ST Engineering to arm divests shares in pilot training business

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) recently announced the divestment of its pilot training business in the USA through the sale of all of its shares in Aviation Academy of America, Inc. (AAA) and VT Aviation Services, Inc. (VTAS) to Vaayu Aerospace, Inc.  The share sale is completed today at a cash consideration of $1.5m on a cash-free and debt-free basis, which was arrived at after taking into account the current market conditions and financial positions of AAA and VTAS.

With this divestment, which does not impact the Group’s pilot training business in Singapore and Australia, AAA and VTAS cease to be subsidiaries of ST Engineering.

This divestment is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of ST Engineering for the current financial year. 


AerSale acquires Avborne for MRO facilities

AerSale®, a global supplier of mid-life aircraft, engines, used serviceable material, and maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, announced that it has acquired aircraft component repair specialist Avborne. Avborne is a certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) 145 repair station in Miami, Florida, and a recognized leader in providing highly technical and specialized repair services covering a broad range of commercial and military aircraft systems, including hydraulic, pneumatic, electronic and landing gear components. Avborne’s formidable in-house engineering development team is continuously introducing innovative cost-saving repair and overhaul regimes as one of the few component MROs operating today under the authority of an FAA Open Class Rating. This licensing allows Avborne to initiate its own FAA repair validation packages for expedited introduction of new repair and overhaul capabilities well in advance of traditional MRO participants. In conjunction with AerSale’s existing MRO facilities, the acquisition of Avborne will enable AerSale to provide complete MRO services across numerous aircraft platforms, from the component level through aircraft heavy maintenance.


Enter Air entrusts Magnetic MRO with 19 Boeing 737NG PBH support

Magnetic MRO, a provider of Total Technical Care, and Enter Air, Poland’s largest and Eastern Europe’s second largest charter carrier, have signed a three-year contract for PBH support for the airline's 19 Boeing 737-800s.

The recently signed agreement includes scheduled and 24/7 ad-hoc supply of components, component repair management, loan, exchange and warranty support services for the carrier’s Boeing 737 NG fleet at Warsaw Chopin, Katowice-Pyrzowice and at its other main airports.

“As a charter airline, Enter Air is nothing but a demanding customer to any PBH provider. What has brought Magnetic MRO into the arena is the fusion of our growing asset management expertise combined with extensive component maintenance capabilities by our new shareholder Guangzhou Hangxin Aviation Technology (Hangxin),” shares Inga Duglas, Commercial Director at Magnetic MRO.

“Being one of the largest charter airlines in the region, we need efficient component supply in order to ensure the fleet’s smooth performance. However, launching and maintaining an extended stock of non-critical components requires substantial investments and an additional team to run it. Luckily, together with Magnetic MRO and their PBH program, we will be able to keep our component supply, repair and overhaul costs optimized while maintaining high fleet performance and timely AOG support,” says Mariusz Olechno, Chief Technical Officer at Enter Air.


Airbus unveils its new A330MRTT full flight simulator at Seville

Airbus has unveiled the new full flight and mission simulator (FFS) of the Airbus A330 MRTT Multirole Tanker Transport aircraft at its International Training Centre (ITC) in Seville. The simulator, developed by Airbus together with the Spanish company Indra, joins the A400M, C295 and CN235 programs, reaffirming the capabilities of the Airbus ITC in Seville as a reference center for training crews for all military transport programs of the Airbus portfolio.

With 60 firm orders by 12 nations and 33 aircraft delivered, the Airbus A330 MRTT is today’s only new generation tanker/transport flying, certified and battle-proven.



KC-46 tanker program completes Phase II receiver certification testing

Boeing’s KC-46 tanker program has completed its planned Phase II receiver certification flight-testing following three weeks of flights with F-15E aircraft out of Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

Boeing and US Air Force KC-46 crews kicked off receiver certification testing with F-16 aircraft in April 2018. Since then the joint team also completed testing with KC-135, C-17, A-10, KC-46, B-52 and F/A-18 aircraft.

