Airbus Delivers A320 Family MSN10,000 to Middle East Airlines

Middle East Airlines (MEA) has taken delivery of Airbus’ A320 Family aircraft with manufacturer serial number 10,000. MSN10,000 is the third A321neo to join the all Airbus MEA fleet, taking the fleet size to 18 aircraft. MEA received its first A321neo aircraft earlier in 2020 and will be taking another six A321neos over the coming months.

The handover of the aircraft took place in Toulouse in the presence of Mohamad El-Hout, Chairman and Director General of MEA.

“We are honored to receive the state of the art A321neo with its distinctive serial number 10,000 coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Middle East Airlines and specially after receiving MSN5,000 back in 2012. Since we first acquired an A320 Family aircraft in 2003, we have not only benefited from the outstanding operational efficiency of the aircraft but were also the first airline to introduce the wide-body cabin product on a single-aisle aircraft which has become a trend in the airline industry afterwards,” said MEA Chairman and Director General, Mohamad El Hout. “Unfortunately, due to the current situation in Lebanon, this time we will not be able to celebrate the delivery of the MSN10,000 in Beirut, as we did with the MSN5,000, but I am sure that in these challenging circumstances, it is a ray of light, hope and motivation to surpass our nation’s difficulties.”

“Airbus is proud to continue building its long-standing partnership with Middle East Airlines which already operates one of the most modern Airbus fleets in the world. As an all Airbus operator, MEA benefits from the Airbus’ unique fleet commonality between aircraft families and is now adding the third highly fuel-efficient A321neo to step up the game. I admire the agility and the resilience of this company in this complex environment,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus CCO. “Delivering MSN10,000 is a milestone that demonstrates the success of the A320 Family and we thank our customers globally for their confidence in our products.”

MEA took on MSN5,000 in 2012, after 23 years of Airbus A320 Family production. The next 5,000 took just another eight years to mark this significant MSN10,000 milestone – again with MEA. This achievement is a testimony of the industrial advancement and capabilities by Airbus and the popularity of the latest, even more efficient NEO version of the aircraft.

The airline’s A321neo is powered by Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM geared turbofan engines and is configured in a comfortable two-class layout with 28 seats in Business and 132 seats in Economy Class. It is also equipped with the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and high-speed connectivity. Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% as well as a 50% noise reduction. 


Airbus delivers A400M to Luxembourg’s Armed Forces

The Luxembourg Armed Forces have taken delivery of its Airbus A400M military transport aircraft, which was accepted at the A400M Final Assembly Line in Seville (Spain) and has performed a ferry flight. It will make a first stop in Luxembourg before continuing its journey to the 15th Wing Air Transport in Melsbroek (Belgium), where the joint airlift unit between Belgium and Luxembourg will be based. With this delivery, Luxembourg becomes the seventh A400M operator.
The aircraft, known as MSN104, will be operated by the Luxembourg Armed Forces and Belgium within a binational unit, together with the seven A400M ordered by Belgium, which is due to receive its first aircraft in the coming weeks.
Alberto Gutierrez, Head of Military Aircraft at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “I welcome Luxembourg to the growing A400M user community. With 94 aircraft in service, the A400M is increasingly becoming the air mobility backbone of our customers, both in civil and military environments, as seen in recent COVID-19 crisis missions around the globe.” 
The A400M recently achieved additional capabilities such as simultaneous paratrooper dispatch for a maximum of 116 paratroopers using the side doors, automatic low level flight in visual meteorological conditions (the only military transport aircraft with this capability), and aerial delivery and combat off-load that allows a single 16-tonne load to be dropped automatically via parachute extraction. In addition, 25 tonnes can be gravity dropped and the manual combat offload of up to 19 tonnes on pallets (one pass) or 25 tonnes (two passes) on an unpaved runway is possible, which is unprecedented. With regards to helicopter air-to-air refueling operations, the A400M recently achieved the first successful wet contacts with a H225M helicopter. 


