Satair Expands Material Business With the Acquisition of VAS Aero Services

Satair and VAS Aero Services, have signed an agreement under which Satair acquires VAS Aero Services, through its U. S. subsidiary, Satair USA, Inc. VAS will continue as a separate enterprise, with operational sites and offices in Boca Raton, Fla., Kent, Wash. and London (UK), expanding Satair’s global footprint and aviation aftermarket service capabilities.

The acquisition complements Satair’s existing offerings through VAS’ expertise in managing engine and multi-fleet Used Serviceable Material (USM) products, which will play a key role in Satair’s strategic growth initiative in this segment. 

“The customers’ demands are changing and we observe a clear prioritization of maximizing value through the complete aircraft lifecycle and beyond, focusing on cost-effectiveness and sustainability. With this acquisition, we are addressing the customers’ needs and securing Satair’s future footprint as a leading player in the material and USM business. Thereby, we are enhancing our capabilities to serve our customers and OEMs through the complete aircraft lifecycle. This acquisition is also a natural fit to Satair’s overall strategy and a complement to the Airbus sustainability agenda at large,” says Bart Reijnen, CEO of Satair.

“As owners and stewards of VAS for the past 10 years, David Alcalay and I viewed this joining with Satair and Airbus as a natural next step in the evolution of VAS Aero Services,” Adi Bernstein, VAS executive chairman, said. “The agreement follows years of Satair and VAS working together on servicing, warehousing as well as certification and distribution of USM products, including excess and surplus inventory.”

Satair’s existing offering has continuously grown over the years and recently Satair introduced its digital Marketplace, an e-commerce solution for material at competitive prices. VAS will tie into the parts channel of Satair, fostering new capabilities to this innovative and first-of-its-kind online Marketplace by offering an end-to-end transaction and fulfillment capability at significantly lower cost.

“VAS and Satair have worked closely for years; this acquisition further strengthens that bond, while giving our customers access to even more resources and USM products to prolong the useful life of their aviation assets,” Tommy Hughes, CEO of VAS Aero Services, added. “The Satair-VAS alliance offers a broader reach, a deeper service capability and cost efficiencies that will afford us a competitive advantage. Together, we are well-positioned to respond to changing market demands and lead with parts and service solutions that enable customer success.”

Heating Up

Heating Up

As we come into the heat of the summer and also enter a new world where the demand for air travel is heating up to new heights, we wanted to take a look around to see the hottest happenings in the our areas of coverage. These areas coincide with our two events, Aerospace Tech Week Americas, which will take place in Atlanta, Georgia on 8-9 November this year and Aerospace Tech Week Europe, which will take place in Munich, Germany on 29-30 March 2023, and include Avionics, Connectivity, MRO IT, FlightOps IT, Space, Testing and Innovation. Check out the Preshow Guide for the Atlanta event starting on page 57 to get an idea of what we will be covering. Mark your calendar and make your plans now, to attend. Let me highlight some of our stories in these categories now.

In our Avionics category, Mario Pierobon examined the latest trends in enhanced flight vision systems (EFVS) in his piece entitled, “Seeing the Unseen,” starting on page 18. When these systems were first certified in the early 2000s, there was keen interest from high-end business jet operators who always want the latest safety-related features.

The interest soon spread into the commercial operators as the benefits of increased safety at night and during adverse weather conditions were observed — when it “absolutely, positively has to be there overnight,” these systems can facilitate the safe conclusion of that famous mantra. His story looks at the level of adoption of these systems, the benefits, enablers and inhibitors of EFVS, the human factors considerations that guide EFVS development and the peculiarities of retrofitting a complex system such as this into an existing aircraft.

Next, we look at the ever growing demand for in-flight connectivity as passengers have a seemingly insatiable desire for faster, more reliable connections while onboard aircraft. OEMs like Airbus are leading the way with an expected 30,000 aircraft to be equipped by 2027. Airbus is touting its “Airspace Cabin Vision 2030,” which focuses on the digital future of the cabin experience which it says is inspired by “airlines, technology companies from Silicon Valley and start-ups and bringing to life a future flying experience.”

