Lockheed Martin And RNLAF celebrate the launch The First Dutch Operational F-35

 Dutch and American officials celebrated the roll out of the first operational F-35A Lightning II for the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, commemorating a transformational leap in capability for the future of the Netherlands' national defense.

"Receiving this F-35 at Leeuwarden Air Base later this year is going to be a huge driver for change for our Air Force and will have tremendous impact on the relevance of our Air Force as part of the coalition," said Lt. Gen. Dennis Luyt, Commander, RNLAF. "We want to be among the best air forces of the world, and the platform of F-35 allows us to do that." 

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ANA to buy stake in Philippine Airlines, ordering 48 narrow-bodies

 ANA Holdings, the parent company of Japan’s largest airline All Nippon Airways, has announced it is to invest $95 million to purchase a 9.5% stake in the parent company of the Philippine flag carrier.

The company has confirmed the news recently, adding that the deal is still subject to ‘certain’ closing conditions. The company claims the move is in line with its international group network expansion strategy for FY 2018 - 2022. For Philippine Airlines this should mean “the dawn of a new era of growth”, according to ANA Holdings’ statement.

ANA operates 14 flights weekly on two routes to the Philippines, whilst Philippine Airlines currently operates 84 flights weekly on nine routes to Japan. The two carriers have codeshare operations on Japan - Philippine routes and domestic routes within Japan and the Philippines, linking a total of 16 Japanese and 11 Philippine destinations.

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Dubai International sees passenger traffic grow 1% to 89.1m last year

 Dubai International Airport kept its title as the world’s busiest international airport for the fifth consecutive year in 2018, recording a rise in passenger numbers even amid a slowing global economy.

The annual customer tally at Dubai’s main transit hub increased by 1 per cent to 89.1 million last year from 88.2 million in 2017 as the number of flights dipped but the average number of passengers per plane went up, operator Dubai Airports said on Monday.

The number of flights fell 0.3 percent to 408,251 during 2018 while the average number of passengers grew slightly by 1.3 percent to 226 people per plane, the airport operator said.

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TrueNoord acquires two Embraer E195 on lease to Azul

 Regional aircraft leasing specialist TrueNoord has acquired two Embraer E195s on lease to Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S.A.

Financing was provided under TrueNoord’s recent term loan warehouse facility supported by Morgan Stanley, NORD/LB Norddeutsche Landesbank and Barclays. Legal services were provided by Hogan Lovells and Stek.

Garry Topp, Sales Director at TrueNoord with specific responsibility for the Americas, commented “We are extremely proud to add Azul to our list of customers. They are an award-winning South American airline with a significant presence in the Latin American regional aviation sector.  Azul is committed to developing regional aviation and upgrading their fleet and so we look forward to a successful long-term relationship.”

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Textron Aviation ends 2018 on high note

 Textron Aviation closed the fourth quarter with a 12 percent increase in revenue, to $1.6 billion, on higher deliveries of 63 business jets and 67 turboprops. The 9 percent increase in jet deliveries, up from 58 in the same quarter of 2017, and 49 percent jump in turboprops, up from 45 aircraft, contributed to ‘a very strong quarter’ at parent company Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly said this morning.

Order demand was up across the company’s Citation product line, including for the CJ4, Sovereign, and Latitude. For all of 2018, the Wichita-based airframer delivered 188 jets compared with 180 in 2017, and 186 turboprops versus 155. Backlog was $1.8 billion, flat from the end of the third quarter but up $600 million from a year ago.

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Bombardier extends Learjet maintenance Intervals

 Bombardier announced today that Learjet 70 and Learjet 75 aircraft operators now benefit from lengthened intervals between recurring major powerplant inspections, which have been extended from 3,000 to 3,500 engine hours. This interval extension directly benefits the bottom lines of operators by reducing the number of repeat inspections over the lifecycle of the engine, thereby decreasing operating costs over the lifecycle of the aircraft. This announcement comes as Bombardier’s fleet of trailblazing Learjet aircraft has surpassed the 25 million flight-hour mark, adding yet another achievement to an impressive string of Learjet milestones and firsts. The first Learjet business aircraft entered service in 1964, creating the experience and defining the industry of private flight.

“This is a significant milestone for our pace-setting Learjet aircraft family and for the industry. The Learjet platform is designed to deliver immediate returns as a business productivity tool. Reliability and longevity are two of the reasons customers among Fortune 500 companies continue to choose Learjet as the most trusted light jet platform,” said Peter Likoray, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Bombardier Business Aircraft.

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VistaJet marks a record year as it celebrates 15 years

 Business aviation services company VistaJet logged a 31 percent increase in new members and saw a 25 percent jump in its global operations last year, the company reported. VistaJet marked the record year as it celebrates its 15th year in the industry and prepares for even further growth in 2019.

VistaJet saw utilization of its fleet of more than 70 long-range Bombardier jets climb by 20 percent, the company said, adding the hours equate to each aircraft flying around the world 20 times on average. Operations jumped 46 percent year-over-year in North America alone, while Europe has become a key market, accounting for 48 percent of all VistaJet flights. New members in Europe grew by 105 percent, thanks in part to a doubling of the client base in the UK. Flights ticked up 38 percent in the Middle East, with the UAE accounting for 29 percent of these flights and 34 percent of flight hours.