Airbus Corporate Jets Wins First Six ACJ TwoTwenty Orders

Airbus Corporate Jets has won its first orders for the ACJ TwoTwenty totaling six aircraft following its launch. While Comlux has revealed an order for two aircraft, four further jets were ordered by undisclosed customers. Entry into service of the first ACJ TwoTwenty by Comlux Aviation is targeted for early 2023.

The new ACJ TwoTwenty will feature a high end VIP cabin interior, supported by a flexible cabin catalogue, from which Comlux has selected the business and guest lounge as well as a private entertainment space and a private suite, including a bathroom. The cabin, set to “Reimagine your place in the sky… will be equipped with large full lie flat seats, a US-king size bed, a standing rainshower, a humidifying system for well-being on board and  leading edge connectivity.

“We are proud to be the launch customer of the Airbus’ newest family member, the ACJ TwoTwenty and the selected partner to outfit the cabin in our completion center in Indianapolis. We have worked jointly with ACJ and shared our long experience in operating and completing all types of aircraft, to allow the new Bizjet to offer more comfort and the latest cabin innovations available in the industry, “ said Richard Gaona, executive chairman & CEO Comlux. “Thanks to the unique combination of intercontinental range, comfort, extra space and second-to-none economics, we are convinced the aircraft will be a winner in the business aviation market.”

“We are honored to see our longstanding client Comlux becoming the launch customer of our new ACJ TwoTwenty as well as our cabin completion partner on the programme, “ said Benoit Defforge, president ACJ. “Our new extra Large Bizjet will seamlessly complement Comlux’s portfolio – and we are convinced the aircraft will become a flagship addition to their fleet.”

Airbus supports more than 500 airline and corporate jet customers with one of the largest support networks in the world, including services tailored to business jet needs.

More than 200 Airbus corporate jets are in service on every continent, including Antarctica.


Krimson Aviation Marks Five Years of Operations

Addis Ababa-based flight support, charter and aviation consultancy Krimson Aviation is marking its fifth year of operations following one of its busiest weeks since inception. The handling in one week of a dozen flights with some 24 legs for a mix of customers including medevac, government, investment, humanitarian, crew rotation and repatriation flights firmly demonstrates the rounded capabilities of this now established company.

Building on the first five years of success Dawit Lemma, founder and CEO, is now looking to further enhance the business aviation offering in Ethiopia. “My team is at the forefront of East African aviation and works continuously to meet and exceed customer expectations. I am extremely proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved,” says Lemma. “For the next five years our aim is to support the improvement of infrastructure at Addis Ababa Bole airport, and we plan to advocate for, and get involved in, development of a first rate FBO and MRO facility at the airport. As home to the African Union and hosts to an increasing number of international investors and tourists we are perfectly positioned to maximize the opportunities presented by business aviation in the region. Despite the pandemic we can see great potential as we head towards our next five years.” 

Initially focused on Ethiopia the business now operates in ten African countries including South Sudan, Djibouti, and Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2018 it was granted one of only five Ethiopian CAA aviation licenses confirming the company’s ability to offer consistent services to international standards and Lemma continues to be a shaping force for African business aviation. Prior to the advent of COVID-19 Krimson had become such experts at handling medevacs that Lemma and his team collaborated with local regulators to modify protocols to streamline the delicate process, which during the height of the pandemic became invaluable as Addis Ababa became a hub for medevac and repatriation flights. 

Lemma is also president of the Ethiopian chapter and board member of the African Business Aviation Association (AfBAA) where he has been integral in the organisation’s development and its mission to raise the profile of business aviation in Africa. He is also a familiar voice advocating for African aviation at many international events.


FAA Leader Flies the B737 MAX

Administrator Steve Dickson fulfilled his promise to pilot the Boeing 737 MAX before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approves the aircraft’s return to service.

Dickson’s flight took two hours and included a number of scenarios to demonstrate the proposed software and design changes to the aircraft’s automated flight control system. Dickson, along with FAA Deputy Administrator Dan Elwell, completed the new recommended pilot training for the aircraft on Tuesday.

