AVIATION RECOVERY IMPACTED BY LACK OF GLOBAL SYNCHRONISATION, INDUSTRY LEADERS STATE DURING RECORD-BREAKING VIRTUAL BROADCAST

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week, hosted by Inmarsat and APEX, aired a series of ‘no holds barred’ discussions with the CEOs of Qatar Airways, AirAsia, United Airlines, TAP Air Portugal and IATA

Exclusive interviews were viewed by 6,500 viewers from 80 countries around the world, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand

26 JULY 2021: The biggest names in global aviation came together at FlightPlan: C-Suite Week for a series of exclusive ‘no holds barred’ interviews with leading BBC World News reporter Aaron Heslehurst, touching on the most immediate and pressing issues facing air travel in 2021.

The latest edition in the popular FlightPlan online broadcast, developed by Inmarsat Aviation and APEX (Airline Passenger Experience Association), attracted a record-breaking audience of 6,500 from 80 countries worldwide last week, with thousands more expected to watch the videos on demand.

FlightPlan: C-Suite Week aired interviews on five consecutive days with:

  • Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO, Qatar Airways.
  • Tony Fernandes, CEO and Founder, AirAsia Group.
  • Scott Kirby, CEO, United Airlines and APEX/IFSA Board of Governors Chair.
  • Christine Ourmières-Widener, CEO, TAP Air Portugal.
  • Willie Walsh, Director General, IATA (and former CEO of IAG).

Several pertinent topics were debated during the daily ‘power hour’ broadcasts, including leadership lessons from the industry’s biggest ever crisis, how airline recovery has been stilted by a lack of global synchronization, and the importance of addressing sustainability challenges. The interviews also explored the ability of digitalization to accelerate profitable growth for airlines and meet evolving passenger needs.

Summarizing the event, Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “FlightPlan was launched by Inmarsat and APEX during the very onset of the global pandemic, bringing the global aviation industry together for much needed debates, discussions and direction at a time of great uncertainty.

“The response has been phenomenal, with a combined audience of approximately 17,000 for the first three editions, reinforcing its position as the industry’s biggest virtual broadcast. FlightPlan: C-Suite Week delivered insight into the difficult decisions faced by leaders over the past 18 months. It also uncovered many impressive future-facing initiatives underway – from sustainability to passenger experience – that will not only secure a strong recovery for airlines, but also ensure a bright future for the industry at large.”

Never waste a crisis

FlightPlan’s C-Suite line-up shared valuable leadership lessons from steering their aviation businesses through the COVID-19 travel crisis over the past 18 months. Al Baker shared his biggest learning for leaders: “there should always be a plan B and even sometimes a plan C of how to conduct your business in dire circumstances like the pandemic.”

For Kirby, a major learning has been the critical importance of customer experience. “Many of us in aviation have a new focus and commitment to change the customer experience. To use what we went through – the worst crisis in history – as a transformative moment to really make it better for customers,” he said. Kirby’s ambition is to turn flying into something passengers truly enjoy as part of the journey, “so that their vacation starts the moment they leave the house, instead of once they land at the other side”.

Unilateralism has stilted recovery

Across the board, the interviewees agreed that industry recovery has been stilted by unilateralism and a lack of global synchronization. For Fernandes, co-ordination between different governments “has been a failure… because every country has their own vaccine rules and entry requirements”. Lamenting the lack of standardised policies, he called for closer co-ordination between airlines and airports, noting: “we’re symbiotic; we need each other”.

Walsh echoed the challenges of a siloed international approach: “You would have expected the EU to have corralled everybody together and say, look, ‘we’ve got to demonstrate to everybody now that we are in this together’. That’s probably been the most disappointing thing for me. If we’ve struggled to see a political and a coordinated political response from the EU, I think we’ve no hope of expecting to see a coordinated political response globally.”

Sustainability in aviation

With climate change rapidly rising up the consumer, corporate and policy agenda, sustainability was highlighted as an urgent priority for the airline industry to ensure its right to operate in the future. As OurmieÌres-Widener told viewers: “Our contribution to the future of the climate is key.”

Walsh backed further political focus on environmental performance, noting: “The equipment that we have on aircraft today is so advanced and yet we’re still operating the way we were back in the 1960s. It’s a scandal on environmental grounds and is making our operations so much more inefficient than they could be.” He speculated, “Why isn’t it being done? Because there’s a lack of political will to address the issue.”

Kirby agreed that policies are needed to drive forward ambitious targets, but that “we have to be real about the art of the doable,” noting that Net Zero by 2035 would come at the expense of reliable power supplies. He shared insight on United’s efforts to invest in Boom aircraft that run on sustainable fuel – part of the airline’s commitment to reach Net Zero without carbon offsetting.

Qatar Airways is also underway with its sustainability drive, according to Al Baker, who said: “We are prepared to look after our environment, and this is why we are continuously investing in aeroplanes that are more fuel-efficient.” 

Readiness for digital transformation

OurmieÌres-Widener mused that while the crisis brought many challenges to the industry, it has also confirmed several trends – one being the huge opportunity for airlines that embrace digitiation. She said that the “full digital experience” is no longer just a buzzword, but a reality that airlines need to offer.

Digitization is well underway for AirAsia, too, with data sitting at the heart of Fernandes’ vision to make the brand more than just an airline. “We have much better customer data than Uber,” from credit card to loyalty information, Fernandes explained. His ambition is to make AirAsia “a travel company like Expedia,” encompassing services from currency to grocery delivery. “We’re trying to turn the AirAsia customer on the plane into a customer on the ground, keeping them with us before and after their flight,” he said.

To watch all interviews on demand, visit: flightplan.wavecast.io.


FLIGHTAWARE

FlightAware, the largest global provider of flight information and actionable aviation intelligence, announced the launch of Aviator, the ultimate flight tracking suite for piston airplane pilots and operators.

FlightAware’s Aviator is an inexpensive subscription-based software, accessible via the web and iOS. Any subscriber can register multiple aircraft, including rentals, and unlock indispensable features like Ready To Taxi™, Premium Weather and Map Layers, Surface Visualizations, FBO Scheduling, and ETAs automatically updated via FlightAware’s powerful machine predictive technology, Foresight™.

“Aviator was created by FlightAware pilots to share advanced flight tracking features with other piston airplane pilots. Over the years we’ve gone from flight tracking to becoming the central data hub for both the business and commercial aviation industries. With Aviator, we’re bringing a product with robust tools and processes developed for the most sophisticated flight departments and commercial airlines, right to the GA pilot.” said Daniel Baker, FlightAware CEO.

With Aviator family, friends, and FBOs can receive alerts from preflight and taxi out, through landing and taxi in.

Communications are coordinated as stakeholders stay informed. From surface visualizations displaying taxiing planes and surface movements to comprehensive airborne flight tracks, Aviator also provides monthly history reports for pilots and operators to review critical flight details.


MORGAN STANLEY

Airlines: Corporate Travel Survey 2H2021: US is leading the recovery

High number of Covid cases and slow lifting of travel bans have postponed the recovery of corporate travel budgets to post 2022. The shift of travel volume to virtual has stabilized at 27% by 2022 and is expected to be 19% by 2023. US travel is benefiting from a quicker corporate recovery vs EU and Asia.

We conducted an online survey of ~140 corporate travel managers between June 30-July 12, who represent over US$8B of typical annual travel spend. Around 67% are headquartered in the US, 19% in Europe, and 14% in Asia/Other, and their travel budgets are allocated relatively similarly. This survey is the fourth wave since the Covid pandemic started a stabilization, which we find interesting to track changes in trends as we return to normal.

Travel budgets recovery has slowed down, with the US leading the recovery. Travel budgets are expected to be down an average of 39.2% vs 2019 in 2H21 compared to the 57.3% drop seen in the 1H21. The pace of recovery will increase in 2022 with budgets expected to be down only 17.5% on average, which is 2pp worse than our previous survey in March. The US will lead the recovery as 17% of US based respondents replied that their 2H21 travel budgets would be increasing vs 2019, compared to 10% of Europeans and 0% of Asian/Other responders. In addition, while 62% of European responders expected cuts of greater than 50%, only 45% of US counterparts expected the same.

Passenger volumes continue to deteriorate, though expectations are for higher fare increases. Similar to travel budgets, our latest data suggests 2022 volumes vs 2019 will be down 21.1%, a 2.7pp decrease vs March. Once again Europe will be the laggard with 57% expecting a decline of 30-50% compared to just 25% of US respondents expecting the same. Expectations of air fares have improved, with 2.8% increases in 2022 (up 80bps vs March).

The shift to virtual meetings trend seems to be stabilizing. Despite some deterioration in corporate travel expectations for 2021/2022, the shift to virtual meetings in 2022 remains at 27% level, with 2023 expected to be 19%, on average.

Time and cost cited as key issues for switch to virtual, with environmental concerns higher in Europe. More efficient use of employee time and cost reductions were cited by 74% and 72% of respondents, respectively, as at least a top 3 reason for replacing travel with virtual options. Perhaps unsurprisingly, European companies considered environmental concerns as the most important reason to replace corporate travel. 25% of Europe based travel managers cited this as their number 1 reason compared to just 5% of US counterparts.

Conclusions for Europe: We think US based respondents’ more positive outlook for travel could be an indication of a faster recovery once restrictions ease. Nonetheless, we still do not anticipate corporate air travel in Europe to recover before 2023/2024, and higher environmental concerns on travel support our thesis. All in all, weaker demand and 27% convergence of travel into virtual events should negatively affect legacy carriers (Lufthansa, IAG and Air France-KLM, in that order) more than low cost carriers (easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz). We continue to prefer Ryanair and easyjet (OW), over Lufthansa and AF-KLM.

Conclusions for US Airlines: From a US perspective, it is encouraging to see the results lead the rest of the world given the higher pace of vaccinations and the growing momentum toward return to the office, which will likely lead corporate travel. We note that most airlines have already seen a notable pickup in corporate travel from -80% vs. 2019 in April to -60% in May and expected to be -40-45% in September.

Furtherrmore, the Airlines expect the momentum to continue to pick up in 3Q/4Q and their internal surveys show that permanent substitution of corporate travel will be as little as 5% (in DAL’s survey down from 8% a quarter ago) to zero (for UAL), vs. our ~20-25%. Perhaps all this tells us is that there is still significant uncertainty out there on how much the corporate tide will rise as we re-open and whether that will stop 20%, 10% or 0% below 2019 levels or even exceed 2019 levels. What is clear to us is that the initial rising tide (returning to 70-80% of normal corporate) is nowhere close to being priced into the US Airline stocks today (esp. Legacies like DAL and UAL) and none of this debate really impacts the investment decision on the LCC/ULCC stocks (JBLU, ALK, ALGT, ULCC, LUV) that have limited exposure to corporate. As a result, we continue to remain bullish on the US Airline stocks. We will closely watch the progression of the COVID variant but if we do not see incremental lockdowns or steps backward by Labor Day (Sept 7), we expect corporate travel to recover quickly after that.

“The U.S. will not lift international travel restrictions at this time due to the Covid-19 Delta variant. The U.S. announced earlier this week that it will not lift any existing travel restrictions “at this point” due to concerns over the highly transmissible Covid-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases. According to a White House official, cases of Covid-19 are rising within the U.S., particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear “likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.” This comes a week after the Biden Administration said U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least August 21st, despite Canada announcing it will reopen its borders to fully vaccinated Americans beginning on August 9th. In early June, the Biden Administration formed expert working groups with Canada, Mexico, the European Union and the U.K. to determine how to best reopen international borders safely; however, the White House official stated that any decision to lift restrictions “has to be a sustainable decision” going forward. Although international travel restrictions remain in place for now, many U.S. airlines stated that the Delta variant has not had much of an impact on domestic leisure bookings. During an earnings conference call, UAL’s management said the company hadn’t seen “any impact at all on bookings” due to the Covid-19 Delta variant, and ALK’s management noted that they have seen “no slowing signs of demand,” but that they are continuing to watch trends carefully.”


BOEING

Boeing released its first Sustainability Report. In the report, the company shares its vision for the future of sustainable aerospace, establishes broad sustainability goals and highlights environmental, social and governance (ESG) progress in alignment with global sustainability standards.

“In September 2020, amidst a global pandemic, Boeing formed a Sustainability organization dedicated to advancing our ESG efforts across the enterprise. As we continue on this journey, we are pleased to publish our first comprehensive report, focused on stakeholder responsiveness and data transparency,” said Boeing Chief Sustainability Officer Chris Raymond. “We know there’s still work to do and are committed to communicating our progress and holding ourselves accountable to ensure the aerospace industry is safe and sustainable for generations to come.”

Boeing’s sustainability efforts are organized around four key pillars: people, products and services, operations and communities. In 2020, highlights across these four pillars included:

Establishing six broad new sustainability goals in alignment with our key sustainability priorities and stakeholder interests.

Defining the company’s vision for the future of sustainable aerospace through fleet renewal, network operational efficiency, renewable energy and advanced technology.

Committing to deliver commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% sustainable fuels by 2030.

Partnering with Etihad Airways on the 2020 ecoDemonstrator program, which tested sustainable technologies on one of the airline’s new 787-10 Dreamliners.

Implementing digital engineering tools on the T-7A Red Hawk program, achieving a 75% increase in first-time engineering quality and an 80% reduction in assembly hours.

Advancing flight tests for Cora, an all-electric, self-flying air taxi developed by Boeing and Kitty Hawk joint venture Wisk.

Responding to COVID-19 by executing airlift missions to transport supplies, providing community vaccination sites and minimizing air travel health risks through the Confident Travel Initiative.

Establishing a 20-member Racial Equity Task Force to represent diverse viewpoints and amplify all voices at Boeing.

Setting 2030 environmental performance goals to reduce emissions, waste, water use and energy consumption.

Achieving net-zero carbon emissions at work sites, while reducing energy consumption by 12%, water use by 23%, solid waste by 44% and hazardous waste by 34%.

Attaining the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence every year since 2010.

Contributing $234 million in community giving, working with 13,400 community partners and volunteering 250,000 hours.

United Aviate Academy has selected Boeing to provide a comprehensive suite of training tools, materials and digital solutions to develop and provide early career training to United Airlines’ next generation of pilots. The companies commemorated the five-year training agreement with a ceremonial signing event at EAA AirVenture.

The comprehensive training package of courseware and multimedia materials spans Boeing’s portfolio of service offerings, including its Jeppesen and ForeFlight solutions, and provides United Aviate Academy with the tools to help cadets master key concepts and information needed to confidently and safely pilot aircraft.

“We are pleased to extend our long-term partnership with Boeing to help train the next generation of United pilots,” said Bryan Quigley, United’s senior vice president of flight operations. “Boeing’s unique suite of tools and materials will help provide effective training for Aviate pilots who are working to meet future air travel demands and uphold United’s high standards of safety and excellence.”

The agreement includes:

  • Initial cadet assessment materials with accompanying online courses and e-books, supporting higher program completion rates through analytics of data-driven assessments
  • Jeppesen Academy courseware, textbooks and digital learning materials for private, instrument, commercial, multiengine and instructor training
  • The ForeFlight Mobile integrated flight app for pilots equipped with Jeppesen NavData®, electronic charts and Airway Manuals, a one-stop shop for flight tasks like routing flights, planning and filing flight plans, managing electronic charts and maps, and gathering destination and weather information
  • Pilot supplies including Bose headsets, computers, student flight bags, logbooks and more
  • GPS NavData for the United Aviate Academy fleet

“We are fully committed to providing United Aviate Academy—and all of our customers—with tailored, high-quality training solutions that enhance safety and meet the learning and development needs of pilots from all backgrounds,” said Chris Broom, vice president of Training Solutions, Boeing Global Services. “By leveraging our broad portfolio of solutions, we offer customers tremendous value in delivering efficient, effective training throughout the pilot training life cycle.”

Following the agreement signing, Boeing further demonstrated its support for the program and its commitment to diversity by presenting Delia Nina Nava with a scholarship to United Aviate Academy to join a future pilot training class. Nava is a Hispanic woman from Houston with a passion for aviation and aspirations of becoming an airline pilot. She is a graduate of Ross Shaw Sterling Aviation High School and a student at the University of Houston.

Boeing produced their first sustainability report this week and you can read it here: Boeing: 2021 Sustainability Report Interestingly, they want to deliver commercial planes flying on sustainable fuels by 2030. Here is another bit of data on the report: Boeing’s 1st Sustainability Report: Here’s What You Need To Know – Simple Flying


OTHER NEWS

  • A lot of folks have quotes but this one is really significant and important. Steve Jobs, a person we have forever respected, had a remark we think makes a lot of sense: “You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it is worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains!” (Editor’s Note: Also, we should probably mention that Robin Williams said something that means a lot to us as well: “Being a famous print journalist is like being the best-dressed woman on the radio.”)
  • If Boeing regressions have you wondering, you need to read this story because there are a number of downward changes that might be a clue to what is going on and what might happen! Boeing ($BA) News: Talent Loss to Amazon, SpaceX Hurts Turnaround Prospects – Bloomberg

SITA

Global air transport IT provider SITA has released its annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) report, which reveals that, despite the pandemic, the company remains set to become a certified carbon neutral organization by or before 2022. This achievement is well ahead of common airline industry milestones, such as 2030 and 2050, or those of the Paris Agreement.

SITA’s objective to reduce its contribution to climate change is being realized through the company’s Planet+ program. The program aims to define emissions, measure them working with independent environmental consultants RSK Group, and consistently reduce the environmental impacts of operations and business travel year-on-year while complementing those actions with offsetting initiatives.
Through Planet+, SITA reduced overall emissions by 48% in 2020, equaling some 11,423 CO2 tons. This has been achieved through several initiatives such as switching to renewable or partially renewable energy, opting for green energy providers, optimizing office floor footprint, reducing electricity consumption with more energy-efficient devices, and reducing business travel for internal meetings through the use of collaborative online tools.

In 2020, SITA also offset 100% of its emissions for the first time. SITA’s carbon offset program is managed through Natural Capital Partners, a leading global provider of sustainable environmental offset emission programs. The 2020 offset program was not applied purely to business travel emissions as in previous years but was extended to include all operational emissions reported and audited in Scope 1 (direct and controlled emissions), Scope 2 (electricity) and Scope 3 (upstream and downstream emissions, including those generated by SITA employees working from home). Dr. Edna Ayme-Yahil, VP Head of Communications, Brand & Sustainability, said: “As part of our overall commitment to reduce carbon emissions across the air transport industry, we were keen to lead by example by taking real, concrete steps to reduce our impact on the environment. This is paying off and SITA is well on track to meeting our goal of becoming a certified carbon neutral company by or before 2022.”