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Airbus, Royole Technology sign MoU for new technologies in aircraft cabins

 Airbus China Innovation Centre (ACIC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Royole Technology – a global pioneer in flexible displays, flexible sensors and foldable smartphones. The two parties will collaborate to develop applications that implement flexible electronic technologies in cabin environments and investigate the possibilities for commercial cooperation.

Airbus has been dedicated to design and manufacture aircraft that provide a better cabin experience for passengers. By investigating the use of flexible displays and flexible sensors in the cabin, Airbus plans to cooperate with Royole Technology by building a futurized, digitalized and personalized cabin to further improve the cabin environment, cabin safety and energy saving.

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uShip unveils LIFT Aircraft

 Matt Chasen, founder of uShip, is unveiling a new venture today called LIFT Aircraft. LIFT has developed an electric, vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft and plans to open up LIFT locations where anyone will be able to rent aircraft and experience an entirely new kind of flying - pilot's license not required.

"Flying is probably the oldest and most enduring of human aspirations. Personal aviation is available today but it's only accessible to the lucky few with the money, time and skill to get the extensive training needed to fly traditional aircraft. At LIFT, we're making flying so simple, safe and inexpensive that anyone can do it with very little skill or special training. We're truly consumerizing flying for the first time in history," says Chasen.

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Chang’e-4 makes soft-landing on the moon

 China’s Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first ever soft-landing on the far side of the moon in a mission investigating the history of the solar system and paving the way for future exploration.

The 1,200-kilogram dry mass Chang’e-4 lander touched down at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south within Von Kármán crater at 9:26 p.m. Eastern, according to an announcement from the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The spacecraft began its descent at 9:15 p.m. from a perilune of 15 kilometers with a burn of its single main variable thruster before entering approach, hazard avoidance and slow descent phases, with a descent camera returning images of the approaching surface.

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NASA sends CubeSats to space on first dedicated launch with Rocket Lab

 A series of new CubeSats now are in space, conducting a variety of scientific investigations and technology demonstrations, following launch of Rocket Lab’s first mission for NASA under a Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) contract.

“With the VCLS effort, NASA has successfully advanced the commercial launch service choices for smaller payloads, providing viable dedicated small launch options as an alternative to the rideshare approach,” said Jim Norman, director of Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This first mission is opening the door for future launch options.”

At the time of the VCLS award in 2015, launch opportunities for small satellites and science missions were limited to ridesharing - flying only when space was available on other missions. Managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, VCLS awards are designed to foster a commercial market where SmallSats and CubeSats could be placed in orbits to get the best science return.

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Women in Aviation on a mission to motivate women into the aviation industry

 Women in Aviation-Middle East, the regional branch of the global non-profit Women in Aviation International (WAI), was on a mission at MEBAA 2018: “Our mission is to empower and motivate women and invite them to be a force in the aviation industry,” said Mervat Sultan, president, Women in Aviation Middle East. The effort has gained traction over the past decade. “In the last ten years the numbers of ladies [in the aviation field] has increased a lot,” she said. “We have women at ATC, on the ramp, pilots and in engineering.” 

However, “It’s not about gender, about female or male,” she said of her group’s efforts, noting their membership includes both. “It’s about expanding knowledge of aviation in the region.” 

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Edmonton International Airport focuses on more women-oriented training programs

 A learning center opening at Edmonton International Airport early this year will include a program focused on drawing young women into the aviation industry.

The program will help girls and women ages 15 to 24 find opportunities in the industry and connect with employers.

It's the first program of its kind in Canada, the learning center's founder said in an interview.

"There's a huge shortage in the aviation industry right now," said Kendra Kincade, an air-traffic controller and founder of Elevate Aviation.

"We personally want to help women succeed and offer careers where they can have economic security."

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Airbus secures EASA approval for new pilot-training program

 Airbus has secured European certification for a cadet pilot training program jointly developed with the French university Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile.

The program will initially be introduced at the Mexican flight school Escuela de Aviacion Mexico early next year.

Airbus says the scheme, approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency, will provide a ‘complete and fully integrated’ airline transport pilot license program, which will take advantage of the airframer’s ‘extensive’ experience and its ‘high safety and reliability standards’.

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CAE introduces CAE Rise™ for the defense market

 CAE recently made an announcement at Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) the launch of training program CAE Rise™ for the defense market.

CAE Rise™ is a data-driven training system designed to enable defense and security organizations to deliver standardized training and give instructors a new approach to objectively assess pilot competencies using live data during training sessions. The system leverages big data analytics to reduce subjectivity in pilot assessment, allows instructors even greater focus on teaching, and helps create more efficient and continually improving training programs. CAE Rise™ is one of CAE’s latest digital innovations and has already been deployed for training CAE’s airline partners.

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Etihad Aviation Training awarded EASA certificate

 Etihad Aviation Training, part of Etihad Aviation Group, has become the first full European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Approved Training Organization (ATO) for the transport category in the United Arab Emirates.

This significant achievement reinforces the organization’s position as a world-class aviation-training center, located in the Middle East.

The certification is a clear indication of the quality and standard that has been developed at the training organization as well as the cooperation between the UAE Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and Etihad Aviation Group over the last few years.

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