GE Plans to Form Three Public Companies Focused on Growth Sectors of Aviation, Healthcare, and Energy

GE announced its plan to form three industry-leading, global public companies focused on the growth sectors of aviation, healthcare, and energy, by:

  1. Pursuing a tax-free spin-off of GE Healthcare, creating a pure-play company at the center of precision health in early 2023, in which GE expects to retain a stake of 19.9 percent; and
  2. Combining GE Renewable Energy, GE Power, and GE Digital into one business, positioned to lead the energy transition, and then pursuing a tax-free spin-off of this business in early 2024.
  3. Following these transactions, GE will be an aviation-focused company shaping the future of flight.

As independently run companies, the businesses will be better positioned to deliver long-term growth and create value for customers, investors, and employees, with each benefiting from:

  • Deeper operational focus, accountability, and agility to meet customer needs;
  • Tailored capital allocation decisions in line with distinct strategies and industry-specific dynamics;
  • Strategic and financial flexibility to pursue growth opportunities;
  • Dedicated boards of directors with deep domain expertise;
  • Business- and industry-oriented career opportunities and incentives for e mployees; and
  • Distinct and compelling investment profiles appealing to broader, deeper investor bases.

“At GE we have always taken immense pride in our purpose of building a world that works,” said H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., GE Chairman and CEO. “The world demands—and deserves—we bring our best to solve the biggest challenges in flight, healthcare, and energy. By creating three industry-leading, global public companies, each can benefit from greater focus, tailored capital allocation, and strategic flexibility to drive long-term growth and value for customers, investors, and employees. We are putting our technology expertise, leadership, and global reach to work to better serve our customers.”

Culp continued, “Today is a defining moment for GE, and we are ready. Our teams have done exceptional work strengthening our financial position and operating performance, all while deepening our culture of continuous improvement and lean. And we’re not finished—we remain focused on continuing to reduce debt, improve our operational performance, and strategically deploy capital to drive sustainable, profitable growth. We have a responsibility to move with speed to shape the future of flight, deliver precision health, and lead the energy transition. The momentum we have built puts us in a position of strength to take this exciting next step in GE’s transformation and realize the full potential of each of our businesses.”

Are We Ready?

Are We Ready?

As we head into the 2021 holiday season and, fingers crossed, out of the pandemic, it would be a good time to ask ourselves, “Are we ready?”

We’ve had a lull like no other, at any time in the history of aviation. But pent up demand and that ever-familiar urge to explore, visit, reconnect, see family, get away and travel is rumbling. Some folks think it’s going to be huge — an overwhelming return to pre-pandemic levels of travel and beyond.

“We’re seeing a lot of pent-up demand in our data and are offering a December schedule that centers on the two things people want most for the holidays: warm sunshine and fresh snow,” said Ankit Gupta, vice president of network planning and scheduling at United. “We know families and friends are eager to reunite this holiday season, which is why we’re thrilled to add new flights that will help them connect and celebrate together.” United says they plan to offer more than 3,500 daily domestic flights in December, representing 91% of its domestic capacity compared to 2019.

So, are we ready? To answer that question, we have reached out to experts across many sectors in our industry from avionics companies to software providers to innovators taking on the challenge of turning hydrogen into energy for use in aircraft to see what is being done to continue down the path to safer, more efficient, greener, quieter travel.

We begin a two-part story that gives an update on CNS/ATM (communications, navigation and surveillance/air traffic management). We will continue our coverage in the next issue as we focus on this path that was started more than 20 years ago.

I can remember discussions at the aircraft manufacturer I worked at in 1999 and the chief engineer stating that CNS/ATM really stood for “cool neat stuff…all takes money” because it all seemed so futuristic back then. Here we are, 20 years on.

What has been accomplished? What is happening now? Where are we going next in this realm?

Things like CPDLC (Controller Pilot Data Link Communications), a two-way data link system that allows air traffic controllers to deliver non-urgent strategic messages to an aircraft as an alternative to voice communications are helping. The message is displayed in the cockpit on a flight deck display. We’ll also take an in depth look at this topic in an upcoming issue. Let us know if you would like to participate in that story.

The Belgian air navigation service provider skeyes says they will be relying on a CNS drone specially developed by Skyguide to check the performance of navigation aids. They say the use of the drone will help improve measurement procedures and reduce emissions. The goal of the CNS drone is to “provide more accurate results by picking up signals from the air, which are then monitored and verified from the ground using built-in software,” they say. The drone is already in use at Geneva and Zurich airports since 2018, where it is reportedly helping to reduce the number of flight checks, lower maintenance costs and minimize noise.

