UAE armed forces showcase skills at Union Fortress 5


The country's military prowess was on full display at the Union Fortress 5, a showcase of fighting skills carried out by the UAE Armed Forces in Ajman's Al Zorah area on Friday.

 The military show was aimed at highlighting the role of the military in safeguarding the security of the UAE and its residents.

 Several divisions of the UAE Armed Forces, including the Army, Air Force, Navy, paramilitary forces and the Presidential Guard took part in the live-action show, featuring simulated battles involving helicopters, jets, rapid attack boats, armoured personnel carriers, tanks and other infantry fighting vehicles.

 In one instance, the ‘terrorists’ attacked a VIP convoy and the guards handled the situation with coordination and collaboration. There was also an air bombing attack while military were accessing a floating bridge for the evacuation of the injured personnel and civilians.

 Another battle situation involved hostage extraction simultaneous with air and sea attack. There was also a reconnaissance mission using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones to highlight the technology employed while dealing with security threats.

 His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ajman, commended the colossal efforts made by the UAE Armed Forces and their fundamental role in establishing security and stability in the country and the region and in supporting Arab causes, in line with the strategic vision adopted by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.


Lufthansa witnesses growth on UAE routes


European aviation giant Lufthansa gas reported a 3 percent increase in passenger traffic in the UAE for 2018, compared to the previous year.

 The company’s airlines Lufthansa and Swiss carried over 345,000 passengers to and from the UAE during the January-December period, a statement said.

 A total of 671,000 passengers to and from the GCC region were transported in 2018, it added.

 Heinrich Lange, senior director sales, Gulf, Afghanistan & Pakistan Lufthansa Group, said: “Home to very active and dynamic population, the UAE has been witnessing continued growth in air travel.

 "This is also driven by the easing of travel barriers and increased interest to discover international destinations. Similarly, the UAE has emerged as one of the most attractive destinations for both business and leisure travelers, thanks to its rapidly growing economy and wide range of tourism attractions."

 Lange said Lufthansa Group saw robust demand for long-haul flights in 2018 from passengers traveling to and from the UAE, adding that it remains committed to "exploring new ways to offer unique experiences to our yearning customers".

 During 2018, the Lufthansa Group increased its passenger capacity on the UAE’s routes by 4 percent to meet increased customer demand.

 Lufthansa currently operates 41 weekly flights between Frankfurt and six destinations in the region - Dubai, Kuwait, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Bahrain. In addition, the Group’s network airline Swiss offers seven weekly frequencies between Zurich and airports in Dubai and Muscat.

 The region’s most trending destinations in Europe included London, Paris, and Munich while Toronto, Washington, and Los Angeles were named as the top three long distance destinations for outbound travelers last year.

Low-cost Indian carrier unveils flights to Abu Dhabi International Airport


Abu Dhabi Airports has welcomed GoAir’s launch of four new flights between Kannur International Airport (CNN) and Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), connecting the two cities with flights operating every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

 GoAir’s inaugural flight from Kannur to Abu Dhabi was received with much fanfare today, as the Indian subcontinent remains one of the most popular destinations for travelers departing from AUH. In addition, Kannur itself is popular leisure and business destination within the state of Kerala.

 Bryan Thompson, CEO Abu Dhabi Airports commented, “India is a key travel market for Abu Dhabi International Airport, and we are always eager to strengthen our connectivity to the Indian Subcontinent, enhancing further our services extended to our dear customers.”

 Maarten De Groof, Chief Commercial Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “As one of our most promising new partners, we are pleased to welcome GoAir’s flights to Abu Dhabi. India has always been one of our largest and most important areas of operations, and we look forward to ensuring GoAir’s guests enjoy a comfortable and efficient experience throughout Abu Dhabi International Airport where we continue to deploy world-class smart travel solutions, attractive retail offerings, and relaxing lounge spaces.”

 “This additional service to Abu Dhabi reflects the Capital’s status as a key destination and transit hub, and forms a part of our strategy to attract new airlines to our network,” added De Groof.

 Mr. JehWadia, Managing Director, GoAir, said, “This is a historic moment for GoAir as we enter the Middle East region with our maiden flight taking off from Kannur to Abu Dhabi, thereby strengthening the India – UAE relationship. GoAir is world’s fastest growing airline and Abu Dhabi is our 4th international destination after Phuket, Male and Muscat, and 28th destination sequentially speaking. GoAir is delighted to partner with Abu Dhabi Airports. It is heartening to note that both GoAir and Abu Dhabi Airports were established in 2006 and are celebrating 13th anniversaries this year. I welcome aboard passengers from Kannur and Abu Dhabi on four direct flight services per week at an attractive all-inclusive one way fare starting from AED 435. Fly smart, fly GoAir.”

 GoAir is committed to providing travelers value for their money through the highest standards of customer service delivery and affordable air fares. With its fleet of 49 Airbus A320 and Airbus A320neo aircraft, the airline offers more than 230 daily flights and approximately 1,600 weekly flights across 28 destinations – 24 domestic and 4 international.

 The inaugural GoAir flight from Kannur touched down on Saturday March 2 at 00.40 local time (LT).