While Dickson’s flight is an important milestone, a number of key steps remain in the FAA’s evaluation of Boeing’s proposed changes to the aircraft’s flight control system and training.

A copy of Dickson’s opening remarks at a news briefing in Seattle following the flight are included below.

The FAA will not speculate about how long it will be until the aircraft is returned to passenger service. As we have stated throughout our work on the 737 MAX, the agency 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 FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards.

The remaining tasks include: 

Flight Standardization Board (FSB) Report – A Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB) recently met for nine days to review Boeing’s proposed training for 737 MAX flight crews. The JOEB was comprised of civil aviation authorities from the United States, Canada, Brazil, and the European Union. The results of this evaluation will be incorporated into the draft FAA Flight Standardization Board (FSB) report, which will be posted for public comment in the near future. The FAA will publish a final FSB report after reviewing and addressing public comments on the draft FSB Report.

Final Design Documentation and Technical Advisory Board (TAB) Report – The FAA will review Boeing’s final design documentation to evaluate compliance with all FAA regulations. The multi-agency TAB will also review the final Boeing submission and issue a final report prior to a final determination of compliance by the FAA.

Continued Airworthiness Notification to the International Community (CANIC) & AD – The FAA will issue a CANIC providing notice of pending significant safety actions and will publish a final AD that addresses the known issues for grounding. The AD will advise operators of required corrective actions before aircraft may re-enter commercial service.

FAA Rescinds Grounding Order – This marks the official ungrounding of the aircraft, pending completion by operators of the work specified in the AD, along with any required training.

Certificates of Airworthiness – The FAA will retain its authority to issue airworthiness certificates and export certificates for all new 737 MAX airplanes manufactured since the grounding. The FAA will perform in-person, individual reviews of these aircraft.

Operator Training Programs – The FAA will review and approve training programs for all Part 121 operators.

These actions are applicable only to U.S. air carriers and U.S.-registered aircraft. While our processes will inform other civil aviation authorities, they must take their own actions to return the Boeing 737 MAX to service for their air carriers.  The FAA will ensure that our international counterparts have all necessary information to make a timely, safety-focused decision.

Text of FAA Administrator Steve Dickson’s opening remarks at a news briefing following his flight aboard the 737 MAX on Wednesday, Oct. 30, in Seattle.

Good morning and thank you for joining us today.

Shortly after I took the helm at the FAA, I made a promise that I would fly the 737 MAX and that I wouldn’t sign off on its return to service until I was comfortable putting my family on it.

I took the same training that the Joint Operations Evaluation Board looked at during its work at London Gatwick Airport in recent days. This was followed by a session in the 737 MAX simulator, during which I had the opportunity to experience a variety of problems that presented the relevant emergencies that might occur.

Today, I flew a similar flight profile in the airplane.

I want to make it clear that my flight was separate from the official certification process that’s still underway by the FAA.

I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the top aviation safety experts in the world to advise me on the engineering aspects of this project.

But I’m a pilot, and my lens into the world of aviation has been my decades of experience in the front of the airplane. It was important to me to experience the training and the handling of the aircraft firsthand, so I can have the most complete understanding possible as we continue to move forward with the process.

As you know, we posted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for an Airworthiness Directive that would address various safety issues that we and our international partners identified during the last several months. The comment period on that NPRM closed on September 21, and we are now reviewing and responding to those comments before posting a final rule.

We expect to take the input from the JOEB and include that in a Draft Flight Standardization Board report, which should be posted for comment in the near future.

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but the FAA continues to take a thorough and deliberate approach in our review of Boeing’s proposed changes to the 737 MAX. We are in the home stretch, but that doesn’t mean we are going to take shortcuts to get it done by a certain date.

The FAA — I — will not approve the plane for return to passenger service until I’m satisfied that we’ve adequately addressed all of the known safety issues that played a role in the tragic loss of 346 lives aboard Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302.