The SESAR JU-funded project SlotMachine is another interesting program. It aims to develop a solution, enabled by blockchain technology, to automate flight exchanges between different airlines. Watch for our coverage of blockchain and all of its potential to benefit aviation in an upcoming issue — please let us know if you have expertise in this area — we would love to speak to you about it.

Next, let me direct you to our story about software implementations, which can be difficult, to say the least. We asked MRO software providers to give some real life examples of how the implementation process goes and how to make it smoother.

We spoke to the experts at EmpowerMX, Rusada and Ultramain to see what advice they could give to help those considering making the leap and implementing a new software system.

We got real world information about actual implementations — invaluable if you plan to install software soon.

We also wanted to learn the latest about efforts to reduce the environmental impact aviation has on our world. Before the pandemic, this was a major concern and it will be, again soon. We talked to companies like Safety Line, Honeywell and StorkJet to learn about their products that can help operators make a difference. Big data plays a key role in this effort. This story makes it clear: reducing emissions and saving money go hand-in-hand. Learn more in the piece by Ian Harbison.

Now let’s talk about something really innovative. Hydrogen has been batted about as a potential source for aviation fuel for years — decades even. Storage logistics, production capacity, certification and economic feasibility are some of the many challenges that will need to be addressed if the hydrogen revolution comes to fruition

In our story, “Will Hydrogen by the Key to Sustainable Aviation?” writer Andrew Reilly spoke to some of the key players making headway in this complex challenge — truly interesting reading, full of food for thought.

We also hope you’ll check out our space feature story, all about Ingenuity, the helicopter uniquely designed to fly on Mars.

It completed its first successful flight in April of this year and continues to provide data and new insights into our planetary neighbor.

An old friend and former editor-in-chief of Rotor & Wing, Jim McKenna, wrote an amazing story about this remarkable feat and what it means for the future. You won’t want to miss that story.

If you are joining us in Toulouse on 3-4 November for Aerospace Tech Week — welcome and thank you for coming! We’ve missed you. You will find the show guide within the pages of this publication starting on page 35 — look for the divider page for quick reference.

We are excited to spend time together, in person, and to finally be conducting business face-to-face. Enjoy the conference.

ONTIC Expands Footprint with Latest UK Acquisition and Licensing Agreement

Ontic has completed the sale and licensing of certain legacy product lines from Triumph Group’s Staverton facility in the UK. The transaction includes the existing facility and select product lines associated with the site. 

The Staverton facility in Gloucestershire supports a range of platforms in the Military, Civil and Marine Markets including the Airbus A330, BAE Hawk and Tornado, as well as the weapon handling systems on a variety of submarines.

This acquisition expands Ontic’s capacity in the UK following the successful growth of its existing facility in Cheltenham. 

Gareth Hall, President and CEO of Ontic, said, “Ontic is excited at the opportunity to grow our UK presence with the purchase of the Staverton facility as part of our long-term strategy to expand the licensing solutions we are able to provide our partners across the industry.  Not only will we be growing our business footprint with space, equipment, and product lines, but we will be welcoming 90+ talented new employees to the Ontic family, with expertise in mechanical solutions.”     

Ontic maintains a global focus by supporting customers and licencing partners from manufacturing and MRO facilities in Chatsworth, California; Creedmoor, North Carolina; Plainview, New York; Cheltenham and Bolton in the United Kingdom, Singapore, and newly added Staverton.

Is it Possible to make Aviation More Welcoming to All?

Is it Possible to make Aviation More Welcoming to All?

As we close out the summer and head straight into fall, I continue to be astounded by the events of the past two years. We’ve seen the aviation industry go from giddyup to whoa and back again, as an old friend from Texas used to say.

The industry was barreling forward at this point of 2019. Commercial flights were packed. Business aviation had never been better. Shortages of personnel, especially pilots, engineers and technically savvy maintenance workers was a huge concern. The effects of the retirement of the roster of pilots in the next 8-10 years was so worrying that airlines were beginning to implement all sorts of programs to spark interest and encourage kids to get into aviation as a career choice.

Then the pandemic hit and it all came to a screeching halt. We saw airlines park jets and offer early retirement buyouts for employees including pilots, which many accepted and furloughs, voluntary time off and other incentives to help alleviate the massive burden of payroll for large enterprises like airlines.

Now, pending vaccination rates and the delta and possible other variants of COVID-19, we are back to the boom times. Reports of packed airplanes, busier-than-ever airports and pent-up travel demand are everywhere. The last two years almost seems like a time warp and my head is spinning – what just happened?

It is one of the ongoing sagas of aviation that the business is cyclical with ups and downs…but we have never seen anything quite like this. Will it last or will the delta variant wreak havoc again. Will the unvaccinated get over their hesitancy and take the jab? Who will survive?

