Author Archives: MS

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SpaceX to launch demo satellites for its high-speed internet project


Elon Musk’s SpaceX wants to deliver high-speed internet to the world using thousands of small satellites — and this week that plan is moving closer to reality.

The company is slated to launch a rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 6:17 a.m. local time on Wednesday. On board will be two experimental satellites that will test out the technology SpaceX plans to use for its internet service, according to public filings.

SpaceX has the blessing of the Federal Communications Commission to send up the test satellites. And last week, FCC chairman Ajit Pai gave SpaceX’s internet ambitions a nudge by urging the FCC to approve SpaceX’s broader internet proposal.

SpaceX’s plan is to “deliver broadband services directly to [people] anywhere in the United States or around the world” at speeds similar to some of the quickest ground-based internet connections.

Billions of people around the globe still lack internet access, so companies have been racing to find a better way to beam internet down from the sky.

They include OneWeb, a startup that’s attracted backing from the likes of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Coca-Cola and Qualcomm. And that startup already has approval from the FCC to send internet satellites into orbit.

FCC chairman Pai, who was appointed by President Trump, said last week that if SpaceX gets approval for its satellite project, it’ll be a first for an American-based company in the internet-in-space race.

Some of SpaceX’s internal financial documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal last year show the company has high expectations for this satellite network.

“SpaceX projected the satellite-internet business would have over 40 million subscribers and bring in more than $30 billion in revenue by 2025,” the Journal reported.

On Wednesday, SpaceX’s test satellites won’t be the only thing aboard the rocket.

The primary mission is to deliver a satellite, called PAZ, for the Spanish government.

According to European firm Airbus, which was the primary contractor for PAZ, the satellite will serve “many different applications,” including defense and security.

It’ll stay in orbit for about five and a half years, making full loops around Earth 15 times per day. It’ll be able to capture images of our home planet — day or night and no matter what the weather looks like — using radar technology.

Earlier this month, SpaceX captured the public’s attention with the launch of its massive new rocket. Called Falcon Heavy, it became the most powerful operational rocket in the world.

There are plans to fly a communications satellite and a payload for the U.S. Air Force on board a Falcon Heavy later this year. But Wednesday’s launch will use a Falcon 9, the rocket SpaceX has flown since 2010.

Source : CNN

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Air-Taxi Startup Joby Aviation Raises $100 Million


Joby's future is now linked to venture capital from Toyota, JetBlue and Intel.  Joby/Uber

Joby’s future is now linked to venture capital from Toyota, JetBlue and Intel.




Joby’s website says, “More than a billion people on planet Earth spend more than an hour a day in traffic. Transportation emissions are one of the largest sources of pollution.” Thanks to the $100 million Joby just raised from a variety of investors, including the venture capital arms of JetBlue, Toyota and Intel, the startup might be well on its way to creating the safe, affordable and sustainable air taxi the company’s engineers have been dreaming of for a decade.

When added to earlier funding rounds, Joby now has approximately $130 million on hand to lead the development of the new air taxi.

With a dozen and a half other electric or hybrid vehicles now planned for the future, Joby’s strategy has been different over the near decade of the company’s existence by traditionally keeping plans for its vehicles out of the public eye.

Joby does report its electric vehicle is “absolutely all new,” however, and that in addition to zero emissions the aircraft will be ultra-quiet and just fast enough to convince people not to drive.

Source: FLYING

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Norwegian: airline boss ‘not at all satisfied with the 2017 results


Brexit and strong competition blamed for ‘challenging time

Low-cost airline Norwegian made a net loss of 300m kroner (£27.4m) in 2017, particularly hit by a sluggish performance during the last three months of the year. The carrier said: “The airline industry is undergoing a challenging time as a consequence of Brexit and strong competition.”

Between October and December, the airline lost 918m kroner, representing over £10 for every passenger carried in the fourth quarter.

Bjorn Kjos, Norwegian’s chief executive, said: “We are not at all satisfied with the 2017 results.

“However, the year was also characterised by global expansion driven by new routes, high load factors and continued fleet renewal.

“Our major global expansion reaches its peak in the second half of 2018, when 32 of our 42 Dreamliners on order will have been put into service.”

Norwegian was founded 25 years ago, with a single route from Bergen to Trondheim. It has grown from a tiny regional operation to become Scandinavia’s largest airline and the third-biggest budget carrier in Europe, carrying 33 million passengers during 2017.

It has an expanding base at Gatwick, where the maiden Norwegian flight from Buenos Aires arrived in the early hours of Thursday morning. It uses a Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet.

Norwegian is opening an Argentinian subsidiary to fly domestic and regional services, with connections from the Gatwick service.

Services from the Sussex airport to Chicago and Denver begin next month.

