BUZZ

Etihad Airways Supports the UAE’s Aid Mission to Beirut

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, in cooperation with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has transported 16 tonnes of aid from the government of the United Arab Emirates to Lebanon.

The aid was flown in by an Etihad Airways Boeing 777 on 6 August, following an explosion at Beirut’s port earlier this week.

In recent months, the United Arab Emirates aid program supported by Etihad Airways, has also assisted more than one million medical workers worldwide by supplying personal protective equipment (PPE), medical and food aid in support of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

BUZZINNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY

Barfield Enters Unmanned Aircraft Maintenance Repair Market in New Agreement with Robotic Skies

Barfield Inc., a subsidiary of Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) in the Americas, is now a Robotic Skies authorized repair station for unmanned aircraft component repair at its Louisville, Ken. facility. Barfield says their 75 years of experience in manned aircraft component repairs will enable them to adapt to the Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) commercial industry with the same high-performance level.

Barfield says with the rapidly growing UAS market, it is “well positioned and ready to adjust its highly trained technicians, engineers and know-how to meet this emerging industry.” Robotic Skies has partnered with Barfield to establish custom made support programs locally for commercial UAS operators to support the rapid growth of this technology.

“Barfield, with this agreement, demonstrates our ability to innovate and continuously reinvent ourselves. We are already equipped with the appropriate test benches and expertise to support UAS. We value this new partnership with Robotic Skies and are very hopeful for the future of our partnership,” says Hervé Page, CEO of Barfield.

“Barfield embodies the forward-thinking organizations we look for as we recruit repair stations into our network,” says Brad Hayden, founder & CEO of Robotic Skies. “Barfield’s breadth and depth of aerospace experience are vital to ensuring that emerging commercial UAS technology is supported and maintained on a par with existing business and general aviation operations.”

BUZZ

Resiliency

In a recent frank and wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said bookings have stalled, they are facing potential layoffs, more than half of their employees have taken voluntary leaves and that more than 2200 employees have taken an early buyout and are leaving the company.

Bastian also used one word over and over: Resiliency. He said this is the crisis that will define Delta and added, “Resiliency will be redefined across corporate America, across our society.”

The CEO has overseen Delta since 2016. His tenure in the last four years reminds me of a quote, the opening line from Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities”: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” The clarity and relevancy of Dickens’ words in today’s world is testament to their power.

Put yourself in Bastian’s shoes. He has literally been at the helm of this airline during its most profitable days. On February 14th (Valentine’s Day) of this year, 2020, Delta paid out $1.1 billion in profit sharing to its employees. “No other company and certainly no other airline has ever shared $1 billion in profits with its employees,” Bastian said at the time. The company paid close to that to its employees for five years — the entirety of Bastian’s time as CEO. The mind-blowing part is that was a mere six months ago.

Now Bastian has to lead in the worst of times. In the second quarter of 2020, Delta Air Lines lost $5.7 billion. The rapidity of the negative impact of the pandemic is enough to make any head spin.

Through the end of September, Delta will block all middle seats and cap load factors at 60%. Other airlines have opted not to block seats or restrict loads, cancelling flights and packing the airplanes they have kept on those routes.

Delta received $5.4 billion as part of the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). Delta signed a letter of intent for additional funding. But, Bastian says, they have not made a decision to take the money.

The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, has reportedly said that “there are too many planes flying,” and airlines are facing this as their new reality. Oliver Wyman’s David Stewart, partner and lead CAVOK advisor, says there is an “unprecedented inventory of aircraft available for teardown” and is predicting “a tsunami of used aircraft parts.”

The level of flying, pre-pandemic, was huge. Post-pandemic it will settle at a new level and airlines and industry experts are trying desperately to determine what level that will be. It may take two to three years before we understand the full impact of what this health crisis has done to our industry as a whole.

I am a realist but I am learning from the best — the optimists who think positively and focus on the good. “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” Albert Einstein famously said. It’s hard, but in this crisis, our industry must look for opportunity. That is what we all must do during this time and at Aerospace Tech Review we have adopted that ideology, believing in the eventual strong return of our economy and the aviation industry.