That story also looks at the ways satellite companies like Intelsat and Inmarsat are facilitating access to greater connectivity with their product offerings for both passengers and air traffic management. See that story on page 26.

Next, in our Flight Ops IT story, we take a look at flight data monitoring (FDM) and the flight operations quality assurance (FOQA) that goes hand in hand with it to ensure all that data is being put to good use. A story from the airline world tells of an incident that only came to light after a self-reported incident where the cockpit crew lost situational awareness and dipped extremely low on an approach. Luckily, they were able to recover and land safely and without incident. But, as the incident was examined through an ASAP report, the FDM/FOQA data showed just how serious the event had been, even unbeknownst to the crew. At that time only a few of that airline’s aircraft had it installed. When the CEO saw the report, he commanded all aircraft at that airline have the equipment installed whatever the cost. That is the power of the data.

We also look at AI/ML — artificial intelligence and machine learning in the MRO world to see how these techy wonders can impact the bottom line — because it is always about the bottom line. Can AI/ML make help make MROs more efficient? The answer is clearly yes. Ramco says their innovation lab in Singapore is working on a number of use cases that can assist a mechanic encountering a technical problem. They can consult the system, which uses historical data to identify the cause quickly.

Participants in the exciting and developing field of advanced air mobility (AAM) are making progress in their lofty goals. First flights, airworthiness certifications and continued funding are helping the momentum build even in the face of challenges like the acceptance of local communities and infrastructure needs.

We take a look at the initially-piloted group of AAM creators in this sector of our industry in Jim McKenna’s piece in our Innovation section starting on page 50. It is an exciting time for these folks and whether they are a few years or a decade away from making this new field a reality, one thing is for sure — it is coming.

You may have already seen some of the images coming from the James Webb Space Telescope. But please check out the piece about them on page 64, if for no other reason than to stare into the Cosmic Cliffs image on the opening spread of that piece. The Webb telescope is looking further into space than has ever been seen in the history of mankind. It is awe-inspiring work and the images are amazing. Kudos to NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for their collaboration and years of preparatory work to achieve these monumental and groundbreaking new views of the cosmos.

We also want to draw your attention to the winners of the EACP Sustainable Innovation Awards. The awards were presented recently and the first place winners, Coldsense Technologies has a unique product that will benefit the AAM world that is getting closer to operational reality as mentioned. See what that product is and learn about the EACP and other winners and applicants starting on page 70.

Last but not least, speaking of awards, the Aerospace Media Awards were held in London, UK on July 17. Two Aerospace and Security Media’s publications, this one and our sister publication, Aviation Maintenance Magazine, were nominated and shortlisted for 10 categories! Our sister publication won in The Best MRO Submission for a story about business connectivity. We are so proud to have been honored by these awards and look forward to bringing you more industry- and peer-recognized leading content as we go forward.

Enjoy that summer heat!

Incora Opens New Facility in India to Support Further Expansion

Incora, supply chain management services provider to the aerospace industry, is opening a new warehouse facility and headquarter operations in India. This will consolidate Incora’s current business operations in India to support further expansion in the region following Incora’s formation from the 2020 merger of Wesco Aircraft and Pattonair.

The brand new 17000 sq.ft. facility located on Bangalore’s KIADB Aerospace Park, the hub of India’s rapidly growing aerospace industry, is due to be fully operational by Q1 2023.   Incora has serviced several customers in India since 2014 and these currently include Tata Group, HAL, Collins Aerospace and Lockheed Martin. 

Incora supports the Make in India program through increasing the accreditation of Indian aerospace manufacturing companies and this new facility will offer both bonded as well as domestic tariff area (DTA) warehouse storage options to support customer duty exemptions for import and export of parts. 