I have been thinking about the shortage of personnel which we are beginning to see again as things ramp up. I posted a piece on LinkedIn (you can connect and follow me there at www.linkedin.com/in/joyfinnegan1/) a couple of weeks ago giving my advice for those in the early stages or thinking about beginning flight training.

This is what it said: Unsolicited advice for anyone in the early stages of your journey as a pilot. Go the extra mile in your studies and flight training. Don’t look for the cheap option in flight training – get the best – even if you have to pay more.

Don’t be satisfied with a passing grade, strive for 100 on the written tests you take. Study aerodynamics in depth. Delve deeply into the systems of each aircraft you fly. Know and understand those systems, what can go wrong with them and how to deal with it. Consult with an A&P if you can, to help you understand them thoroughly.

Practice stalls and slow flight until you know every nuance and can recover with confidence every time. If your instructor doesn’t make you do stall recognition, entries and recoveries on nearly every training flight, find a new instructor – there is nothing more important. Take the spin training, even though it is not required. Practice spin entry and recovery until you turn green; then go back for more. Look for and take Upset Prevention & Recovery Training Courses.

Practice emergency landings ad infinitum and remind yourself with regularity during a flight what you will do if you have any emergency. Become the best fuel manager of your aircraft – know your fuel intimately, to the ounce – GA accidents due to fuel starvation and fuel exhaustion are common.

If you don’t understand something, please ask until you do, even if it is annoying to your instructor. If you are especially nervous about how you will do a specific maneuver on a flight check, request more time practicing that with your instructor even though it will cost more and even though it is your least favorite thing to do. Practice it until you know, with certainty, you will do it well during a stressful check ride. Understand weight & balance and how shifts in location can change the performance of your aircraft. Understand the performance implications of density altitude on each aircraft you fly. Do not fly an aircraft that is poorly maintained – even if it is cheaper. Instead, find a facility that takes maintenance seriously and fly there.

If you know in your heart you passed a check ride but don’t understand something that you were supposed to know, follow up and seek understanding now.

Know that even if you are smart, hard-working, safe and diligent, there is risk in the air. Take that risk seriously. Study harder, go the extra mile, train more – not less, understand as much as you possibly can, never stop learning more and know that in an instant, a flight on a beautiful day can go wrong.

I found it funny that when I posted that some folks wondered, “Why is she posting about that?! She’s a magazine editor.” So I followed it up with another post that explained. Here it is: I started out as a pilot, went to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and did my flight training there. I taught flying there. I pursued flying professionally for years. In addition to being a CFII, I have an ATP, flew for regional airlines and a start-up airline. I have thousands of flight hours-around a thousand hours as a flight instructor.

I loved flying and teaching. I also had a couple of kids along the way-usually being the first pregnant pilot most folks had ever seen or heard of, including the airlines I flew for. When people ask why I stopped flying, I say, “It’s complicated.”

One huge reason was there was zero support for me, as a new mom and a professional pilot. I got six-weeks unpaid maternity leave. Then I had to find daycare, a nanny and multiple back-up babysitters to ensure I would have the coverage I needed for childcare (my husband traveled a lot with his work, too, but was a supportive and hands-on partner). I did not live near my extended family. I paid more in childcare than I made as a pilot as I built time and experience to hopefully make it to the major airlines where the financial payoff would be worth it.

The truth is we have made very little progress in 25 years towards making aviation a welcoming place for women, and frankly, minorities. We must do better – we need these minds now and in the future.

Boeing, AE Industrial Partners Launch Platform to Shape the Future of Aerospace Venture Capital Investing

Boeing and AE Industrial Partners (AEI) announced in early August a strategic partnership to expand Boeing’s venture capital investing in mobility, space and connectivity, industrial tech and enterprise digital solutions, with a broader emphasis on sustainability.

The partnership brings together Boeing’s aerospace and technology innovation and its HorizonX Ventures platform with AEI’s operational and private equity investing experience to establish an independent and expanded venture capital group, AEI HorizonX.

“We’re excited to launch this transformative and first-of-its-kind business innovation with AEI that will expand the horizon for HorizonX and double down on our commitment to early stage technology innovation,” said Marc Allen, chief strategy officer and senior vice president of Strategy and Corporate Development at Boeing. “The partnership with AEI and future partners broadens our investor base, enables HorizonX to invest at a rapid pace and gives Boeing access to more outside innovation than ever through this investment collaboration.”

Boeing launched HorizonX in 2017 to invest in and connect with early stage companies specializing in transformative aerospace technologies. The team has developed a portfolio of 40 start-ups from around the world through minority investments and matching the companies with Boeing’s engineering resources.

