Category Archives: News

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Airbus H160 Debuts in U.S. with PHI Aviation

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Marignane – Airbus has delivered the first H160 in the U.S. to PHI, marking the beginning of H160 operations in the country. This is the first of the initial four H160 helicopters that PHI will operate for offshore transportation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Prior to beginning commercial operations, the helicopter will be used in a route-proving programme designed to demonstrate the H160’s capabilities in the demanding offshore environment. This will help facilitate a smooth entry into service, ensuring the operator and final customer are familiar with the aircraft’s advanced technology and safety features.

“This is an exciting milestone for our teams and partners,” said Scott McCarty, CEO of PHI Group. “The H160 represents a new era for PHI, enhancing our commitment to safety, quality and efficiency for our operations in the Gulf of Mexico. We are proud to officially welcome this next-generation aircraft into our fleet as we kick off route-proving. Congratulations to everyone who helped make this achievement possible!”

“With its state-of-the-art technology, the H160 has set a new standard in the helicopter industry and we are pleased U.S. customers will now benefit from the aircraft’s superior performance,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “The H160’s lower fuel consumption, its ability to use up to 50% blended SAF, comfortable cabin, and excellent cockpit visibility make it ideally suited for offshore operations, and we are confident that it will excel in PHI’s energy missions.”

The H160 has proven to be a popular choice for customers in North America and the first Canadian delivery of the helicopter type was made recently to Chartright Air Group. The H160 has entered into service in Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, and many other European countries.


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The FAA Is Open To Using AI To Improve Aviation Safety

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has requested information to look into advanced analytics through artificial intelligence capabilities to improve overall aviation safety and meet the FAA’s requirements for understanding factors for safety events in the National Airspace System (NAS). Market research will identify the existing capabilities and areas for growth in aviation safety and obtain industry feedback.

Further information from this period will gauge market interest, the industry’s ability, and the level of customization needed to deploy the AI capabilities into FAA infrastructuCurrentlyesent, the FAA has several capabilities within the Aviation Safety Information Analysis and Sharing (ASIAS) system. These capabilities work with several connected and disconnected systems. They are utilized for information analysis and cross-sharing of information with multiple stakeholders.

Expanding insights

The FAA presumes a new safety AI system will expand the insights from its current sources and use the data to provide a comprehensive understanding of the factors that lead to high-risk operations and to which environment. The end product will be a custom-built analytics tool that can be widely used by direct and indirect stakeholders who work within or for the aviation industry.

Goals for the FAA have been outlined, as per SAM.GOV, which identified these key points:

  • Enhance predictive analytics capabilities to identify and mitigate potential safety risks proactively.
  • Leverage AI and machine learning to analyze safety data and derive actionable insights.
  • Integrate various data sources to provide a comprehensive view of aviation safety factors.
  • Improve the overall safety of the NAS through advanced analytics and rapid response to identified risks.

AI will face several safety and security constraints and challenges for its integration, including data sensitivity, data variety, time, and overall integration process. So, as part of this process, the FAA has asked for interested vendors to commit to their overall capability, current solutions and how they can be integrated, required changes to their solutions, and ability to leverage the shelf software to satisfy the FAA’s need, and how they can manage sensitive data (among several other requirements).

Interested vendors will be required to submit their applications in writing, and those chosen to proceed to the next stage may be requested to have one-on-one discussions with the FAA.


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FAA Removes Check Pilot Medical Requirement

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Rule also eliminates FAA regulatory inconsistencies

The FAA has finalized the substantive relief proposed five years ago that removes a requirement for check pilots, check flight engineers, and flight instructors to Part 135 and 121 operations to hold an FAA medical certificate when performing in-flight duties. This move also eliminates Part 135 and 121 regulatory inconsistencies.

“Removing the conflicting medical certificate requirement enables the utilization of pilots who are otherwise qualified to function as check pilots, check flight engineers, and flight instructors in aircraft,” according to the agency. This relief “would increase the number of experienced pilots who would be able to qualify as Part 135 check pilots on aircraft.” Similar clarifying changes were also made to Part 121.

Comments received to the NPRM noted that the originally proposed revisions were insufficient to achieve the goal of the rulemaking: elimination of medical certificate requirement confusion. Therefore, the FAA is adopting different language than proposed for further clarification.

“The substantive relief remains unchanged from that proposed in the 2019 NPRM and historical practice—elimination of medical certificate requirements if not serving as a required flight crewmember,” the agency said. The new rule becomes effective on July 18.


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Qatar Airways voted World’s Best Airline for 2024

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Qatar Airways has been voted World’s Best Airline in the 2024 Skytrax World Airline Awards along with best Middle-East airline, World’s Best Business Class and World’s Best Business Class Seat.

The Qatari state owned airline took the top spot for its high level of service and overall performance.

Singapore Airlines gained the runner up spot coming in 2nd place to Qatar Airways but picked up the World’s Best Cabin crew gong.

3rd place went to Middle-eastern rival, Emirates Airlines.