Himalaya Airlines launches weekly flights to AUH


Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) welcomed Himalaya Airlines’ inaugural flight from Tribhuvan International Airport (KTM), an international airport in Kathmandu, Nepal in March. Himalaya Airlines launched three weekly flights connecting Abu Dhabi to Kathmandu, Nepal.

 Maarten De Groof, Chief Commercial Officer of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “We are delighted to add Himalaya Airlines to our growing list of carriers operating at Abu Dhabi International Airport. Nepal has always been a sought-after destination for UAE residents, and the UAE is also home to many Nepali expatriates. We look forward to ensuring passengers departing for, or arriving from Nepal enjoy a seamless travel experience.”

 “We are eager to introduce new flights and routes to and from Abu Dhabi International Airport, in line with our efforts to expand Abu Dhabi’s connectivity and support commerce and tourism within the UAE,” added De Groof.

 Himalaya Airlines will operate the route using its Airbus 320 aircraft, which includes 8 Premium Economy seats and 150 Economy Class seats in its current configuration. On Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, flights are scheduled to depart from Kathmandu at 20:45 and arrive at Abu Dhabi at 23:45. Returning flights to Kathmandu are scheduled to depart from Abu Dhabi on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 01:45 and arrive at Kathmandu at 08:00.

 “We are excited to launch the direct flights between Abu Dhabi and Kathmandu. There is a strong demand from both markets for a direct operation on the route, and we have responded to this increasing customer requirement. Commercial and cultural links between the UAE and Nepal are flourishing and Himalaya is honored to play a pivotal role in facilitating and enhancing the growth of trade and tourism between the two countries. We hope this new connectivity will further boost traffic from the UAE. Himalaya Airlines is on the verge of completing its 3rd year of successful commercial operations soon and we are pleased to add Abu Dhabi into our network” said Mr. Vijay Shrestha, Vice President – Administration.


Jetsmarter App makes private jets more accessible


The “Uber of personal jets” co-picked the ideas that made vehicle-sharing administrations take off and connected them to the contracting business, alongside their own market advancements. The application and the majority of its advantages are carefully part as it were. The JetSmarter app part can utilize the iOS or Android application to save situates on more than 50 foreordained courses over the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, and can arrange an “on-request” trip to any place on Earth. The individuals who would prefer not to sanction a whole plane can run with Shared Charter to pick just the seats they need and enable the other to sell to similar individuals.

 In the event that you have a couple of additional bucks to spend and need to take a personal jet on your next excursion, Jetsmarter app is making it somewhat simpler. The organization recently reported that you would now be able to agree to accept its personal jet administration without paying participation expense and gain admittance to both sanctioned planes and personal jet offers when you travel. In any case, despite everything, you will be paying significantly more than you would for a business flight and even more than you would on the off chance that you had Jetsmarter participation.

 Jetsmarter is an inexorably prominent personal jet administration that lets you either contract your very own personal jet or locate another stream taking off adjacent for you to follow along. On the off chance, that you are the individual contracting the stream and willing to impart seats to other JetSmarter individuals, you will be repaid for every one of the seats others take. In this way, for example, if your departure starting with one city then onto the next costs an aggregate of $15,000 for a 10-seater, you will have to pay that forthright. In any case, on the off chance that you choose to share the ride and others follow along, they will pay $1,500 for each seat, and you will be credited for every one of the seats others take.

 Jetsmarter app began as an enrollment administration, and that participation lives on. At a beginning cost of $4,950 per year, JetSmarter individuals get need flight accessibility and access to a day in and day out attendant. They will likewise pay not exactly non-individuals. Nonetheless, by growing JetSmarter to non-individuals currently, it’s workable for the organization to extend its scope and for a large number of the flights that don’t have extra explorers, to get some new individuals.

 In an announcement, JetSmarter CEO Sergey Petrossov included that the move could consider more courses and expanded flight recurrence. To get to JetSmarter, you have to download the application on iPhone or Android handsets. You would then be able to make a JetSmarter account and choose whether to turn into a part.

Bombardier delivers Global 7500 aircraft to NikiLauda as production ramps up


Bombardier recently announced that it delivered its first European-based Global 7500 aircraft to long-time Bombardier customer, NikiLauda, as production and completions of the award-winning business jet continue to ramp up as planned. Bombardier is on track to deliver between 15 and 20 Global 7500 aircraft in 2019.

 “We are thrilled to deliver our flagship Global 7500 business jet to NikiLauda, our esteemed customer for many years,” said David Coleal, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “The Global 7500 aircraft is simply the best business jet on the market. It sets the standard by which all other aircraft in private aviation will be measured, demonstrated by the prestigious design and aviation awards it has garnered. The Global 7500 aircraft is the crown jewel of the industry.”

 “I have enjoyed watching the evolution and growth of the Global Aircraft program. I have always been impressed with the expertise, craftsmanship and innovation that go into building every Global business jet,” said NikiLauda. “The Global 7500 aircraft is the culmination of all the knowledge Bombardier teams have gained over the years and I look forward to experiencing the range, speed and comfort this jet has to offer.”