“This accomplishment is a tribute to the Boeing/US Air Force team and helps set the stage for the start of Initial Operational Test & Evaluation testing next year,” said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. “We are seeing great progress in both test and production and expect the positive momentum to continue as we begin delivering aircraft.”

During the certification flight tests, KC-46 and receiver aircraft flew at different airspeeds, altitudes and configurations to ensure compatibility and performance throughout the refueling envelope of each receiver. Now, the Air Force and the Aerial Refueling Certification Agency will review all test data and paperwork before ultimately “certifying” each aircraft.

"The Air Force crews were with us every step of the way during this critical testing,” said Jake Kwasnik, KC-46 test program manager. “It was awesome to see everyone working together as we conducted flights out of Boeing Field and also at Edwards and Minot Air Force bases.”

Six test aircraft have now completed more than 3,700 flight hours and supplied more than four million pounds of fuel in flight to receiver aircraft.

Phase III receiver certification testing will be conducted by the Air Force at Edwards Air Force Base in 2019. That testing will include additional receiver aircraft.

The KC-46, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett, Wash., facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 52 of an expected 179 tankers for the US Air Force.

The KC-46A is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.


Japan to raise military spending in response to security challenges

Japan's military looks to raise spending over the next five years in response to security challenges and to narrow Japan's trade surplus with the United States by buying US equipment, the Nikkei business daily reported. 

The Ministry of Defense looks to spend at least 27 trillion yen ($240 billion) between April 2019 and March 2024, with the spending rising an average 1.1 percent per year, exceeding the 0.8 percent average during the five years ending next March, the report said without identifying sources.

Currently, payments on equipment and personnel expenses account for 80 percent of defense spending, Nikkei said. Under the plan, funds for new equipment purchases will be separated from these expenses, making it easier to buy equipment from the United States, it added. 

Japan aims to have cabinet approval for the spending in mid-December, it said. The Ministry of Defense could not be reached immediately for comment. 

Purchases of American-made equipment could help Tokyo ease trade friction with Washington as US President Donald Trump pushes Japan to buy more American goods, including military gear, while threatening to impose tariffs on Japanese auto imports to cut a trade deficit with Tokyo. 

Japan's Ministry of Defense in August sought record spending of 5.3 trillion yen next year to help pay for major upgrades to defenses designed to shoot down any North Korean ballistic missile, which that Tokyo sees as a continued threat despite Pyongyang's promise to abandon nuclear weapons. 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been reinforcing Japan's military to respond to any North Korea missile strike and counter China's growing air and sea power in the waters around Japan. 

Japan remains wary of North Korean promises to abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. The Ministry of Defense said in a white paper published in August Pyongyang remained Japan's ‘most serious and pressing threat’. 


Lockheed Martin, Airbus sign agreement for aerial refueling

Lockheed Martin and Airbus have signed an agreement to jointly explore opportunities to meet the growing demand for aerial refueling for US defense customers.

The companies will seek to provide aerial-refueling services to address any identified capacity shortfall and to meet requirements for the next generation of tankers capable of operating in the challenging environments of future battlespace.

"Reliable and modernized aerial refueling is an essential capability for our customers to maintain their global reach and strategic advantage," said Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson. "By combining the innovation and expertise of Airbus and Lockheed Martin, we will be well-positioned to provide the United States Air Force with the advanced refueling solutions needed to meet 21st century security challenges."


Avolon firms up single largest order for A320 and A321neos

Aircraft lessor Avolon has firmed up an order for 75 A320neos and 25 A321neos. The agreement is the single largest order for Airbus aircraft ever placed by Avolon.

The agreement takes Avolon’s cumulative orders with Airbus to 284 aircraft (240 single-aisles and 44 widebody aircraft) including the A321neo, the A330neo and the A350 XWB.

Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, commented, “Our order for 100 A320neo family aircraft builds on our leading industry position and reflects our ambition to become the global leader in the sector. We continue to see robust demand from our customers for the A320neo family globally. This is consistent with our own market research and global fleet forecast. This order affirms our belief in the medium-term market outlook and the strong growth prospects for our business.”


Bombardier anticipates strong growth with commercial aircrafts in 2020

Bombardier's commercial aircraft unit will remain in the red next year but turn a profit in 2020, at which time the company expects to have completed the sale of its Dash 8 turboprop program, Bombardier says in a financial update.

The Montreal-based airframer also anticipates strong growth in the coming years from both its business jet and aerostructures divisions.

The latest update comes one month after Bombardier announced a plan to sell the Dash 8 program, which includes the Q400 turboprop, to an affiliate of Vancouver-based Viking Air for $300 million. 


Boeing delivers Fiji Airways' first fuel efficient 737 MAX

Boeing delivered the first 737 MAX for Fiji Airways, which plans to use the fuel-efficient, longer-range version of the popular 737 jet to expand and modernize its single-aisle fleet.

"We are thrilled to take delivery of our very first 737 MAX 8, named Island of Kadavu," said Andre Viljoen, Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways. "The introduction of the 737 MAX is the beginning of a new chapter for Fiji Airways and we look forward to taking advantage of the airplane's superior performance and economics. These new airplanes will enable us to offer a world-class customer experience through the new Boeing Sky Interior cabins with in-seat entertainment for all guests."


MEBAA reveals positive business outlook

The MEBAA Show 2018 opened its doors today to a host of new exhibitors, exciting new aircraft and ground-breaking new technology solutions.

Taking place every two years, The MEBAA Show is the largest business aviation event in the Middle East, with this year’s edition attracting more than 450 exhibitors and 34 stunning business jets on static display.

The three-day event began with a royal tour by HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman, Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group, who took the time to visit with a number of exhibitors, including Click Aviation, Pratt & Witney, Honeywell, XJet and Aloft AeroArchitects.


Bombardier reports strong earnings growth in 3Q18

Bombardier recently reported its third quarter 2018 results marked by strong earnings growth. The Company also announced a number of strategic actions, including the launch of an enterprise-wide productivity program. This program is expected to generate annual savings of $250 million at full run rate, expected by 2021. Bombardier reached definitive agreements for the sale of non-core assets and the monetization of royalties, which is expected to generate approximately $900 million in net proceeds, increasing financial flexibility as the Company approaches the final – deleveraging – phase of its turnaround plan. Other highlights in the quarter include the certification of the Global 7500 business jet, paving the way for the aircraft’s entry into service in December 2018, and marking the end of the Company’s heavy investment cycle.


Jet Aviation receives IS-BAH™ Stage 2 Safety Registration for 20 FBOs at MEBAA

Jet Aviation is pleased to announce that it has received International Standard for Business Aircraft Handling (IS-BAH) Stage 2 Safety Registration from the International Business Aviation Council (IBAC) for 20 of its FBOs across EMEA and the Americas.

The company intends to achieve IS-BAH Standard registration for its new Hawker Pacific and KLM Jet Center FBOs in 2019. IBAC Program Director for IS-BAH, Terry Yeomans, presented 20 IS-BAH Stage 2 Safety Certificates to Jet Aviation at its MEBAA chalet today in Dubai. 

“This remarkable achievement demonstrates Jet Aviation’s ongoing commitment to the highest safety standards for its customers and employees,” said Yeomans. Based around a safety management system that models the structure and format of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operators (IS-BAO™), IS-BAH establishes criteria for best handling systems, processes and practices to ensure FBOs meet rigorous safety and security standards. 


UAE’s successfully launches most advanced satellite in space

 The launch of the Earth observation satellite took place on October 29, at 8.08am UAE-time onboard the H2-A rocket, which was also carrying Japan's environment satellite, GoSat-2, along with KhalifaSat.

