21 June, 2024

SITA Welcomes Shawn Gregor as President of the Americas


SITA, the global leader in technology solutions for the air transport industry, has confirmed the appointment of Shawn Gregor as the new President of the Americas. Gregor’s extensive background includes overseeing digital transformation programs for clients within the aviation sector, with a geographical focus spanning the Americas, including work in the United States and Canada.

His career has featured numerous leadership roles, most recently serving as Vice President and Industry Leader for Travel and Transportation at IBM. Prior to his tenure at IBM, Gregor made substantial contributions at Infosys Technologies Limited and Accenture, where he developed several strategic business units.

Gregor has both US and Canadian citizenship and holds an MBA in Finance from the Michael G. DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University and a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Western Ontario.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the new role, Gregor stated, "I am excited and ready to join SITA, a company renowned for its innovative spirit and collaborative approach within the air transport industry. Our vision to re-invent travel and transport aligns perfectly with my personal interests and expertise. I am looking forward to expanding our technology and industry connections to deliver solutions that will enhance the travel experience for customers across the Americas.”

"We are thrilled to welcome Shawn to the SITA leadership team," said Carlos Kaduoka, who served as interim President of Americas during the first half of this year. "Shawn's extensive experience and proven track record in the transportation and IT sectors make him an ideal fit to drive our growth and innovation in the Americas. His leadership will be instrumental in continuing our mission to provide cutting-edge solutions for the aviation industry."

Gregor will be responsible for leading SITA's operations and driving strategic initiatives across the Americas region, further strengthening the company's commitment to delivering exceptional value to its customers.

Joby Announces ‘ElevateOS’ Software Suite for Air Taxi Operations


Joby Aviation, a company developing electric air taxis for commercial passenger service, announced this week it has received Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) authorization to use a suite of software tools developed in-house, called ‘ElevateOS’, that are designed to enable high-tempo, on-demand air taxi operations.




Joby has developed proprietary software to support revolutionary high-tempo, on-demand air taxi operations

Software suite has undergone real-world testing over the past two years, leveraging Joby’s Part 135 certification





The ElevateOS operating system, which will be introduced during a virtual presentation later today, includes pilot tools, operations and schedule management software, a mobile-first rider app, and an intelligent matching engine. The matching engine is similar to those used by ride-hailing apps today and pairs passengers with available aircraft and landing infrastructure to deliver journeys that are as efficient as possible. Joby plans to use ElevateOS to support its own air taxi operations, as well as making it available to selected partners who purchase the aircraft, as part of a wider services package.

During today’s presentation, Joby will cover a range of other preparations it is making to support the launch of commercial air taxi operations as soon as 2025, including pilot training and the simulation of its planned air taxi service using a conventional aircraft that carries the same number of passengers as Joby’s aircraft. Utilizing a Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate granted by the Federal Aviation Administration more than two years ago, Joby has already been able to use its ElevateOS software to test core aspects of its planned operations, by:

Offering Joby team members a true, on-demand passenger service, enabling them to book flights with free choice of timing, origin and destination, using the Joby rider app
Matching passengers with similar routes to each other, using automation tools
Taking payments from Joby team members and external customers for whole-aircraft chartered flights
Integrating the use of the Joby pilot app, rider app and back-end operational software
Joby has been actively developing and testing these software tools, in-house, since acquiring Uber Elevate, the air taxi division of Uber in 2021. In 2019, Uber Elevate launched and ran UberCopter, the world’s first on-demand, multi-modal air taxi service in New York City, using traditional helicopters that were bookable via the Uber app.


“The air taxi service we plan to deliver isn’t like any sort of air travel that’s existed before. We expect travelers to book on-demand and to be boarding an aircraft just minutes later, much like the experience of using ground-based ridesharing today. That required us to totally rethink the software and the operations of these aircraft,” said Eric Allison, Chief Product Officer at Joby and former Head of Uber Elevate. “We’ve built ElevateOS from the ground up to enable high-tempo, on-demand flights that will deliver true time savings and seamless mobility to customers.

“ElevateOS is the result of many years of iteration and real-life experience and we’re confident it is the most sophisticated, efficient, and flexible suite of air operations tools available today.”

Joby is undertaking the following to prepare for operations:

Training Electric Air Taxi Pilots: Joby has developed an aircraft-specific training course that prepares qualified commercial pilots to fly the Joby aircraft in about six weeks. The course includes the use of immersive flight simulation training devices being developed in partnership with CAE, a global leader in aviation training. Additionally, Joby has already begun offering private pilot training and ground school as part of its future pilot training academy.