People across the globe have embraced travel as not only a privilege but as a right. As bleak as things look right now, we will fly again — in bigger numbers than before. It may take some time to get there but it will happen. Air travel makes the world smaller and as anyone who has had a family member move away, study or live abroad knows, we will go to visit. Businesses also know keenly that nothing — not Zoom or Skype or WhatsApp — replaces a face-to-face meeting for prospecting, client relations or sealing a deal.

There is positive news regularly as countries around the world get the virus under control. There is hope on the vaccine front with several researchers showing potential promise with positive results in trials from Oxford to China.

For now, operators must focus on doing all they can to cut waste, be more efficient and utilize the already phenomenal amounts of data they possess to their advantage. As I quoted before, in crisis, there is opportunity. Those that look for it, and grab it, will succeed. This is where leveraging technology that helps make operations more efficient is key, and our goal in this publication as well as our event, Aerospace Tech Week, is to help operators find those opportunities. You can find more information about Aerospace Tech Week throughout the magazine after each feature story.

Back to resiliency. Bastian is on target. Right now, companies need to be resilient. Encourage your employees to dig deep, look hard and continually find ways to improve your operations. It’s not just about saving money by finding a cheaper vendor. It’s about making leaps in thinking and the way business is conducted, using the incredible technologies available to us.

Now, while the pace of operations is a bit slower, is the time to implement all the things that seemed impossible when trying to keep up with the previously staccato pace of business. Think of the slower drum beat of operations now as a blessing and take advantage of it.

As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” And from that perspective, and so many others, we need travel more than ever.

BUZZ

ATR Achieves Milestone in Chinese Certification

As part of the validation for the certification process of the ATR 42-500 with modification 5948 in China, a certification flight test took-off and landed from Francazal airport in Toulouse. The flight, which took place on Friday 3 July, is a major step toward ATR type certification validation in China, expected in autumn 2020. The ATR 42-500 with modification 5948 is also known as the ATR 42-600 and certification will allow the first delivery of this latest generation aircraft to a customer in China. The three-hour test was performed in cooperation with the Chinese and European airworthiness authorities CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the latter of whose pilots were on-board the flight alongside an ATR crew.

China is looking to expand its connectivity, with 100-seat-below regional aircraft representing only 2.5% of the overall Chinese fleet, compared to a worldwide average of 25%. In 2019, China had 238 airports though 83% of Chinese traffic is concentrated through just 39 airports each with over 10 million passengers per year. While 164 regional airports, accounting for 7% of total passenger traffic, would benefit from quick and reliable connections. Given the distances involved there is a need for a versatile aircraft to operate these routes. ATR believes their ATR 42-600 in a 30-seat general aviation configuration “would be an ideal solution to provide this essential connectivity and increase the local economy.”

BUZZ

ATR Takes Further Measures to Safeguard its Future in COVID-19 Environment

Regional aircraft manufacturer ATR has announced plans to resize its organization in response to the COVID-19 crisis, consistent with the reduction of its activity in the coming years due to the phenomenal loss of commercial aviation activity in recent months. As the industry faces the coronavirus crisis, this reduction will have impact on ATR’s worldwide workforce, with an expected resizing of employees by 204 positions, including 186 in France. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements by autumn 2020.

Decreases in air travel since the outbreak of the pandemic have strongly affected the demand for aviation and despite government support that has enabled the company to limit necessary adaptation measures, ATR has accepted that recovery, although faster in the segment of regional air traffic, will be slow. As other major aircraft manufacturers, in order to survive and ensure the future of the business, ATR has had to consider, along with other measures such as cost containment and financial levers, adapting its workforce to this new and unexpected situation.

ATR in France will work together with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all measures that will be made available by government limiting layoffs as much as possible.