In 2019, SITA announced its commitment to becoming a certified Carbon Neutral Company by 2022, under the CarbonNeutral® Protocol. This protocol requires organizations to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by defining emissions related to operations, measuring them, reducing them, and then offsetting the remaining ones that have not been reduced or removed through verified carbon offset projects aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

With around 2,500 customers, SITA’s solutions drive efficiencies at more than 1,000 airports, and facilitate secure and seamless border crossings for over 60 governments, while delivering the benefits of connected aircraft to customers of 18,000 aircraft globally.

As well as managing its own economic, environmental, and social impacts, SITA’s CSR report cites an immediate shift in early 2020 to support its air transport industry customers through the pandemic, ensuring business continuity and maintaining normal service levels.
SITA pivoted to meet urgent industry demands for a healthy, safe, and frictionless passenger experience – to reassure passengers and enable ‘COVID-compliant’ journeys. In addition, the company responded to requirements from airlines, airports, and governments for agility, resilience, efficiencies, and cost containment – modifying and adapting their solutions to areas vital to recovery and survival.
Soon to achieve its ambition to be carbon neutral, SITA continues to also drive the industry to be more sustainable with solutions that aim to reduce carbon emissions.

Since 2014, SITA has achieved and maintained ISO14001:2015 (Environmental Management Systems – EMS) certification – a milestone for organizations committed to sustainable operations – in seven of its main office locations


LATAM

The LATAM Group, through its subsidiaries in Chile and Peru, together with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) have come together to carry out the pilot of the IATA Travel Pass digital application, allowing passengers to organize and manage travel requirements complying with what is required by the authorities on international flights more efficiently and expeditiously.

IATA Travel Pass works based on the biometric information of the passenger’s passport, the results of laboratories in agreement and the joint information of the governments.

“This is great news for our passengers who voluntarily want to join. Having more automated and contactless processes is a new reality for everyone, and this pilot with IATA Travel Pass supports this transformation for LATAM and for the entire industry,” declared the Vice President of Clients of LATAM Airlines Group, Paulo Miranda.
For his part, Peter Cerdá, IATA Regional Vice President for the Americas, adds: “We are pleased that LATAM trusts the IATA Travel Pass. Tools of this type are essential to restart the airline industry and reconnect the world, which allows to reopen borders safely and smoothly, giving governments the guarantee that travelers have complied with health requirements, speeding up migration processes and simplifying the experience for passengers.”

The pilot phase, which is voluntary for the passenger, is expected to take place between June 14 and July 2 on the following routes:
● Lima-Miami
● Lima-Santiago de Chile
● Santiago de Chile-Lima
● Santiago de Chile-Miami


AIRBUS

AIRBUS confirmed plans to produce 45 A320 Family aircraft per month in 4Q21, increasing to 64 by 2Q23 and possibly 70 by 2024 and 75 by 2025; A220 production will rise from five to six per month in 1H22 and possibly to 14 by 2025. A350 will increase from five to six by 2H22; A330 will stay at two.


BOEING

Boeing’s 737MAX-10, the largest airplane in the 737 MAX family,  completed a successful first flight. The airplane took off from Renton Field in Renton, Washington, at 10:07 a.m. on June 18th and landed at 12:38 p.m. at Boeing Field in Seattle. “The airplane performed beautifully,” said 737 Chief Pilot Capt. Jennifer Henderson. “The profile we flew allowed us to test the airplane’s systems, flight controls and handling qualities, all of which checked out exactly as we expected.”

The flight was the start of a comprehensive test program for the 737-10. Boeing will work closely with regulators to certify the airplane prior to its scheduled entry into service in 2023. “The 737-10 is an important part of our customers’ fleet plans, giving them more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our team is committed to delivering an airplane with the highest quality and reliability.”

The 737-10 can carry up to 230 passengers. It also incorporates environmental improvements, cutting carbon emissions by 14 percent and reducing noise by 50 percent compared to today’s Next-Generation 737s.

(Editor’s Note: The Boeing 737-10 is the biggest Boeing 737 with some of the following features: Wingspan 117ft – 10 in., Length 143 feet – 8 in., Passengers, 230, new engines and landing gear, 66 in. longer fuselage, modified doors and wings.)


The US TRAVEL ASSOCIATION forecasts business travel will not recover until at least 2024.


OTHER NEWS

  • We were sad to learn that Chris Longridge, past Boeing executive and really nice guy, passed away on June 15th this past week. Chris was one of the smartest and nicest people to have ever worked in aviation!
  • Interestingly, reports The Seattle Times; “Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of government operations, the company’s chief lobbyist and political strategist in Washington, D.C., and a leading figure on the jet maker’s leadership council, is ‘no longer with the company’.” No data was given on the reason for his release…
  • Successful evaluation of distributed propulsion system propeller performance.

The EcoPulse distributed propulsion hybrid aircraft demonstrator – which is being developed by Daher, Safran and Airbus with the support of France’s Civil Aviation Research Council (CORAC) and French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) – has successfully completed wind tunnel testing at the Airbus UK Filton facility.

The EcoPulse demonstrator is an integral part of our decarbonisation roadmap, increasing our knowledge of distributed propulsion systems, paving the way for electric and hybrid-electric, emission-free aircraft. These wind tunnel tests will enable us to align our simulation models with actual performance in order to validate future configuration choices and technologies. This is yet another milestone successfully achieved with our partners Daher and Safran, once again highlighting that the path to zero emissions will benefit from collaborative expertise.

Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President Engineering, Airbus

Wind tunnel tests, key to validating flight test performance

During the development phase of new aircraft configurations, engineering teams need to verify that in-flight structure and systems behaviour and performance matches that of computer simulations. By placing individual components, small-scale models or whole full-sized parts in a wind tunnel, previously calculated assumptions can be validated.

“The EcoPulse wind tunnel tests allowed us to evaluate the performance characteristics of the propeller and the cooling process of the electric engine. To achieve this, we assembled the engine -provided by Safran-, the Airbus nacelle and the propeller -provided by DUC Hélices- that will be installed on the actual demonstrator aircraft, in the wind tunnel. We then used large powerful fans to blow air (at differing speeds) over and around the model. By doing this we were able to take actual measurements and capture real-time data” explains Tim Axford, Head of Airbus Wind Tunnel facility, Airbus UK.

Testing the propeller performance: “We looked at the different  levels of power and Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) for the engine, measuring the thrust and the force on the propellers. We also looked at the propeller ‘wake’ or airflow behind the engine. This gave us a set of experimental data to better understand the interaction between the propeller and the wing” says Tim.

Electrical engine cooling concept: “Electrical engines generate heat while running requiring a cooling system to lower temperatures, both on the ground and in flight. In the wind tunnel, dedicated engine and air temperature measurements were recorded to assess the effectiveness of the cooling technologies.”

Next steps

The observations and data collected during the wind tunnel tests will allow Airbus and its partners to better estimate the power consumption of the propulsion system, and consequently the final energy performance of the aircraft demonstrator. “The precise figures of the propeller performance will be taken into account for the creation of the Airbus Flight Control Computer software, one of the next steps” says Matthieu Scherrer, Airbus EcoPulse project leader.

In the coming months, Airbus, Daher and Safran will work towards the achievement of the Critical Design Review (CDR), which will give way to the start of the production of the EcoPulse demonstrator, ahead of ground testing early 2022.

Launched in June, 2019, the EcoPulse demonstrator is scheduled to make its first flight test flight by summer 2022.

About Distributed Propulsion Systems

Distributed Propulsion Systems consist of breaking down thrust generation into many small engines spread out along the span of the wing. Tailoring the power distribution configuration in this way  could benefit cruise, as well as take-off and landing performance but also noise emissions. And last but not least, the use of distributed engine thrust could enable aircraft flight control concepts to be redefined.

Toulouse, Paris, 10 June 2021 – Airbus, Safran, Dassault Aviation, ONERA and Ministry of Transport are jointly launching an in-flight study, at the end of 2021, to analyse the compatibility of unblended sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) with single-aisle aircraft and commercial aircraft engine and fuel systems, as well as with helicopter engines. This flight will be made with the support of the “Plan de relance aéronautique” (the French government‘s aviation recovery plan) managed by Jean Baptiste Djebbari, French Transport Minister.

Known as VOLCAN (VOL avec Carburants Alternatifs Nouveaux), this project is the first time that in-flight emissions will be measured using 100% SAF in a single-aisle aircraft.

Airbus is responsible for characterising and analysing the impact of 100% SAF on-ground and in-flight emissions using an A320neo test aircraft powered by a CFM LEAP-1A engine. Safran will focus on compatibility studies related to the fuel system and engine adaptation for commercial and helicopter aircraft and their optimisation for various types of 100% SAF fuels. ONERA will support Airbus and Safran in analysing the compatibility of the fuel with aircraft systems and will be in charge of preparing, analysing and interpreting test results for the impact of 100% SAF on emissions and contrail formation. In addition, Dassault Aviation will contribute to the material and equipment compatibility studies and verify 100% SAF biocontamination susceptibility.

The various SAFs used for the VOLCAN project will be provided by TotalEnergies.

Moreover, this study will support efforts currently underway at Airbus and Safran to ensure the aviation sector is ready for the large-scale deployment and use of SAF as part of the wider initiative to decarbonise the industry. It will also contribute to the ultimate goal of achieving 100% SAF certification in single-aisle commercial aircraft and the new generation of business jets.

Sustainable Fuel

Air France-KLM, Total, Groupe ADP and Airbus Join Forces to Decarbonize Air Transportation and Carry Out The First Long-Haul Flight Powered By Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) Produced in France.

At 3:40 p.m., Air France Flight 342 took off from Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport’s Terminal 2E for Montreal with its tanks filled for the first time with sustainable aviation fuel produced in Total’s French plants.

This flight is a tangible result of the four groups’ shared ambition to decarbonize air transportation and to develop a SAF supply chain in France, prerequisite to the generalization of their use in French airports.

No modifications to storage and distribution infrastructure, aircraft or engines are required to incorporate biofuels. Their gradual introduction worldwide should significantly reduce CO2 emissions from air transportation, in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development
Goals.

The biofuel used for this flight was made from waste and residue sourced from the circular economy. Total produced the SAF from used cooking oil at its La Mède biorefinery in southern France and at its Oudalle factory near Le Havre, without using any virgin plant-based oil.

This first 100% French SAF received ISCC-EU certification from the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification System, an independent organization that guarantees sustainability. The 16% blend on this flight avoided the emission of 20 tons of CO2. By developing and supporting France’s first industrial SAF production, Air France-KLM, Total, ADP Group and Airbus are paving the way for France to drive innovation in the energy and environmental transition. French legislation calls for aircraft to use at least 1% SAF by 2022 for all flights originating in France, ahead of the European ambition scheduled to gradually ramp up to 2% by 2025 and 5% by 2030, as part of the European Green Deal. To meet these requirements, Total will also produce SAF at its Grandpuits zero-crude platform near Paris as from 2024.

The flight also illustrates the synergy of the different drivers for reducing aviation’s environmental footprint, i.e., sustainable aviation fuel, latest-generation aircraft and electrification of ground operations. The Airbus A350 used for the flight consumes 25% less fuel than its predecessor. What’s more, the aircraft was serviced by the first 100% all-electric refueling truck, developed in France with Total expertise, and all of the ground support equipment used by Air France was fully electric powered. Air France-KLM is a pioneer in testing sustainable aviation fuels. KLM made its first SAF-powered flight in 2009. Since then, the Group has multiplied the number of innovative programs. Between 2014 and 2016, for example, it carried out 78 Air France flights powered by a 10% SAF blend in collaboration with a Total affiliate. These tests showed that the use of SAF had no impact on the reliability of airline operations. Air France-KLM intends to strengthen its leadership in SAF in the years ahead, while contributing to research on future generations of aircraft. In addition to this flight, Airbus is conducting several series of tests to certify airliners to fly with 100% SAF in the coming decades. Airbus has also installed SAF refueling stations at its industrial facilities so it can be used in production operations, as well as for aircraft deliveries. These installations contribute to Airbus’s ambition to decarbonize all of its industrial operations.

(Editor’s Note: Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is a blend of conventional aviation fuel (JET-A1) and biojet fuel made from waste and residue sourced from the circular economy (animal fat, used cooking oil, etc.). Biojet fuel has similar properties to JET-A1 and produces up to 90% fewer CO2 emissions over its lifecycle compared with the fossil equivalent.)


LATAM Group

LATAM Group (“LATAM”) announced the expansion of its freighter fleet growth under which it now plans to add 10 Boeing 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters over the next three years. This will bring the fleet size to up to 21 freighters by 2023. The first aircraft will be expected to begin operations in December 2021. The Group’s freighter fleet growth plan initially included four firm conversion orders with Boeing and another four conversion options. Two months after the initial announcement, LATAM has exercised the four options, eight planes, and the conversion of two additional Boeing 767-300ERs. This means that the freighter fleet will be comprised of up to 21 aircraft by the end of 2023. Upon completion of the plan the Group will have almost doubled its freighter capacity as well as reduced the average fleet age from 17 to 14 years. Growing from 11 to 21 freighter planes will enable the LATAM Group’s cargo subsidiaries to expand and reinforce their capacity to, from and within South America, and positioning the Group as the main freighter operator group in the region. The first eight airplanes have been allocated to markets that are critical for key customer segments.

LATAM also announced that it will use some of the 767-300ERs that are awaiting conversion under a hybrid format to benefit customers in the short term. The seats will be completely removed from three planes for this purpose in order to have a payload of up to 46 tons per flight. Two of these planes are already operational. The third one is expected to be available in the second quarter of 2021. Furthermore, LATAM is optimizing commonality across their fleet of 767-300 production and converted freighters to maximize capacity, including the ability to transport delicate goods.


FTS

Qingdao Airlines announced that it is fully committed to
expand and accelerate the deployment of high-speed in-flight satellite Internet on its aircraft fleet. This follows the successful evaluation of the first commercial high-speed Internet flight trial in China that was launched by Qingdao Airlines on July 2020. This marks a major milestone in this groundbreaking collaboration project whereby FTS is supplying the Xstream™ high-speed satellite inflight system while TD Link Technology is providing internet service operations.

The Xstream™ system suite developed by FTS comprises of XstreamSAT™ satellite communication, XstreamLITE™ cabin WiFi, and XstreamOP™ cloud management platform. It is the first China developed IFEC system to receive all three major international airworthiness STC certifications from FAA, EASA and CAAC. The system is integrated with China Satcom’s ChinaSat-16 Ka-HTS satellites and is capable of providing up to 150 Mbps bandwidth between aircraft and ground. Over the past 10 months, the trial aircraft has flown more than 1,200 flights flawlessly with impeccable service, delighting Qingdao Airlines passengers with unprecedented inflight connected experience equivalent to ground 4G performance, with services such as movies, social media, live video broadcast, maps and e-commerce (with mobile payment).

FTS XStreamOP™ ground-based cloud management platform which has been in service since beginning trial has proven to be critical in ensuring service delivery with real-time monitoring of airborne systems, connectivity status, as well as consolidating all inflight data for ground analytics. This open cloud architecture enables the airline and service providers to integrate with airline backend IT to provide an efficient and easy-to-use method of managing all the on-
board internet equipment and services.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has brought far-reaching and fundamental impact to aviation, the China domestic air travel is leading the industry in terms of recovery and even growing beyond pre-COVID period. A spokesperson at FTS commented they are seeing more confidence, optimism and interest from domestic airlines on making long term investment on Inflight connectivity as they believe this is a pivotal enabler to drive digital transformation of passenger service, airline operations and auxiliary revenue from which airlines could benefit to achieve recovery and long-term sustainability.

The decision from Qingdao Airlines is not taken lightly especially in the current challenging climate. It came after rigorous scrutiny of trial results concluded that FTS system performance, reliability and benefits far exceeded airline expectations. Qingdao Airlines’ innovative and pioneering spirit has attracted strong endorsement and support from local government, CAAC and industry bodies. After carefully
weighing all these factors and firmly believing in the benefits of connected aircraft, the airline stood firm in its decision to go full steam and accelerate the fleet-wide adoption of inflight
connectivity.

In preparation for the accelerated fleet wide deployment, FTS is ramping up its operations and capabilities. It announced that it has obtained CAAC PMA certification and Part 145 maintenance and repair overhaul approvals for its range of components.


Boeing

In observance of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States, Boeing announced the company is donating $1.1 million to organizations working to combat anti-Asian hate and promote justice, advance appreciation for AAPI history and culture, and fund community service projects and leadership development programs in communities across the United States.

“At Boeing, we know that being a truly equitable, diverse and inclusive company requires a commitment to our team members here at the company and in the communities where our employees and partners live and work. These investments build on Boeing’s longstanding commitment to supporting those in underserved and marginalized communities and recognizes the challenging issues currently being faced by the Asian American and Pacific Islander community,” said Tim Keating, Boeing’s executive vice president of Government Operations.

*Boeing’s contribution will support 17 national and local initiatives. Nonprofits receiving immediate grant funding include:

  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice – $200,000
  • Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida (FL) – $10,000
  • Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy – $10,000
  • Asian Counseling & Referral Services (WA) – $75,000
  • Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (OR) – $10,000
  • Asian Pacific Cultural Center (WA) – $10,000
  • Little Tokyo Service Center (CA) – $35,000
  • Asian American Youth Foundation (MO) – $15,000
  • Neighborhood House (WA) – $100,00
  • One America (WA) – $75,000
  • Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance (CA) – $35,000
  • Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center – $250,000
  • Society of Asian Scientists & Engineers – $50,000
  • Stop AAPI Hate – $50,000
  • Tacoma Community House (WA) – $90,000
  • United Cambodian Community (CA) – $35,000

In 2020, Boeing invested more than $15.6 million to promote racial equity and social justice programs – including funding aimed at diversifying the aerospace pipeline.

(Editor’s Note: As Boeing hustles to evolve from the 21 month MAX crisis, quality problems and the management of the repair operations of the 787, 737 MAX, 767 Tanker, are to be reviewed by the government. Boeing (and the FAA as well) are to be reviewed by the US House Committee on Transportation. These reviews are probably based on the continuing issues we have all seen on these planes. Stay Tuned on this one because if issues continue, it will be quite an impact for both organizations and products … especially with any new management and their decisions!)


Other News

Inmarsat, a global mobile satellite communications provider, has been crowned the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Internet Service Provider’ for the fourth year in a row at the World Travel Awards 2020.

The prestigious accolade was announced following a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands, with the latest edition of the World Travel Awards attracting a record number of votes from across the world by industry professionals and members of the public.