AEI is a leading capital provider to the aerospace industry with more than $3.5 billion in assets under management, a strong track record of financial performance and the ability to raise funds and expand its mission of supporting world-class entrepreneurs, inventors and disruptors.

“As a specialist investment firm with a focus on aerospace and industrial markets, AEI is constantly monitoring technology innovations that will drive transformational change and reimagine the future of our industry,” said David Rowe, managing partner at AEI. “The AEI HorizonX platform will provide us with a foundation to build out a new investing pillar focused on transformative businesses and technologies critical to the evolution of our target markets and their impact on the environment. We are excited to partner with Boeing to invest in a more sustainable future.”

The current HorizonX Ventures team, led by Brian Schettler, and its current portfolio will move to AEI HorizonX to build this next-generation ventures platform. Schettler will lead the new platform and become a partner at AEI. Boeing will continue to be a long-term strategic investor in AEI HorizonX and remain the anchor investor for the current fund and AEI HorizonX’s first standalone fund planned for 2022. The current fund will continue to provide follow-on capital to its existing portfolio, as well as making select new investments as the fund continues to mature.

Boeing will partner with AEI HorizonX through its Enterprise Technology Office and Applied Innovation team. The two will maintain a technology pipeline with portfolio companies and continue working with the startups regularly to connect portfolio companies with Boeing’s technical capabilities and help bridge the new innovations into the company. Boeing’s global accelerator programs will remain within Boeing, and the company will continue to partner with the aerospace industry and government stakeholders to identify and support the most promising early stage companies. These engagements will include the participation of AEI HorizonX.

flypop Confirms London Stansted as its UK Airport Base

flypop confirmed that London Stansted Airport will be its first UK airport base.

The flypop team say they see strong long-term demand for direct flights between the UK (STN) and key secondary cities of India. London Stansted offers excellent connectivity, especially with its rail links into both London and the Midlands.  

“During the pandemic we have been in talks with a number of UK airports and we can now confirm London Stansted as our first UK base,” (Nino) Navdip Singh Judge, CEO and principal of flypop, said. “London Stansted Airport has a history of being the base for low-cost carriers and we feel it is the perfect fit for our passengers. flypop is focused on serving the Indian and South Asian diaspora communities living in the UK and their visiting friends and relatives, for whom London Stansted is the most convenient airport location.”

London Stansted’s managing director, Steve Griffiths, added: “We welcome the decision by flypop to select London Stansted as its first UK base and we look forward to working with the airline as it develops its route network plans in advance of the safe return of travel between the UK and India at the appropriate moment.”

flypop is currently in negotiations with a number of second city airports across India and will shortly be confirming its first Indian airport hubs.

American Cancels Hundreds of Flights Over Father’s Day Weekend

American Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights due to several factors including maintenance, staffing shortages and employees out sick. Around 300 flights were cancelled during the weekend with more expected today, Monday, June 21, 2021. The airline said it may continue to adjust the schedules and cancel dozens of flights throughout the summer.

American released a statement saying: “We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation.”

A surge in travel amid COVID vaccination success has together led to similar dilemmas for most airlines. After offering incentive packages for employees to retire early and many taking the early out as well as layoffs and furloughs, it is taking some time to adjust the staffing needs of the return of travelers.

Southwest Airlines also cancelled numerous flights after experiencing network connectivity problems earlier this month. The airlines attributed their cancellations to the ripple effect of that event.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is also reporting staffing shortages and asking some current employees to volunteer for positions such as onboarding new employees.

Airbus Gains First Flight Hour Services Contract in North America with JetBlue for its A220Fleet

Airbus has signed its first Flight Hour Services (FHS) contract with a North American customer. U.S.-based airline JetBlue is acquiring long-term Airbus components maintenance services for its 70 A220 aircraft on order. The A220 started operations with JetBlue in April 2021.

The maintenance-by-the-hour service contract includes material services with on-site-parts stock management, as well as access to Airbus’ pool of parts, engineering and repair services.

“As for all Airbus aircraft program, A220 customers are benefitting from Airbus’ renowned maintenance FHS program. We are extremely proud  to welcome JetBlue as our first FHS customer in North America and be able to further increase its A220 fleet’s availability in support of traffic resuming,” said Dominik Wacht, head of Airbus Customer Services, North America. 

“With a substantially lower direct operating cost over other aircraft in our fleet from both fuel and non-fuel savings, the A220 also helps further reset JetBlue’s maintenance costs well into the decade,” said Bill Cade, Vice President Technical Operations, JetBlue.