“The new facility in Bangalore will strengthen our position as a leader in supply chain services in the Indian aerospace market and enhance our service to customers whilst forging stronger partnerships in India with both suppliers and customers,” said Mark Ness, commercial director for Incora India.

EACP Innovation Forum – The Future of Aviation is Now!

When you talk with European Aerospace SMEs about the inevitable transition to Sustainable Aviation, you always think about needs. What do they need? What do they want? Most often, they need the appropriate framework to fulfil their role as disruptive and innovative drivers of sustainability.

This is why we need to rethink how these enterprises can be supported on a European, national and regional level and which tools can be provided to leverage that support. Together with partners from the Clean Aviation Joint Undertaking, EACP Clusters, SMEs and Aerospace Tech Week, the EACP INNOVATION FORUM will discuss how to improve the access to the green aviation economy for SMEs and the challenges they face.

In this framework, the EACP SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION AWARD winners will also be officially presented, celebrating the greenest and most disruptive SMEs or Start-Ups in the EACP network. The aim of such an event is to highlight the importance of the supply chain in the way towards clean aviation, raising the awareness amongst industrial and political stakeholders. A jury composed by industry experts evaluated projects from participating companies, selecting the winners based on their potential to disrupt and pave the way to a zero-emission future.

It is with great pleasure that we announce podium of the award, which will officially be presented during the award ceremony event on Wednesday, 22nd June:

1st Place – Coldsense Technologies GmbH, Niedersachsen Aviation (Germany)

Innovation: Efficient ice protection system for the zero-emission aviation, combining low-drag icephobic coatings and efficient electothermal de-icing for the next generation of sustainable aviation supporting hybrid/electric propulsion systems.

2nd Place – APUS GmbH, BBAA (Germany)

Innovation: The APUS i-2 is the first hydrogen-electric aircraft for daily use. It is a four-seat normal-category (CS-23) aircraft with 2,200 kg MTOM, a range of 500 NM and a maximum cruise speed of 150 KTAS.

3rd Place – AURA AERO, Aerospace Valley (France)

Innovation: ERA (Electrical Regional Aircraft) is a regional aircraft, able to carry up to 19 passengers with an electric propulsion and hybrid energy storage system composed of batteries and a turbogenerator.

However, many more companies applied for our EACP INNOVATION AWARD, showcasing the potential of the European supply chain in the transition towards green aviation. It is now our responsibility to harvest this potential through ad hoc funding and creating the right political environment and tools to improve market access for these companies.

If you are interested in learning more about EACP and green transition in the aviation industry, do not miss our event on June 22nd at ILA Berlin, at the ISC Stage from 4pm to 6pm! EACP #strongertogether

Matthys Serfontein Rejoins SITA to Head Up the Americas

SITA announced the appointment of Matthys Serfontein as president, Americas. Serfontein returns to SITA after a two-year hiatus to drive SITA’s growth in the Americas, where travel has rebounded sharply in the wake of the pandemic. SITA says Serfontein will be key to bringing their vision of greater agility, efficiency and sustainability to the air transport industry through digitalization. 

Serfontein has many years of experience in the aviation sector addressing portfolio and business development, previously having served as president of Air Travel Solutions at SITA, where he oversaw the development of SITA’s airport and border solutions. Prior to that he served as regional vice president for Airport Solutions in Africa. Before joining SITA, he held several senior management positions at Airports Company South Africa, e.Airports Ltd, and OSI Airport Systems.

“I’m delighted to welcome Matthys back on board. SITA has invested in new solutions that help our customer airports and airlines optimize the passenger experience, maximize efficiency, and keep both environmental and financial sustainability at the heart of their operations. The Americas team, under Matthys’s stewardship, will help bring these exciting benefits to customers in the region,” David Lavorel CEO, SITA said.

“As travelers return to the skies, our customers are eyeing digitalization as the key to returning to growth while meeting the new expectations of today’s passenger,” Serfontein said. “With its innovative portfolio, SITA is uniquely positioned to support them. SITA has been, and continues to be, a trusted partner to the industry, and I look forward to this new opportunity to build on our exciting partnerships with customers in the Americas.”