Inmarsat once again retained its title in recognition of its market-leading GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) inflight broadband solutions, which enable airline passengers to browse the internet, shop online, stream videos, enjoy social media and more seamlessly during their flights. Inmarsat airline customers include Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore Airlines, AirAsia and Virgin Atlantic.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “Last year was particularly challenging for the aviation industry, which faced its biggest crisis to date as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In response, we have been working closer than ever with our airline customers, both old and new, to support their evolving needs as they navigate through the storm and head towards a future recovery. It is uplifting, therefore, to receive an award where the industry itself helped to determine the winner. This accolade reinforces our position as the global market leader and is dedicated to our talented employees and partners for their continued hard work and dedication over the past year, even in the toughest of circumstances.”

Inmarsat crossed a number of important milestones last year as part of its extensive, fully-funded technology roadmap. This included the commercial service introduction of GX5, Inmarsat’s most powerful satellite to date, last month. Conceived, designed and procured principally to meet the needs of aviation customers, GX5 delivers approximately twice the capacity of the entire existing GX satellite fleet (GX1-GX4) combined. It is essential to support rapidly growing demand for airline and business aviation connectivity in Europe and the Middle East. 

Inmarsat’s technology roadmap will see seven further satellite launches by 2024: five in geostationary orbit – adding speed, capacity and resilience – and two in highly elliptical orbit, which will enable the world’s only commercial mobile broadband service in the commercially and strategically critical Arctic region.

Other highlights of 2020 included the development of an advanced new lightweight, low drag terminal for GX Aviation in partnership with GDC Technics and the launch of GX+ North America in collaboration with Hughes, bringing unrivalled inflight Wi-Fi to North American airlines and passengers.


NEW SST IN DEVELOPMENT

It is not surprising that IFEC news and information is pretty quiet during the pandemic. The equation is simple: less people; less flights; less travel; and aircraft delivery delays or cancellations all result in less demand for IFEC in the short term.

Having said that, it appears there is one aviation area that is experiencing a resurgence in development and/or exploration – supersonic flight. Companies like Boon Overture and Aerion are not sleeping, and you might ask, what has this to do with IFEC? Well, probably not much in the immediate future; however, as folks improve the speed of flying we would expect a future of more advanced, smaller, lighter, better performing IFEC.

We say “expect” because we have little or no information on this future subject, but we were wondering what we might see … and the word “might” is used here since weight and size on these eventual airplanes will be a big issue. To give you a better idea, lets first see what Wikipedia says about the SST subject:

Wikipedia – “A supersonic transport (SST) is a civilian supersonic aircraft designed to transport passengers at speeds greater than the speed of sound. To date, the only SSTs to see regular service have been Concorde and the Tupolev Tu-144. The last passenger flight of the Tu-144 was in June 1978 and it was last flown in 1999 by NASA. Concorde’s last commercial flight was in October 2003, with a November 26, 2003 ferry flight being its last airborne operation. Following the permanent cessation of flying by Concorde, there are no remaining SSTs in commercial service. Several companies have each proposed a supersonic business jet, which may bring supersonic transport back again.”

Further, Wikipedia notes: ”For all vehicles traveling through air, the force of drag is proportional to the coefficient of drag (Cd), to the square of the airspeed and to the air density. Since drag rises rapidly with speed, a key priority of supersonic aircraft design is to minimize this force by lowering the coefficient of drag. This gives rise to the highly streamlined shapes of SSTs. To some extent, supersonic aircraft also manage drag by flying at higher altitudes than subsonic aircraft, where the air density is lower.”

Next, we tried to find out more about the Concorde IFE hardware and the British Science Museum noted: “Brochure, ‘For your entertainment in flight : Supersonic Stereo : Five stereo programs specially produced for Concorde’. Part of collection of in-flight material gathered by Alastair Greenlees who flew on Concorde in January 1978 and with BOAC from Manchester Airport.” Admittedly, a multichannel IFE audio service was quite good since  flight time was reduced by roughly 50%. Concorde In-flight Entertainment Brochure | Science Museum Group Collection

Also we found a wonderful website that features the history and present news on the heritage Concorde here: Heritage Concorde
which features a great video about the plane that you can watch here: (3) UK Concorde first nose move – Heritage Concorde – Project Salute – YouTube. And yes, if yes, if you want more Concorde “stuff’, check out this Etsy site: Concorde Supersonice Transport Gray Travel Folder Inflight | Etsy

We should mention that the IFE we found on the Concorde was some 6 channels of audio entertainment, and having noted that, we expect the “future” products from the likes of Boom and Aerion will reflect the growing demand for real-time connectivity. And we firmly believe that satcom and Wi-Fi connectivity/streaming to PEDs will be a must. We’ve been asking ourselves what engineering and certification requirements there will be for a satcom radome aboard an SST – stay tuned on this one! There is one certainty, whichever IFEC offering is selected, it will be the ‘brightest and shiniest’ available! After all, why put old technology on such a technologically advanced aircraft?!

Articles have also noted that the earlier supersonic designs had to minimize weight and space because of increased drag and limited aircraft engine performance, newer technology will surely provide more and better personal space than its SST predecessor.

The passenger capacity of the new SST appears to be less than half of the Concorde’s. However, with the current trend toward smaller load factors this may end up being an advantage for future operators.

Here are some interesting links on the aviation future:


AIRBUS

The airframer delivered 566 commercial aircraft in 2020 vs 863 in 2019:

A220 Family: 38 vs 48 (2019)
A320ceo Family: 15 vs 91 (2019)
A320neo Family: 431 vs 551 (2019)
A330ceo: 6 vs 12 (2019)
A330neo: 13 vs 41 (2019)
A350: 59 vs 112 (2019)
A380: 4 vs 8 (2019)
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350:

Airbus recorded 383 new orders (268 net):
A220: 64
A320 Family: 296
A330: 2
A350: 21

Aircraft Cancellations – 115 (2020), backlog stood at 7,184 aircraft on December 31.


BOEING

The company recorded 184 new orders in 2020 (-471 net of cancellations/conversions).

737 MAX: 112
737NG: 18
767: 11
777: 13
787: 29
747: 1

And they delivered 157 commercial aircraft in 2020 compared to 380 in 2019:

737 MAX: 27 vs 57
737NG: 16 vs 70
767: 30 vs 43
777: 26 vs 45
787: 53 vs 158
747: 5 vs 5


OTHER NEWS

This topic may be up your alley – What is Quantum Computing. If it’s not, but you are interested, below is a free 27 page report. As a quote from the article: “Soon, quantum computers could change the world. Quantum computing is the processing of information that’s represented by special quantum states. By tapping into quantum phenomena like “superposition” and “entanglement,” these machines handle information in a fundamentally different way to “classical” computers like smartphones, laptops, or even today’s most powerful supercomputers.” CBINSIGHTS has a real understanding of the subject … we think! What Is Quantum Computing?

The radical design includes six removable fuel cell propeller propulsion systems

Toulouse | December 15, 2020– It is unlike anything seen on today’s runways: the “pod” configuration—one of several being conceptualised as part of ongoing R&D on the ZEROe concept aircraft—features a series of stand-alone propulsion systems based on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Today, Airbus is conducting studies to determine how scalable the “pod” configuration, among others, could be to large commercial aircraft.

Twinjet, s-duct, winglets, contra-rotating propellers: the aviation industry has developed numerous configurations over the last five decades that have enabled aircraft to fly higher, faster and longer. Now, Airbus engineers are unveiling a new configuration as part of the ZEROe programme that could enable a passenger aircraft to fly farther than ever without emissions.

The innovative approach consists of six, eight-bladed “pods” mounted beneath the aircraft wing. While the “podded” engine is not a new concept in aviation, these “pods” are not designed to be driven by any ordinary propulsion system: hydrogen fuel cells are among the key components.

“The ‘pod’ configuration is essentially a distributed fuel cell propulsion system that delivers thrust to the aircraft via six propulsors arranged along the wing,” explains Matthieu Thomas, ZEROe Aircraft Lead Architect. “Hydrogen fuel cells have very different design considerations, so we knew we had to come up with a unique approach.”

Indeed, hydrogen fuel cell technology has yet to be scaled up to a passenger-size large commercial aircraft. Smaller experimental hydrogen aircraft, comprising up to 20 seats, can rely on a traditional fixed-wing configuration with two propellers. But more passenger capacity and longer range require another solution. This is why Airbus is studying a variety of configurations, including “pods,” to determine which option has the potential to scale up to larger aircraft.

A pod configuration for propeller propulsion 

Each “pod” is essentially a stand-alone propeller propulsion system powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It consists of the following elements:

  • A propeller
  • Electric motors
  • Fuel cells
  • Power electronics
  • LH2 tank
  • A cooling system
  • A set of auxiliary equipment

Hydrogen and air are supplied to the fuel cells to generate electric current. Power electronics convert the current to power the electric motors. Thanks to this energy, the motor shaft rotates, thereby turning the propeller.

Another striking feature of the “pod” configuration is its removable fixtures. This means each “pod” can be disassembled and reassembled in record time. This approach could provide a practical and rapid solution for maintenance and potentially hydrogen refuelling at airports.

The pod’s eight-bladed propellers, made of composite materials, are shaped to provide added thrust during the takeoff and climb-out phases of flight. The advanced airfoil design is expected to lead to improved efficiency and performance.

An exciting starting point for designing ZEROe

Although advanced in its design, the “pod” configuration still requires a lot of work to determine whether it could be a suitable solution. To date, it remains one of many exciting technology options that Airbus engineers are considering as they work towards launching the ZEROe programme.

“This ‘pod’ configuration is a great starting point to nurture further inquiry into how we can scale up hydrogen technology to commercial aircraft,”  Glenn Llewellyn, VP of Zero-Emission Aircraft, explains. “This is one option, but many more will be conceptualised before we make a final selection, a decision that is expected by 2025.”

A patent application for the “pod” configuration will be published in December 2020, 18 months after its initial submission. This highlights that Airbus has been working on ZEROe since at least 2018. Several more patent applications are expected to be submitted over the coming months and years as R&D continues on the ZEROe programme.

 

Toulouse | December 10, 2020–Airbus has concluded its global Quantum Computing Challenge (AQCC) announcing the winning team of the competition. The Italian team at Machine Learning Reply – a leading systems integration and digital services company part of Reply Group – won the challenge with their solution to optimise aircraft loading.

Airlines try to make the best use of an aircraft’s payload capability to maximise revenue, optimise fuel burn and lower overall operating costs. However, their scope for optimisation can be limited by a number of operational constraints.

By creating an algorithm for optimal aircraft cargo loading configurations, taking these operational constraints -payload, centre of gravity, size and shape of the fuselage- into account, the winners of the competition proved that optimisation problems can be mathematically modelled and solved through quantum computing.

“The Quantum Computing Challenge is testament to Airbus’ belief in the power of the collective, to fully harness and apply quantum computing technology to solve complex optimization challenges facing our industry today,” said Grazia Vittadini, Chief Technology Officer, Airbus. “By looking at how emerging technologies can be used to improve aircraft performance and boost innovation, we are addressing the advanced flight physics problems that will redefine how the aircraft of tomorrow are built and flown, and ultimately shape industry, markets and customer experiences for the better.”

The winners are set to start working with Airbus experts, as early as January 2021, to test and benchmark their solution in order to assess how the mastering of complex calculations can tangibly impact airlines, enabling them, as predicted, to benefit from maximised loading capabilities.

With operations being made more efficient, the overall number of required transportation flights could be reduced, having a positive impact on CO2 emissions, thereby contributing to Airbus’ ambition for sustainable flight.

The AQCC was launched in January 2019, to drive innovation across the full aircraft life-cycle. By developing strong partnerships with the global quantum community, Airbus is taking science out of the lab and into industry, by applying newly-available computing capabilities to real-life industrial cases.

INMARSAT

The ‘Passenger Confidence Tracker’ is the world’s largest survey of airline passengers since the pandemic began. It reflects the views and attitudes of 9,500 respondents from 12 countries across the globe about the future of flying.

While the majority of passengers (60%) feel satisfied with the aviation industry’s response to the challenges of COVID-19, the survey reveals areas of opportunity for airlines to encourage passengers back to the skies.

Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation, said: “With safety and reputation becoming even more important to today’s flyers, there is a clear need for airlines to differentiate themselves in order to encourage passengers back onto their flights. Digitalization lies at the heart of both; minimizing critical touchpoints in the passenger journey to improve confidence, all the while keeping passengers connected and entertained.”

Only a third (34%) of passengers surveyed have taken a commercial flight since the pandemic began, and this appears to have sparked a shift in attitudes to flying. Four in ten passengers (41%) expect to travel less by any means and a third (31%) plan to fly less. This sentiment is even higher among Asian passengers, with 58 per cent in India and 55 per cent in South Korea planning to travel less in the future.

Despite this change, there are early signs that travelers are beginning to feel confident about flying again; almost half (47%) of passengers surveyed expect to feel ready to fly within the next six months.

The study reveals significant variance across the world when it comes to passenger confidence about flying in light of the pandemic1. Hungarian and British fliers are most confident, with 26 per cent and 16 per cent respectively saying they would get on a flight today. Asian passengers are less so; over a third (35%) of South Koreans expect not to fly again until COVID-19 disappears.

Passengers are currently more fearful of catching the virus abroad than on the plane3. In fact, many think they are at a greater health risk in other environments, such as the gym and public transport4. Recent IATA research supports this, suggesting people are more likely to be struck by lightning than catch COVID-19 on a plane.5

While passengers largely feel confident at passport control, security and communicating with cabin crew, they are less comfortable visiting the toilet inflight, and being in close proximity with others. The study indicates that solutions that minimize touchpoints and reduce interactions would go furthest in addressing pain points – such as contact-less payments inflight (83%) and staggered security queues (84%).

When it comes to ensuring personal safety, passengers have disregarded the automatic 14-day quarantine6. Instead, the results show a desire for a consistent set of measures to make the journey safer – such as mandatory face coverings, or a 48-hour test before travel.7

Almost half of passengers (44%) say that reputation is now a more significant factor when choosing an airline than it was pre-pandemic. It has therefore never been more vital for airlines to differentiate and gain a competitive edge.

The research highlights that improving inflight experience is one way to achieve this. From extra legroom (43%) to free baggage (39%), value added services are becoming increasingly important to passengers returning to the skies.

Digital solutions are fast-becoming essential to an enjoyable inflight experience, with almost four in ten (39%) agreeing that onboard Wi-Fi matters more today than ever before. This is most significant for Indian and Brazilian passengers.8 Destination status alerts, real time luggage tracking and pre-clearing immigration on the plane – all enabled by cabin connectivity – are among the top new aspects of the journey passengers want to keep post-pandemic.9

Inmarsat is transforming the global aviation industry by bringing complete connectivity to every aircraft and flight path in the world. Passengers can browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more during flights, with an onboard connectivity experience on par with broadband services available on the ground. In addition, Inmarsat’s flight deck solutions combine cutting-edge satellite technology with secure IP broadband connectivity for enhanced operational efficiency and safety.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced that customers in the United Kingdom and Europe can now purchase RF microwave cable assemblies online directly from its Blackburn UK facility. The website’s Cable Configurator feature allows customers to shop for and create their own RF assembly custom built for their specific application needs.

Customers now have instant access to pricing information and can buy products online with direct shipping to their location. This new eCommerce offering simplifies the purchasing process and helps speed-up turnaround times.

Since 1999, CIT’s Blackburn facility has delivered quality and cutting-edge technology in the field of standard and custom RF cable assemblies, RF test and measurement devices, RF coaxial connectors, harnesses, and custom copper assemblies. These products are designed to meet the unique challenges of customers in the Military & Defense, Aerospace, Test & Measurement, Medical, and Industrial markets.

“Our Blackburn location has built a strong reputation for both high-performance solutions and the support we provide our customers,” said Peter Lewis, Director of Operations and Finance–Blackburn. “We are continuing to evolve our new web store to better serve our customers and provide easier access to the supplies they need to create the next breakthrough that drives their business forward.”

Visit CIT’s European webstore to shop for and purchase RF cables from CIT’s Blackburn facility.


BOEING

The Boeing Company named Jinnah Hosein (today’s IFExpress image) as the company’s vice president of Software Engineering, effective immediately. In this newly created role, Hosein will report to Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief engineer and senior vice president of Engineering, Test & Technology, and will focus on further strengthening Boeing’s focus on software engineering across the enterprise. “The continued advances in software makes excellence in software engineering an imperative for our business,” said Hyslop. “Jinnah will be charged with defining and leading Boeing’s strategy for software engineering, which includes providing capabilities, technologies, processes and secure and accurate systems to meet the needs of all our customers across the entire product life cycle.” Hosein will lead a new, centralized organization of engineers who currently support the development and delivery of software embedded in Boeing’s products and services. The team will also integrate other functional teams to ensure engineering excellence throughout the product life cycle. “Safety, quality and integrity underpin the mission of our software engineering team, and building on this solid foundation, Jinnah will be a transformational leader for Boeing,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “Jinnah’s broad experience and fresh perspective will elevate our performance and accelerate the important work we’ve already begun in this area.”

Hosein brings extensive experience as a software engineering leader across several innovative, high-tech companies. He joins Boeing after serving as vice president of Software Engineering for Aurora, a self-driving vehicle company, in Palo Alto, California. He led the company’s software organization for the development of those vehicles and developed Aurora’s high-integrity software life cycle to deploy autonomous architecture to on-road vehicles.

Previously, Hosein held leadership roles at SpaceX, where he led software development for Falcon, Falcon Heavy, Dragon, Crew Dragon and other flight vehicles, and at Tesla, where he helped develop autopilot software. In addition, he served as Google’s director of software engineering for cloud networking and was one of the original members of Google’s Site Reliability Engineering team.


GOGO

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

  • BA results improved sequentially, reflecting continuing industry recovery from impact of COVID-19.
  • Total revenue of $66.5 million; Net loss of $8.9 million; Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $30.2 million.
  • ATG aircraft online reached 5,577 with average monthly service revenue of $2,996, down 2% and 6%, respectively, from their pre-COVID-19 quarterly peaks.
  • Cash and cash equivalents were $117.5 million as of September 30, 2020 compared to total cash of $156.3 million as of June 30, 2020.
  • On November 6, 2020, Gogo entered into an agreement to issue $50 million of its 9.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2024 to provide buffer liquidity.
  • The sale of Commercial Aviation to Intelsat (the “Transaction”) remains on track to close before the end of the first quarter 2021. Gogo has cleared the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust process and received all foreign antitrust approvals, with FCC and CFIUS clearance and one foreign telecommunications approval still required.
  • Gogo has more than $800 million in federal tax NOLs and interest expense carryforwards which will reduce income tax expense in the future.