 The Global 7500 jet is the latest in a series of Bombardier business aircraft that Mr. Lauda has owned and piloted during his career as an aviator. Previously, he operated a Global 6000, Global 5000 and Challenger 300 jet as his private aircraft.

 Since its entry-into-service, the Global 7500 aircraft has unequivocally proven itself to be the highest-performing aircraft in the industry. The Global 7500 business jet has a top speed of Mach 0.925 and recently flew from Singapore to Tucson, completing a record-setting 8,152 nautical mile flight—the longest-range flight in business aviation history. In addition, it also recently broke the city pair speed record between Los Angeles and New York. The Global 7500 aircraft continues to assert its position as the leader in the business jet market.

The Global 7500 aircraft offers Bombardier’s signature smooth ride and a spaciousness that is unique among business jets. With its award-winning bespoke interior featuring a full-size kitchen and four true living spaces, the Global 7500 jet offers the ultimate in-flight experience. Setting the benchmark for the most exceptional cabin interior, the Global 7500 aircraft offers the most innovative features: Bombardier’s patented Nuage seat, meticulously designed for maximum comfort and the revolutionary nice Touch cabin management system (CMS), a new way to connect with the Global 7500 aircraft cabin through the Bombardier Touch dial, featuring business aviation’s first application of an OLED display

Bryan Thompson Chief Executive Officer Abu Dhabi Airports


Bryan Thompson was appointed as CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports in August 2018. Bryan is Australian/ South African aviation professional with more than 25 years of international experience in various areas of airport management and operations, including ANS, terminal operations, strategy and planning, in addition to infrastructure and corporate development. Previous to joining Abu Dhabi Airports, Bryan was the Senior Vice President- Development at Dubai Airports, and in his capacity he led the development of Dubai International Airport as well as Dubai World Central. In addition, he was involved in the programs of Dubai 2020 and 2050 strategies. Earlier to that, Bryan played several key executive roles at the Australia Pacific Airports Corporation, where he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Launceston Airport, the GM of strategy, planning and development, and GM of assets and infrastructure planning at Melbourne Airport, in Australia, to name a few. Prior to this, Bryan held the positions of Director of Airport Operations and VP Terminal Management at Mumbai International Airport. He also held several Board positions for both Profit and Non-Profit organizations. Bryan started his career in the aviation industry as a principal air traffic controller, and later on he was appointed as Assistant GM for airport operations at Johannesburg International Airport. Bryan is a graduate from the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and holds a Master in Business Administration, Strategy and Finance (2004) from University of South Africa, South Africa.

Moreover, recently, Abu Dhabi Airports and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) had open a new ‘Isolation Rooms’ unit at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH), to be one of the first of its kind in the region. The new medical facility is designed to enhance precautious and preventive processes at the Capital’s airport. The new facility meets the needs of passengers suspected of carrying communicable diseases, while also ensuring the safety of other passengers and the effective management of potential epidemics.

Al-Mohanna has over 20 years of experience in leadership, finance and management across several sectors. He is a key member of flynas Group, responsible for the restructuring, financing and acquisition strategy of more than US $ 8 billion. Al-Mohanna joined flynas in 2006 as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2008. In 2015, he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of flynas Group (flynas, NASJET, and flynas Hajj & Umrah).

The company’s happiness indicator revealed that 82% of passengers were happy with their experience at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) last year.


In addition, 89% of passengers reported their happiness with the airport’s services in March 2018, and 88% in October 2018, which are exceptionally high monthly figures for an international aviation hub.

 Abu Dhabi Airports also measured its customers’ satisfaction through its implementation of the Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airports Service Quality (ASQ) survey program since 2006.

The company officially started measuring happiness in October 2017 with the implementation of the Interactive Feedback system and additional surveys, where both results are combined and averaged with the aim of achieving a passenger happiness rate of more than 75% by 2019.

 Bryan Thompson, CEO of Abu Dhabi Airports, said, “Providing our customers and passengers with an exciting experience and making sure they are happy with our services and their overall travel experience is among our foremost priorities.

 “We continue to launch initiatives to ensure the happiness and comfort of our passengers and staff, as this is an important part of our commitment to excellence and forms a part of our vision of becoming the world’s leading airports group”.



