Tag Archives: #businessaviation

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Virgin Atlantic flight crosses ocean using 100% green fuel

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The fuel is a blend of waste cooking oils and other fats.

Virgin Atlantic just became the first airline to power a transatlantic flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel.

The Boeing 787 passenger jet – dubbed Flight 100 – left London’s Heathrow Airport Tuesday morning bound for John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, with Virgin Atlantic billionaire founder Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic Chief Executive Shai Weiss, and U.K. Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper on board, Reuters reported.

The flight marks the first time a commercial long-haul flight was powered using only sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). It’s scheduled to land at JFK at 2:40 p.m. EST.

The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority granted permission for Virgin Atlantic and its partners, including Rolls-Royce, Boeing and BP, to fly using only SAF following a series of technical reviews last year.

Sustainable aviation fuel is a low-carbon energy source made from non-petroleum feedstocks, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Intended to reduce emissions from air transportation, sustainable aviation fuel has properties similar to conventional jet fuel, but with a smaller carbon footprint.

“Flight 100 proves that Sustainable Aviation Fuel can be used as a safe, drop-in replacement for fossil-derived jet fuel and it’s the only viable solution for decarbonizing long haul aviation,” Virgin Atlantic’s Weiss said in a statement. “It’s taken radical collaboration to get here and we’re proud to have reached this important milestone, but we need to push further.”

The fuel used for Tuesday’s flight was a blend of mostly processed cooking oil and waste animal fat, according to Virgin Atlantic. The fuel also contained 12% synthetic aromatic kerosene that was made from waste corn.

The low-carbon fuel is expected to keep the airline industry running on lower emissions before electric and hydrogen-powered flights become a reality. It is already being used in jet engines, but is blended with traditional fuel.

Air travel accounted for 2% of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2022, according to the International Energy Agency.

“The world will always assume something can’t be done, until you do it,” Branson said in a statement about Tuesday’s flight. “The spirit of innovation is getting out there and trying to prove that we can do things better for everyone’s benefit.”

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Could airports make hydrogen work as a fuel?

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On a typical day 1,300 planes take off and land at Heathrow Airport, and keeping that going requires around 20 million litres of jet fuel every day.

That’s the equivalent of filling up your car around 400,000 times.

It’s a massive operation, with fuel piped to the airport direct from refineries and then stored at two facilities know as fuel farms.

“The amount of fuel that passes through Heathrow is enormous. It’s about half of the UK’s jet fuel requirement,” says Matt Prescott, head of carbon strategy at Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport itself does not buy and sell fuel, that’s down to the airlines and their suppliers.

However, it does have to think about the infrastructure, allotting space for storage and pipes, and making sure the airlines and fuel firms have everything they need.

“It’s really about building up the sufficient capacity to ensure that the airport has that resilience built in,” says Mr Prescott.

But, when it comes to fuel, airports around the world are having to have a major rethink.

In the UK, under the government’s Jet Zero plan, by 2040 the UK aviation industry has committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions.

The US aviation industry plans to reach net zero by 2050. The European Union has a similar goal.

  • What is net zero and how are countries getting there?

These are ambitious targets and to reach them will require alternatives to traditional jet fuel.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) – fuel that does not come from fossil fuels – is one option. Airlines are already using it, usually blended with regular jet fuel.

For airports it’s simple to supply SAF – it can be delivered via existing pipes.

But many doubt whether SAF can be produced cheaply enough, or in large enough quantities, to meet the needs of the airline industry.

So, there is much interest in hydrogen, which can store a lot of energy and, when used as fuel, does not produce any CO2.

To be of any use to the aviation industry, hydrogen needs to be in its liquid form, which involves chilling it to minus 253C.

Handling a liquid at that kind of temperature is immensely challenging. Given the chance, liquid hydrogen will “boil-off” and escape as a gas – potentially becoming a hazard.

So tanks, pipes and hoses all have to be extra-insulated to keep the liquid cold.

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VSE Aviation Expands Aftermarket Reach Through New Agreements

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VSE Aviation has announced six new aftermarket distributions agreements and plans to open a facility in Hamburg, Germany during the first quarter of next year. The agreements involve several manufacturers with contract terms ranging from 1-15 years. The deals are worth around $750 million in value.