Worlds Top 10 Airlines according to Skytrax

  1. Qatar Airways
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Emirates Airlines
  4. All Nippon Airways (ANA)
  5. Cathay Pacific
  6. Japan Airlines
  7. Turkish Airlines
  8. Eva Air
  9. Air France
  10. Swiss International Airlines

The best European Airline award went to rapidly growing Turkish Airlines which also picked up an award for Best Economy class in Europe.

British Airlines also picked up awards with Virgin Atlantic being awarded Europes Best Premium Economy while British Airways picked up awards for being the World’s Friendliest Airline and the most family-friendly in Europe.

In the low cost categories easyJet scooped the Best Low Cost airline in Europe and TUI Airways UK picked up the Best Leisure Airline in the United Kingdom award.


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Sirius Aviation and BMW Group Designworks unveil hydrogen-powered business jets

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Sirius Aviation has unveiled two hydrogen-powered luxury business jets, the Sirius CEO-JET and the Sirius Adventure Jet.

Developed in collaboration with BMW Group Designworks, the aircrafts aim to transform private air travel with eco-friendly alternatives, substantially reducing CO2 emissions.

“The launch of the Sirius CEO-JET and Adventure Jet represents a major milestone in our mission to revolutionize air travel with sustainable solutions,” said Alexey Popov, Sirius Aviation AG CEO. “The CEO-JET offers an eco-friendly option for business travel, while the Adventure Jet opens new horizons for global tourism and exploration.

“We’re bridging the gap for individuals who aspire to own a business jet with pride in a future that values eco-consciousness,” said Popov. “Our customers will inspire admiration and respect, fostering a culture of positivity rather than judgment or criticism.”


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Vertical Aerospace Close to Flight Testing New eVTOL Prototype

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The UK start-up aims to demonstrate the four-passenger aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow

Vertical Aerospace has almost completed manufacturing of its second VX4 eVTOL prototype and expects to start test flights in the next few weeks. The UK company is still determining whether it will be able to display the four-passenger aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow in late July, but its higher priority remains accelerating progress towards type certification and entry into service targeted for 2026.

While Vertical’s public profile would be greatly boosted by flying the VX4 during the Farnborough event, its new CEO Stuart Simpson has told his team to prioritize development work aimed at achieving a piloted transition flight by the end of this year. On July 31, the company is set to receive the second of two $25 million tranches of funding provided by its founder Stephen Fitzpatrick, which will be sufficient cash to sustain work through the second half of 2025.

The almost complete second prototype features more hardware provided by key partners Honeywell, Leonardo, and GKN Aerospace. It also has new propellers that Vertical has redesigned since the Aug. 9, 2023 crash that destroyed its first prototype. It also uses new batteries produced in the company’s in-house Vertical Energy Centre at its Bristol headquarters.

In April, Vertical held a “Pioneers Event” for launch customers for an interactive discussion of the VX4 and the use cases that operators including American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Japan Air Lines, and Bristow have in mind. Chief technology officer Michael Cervenka said that for part of the session, his team left the room to allow the customers to freely exchange feedback on the product, which he said had yielded some actionable input to “tailor the aircraft to achieve its sweet spot in performance.” The manufacturer has also been working with flight training group CAE to refine the pilot interface.

Acknowledging that two or more rival eVTOL aircraft developers seem likely to launch commercial operations earlier than Vertical, Cervenka maintained that the nascent advanced air mobility sector will not be a case of “winner takes all.” He said the company is taking a deliberately systematic approach to its certification process, which will start with the UK Civil Aviation Authority and lead to an EASA validation. “As our chief engineer David King says, we are going slowly now so that we can go faster later,” Cervenka said.

For instance, before flight testing with the new second prototype gets underway at Kemble Airport in the west of England, the Vertical team will complete what it refers to internally as “a mini certification process” that serves as a dry run to ensure all the technology and processes are ready. The lessons learned from flying the second prototype will be applied in construction of a third prototype, which will be designated as the aircraft to be used for formal certification testing.

In Cervenka’s view, recent moves to fast-track early use cases for eVTOL aircraft in Gulf states are somewhat concerning from a safety perspective. He questioned whether rapid validation of certifications from other jurisdictions that could bypass standard ICAO processes and accelerated operational permits are appropriate for a new segment of air transport.


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IndiGo and Garuda Aviation Academy to enhance Cadet Pilot Programme

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IndiGo has partnered with Garuda Aviation Academy to train fresh pilots as future junior first officers, under the airline’s Cadet Pilot Programme.

This is the eighth partnership for cadet pilot program by IndiGo in the last 13 years.

The 21-month course also includes three-month ground schooling at Garuda Aviation Academy training center in Gurugram, followed by 12-months of training at 43 Air School in South Africa, which has a track record of training 6000+ ab-initio pilots over the years. 

Over the past 13 years, IndiGo has inducted over 1000 pilots through these full training programmes, which include commercial pilot license and A320 type rating. These courses start right from cadet selection to induction into the airline as a pilot. 

