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News : GX Aviation receives EASA certification for Airbus A320 family

GX Aviation receives EASA certification for Airbus A320 family

Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) Aviation in-flight connectivity service has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for installation on board Airbus A320 family aircraft.
The newly-obtained Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) was obtained after Inmarsat’s partner, Lufthansa Technik, developed a highly efficient installation process including all required electrical modifications inside and outside the aircraft fuselage. Installation can be completed within four days or during regular maintenance schedules.
Inmarsat secured a contract in October 2015 to provide GX Aviation on Lufthansa’s short- and medium-haul fleet of over 150 aircraft. The first of these aircraft is expected to offer the service in October 2016 and Lufthansa’s entire A320 fleet is scheduled to have the technology installed by mid-2018. Other airlines in the Lufthansa Group will follow at a later date.
“EASA’s certification is an important milestone towards the launch of GX Aviation this year, as the A320 family is a popular workhorse for many airlines, business aviation operators and aircraft lessors," declared Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “In addition, single-aisle aircraft as a whole are expected to account for 70% of new deliveries over the next 20 years. This highlights the many market opportunities opened by this STC, especially as Inmarsat is positioned as the only provider that can serve A320 aircraft on a global basis throughout their lifecycle. 
“It is also concrete evidence of the service’s growing maturity," added Mondale. "We have developed GX Aviation over the past five years as the only end-to-end solution in which every component, from the satellites, ground network and terminals to the cabin networks, internet features and support, has been engineered with mobility in mind to provide a high-quality experience for airline passengers. With all key components now in place, we are in the final stages of testing and, as a single network operator, we can commit to a uniform high quality of service wherever the aircraft may go.”  
The STC, which follows certification for GX Aviation on the Boeing 757 and Bombardier Global 5000 and 6000 aircraft, also cements the long-term partnership established between Inmarsat, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems (which provides the required IT infrastructure onboard the aircraft as well as the FlyNet portal for passengers). 
Mondale concluded, “Other airlines can also benefit from this partnership solution. It offers today’s passengers what they want – connectivity, content and services on their own Wi-Fi devices – and complements the aviation industry’s current in-flight entertainment model, which is often impacted by obsolete technology that delivers dated content with high installation and operational costs.”

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News : Spirit ratifies agreement with IAM for ramp service team at FLL

Spirit ratifies agreement with IAM for ramp service team at FLL

Spirit Airlines has confirmed that its ramp service team members located at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) have ratified a tentative agreement with the International Association of Machinists (IAM). 

This marks the completion of the first collective bargaining agreement between the two parties.

Spirit’s ramp service team members had ratified an interim agreement in June 2015 covering wages, job security, union security, and benefits. The newly ratified agreement now also includes job scope, hours of service and overtime, seniority, uniforms and health and safety.
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News : WestJet announces two new routes

WestJet announces two new routes

From 28 July 2016, WestJet will begin a seasonal service between Winnipeg and Kelowna, before commencing another new seasonal route between Edmonton and Hamilton on 29 July 2016.

The Winnipeg–Kelowna route will operate three times weekly until 6 September 2016, while the Edmonton–Hamilton flights will take place four times weekly until 5 September 2016. Both services will be operated using WestJet's Boeing 737 aircraft.

“These are cities we presently serve yet don't connect with non-stop flying,” explained Bob Cummings, EVP commercial, WestJet. “These routes have been on our radar for a while now and with the busy summer flying season upon us, we examined our fleet plans to see if there was extra flying we could provide. Our passengers can expect WestJet's low fares on these routes.” 

WestJet has also enhanced schedules between Vancouver and Winnipeg and between Edmonton and Vancouver. From 28 July 2016 until 6 September 2016, Vancouver–Winnipeg flights will operate 24 times weekly, while Edmonton–Vancouver will operate 54 times weekly. 
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News : easyJet provides early update on its third quarter 2016 results

easyJet provides early update on its third quarter 2016 results

Ahead of easyJet’s third quarter results, which are due to be announced on 21 July 2016, the carrier has revealed it’s experienced 1,061 cancellations during the period due to a significant number of disruption events.

easyJet attributes this number to the continued strike action by French Air Traffic Controllers; runway and congestion issues at Gatwick airport; and severe weather and knock-on cancellations across its network. 
In June alone, easyJet has experienced over 700 cancellations to date. In June 2015, the airline saw 487 cancellations, of which 420 related to the Fiumicino fire and were largely pre-planned.

easyJet claims these incidents – together with the Egyptair tragedy – have resulted in some drop-off in consumer demand, leading to lower yield and impacting third quarter profit before tax by approximately £28 million. 