The most notable agreement is with Pratt & Whitney Canada to support the European, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) markets. VSE Aviation plans to provide engine line maintenance, spare parts and engine accessory exchange support to engine operators, customers and maintenance providers. This now boosts VSE’s geographical expansion following previously awarded distribution agreements covering North America and Asia in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

VSE Aviation will also expand a current sole distributor agreement for Honeywell’s JetWave tail-mounted antenna systems in the EMEA and India. The agreement represents an expansion of the previously awarded distribution agreement from October 2022 covering fuselage-mounted antenna systems.

Under another agreement with an unspecified tire supplier, VSE will distribute re-treaded tires for the regional airline sector. This partnership leverages VSE’s recent acquisition of Desser Aerospace and broadens the solutions that VSE Aviation provides. The acquisition will also support VSE’s distribution of lead-acid batteries to the business and general aviation sectors under an expended agreement with a manufacturer of ground power batteries.

The tip-to tail strategy will get a further boost to cover distribution of airframe interior plastic components including tray tables, seat shrouds, plastic wall and ceiling panels, flooring and lavatory shrouds, according to VSE.

The agreements are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2024.

The new 45,000 ft.2 distribution facility in Hamburg will also support operators in the EMEA region and VSE believes the investment will position it to expand global coverage and support for its commercial and business and general aviation distribution aftermarket product lines, including the tire, tube and battery product lines associated with the Desser Aerospace acquisition.

VSE expects the new agreements to generate $25-30 million in new revenue in 2024, rising to $50 million in 2025. 

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European Rotors Opening Next Week in Madrid

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Rotorcraft show is the largest such event in Europe.

Europe’s largest rotorcraft show—European Rotors, co-organized by the European Helicopter Association (EHA) and Helicopter Association International (HAI)—begins Monday at the IFEMA Madrid Fair Centre in Spain. The exhibit hall, with more than two dozen helicopters, opens on Tuesday and will feature rotorcraft manufacturers, suppliers, and operators.

Attendees are invited to view presentations that will include hoist and sling load demonstrations, Spanish Day, helicopter emergency medical services, Parapublic Day, and global humanitarian aid projects. The Spanish Day event will be hosted by Spanish helicopter association ATAIRE and will focus on public-service programs such as firefighting and EMS.

“Rotors are the sounds of service,” said EHA chairman and technical director Christian Müller. “Citizens…know assistance is at hand when they hear the sounds of helicopters approaching. Due to the unique capabilities of our aircraft, the vast majority of helicopter flights perform missions that support humanity. These aircraft might be conducting search-and-rescue, fighting fires, supporting electrical grids, or performing airborne law enforcement support, and we are excited to feature this versatility at our show.”

HAI president and CEO James Viola added, “Igor Sikorsky, who developed the modern helicopter, famously stated, ‘If you are in trouble anywhere in the world, an airplane can fly over and drop flowers, but a helicopter can land and save your life.’ Our world would look vastly different today if helicopters were not here to serve.”

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Honeywell Signs MENA MRO Support Agreements

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Saudia Technic expands its APU servicing to cover Boeing 777s.

Honeywell announced two agreements during the Dubai Airshow that will expand the company’s support network in the Middle East and North Africa. The 10-year deal with Saudia Technic covers a global license to service the 331-500 auxiliary power unit installed in the Boeing 777. The full-service MRO organization will become Honeywell’s first authorized service center in the Middle East for the 777’s APU.

Formerly known as Saudi Arabian Aerospace Engineering Industries, Saudia Technic is creating an MRO Village in Jeddah, where it will inspect, repair, overhaul, and upgrade APUs. The 331-500 deal adds to another 10-year agreement announced in 2021 for Saudi Technic to become an authorized service center for the 131-9 APU model fitted to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 aircraft.

In a separate, five-year deal Egyptair Maintenance and Engineering has gained a license to provide a flat-rate component repair service for aircraft operated by its sister airline. The deal covers Egyptair’s Airbus A320 and A330 aircraft, along with the 737 and 777 from Boeing.

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Gulf Air Extends MRO Partnership with Joramco

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Joramco has provided heavy maintenance for the Bahrain carrier for the past decade

Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, has extended its maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) contract with Jordan Aircraft Maintenance (Joramco) for fleet support services for another four years. Based in Amman, Joramco is the MRO and engineering arm of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise.

Under the agreement signed by Gulf Air CEO Waleed Abdul Hameed Alalawi and Joramco CEO Frasier Currie during the Dubai Airshow on Monday, the extension builds on a decade-long partnership originally formed in January 2013.