Building the Maintenance Workforce of the Future: Joby received its Part 145 Maintenance Certificate earlier this year and is developing a comprehensive maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) strategy to ensure maximum aircraft utilization in markets around the globe. Joby received a $1 million grant from the FAA to support the development of maintenance training programs.

Implementing Rigorous Safety Systems: Joby was the first electric air taxi company to have a Safety Management System accepted into the FAA’s Voluntary Program for Air Operations, supporting the Company’s Part 135 operations. It was also the first air taxi company to be awarded the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations Stage 1 Certification, administered by the International Business Aviation Council, following a safety audit in 2023.

“We are leading the industry in the certification and manufacturing of our electric air taxi as well as in our preparations for commercial service,” said Bonny Simi, President of Operations at Joby. “This is rigorous work that is required for any company to provide efficient and seamless air taxi operations, and many of these items have been years in the making.”

Joby’s electric air taxi is designed to carry a pilot and four passengers at speeds of up to 200 mph, offering high-speed mobility with a fraction of the noise produced by helicopters and zero operating emissions.

Joby intends to operate its aircraft in the U.S. markets including New York City and Los Angeles alongside partner Delta Air Lines, and in the United Arab Emirates, where the Company has a six-year exclusive agreement to provide air taxi services in Dubai. Joby will also partner with local operators in certain overseas geographies, as well as supporting direct sales of its aircraft to business customers such as Mukamalah, the aviation arm of Saudi Aramco, and to potential government partners such as the U.S. Department of Defense.

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One new Airbus A321neo delivered to Condor

Aviation Capital Group LLC, a premier global full-service aircraft asset manager, has confirmed the delivery of one A321neo to Condor Flugdienst. The jet is powered by the ultra-efficient Pratt & Whitney GTF engines and is the first of four aircraft scheduled to be delivered to the airline by ACG.



“It is with great pride and enthusiasm that we commemorate the delivery of Condor Flugdienst’s first Airbus A321neo. This milestone marks a significant achievement in our flourishing partnership with Condor, an airline renowned for its exceptional service and operational excellence. Our collaboration continues to strengthen, driven by shared values and a mutual commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, and the environment,” said Carter White, ACG Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer.

"After the first A320neo joined Condor’s fleet in April, we are now delighted to take delivery of the first A321neo with ACG, which will be the backbone of our short-medium haul fleet," said Björn Walter, CFO of Condor. "With the continuation of the fleet renewal on short and medium-haul routes, Condor will soon be operating the most modern fleet in Europe."



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Virgin Galactic Announces New Research Flight

Virgin Galactic announced this week it has signed a new contract with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (“IIAS”) to fly three research astronauts as part of a future crew aboard the Company’s Delta Class spaceship.

It will be the second research mission that IIAS has conducted with Virgin Galactic. It follows ‘Galactic 05’ in November 2023, which tested novel healthcare technologies and examined how fluids behaved in low gravity to help inform designs for future medical technologies and life-support systems. The mission is anticipated to take place within the first year of Delta commercial service, which remains on track to commence in 2026.

“We were thrilled with the results from our fluid cell experiment on ‘Galactic 05’, which demonstrated our ability to accurately predict the behaviour of fluid in a container in a weightless environment. We’ll be expanding on that research for our next mission, and I’ll be working to demonstrate our ability to control the behaviour of the liquid as well,” said astronaut and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations Kellie Gerardi. “The quality and repeatability of the microgravity environment provided by Virgin Galactic’s system is truly game-changing and the potential for a ‘fly, fix, fly’ approach opens the door to many exciting possibilities for IIAS to make discoveries that benefit future explorers.”

The IIAS astronaut crew expected to participate in the research mission includes:

Kellie Gerardi, a bioastronautics researcher and IIAS Director of Human Spaceflight Operations from the U.S. Gerardi previously flew as a payload specialist on the ‘Galactic 05’ research mission.

 

Dr. Shawna Pandya, a physician, aquanaut, bioastronautics researcher, and Director of IIAS’s Space Medicine Group, from Canada.

 

Dr. Norah Patten, an aeronautical engineer and bioastronautics researcher from Ireland.



The mission is designed to enable IIAS to introduce new research while also expanding upon the results from ‘Galactic 05,’ during which astronaut Kellie Gerardi was able to successfully validate a fluid behaviour theory within the high-quality microgravity conditions available through Virgin Galactic’s unique flight system. The IIAS crew plans to fly additional fluid cells, with payload enhancements including upgrades to camera quality and accelerometer measurements.