The carrier estimates the negative impact on third quarter revenue per seat stands at around 1.6 percentage points, meaning that revenue per seat at constant currency in the third quarter will fall by around 8.6% compared to the 7% decrease predicted at the half year results. This is due to disrupted passengers being allocated seats that normally would have been sold close to departure for a higher yield.

Following the outcome of the EU Referendum, easyJet also anticipates that additional economic and consumer uncertainty will result in its revenue per seat at constant currency decreasing by at least a mid-single digit percentage for the second half of the year in comparison to the second half of 2015. 

In addition, recent movements in fuel prices and exchange rates are now expected to add around £25 million of additional cost in the year to that guided at easyJet’s half year results. 
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News :  CommutAir receives FAA certification for ERJ 145XR

CommutAir receives FAA certification for ERJ 145XR

CommutAir has been granted approval to add the ERJ 145XR regional jet to its operating certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The first ERJ 145 is expected to enter commercial service at the beginning of July 2016, with CommutAir expecting to add between two and three new aircraft to its fleet every month from then onwards.

“The addition of the ERJ 145 jet to our operating certificate is a significant achievement in the history of our company and is the foundation of our growth plans to triple the size of our operations over the next two years,” commented Subodh Karnik, president and CEO, CommutAir. “This phase of tremendous growth at CommutAir will usher in fantastic advancement opportunities for all current and future team members.”

CommutAir estimates that the addition of forty aircraft to its fleet over the next two years will drive an accelerated need for pilot hiring and promotions. To address this, the carrier has designed a hiring package including a US$15,000 sign-on bonus and rapid position upgrades for qualified applicants; a commuter policy including company-paid commuter hotels; benefits such as vacation, 401K match and health care; and the potential to join the United Career Path Programme.

“Our initial pilot cadre is ready to help train new recruits; our maintenance team and materials programmes are in place, and our flight attendants and dispatchers are also jet-qualified on the new aircraft – the team is ready for an immediate deployment and rapid spool up,” declared Justin Conrad, CommutAir’s VP and director of operations.
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News : SkyWest Airlines partners with ATP Flight School

SkyWest Airlines partners with ATP Flight School

SkyWest Airlines has become the latest carrier to take part in ATP Flight School’s Tuition Reimbursement Programme.
ATP Flight School’s Tuition Reimbursement Programme will see SkyWest reimburse pilots up to US$11,000 for flight training costs at ATP, while creating a direct path for pilots to become SkyWest cadets and thereby securing mentorships, access to company facilities, simulators and more. 
“We’re excited to partner with ATP to provide tuition assistance and prepare a solid pathway to SkyWest Airlines for ATP students,” remarked Tracy Gallo, VP flight operations, SkyWest Airlines. “Pilots at SkyWest Airlines have more career opportunities than at any other regional airline, and this partnership with ATP helps students at the 40 ATP locations across the country to truly take control of their careers by connecting with SkyWest Airlines.” 
Conversely, ATP has become the 56th flight school to participate in SkyWest’s Pilot Pathway Programme, which means additional benefits such as enhanced seniority and a guaranteed final interview. It also allows students to remain at their campus to complete their flight training until they are able to meet SkyWest’s Airline Transport Pilot standards. 
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News : WestJet Encore reaches third anniversary

WestJet Encore reaches third anniversary

WestJet Encore, which launched on 24 June 2013 using two Bombardier Q400 aircraft, is celebrating its third year in the sky. 

The airline began with 10 routes. Today, it operates 188 flights to 32 destinations, having recently surpassed the six million passenger mark. 

WestJet recently exercised its final nine options to bring its Bombardier Q400 order to a confirmed 45 aircraft at a list price of US$1.59 billion.