“The aviation industry, along with many other industries, is facing the most significant economic crisis we have ever experienced. Despite actions taken to absorb the initial shock of COVID-19, it is with a heavy heart that ATR must now adopt such measures to adjust to the overwhelming challenges we face to ensure we are ready to adapt our competences to the new future of regional aviation, keeping all engagements with our customers; supporting the fleet worldwide, and pursuing the development of products that can open new markets, such as the ATR 42-600S, Short Take Off and Landing, and the ATR 72-600F, freighter,’ says Stefano Bortoli, CEO, ATR.

“We believe that in time the demand for short distance regional aviation will recover. However, with the constraints on travelling, the natural fear of people to resume their holiday or business trip, and the uncertainty of finding a final way of defeating this virus, recovery will not be quick. In the meantime, we will make every effort to support ATR team members and ensure that where possible the reduction in our workforce will be on a voluntary basis,” he added.

BUZZ

IAI CEO Sheffer to Step Down

The CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries, Major-General (Ret.) Nimrod Sheffer, announced on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, that he is stepping down following two years as the company’s CEO and six months as VP of strategic planning.

Sheffer (59) joined IAI as VP of Strategic Planning 2.5 years ago after 36 years of military service as a combat pilot in the air force. In his last capacity in IDF, he served as head of the Planning Division.

During his term as IAI CEO, Sheffer has introduced a series of reforms and transformations and has drafted a growth strategy and a business plan which yielded excellent business results for IAI in the past six quarters.

In his notice, Sheffer says, “IAI employees are the spearhead of the Israeli industry, the crème de la crème.” Sheffer thanked the employees, his management peers, and the chair and members of the board for their trust and collaboration.

IAI Chair, Harel Locker, thanked Nimrod Sheffer for his valuable contribution to leading the company through challenging times, and for championing complex strategic processes.

Sheffer will leave IAI after training his successor.

BUZZ

Airbus Announces Restructuring with Layoff of 15,000 Blaming COVID-19

Airbus has announced plans to adapt its global workforce and resize its commercial aircraft activity in response to the COVID-19 crisis. This adaptation is expected to result in a reduction of around 15,000 positions no later than summer 2021. The information and consultation process with social partners has begun with a view to reaching agreements for implementation starting in autumn 2020.

According to Airbus, the commercial aircraft business activity has dropped by close to 40% in recent months. Commercial aircraft production rates have been adapted accordingly. Airbus is grateful for the government support that has enabled the Company to limit these necessary adaptation measures. However with air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures to reflect the post COVID-19 industry outlook.

Following the in-depth analysis, Airbus anticipates the need to adapt its global workforce due to COVID-19 by approximately:

  • 5,000 positions in France
  • 5,100 positions in Germany
  •    900 positions in Spain
  • 1,700 positions in the UK
  • 1,300 positions at Airbus’ other worldwide sites

These figures include the Airbus subsidiaries Stelia in France and Premium AEROTEC in Germany. However, they do not include approximately 900 positions stemming from a pre-COVID-19 identified need to restructure Premium AEROTEC in Germany, which will now be implemented within the frame of this global adaptation plan.

Airbus says it will work with its social partners to limit the impact of this plan by relying on all available social measures, including voluntary departures, early retirement, and long term partial unemployment schemes where appropriate.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader, adjusting to the overwhelming challenges of our customers. To confront that reality, we must now adopt more far-reaching measures. Our management team and our Board of Directors are fully committed to limiting the social impact of this adaptation. We thank our governmental partners as they help us preserve our expertise and know-how as much as possible and have played an important role in limiting the social impact of this crisis in our industry. The Airbus teams and their skills and competences will enable us to pursue our ambition to pioneer a sustainable future for aerospace.”

BUZZ

FAA Statement about B737MAX Certification

Boeing received permission to resume flight testing the B737Max in an effort to achieve FAA approval for the software fixes that have been designed and implemented in the aircraft to correct the issue that causes unstable conditions in flight and led to two aircraft accidents.