“P9PA” places 4th Falcon 7X into service

 Planet Nine Private Air (“P9PA”), the Van Nuys, California based private charter operator and aircraft management company, announced today the addition of its fourth ultra long-range Dassault Falcon 7X aircraft to its Part 135 certificate. The aircraft, registration no.N996MS, is a low-time aircraft with less than 500 hours flown. It is offered with the distinctive Planet Nine 14-seat luxury executive interior, with Wi-Fi and IFE from Swift Broadband. “We are proud to be placing into service our fourth Falcon 7X just ahead of our first anniversary in June,” commented Matt Walter, Co-founder and Head of Business Development. “Our customers, whether flying for business or leisure, are attracted to the layout and quiet cabin of the 7X. With our sharp focus on operational reliability, we are steadily building up a strong base of returning clients.” “As we approach our one year anniversary – on June 22 - we are building trust in the industry, working with a rapidly expanding number of charter brokers, corporations, family offices and UHNWs who are choosing us primarily for flights from the West and East Coasts of the USA to Europe, Russia and the Middle East. Flights are averaging nearly five hours per sector,” he added. “Our premium business model centers around the Falcon 7X and we are benefitting from the operational efficiencies and low carbon print associated with this type of aircraft.” “Our winter bookings were strong and the remarkable short runway performance of the Falcon 7X gave us an advantage, allowing us to operate to and from airports such as Samedan, Chambery and Aspen. This summer we are looking forward to flying to Cannes in the south of France,” said Director of Sales, KirtiOdedra. “Planet Nine has become a notable ambassador for Dassault Falcon Jet and our popular, 5,950 nm-range 7X. Bringing four aircraft into service, three of them under outright ownership, inside of a year, is very admirable. We congratulate Matt Walter; James Seagrim, Director of Operations and the team for reaching this milestone,” said Dassault Falcon Jet President and CEO, Jean Rosanvallon. “Our close working relationship with Dassault Falcon Jet has been a major factor in achieving a positive nine months of operations,” noted Planet Nine Director of Maintenance Joe Ponce. “Furthermore, the recent strategic move by Dassault Aviation to acquire the MRO facilities of both TAG Aviation and latterly ExecuJet, will further boost the level of support we are receiving.”


Pentagon to receive nearly 380 aircraft by 2020

 The Trump Administration’s 2020 Budget is out, and the Pentagon is asking for 17 more aircraft than it received in 2019. A quick tally of the aircraft shows the number of fighter jets and unmanned aerial vehicles the services are asking for is down slightly, while the number of helicopters is up. Also, the Air Force is purchasing eight new F-15s in a deal that smells fishy, given the Acting Secretary of Defense’s work career.

The tally, shared on Twitter by Aviation Week & Space Technology defense editor Stephen Trimble, shows a slight increase of 17 aircraft year over year, from 362 authorized in 2019 to 379 proposed for 2020. The aircraft are broken down into number categories as follows:

Fighters: DoD wants 110 fighters in 2020, down from 117 in 2019. The Air Force is asking for 48 F-35As, down eight from 2019. The Marines want just 10 F-35Bs, less than half their 2019 purchase. Only the Navy is buying more F-35s, with the service requesting 20 of the carrier-capable F-35C model. The Navy is also buying 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

The real wild card here: the Air Force is asking for eight F-15EX fighters, part of a goal of buying 80 through 2024. At the same time, the Air Force is asking for eight less F-35s. The service has said in the past it would not spend money on F-15s at the expense of the F-35 program, but that appears to be exactly what happened.

According to outgoing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, the service’s 2020 budget originally did not include the F-15s. The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics has filed a complaint with the Pentagon alleging that Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, a 30-year Boeing employee, intervened to force the service to buy Boeing’s F-15s over the F-35.

Other Aircraft: The Air Force is asking for 12 KC-46A Pegasus tankers, three less than in 2019. The service will eventually order at least 179 of the aircraft, and at this rate, it’ll take about thirteen years to buy them all. It’s also asking for another squadron of 24 MQ-9A Reapers and a dozen HH-60W combat search and rescue helicopters.

The Navy and Marines, on the other hand, are asking for three more KC-130J tankers, six more P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, and two MQ-4C Triton long-range unmanned aerial vehicles. The service also wants to purchase 22 F-5 Tiger IIs, recently retired from the Swiss Air Force, to act as aggressor aircraft for the US Navy and Marine Corps fighter pilots to train against.

Helicopters: More than half of the Pentagon’s aircraft request for 2020 consists of helicopters, with the US Army taking the lion’s share. The Army will request 48 AH-64 Apache helicopters remanufactured to the new AH-64E Apache Guardian standard, enough for two attack helicopter battalions. It’s also asking for 73 UH-60M Blackhawk transport helicopters, about 15 more than it got in 2019. Nine CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters round out the Army’s request.

With a few exceptions, the rest of the helicopters go to the Marine Corps. The Marines are asking for six of the enormously expensive CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, ten MV-22 Ospreys, and six VH-92A helicopters, otherwise known as the new Marine One: the official vertical lift ride of the President of the United States.


Bander Almohanna CEO & Managing Director flynas

 Mr. Bander Al-Mohanna is the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of flynas, a Saudi national air carrier and a leading low-cost airline in the Middle East.

Al-Mohanna holds a Master’s Degree in Actuarial & Financial Mathematics from the University of Michigan as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the American University in Washington D.C. He has also obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from King Saud University, Riyadh. He is a member of CFA Institute and has also successfully completed an Advanced Management Program at Harvard University.

Al-Mohanna has over 20 years of experience in leadership, finance and management across several sectors. He is a key member of flynas Group, responsible for the restructuring, financing and acquisition strategy of more than US $ 8 billion. Al-Mohanna joined flynas in 2006 as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and was promoted to Executive Vice President in 2008. In 2015, he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of flynas Group (flynas, NASJET, and flynas Hajj & Umrah).

Prior to joining flynas, Al-Mohanna held several key positions, including Chief Financial Analyst at Makshaff Services and Investments Ltd. He also held several positions at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, including the Banking Supervision Department between 1993 and 2002.