“We've had a dramatic impact on the new markets we've served since our launch three years ago,” commented Ferio Pugliese, WestJet Encore’s president. “New WestJet Encore airports experience a 50% increase in traffic on average, with some airports experiencing triple-digit percentage growth. Average fares in these same markets have fallen 20% to 40%, year-over-year. We've created an entirely new set of air travellers who may not have had the opportunity to fly before due to limited options and high fares. We're extremely proud of the accomplishments and hard work of more than a thousand WestJetters who've helped make WestJet Encore a success.”

“Over the last three years, we have watched WestJet Encore become the world's fastest growing operator of the Q400 aircraft – carrying millions of guests from coast to coast across Canada and into the U.S.,” stated Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “We truly value their partnership and continue to be inspired by their now-famous culture of creativity and ingenuity. We wish all the WestJetters at Encore a very happy third anniversary and much success in the future.”
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News : United Airlines premiers Olympics documentary

United Airlines premiers Olympics documentary

United Airlines, the official airline of Team USA and sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival, has premiered Destination: Team USA, a documentary produced by United Airlines and Tribeca Digital Studios, and the first feature film ever commissioned by a US airline.

The film's director, Adam Hootnick, Team USA hopeful Dartanyon Crockett and producers from Tribeca were on board for the screening.

The film focuses on five athletes in particular, for whom the opportunity to represent the United States in Brazil means overcoming not only their opponents on the road to Rio, but also overwhelming personal odds.
Customers on board will receive Team USA-branded amenity tins, Tribeca Film Festival gear and Garrett
Popcorn as they enjoy the documentary film during the flight.

The film will be widely available for in-flight viewing beginning 1 July as part of United Private Screening and the trailer is available online on the United Hub.

"This documentary chronicles the intense training, the focus and the incredible commitment of these athletes as they travel the world with the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in their sights," said Thomas F. O'Toole, United senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "All of us at United are proud of the role we play helping the athletes pursue their dreams to be the best, and through this innovative partnership with Team USA and Tribeca Film Festival, customers are invited to experience these stories onboard their next flight."
"I am thrilled to be taking part in my first in-flight premiere – and possibly the first in-flight premiere! – for Destination: Team USA," director Adam Hootnick said. "Since our film documents the extraordinary lengths and distances to which these athletes go for their shot at Team USA, I feel it's somehow appropriate that our film will be seen for the first time by an audience in the middle of a journey of their own."

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News : New C Series company launched as Québec invests $1bn

New C Series company launched as Québec invests $1bn

Bombardier has entered into a definitive agreement for a previously announced $1 billion investment by the Government of Québec in a newly-created limited partnership, the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), to which the assets, liabilities and obligations of the C Series aircraft programme will be transferred.

“We are delighted to officially welcome the Government of Québec as an equity partner in the C Series programme,” remarked Alain Bellemare, president and chief executive officer, Bombardier Inc. “We are grateful for the confidence the people and Government of Québec have in the C Series. Their investment will accelerate the momentum we’ve created, strengthen customer confidence in the aircraft and provide Bombardier with the financial flexibility needed to compete and win.”

The investment is expected to occur in two $500 million payments, the first on 30 June 2016 and the second on 1 September 2016. CSALP will eventually be 50.5%-owned by Bombardier and 49.5%-owned by the Government of Québec, through its mandatary, Investissement Québec.

Bombardier will maintain operational control of the C Series programme and consolidate its financial results. Bombardier Commercial Aircraft president Fred Cromer will also serve as president of CSALP, whose board of five directors will have three be proposed by Bombardier and two by the Government of Québec. Daniel Johnson will serve as chairman of the board.

The investment remains conditional upon the satisfaction of certain conditions. The $1 billion US investment will be used entirely for cash flow purposes of CSALP. As part of the agreement, the strategic, financial and operational headquarters for CSALP, along with the assembly, manufacturing, engineering services and research and development activities of CSALP, will remain in Québec for at least 20 years.
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News : SAMCO certified to support C Series

SAMCO certified to support C Series

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft has announced that its Authorized Service Facility (ASF), SAMCO Aircraft Maintenance has received its C Series aircraft Part 145 base maintenance approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of The Netherlands.

This approval recognises SAMCO as the first Part 145 Aircraft Maintenance Organization (AMO) in the world, outside of Bombardier's own manufacturing facilities. SAMCO will provide maintenance services on C Series aircraft based in Europe and the surrounding regions.