GALGUS

Galgus raises 2.5 million euros to finance its growth and boost its international expansion. The startup Galgus has developed a technological solution that optimizes the operation of Wi-Fi networks by providing intelligence to their access points, increasing performance by 400%, and improving user experience. Galgus’ patented solution is used daily by more than one million people worldwide when they connect their smart devices to the Internet while traveling by road, air, rail, or sea transportation, or while staying in a hotel or attending a congress, among others.


OTHER NEWS

This week there has been a lot of news about the aviation market forecast.

Boeing Forecasts Challenging Near-Term Aerospace Market with Resilience in Long Term

  • Near-term industry challenges impact demand for commercial airplanes and services
  • Over 10 years, Boeing Market Outlook shows resilient $8.5 trillion total market

Boeing (10/6/20) released its annual forecast for the commercial and defense aerospace market, reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Boeing’s view of near-, medium- and long-term market dynamics. The 2020 Boeing Market Outlook (BMO) projects that the commercial aviation and services markets will continue to face significant challenges due to the pandemic, while global defense and government services markets remain more stable.

“While this year has been unprecedented in terms of its disruption to our industry, we believe that aerospace and defense will overcome these near-term challenges, return to stability and emerge with strength,” said Boeing Chief Strategy Officer Marc Allen.

The BMO forecasts a total market value of $8.5 trillion over the next decade including demand for aerospace products and services. The forecast is down from $8.7 trillion a year ago due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines globally have begun to recover from a greater than 90% decline in passenger traffic and revenue early this year, but a full recovery will take years, according to the outlook.

The 2020 Boeing Market Outlook includes projected demand for 18,350 commercial airplanes in the next decade – 11% lower than the comparable 2019 forecast – valued at about $2.9 trillion. In the longer term, with key industry drivers expected to remain stable, the commercial fleet is forecasted to return to its growth trend, generating demand for more than 43,000 new airplanes in the 20-year forecast time period.

The BMO also projects a $2.6 trillion market opportunity for defense and space during the next decade. This spending projection reflects the ongoing importance of military aircraft, autonomous systems, satellites, spacecraft and other products to national and international defense. This demand continues to be global in nature with 40 percent of expenditures expected to originate outside of the United States.
While near-term commercial services demand is lower, the BMO forecasts a $3 trillion market opportunity for commercial and government services through 2029, with digital solutions emerging as a critical enabler as customers focus on leaner operations to adjust to future market demand. Life cycle services and support will help customers scale their operations to meet efficiency and cost objectives aligned to market recovery trends.

As the impact of the pandemic continues, Boeing is taking action to reshape its business operations to adapt to the new market reality and become more resilient for the long term. This business transformation includes every element of Boeing’s enterprise, including infrastructure, overhead and organization, portfolio and investments, supply chain health and operational excellence.

Also released today, the 2020 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), an annual 20-year forecast addressing the market for commercial airplanes and services, projects an increase in the share of deliveries replacing older passenger aircraft that are being retired in an accelerated replacement cycle, especially in the first decade.

“Commercial aviation is facing historic challenges this year, significantly affecting near- and medium-term demand for airplanes and services,” said Darren Hulst, vice president, Commercial Marketing. “Yet history has also proven air travel to be resilient time and again. The current disruption will inform airline fleet strategies long into the future, as airlines focus on building versatile fleets, networks and business model innovations that deliver the most capability and greatest efficiency at the lowest risk for sustainable growth.”

The commercial forecast includes:

  • Over the next 20 years, passenger traffic growth is projected to increase by an average of 4% per year.
  • The global commercial fleet is expected to reach 48,400 by 2039, up from 25,900 airplanes today. During this period, Asia will continue to expand its share of the world’s fleet, accounting for nearly 40% of the fleet compared to about 30% today.
  • Single-aisle airplanes such as the 737 MAX will continue to be the largest market segment, with operators projected to need 32,270 new airplanes in the next 20 years. Single-aisle demand will recover sooner due to its key role in short-haul routes and domestic markets as well as passenger preference for point-to-point service.
  • In the widebody market, Boeing forecasts demand for 7,480 new passenger airplanes by 2039. Widebody demand will be affected by a slower recovery in long-haul markets – typical after air-travel shocks – as well as uncertainties from COVID-19’s impact on international travel.
  • Air cargo demand, a relative bright spot in 2020, is expected to grow 4% annually and generate further demand for 930 new widebody production freighters and 1,500 converted freighters over the forecast period.

Airplane demand, 2020-2039
Airplane type
Seats
Total deliveries
Regional jets
90 and below
2,430
Single-aisle
90 and above
32,270
Widebody

7,480
Freighter widebody
———
930
Total
———
43,110

The global airplane fleet will continue to generate demand for aviation services, including parts and supply chain; engineering, modifications and maintenance; training and professional services; and digital solutions and analytics. The served market for commercial services is valued at $1.6 trillion, and $1.4 trillion for government services.
“Boeing is focused on making sure that the right services solutions are available to help our customers and industry navigate the downturn and scale their operations accordingly as near-term demand trends upward. For example, low-cost digital solutions can help manage some of the most critical and dynamic aspects of operations, such as crew scheduling,” said Eric Strafel, vice president, Boeing Global Services Strategy.

Around the world, the long-term need for commercial pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crew remains robust. Boeing’s 2020 Pilot and Technician Outlook forecasts that the civil aviation industry will need nearly 2.4 million new aviation personnel between now and 2039.

The Commercial Market Outlook is the longest-running jet forecast and is regarded as the most comprehensive analysis of the commercial aviation industry. The CMO and other Boeing market forecasts can be found at https://www.boeing.com/market.

More from Boeing:

Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines recently launched their 40th humanitarian delivery flight when the airline’s new 787-9 Dreamliner departed Everett, Wash., carrying more than 20,000 pounds of humanitarian supplies. The shipment, including supplies for health care and family needs, will be distributed to hospitals, clinics and charities in the Addis Ababa region.

“Ethiopian Airlines has been deeply involved in transporting critical COVID-19 supplies to support communities during these difficult and challenging times,” said Kagnew F. Asfaw, vice president ET Holidays & Digital Sales, Ethiopian Airlines. “Building on our history of collaboration in humanitarian flights, we are partnering with Boeing to bring home health care supplies. We would like to thank the Ethiopian community and several organizations in Seattle for their generosity and support for Ethiopian communities across the world during the global pandemic.”

“We are honored that Boeing is able to assist customers like Ethiopian Airlines as they transport critical medical supplies and support their local communities through the Humanitarian Delivery Fight program, especially during a challenge as significant as the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cheri Carter, vice president of Boeing Global Engagement. “We are grateful to Ethiopian Airlines for their enduring commitment to the Humanitarian Delivery Program.”
Humanitarian supplies on the flight were provided by three charitable partners in Seattle: Resolute Health Outreach (RHO), the Ethiopian National COVID-19 Response Task Force of Seattle and Embuaa Family. They contributed supplies ranging from face masks, wipes and sterile gloves to exam tables, bassinets, medicine and more.

“Over the past 10 years, RHO has donated 200 tons of medical equipment to Ethiopia,” said Dr. Richard Solazzi, board chair at Resolute Health Outreach. “This would not be possible without the help and cooperation of Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing. We are grateful for their commitment to this humanitarian project.”

The Ethiopian National COVID-19 Response Task Force is led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia, in partnership with Ethiopian embassies and diaspora communities around the world. “After COVID-19 came to Ethiopia, the Ethiopian community in the U.S. decided we needed to do something,” said Pastor Berhanu Waldemariam, chairman of the Seattle branch of the Ethiopian National COVID-19 Response Task Force. “We have collected these items and hospital equipment to help the Ethiopian government and people stay connected through partners such as Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing.”
Some of the medical supplies, clothing and hygiene products will be provided to the Mary Joy Foundation, which helps women and youth access skills and training to rise out of poverty. “Even during the COVID-19 crisis, it amazes me that people never shy away from helping others in need,” said Sister Zebider Zewdie, CEO of the Mary Joy Foundation. “This medical equipment will save countless lives and help people protect themselves from disease.”

The Humanitarian Delivery Flight Program was launched in 1992 as a collaboration between Boeing and its customers to transport humanitarian supplies assistance around the world on newly delivered airplanes with otherwise empty cargo holds. To date, there have been over 200 humanitarian delivery flights. More than 1.6 million pounds of critical supplies have been delivered since the start of the program.


We understand IATA (International Air Transport Association) now predicts a 66% drop in traffic forecast (previously 63%) because of recent travel downcasts.

ATAG announced that the airline industry could loose 46 million jobs because of Covid-19 – 87.7 million jobs normally supported.


OTHER NEWS

FlightPath3D

FlightPath3D announced that it won the ‘Preferred App’ award and was joint winner of the ‘Best Innovation’ award at Airbus’s First Online Hackathon. In addition to Airbus, several airlines judged and selected the award winners.

FlightPath3D President Duncan Jackson said, “We integrated duty-free merchandising, advertising, and the ability to buy with a payment solution into our map. 3rd party apps used our destination content, street maps, and flight tracker to augment their already highly- functional apps.”

Jackson adds, “Now more than ever, our industry needs to realize the potential of digital transformation. There is synergy in our app community, and we observed our map being integrated into more services, and more services using our API features than any other app.”

“From July 7th to 9th, Airbus organized the first Online Hackathon, designed to develop On Board Digital Solutions on an Airbus Open Software Platform to support better operations in a post-COVID world – part of their #KeepTrustInAirTravel initiative. I’m immensely proud of our team who worked round the clock to show what we could do.”, says FlightPath3D CEO Boris Veksler.

Veksler continues, “We leveraged our HTML/WebGL streaming 3D map and via our Open API platform integrated 3rd party content into our map, and vice versa provided map features into 3rd party apps. The innovation we achieved is linked to the openness of the Airbus platform, and to the eco-system of App developers that are compatible with the platform.”

Click on the link to learn more about their Map API Features


Airbus

Airbus is expanding its sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) operations, now including aircraft deliveries from its site in Hamburg, Germany. Air Transat took delivery of two brand new A321LR on lease from AerCap. Both used a 10 per cent sustainable aviation fuel blend to fly the aircraft from Hamburg to Montreal, Canada, non-stop.

Airbus has already successfully established SAF flights out of Hamburg with its Beluga transport aircraft since December 2019. This commercial delivery is another milestone that underlines Airbus’ continuing commitment to minimizing air transportation’s environmental impact – which includes becoming the first aircraft manufacturer offering customers the option of receiving new jetliners with sustainable fuel in their tanks. Such delivery flights have been available since 2016, starting from the Airbus headquarters production facility in Toulouse, France, followed by Mobile, Alabama, USA. Airbus offers this option as part of its strategy to promote the more regular use of sustainable fuels within the aviation industry. The fuel for Air Transat’s A321LR aircraft delivered from Hamburg was supplied by Air bp and produced by Neste.

Airbus and Air Transat have a long history of cooperation on environmental affairs. Airbus supported the airline to launch its environmental program 13 years ago and both have worked together on environmental projects such as fuel efficiency. Air Transat has been operating Airbus single-aisle and widebody aircraft since 1999.

“Sustainability and efficiency are essential for our customers and for Airbus. Sustainable aviation fuel developments will play a key role in reducing the environmental footprint of the aviation industry. By using sustainable aviation fuels on delivery flights with partners like AerCap and Air Transat, who are flying the aircraft from Hamburg to their Canadian home-base nonstop, we take concrete action to contribute to a more sustainable aviation future,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer Airbus. “We are very pleased to be a part of this historic milestone, working together with our partners at Airbus and with our long-time customer, Air Transat, to help them meet their sustainable growth ambitions,” said Philip Scruggs, President and Chief Commercial Officer of AerCap. “AerCap is committed to facilitating the move towards more sustainable air travel underpinned by its target to transition its fleet to approximately two-thirds new technology aircraft by 2021.”
“It is an honor for us and a sign of confidence from Airbus to be its first customer to take advantage of this new delivery option at its Hamburg plant,” said Jean-François Lemay, President and General Manager, Air Transat. “This initiative is part of our commitment to reducing our own carbon footprint while contributing to the achievement of the airline industry’s ambitious decarbonization targets.” Both of these delivery flights will be carbon-neutral because the kerosene fossil fuel portion will be offset by the purchase of carbon credits.

We are proud to be the first Canadian carrier to operate carbon-neutral flights, and we will continue to pursue our commitment to providing our passengers with a travel experience that takes account of our environmental footprint,” Mr. Lemay continued.


Boeing

Boeing announced a number of services orders and agreements to support international customers, streamline their operations and enhance their future growth. These supply chain solutions will simplify customers’ asset and maintenance management, inventory and operating costs, while improving parts availability. The agreements for Boeing’s digital solutions will provide cost savings fleet-wide, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.

“As airlines and operators continue to respond to the current challenges facing the global air travel industry, our partners are moving forward, integrating creative solutions to continue connecting people around the world,” said Ted Colbert, president and CEO, Boeing Global Services. “Boeing is working closely with our customers around the world, delivering the customized solutions they need to improve operational efficiency, support their fleets, and reduce their costs.”

Supply chain agreements include:

  • Alaska Airlines signed its largest consumable and expendable services agreement, with a multiyear agreement for solutions which include a Tailored Parts Package and Quick Engine Change kits. The agreement supports Alaska’s fleet of Boeing 737 airplanes and provides price and availability benefits that allow the airline to streamline its maintenance operations. The Tailored Parts Package consists of 2,900 part numbers. Throughout the term of this three-year agreement, Boeing anticipates the shipment of nearly 800,000 parts and four Quick Engine Change kits, which will be used to configure spare engines to allow for quick return of an airplane to service when an engine needs to be repaired or replaced.
  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, announced a partnership with Boeing Global Services to install a 787-9 galley facility in its new training center to enhance crew training opportunities. All Nippon Airways also signed an agreement for ten 767 Quick Engine Change kits.

Agreements for data-driven solutions include:

  • Xiamen Airlines, Japan Airlines, and All Nippon Airways have signed agreements to acquire the Optimized Maintenance Program that combines advanced data analytics with Boeing’s engineering expertise to help airlines achieve greater airplane availability and more efficient maintenance operations. To date, the Optimized Maintenance Program has been delivered to 24 airlines and approved by their local regulatory agencies to support a total of 2,519 Boeing airplanes across several models. Xiamen is the first airline in China to adopt the program.
  • A number of customers in China, including Suparna Airlines, Zheijiang Loong Airlines, West Air, Guangxi Air, Urumqi Air, and Air Changan signed agreements for Boeing digital solutions that enhance operational efficiency, further streamline paperless operations in the flight deck, and optimize flight planning capabilities. Boeing provides tailored charting for more than 74 percent of the commercial aviation market; supplies digital navigation data to more than 58 percent of global airlines; and delivers flight deck solutions to 67 percent of the world’s airlines. Overall, two-thirds of all global airline flights use Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) navigation and charting applications on a daily basis.
  • Vistara, an Indian full-service carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has added to their suite of Boeing Global Services crew solutions with a multiyear agreement for Crew Pairing to improve operational and readiness efficiency and reduce airline costs. The solution will help optimize crew planning operations for approximately 1,100 crew members across Vistara’s 40 Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Boeing and Etihad Airways will use a 787-10 Dreamliner to test ways to reduce emissions and noise as part of the aerospace company’s ecoDemonstrator program before the airline accepts delivery of the airplane this fall. The collaboration, which includes extensive sound measurement testing with industry partners, builds on a strategic sustainability alliance Boeing and Etihad formed in November 2019. “This is the latest program under Etihad’s industry-leading strategic partnership with Boeing, focusing on innovating real-world solutions to the key sustainability challenges facing the aviation industry,” Etihad Aviation Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Douglas said. “The ecoDemonstrator program is founded on innovation and sustainability — and these are core values for Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates. Etihad and Boeing see a great opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge to minimize the impact of aviation on the environment.” The ecoDemonstrator program utilizes commercial aircraft to test technologies that can make aviation safer and more sustainable now and into the future. The 2020 program, which will begin testing in August, is the first to use a Boeing 787-10. Boeing and Etihad will work with industry-leading partners, including NASA and Safran Landing Systems, to conduct aircraft noise measurements from sensors on the airplane and the ground. The data will be used to validate aircraft noise prediction processes and the sound reduction potential of aircraft designs, including landing gear, that are modified for quieter operations.

In addition, a flight will be conducted during which pilots, air traffic controllers and an airline’s operations center will simultaneously share digital information to optimize routing efficiency and enhance safety by reducing workload and radio frequency congestion.

Test flights will be flown on a blend of sustainable fuel, which significantly lowers aviation’s environmental footprint. The testing program is expected to last about four weeks before Etihad enters its Boeing 787-10 into service.


Other News

AND SOME SAD NEWS

We contacted a few people about the passing of Bill Baltra, long time IFE aficionado, and one noted: “He had contributed excellent services to MAS as VP for many years. I think he was a first employee of Matsushita Avionics Systems in USA and worked together with Yukio Sugimoto for a long time. He was funny, clever and gentle also always making people happy around him.” We think that note is the way we will always remember Bill!

Dublin | May 25, 2020– The “Global Commercial Aircraft Market – Airbus Vs. Boeing – Decennial Strategy Dossier – Duopoly of the Transatlantic Arch Rivals in the Decade from 2010 to 2019 – Strategy Focus, Evolution, Progression & the Path Ahead to the 2020s” company profile has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s offering.

This Decennial Strategy Dossier, published at the turn of the decade, reviews the strategy evolution & progression for the duopoly of the transatlantic arch rivals in the Global Commercial Aircraft Market, namely, Airbus Vs. Boeing, through one of the most profitable decades for Commercial Aviation with the market continuing with its unbroken supercycle.

The rally has been driven by strong tailwinds emanating from a multitude of favorable, demand side factors led by robust growth in passenger air traffic, decent global macroeconomic growth and a favorable crude oil price environment prevailing through most of the decade which has bolstered airlines profitability as well as driven fleet expansion led by the LCC segment. Supply side factors, led by the development & introduction of new & re-engined aircrafts by the industry OEMs, incorporating new, high bypass turbofan engines have stimulated replacement demand with technological evolution by the industry, focused on performance, safety, comfort and optimized operating economics, further catalyzing fleet replacement activity across airlines groups globally.

This decennial review, thus, takes a macro view of the strategic developments and reviews the strategy pursuits & execution by Airbus & Boeing over the 2010-2019 period with a comparative longitudinal analysis. The report reviews & assesses the strategic significance as well as business impact & outcome of the strategic path for the companies at the turn of the decade with a look at the road ahead with initial, near term indicators painting a really grim picture for commercial aviation post the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, with most key global economies projected to go into recession for 2020.