Al-Mohanna also chairs and sits in the board of various prestigious business entities. Al-Mohanna is also Chairman of Middle East Financial Investment Company (MEFIC) bank and JAZL Investments. He is a board member of several companies including Sabb Takaful, Nitaq Actuarial Services, NAS Execujet Services and Nas Holding.

 Mr. Bander Al-Mohanna, together with his team, has contributed to the success of flynas and led it to win several prestigious international awards, including the Middle East's Leading Low-Cost Airline from World Travel Awards for four consecutive years 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 and Skytrax Awards for Middle East's Best Low-Cost Airline for 2017 & 2018.

Al-Mohanna, recently revealed that flynas has carried about 6.6 million passengers on 60,000 domestic and international flights during 2018, noting that the increase in the number of passengers is a result of the increasing number of flights and destinations in line with flynas’ expansion plans to meet its passengers’ needs.

Al-Mohanna further stressed that the growth rate in passenger numbers is an extension of flynas’ previous successes and expansion plans in the domestic and international market, as it has launched 11 new destinations in 2018.

He added, “this year’s flynas results confirm that it continues to be the best travel choice in the Kingdom, which further enhances our future ambitions to expand and reach new destinations”. He also noted flynas’ achievements, as it has won the prestigious Skytrax Award twice in a row (2017 and 2018) and Middle East’s Leading Low-Cost Airline from the World Travel Awards for four consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018).

Al-Mohanna stated that flynas’ domestic flights has carried about 4.3 million passengers, while the total number of passengers on international flights exceeded 2.3 million in 2018. He also said, “the increasing number of passengers on our flights reflects our relentless efforts to improve passenger experience and develop plans to boost growth. We have expanded our domestic and international destinations as well as our strategic partnerships with Jet Airways, Pegasus and Etihad Airways”.

Moreover, flynas announced the graduation of the first batch of the Saudi Female Flight Attendants program, noting that their first practical flight will be during recent months.

This step stems from flynas’ keenness to empower Saudi women to play a key role in the renaissance of the Kingdom in diverse industries. flynas is the first Saudi national carrier to open opportunities for Saudi women through its ‘Future Pilots’ and ‘Flight Attendants’ Programs.

flynas stated that the ‘Flight Attendants’ program aims to attract 300 Saudi male and female flight attendants within two years, noting that it will consider the working hours and will allocate a uniform for Saudi female flight attendants in line with the Saudi customs and traditions.

In 2019, flynas will continue with its expansion strategy, and new destinations will be launched on a new fleet of 120, A320neo aircraft purchased from Airbus for a total value of 32 billion riyals, to be delivered successively in 2019.

Airbus, Dassault Systèmes sign MOA for advance aviation design

 Airbus and Dassault Systèmes have signed a five year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to cooperate on the implementation of collaborative 3D design, engineering, manufacturing, simulation and intelligence applications. This will enable Airbus to take a major step forward in its digital transformation and lay the foundation for a new European industrial ecosystem in aviation.     

Under the MOA, Airbus will deploy Dassault Systèmes’ 3DExperience platform, which delivers digital continuity, from design to operations, in a single data model for a unified user experience, making digital design, manufacturing and services (DDMS) a company-wide reality for all Airbus divisions and product lines. 

DDMS paves the way for breakthroughs in new product design, operational performance, support and maintenance, customer satisfaction and new business models, as it represents a move from sequential to parallel development processes. Instead of first focusing on product performance, Airbus will be able to co-design and develop the next generation of aircraft with the manufacturing facilities that will produce them, reducing costs and time to market. 

“We are not just talking about digitalization or a 3D experience, we are rethinking the way aircraft are designed and operated, streamlining and speeding up our processes with customer satisfaction in mind,” said Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft. “DDMS is a catalyst for change and with it we are building a new model for the European aerospace industry with state of the art technology. Our target is a robust production setup that offers a reduction in product development lead time.”


New foldable drone flies through narrow holes transporting objects on the way

 Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying robot could look for people trapped inside and guide the rescue team towards them. But the drone would often have to enter the building through a crack in a wall, a partially open window, or through bars -- something the typical size of a drone does not allow.

To solve this problem, researchers from the Robotics and Perception Group at the University of Zurich and the Laboratory of Intelligent Systems at EPFL created a new kind of drone. Both groups are part of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Robotics funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Inspired by birds that fold their wings in mid-air to cross narrow passages, the new drone can squeeze itself to pass through gaps and then go back to its previous shape, all the while continuing to fly. And it can even hold and transport objects along the way.

"Our solution is quite simple from a mechanical point of view, but it is very versatile and very autonomous, with onboard perception and control systems," explains Davide Falanga, researcher at the University of Zurich and the paper's first author. In comparison to other drones, this morphing drone can maneuver in tight spaces and guarantee a stable flight at all times.

The Zurich and Lausanne teams worked in collaboration and designed a quadrotor with four propellers that rotate independently, mounted on mobile arms that can fold around the main frame thanks to servo-motors. The ace in the hole is a control system that adapts in real time to any new position of the arms, adjusting the thrust of the propellers as the center of gravity shifts.