Yesterday Norwegian outlined hopes for further expansion to Asia and the Americas. But British Airways has been aggressively targeting Norwegian, setting up routes from Gatwick to Oakland in California and Fort Lauderdale in Florida, in direct competition with the budget airline.

Writing ahead of the results, analyst Bjorn Fehrm of Leeham News and Comment said: “A fast expansion costs money. This is fine if done by a company with a solid balance sheet and enough cash reserves. Norwegian has neither.”

The airline itself said: “Norwegian is far better positioned for 2018, with stronger bookings, a growing network of intercontinental routes complementing our vast European network and not least, a better staffing situation.”

But Norwegian concedes: “Future demand is dependent on sustained consumer and business confidence in the company’s key markets.


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Bae Systems Regional Aircraft wins fleet support services contract from Braathens Regional Airlines


BAE Systems Regional Aircraft has secured a three-year Fleet Support Services contract from leading Swedish carrier Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA) covering a total of 12 Avro RJs operated by the airline.

The scope of the contract includes a renewal of the long-standing JetSpares customised rotable spares rate-per-flying-hour support agreement, for which BRA is the longest standing customer, having been enrolled on this service since 1996. The new agreement covers 640 parts per aircraft over the 12 aircraft fleet (10 RJ100s and two RJ85s) and is for a minimum of 38,000 fleet flying hours across the three year period.

Also signed is an agreement for rate-per-flying-hour coverage for the Honeywell GTCP36-150M Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) that is fitted to eight Avro RJ100s in the BRA fleet.

Working with an established overhaul supplier, Regional Aircraft provides BRA with a guaranteed service level on the APUs for a fixed monthly cost over the three-year period.

BRA has also extended its long-term Tech 21 agreement with BAE Systems. Tech 21 is a priority technical support service which nominates a dedicated engineer to handle and to ensure timely responses to technical issues.

Source:Aviation News

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EasyJet confirms acquisition of Air Berlin assets


The budget airline will take control of Air Berlin’s operations at the capital’s Tegel Airport

EasyJet has confirmed the acquisition of part of bankrupt German carrier Air Berlin in a deal worth €40m (£35.2m).

The transaction will see the budget airline taking control of Air Berlin’s operations at the capital’s Tegel Airport, with easyJet leasing 25 of its aircraft.

The agreement also includes easyJet taking over landing slots and offering employment to the defunct carrier’s flying crew.

EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said: “This move is consistent with easyJet’s strategy of purposeful investment in strong number one positions in Europe’s leading airports.

“As a result of our acquisition, easyJet will operate the leading short haul network at Tegel connecting passengers to and from destinations across Germany and the rest of Europe.

“This is in addition to easyJet’s existing base at Berlin Schonefeld and means that easyJet will be the leading airline to and from Berlin.”

It comes after the European Commission last week gave the all-clear for easyJet to carry out the deal.

EU authorities said it would not impact airline competition across the bloc where it faces rival carriers including Lufthansa and Ryanair.


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Boeing Debuts First 737 MAX 7


Boeing has celebrated the debut of the first 737 MAX 7 at the company’s Renton, Wash. factory.

The MAX 7 is the third and newest member of Boeing’s 737 MAX family to come down the assembly line. The jet is designed for up to 172 passengers and a maximum range of 3,850 nautical miles, which is the longest range of the MAX airplane family.

Technology improvements allow the MAX 7 to fly 1,000 nautical miles farther and carry more passengers than its predecessor, the 737-700, while having 18 percent lower fuel costs per seat.

“For our airline customers serving airports at high altitudes or remote locations, the MAX 7 is the ideal complement to their fleet. We look forward to demonstrating the incredible flexibility and range of this airplane,” said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of the 737 MAX program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This is the third 737 MAX family member our team has successfully introduced in just three years. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment and a testament to the dedication of the entire 737 team.”

The first MAX 7 will now undergo system checks, fueling and engine runs on the flight line in Renton. The airplane, the first of two MAX 7 flight test airplanes, will begin its flight testing program in the coming weeks.

The 737 MAX 7 is scheduled to enter service in 2019, following delivery to launch customer Southwest Airlines.

Source: Airline Economics

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Airbus’ open aviation data platform Skywise gains market traction


AirAsia, Asiana Airlines and Etihad Airways have become the first airlines to use full aircraft data and advanced predictive analytics on Airbus’ open aviation data platform Skywise, with each signing a premium subscription contract covering Skywise Predictive Maintenance.

The agreements cover the retrofit of their respective A320 and A330 Family fleets with FOMAX – a new on-board data-capture / transmission module which provides greatly expanded volumes of recorded aircraft data – only about 400 aircraft parameters could previously be recorded on an A320, compared with roughly 24,000 from an aircraft equipped with it.