The WestJet Group inaugurates service between Halifax and Edinburgh

WestJet is celebrating the departure of its inaugural service between Halifax and Edinburgh today with the departure of WS46 from Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) scheduled for 10:35 p.m. local. The new service marks an important milestone for the WestJet Group as it continues to bolster Halifax's connectivity this summer. Additionally, the airline celebrated the return of non-stop service between Halifax and Dublin on Wednesday, June 19.

"Further solidifying our position as Canada's leading leisure airline, this flight is another milestone in our commitment to enhancing Atlantic Canada's business and leisure ties through air connectivity," said Andrew Gibbons, WestJet Vice-President of External Affairs. "With today's inaugural service, we are thrilled to further strengthen the connection between Halifax and Edinburgh as we continue to expand strategic air access across the region."

WestJet Summer Transatlantic Capacity from Halifax

Route

Frequency

Start Date

End Date

Departure

Arrival

Halifax to
Edinburgh

3x weekly

June 20

October 13

10:35 p.m.

8:10 a.m.

Edinburgh to
Halifax

3x weekly

June 21

October 13

9:35 a.m.

11:41 a.m.

Halifax to
Dublin

4x weekly

June 19

October 13

10:30 p.m.

7:55 a.m.

Dublin to
Halifax

4x weekly

June 20

October 14

9:30 a.m.

11:38 a.m.

Halifax to
London
(Gatwick)

4x weekly

April 28

October 25

11:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m.

London
(Gatwick) to
Halifax

4x weekly

April 29

October 26

11:00 a.m.

1:46 p.m.

When we tried to book flights from Edinburgh to Halifax for the rest of June, the WestJet system returned with error message saying no flights found. 



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Artemis Aerospace explores the most commonly replaced aircraft components

Aircraft need plenty of maintenance, both routine and unexpected, to keep them in the air and ensure they are in peak flying condition; lives depend on it. Flight simulators are in demand around the clock to keep pilots and cabin crew up to scratch with their training. Artemis Aerospace looks at the components which are most regularly replaced in each and the reasons why.



Aircraft are heavy duty workhorses and with airlines aiming for the minimum amount of AOG time, there's a considerable amount of wear and tear which needs continual attention.

Flight simulators enable pilots to train in every type of weather condition, for every possible eventuality, over any country and at any airport. The type of wear and tear which takes place on a simulator is very different to a real aircraft, but the need to keep them fully operational is no less urgent.

So which parts of an aeroplane need the most regular updating? Do flight simulators wear out the same parts just as fast, or does the pattern of dilapidation deviate? There are two distinct types; cosmetic wear and tear, which includes worn upholstery, broken armrests and recliners, chips, stains and spillages. It's important to an airline's brand and reputation to present an aircraft in the best possible state, but issues like these aren't necessarily essential to passenger safety. Then there is operational wear and tear, such as worn tyres or brakes and malfunctioning navigational equipment, which is absolutely crucial both for safety and compliance with rigorous regulations.

Italian luxury brand Missoni will design the airline's Delta One amenity kits

The Delta One experience will soon be further differentiated by a new partnership the global airline has forged with Italian luxury fashion house Missoni.

Together, Delta and Missoni – a brand known for its creative use of colours and patterns – will elevate Delta One with a new customer amenity kit and top-of-the-line details woven into key touchpoints throughout the Delta One travel experience.  

“We’ve been intentional about creating a Delta One experience—both on the ground and in the air—that feels truly premium and elevated, and Missoni’s elegance and prestige aligns perfectly with that vision,” said Mauricio Parise, Vice President – Brand Experience Design. “The Missoni-designed amenity kits, along with unique design elements that will be featured in our Delta One Lounge at JFK, will offer a distinct, high-end enhancement to our most premium spaces.”   

The new Delta One amenity kits will feature Missoni’s signature textured zigzag pattern on the exterior of the bag. That same intentional design continues inside the bag, as Missoni and Delta teams created an exclusive pattern and colour palette that celebrates the view from the window at 30,000 feet while paying homage to Delta’s nearly 100-year flying heritage.  

In addition to the new kits, a selection of Missoni’s home collection will also be featured in the Delta One Lounge at New York-JFK, which will open on June 26.  