"The morphing drone can adopt different configurations according to what is needed in the field," adds Stefano Mintchev, co-author and researcher at EPFL. The standard configuration is X-shaped, with the four arms stretched out and the propellers at the widest possible distance from each other. When faced with a narrow passage, the drone can switch to a "H" shape, with all arms lined up along one axis or to a "O" shape, with all arms folded as close as possible to the body. A "T" shape can be used to bring the onboard camera mounted on the central frame as close as possible to objects that the drone needs to inspect.

In the future, the researchers hope to further improve the drone structure so that it can fold in all three dimensions. Most importantly, they want to develop algorithms that will make the drone truly autonomous, allowing it to look for passages in a real disaster scenario and automatically choose the best way to pass through them. "The final goal is to give the drone a high-level instruction such as 'enter that building, inspect every room and come back' and let it figure out by itself how to do it," says Falanga.


CASIC to launch commercial rockets in space

 Chinese defense contractor CASIC is preparing to launch a new solid propellant launch vehicle in the first half of the year as part of a multiplatform commercial space strategy.

The Kuaizhou-11 (KZ-11) debut launch will carry six satellites, according to Chinese language news portal 3SNews, though it provided no information on the payloads or clients, nor more precise information on timing.

The new rocket will have a liftoff mass of 78 metric tons and be capable of lifting 1,000 kilograms to a 700-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) or 1,500 kilograms into a 400-kilometer low Earth orbit using either 2.2 or 2.6-meter payload fairings, making it the largest Chinese solid propellant launch vehicle so far.

The Kuaizhou-11 has been developed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), a huge state-owned enterprise. The commercial Kuaizhou launch vehicles, or ‘fast vessel’, have been derived from CASIC’s missile technology in order to provide fast-response and low-cost access to space.

The KZ-11 had previously been stated by Chinese media to be ready for test flight in the first half of 2018, then the second half of last year, before the slip to the first half of 2019. No reason for the delays has so far been released.

When the Kuaizhou-11 does take off, it will, like existing and planned future Kuaizhou rockets, be launched from a transporter erector launcher (TEL). It will likely launch from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, run by the People’s Liberation Army.

Earlier public statements from CASIC and subsidiary Expace, a commercial launch provider, claim launch costs of between $10,000 to $20,000 per kilogram for the Kuaizhou series, and expect this to fall to $5,000 per kilogram.

CASIC currently only launches commercial payloads. With two launches of its smaller Kuaizhou-1A launcher, capable of carrying 200 kilograms to a 700-kilometer SSO, in January 2017 and September 2018, CASIC put Jilin-1 remote sensing satellites for Chang Guang Satellite Technology Co. Ltd., and small satellites for universities and private companies into orbit.

Design work on the Kuaizhou-21 launch vehicle began in 2017, according to Chinese state media. It will have a diameter of 4.5 meters and be capable of sending 20-metric tons into a low Earth orbit.

CASIC in December saw the launch of the first satellite for its 156-satellite Hongyun (‘rainbow cloud’) low Earth orbit wideband communications constellation and is planning an 80-satellite narrowband constellation for Internet of Things connectivity named Xingyun as well as a Tengyun project to develop a reusable space plane.

While CASC is restricted to commercial payloads, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), a sister company to CASIC and the main contractor for the Chinese space program, carries out China’s government and military missions using its family of Long March of launch vehicles.

CASC is meanwhile preparing for the debut flight of a new commercial launcher, named Jielong-1 (‘Smart Dragon-1’), with the company stating the flight will take place in the first half of 2019.

Jielong-1 is designed to be ‘fast, agile and flexible’ and capable of putting 150 kilograms into a 700-kilometer SSO, but appears to be the first step in development of new, more innovative and competitive launchers from CASC.

“Preliminarily, we plan to develop two series, the Jielong series and Tenglong series,” Tang Yagang, president of CASC subsidiary Chinarocket Co., Ltd., told China Central Television in December, adding that the Tenglong launch vehicles would be liquid propellant rockets with a large payload capacity.

“We are exploring different technical methods that include retrieval of rockets by vertical take off and landing, and horizontal take off and landing. Now we have expedited the development of the technology to reuse rockets. Hopefully, in the coming two to three years, China’s rockets will adopt the technology,” Tang said.


First UAE astronaut to launch in September, Sputnik notes

 The first UAE astronaut will blast off into space in September, according to Russian reports.

State-owned news agency Sputnik reported that the rocket, which will carry the pioneering Emirati, would launch on September 25.

A three-man crew will return to Earth on October 3 following eight days in space, rather than the 10 days that were originally announced.

Sputnik claimed the date for the Russian mission, which the UAE is participating in, was moved forward from October.

The Dubai-based Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre has not yet confirmed the amended details.

On its way to the International Space Station, the Soyuz rocket will carry one of the two Emirati astronauts who are currently undergoing training – Hazza Al Mansouri, or Sultan Al Neyadi, – as well as a Russian commander Oleg Skripochka and American flight engineer Chris Cassidy.