Report Excerpt

The report analyzes and reviews the strategic path taken by the two respective aerospace industry behemoths through the decade ending in 2019 led by the Airbus’ pursuit of the aircraft re-engining strategy starting at the turn of the previous decade with the introduction of the re-engined A320neo aimed at countering any potential threat from the newest, scratch up aircraft of the twenty first century, the C-Series from Bombardier. This was followed by the game changer, product line extension strategy from Airbus which saw the introduction of the A321LR & the A321XLR respectively and got Airbus the lion’s share of the middle of the aircraft market amid Boeing’s ageing 757 & 767 fleets.

Boeing’s hasty counter move to introduce a new, re-engined 737 variant, termed MAX, to swiftly take on the Airbus’ A320neo move has been highly debatable from a technical & long term strategy perspective. The launch decision for the NMA program, expected way earlier, has been hugely delayed & has given too much leeway to Airbus to further consolidate its grip on the narrow body aircraft market across segments while Boeing is busy clearing up the mess it created for itself, under a new leader who comes to the helm to manage things in a very difficult & challenging market environment for commercial aviation post the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

For Whom?

The report is a niche, key and vital information resource on Airbus & Boeing with its unique disposition & strategy focus and provides a macro view and comparative longitudinal analysis from a strategy perspective quickly. The report would be quintessential for those having strategic interest in the Companies, Commercial Aviation sector and will be especially useful for Key Decision-Makers, Program & Project Managers, Airlines Groups, Procurement Managers, Top Management of Industry Players & Other Companies, Industry OEMs, Suppliers, Vendors, MRO Services Providers and other Key Players in the Industry Value Chain. The report will also be useful for existing & potential Investors, Industry & Company Analysts, M&A Advisory Firms, Strategy & Management Consulting Firms, PE Firms, Venture Capitalists, Financing & Leasing Companies, Researchers and all those associated with the industry.

For more information about this company profile visit https://www.researchandmarkets.com/r/ygvyb3.

Mobile, Alabama | May 19, 2020– A new chapter in the development of Airbus’ U.S. production capabilities has begun with inauguration of the completed A220 commercial aircraft final assembly line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama.

This 270,000-square-foot facility – which can produce both the A220-100 and A220-300 versions – houses five primary assembly stations where major airframe component assemblies come together for a completed aircraft.

An A220 first for JetBlue

Airbus’ production team in Mobile, Alabama also marked another milestone, welcoming the first component assemblies destined to become an A220 for JetBlue. This low-cost carrier will be the second airline customer receiving U.S.-built A220s when the aircraft is delivered in late 2020.

“The team is excited to start working in their new facility and to welcome a new customer,” said Paul Gaskell, president of A220 USA and Head of A220 Program in Mobile. “It’s a strong endorsement from JetBlue in this challenging time.”

An expanded U.S. industrial footprint 

Airbus announced plans in October 2017 for the addition of A220 manufacturing at Mobile – which is situated on the edge of Mobile Bay along the Gulf of Mexico.

The company began producing A220s at Mobile in August 2019 using space in an existing Final Assembly Line hangar for U.S.-built A320 Family aircraft, and in newly-constructed support hangars. With the start of operations in the dedicated A220 final assembly line, Airbus’ production site in Alabama has now officially doubled in size.

“The expansion of our commercial aircraft production in Mobile – from the A320 Family to the A220 – further solidifies Airbus’ standing as a truly global aircraft manufacturer, and confirms that Airbus remains an important part of the American manufacturing landscape,” added Gaskell.

Mobile, Alabama is the second assembly site for the A220, which is Airbus’ latest addition to its product line of single-aisle commercial aircraft. The A220’s primary production facility and program headquarters are located in Mirabel, Canada, where dedicated functions – including engineering expertise and support functions – also are situated.

As expected, our industry is continuing to contract as a result of the ongoing pressures from COVID-19. Today’s issue of IFExpress features announcements from industry vendors and OEMs about current and forecasted reductions in their work force. Airlines are starting to address what flying may look like with social distancing still in effect but after the Stay Home, Stay Safe orders are loosened. This is certain to be a continuing discussion in the weeks ahead. The IFExpress team will keep you appraised as this story continues to evolve.

Now let’s take a look at some of the announcements from the past seven days.


GOGO

Gogo announced that effective May 4, it will furlough approximately 60% of its workforce and reduce compensation for most other employees as part of a broad-based cost reduction plan due to the impact of COVID-19. The furloughs will impact more than 600 employees across all three of Gogo’s business segments. The time and duration of those furloughs will vary based on workload in individual departments. Salary reductions will begin at 30% for the CEO, then 20% for the executive leadership team, and feather down from there. In addition, Gogo’s Board of Directors has agreed to reduce their compensation by 30%. Certain types of employees, such as hourly workers, will not have their compensation reduced. Approximately 60% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its two commercial airline segments. Passenger traffic on commercial airlines using Gogo’s service has declined 95% this month compared to the prior year, resulting in a projected 60-70% reduction in sales for the month of April. The remaining 40% of Gogo’s revenue comes from its business aviation segment which has seen a sharp decrease in flight activity. Additionally, since many business aircraft are flying less frequently, there has been an increase in requests for one-month account suspensions and a dramatic decrease in new plan activations for the month of April. “The health and safety of our employees and customers is our first and most important priority, but the long-term health of our business is also a critical focus area,” said Oakleigh Thorne, president and CEO of Gogo. “In March, we announced 16 levers that we can employ to dramatically lower our costs in order to ensure our long-term viability, and we believe we are implementing the appropriate measures to accomplish that goal.”

In addition to personnel actions, the Gogo 16-lever plan includes, among other actions, renegotiating terms with suppliers, delaying aircraft equipment installations, deferring purchases of capital equipment, reducing marketing and travel expenses and eliminating non-essential spend. “We established best- and worst-case scenarios and action plans against the 16 levers based on market conditions against those scenarios,” Thorne said. “Based on where the market is today, we believe these personnel actions are necessary, and if conditions worsen, we have additional levers to pull if needed.”

Gogo also announced that it has applied for an $81 million grant and a $150 million loan under the recently enacted CARES Act. If Gogo receives government assistance, it will modify the personnel actions announced to comply with the terms of that assistance. Prior to this announcement, Gogo has already implemented several cost-cutting measures related to personnel, including a hiring freeze, suspension of 2020 merit salary increases, and deferral of the CEO’s 2019 bonus. Gogo had $216 million cash on hand as of the close of business on April 20, 2020, including $22 million drawn under its revolving credit facility.

Gogo intends to provide an update on its response to the pandemic and share further details on the steps it is taking to strengthen its financial position when it hosts its first quarter 2020 earnings conference call. “The impact of COVID-19 on air travel, and a challenging economy in general, mean we have to make tough decisions, including implementing these essential cost reductions,” said Thorne. “I am proud of our Gogo employees, who have risen to the challenge to ensure that our business continues to operate smoothly and effectively during this difficult time.”


BOEING

On April 21, 2020 Boeing announced key organization and leadership changes aimed at driving greater cross-company integration and continuous improvement; aligning enterprise services to current business conditions while increasing value; streamlining senior leadership roles and responsibilities; and preparing now for the post-pandemic industry footprint. The changes are effective May 1.

A newly formed group — Enterprise Operations, Finance & Strategy — will consolidate several important areas, bringing together teams responsible for manufacturing, supply chain and operations, finance, enterprise performance, strategy, enterprise services and administration. Led by Greg Smith, executive vice president, Enterprise Operations, and chief financial officer, this new global organization will embed operational excellence and consistent lean principles across Boeing and its supply chain, and restore production and supply chain health as Boeing and the broader aerospace industry recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corporate Audit will join Smith’s new group and continue to report directly to the Boeing Board of Directors Audit Committee as it does today, providing independent, objective assurance and advisory services to improve company operations.

Jenette Ramos, senior vice president of Manufacturing, Supply Chain & Operations, will bring 34 years of Boeing experience, leadership and operational skills to a special assignment in support of Smith and Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun.

The company also is combining its legal and core compliance programs, including global trade controls, ethics and business conduct, into a single organization led by Brett Gerry, chief legal officer and executive vice president of Global Compliance. This approach will enhance Boeing’s already strong compliance and internal governance program through focused accountability for, and a more integrated approach to, Boeing compliance responsibilities. It also will help the company proactively address new legal and compliance obligations arising from an increasingly complex global regulatory environment.

To accelerate this important work and to build on the existing strength of its compliance and ethics program, Boeing soon will name a chief compliance officer who will be responsible for leading the company’s compliance, ethics and trade control activities. This person will report to Gerry, with a direct reporting line to Calhoun and the board’s Audit Committee on compliance and ethics issues.

Finally, Boeing Government Operations, led by Executive Vice President Tim Keating, will assume responsibility for the company’s Global Spectrum Management activities, which ensure the safe, efficient and compliant use of radio frequency spectrum in Boeing products and operations.

“I am confident these changes will drive greater alignment among our functions; better equip our commercial, defense and space, and services businesses to deliver on customer commitments in a changing marketplace; and support our continuous efforts to develop talent through challenging leadership assignments,” said Calhoun. “Special thanks to Greg, Brett, Tim and Jenette for taking on new leadership responsibilities.”

Coinciding with these organization changes, Diana Sands, senior vice president of the Office of Internal Governance and Administration, has decided to retire from Boeing later this year after nearly 20 years with the company and following a thorough transition of responsibilities. “Over the past two decades, Diana has played a key role in developing an industry-leading ethics and compliance program, served in several critical finance roles and been a strong advocate for advancing diversity and inclusion across the company,” said Calhoun. “The Boeing Board of Directors and I are deeply grateful for Diana’s leadership, integrity and dedicated service.”

Also from Boeing: 

On April 25th the company announced that it has terminated its Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) with Embraer, under which the two companies sought to establish a new level of strategic partnership. The parties had planned to create a joint venture comprising Embraer’s commercial aviation business and a second joint venture to develop new markets for the C-390 Millennium medium airlift and air mobility aircraft. Under the MTA, April 24, 2020, was the initial termination date, subject to extension by either party if certain conditions were met. Boeing exercised its rights to terminate after Embraer did not satisfy the necessary conditions. “Boeing has worked diligently over more than two years to finalize its transaction with Embraer. Over the past several months, we had productive but ultimately unsuccessful negotiations about unsatisfied MTA conditions. We all aimed to resolve those by the initial termination date, but it didn’t happen,” said Marc Allen, president of Embraer Partnership & Group Operations. “It is deeply disappointing. But we have reached a point where continued negotiation within the framework of the MTA is not going to resolve the outstanding issues.”

The planned partnership between Boeing and Embraer had received unconditional approval from all necessary regulatory authorities, with the exception of the European Commission.

Boeing and Embraer will maintain their existing Master Teaming Agreement, originally signed in 2012 and expanded in 2016, to jointly market and support the C-390 Millennium military aircraft.

Lastly, Boeing Dreamlifter Transports 1.5M Face Masks for COVID-19 Response

  • Partnered with Prisma Health, Atlas Air and Discommon Founder Neil Ferrier to bring 1.5 million medical face masks to healthcare professionals in South Carolina
  • Boeing Dreamlifter becomes the largest aircraft ever to land at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
  • Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future

OTHER NEWS

Letter from the Editor

The stay-at-home orders have affected millions of people, resulting in unprecedented unemployment rates in the U.S. and Europe, which are rising higher and faster than they ever have before. Compared to a year ago, the global aircraft capacity in available seat-miles is currently down by approximately 59%. Add to this that IATA is forecasting airline losses to exceed $252 billion, which could easily be revised upward in the next few weeks. The understatement of the week is that COVID-19 is having a devastating effect on our industry.

Damage has been done, much like what we experienced after September 11, 2001, and the financial crisis of 2008 – but on an even greater, global scale and we may well have past the point of a V-shaped recovery. As those events changed how governments, businesses, and the public functioned; so will this forever change us as well.

What might we expect these changes to look like? It is not unreasonable to expect new procedures to be put into place to manage the risk of reinfection: body temperature scanners at airports, immunization passports for travelers on every flight – much like today’s security screening but focused on the traveler’s health. After 9/11 it took the flying public almost a decade to adjust to the changes in travel and accept the ‘new normal’. So it is not unrealistic to expect that it will take a while for passengers to embrace the travel process post COVID-19.

Also, virtual meetings are becoming part of everyone’s lives – even those who are the most technologically challenged seem to be using applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. to fill the need to socialize. I am willing to bet that each of you has used one or more of these in the past week to stay connected with friends, family, and colleagues. For work, the virtual meeting has become business as usual right now and we are all discovering, out of necessity, how easy and useful these video conferences can be. This will undoubtedly contribute to a slower uptake in passenger traffic growth once things begin to return to ‘normal’, or should I say, the new normal.

The pandemic has also had an impact on the number of aircraft anticipated to be in service in 2021. The forecast is there will be 1,200 fewer jetliners flying than last year (2019). This is also going to impact the number of pilots, maintenance technicians, flight crew, attendants, etc. needed.

This is all a vivid reminder that aviation has, and always will be, a cyclical business. Historically, with each upturn in the cycle, our industry grows, renews and often performs better than it did before. This is what we need to keep focused on right now. The only big question we currently face is how long will this down turn last?

Stay Home, Stay Healthy – Tricia

Patricia Wiseman – Editor, Publisher & Co-Founder


SATCOM DIRECT

Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, is launching a new webinar series to ensure customers remain continually informed and updated about SD products, services and partner relationships. Grouped by product category, the inaugural webinars will explain the latest SD updates and product enhancements by delivering content created in direct response to customer queries and information requests. The agendas incorporate themes that are relevant and essential for effective management of flight operations and aim to improve customer understanding of the extensive SD Xperience portfolio. Each webinar will also detail how to maximize new and existing products in dynamic, unpredictable operating environments to effectively manage evolving situations. The first four workshops are scheduled as follows:

  • 21 April, 13:00 UTC – SD Connectivity: detailing network and service updates along with SD partner information.
  • 05 May, 13:00 UTC – SD Hardware: updates on router, modem and antenna products and how best to select and optimize them.
  • 19 May, 13:00 UTC – FlightDeck Freedom®: latest on datalink services supporting mandatory requirements for the flight deck.
  • 02 June, 13:00 UTC – SD PostFlight and SD Pro®: updates on platform functionality and optional third party integration.

The one-hour webinars will be delivered online to registered SD clients by an SD subject matter expert. Materials will be conveyed through presentations, graphics and interactive tools and are designed to stimulate participation and discussion, whilst allowing customers to address individual needs and queries. For customers unable to participate, the webinars will be available for review through the SD Learning Management System (LMS) portal after each workshop.


GALGUS

IFExpress received an email from Jose Gonzalez, CEO & Co-Founder of Galgus. Galgus is part of the Wi-Fi community and works in the IFEC industry with VT Miltope on their CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology). Galgus has put together a YouTube video show casing how important Wi-Fi is and how the technology is facilitating working, studying, entertaining and engaging remotely during this pandemic. We thought we would share their tribute and recognition with you, our readers. Can you imagine this quarantine without #WiFi? – YouTube


COLLINS AEROSPACE

Collins Aerospace Systems, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp., recently announced Troy Brunk has been named president, Interiors, reporting to Collins Aerospace president Stephen Timm. He succeeds Dave Nieuwsma, who was recently named president, Avionics, for Collins Aerospace. In his new role, Brunk leads a broad portfolio of aircraft interior systems for seating, lighting, galley, oxygen, passenger service, evacuation, de-icing, lavatory, waste and potable water for commercial and military customers around the globe. Brunk’s 27-years with Collins Aerospace has included leadership roles of increasing responsibility. Most recently he served as vice president and general manager for the Communication, Navigation & Guidance Solutions portfolio for the company’s Mission Systems business. In this role, Brunk oversaw a broad portfolio of military applications and solutions, ranging from communication and navigation, to actuation and guidance, and health and fuel sensing systems. Brunk also served as vice president and general manager for Airborne Solutions, where he oversaw the avionics and flight deck solutions for military fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.


VALOUR

Valour Consultancy, an independent provider of market intelligence services to firms in the global aerospace and maritime markets, is delighted to reveal that it has been honored with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise. The company is one of a select group of organizations nationally to be recognized with the accolade, which is the highest official UK award available to British businesses. Valour’s award is given for outstanding achievement in the category of International Trade after increasing its overseas sales by an incredible 157 per cent over the last three years.

“It goes without saying that we are immensely proud of this achievement, which is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice in establishing Valour as a reputable source of business intelligence” said co-founders, Joshua Flood, Craig Foster and Daniel Welch. The trio also expressed their gratitude to those that have supported the company’s phenomenal growth in recent years. “This award is testament to the hard work and dedication of our staff who have consistently delivered outstanding results and often make themselves available at all hours to answer client enquiries. We’d also like to give a special mention to those companies located around the world that continue to have faith in us to provide them with the means to make more informed business decisions, even in these uncertain times”. Valour Consultancy is headquartered just outside of Grantham in the United Kingdom and maintains additional offices in London, as well as in Melbourne, which is home to its subsidiary, Valour Consultancy Australia. Since its founding in 2012, the firm has become a trusted provider of insight and analysis to many of the world’s largest companies. This includes aircraft manufacturers, large global satellite operators, multinational service providers and a range of the world’s best-known airlines.

Valour Consultancy will celebrate the award during a royal reception for Queen’s Awards winners and intends to host its own celebration later in the year.


LUFTHANSA

#WeAreInThisTogether is Lufthansa’s motto in these unusual times and the carrier is setting a sign to express its bond with the airline’s passengers: Frequent flyers who considerably contribute to the airline’s success get access to all the digital publications that they usually are only provided with when flying. Media Carrier as a leading provider of digital content supports this initiative, providing its technical platform and content for this initiative. Frequent flyers get an access to 781 newspapers and magazines from around the world and enjoy digital reading. The portfolio meets every taste, containing business papers, lifestyle publications, regional newspapers and international magazines, and offers daily inspiration and entertainment. All publications can easily be downloaded in pdf format to any digital device and are then available to read for an unlimited period of time. Apart from free offers, users can also buy publications.