20 June, 2024

Chihuahua aims to become Mexico's aerospace capital

Photo municipiochihuahua.gob.mx
Marco Bonilla Mendoza, the newly re-elected mayor of Chihuahua, the capital of Mexico's largest state, aims to have fully assembled aircraft from U.S. manufacturers Bell and Cessna taking off from Chihuahua within the next three years.

Infrastructure is currently being prepared, as thousands of aircraft parts manufactured in the city, located in northern Mexico, are assembled to complete 70% of several aircraft, which are then sent abroad for final assembly.

"The aerospace industry in the city of Chihuahua is the most developed in the country. Today, 100% of the parts needed to make an aeroplane are made here. The plane is already partially assembled in Chihuahua and then sent to Wichita, Kansas (USA), where the turbines are installed, tests are conducted, and it's ready to go," Bonilla said in an interview with EFE.

Additionally, Bonilla mentioned that Bell helicopters leave the capital with more than 80% of their assembly complete. To achieve 100%, new factories and special infrastructure are needed, which he emphasized, "is already in progress."

"A new aerospace park is being built in Chihuahua, five minutes from the airport. The goal is to develop a more specialized industry in this aeropark, and this will happen in the next three years," he noted. Solid industry

New Finnair Lounge on the Schengen side of Helsinki Airport will open on 9 July 2024

Finnair continues to invest in customer experience as the airline announces the opening of its brand-new Finnair Lounge on 9 July. Located on the Schengen side of Helsinki Airport, near gate 21, the lounge is designed to bring unparalleled comfort and convenience to travellers. 

"We are delighted to announce the opening of our new Schengen lounge, providing even more space and comfort before take-off. Responding to the feedback from Finnair Plus tier members, the lounge features also an exclusive Finnair Platinum Corner for Finnair Plus Platinum and Platinum Lumo members to enjoy," said Ole Orvér, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair. 

Business Class Classic and Flex ticket holders, and Finnair Plus Gold members can access the new Finnair Business Lounge. Lounge access can also be purchased as a travel extra during ticket booking, via Manage booking, or through the Finnair app. 

New operator of Doncaster Sheffield Airport could be announced in August


The BBC is reporting that Doncaster Sheffield Airport which closed in 2022 could be handed to new investors as early as this September.

 The Peel Group said the airport was no longer a viable operation in 2022 and closed things down, with the hope of being able to redevelop the site with a mix of business and residential units to link with the new business park area. 

Potential investors have submitted bids this week to the local council which is expected to announce the winning bidder during the first part of August. This will follow an intense period of evaluation by Doncaster Council where each proposal will be studied.  This review is set to be concluded by July,  the winner announced in August and the handover/contract signing is expected in September. 



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WestJet and AMFA agree to return to negotiation

WestJet today, appeared before the Canadian Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) to discuss the airline's request for arbitration, in the negotiation process between the airline and the Aircraft Maintenance Engineers and Tech Ops employees, and to determine the next steps.

With respect to WestJet's request for arbitration, the CIRB has advised it will require additional time and submissions from both parties before making a decision on whether or not collective bargaining for our first agreement should be resolved by way of arbitration.

In the meantime, the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) has rescinded its strike notice, with both parties jointly agreeing to return to the bargaining table to continue work towards finding a resolution.

"We recognize the impact the initial cancellations had on our guests and our people, and we sincerely appreciate their patience and understanding during this time," said Diederik Pen, President of WestJet Airlines and Group Chief Operating Officer. "In returning to the bargaining table, we are committed to finding a resolution to avoid further disruption to our operations."

Two people arrested following break in at London Stansted Airport and planes damaged.


Two protesters have been arrested by Essex Police after they cut their way into the private aviation area of London Stansted Airport and dowsed two aircraft with orange paint.


A spokesperson for the airport said "Shortly after 5am, Essex Police arrested two protesters who had entered the private aviation area of the airfield, away from the runway and main passenger terminal.  - No flights were disrupted, and the airport and flights are operating as normal".

Essex Police said: "Officers were on the scene within minutes and detained two people.

The airport and flights are operating as normal.

A 22-year-old woman from Brighton, and a 28-year-old woman from Dumbarton, have been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and interference with the use or operation of national infrastructure."

The climate protest group Just Stop Oil said they were targeting Taylor Swift's private jet which they said was at the airport ahead of the Wembley Stadium leg of her Eras Tour scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

However, it is understood that Taylor Swift's private aircraft was not at the airport and for security reasons, such as this latest incident, she doesn't use it when on tour.