On its return, the rocket will bring back the UAE astronaut and a returning crew from the ISS who have spent several months in space.

Under an agreement signed with the Russian space agency Roscosmos, the first UAE astronaut was scheduled to go into orbit in April.

Those plans were disrupted by the aborted launch of a Soyuz rocket last October. What should have been a routine mission ended with the crew making an emergency landing just three minutes into the flight.

A faulty sensor on a booster rocket caused an inquiry later found the failure during separation.

Russia briefly suspended Soyuz flights, before allowing them to resume in early December, but the issue forced a rethink of its timetable for future missions.

The UAE astronaut's place on the MS-12 was bumped following the incident as the seats were reportedly reserved for the two astronauts from the previous mission who had missed out.

It is expected that the Emirati astronaut will be accompanied on the return home by one of them – Russia’s Aleksey Ovchinin.

The two Emiratis are training for the mission, enduring simulations of zero gravity and learning to fend for themselves in the wilderness to prepare them for the possibility of an off-course landing in Siberia.

They were chosen from more than 4,000 hopefuls in a national competition organized by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, and only one of them will be picked to take part in September's space mission.

The United Arab Emirates will seek to encourage both investment in space ventures in the country as well as investment by domestic funds into the broader space industry under a new plan.

The “National Plan for the Promotion of Space Investment,” announced last week by the UAE Space Agency, is part of a wider initiative to turn the country into a rising space power through projects ranging from a Mars mission to launching the country’s first astronaut.

The plan seeks to encourage foreign investment in the UAE’s emerging space sector, while also encouraging the country’s own investment vehicles to invest in the industry, either within or outside the country, according to a statement from the space agency. It added that details about the plan will be released in the coming months, but will include creation of business accelerators, funds and specially designated economic zones.

“The UAE Space Agency, as a federal government entity, will actively play the part of an enabler and facilitator to encourage local and foreign investment in the sector, and proactively design a conducive environment which ensures startups and investors feel welcome and have access to business in the UAE that can drive their growth potential,” said Mohammed Al Ahbabi, director general of the UAE Space Agency, in a statement.

The space industry is not new to the country. Mobile satellite operator Thuraya was founded in the UAE in the 1990s, operating two satellites in geostationary orbit to provide voice and data services from Europe to Asia. Yahsat, a satellite operator also based in the UAE that operates three geostationary orbit satellites, acquired Thuraya in 2018.

In 2009, Aabar Investments, an Abu Dhabi-based fund now part of Mubadala Investment Company, invested $280 million into suborbital spaceflight operator Virgin Galactic for a roughly one-third stake in the company. This has led to discussions, but no firm plans, to eventually operate one of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo vehicles from the UAE.

The UAE government has, in recent years, invested more attention, and money, into space initiatives, including the formation of the UAE Space Agency and establishment of a national space law. Among those projects is the country’s first Mars orbiter mission, Hope, scheduled for launch in 2020. The domestically built KhalifaSat remote sensing satellite, the first such satellite developed entirely within the UAE, launched in October 2018 on a Japanese H-2 rocket.

The agency also recruited its first class of astronauts last year, one of which will fly on a Soyuz mission to the International Space Station. That mission was scheduled to take place this spring but has been delayed until the fall because of changes in the overall schedule of Soyuz missions to the ISS prompted by a launch failure in October 2018 that aborted the Soyuz MS-10 mission to the station.


Flynas’ unveils initiatives to empower women

 Saudi Arabian Airline Company and leading low-cost carrier in the Middle East region Flynas launched its first ‘Let’s Talk Aviation’ meet that was jointly organized with Prince Sultan University. The first meeting, titled ‘Saudi Women in Aviation’ took place at the Prince Sultan University Campus.

Bandar Al Mohanna, CEO of Flynas, several VIPs from the aviation sector, in addition to academics and representatives from various airline companies in Saudi Arabia attended the meeting. During the meeting, discussions focused on the role of Saudi women within the aviation sector and the potential they can contribute towards developing it through participating in various roles and positions.

Al Mohanna announced two new initiatives by the company to empower women in the aviation sector, through enabling them to work in the maintenance department, and allowing married couples to work together within shared roles that suit their work schedules.

Flynas’ Director of Corporate Communications and official spokesperson Ahmad Almusained welcomed all participants and praised Prince Sultan University for its efforts in supporting this initiative. He highlighted the meeting’s objective to create job opportunities for national talents, and in particular Saudi women, which is in-line with Flynas’ social responsibility commitment.

He stated that Saudi women possess the capabilities to contribute effectively within various roles in the civil aviation sector, and this has inspired the company to adopt this topic as one of the main themes for the ‘Let’s Talk Aviation’ meetings in 2019. The company has decided to organize such meetings once every 2 to 3 months.

Almusained also emphasized Flynas’ commitment towards empowering Saudi women through initiatives such as this meeting, which stems from Flynas’ belief in Saudi women’s capabilities to lead and work in top positions in the aviation sector and all other sectors, and also its dedication to promote national social responsibility and spread awareness on the aviation sector’s significance and role in creating jobs and supporting youth.