Gulf Air’s Technical Division handles the carrier’s A-checks and C-checks at its facility at Bahrain International Airport, while Joramco provides heavy maintenance for the fleet at its MRO center at Queen Alia International Airport in Jordan,

“This collaboration is a pivotal move in enhancing Gulf Air’s maintenance needs to meet the demands of our expanding fleet and the longevity of our fleet at the highest standards,” Alalawi said, adding that Jormaco’s close proximity to Bahrain will enable swift aircraft transfers and minimize downtime.

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Airbus and Boeing get Widebody orders as Dubai airshow ramps up

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Whilst their is no announcement yet on the anticipated Turkish Airlines or Emirates deals, both Airbus and Boeing attracted orders for widebody airlines as the Dubai airshow deals start to flow.

Airbus secured an order from Egyptair for 10 Airbus A350-900 airliners which the Egyptian carrier will use to replace its older A330 aircraft. The change will represent a 25% fuel reduction on routes with the A350 compared to the A330.

On the single aisle airbus range, AirBaltic extended its partnership with Airbus with an order for an additional 30 A220-300s which will make it the largest operator of the A220 in Europe.

Boeing secured deals for secured a deal from Ethiopian Airlines for 31 aircraft (with options on a further 36) which is made up of 11 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners and 20 Boeing 737 Max 8s.

“We are pleased to announce that Ethiopian Airlines has reached a deal with Boeing to place a firm order for 31 ultra-modern airplanes, with opportunity for 36 additional jets,” said Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew. “This order will enable us to modernize and increase our fleet in support of Ethiopian Airlines’ growth plan and our Vision 2035 Strategy. Through this deal, we have solidified our decades-old exemplary business partnership with Boeing. The 787 Dreamliner and 737 MAX demonstrate Ethiopian Airlines’ environmentally conscious decisions and its commitment to serve passengers with the latest technologically advanced airplanes.”

Dubai based Emirates Airlines placed the largest widebody order though with a deal to purchase 55 Boeing 777-9 and 35 Boeing 777-8 making its total orders for the Boeing 777X to 205.

Kazakhstan based SCAT Airlines also placed and order with Boeing for seven Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners boosting its fleet from 8 to 15 Boeing 737 Max (currently 3 Max 8s and 5 Max 9s.)

Potential Deals

According to sources, an agreement in principle has been reached between Airbus and Turkish Airlines for a deal of 355 aircraft and an announcement is expected at the Dubai Airshow. The two parties met in Istanbul on Saturday ahead of the show.

Elsewhere an Emirates order for 50 Airbus A350-1000s is reportedly being held up by key issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines which are the only option for the type. Emirates is requiring a guarantee of 2,500 flight cycles before requiring maintenance, something that Rolls-Royce can’t currently provide.

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West Star Aviation Acquires Jet East from Gama Aviation

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The maintenance, repair and overhaul companies value the deal at some $100 million

West Star Aviation has concluded its planned acquisition of fellow MRO and managed fleet provider Jet East, some three weeks after Jet East owner Gama Aviation and West Star private equity owner Sterling Group conditionally agreed to the deal at last month’s NBAA Convention in Las Vegas. Although Jet East’s enterprise value totaled $131 million, proceeds to Gama Aviation amount to some $100 million.

Jet East provides MRO services and supports fractional and managed fleet operators. Capabilities include an “expansive” AOG mobile repair technician network, line maintenance operations, heavy maintenance facilities, and other complementary services. Gama Aviation has provided MRO services in the U.S. since 2012, and in 2020 Wheels Up acquired Gama Aviation’s aircraft management business. In January 2021, Gama Aviation purchased Jet East for $11.9 million.

“Both West Star and Jet East are remarkable companies with strong and unique cultures,” said Jim Rankin, CEO of West Star Aviation. “I’m looking forward to bringing the Jet East and West Star teams together as we build the premier business aviation maintenance provider in the industry. Our focus now is to use this combination to better serve our customers and support our employees.” 

In a statement, West Star stressed that customers and vendors should expect no change while leaders of each organization work together on longer-term integration planning.

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Safran, HAL Ink MoU To Forge Commercial Engine Parts

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Safran Aircraft Engines has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to develop industrial cooperation in forging parts manufacturing for commercial aircraft engines.

As a part of the deal, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will produce CFM Leap engine parts for Safran’s Bangalore facilities with an aim to support the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ policy, as well as the Leap program’s ramp-up.

HAL already is a part of the Leap supply chain through its Safran HAL Aircraft Engines joint venture in Bangalore, which is dedicated to the production of aero-engines pipes. 