Not a day goes by that I and my colleagues don’t think about the victims and their families, and our solemn responsibility to get this right. And we will get it right.


Embraer E195s make Vietnam operational debut with Bamboo Airways

Two Embraer E195s have commenced operations in Vietnam with Bamboo Airways, offering the first jet service to Con Dao from Hanoi, Vinh and Hai Phong.Con Dao Island and the surrounding National Park is an area of outstanding natural beauty 1400km (760nm) from the capital Hanoi, off the southern coast of Vietnam. The popular tourist destination, featuring an archipelago of 16 islands, is currently only served by turboprop aircraft due to its short runway, light pavement, and lack of fuel provision. 

The Embraer E195s join Bamboo Airways’ fleet on a wet-lease agreement with Denmark based Great Dane Airlines, adding to the growing number of E-Jet operators in the Asia Pacific region.
“Bamboo Airways is proud to offer jet-operated flights to Con Dao with the E195s,” said Mr. Dang Tat Thang – Executive Vice Chairman of Bamboo Airways. “The aircraft’s short runway performance makes it an ideal aircraft for flights to and from Con Dao. The two by two seating will offer our passengers a high level of comfort in a modern, spacious aircraft, including the one-of-its-kind Business Class on the route to Con Dao.”

“Congratulations to Bamboo Airways on this strategic move. The E-Jets will give them great flexibility both in performance as well as in economics,” says Raul Villaron, Vice President, Asia Pacific for Embraer’s commercial aviation unit. “The E195’s fuel efficiency and economics enables Bamboo Airways to cost effectively manage fluctuating demand and operate lower density routes with the right sized aircraft. We welcome Bamboo Airways to the Embraer family and our global team are here to support them.”

Bamboo Airways is the first to operate direct flights to Con Dao from three cities; the capital Hanoi, Hai Phong city in the North and Vinh city in the central area. There will be two flights a day on the Hanoi – Con Dao route and daily flights from Hai Phong and Vinh to Con Dao in the initial phase. Bamboo Airways are operating the aircraft in a comfortable single class configuration with 118 seats. 
Embraer is the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial aircraft up to 150 seats with more than 100 customers from all over the world. For the E-Jets program alone, Embraer has logged more than 1,800 orders and 1,600 aircraft have been delivered. Today, E-Jets are flying in the fleet of more than 80 customers in some 50 countries. The versatile 70 to 150-seat family is flying with low-cost airlines as well as with regional and mainline carriers.


ICAO Encourages Increased Alignment of National Aviation Recovery Efforts

Addressing recent European (EURNAT) and South American (SAM) Directors-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) meetings, ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu reminded the national heads of civil aviation of the urgent need to more effectively align their pandemic-related response and recovery measures.

“COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on local and global air connectivity, and on the many countries and operators who made that connectivity possible,” Dr. Liu declared. “Your local economies and the world of air transport are highly dependent on governments aligning their CART-driven responses.”

The ICAO Council’s CART Report and related ‘Take-off’ guidelines for pandemic response and recovery are currently being employed by many States globally toward these alignment efforts, though in many cases the persisting variation in local pandemic status is making more extensive harmonization more challenging.

The ICAO CART Task Force, comprised of representatives of the currently-elected ICAO Council States, is presently reviewing a number of Take-off Guidelines proposed amendments and priorities as part of its upcoming CART Phase II deliverables, in advance of the Council’s upcoming 221st session (26 Oct–13 Nov).

“The effectiveness of CART alignment relies strongly on the regional coordination effectiveness achieved at the DGCA level,” Dr. Liu reminded her audiences, “and greater international support is still required to sensitize decision-makers, and to integrate the CART’s Take-off measures with the local economic reactivation procedures being explored by your States.”

Speaking to the attendees of the EURNAT meeting, Dr. Liu highlighted the regional collaboration now taking place on COVID-19 response between ICAO and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as an important step forward toward greater regional alignments. 