Meanwhile Back on Earth…

Meanwhile Back on Earth…

Ice shelves in Antarctica produce icebergs regularly but experts say it’s less common for an ice shelf to completely disintegrate. But that’s exactly what happened in March. An ice shelf in East Antarctica collapsed and that has reshaped part of Antarctica that was once thought to be stable. Images of the occurrence were acquired with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites.

Whether you are on the science side of climate change or not, it is hard to refute such clear evidence that something is happening within our environment. I’m of the opinion that it is better to try and address it in every way possible now, if we can with transformational change.

On April 22, the world will hold its annual Earth Day event.

That organization, Earthday.org, says its mission is “to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earthday.org is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet.”

The group says it is time for the world to take “bold, creative and innovative steps” toward solving the environmental crisis.

Although sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) has been around for 15 or more years and the first flight utilizing it happened in 2008, only now is it beginning to be widely embraced. The pandemic of course put a two-year pause on progress in this area and airline passenger traffic is still below pre-pandemic levels, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. But now that travel is ticking up, more airlines are making promises to their customers to make strides in addressing their environmental impact.

For example, Delta says its goal of fueling 10% of its operation with sustainable aviation fuel by the end of 2030, is getting closer by the signing of an agreement with SAF maker Gevo that significantly expands the availability of the alternative fuel. Through the agreement, Delta expects to receive roughly 75 million gallons of SAF annually for seven years, anticipated to start mid-2026. Many airlines are making similar commitments.

With that in mind we present to you our cover story on sustainable aviation fuels written by Ian Harbison. Harbison looks at the driving forces and the challenges behind this movement towards the use of SAF. He says that finally, the aviation industry is taking environmental concerns seriously — thank goodness — and the story explores what leaders like Airbus, Pratt & Whitney, Delta, Air bp, Neste and others are doing to mitigate environmental impact using SAF. See his story on page 58.

In this jam-packed issue, we also take a look at the commercialization of space. This is an incredibly exciting time in the space realm. Companies like Axiom Space, Sierra Nevada Corp., SpaceX and many others are making tremendous headway in the area.

With the convergence of factors like NASA expanding public-private partnerships and a select group of companies stepping up to take advantage of the atmosphere (pun intended), some are succeeding at the enormous tasks of providing NASA with the services it used to tightly control. The governmental monopoly on space activity seems to be ending. The commercialization of space is underway.

In our story, learn about the importance of Axiom’s Ax-1, which launched April 8. It is the first of several planned missions the company will make to the International Space Station. The company says that launch is an important step toward their goal of constructing a private space station in low Earth orbit that can serve as a global academic and commercial hub. See that story by Jim McKenna on page 50.

Next please take a moment to read Aimée Turner’s detailed — and even spicy — report on CPDLC. Who knew this topic could be so intriguing? Controllers can now deliver clearances with a click of a mouse — no need to use voice frequencies. Are these advances paving the way for an aircraft’s FMS to receive the complex digital instructions needed to make TBO a reality?

As with all things complex, there are many layers to the implementation of highly technical avionics systems across multiple jurisdictions. Turner spoke to industry insiders who understand the history and explained the intricate details of where this process is right now. That story starts on page 24.

We also have a look at blockchain. Blockchain seems to have a lot of mystery surrounding it. Blockchain for aviation, especially for maintenance, can provide improved solutions for tracking aircraft parts. But the industry seems hesitant to proceed. Read our look at how this technology could be a trustworthy, robust solution to parts tracking, if only the industry will embrace it. This article, by James Careless, starts on page 36.

Next, we explore telemetry testing. In flight test development the need for data is constant and telemetry, the process of recording and transmitting date, is critical for the aviation industry to deliver new products. Wireless transmission and reception of flight test data are de rigueur but flight test instrumentation has changed dramatically over the last decade.