“This industrial cooperation on key technologies is consistent with our strategy to further develop our long-term ties with Indian aviation industry to sustain the growing domestic market,” says Jean-Paul Alary, CEO of Safran Aircraft Engines. “It also represents a milestone of our long-standing efforts toward reinforcing India’s sovereign capabilities in aero-engines design and manufacturing.

Safran’s long-term ambition is to develop a comprehensive aero-engines ecosystem in India, further adding to its existing footprint. Safran already has three production facilities in India between Hyderabad and Bangalore. By 2025 it will open a fourth facility—one of its largest—in Hyderabad dedicated to Leap MRO activities. It is also jointly developing a helicopter engine MRO facility with HAL in Goa. It is expected to be operational by 2025.

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Unveiling the AOG Technics Scandal: Implications for the Aircraft MRO Industry

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In a recent development that has sent shockwaves throughout the aviation world, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Unapproved Parts Notification (UPN) on September 21, 2023, regarding a critical bushing part supplied by AOG Technics. The crux of the matter? This part lacked the essential FAA production approval, and associated documents were found to be “falsified.”

AOG Technics, known for its involvement in the aerospace spare parts industry, had supplied these questionable parts, raising concerns about the safety and the authenticity of components used in the aviation sector. Airplane parts suppliers and, especially, marketplaces for aerospace parts and supplies, play a crucial role in supporting the MRO sector, airplane operators, and the whole aviation industry in an unforeseen situation like such explains Toma Matutyte, CEO of Locatory.com in the following insightful article.

TAP Air Portugal, one of the major European flag carriers, was the first to raise the alarm early this Summer. They have discovered that some parts, namely, engine bushings, installed on CFM56 engines, were worn out significantly, despite having been documented as completely new. This led to the discovery of false documentation for the parts supplied by AOG Technics.

How The AOG Technics Scandal Unfolded

UK-based broker AOG Technics, a name that might have gone unnoticed in the vast realm of aerospace suppliers ever since the company was founded back in 2015, suddenly found itself in the spotlight. The FAA’s UPN demanded immediate action: the removal and quarantine of uncertified bushings to prevent their installation until their eligibility could be verified.After the London High Court issued a ruling, instructing AOG Technics to provide the record of its transactions with a supplier and to give more details on any CFM56 and CF6 parts it has sold along with the documentation for such parts, the company has gone completely silent.These parts had been used in CFM56 engines, a workhorse of aviation, frequently seen in older-generation Airbus SE A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft.

The CFM56 engine, manufactured by CFM International, has long held the title of the world’s best-selling aircraft engine. The ripple effect of this scandal is undeniable, but what does it signify for the MRO industry?

Implications for the Aircraft MRO Industry

The MRO industry’s ability to respond effectively will determine its resilience and continued trustworthiness in the eyes of airlines and passengers. There probably will be several implications, as the aviation MRO sector is poised for increased regulatory scrutiny and stricter compliance measures. Moreover, there could also be a quality assurance reassessment as MRO facilities will need to revisit their procedures and quality control principles. This leads further to the issue of the security of supply chains as MRO companies will need to collaborate with trusted suppliers and enhance supply chain transparency to prevent counterfeit parts from infiltrating the system.

Reputation is everything in the MRO industry. MRO companies may need to rebuild or reinforce their reputation, demonstrating their commitment to safety, quality, and compliance. Yet, those market players that adapt swiftly and demonstrate their commitment to safety and quality may find new business opportunities. Airlines and regulators will be seeking reliable partners in the MRO sector who can provide the highest levels of assurance and compliance.

The reminder of importance of reliable airplane parts suppliers and marketplaces

The AOG Technics scandal serves as a stark reminder of the critical role that MRO companies play in maintaining the safety and reliability of the aviation industry. While these developments present immediate challenges, they also offer opportunities for innovation and growth for MRO companies that can adapt to the evolving landscape of aviation safety and compliance.

The short-term implication, which is already manifesting itself, and is about to undoubtedly have further impact on the future of the whole sector, is the growing need for a timely supply of critical parts for the affected airplanes, which are crucial to keep them flying.

As the aviation industry embarks on this journey of introspection and reform, the MRO sector will stand at the forefront of ensuring that aircraft continue to fly safely and reliably. The implications of the AOG Technics scandal may have a scope big enough to reshape the MRO industry, with an enduring commitment to safety and mutual trust among the business partners within the sector.