A worker at the airport said the damage to the two aircraft could run into thousands due to the corrosive nature and non-airworthiness of the paint used by the protesters. 

The eco-terrorist group that want fossil fuels to be phased out by 2030 have promised a summer of resistance where they will attack other targets. Earlier this week members of the group covered some of the ancient stones of Stonehenge in orange paint powder.

A security review is underway at the airport and Essex Police will increase its presence at the airport for the summer due to a heightened risk. Chief Superintendent Simon Anslow said:  “I would like to reassure passengers and the wider public that we are well prepared and resourced to deal with incidents of this nature.

Almost immediately after we were made aware of this incident, which took place away from the main passenger terminal, we were on the scene.  We maintain a constant presence at the airport and this presence will be heightened over the summer period.  We have a good working relationship with Stansted Airport to ensure you can go about your travels with minimal impact. We are not anti-protest but we will always take action where criminal acts take place.”






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Children living with autism learn to fly on Autism Aviation Days

Over the last two months, employees at Air Canada and our partner, Jazz Aviation LP, the Air Canada Foundation and the Canucks Autism Network organized Autism Aviation Days in BC to introduce kids on the autism spectrum and their families to elements of air travel by learning and practicing airport processes. Following the two first events held at Victoria International Airport at the end of April, three single-day events took place on May 4, 25 and 26 at Vancouver International Airport, where 180 children experienced the security process, boarding an Air Canada Express CRJ-900 aircraft, taxiing around the tarmac and de-planing.  

 

“Helping children spread their wings is what we do at the Air Canada Foundation”, said Rebecca Smillie Nedelec, Director, Community Engagement at Air Canada. “By partnering with organizations like the Canucks Autism Network, we can provide these unique experiences that help reduce barriers and improve accessibility to air travel for children of all backgrounds.”  

 

Families with children on the spectrum of autism can face different challenges and barriers, especially when it comes to air travel. These events allowed children to rehearse the entire pre-flight process in a safe and supported environment. Autism Aviation Days aim to decrease anxiety associated with air travel and build confidence for future journeys not only for the children but also the parents.  

 

IBS Software Announces Appointment of New Chief Executive Officer Somit Goyal

     IBS Software, a leading SaaS solutions provider to the travel industry globally, has appointed Somit Goyal as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective immediately. Somit succeeds Anand Krishnan, who served as CEO of IBS Software since 2018. 

Somit Goyal brings a wealth of experience in the enterprise software sector, having held leadership roles at globally renowned companies such as Microsoft, SAP, Oracle and AOL. 

During his 11-year tenure at Microsoft, Somit held several leadership roles across strategy, operations, sales and customer success. In his last role, he managed the global sales of Microsoft’s Modern Work cloud business, and before that, Somit served as the Chief Operating Officer of Microsoft’s Public Sector business worldwide. Somit also conceived and established the Customer Success function at Microsoft, an area of growing importance for IBS Software as it continues to expand globally.

Most recently, Somit served as President and COO of Pluralsight, a SaaS company, where he oversaw product, engineering and GTM functions. 

"Somit’s impressive experience in operating global SaaS businesses, leading diverse teams, and managing all facets of enterprise software make him exceptionally well-suited to lead IBS Software during this exciting phase of growth," said V K Mathews, Executive Chairman of IBS Software. "IBS Software is at a pivotal point in its trajectory as we continue to innovate to better serve our customers. I am confident Somit will help unlock our full potential.”

19 June, 2024

Belgium chooses Airbus Helicopters H145M for Armed Forces and Federal Police

Belgium will procure 15 multi-role H145M helicopters for the army and two helicopters plus three options for the Federal Police. The contract was signed between the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), on behalf of Belgium, and Airbus Helicopters.

“We are proud that Belgium is joining the growing community of H145M users,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters. “In Europe, the robust multi-role helicopter is becoming the reference for tactical airlift capability, special operations, and medical evacuation missions. We are sure that the H145M will quickly become a key asset to the Belgian defence and security portfolio.”

The H145M is a multi-role military helicopter that provides a broad range of mission capabilities. Within minutes, the helicopter can be reconfigured from a light attack role, with axial ballistic and guided weapons and a state-of-the-art self-protection system, to a special operations version, including fast rappelling equipment. The comprehensive mission packages include hoisting and external cargo capabilities. Additionally, the H145M includes options for future mission capabilities, including data links, further communication systems, and digitalisation of mission-capabilities.

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