During a panel discussion moderated by media personality Ali Alghofaili, Mashael Muteb, first Saudi female flight attendant to serve at Flynas, commended the company’s pioneering move in hiring the first Saudi female flight attendant, and its recent training of the first batch of female flight attendants, which reiterates its commitments towards supporting the nationalization of aviation jobs and empowering women in particular.

She added that Saudi women are just as competent as their male counterparts in working as flight attendants and ensuring the safety and comfort of travelers, and that this work upholds Saudi Arabian traditions and values.

Raghda Alsulaimani, corporate communications manager and official spokesperson at Nesma Airlines, spoke about her experience serving in the aviation sector after she received an offer to work at Nesma, thanks to her experience as a copywriter specialized in the sector. She stressed on the importance of creating a balance and a culture of equality between men and women in this regard. She also urged all aviation companies to present opportunities to women, and also highlighted the importance of social awareness and the major role women play across all sectors.

Fahad Bahdailah, vice president of corporate communications at Saudi Arabian Airlines, pointed out a number of difficulties and challenges faced by the sector’s workforce, and stressed on the importance of creating equal opportunities for men and women, and also creating further training options to keep up with global sector developments, as jobs and skills within the sector are continually developing.

Nawras Al Khalifah, customer and quality services manager at Flynas, spoke about her experience within the sector, which started in 2008, when she unexpectedly joined the sector after being specialized in another field. Today, and thanks to her long experience covering an array of multiple roles, she was able to form a strong skill set and overcome any challenges faced during the transition.

Dr. Rafed Zawawi, chairman of the department of aviation and management at Prince Sultan University, mentioned the high demand for national talent within the aviation sector, and stated that the current rate of women working within the sector is 4%. He also spoke about the challenges the sector must overcome to achieve women empowerment objectives outlined in Vision 2030, and expressed his optimism in accomplishing them thanks to Saudi women’s capabilities and supporting global trends.

He added that the Saudi market requires specialized aviation colleges and schools, and announced that Prince Sultan University has launched 12 new aviation programs, which were added to tens of existing relevant programs. He also reiterated the importance of this sector in realizing revenues and enhancing a varied and robust Saudi economy.

Maha Alyamani, a specialist in risk management, shared her experience as the first Saudi woman to be hired at the General Authority of Civil Aviation, and stated that the sector offers a plethora of jobs suitable for women. She also said that the number of women working in the aviation sector has recently doubled, which presents a positive outlook towards further empowerment for women. She also stressed on the need to follow up on various studies and developments in the sector to keep up with

Al Mohanna later also presented recognition trophies to all speakers, and stressed on the importance of this meeting as valuable opportunity to gather those interested in the aviation sector and to urge national talents to consider careers within it. 

Ethiopian Airlines plans All-Women Flight Crew to celebrate Women’s Day

 Ethiopian Airlines schools the world on feminism; plans 100% flight crew from Addis-Ababa to Norway, to celebrate International Women’s Day

“Empower woman, empower the human community. The base on which the world stands is a women.”

For many years, Ethiopia has been a good model for Africa and has seldom failed to show the continent the way when needed. Now, it appears the East African country not only leads Africa in certain areas but the world in general.

In a move that will undoubtedly make big international Airline operators like Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, Delta Airlines, etc. frown at their creative departments for not thinking ‘out of the box’, Ethiopian Airlines has again announced plans to operate an international flight from Addis Ababa to Stockholm-Oslo, Norway, with an all-women crew to mark International Women’s Day.

 The International Women's Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in 1975. The March 8 date was however fixed in 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim the day as the UN Day for women's rights and world peace. International Women’s Day has been celebrated yearly since then.

The move by Africa's largest and fastest growing airline, Ethiopian Airlines to mark International Women’s Day by operating an all-female crew from Addis-Ababa to Stockholm-Oslo, Norway is a welcome development as the carrier has received commendations from around the world for its decision.

 The airline made the announcement a few days ago to mark the special day, the flight from Addis-Ababa to Oslo will consist of a crew whose cockpit, airport operations, passenger control, flight deck crew, safety, catering staff, etc. will be 100 percent female.

Ethiopian Airlines operates five weekly flights to Oslo, Norway via Stockholm.

The airline also revealed that the theme of the flight is “all women functioned flight to operate from the continent of Africa to meet their counterparts in Europe to show the power of women to the world.”

 One thing that has impressed many, is the consistency of the airline management because this is not the first time they have marked International Women’s Day in this special way. The airline seems to always be a step ahead of its competitors.

You will recall that that Ethiopian Airlines celebrated the 2018 International Women’s Day by operating an all-female crew on a flight from Addis Ababa to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and operated same within Africa the year before.

Speaking on the development, the Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO, Tewolde GebreMariam said,

“We are immensely honored that we have women trailblazers in every aspect of our aviation field. Women are an integral part of our success story from the start and with this dedicated flight, we honor and celebrate their indispensable contribution to our aviation Group and the broader aviation industry, our country and the continent at large.

“Although women are Africa’s greatest resource, gender inequality still persists in our continent. Therefore, we all need to ensure that women take their rightful position in all human endeavor by creating the right conditions and through all-inclusive engagement models.”


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