The flights began Monday, June 29, 2020 and the company hopes these flights will lead to getting these grounded aircraft back in the air. The FAA released a statement concerning the current B737 certification flights occurring this week:

The FAA and Boeing are conducting a series of certification flights this week to evaluate Boeing’s proposed changes to the automated flight control system on the 737 MAX. The aircraft departed from Boeing Field in Seattle at 9:55 a.m. today for the first round of testing. The flight is expected to take several hours.

The certification flights are expected to take approximately three days. They will include a wide array of flight maneuvers and emergency procedures to assess whether the changes meet FAA certification standards. The tests are being conducted by test pilots and engineers from the FAA and Boeing.

While the certification flights are an important milestone, a number of key tasks remain. The FAA is following a deliberate process and will take the time it needs to thoroughly review Boeing’s work. We will lift the grounding order only after we are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.

BUZZ

Boeing and Spirit refuse to take supersonic gamble for post-COVID-19 recovery, says GlobalData

Following the news that Boeing and Spirit Aerosystem were dismantling engineering teams working on the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet, Nicolas Jouan, Aerospace and Defense analyst at GlobalData, a data and analytics company, offers his view on the decision: “Boeing and Spirit Aerosystem’s decision to seemingly abandon their Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet program may be hasty as even if commercial airlines suffer from a lack of demand from the general population of travellers, it is likely that high-end business travel will recover as soon as the global economy restarts. Supersonic business jets, unbothered by new social distancing regulations and cheap oil prices, could be a rare glimpse of hope in the commercial aviation industry. 

“However, Boeing and Spirit have more pressing issues related to a shortage of cash rendering them risk averse. Boeing’s messy withdrawal from a deal with Embraer earlier this year and possible agreement with the Treasury to get federal help suggest that the plane maker does not have a dollar to spare. The AS2 is therefore the latest victim of this complex situation.

“Boeing and Spirit have already laid off part of their workforce in order to readjust commercial production and meet declining demand from airlines and leasing companies. These layoffs primarily touched Boeing’s Puget Sound facility near Seattle, where most assembly lines have already been trimmed, and Spirit’s staff working on the B737 MAX program in Wichita.”

AVIONICSBUZZ

FAA Administrator Dickson Testifies Before Senate on Boeing 737 MAX

The head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Stephen M. Dickson, affirmed that the Boeing 737 MAX will only return to service following the completion of a comprehensive and rigorous review process.

Before the aircraft returns to the skies, the FAA must sign off on all technical reviews of Boeing’s proposed safety enhancements, Administrator Dickson said during testimony before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and the families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air accidents. Dickson pledged that he will fly the aircraft himself and must be satisfied that he would put his family aboard without a second thought before the grounding order is lifted.

“As we have stated many times in the past, safety is the driving consideration in this process,” Dickson said. “This process is not guided by a calendar or schedule.”

The FAA is continuing to adhere to a data-driven, methodical analysis, review and validation of the modified flight-control systems and pilot training required to safely return the 737 MAX to commercial service. The FAA’s return-to-service decision will rest solely on the agency’s analysis of the data to determine whether Boeing’s proposed software updates and pilot training address the factors that led to the grounding of the aircraft.

The FAA has never allowed manufacturers to self-certify their aircraft, and Dickson stated the agency fully controls the approval process for the 737 MAX flight-control systems and is not delegating this authority to Boeing. Additionally, the FAA will retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates of airworthiness for all new 737 MAX airplanes manufactured since the grounding. Pilots will have received all of the training they need to safely operate the aircraft before it returns.

The following actions must take place before the aircraft returns to service:

  • A certification flight test and completion of work by the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB), which includes the FAA and international partners from Canada, Europe, and Brazil. The JOEB will evaluate pilot-training needs using line pilots of various experience levels from U.S. and international carriers.
  • The FAA’s Flight Standardization Board for the Boeing 737 will issue a report addressing the findings of the JOEB, and the report will be made available for public review and comment.
  • The FAA and the multi-agency Technical Advisory Board (TAB) will review all final design documentation. The TAB is made up of FAA chief scientists and experts from the U.S. Air Force, NASA and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center.
  • The FAA will publish an Airworthiness Directive advising operators of required corrective actions.

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