In this story Jeff Guzzetti explains how the makers of telemetry testing equipment have adapted to keep pace with the technological advances happening at ever-increasing speed. See it on page 44.

Tomorrow.io Announces Former JetBlue COO As Speaker At Third Annual Weather and Climate Security Event

Tomorrow.io announced Jeff Martin, CEO of Aero Design Labs and a former executive at JetBlue, WestJet, and Southwest will speak at the third annual ClimaCon event.

Martin will provide in-depth knowledge and insight into the aviation industry’s path to carbon-neutral, the importance of adopting new, innovative technologies, and what airlines can expect to face this upcoming year in regard to weather concerns.

As president and CEO of Aero Design Labs, Martin has over 30 years of executive leadership in the airline/MRO sector, having served as the chief operating officer for Westjet Airlines, the executive vice president of operations for JetBlue Airways, and the vice president of OCC Operations at Southwest Airlines. Martin is also a United States Air Force veteran who served as an officer/military pilot.

In addition to his executive responsibilities, Martin is captain qualified on the DC-10-30, Boeing- 737, and Airbus 320/321 fleet of aircraft. He served on the Congressional NextGen Advisory Board, MITRE Advisory Group, and led the audit committee for Lasalle Hotels as an independent board member. He is also a past recipient of the Williams Trophy Innovation in aviation award for his efforts in airspace modernization and airline carbon reduction.

“Jeff and his team bring a critical perspective on the importance of airlines adopting new technologies while also driving sustainable operations,” said Scott Gilmore, general manager of aviation with Tomorrow.io. “His extensive knowledge in the aviation industry makes his insight invaluable for any aviation professional.”

Martin will join Dan Slagen, Tomorrow.io’s chief marketing officer at ClimaCon 2022 on May 11. The virtual conference is a two-day event that brings together the brightest minds and most notable voices across all industries to discuss topics like global weather impact, weather intelligence, ESG, sustainability, and climate adaptation and security.

JetBlue Submits Proposal to Acquire Spirit

JetBlue has submitted a proposal to the Board of Directors of Spirit to acquire Spirit for $33 per share in cash, implying a fully diluted equity value of $3.6 billion and providing full and certain value to Spirit shareholders. The proposal represents a premium of 52% to Spirit’s undisturbed share price on February 4, 2022, and a premium of 50% to Spirit’s closing share price on April 4, 2022. JetBlue says it firmly believes its proposal constitutes a “superior proposal” under Spirit’s merger agreement with Frontier and represents the most attractive opportunity for Spirit’s shareholders.

The combination of the two airlines would position JetBlue as the most compelling national low-fare challenger to the four large dominant U.S. carriers by accelerating JetBlue’s growth and expanding the reach of the “JetBlue Effect,” which occurs when legacy carriers react to JetBlue’s unique combination of low fares and award-winning customer service with lower fares. JetBlue triggers significantly greater fare decreases from legacy airlines when it enters a new market than when ultra-low-cost carriers enter a market.

“Customers shouldn’t have to choose between a low fare and a great experience, and JetBlue has shown it’s possible to have both,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue CEO. “When we grow and introduce our unique value proposition onto new routes, legacy carriers lower their fares and customers win with more choice. The combination of JetBlue and Spirit – coupled with the incredible benefits of our Northeast Alliance with American Airlines – would be a game changer in our ability to deliver superior value on a national scale to customers, crewmembers, communities, and shareholders. The transaction would accelerate our strategic growth and create sustained, long-term value for the stakeholders in both companies.”

Boeing Announces Senior Leadership Updates

Boeing announced Ted Colbert as president and chief executive officer of its Defense, Space and Security business. Colbert succeeds Leanne Caret who is retiring following nearly 35 years of exceptional service with The Boeing Company. Stephanie Pope has been appointed as president and CEO of Boeing Global Services (BGS), succeeding Colbert.