AIRBUS

Airbus SE shareholders approved all resolutions on the agenda for its 2020 Annual General Meeting, including the election of two new directors, while René Obermann formally succeeded Denis Ranque as Chairman at a Board meeting immediately afterwards. Owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, shareholders were encouraged to vote by proxy instead of attending the AGM physically in Amsterdam, in line with public health and safety measures. Shareholders showed a very high level of voting and strong engagement despite the COVID-19 situation, with 575 million votes expressed, up 5% compared to the 2019 AGM and representing around 74% of the outstanding share capital. On 23 March, Airbus announced that it was withdrawing a voting item from the original AGM agenda related to the proposed payment of the 2019 dividend. The withdrawal of the dividend proposal was one of a number of measures announced by the Company to bolster liquidity and its balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Following shareholder approval, Mark Dunkerley and Stephan Gemkow each joined the Board as non-executive directors for a period of three years. Dunkerley has extensive experience of the commercial airline and aviation industry and is currently a Member of the Board of Spirit Airlines, Inc., while Gemkow is a Member of the Board of Amadeus IT Group and a former airline executive with 22 years at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The mandates of non-executive directors Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. and Lord Drayson (Paul) were each renewed for three years. Denis Ranque and Hermann-Josef Lamberti both stepped down as planned from the Board and its committees at the close of the AGM. At the meeting immediately following the AGM, the Board approved the planned appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In April 2019, Airbus announced that Obermann had been selected by the Board to succeed Denis Ranque as Chairman. As previously stated, Denis Ranque asked to leave the Board to pursue other interests when his mandate expired at the close of the 2020 AGM, following seven years as Chairman. “It has been a great honour to serve Airbus as Chairman these past years and I extend my best wishes to René, the Board and the Company as a whole,” said outgoing Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque. “I’d also like to thank shareholders for their support along these years and today for having voted through these important AGM resolutions at a very high level despite the COVID-19 outbreak. With a renewed management team, under Guillaume’s strong leadership, and an experienced Board, your Company is in good hands as it heads into its sixth decade.”


BOEING

Boeing will resume all Commercial Airplanes production in a phased approach at its Puget Sound-region facilities this week, after suspending operations last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At all of its sites, the company has taken extra precautions and instituted comprehensive procedures to keep people safe and fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The health and safety of our employees, their families and communities is our shared priority,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and senior executive in the Pacific Northwest. “This phased approach ensures we have a reliable supply base, our personal protective equipment is readily available and we have all of the necessary safety measures in place to resume essential work for our customers.”

Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs, supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defense and security missions. The 737 program will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX. Boeing South Carolina remains in a suspension of operations at this time. Earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defense production operations in the region with approximately 2,500 people. Employees in the Puget Sound for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.
The company’s practices reinforce enhanced cleaning, employee health and physical distancing in partnership with employees. Aligned with federal and state guidance, these practices include:

  • Staggered shift start times to reduce the flow of employees arriving and departing work
  • Visual controls such as floor markings and signage to create physical distance
  • Face coverings will be a requirement for employees at Boeing sites in Washington. Employees are strongly encouraged to bring in their own procedural mask or face covering; those who do not have a mask available will be provided with one.
  • Providing required personal protective equipment to employees working in areas where physical distancing cannot be maintained for an extended period
  • Asking employees to perform self-health checks before coming to work and to stay home if they are ill
  • Employee wellness checks at the beginning of every shift and voluntary temperature screening at many manufacturing locations
  • Contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 to reduce risk to teammates
  • Continued virtual meetings and employees who can work from home will continue to do
  • Transportation and common areas adjusted for physical distancing
  • Hand-washing stations in high-traffic areas and additional cleaning supplies available

Enhanced measures will continue until conditions allow for a return to regular work and cleaning processes. Boeing will continue to monitor government guidance on COVID-19, assess impact on company operations and adjust plans as the situation evolves.

Boeing completed its first COVID-19 transport mission, using a 737-700 aircraft from its corporate fleet to bring personal protective equipment (PPE) from China to the United States. Working in partnership with FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen, the company transported 540,000 medical-grade face masks that will be delivered to healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in New Hampshire. Kamen, who has a longstanding relationship with Boeing through FIRST Robotics, is also a founder of DEKA Research and Development Corporation. “Another life-saving delivery of PPE has arrived in New Hampshire,” said Governor Chris Sununu.

Boeing continues to support local communities and the heroic healthcare professionals working tirelessly to stop the spread of COVID-19. Additional airlift transport missions with the Boeing Dreamlifter and ecoDemonstrator are planned in the future. Boeing is coordinating closely with U.S. government officials on how to best assist areas with the greatest need. “I want to personally thank Governor Sununu, the entire New Hampshire congressional delegation and Dean Kamen for their leadership in helping secure and distribute this much-needed personal protective equipment for our frontline healthcare workers and first responders here in New Hampshire,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO. “We are honored to have conducted today’s airlift mission and we look forward to providing continued support in the fight against this pandemic.”

Also from Boeing: Brazil’s GOL reached agreement with Boeing on financial compensation related to 737 MAX grounding and then they cancelled 34 of their remaining 129 MAXs on order.


OTHER NEWS

“Overall, it could be a very bad year for the economy,” Ben Bernanke said. “The U.S. economy could shrink 30% or more this quarter as stay-at-home orders aimed at slowing the coronavirus outbreak choke off business.” Unfortunately, this scenario is not limited to the U.S.  – for the most part it is a global issue facing a broad spectrum of businesses, including aviation. We continue to see a reduction in activity in the aviation sector, primarily due to the decrease in demand for air travel due to COVID-19 and it looks like this may well be the trend for a good part of 2020. Many airlines have parked/stored the majority of their fleet, some routes are flown with a handful of passengers – if the carrier is lucky, and airframers are looking at order cancellations and reduced aircraft deliveries for 1Q20. It goes without saying that our industry is undergoing a radical change and all sectors within it are bracing for the trickle-down effect on their businesses. In fact, one of the major IFEC vendors has reduced their staff by 200+ people in the last week – most likely the first of many companies to do so. The IFExress team will endeavor to keep you appraised of the latest developments, so stay tuned.


AIRBUS
After a solid commercial and industrial performance at the beginning of the year, Airbus is now revising its production rates downwards to adapt to the new Coronavirus market environment.

In Q1 2020, Airbus booked 290 net commercial aircraft orders and delivered 122 aircraft. A further 60 aircraft were produced during the quarter, highlighting the solid industrial performance, however they remain undelivered due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

36 aircraft were delivered in March across the different aircraft families, down from 55 in February 2020. This reflects customer requests to defer deliveries, as well as other factors related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The new average production rates going forward have been set as follows:
● A320 to rate 40 per month
● A330 to rate 2 per month
● A350 to rate 6 per month

This represents a reduction of the pre-coronavirus average rates of roughly one third. With these new rates, Airbus preserves its ability to meet customer demand while protecting its ability to further adapt as the global market evolves.

Airbus is working in coordination with its social partners to define the most appropriate social measures to adapt to this new and evolving situation. Airbus is also addressing a short-term cash containment plan as well as its longer-term cost structure.

“The impact of this pandemic is unprecedented. At Airbus, protecting our people and supporting the fight against the virus are our chief priorities at this time. We are in constant dialogue with our customers and supply chain partners as we are all going through these difficult times together”, said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury. “Our airline customers are heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We are actively adapting our production to their new situation and working on operational and financial mitigation measures to face reality.”

In its effort to support the fight against the COVID-19, Airbus has carried out extensive work in coordination with social partners to ensure the health and safety of its employees. This has been achieved by implementing new stringent work standards and processes. Airbus is contributing to the development, sourcing and ferrying of medical equipment, including facemasks and ventilators, in support of medical health services.


BOEING

Today (April 14, 2020), Boeing announced their 1Q 2020 deliveries for commercial aircraft, which totaled 50 jetliners – compared to 149 in 1Q 2019. The 50 aircraft were comprised of the following: five 737s, zero 747s, ten 767s, six 777s, and twenty-nine 787s.

The company has also been hit by an additional 75 737 MAX cancellations from Irish leasing company Avolon, bringing the total number of jetliners removed from the company’s order book in March to 300+ aircraft as airlines adjust their fleets in response to COVID-19.

Also, Boeing will deliver the first set of reusable 3D-printed face shields to support healthcare professionals working to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) accepted the initial shipment of 2,300 face shields this morning. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will deliver the shields to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, which has been established as an alternate care site to treat patients with COVID-19. Boeing is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output to meet the growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States. Distribution of additional face shields will be coordinated with HHS and FEMA based on immediate needs. Boeing is producing face shields with additive manufacturing machines at company sites in:

  • St. Louis, Missouri
  • China Lake, El Segundo, and Huntington Beach, California
  • Puget Sound region of Washington State
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • San Antonio, Texas
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Portland, Oregon

Boeing subsidiaries Argon ST in Smithfield, Pennsylvania, and Aurora Flight Sciences in Bridgeport, West Virginia, are also participating in this project. Solvay, a long-time Boeing supplier, provided the clear film for the face shields. Another supplier, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, donated the elastic used for the adjustable headband. Face shield production and donations are part of a larger Boeing effort to leverage company and employee resources to aid with COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. To date, the company has donated tens of thousands of units of PPE – including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits – to support healthcare professionals battling COVID-19 in some of the hardest-hit locations in the United States. Boeing has also offered use of its unique airlift capabilities, including the Boeing Dreamlifter, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. The company is coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide airlift support. “Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time,” said Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun. “History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government’s response to this global pandemic.”


OTHER NEWS

Toulouse | March 30, 2020–The Spanish Government announced new measures on 29 March in the fight against COVID-19. These measures are taking effect between Monday 30 March and Thursday 9 April inclusive and restrict all non-essential activities across the country.

Some key activities in Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters and Defence and Space remain essential. Minimum activity in these areas for necessary support functions such as Security, IT, Engineering, will remain under the stringent health and safety measures implemented by Airbus to protect its employees against the COVID-19 pandemic.

All other activities in Commercial Aircraft, Defence and Space as well as Helicopters in Spain will be paused until 9 April, the date when it is foreseen that restrictions will be lifted.

Airbus will closely work with its social partners to apply the social measures applicable under the latest restrictions. Airbus employees in Spain whose jobs are not linked to production and assembly activities and can work from home will continue to support Airbus business continuity in these difficult times.

As a leading company, Airbus needs to retain its ability to support the global crisis efforts, support customers, suppliers and continue to bring its essential contribution to society.

Image: Airbus A330-800 receives EASA Type Certification


THALES

Sichuan Airlines selects Thales CORE IFE for its future fleet of A350 aircraft to deliver on their promise for exceptional passenger experience. Entry into service is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2021. Sichuan Airlines new A350’s will include a two-class cabin configuration equipped with 17” displays in business class, 12” displays in economy class and new state-of-the-art SELECT graphical user interface (GUI) featuring the latest user-experience technologies creating the most intuitive passenger experience ever while celebrating Sichuan Airlines’ brand. Passengers will enjoy the most current applications and vast selection of entertainment during their flight including a variety of television series, films, music, and games.

Thales’s CORE IFE system is based on the proven AVANT platform, benefiting Sichuan Airlines with a streamlined process for configuration and delivery at the most competitive cost of ownership. CORE is packaged with Thales support services. Through this selection, Thales further expands its partnership with Sichuan Airlines. The airline’s current fleet of A350 is flying with the AVANT system and Thales is the preferred business partner in avionics – including Flight Management Systems for their A320/A330 aircraft as well as customer support and services. Over 1 million passengers each day enjoy Thales in-flight technologies. In China, Thales is working together with airlines to drive the highest level of passenger satisfaction by providing a truly unique experience to all travelers.


AIRBUS

The A330-800 received joint Type Certification (today’s rectangle) from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The aircraft’s certification flight-test campaign was successfully performed by aircraft MSN1888, which completed the program in 370 flight test hours and 132 flights since its first flight in November 2018. The A330-800, part of a true new-generation A330neo family, is the most efficient longest range entry-level widebody and incorporates new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing and new Sharklets using lighter composite materials. Together, these advances bring a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 25 per cent compared with older generation competitor aircraft of similar size. Certified initially with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 242 tonnes for a range capability of up to 7,500 nautical miles, the A330-800 will typically seat 220 to 260 passengers in three classes, or up to 406 travelers in a single-class high-density configuration. To date the A330neo Family has won 337 firm orders from 22 operators. In the A330-800, passengers can expect the highest levels of comfort, with the aircraft featuring the award-winning Airspace by Airbus cabin with larger overhead storage, advanced cabin mood lighting and the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity. Operationally, the A330neo shares a common pilot type-rating with the larger A350 XWB, which facilitates minimum flight training cost and maximum pilot productivity. Maintenance personnel will also benefit from the aircraft’s new Skywise data connectivity features which will help them to predict potential issues before they arise, thus ensuring maximum productivity of the aircraft in revenue service.

On another note, Green Africa Airways, Nigeria’s Lagos-based airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 50 A220-300 aircraft, one of the major orders to be placed globally for the A220 program and the largest ever from the African continent.

Furthermore, Airbus SE, the Government of Québec and Bombardier Inc. have agreed upon a new ownership structure for the A220 program, whereby Bombardier transferred its remaining shares in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus and the Government of Québec. The transaction is effective immediately. This agreement brings the shareholdings in Airbus Canada, responsible for the A220, to 75 percent for Airbus and 25 percent for the Government of Québec respectively. The Government’s stake is redeemable by Airbus in 2026 – three years later than before. As part of this transaction, Airbus, via its wholly owned subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, has also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier in Saint-Laurent, Québec. This new agreement underlines the commitment of Airbus and the Government of Québec to the A220 program during this phase of continuous ramp-up and increasing customer demand. Since Airbus took majority ownership of the A220 program on July 1, 2018, total cumulative net orders for the aircraft have increased by 64 percent to 658 units at the end of January 2020.

Bombardier transfers its remaining interest in Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (Airbus Canada) to Airbus SE and the Government of Québec. Airbus now holds 75 percent of Airbus Canada with the Government of Québec increasing its holding to 25 percent for no cash consideration Bombardier work packages for the A220 and A330 will be transferred to Airbus, through its subsidiary Stelia Aerospace, securing 360 jobs in Québec Bombardier will receive US$591M, net of adjustments, of which US$531M was received at closing, and is released of its future funding capital requirement to Airbus Canada.

Lastly, Airbus and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to enable urban air mobility (UAM) in Singapore. The MOU was signed at the Singapore Airshow 2020 between Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice-President, Engineering, Airbus and Kevin Shum, Director-General of CAAS. The collaboration aims to bring UAM services and platforms to reality in Singapore’s urban environment, with the target to enhance industry productivity and improve the country’s regional connectivity. As part of the agreement:

  • Airbus and CAAS will collaborate to define and develop an initial UAM service with an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). The parties will specifically work together to realise the Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system and services to support the initial use-case.
  • For such UAM operations, both parties will co-operate on fostering public acceptance, developing standards, and establishing necessary safety frameworks.
  • Finally, Airbus and CAAS will study the feasibility and requirements for further UAM services that include leading-edge cargo and passenger transportation solutions.

BOEING News

The Boeing Company reached a tentative agreement with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) on a new four-year contract extension that would run through 2026 covering approximately 18,000 engineering and technical employees, nearly all of whom are in Washington and Oregon. SPEEA’s Executive Board has endorsed the offer, which will be put up for a vote by the membership and is expected to run from Feb. 24 to March 9, 2020 via mail-in ballots. The current contract is set to expire in 2022.Highlights of the agreement include:

  • Annual salary adjustment funds – Under the tentative agreement, Boeing and SPEEA will establish fixed salary adjustment funds for each year, 2020 through 2026, replacing the prior indexed formula.
  • Paid leave – Boeing will apply the Company’s existing 12-week Paid Parental Leave policy to SPEEA-represented employees. By virtue of the contract extension, SPEEA-represented employees in Washington will now also be covered by the Washington Paid Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Health care benefits – Under the tentative agreement, employees will continue receiving competitive benefits with no change in plan design for medical, dental and vision plans. Beginning in 2023, employees’ contributions will be based upon their salary.
  • Employee Incentive Plan (EIP) – The Employee Incentive Plan target will be raised from 3.85% of eligible earnings to 5% of eligible earnings.

On another note, Boeing forecasts airlines in Southeast Asia will need 4,500 new airplanes over the next 20 years, valued at $710 billion at list prices. Single-aisle airplanes continue to be the main driver of capacity growth in Southeast Asia. This growth helps to stimulate the demand for commercial aviation services, which are forecasted to be worth $785 billion between 2019 and 2038.

“Three countries from Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia – made the top 10 list of countries that added the most airline seat capacity since 2010. Vietnam has experienced the strongest growth out of the three at nearly 15% per year, followed by Thailand and Indonesia at approximately 10% respectively,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of Commercial Marketing at Boeing. “With an expanding middle-class, in market that continues to liberalize, coupled with a strong domestic, regional and international tourism sector, Southeast Asia has become one of the world’s largest aviation markets.”While single-aisle airplanes dominate the forecast, this region will also require a significant amount of widebody airplanes, in terms of value and the number of units. The demand is driven by airlines adapting to the evolving business environment and new long-haul expansion opportunities. Widebody airplanes will make up 19% of new airplane deliveries, enabling carriers in the region to serve new international long-range city pairs.

Aviation growth in the region is expected to drive the need for 182,000 commercial pilots, cabin crew, and aviation technicians to fly and to maintain the airplane fleet across Southeast Asia. This demand is projected based on a mix of new airplane deliveries, annual aircraft utilization rates, crewing requirements by region and regulatory requirements.

In the air cargo sector, after declines in 2019, global freight volumes are projected to recover in 2020 due in large part to solid industrial production and world trade. Over the long-term, air cargo is projected to grow 4.2% through the forecast period. Freighters will remain the backbone of the cargo industry with the need for 1040 new and 1780 converted freighters over the next 20 years.

Worldwide, Boeing projects the need for 44,040 new commercial airplanes valued at $6.8 trillion and the demand for aftermarket services totaled at $9.1T over the next 20 years. The complete forecast is available here.

Furthermore, Boeing announced supply chain agreements at the Singapore Airshow with multiple airlines and operators. The agreements will enable Asia-Pacific carriers to leverage Boeing’s global supply chain to streamline maintenance, repair, and operations.

Recent supply chain services agreements include:

  • All Nippon Airways, the largest airline in Japan, has expanded an agreement for consumable and expendable services to their entire fleet.
  • Cathay Pacific, the home carrier of Hong Kong, renewed a multiyear agreement for consumable and expendable services building on a long-standing partnership for spare parts inventory management.
  • Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation (EGAT), an MRO with a long-standing partnership between EVA Air and General Electric, reached a multiyear Tailored Parts Package agreement. The customized agreement provides comprehensive part coverage from Boeing’s network of global distribution centers to support EGAT’s maintenance, repair, and overhaul operations to a host of global airlines in its service portfolio.
  • HAECO, a leading MRO, has reached an expanded agreement for consumables and expendables parts support to include additional supply chain solutions.
  •  Xiamen Airlines has reached a three-year agreement for a Tailored Parts Package to support their full fleet of Boeing Next Generation 737 and 787 Dreamliner airplanes.
  • KAEMS signed agreement with Boeing for its first integrated inventory management solution for consumables and expendables parts in support of their growing MRO capability.