The sheer quantity of information that Skywise can unlock for each aircraft equipped with the new module will be used by airlines to gain deep insights, create bespoke recommendations and apply state-of-the-art Skywise analytics applications for enhanced decision-making, says Airbus. In turn this will allow them to anticipate, with higher levels of accuracy, the needs for maintenance before an event happens, and thus maximise the operational reliability and utilization of their assets.

In addition to the new premium predictive maintenance contracts outlined above, AirAsia, Asiana Airlines and Etihad Airways will gain access to Skywise Core, providing them with a cloud-based platform offering unparalleled visibility into their fleet operations.

Airlines using Skywise Core can integrate their own operational, maintenance, and aircraft data into the Skywise cloud, so they can store, access, manage, and analyse selected Airbus data together with their own data and global benchmarks without the need for additional infrastructure investments. This resulting value will give them new insights at aircraft, fleet, company, and global level while allowing them to enhance their operations through access to OEM expertise and global fleet context.

Marc Fontaine, Airbus Digital Transformation Officer, commented: “As the aircraft ‘architect’ and integrator, we naturally thrive in our role of building digital continuity across the aviation ecosystem. What we are doing now – bringing together the different actors of the industry, breaking the silos within and outside each organisation – is a real revolution. I really want to thank our airline customers for their trust, for their forward-thinking approach and for sharing our vision in this adventure. If “information is power”, then clearly we are all becoming more powerful, together.”

Laurent Martinez, Head of Services by Airbus, said: “Just like the industry was disrupted by Airbus’ “Fly-by-Wire” concept back in the days, we are now bringing full benefits of “Fly-by-Data” to our customers. These deals we are announcing are the result of years of strong co-innovation with our customers, and I am very proud to see that our customers, our reason for being, are confirming the fact that Skywise is meant to become a leading data platform in the industry”.

Source: Airline Economics

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SIA signs A380 maintenance agreement with UTC Aerospace Systems


UTC Aerospace Systems has signed a 15-year contract extension with Singapore Airlines to provide asset management and repair services for the airline’s fleet of 19 A380 aircraft. The extension is worth nearly $200 million over the life of the program.

Singapore Airlines was an early adopter of UTC Aerospace Systems’ intelligent aircraft offerings including advanced data analytics and prognostic health management for its aircraft. With this adoption, UTC Aerospace Systems is increasing the number of intelligent fleets while enabling more efficient, predictive, and proactive service for customers’ wide-body platforms.

“We are pleased that Singapore Airlines continues to see the value of our relationship and trusts UTC Aerospace Systems to help its aircraft become more intelligent to perform at optimal levels,” said Jim Patrick, Vice President of Commercial Aviation. “Singapore Airlines has been leveraging the C.A.R.E. offering for digital transformation initiatives using prognostics and data analytics and, helping to establish the program as a leading aftermarket service.”

As part of the C.A.R.E. program, UTC Aerospace Systems will provide inventory support and maintenance, repair and overhaul services for 19 A380 aircraft. Products supported under the agreement include actuation, and controls, air management system, cabin pressure control systems, emergency power systems, fire protection systems, lighting, evacuation slides, and sensors and integrated systems.  UTC Aerospace Systems has C.A.R.E. programs in place with Singapore Airlines to support multiple components on the airline’s Boeing 777, Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 fleets totaling more than 130 aircraft.

Source: Aviation News Ltd

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Asiana Airlines signs five-year agreement with Lufthansa Technik Philippines for A380 base maintenance


On February 7, Lufthansa Technik Philippines and Asiana Airlines signed a five-year agreement for base maintenance. From 2018 to 2022, Lufthansa Technik Philippines will be carrying out a total of 14 checks on the South Korean airline’s A380s.

“We are happy for this opportunity to further strengthen our long-term relationship with Lufthansa Technik Philippines,” says Dong Jun Shin, General Manager Aircraft & Supplies Purchasing of Asiana Airlines. “During previous checks on our A380s, Lufthansa Technik Philippines has shown sincerity and dedication to the campaign, which ultimately led to our decision on whom to award this contract.”

Asiana Airlines first took delivery of its A380s in 2014, and has six A380s at present. Over the next five years, they are scheduled to undergo light to heavy maintenance checks. In addition to these checks, Lufthansa Technik Philippines is also commissioned to carry out modifications on the Doors, Flap Tracks, Wing Tip, Engine Feed Fuel Pump System, and other structural modifications.

“At first, it was our expertise and proximity that led the customer to send four of their A380s to us,” says Elmar Lutter, President and CEO of Lufthansa Technik Philippines. “We are happy to continue our partnership, after completing those checks and earning their trust.”

The first A380 under this contract is scheduled to arrive in Manila, on March 2018.


Source: Airline Economics publications

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