“Airbus’ FHS solution helps support our long-term financial goals as they relate to maintenance and supports our ability to offer low fares and award-winning service to more JetBlue customers,” said Bill Cade, vice president Technical Operations, JetBlue.

JetBlue will be the third A220 airline operator to use Airbus’ FHS service. Over 150 A220s have been delivered to nine airlines operating routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa, proving the great versatility of Airbus’ latest family member.

This first FHS contract for Airbus in North America confirms the growing expansion  of Airbus’ maintenance-by-the-hour solution to accompany traffic restart: over the last six months, eleven FHS contracts have been signed with operators worldwide.

FLYHT Names Nina Jonsson as Chairman of Board of Directors

FLYHT Aerospace Solutions announced that Ms. Nina Jonsson, a 30-year global airline industry veteran, has agreed to serve as chairman of the Board of FLYHT. Ms. Jonsson brought the airline customer’s perspective to the forefront when she joined FLYHT’s board of directors in 2019, and in her new role, will continue to help guide the Company as the industry recovers from the pandemic and refocuses on the future.

Ms. Jonsson has held leadership roles at major operators in the U.S. and Europe, including most recently at Air France-KLM, United Airlines, US Airways and global industrial aviation services provider Bristow Group. She is currently active as a consultant to the global airline industry’s C-suite as Senior Advisor with Plane View Partners, and serves on the board of directors at Icelandair and the advisory boards of Waltzing Matilda Aviation and Genesis Park Acquisition Corporation.

“I am very proud of the superbly capable, innovative, nimble and customer-focused team at FLYHT,” said Nina, “As a pioneer and independent provider in the live-streaming aircraft data space for the past two decades, FLYHT is uniquely positioned to help airline customers achieve cost-savings, greater operational efficiencies, and enhanced safety with its Actionable Intelligence solutions. As chairman, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Bill and the entire FLYHT team to promote the Company’s services across the airline industry and to help it grow into the major player it deserves to be.”

Barry Eccleston, outgoing Chairman of FLYHT, stated, “I have known Nina for years and recruited her to the board because of her knowledge and passion for the industry she has been part of for three decades. As I stated at FLYHT’s recent AGM, I am confident that the Company is being left in good hands to capitalize on the recovery of the industry we all love.”

Bill Tempany, Interim CEO of FLYHT, stated, “Getting to know Nina over the last two years, I am confident that her leadership style, industry knowledge and contacts, and passion for the business, will help drive FLYHT in ways we have never experienced before. I am looking forward to working with Nina to take our Company to new heights and provide a rewarding place for our employees and shareholders. We have a new vigor in the business, and under Nina’s stewardship, will take advantage of turning our strong products into industry transforming solutions.”

 

 

Tulsa International Airport Welcomes New ARFF Provider

Tulsa International Airport (TUL) welcomed Pro-Tec Fire Services as the airport’s Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) provider as of March 1, 2021. The airport signed a five year contract in November 2020 with Pro-Tec for ARFF services, with three options to extend an additional five years, for a total of twenty years. The contract with Pro-Tec is expected to save the airport roughly $1 million annually, without reducing the level of safety and reliability to the airport and its passengers.

Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust (TAIT) began reviewing all operating expenditures in late March of 2020 as the pandemic’s impact on airport revenues was materializing. The airport’s leadership team evaluated every expense, looking for savings in order to conserve airport resources. At that time, ARFF services were the single largest expense at Tulsa International Airport, comprising 18% of the airport’s budget for services. Pro-Tec was selected from a competitive proposal process by the TAIT Board in November 2020 and immediately began developing their onboarding plan. “We have been extremely impressed with Pro-Tec’s expertise and operating philosophy since they began providing ARFF services here at Tulsa International,” said Alexis Higgins, CEO of Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust. “Pro-Tec’s entire team has demonstrated their commitment to serving our airfield tenants and customers with the level of service, safety, and quality that is expected in our industry.”

Pro-Tec Fire Services is a Wisconsin-based private contractor that is the largest provider of contracted Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting services in the United States. The company provides ARFF services to over twenty airports in the United States and Canada, including Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, OK, and Ardmore Airpark in Ardmore, OK. Pro-Tec has been in operation since 1974 and was the first of its kind to offer contracted Aircraft Rescue Firefighting services.

“Pro-Tec Fire Services is delighted and honored to have been selected by the Tulsa International Airport to become their ARFF Services provider,” the company said in a statement. “We pride ourselves on offering a competitive, responsive and professional service package. This coupled with a culture founded upon safety and lasting relationships was recognized by the Airport. We thank the Airport for their selection and look forward to providing them value for the long term.”

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