These agreements focus on material solutions that offer customers more inventory control and greater logistics flexibility, by relying on Boeing for material support. Boeing works with customers to identify their operational priorities and build the Tailored Part Package and Consumable and Expendable Services that allow airlines to focus on operations and not parts and inventory management.

Boeing estimates the commercial services market, including business aviation and general aviation, in the Southeast Asia region will reach $3.4 billion over the next 20 years. This growth is driven by demand for customizable maintenance programs and maintenance personnel. Boeing’s aftermarket supply chain, a key capability in supporting increased lifecycle value for customers, provides customers with customizable and flexible materials support tailored to their needs.

Lastly, Boeing announced orders and agreements that will enable growth for multiple Asia-Pacific airlines in a rapidly developing region. These digital solutions lower costs across fleets for regional and international operators, enhance airline crew situational awareness and increase operational efficiency.
New digital solutions orders and agreements include:

  • Vistara, an Indian carrier and a joint venture of Tata group and Singapore Airlines, has signed an agreement for multiple services to support their entry into service of new 787-9 aircraft, including Boeing Maintenance Performance Toolbox and Airplane Health Management tools. Powered by Boeing AnalytX, these tools provide real-time, custom alerting, fleet data to enhance maintenance capabilities. Vistara has signed a new five-year agreement to receive Jeppesen Crew Rostering and Boeing Alertness Model tools to improve operational efficiency and crew planning capabilities.
  • Air Tahiti Nui joins more than 100 international customers using Boeing Airplane Health Management by signing a multiyear agreement to access real-time maintenance and engineering data and support to enhance maintenance and operational decisions for their 787 fleet.
  • Bamboo Airways will integrate several digital solutions to support their new 787 fleet, with new agreements finalized for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB), Electronic Document Browser and Onboard Performance Tool capabilities. These digital tools enable flight crews to perform real-time weight and balance and takeoff and landing calculations to reduce maintenance costs, optimize payload capacity and streamline cockpit operations.
  • Sichuan Airlines has agreed to a multiyear contract for Jeppesen JetPlanner Pro services to enhance flight planning capabilities. The tool generates optimized routes and efficient flight plans in complex airspace to achieve lower operating costs, using the industry leading flight planning engine.
  • Virgin Australia Group has signed a seven-year agreement for Jeppesen FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) and digital navigation chart services, to increase operational efficiency. The agreement extends a long-term relationship between the airline and Boeing for Jeppesen navigation services that provide increased flight deck efficiency.

OTHER NEWS

(Today’s image is of the MTM Robotics facility in Mukilteo, Washington – recently purchased by Airbus.)

ASTRONICS

Astronics Corporation announced that Robert S. Keane has joined its Board of Directors, effective December 9, 2019. Mr. Keane is Chairman and CEO of Cimpress (Nasdaq: CMPR), which provides mass customization services through its group of companies and is strategically focused on investing in and building entrepreneurial, customer-centric businesses.
Peter J. Gundermann, Chairman, President and CEO of Astronics, commented, “Robert brings an entrepreneurial spirit, significant public company experience and deep business acumen, which are valuable attributes for our evolving Board of Directors. We believe he will be a solid ambassador for shareholders. We welcome Robert’s contributions as we advance our strategy for profitable growth to build shareholder value.”

Mr. Keane founded Cimpress in 1995 and has grown the group to $2.75 billion in revenue with a market capitalization of $3.3 billion. Prior to Cimpress, he was employed for seven years by Astronics. He began his career in business management consulting. Mr. Keane is a graduate of Harvard College, where he earned his B.A. in economics, and INSEAD (France), where he earned his M.B.A. Mr. Keane is a son of the late Kevin Keane, former Chairman of Astronics.

The addition of Mr. Keane brings the Astronics Board to nine directors, eight of whom are independent.


SITA

SITA is installing its Scan&Fly ( Scan&Fly | SITA ) self-service bag drop for LATAM Airlines Group at 18 airports in five countries in the Americas as part of its work to transform its airport experience. The first eight kiosks are up and running at Brasilia International Airport and the remaining 97 units will be gradually implemented at other airports over the coming months. The technology means passengers will be able to check in their bags in under 40 seconds.

The majority of the 105 bag-drop units will be deployed in Brazil with the other units being installed in other airports in the region. LATAM is Latin America’s leading airline group, flying around 72 million passengers annually. As passenger numbers increase, airports are having to become more efficient and the smart use of technology is the only way to make that happen. Many airports are faced with capacity constraints, which in turn can lead to long queues. For airports that don’t have either the resources or the space to expand, SITA Scan&Fly can be installed onto existing check-in desks and conveyor belts offering up to 60% increase in terminal capacity, a 40% reduction in operational costs and an improved passenger experience.

SITA is the leading provider of airport technology in Latin America, covering all areas, including passenger processing, airport operations, baggage, border management and aircraft communications. The combination of all these technologies drives efficiencies for airports, airlines, government agencies, ground handlers, and, most importantly, passengers.


AIRBUS

The Air France–KLM Group has decided to place a firm order for 10 additional widebody A350-900s, which will take its total order for the type to 38 aircraft. By acquiring the industry’s most efficient and technologically advanced widebody aircraft, the airline will benefit from a significant reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions. The A350s are intended to be operated by Air France. Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, Air France-KLM currently operates a fleet of 159 Airbus aircraft. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these features translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. The A350 XWB’s Airspace by Airbus cabin is the quietest of any twin-aisle and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience. By the end of November, the A350 XWB Family had received 959 firm orders from 51 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

Airbus has acquired industrial automation company, MTM Robotics, for an undisclosed sum – (see today’s rectangle). The move deepens Airbus’ commitment to expanding advanced robotics capabilities within its manufacturing processes. The MTM business will retain its current leadership and 40-person staff, as well as its facility in Mukilteo, Washington, near Seattle. “We are pleased and excited to become a part of the Airbus family and look forward to further integrating our products and approaches into the Airbus industrialization chain,” said MTM founder, Mike Woogerd.

The acquisition is the latest chapter in a trusted, ten-year-plus relationship between the companies, with multiple MTM light automated robotics systems currently in use at Airbus manufacturing facilities. While MTM will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Airbus Americas, Inc., headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, it will continue to serve other customers in the aerospace industry. Since 2003, MTM has deployed more than 40 aerospace manufacturing systems comprised of machines, tools, machine software, enterprise software and support throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The acquisition marks the latest step for Airbus in its industrialization roadmap, aimed at leveraging the time- and cost-saving benefits associated with using robotics in the manufacture and assembly of its commercial aircraft.
“The competitiveness of tomorrow will be determined by both designing the best aircraft and by building the most efficient manufacturing system, in parallel,“ said Michael Schoellhorn, Airbus Chief Operating Officer.“ Automation & robotics are central to our industrial strategy. We are very happy to welcome MTM Robotics as a family member and take a step forward on this exciting endeavor together.”

“MTM perfectly fits Airbus’ ambition for engineering and innovative manufacturing solutions while maintaining agility,” explained Patrick Vigié, Head of Industrial Technologies at Airbus. “Airbus and MTM Robotics each believe that tomorrow’s automation in aircraft manufacturing can and must be lighter, more portable and less capital intensive,” explained Vigié. “By joining our efforts and skills, we are well positioned to establish industry wide standards for the factory of tomorrow, “he said.


BOEING

JUST IN: Boeing announced on 12/16/19 that it is temporarily halting the assembly lines in Renton, Washington from January, with no timeline defined for a restart. Good news for the 12,000-strong Renton workforce: Boeing will preserve their jobs by keeping some on 737 work and redeploying the rest to other facilities in the region. (Editor’s Note: At this time, Boeing has not stated when the manufacturing line of the 737 MAX will restart. This may be dependent on FAA approval.)

Boeing Statement: Safely returning the 737 MAX to service is our top priority. We know that the process of approving the 737 MAX’s return to service, and of determining appropriate training requirements, must be extraordinarily thorough and robust, to ensure that our regulators, customers, and the flying public have confidence in the 737 MAX updates. As we have previously said, the FAA and global regulatory authorities determine the timeline for certification and return to service. We remain fully committed to supporting this process. It is our duty to ensure that every requirement is fulfilled, and every question from our regulators answered. Throughout the grounding of the 737 MAX, Boeing has continued to build new airplanes and there are now approximately 400 airplanes in storage. We have previously stated that we would continually evaluate our production plans should the MAX grounding continue longer than we expected. As a result of this ongoing evaluation, we have decided to prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft and temporarily suspend production on the 737 program beginning next month. We believe this decision is least disruptive to maintaining long-term production system and supply chain health. This decision is driven by a number of factors, including the extension of certification into 2020, the uncertainty about the timing and conditions of return to service and global training approvals, and the importance of ensuring that we can prioritize the delivery of stored aircraft. We will continue to assess our progress towards return to service milestones and make determinations about resuming production and deliveries accordingly. During this time, it is our plan that affected employees will continue 737-related work, or be temporarily assigned to other teams in Puget Sound. As we have throughout the 737 MAX grounding, we will keep our customers, employees, and supply chain top of mind as we continue to assess appropriate actions. This will include efforts to sustain the gains in production system and supply chain quality and health made over the last many months. We will provide financial information regarding the production suspension in connection with our 4Q19 earnings release in late January.

On Another Note: Boeing delivered 24 aircraft in November vs 79 in Nov 2018, and has now delivered 345 in 2019. Boeing President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg reports that the board of directors today declared a regular quarterly dividend of two dollars and five and one-half cents ($2.055) per share. The dividend is payable March 6, 2020, to shareholders of record as of February 14, 2020.

New Boeing Media Relations Director – (12) Michael Friedman | LinkedIn

 


OTHER NEWS

  • Whether you know it or not, times for technology development are changing and Ms. Sarayu Srinivasan is well aware of them. WIRED notes: “Sarayu Srinivasan is a venture capitalist, operating executive, and founder. Srinivasan is currently a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow detailed to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where she is a senior adviser and private sector/venture capital expert working on the Cross-Agency Priority Goal Lab-to-Market.” Her opinion article in WIRED is one of the scary ones. Correct, but scary. She writes about industry and government co-working, and while she amplifies the US need for national and government teaming, her message is probably worldwide. She notes: “We can no longer wait for serendipitous ingenuity to flow downstream. There is no time for the fortuitous experiments of Darpa and Rand to organically develop into the commercial internet decades later.” I guess we never realized the extent of government funding of technology development because her message about Apple blew us away. See what you think – Industry Must Team up With Government to Keep America on Top | WIRED
  • No doubt, you know that runway numbering systems use the world magnetic field as a reference. They use numbers from 1 to 36 as compasses point the runway direction to the nearest 10 degrees. Guess what, the earth’s magnetic field is moving fast (2.5 degrees in the last 22 years). It gets worse – the poles reverse about every 500,000 years, and the present switch is some 280,000 years late! Earth’s Magnetic North Pole Is Hightailing It Toward Siberia The folks at Interesting Engineering just ruined my day!

(Today’s image refers to a story in the Airbus section of IFExpress.)

United Airlines Orders 50 A321XLRs

United Airlines placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft as it begins to phase out older models and launches an expansion of transatlantic routes from its key U.S. hubs in Newark/New York and Washington D.C. United plans to take delivery of the first A321XLR in 2024 and expects to begin international service with the aircraft in 2025.

“The new Airbus A321XLR aircraft is an ideal one-for-one replacement for the older, less-efficient aircraft currently operating between some of the most vital cities in our intercontinental network,” said Andrew Nocella, United’s Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “In addition to strengthening our ability to fly more efficiently, the A321XLR opens potential new destinations to further develop our route network and provide customers with more options to travel the globe.”

“We are delighted to be re-United with our friends in Chicago and thank them for their trust. The selection of the A321XLR by the leadership of United Airlines is a ringing endorsement of the range, payload, and fuel efficiency that Airbus incorporated into this state-of-the-art aircraft,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. “The exceptional versatility and performance of the A321XLR enable new operational efficiencies that flow to the airline’s bottom line.”

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo family of aircraft, meeting market requirements for increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft, and creating more value for the airlines by enabling economically viable service on longer routes than any comparable aircraft model. It will allow service from the U.S. East Coast to a much larger selection of European destinations.

The A321XLR will deliver an unprecedented narrow-body airliner range of up to 4,700nm, with 30% lower fuel consumption per seat compared with previous-generation competitor jets. It will have a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 101 metric tonnes, while takeoff, climb, and flight performance will change little from the A321neo.

The A321XLR will be operated by the same crew, powered by the same engines and have the same cabin as the A321neo, with more than 90 percent commonality. Combining the A321neo’s two rear center fuel tanks into one adds fuel capacity and reduces structural weight. Other significant changes include structural reinforcements and modified landing gears for the increased MTOW, increased braking capability, higher tire speed, and additional flap and slat configurations.

With the Airbus Cabin Flex fuselage, the A321XLR will accommodate a variety of seating classes and configurations suitable for longer flights.


SITA

Airlines and airports in China are moving to another level of passenger service. They are embracing artificial intelligence and automation to provide the hyper-personalized self-service experience their passengers are demanding. According to the SITA 2019 China IT Insights, China’s airlines and airports are using these technologies to expand mobile services and automating the journey with self-service every step of the way.

A key technology that is attracting investment is artificial intelligence (AI). SITA’s China IT Insights reveals that 88% of both airlines and airports are planning major programs, or R&D, with AI by 2022 and they are focusing on virtual agents and chatbots. This investment matches the demands from passengers; SITA’s research of passengers in China shows that 64% of them want a digital travel concierge. Already nearly half (43%) of airlines in China have AI-driven chatbot customer services and the planned investment should see the availability of them rising quickly over the coming years. For passengers of China’s airlines and airports, self-service has reached a strong level of maturity, but a step-change is coming as biometrics is being adopted. Today, 27% of airports have self-boarding gates using biometrics with travel documents but in just three years this will jump to 66%. And more than half of the airports have plans for secure single biometric tokens for all touch points by 2022. Airlines too are committing to self-boarding gates using biometrics with ID, 60% are planning to use them driving a secure and seamless passenger experience right through the airport with the next three years. Mobile services are vital to meet China passengers’ demands and by 2022, all airlines and 93% of airports are planning investments in them. Services including flight discovery, airline offers, check-in and flight status notifications via mobile are already provided by all airlines. One fifth are also using mobiles to sell newspapers, magazines and movies/TV to passengers. Airports too are investing in mobile services to offer a more personalized experience for passengers. Services including, notifications about flight and airport status, and customer relationship management are well established and are offered by up to 81% of airports. Keeping the passenger informed and connected is not only what China’s airports are providing via mobile, they are also facilitating mobile payments. Close to three quarters enable passengers to buy airport services and allow cashless payments via mobile. This hyper-personalized service via mobile confirms it as a vital tool for China passengers. The report highlights that blockchain technology is another key area of investment for airlines, today only 24% have major programs, or R&D, planned but this is set to jump to 80% by 2022. This is in line with the recent trends and commitments to blockchain technology in the country.


CARLISLE IT

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced membership in the Independent Aircraft Modifiers Alliance (IAMA). CIT has a nearly 80-year history of providing the highest quality aircraft components and for over 30 years has been developing modification packages and Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) for airlines, avionics manufacturers, and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) partners.

IAMA is an alliance of leading companies in the aircraft retrofit and modification industry that are committed to common standards for documentation and quality of STCs. IAMA’s founding members include EAD Aerospace, Envoy Aerospace, Etihad Airways Engineering, and Lufthansa Technik. By joining IAMA, CIT will contribute its decades of experience and expertise along with industry peers to improve the STC experience for its customers.

“We look forward to joining our industry colleagues in establishing standards for STC data packages and support,” said Jeff Behlendorf, director of product management, integrated products at CIT. “Our membership in IAMA builds on CIT’s longstanding tradition of providing the highest quality aircraft modifications, and our IAMA involvement will allow us to share experience and best practices with the entire industry.”

CIT holds more than 200 STCs for upgrade of Part 25 aircraft avionics, systems, and special mission equipment from regulators globally. CIT is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 21 Design Approval Holder, has European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Part 21 Design Organization Approval (DOA), and maintains multiple Part 21 manufacturing locations and Part 145 repair facilities. This allows CIT customers the flexibility to certify in the US, Europe, or anywhere else in the world, leverage global manufacturing while coordinating with design and qualification activities, and enjoy robust support for the aircraft modifications on site.


INMARSAT

Inmarsat confirmed the successful launch of GX5, the fifth satellite in its Global Xpress (GX) network that delivers the award-winning GX Aviation and Jet ConneX (JX) inflight broadband services. The satellite was launched by an Ariane 5 rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. It will bring additional, focused capacity over Europe and the Middle East to meet growing demand for high-speed passenger Wi-Fi in the airline and business aviation markets.

GX Aviation customers include leading airlines such as Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Lufthansa, AirAsia and Singapore Airlines, while JX has been activated on more than 600 business jets. GX5 was built by Thales Alenia Space and launched by Arianespace at 21:24 UK time on Tuesday 26 November 2019. Following satellite separation from the rocket at 21:58 UK time on 26 November, telemetry was successfully acquired shortly after separation and the mission is proceeding to plan. In less than four years, GX has established itself as the benchmark for reliable communications across the fastest growing sectors for mobile connectivity.

Additionally, Inmarsat has been named the ‘World’s Leading Inflight Service Provider’ for the third year in a row at the prestigious World Travel Awards, in recognition of the company’s pioneering GX Aviation and European Aviation Network (EAN) connectivity solutions for the airline industry. The prestigious accolade was announced at a gala ceremony in Muscat, Oman last night, following a vote by travel and tourism executives from across the world. Inmarsat was hailed for delivering a major step-change in inflight broadband capabilities with GX Aviation, powered by the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, and EAN, which offers unprecedented performance over Europe’s well-traveled skies. Both solutions enable airline passengers to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media and more, with connectivity onboard at comparable speeds to land-based broadband. Almost 1,800 aircraft are currently under signed contracts for GX Aviation and EAN, with a new business pipeline of approximately 3,000 aircraft worldwide. Inmarsat is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and has outlined an ambitious development roadmap for its Global Xpress (GX) network, which commenced this week with the launch of its fifth satellite, GX5, providing focused capacity for airlines and business aviation over Europe and the Middle East. Seven additional satellites are scheduled to launch in the coming four years, making GX the most agile and flexible constellation ever built.