“We are grateful for Leanne’s dedicated service and I’d like to thank her for her outstanding contributions to our industry, our customers, our company and our employees over her extraordinary career at Boeing,” said Dave Calhoun, Boeing president and CEO.

As president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security (BDS), Colbert will oversee all aspects of the company’s business unit that provides technology, products and solutions for defense, government, space, intelligence, and security customers worldwide. BDS had 2021 revenue of $26 billion.

“Throughout his career, Ted Colbert has consistently brought technical excellence and strong and innovative leadership to every position he has held,” said Calhoun. “Under his leadership, BGS has assembled an excellent leadership team focused on delivering safe and high-quality services for our defense and commercial customers. His leadership track record and current experience supporting the defense services portfolio ideally position Ted to lead BDS.” 

As president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, Pope, who is currently Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief financial officer, will lead the company’s business unit that provides aerospace services for commercial, government and aviation industry customers worldwide, focused on global supply chain and parts distribution, aircraft modifications and maintenance, digital solutions, aftermarket engineering, analytics and training. BGS had 2021 revenue of $16 billion. Prior to her assignment as BCA CFO, Pope was chief financial officer of BGS and was part of the business when it was established in 2017.

“Stephanie brings decades of wide-ranging business and financial leadership to her new role,” said Calhoun. “Given her significant experience in all aspects of BGS, Stephanie’s deep understanding of the global services portfolio since its inception and the needs of BGS customers will help accelerate this meaningful business.”

Colbert and Pope’s new assignments will be effective April 1. Until her retirement later this year, Caret will serve as executive vice president and senior advisor to the CEO, reporting to Calhoun, to support the leadership transition, business continuity and critical talent acquisition efforts.

FAA Administrator Dickson Announces He is Leaving Agency

Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson announced he will be leaving the agency at the end of March. A former Delta Air Lines captain and operations vice president of that airline, Dickson came to FAA after taking retirement from his position at the Atlanta-based airline. Although Dickson faced a tough couple of years coming in amidst the Boeing 737 Max tragedies, the COVID pandemic and the worst spate of unruly passengers in aviation history, he handled all with aplomb. He is only a little over two years into a five year term. Dickson released the following statement:

“By now, most of you have heard that I will be stepping down as FAA Administrator as of March 31. As I expressed to FAA employees in an email sharing my decision, it’s time for me to go back to Atlanta, where my wife, Janice, and my family have been keeping a light on for me. It started as a porch light, but it’s become a search light, calling me home. 

As I also told the nearly 45,000 FAA employees, I am tremendously proud of the work we’ve accomplished over a very short time. We put this agency on firm footing to excel and prosper in the 21st century and beyond. We made, and we continue to make, our global aviation system safer from the hard lessons learned from the 737 MAX; we kept the skies open and safe despite tremendous odds when COVID-19 shut down the global transportation network, and we continue to make sure the safety of the aviation industry and the insatiable desire for connectivity can coexist.

And despite all of the crises, this dedicated workforce shared my vision for modernizing our approach to safety and revitalizing and reinvigorating our workforce, in part through our Flight Plan 21 initiative, which is now well underway. We’re safely integrating exciting new forms of transportation—drones, flying taxies, automated aircraft and spacecraft, to name a few. I’m not exaggerating when I call this the most exciting time in aerospace since the advent of the jet engine, and maybe even the Wright Brothers.

I said hello to many intelligent and diverse new people in our workforce, and said goodbye to too many wonderful souls, taken from us much too early by COVID-19. 

I’m particularly grateful for the time I’ve spent with the next generation, who will lead us into the future. You can’t help but feel hope for humanity when you see their unbridled optimism for what’s possible in an equitable world, and where we might travel together as a nation in the future. Ad astra—to the stars!

Please know that although I will leave the FAA at the end of next month, I will always be an advocate for the agency’s work and our shared commitment to aviation safety.”

The Biden Administration will begin a search for his replacement.

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