Captain Ashim Mittra, senior vice president- flight operations, IndiGo said: “We are proud to announce our partnership with Garuda Aviation Academy to bolster our Cadet Pilot Programme. We believe that this 21-month duration course will successfully foster the next generation of skilled pilots who will continue to uphold IndiGo’s commitment to providing safe, affordable, and hassle-free travel, for everyone. At IndiGo, we focus on the personal and professional growth of our pilots. This partnership will provide our people with unique learning opportunities and foster leadership skills, paving the way for a robust cadre of leaders within IndiGo.”


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Textron Aviation Goes Big Down Under

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The airframer is upgrading its service network in Australia with expanded, modernized facilities

Looking to improve its service business aviation capabilities in Australia, Textron Aviation will expand its facilities at two sites. The airframer also has rebranded Premiair Aviation Services—the Australian MRO chain it acquired in 2020—to Textron Aviation Australia to fully integrate its locations in Perth, Melbourne, and the Gold Coast into its global service network.

In Perth, Textron will relocate its Jandakot Airport operation to a larger facility on the field, providing increased space for servicing aircraft and improving scheduling to lessen customer aircraft downtime. The new service center is expected to be running at full capacity by the end of next month.

At Essendon Fields Airport in Melbourne, Textron is adding 5,000 sq ft of parts storage, quadrupling its spares inventory in the region. The company is also adding a customer support and warranty team there to handle all Cessna, Beechcraft, and Hawker parts requirements. It said the expanded facility should be fully operational by month’s end.

“Increasing parts inventory and team members in Australia allows us to respond even faster to customers when they need support,” explained Brad White, the Wichita-based group’s senior v-p of global parts and distribution. “With more than 1,400 aircraft operating in the region, we’re making this investment in direct response to customer feedback and an increasing demand for parts availability globally.”


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Saudia places big additional Airbus A320neo family order

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Saudia Group, which operates Saudi Arabia’s flag carrier Saudi as well as budget airline flyadeal, has placed an order for an additional 105 singe-aisle A320neo family airliners with European airframer Airbus.

Announced at the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh, the deal adds to the 144 aircraft already on the books as part of the delivery backlog for Airbus.

The 105 aircraft order consists of 12 A320neo and 93 A321neo airliners which will help Saudia meet its ambitious expansion and sustainability goals.

His Excellency Engr. Ibrahim Al-Omar, Director General of Saudia Group, said: “Saudia has ambitious operational objectives to meet growing demand. We are increasing flights and seat capacity across our existing 100+ destinations on four continents, with plans for further expansion. The progress of Saudi Vision 2030 is attracting more visits, tourists, entrepreneurs, and pilgrims each year. This motivated our decision to secure this significant deal, which will create jobs, increase local content, and contribute to the national economy.”

Benoît de Saint-Exupéry, Executive Vice President Sales of the Commercial Aircraft business said: “The new additions of the A320neo family aircraft will play a vital role in contributing to Saudi Arabia’ ambitious Vision 2030 plan,” adding “It will enable Saudia Group’s strategy to advance the Kingdom’s aviation capabilities while enabling both airlines to benefit from the A320neo Family’s exceptional efficiency, superior economics, highest level of passenger comfort as well as lower fuel-burn and emissions.”

As well as having the widest single-aisle cabin in the skies, the A320neo family aircraft can currently operate on 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) mix making it attractive to airlines looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Airbus aims to be able to operate A320neos on 100% SAF by 2030.

The wings for the A320neo family, and all other A3XX family aircraft, are built at Airbus’ Broughton, North Wales facility meaning that Airbus orders are always good news for the local and UK economy.


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Gulfstream G700 To Make Catarina Aviation Show Debut

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Flagship will be on display alongside the super-midsize G280 and large-cabin G600

Gulfstream’s G700 flagship will make its Catarina Aviation Show debut when the three-day event opens on Thursday at São Paulo Catarina International Executive Airport. The G700 will be on display at the show alongside Gulfstream’s super-midsize G280 and ultra-long-range G600.

“Gulfstream is experiencing significant interest and demand throughout Latin America, and the region is an important market for us,” said Gulfstream Aerospace senior v-p of worldwide sales Scott Neal. “The company has had a strong presence in Latin America for many years, including Brazil, and there are currently more than 230 Gulfstream aircraft based in the region.”

According to Neal, the Gulfstream fleet in Latin America has grown by more than 35% in the last 10 years. “Gulfstream’s product line—from the G280 to the G400, G500, G600, G650ER, G700, and G800—offer a compelling mix of size and range to suit a wide variety of operators’ needs, whether they are flying domestically or taking trips halfway around the world,” he added. “The G650 and G650ER have been popular in the region since the G650 was introduced in 2008, and we are seeing great interest in the G500, G600, G700, and G800 [there].”

Gulfstream has chosen the Catarina show over LABACE 2024 at São Paulo–Congonhas Airport; the aircraft manufacturer said that it will not be exhibiting in August at that event.