AIRBUS

Scandinavian carrier SAS has taken delivery of its first A350-900, becoming the newest operator of this latest generation, highly efficient widebody aircraft (see image above). The airline has a total of eight A350-900 aircraft on order and operates an Airbus fleet of 68 aircraft (51 A320 Family, 17 A330 and A340 Family aircraft). In the coming years, as part of an extensive fleet modernization, SAS will take delivery of 54 additional A320neo Family aircraft and the remaining seven A350-900s through direct purchase and lease contracts. SAS’s A350-900 features a modern and highly comfortable three-class cabin layout with 300 seats: 40 “SAS Business” class, 32 “SAS Plus” class and 228 “SAS Go” class seats. On 28 January 2020, the airline will start to operate the new aircraft on its Copenhagen-Chicago long-haul route, followed by other international destinations including North America and Asia.

The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, a carbon fiber fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivaled levels of operational efficiency with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions. The A350 XWB’s Airspace by Airbus cabin is the quietest of any twin-aisle and offers passengers and crews the most modern in-flight products for the most comfortable flying experience. Moreover, SAS will benefit from Airbus’ unique aircraft commonality. The incoming A350s will seamlessly integrate into SAS’s current Airbus fleet today in service at the airline. At the end of October 2019, the A350 XWB Family had received 913 firm orders from 50 customers worldwide, making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.

On another note, Air Corsica has taken delivery of its first of two Airbus A320neo aircraft on lease from ICBC Leasing. With this delivery, the airline becomes the first French A320neo operator. The highly fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft will help reduce Air Corsica’s operating costs. The airline’s A320neo is powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines and is configured in a single-class cabin layout, seating 186 passengers.Each passenger will benefit from a modern cabin that includes USB ports to charge electronic devices during flight. In addition, the aircraft’s lavatories are designed to facilitate access for passengers with reduced mobility. The two Air Corsica A320neo aircraft will replace the older aircraft in its fleet and will operate on the airline’s main domestic and European networks. Air Corsica is currently operating a fleet of six A320 aircraft. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver 20 percent reduced fuel burn as well as 50 percent less noise compared to previous generation aircraft.

Airbus has also celebrated the 100th A220 aircraft produced for a customer during a ceremony at the aircraft program’s headquarters in Mirabel, Canada. The aircraft, an A220-300, destined for Riga, Latvia-based airBaltic, features a brand new and comfortable cabin layout with 149 seats plus a modernized livery.

The A220 Family is assembled at Airbus’ main Final Assembly Line in Mirabel and more recently, also at the program’s second assembly line in Mobile, Alabama. The world’s first A220 (formerly called the C Series) was delivered in June 2016 to A220-100 launch operator SWISS. airBaltic became the A220-300 launch operator when the Latvian airline received delivery of the first ever A220-300 three years ago, on 28 November, 2016. airBaltic has since then re-ordered A220-300 aircraft twice – bringing its firm order to 50 aircraft to become the current biggest European A220 customer. The airline now operates a fleet of 20 A220-300 aircraft to various European and Russian destinations as well as to the Middle East.

And lastly, A WTO panel assessing the measures the EU and Airbus have taken to comply with the WTO recommendations has issued its findings. As a result of the panel’s findings, the US should immediately reduce the USD 7.5 billion in tariffs that the WTO authorized to the US in October by around USD 2 billion. This is the direct result of the panel finding that the loans for the development of the A380 no longer have an impact on Boeing sales and that therefore the value of the lost sales no longer exists.

The panel also asserts that the amendments already made to the A350 loan agreements are not sufficient to fully align the loans with market conditions. Based on these findings, Airbus would support to appeal this report, as per WTO rules. In May 2018, the WTO Appellate Body clarified that the EU and Airbus have achieved compliance with respect to the vast majority of measures at issue, but considered that some adjustments were needed to the A380 and A350 loans, or to remedy their market effects. Measures have therefore been taken on both programs relating to the respective loans of Members States or on the market effects those loans had on Boeing.

Airbus remains committed to working with the EU and its member states to comply with the WTO recommendations. With the wide range of additional steps to comply with WTO findings since 2018, the EU and Airbus have demonstrated their willingness to ensure a fair trade environment respecting international trade agreements.


OTHER NEWS

  • No doubt, you just don’t see how AI will change your life. Hey, AI is just math – as it is applied to a lot of real, daily, and not so daily problems. This video on PBS Frontline is one of the best. Why? Because they take real problems and show the AI solutions. This is really a great beginning application story to AI so don’t miss it! In the Age of AI | Watch S2019 E5 | FRONTLINE | PBS | Official Site
    However, the two hour video may just scare the heck out of you! As an example, they note US (and worldwide, for that matter) productivity is increasing under robotics, while medium household income has not grown with the increase in productivity. And thus, while productivity has grown, job growth has not – at least not at the same rate. No doubt, your challenge will be to envision how AI will affect aviation! And if you can figure it out, you may well secure your job of the future!
    We will go one step further and tell you that the second hour of the show scared us.  It wasn’t just what AI technology can do but the real kicker is how it is applied and information extrapolated. As Kai Fu Lee says; “AI technology can be used for good or evil.” However, be sure to watch the video and come to your own conclusions.
    And speaking of AI issues: How AI Will Go Out Of Control According To 52 Experts – CB Insights Research
  • We found an interesting (and free) newsletter from Avionics International and it is very good and up to date. Called the Skyport, again, it’s free and you sign up here: The Skyport: Your Guide to the World of Urban Air Mobility – Avionics It comes out every 2 weeks.

European Airline Training Symposium (EATS), Berlin | October 29, 2019–Volotea, the Barcelona-based airline, has chosen Airbus to train all its pilots following the signature of an exclusive five-year contract. The training, which will commence in January 2020, includes Type-Rating* as well as long-term Recurrent** training linked to Volotea’s growing fleet of Airbus A319s – which will exceed 50 aircraft in 2023. The organization of the training plan is currently on-going, paving the way for the ‘go-live’ next year.

Volotea’s trainees will benefit from long-term use of Airbus’ full-flight simulators – located throughout Airbus’ Training Centre Network – and will be taught by a pool of expert pilot instructors, drawn from both Airbus and Volotea. The flexible training scheme will benefit from the cross-fertilization of both Volotea’s and Airbus’ respective expertise and standards. To this end, the airline is initially inducting four of its pilot instructors into Airbus’ training regime, while in parallel, Airbus is aligning around 20 of its own instructors in collaboration with Volotea’s operational requirements. As the airline progressively expands its A319 fleet, the size of the joint instructor pool is expected to commensurably increase. Volotea has selected the Airbus A319 as the model for its planned fleet expansion.

Airbus Services provides state-of-the-art training solutions to ensure safe, reliable and economically-efficient operations on all Airbus aircraft throughout their lifecycle. Airbus is on-hand to offer support every step of the way. A comprehensive and tailored training portfolio is designed and developed by Airbus for airline pilots, cadets, cabin crews, performance & operations engineers, maintenance personnel and structure & repair specialists.

 

October 24, 2019– Airbus has launched an extensive tour of the Pacific region to showcase the A220, its latest family member. The aircraft being used for the tour is an A220-300 leased from Latvia’s airBaltic, which will visit nine destinations in seven countries. These will include three stops in Asia on the return journey to Europe.

The first stop of the tour will be the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, home to the region’s A220 launch customer Air Vanuatu. The aircraft will then visit Australia (Sydney and Brisbane), New Zealand (Auckland), New Caledonia (Noumea) and Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby). On the way back to Europe, the aircraft will stop in Cambodia (Phnom Penh) and India (Bangalore and New Delhi).

Static displays are planned at each stop, as well as demonstration flights for airline executives and other invited guests.

The A220 is the only new design aircraft in the 100-150 seat market and incorporates state-of-the-art technologies, the latest aerodynamic design and new-generation engines. Together, these advances generate fuel savings of at least 20% compared with older-generation aircraft of a similar size.

In addition, the A220 offers extended range capability of up to 3,400 nautical miles. This makes the aircraft especially suitable for the kind of operations seen in the Pacific region, including short- to medium-haul operations between the various island nations, as well as longer routes to Australia and New Zealand.

The airBaltic A220-300 is fitted with a single-class passenger cabin with 145 seats. As on all A220 aircraft, the layout comprises three seats on one side of the aisle and two on the other. The cabin is the largest in its size category, with wider economy class seats and spacious overhead storage bins.

The A220 is available in two versions, with the A220-100 seating between 100 and 130 passengers and the larger A220-300 seating between 130 and 160 in typical airline layouts. At the end of September 2019, customers worldwide had placed orders for 525 A220 aircraft with 90 already in service with six operators.

Airbus at APEX Los Angeles

During APEX Expo in Los Angeles, Airbus discussed their in-flight trials of IoT connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at the APEX Expo Boston in 2018. The airframer said this technology will usher in a new personalized experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab aircraft is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as the ideal platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies in flight. In conjunction with their best-in-class cabin partners, an initial set of working elements have been installed. These include prototypes of the Connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and importantly, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform. These innovations are all now being tested in flight.

Airbus said that the connected cabin ecosystem will enable significant value-adding services for passengers, airlines and crews. Possible examples include:

  • Passengers will receive a more personalized travel experience specifically targeted to the individual needs and preferences, based on the available data. In particular this covers remote and pre-ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.
  • Airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalized retail and advertisement as well as new services, all enabled by the IoT approach. Furthermore, airlines will be able to improve their operational efficiency applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient. Other opportunities can easily be created and applied via apps.
  • Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin. A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components.

Customer-centric approach

The in-flight tests are part of their customer-centric approach, which began with workshops to create and prioritize innovative concepts, followed by an extensive phase of on-ground testing and customer evaluation of the connected elements. The subsequent testing of these innovations in an Airbus Flight Lab environment is key to bringing an integrated Connected Experience to fruition – being able to validate and refine them in a real airborne cabin. In particular, the tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle, especially with regard to the end-to-end data flow robustness within the systems and between them. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.

More Airbus News

  • Airbus SE notes the decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding the level of countermeasures it authorizes the United States to impose on products from the European Union (EU). If the United States Trade Representative (USTR) chooses to impose tariffs on the importation of aircraft and/or aircraft components, this will create insecurity and disruption not only to the aerospace industry, but also to the broader global economy. Yet it is still avoidable. In the coming months, the WTO will determine the amount of tariff countermeasures the EU can impose on US products – including imported Boeing aircraft – in the parallel counter case regarding illegal subsidies to Boeing. The WTO has already found that the US failed to address illegal subsidies causing harm to Airbus. This will provide the EU with grounds to claim countermeasures on US products at a level that could exceed US sanctions. If applied, these tariffs on both sides will severely impact US and EU industries, putting high costs on the acquisition of new aircraft for both US and EU airlines. Aviation is a global industry. Evidence of that is the fact that close to 40 percent of Airbus’ aircraft-related procurement comes from US aerospace suppliers. This US supply chain supports 275,000 American jobs in 40 states through spending that has totaled $50 billion in the last three years alone. If tariffs are applied, the entire global industry will be harmed. The only way to prevent the negative effects of these tariff would be for the US and EU to find a resolution to this long-running dispute through a negotiated settlement.
  • Airbus inaugurated its highly automated fuselage structure assembly line for A320 Family aircraft in Hamburg, showcasing an evolution in Airbus’ industrial production system. With a special focus on manufacturing longer sections for the A321LR, the new facility features 20 robots, a new logistics concept, automated positioning by laser measurement as well as a digital data acquisition system. These will further support Airbus’ drive to improve both quality and efficiency while bringing an enhanced level of digitization to its industrial production system. For the initial section assembly, Airbus is using a modular, lightweight automated system, called “Flextrack”, with eight robots drilling and counter-sinking 1,100 to 2,400 holes per longitudinal joint. In the next production step, 12 robots, each operating on seven axes, combine the center and aft fuselage sections with the tail to form one major component, drilling, counter-sinking, sealing and inserting 3,000 rivets per orbital joint. Besides the use of robots, Airbus is also implementing new methods and technologies in material and parts logistics to optimize production, improve ergonomics and shorten lead times. This includes the separation of logistics and production levels, demand-oriented material replenishment as well as the use of autonomous guided vehicles. The Hamburg structure assembly facility is responsible for joining single fuselage shells into sections, as well as final assembly of single sections to aircraft fuselages. Aircraft parts are equipped with electrical and mechanical systems before eventually being delivered to the final assembly lines in France, Germany, China and the US.

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies

Carlisle Interconnect Technologies (CIT) announced the award of a new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation of satellite communications (SATCOM) provisions on Boeing B777-300 and B777-300ER series aircraft. This award helps ensure consumers have the high-quality, in-flight connectivity that they have come to expect each time they fly. 

The specified FAA STC allows for the installation of structural provisions and the outside aircraft equipment package for a cabin upgrade incorporating a dual-band (Ka/Ku) terminal. The dual-band terminal allows for in-flight network switching across Ku- and Ka-band satellite networks, providing more reliable in-flight entertainment and communication access to travelers. 

The certified installation design follows a previously issued FAA STC for Airbus A320 series aircraft. CIT provided all design, qualification, approvals, and certification resources associated with the installation. The aircraft equipment packages were manufactured and conformed at the company’s facility in Franklin, Wis.

CIT leads the market in aerospace SATCOM applications, with over 2,500 installations delivered worldwide. From component manufacturing to fully-integrated engineered solutions, CIT has the capability and flexibility to support various consumer needs. Contact CIT via email for additional information.


Inmarsat
Inmarsat signed a contract with the European Space Agency for phase two of the ground-breaking Iris air traffic modernization program, which will include important flight trials across Europe to assess the service in a real operational environment. Iris is being developed to deliver powerful benefits to European aviation by enabling high bandwidth, cost-effective satellite-based datalink communications over Europe. The program contributes to the delivery of the ‘Single European Sky’, which focuses on modernizing air traffic management and air navigation efficiency. Satellite communications reduces the pressure on ground-based frequencies, which third party reports have indicated will be under significant capacity stress in the next 5-10 years.
As part of the program’s second phase, flight trials will be conducted on approximately 20 aircraft flying commercially over a six-month period starting in 2020, allowing Iris to be assessed in a real operational environment. Selected airlines will take part in the demonstration, with the support of leading Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), to evaluate the Iris program for air traffic control (ATC) and airline operational communications (AOC) across continental Europe. Also in this phase, Inmarsat will work with ESA to prepare for pan-European certification of the Iris service provider and define a distribution agreement. In addition, Inmarsat and its partners, such as Thales Alenia Space, will prepare for future air traffic control requirements through research & development and prototyping. This will include transitioning to the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network/Internet Protocol Suite (ATN/IPS) standard, which will make the service truly global. Iris was initiated in 2014, when ESA selected Inmarsat to lead a consortium of European technology companies to develop the program, including Airbus, Boeing, Honeywell and Thales, in addition to leading ANSPs across the continent, such as DFS (Germany), DSNA (France), ENAIRE (Spain), ENAV (Italy), EUROCONTROL MUAC (North-West Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) and NATS (UK). Iris is powered by Inmarsat’s award-winning SB-S digital aircraft operations platform operating on its L-band network that has underpinned global safety services for 40 years. Inmarsat is scheduled to launch two new, advanced L-band payloads to join its existing fleet in 2020 and 2021, further cementing the company’s long-term commitment to the highly reliable safety communications services it offers to the aviation community over this spectrum.


Boeing
Boeing is funding the creation of a state-of-the-art laboratory facility dedicated to the research and testing of autonomous aerial vehicles within Stanford University’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory features a control room and maker area, the newest motion-capture cameras and sensor networks, and a public observation area. The lab is the latest support by Boeing in Stanford’s Aero/Astro department. In addition to the $2.5 million contribution to fund the Boeing Flight & Autonomy Laboratory, located in the Durand Building, Boeing is a founding member of the Stanford Aero/Astro Launch Fund for a new undergraduate program in aeronautics and astronautics. The inaugural class in that program will graduate in 2020.


Other News

Munich | September 18, 2019–Airbus SE (stock exchange symbol: AIR) has self-declared to German authorities potential wrongdoings by several employees with respect to certain customer documents relating to two future German procurement projects in the programme line Communications, Intelligence and Security.

This self-disclosure follows an ongoing internal review with the support of an external law firm.

The company is fully cooperating with relevant authorities to resolve the matter.

  • Airspace Connected Experience: Pioneering Internet of Things in the aircraft cabin
  • Paving the way for a new personalised passenger experience and an open ecosystem approach for airlines

France | September 11, 2019– Airbus has commenced in-flight trials of IoT* connected cabin technologies on board an A350-900 Flight Lab aircraft – to be shortly revealed to customers. In doing so, Airbus becomes the first aircraft manufacturer to undertake such flight-testing of actual connected cabin innovations. The platform, known as the Airspace Connected Experience, was unveiled at APEX Expo last year. It will usher in a new personalised experience for passengers and provide opportunities for improving airlines’ ancillary revenues and operational efficiencies.

The Flight Lab is one of the original A350-900 certification flight-test aircraft – MSN002 – and is fitted with an Airspace cabin which now serves as the ideal platform to evaluate the new connected cabin technologies in flight. To this end, and in conjunction with Airbus’ best-in-class cabin partners, an initial set of working elements have been installed. These include prototypes of the connected iSeat (Recaro), the Connected Galley (gategroup), a remote wireless cabin management control system, a large OLED display and importantly, the first step of Airbus’ new “IoT backbone” which includes an open software platform. These innovations are all now being tested in flight – together with others to be revealed in due course to customers.

The connected cabin ecosystem will enable significant value-adding services for passengers, airlines and crews. Possible examples include:

  • Passengers will receive a more personalised travel experience specifically targeted to the individual needs and preferences, based on the available data. In particular this covers pre- and remote ordering of preferred meals, booking of private bin space, setting of individual seat positions as well as a tailor-made inflight IFE offer.
  • Airlines will be able to generate additional ancillary revenues through personalised retail and advertisement as well as new services, all enabled by the IoT approach. Furthermore, airlines will be able to improve their operational efficiency applying predictive maintenance, avoiding waste and making crew services more efficient. Other opportunities can easily be created and applied via apps.
  • Crews will find a better working environment and more efficient tools, digitally enabled by real-time data from the IoT platform throughout the cabin. A mobile smart device will allow crews to monitor and operate all components.

Customer-centric approach

The in-flight tests are part of our customer-centric approach, which began with workshops to create and prioritise innovative concepts, followed by an extensive phase of on-ground testing and customer evaluation of the connected elements. The subsequent testing of these innovations in an Airbus Flight Lab environment is key to bringing an integrated Connected Experience to fruition – being able to validate and refine them in a real airborne cabin. In particular, the tests allow the various elements to be operated and monitored during a normal flight cycle, especially with regard to the end-to-end data flow robustness within the systems and between them. The next steps will continue testing of the current setup, then close the feedback loop with airlines using Airbus’ Customer Experience Teams (CET) forum, by around year-end.

*IoT = “Internet of Things”

For more information about Airspace, please click here