The launch was broadcast live on the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre's (MBRSC) website and it showed that GoSat-2 was successfully separated from the rocket and reached the orbit at 8.25am. However, the separation of KhalifaSat and its arrival on its desired orbit destination happened in 100 minutes from 8.25am, according to the live stream.

A team of 70 Emirati engineers from MBRSC built KhalifaSat, which will be the third satellite the center has launched into space. DubaiSat1 was launched in 2009 and DubaiSat2 in 2013. Commercial and communication satellites by the UAE - YahSat-1,2 and Thuraya 1,2,3 - have also been launched before.


First Pakistan space mission to launch in 2022

 Pakistan Information Minister, Fawad Chaudhry, revealed recently that country's first space mission will be launched in 2022.

This will also see the first Pakistani go into space as part of the space mission that will be concluded with China's assistance, the minister said. A contract in this regard has been signed between a Chinese company and Pakistan's Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO), Chaudhry added, according to Geotv report.

In July this year, Pakistan launched two indigenously built satellites into the orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in China. The satellites were launched onboard a Chinese Long March (LM-2C) rocket from the Gobi desert in China. One of the satellites launched was a remote sensing satellite (PRSS1) - a dual-purpose Earth observational and optical satellite. With the PRSS1, Pakistan has become one of the few countries to have its own remote sensing satellite in the orbit. While, the second test satellite launched was a PAK-TES-1A, developed by SUPARCO to enhance satellite manufacture capabilities in the country.

According to an official speaking on the condition of anonymity, the launch of satellites would help end the country's dependency on commercial satellites for information related to weather, environment and agriculture. The official added that the two satellites launched, were transported to China as Pakistan lacks the required infrastructure to launch objects into space, according to reports in The Express Tribune.


Safran to provide next-generation engine turbines for hybrid electric aircraft

 Zunum Aero has selected France’s Safran Helicopter Engines to provide a new-generation engine turbine for its hybrid-to-electric airplane, due for first flight in the early 2020s.

Safran’s Ardiden 3Z engine will drive the electrical generator for Zunum’s 12-seat ZA10 aircraft, supplementing the energy stored in the plane’s batteries with peak power of 500 kilowatts during key stages of flight and over long ranges, Zunum said in a news release. The aircraft will be able to cruise and land on turbo-generator power alone, offering full redundancy.

The ZA10 is being designed for a range of 700 miles, with an eye toward enabling affordable operations at tens of thousands of underused regional-size airports around the world.

Zunum, which is headquartered in Bothell, Wash., says the aircraft should drive operating costs down to 8 cents per available seat mile, or $250 per hour. That’s said to be 60 to 80 percent lower than comparable conventional aircraft of comparable size.

 If the business model works out the way Zunum says it will, it could open up new types of low-fare air routes — for example, a connection between the Seattle’s Boeing Field and British Columbia’s Whistler ski area for $79. In May, Zunum said its first planes would go to JetSuite, a California-based private aviation company that’s a partner of JetBlue Airways.

 Florent Chauvancy, Safran Helicopter Engines’ executive vice president for OEM sales, said the Ardiden 3Z engine “represents a very powerful complement to the ZA10 because of its exceptional performance, along with low operating and maintenance costs.” Zunum and Safran are counting on advanced materials and integrated life-cycle management to reduce the engine’s operating costs by extending the life of critical components.

 The two companies have an important ally in common: Boeing is one of Zunum Aero’s financial backers, and it’s also one of Safran’s power-system partners. Zunum has also received investment capital from JetBlue Technology Ventures and an $800,000 grant from the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund.

 The current schedule calls for the certification process to begin in the 2020-2022 time frame, but that timetable is heavily dependent on advances in battery technology. The Seattle Times quoted Knapp as saying the schedule for starting commercial passenger service has slipped from 2022 to mid-2023.

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