which Comlux and Collins Aerospace signed a general terms agreement earlier
this year.

StandardAero and Thales announce progress on new light helicopter autopilot system

StandardAero and Thales have made continued progress in their partnership focused on a new light helicopter autopilot system, with an in-depth market study and design definition now complete, and planning underway for the next phase of development. This advanced autopilot system is one element of StandardAero’s SAFECRAFT portfolio, comprised of various safety upgrade equipment specifically dedicated for the light helicopter market, initially targeting the Airbus Helicopters AS350 helicopter platform.

Over the course of the past four months, the joint team has performed the first phase of the program, which included the collection of market input directly from operators to understand the unique requirements of light helicopter operators across a wide variety of mission profiles, as well as the definition of design requirements for the initial introduction of this system into the popular AS350 platform.

Introduction of this new autopilot system to the market will bring unprecedented technological
capability to light helicopter platforms, unlike anything else on the market today. This advancement is slated to be the first of its kind, bringing proven, transport category levels of capability and safety to the light helicopter market. Features and capabilities built into the design of the system will be in direct correlation with the needs of operators, based on input received over the course of the program’s development.


Airbus to open own Flight Academy in Europe

In order to meet the high market demand for cadet pilot training in Europe – 94,000 new pilots over the next 20 years – Airbus has decided to open its own flight academy and extend its training services offering by adding “ab-initio” to its portfolio.

Leveraging cross-divisional synergies, the Airbus Flight Academy Europe, based in Angoulême, France, will use Airbus standardised instructors to deliver the ab-initio Pilot Cadet Training programme approved by EASA at the end of 2018, complementing the intermediate and
advanced training phases that are already available and provided in the existing training network on 17 sites worldwide.

The Airbus Flight Academy Europe aims to train up to 200 pilot cadets annually. Using a modern fleet of both single- and multi-engine aircraft equipped with full digital cockpit technology as well as the latest flight simulators, the training programme will equip students with the skills and mindset required to become “operationally-ready pilots” focusing on the all-important development of key pilot technical and behavioural competencies.

The Airbus Pilot Cadet Training Programme is open to high school graduates over 18 years old worldwide. Candidates will undergo online and on-site screening tests before being eligible for training which will include 750 hours of ground school, plus 200 hours of flight training.

Airbus Flight Academy Europe, formerly known as Cassidian Aviation Training Services (CATS), is a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus.

DVB Bank to sell Aviation Finance Division

DVB Bank has signed an agreement with MUFG Bank, a consolidated subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and BOT Lease, an affiliate of MUFG, for the sale and transfer of DVB’s Aviation Finance division to the firms.

The purchase agreement provides for the entire Aviation Finance client lending portfolio (€5.6 billion as at 30 June 2018), employees as well as other parts of the operating infrastructure to be transferred to MUFG. The transaction also provides the Aviation Investment Management and Asset Management businesses to be transferred to BOTL.

Closing of the agreement is subject to the approval of antitrust authorities, as well as other conditions. The sale is expected to be closed during the second half of 2019.

Alaska Airlines' new cabin experience

Guests flying on Alaska Airlines will experience a comfortable and modern new cabin, as the West Coast airline shifts into high gear retrofitting its Airbus fleet.

The upgraded cabin is the result of two years of customer research and combines the best features of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, along with many thoughtful enhancements to make the travel journey comfortable, hassle-free and productive.

Alaska's Airbus fleet of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft are being updated in phases this year and by early 2020, 36% of the mainline fleet will feature the new cabin interior – including the entire Airbus fleet, Boeing 737-700s and three new Boeing MAX 9 planes. The retrofitted planes will bring consistency to the guest experience across the Alaska fleet, and expand the First Class and Premium Class sections with 12-seats and 24-seats respectively, offering more guests the option of an elevated experience.

Alaska will take delivery of its first MAX 9 this summer, which will feature the new cabin interiors.


StandardAero Wins Multi-Year Contract From PassionAir for PW150A Engine MRO Services

StandardAero has been selected by PassionAir, a Ghana-based airline, to provide a tailored package of engine services for its fleet of Q400 regional turboprop aircraft. Under the multi-year contract, StandardAero will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for PassionAir’s Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) PW150A turboprop engines from its Designated Overhaul Facility (DOF) in Seletar, Singapore.

The contract will also authorize StandardAero to provide PassionAir with a range of rental engine, engineering and engine condition trend monitoring (ECTM) support services. StandardAero is uniquely placed to offer ECTM analysis expertise as both a P&WC designated overhaul facility (DOF) and a CAMP Systems Designated Analysis Center (DAC).


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TurbineAero's Women in Aviation Day
March 8, 2019 – Arizona, USA

IATP Conference 2019
March 9 - 13, 2019 – Athens, Greece

Saudi International Airshow 2019
March 12 - 14, 2019 – Thumamah Airport, Riyadh, KSA

Analytics and AI in Travel North America
March 14 - 15, 2019 – Hilton Parc 55, San Francisco, CA, USA

Aviation Festival Americas 2019
May 13 - 15, 2019 – JW Marriott Marquis, Miami, FL, USA
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