In a similar vein, she also underscored the value and successes achieved as a result of the high levels of regional buy-in and participation by South American states in the ICAO SAM Office’s COVID-19 webinars and roadmaps for recovery. 

She stressed to both audiences the importance of ICAO’s direct efforts, through CAPSCA and its work on Public Health Corridors, to set out a collaborative process with external “Validation Partners” on industry’s own CART implementation efforts, highlighting ACI and IATA’s participation.

Also highlighted in this context were the Global Implementation Roadmap and regional implementation plans which had been set out, in addition to the guidance, assistance, monitoring, and many other tools and resources which ICAO has placed at States’ disposal since the pandemic’s earliest impacts.

The Secretary General also recalled that the most recent ICAO State Letter on Public Health Corridors “provides extensive information to States on how to establish them, and important advice for your States on how to promote the mutual recognition of public health measures through multilateral agreements.”

Further updates were provided on the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP), which Dr. Liu reported “has increased its off-site activities and corrective action plan assessments, including desk audits and off-site validations.”

In concluding, she underscored to the national aviation leaders that “ICAO will continue to do its best to bring you together and provide the guidance and tools to assist your efforts, but much relies on you and I have every faith in your commitments and capabilities.”

Dr. Liu’s remarks were delivered at meetings of the Directors-General of Civil Aviation on “Harmonized Regional Operational Guidance for the restart of Civil Aviation”, which took place on 17 and 22 September 2020 for the Europeans and South Americans, respectively. 

Airbus Corporate Jets Inks First A321LR Order for Two Aircraft

Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) has won the first A321LR order for two aircraft from Lufthansa Technik, which they say highlights the market appeal and versatility of the A320neo Family. The aircraft will be multi-role capable and can be equipped for various types of missions, such as troop transport, different MedEvac role setups (medical evacuation) and will be operated by the German Air Force (Luftwaffe). Lufthansa Technik has now placed a total order of five Airbus aircraft on behalf of the German Government: three ACJ350-900s and two A321LRs. The A321LRs will be able to fly up to 163 passengers, up to 6 intensive care patients and up to 12 medium care patients, depending on the installed configuration, with a maximum range of 4,200nm/7,800km or 9.5 flight hours.

“We are thrilled Lufthansa Technik has become the launch customer for the ACJ long-range version of the world’s best-selling A321neo,” said Benoit Defforge, ACJ president. “The ACJ320 Family features the widest cabin of any single-aisle aircraft in the sky, providing the greatest passenger comfort and intercontinental range. Lufthansa Technik and the German Government have a long-standing relationship with Airbus and we are proud of this new milestone order with us.”

The A321LR is a member of the A320neo Family with more than 7,400 orders by more than 110 customers. It delivers 30% fuel savings and nearly 50% reduction in noise footprint compared to previous generation competitor aircraft, according to the company.

Featuring a huge cabin for business jet use, while being similar in size to competing large-cabin aircraft, the ACJ320neo family has similar operating costs. Airbus says it can do this because its lower maintenance and training overheads – part of its airliner heritage – deliver a similar total cost when combined with fuel and navigation and landing charges.

Around 12,000 Airbus aircraft are in service worldwide, supported by a globe-spanning network of spares and training centers, giving corporate jet customers unmatched support in the field. Airbus corporate jet customers also benefit from services tailored to their particular needs, such as the “one call handles all” corporate jet customer care center (C4you), and customized maintenance programs.

Combined with the inherent reliability that comes from aircraft designed to fly many times a day, the aircraft is “dependable and available when customers need it.”

Airbus corporate jets are some of the world’s most modern aircraft family. Features include the protection and simplicity of fly-by-wire controls, the benefits of Category 3B autoland, and time and cost-saving centralized maintenance on all systems.

Around 200 Airbus corporate jets are in service on every continent, including Antarctica, highlighting their versatility in challenging environments.


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.


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.”


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