"We are delighted with our Part 145 approval and with the distinction of being the first Bombardier C Series aircraft ASF in the world," remarked Constant van Schaik, chief executive officer, SAMCO. “With our AMO approval, SAMCO can now provide line and base maintenance, and Continuing Airworthiness Management Organization (CAMO) services to operators of Bombardier's C Series aircraft. In the future – when the aircraft are due for heavy checks – we will be ready to assist with such services as well.”

SAMCO also provides aircraft maintenance services on Q Series aircraft as part of Bombardier's global network of strategically located ASFs.
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News : Baldanza becomes NewLeaf Travel chairman

Baldanza becomes NewLeaf Travel chairman

Start-up Canadian low-fare airline NewLeaf Travel has announced that Ben Baldanza, former CEO of Spirit Airlines, has joined the company as board chair.

“Ben Baldanza is an industry pioneer with many years of experience guiding ultra-low cost carriers,” remarked Jim Young, president and CEO of NewLeaf Travel. “He built Spirit into one of the world's most profitable airlines and we are thrilled he will help steer our experienced and knowledgeable management team.”

"I have long felt Canadians are paying too much for their air travel," commented Baldanza. “Like citizens in other G7 countries, they deserve a low-cost option. I'm looking forward to helping bring ultra-low fares to north of the border."

Baldanza, who was CEO and president of Spirit Airlines from 2005 until January 2016, was also recently asppointed to the board of Icelandic low-fare airline WOW air.
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News : Three airlines in Asia sign up for EmPower

Three airlines in Asia sign up for EmPower

Astronics Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems (AES), has announced that three major airlines in Asia are set to install its newest EmPower in-seat power system.

This system includes various EmPower configurations, including 110V 60Hz as well as high-power (2.1A) USB for use with laptops and other personal electronic devices such as iPads and smartphones.

The new contracts will see EmPower equipped on board more than 230 additional aircraft serving the Asia Pacific region including Boeing 737s, 737-800s and 737 MAXs as well as Airbus A320s and Bombardier CS300s.

Mike Hettich, VP cabin electronics for Astronics AES, commented, “Statistics show that 97% of global passengers travel with their own mobile devices.  Airline carriers worldwide are responding to their passengers’ requests for power at the seat to keep their devices operational during the flight and fully charged for when they arrive at their destination.”

The installations will take place between 2017 and 2021 and are valued at more than US$16 million. 
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News : NAC to purchase 19 E190s from Delta

NAC to purchase 19 E190s from Delta

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) is to purchase 19 Embraer E190 aircraft from Delta Air Lines, bringing its current fleet to 357 aircraft including 89 Embraer and Bombardier regional jet aircraft. 

“We are investing heavily in growing the business both organically and through strategic acquisitions such as this one with Delta Air Lines,” averred Martin Moller, chairman of NAC. “NAC’s investment in this attractive portfolio of aviation assets underlines our confidence in the long-term growth prospects of the regional jet market. We have already agreed to sell two of these aircraft and have prospective clients for all remaining aircraft. This market is a burgeoning one and we are delighted to play such a pivotal role in its continuing growth and expansion.”

The transaction between NAC and Delta Air Lines is expected to close by the end of 2016.
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News : Ethiopian to make IFC available on A350 XWB in the future

Ethiopian to make IFC available on A350 XWB in the future

Ethiopian Airlines has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350 XWB, becoming the first in Africa to do so and the second in the Star Alliance membership after Singapore Airlines.

The new aircraft, which will primarily operate to Lagos and Dubai, features wider seats than Ethiopian’s other aircraft in both Economy and Business Class, a lower twin-engine noise level, advanced air conditioning technology and full LED mood lighting to enhance the comfort while reducing fatigue after a long flight.

All seats on Ethiopian’s A350 XWB are fitted with the latest HD touchscreen personal monitors and offer a wider selection of film, TV and audio content. The carrier has said it will make in-flight Wi-Fi available to passengers on the aircraft in the future, allowing them to either surf the web on their personal electronic devices or seat-back screens. 

Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, Tewolde GebreMariam, stated, “We are very pleased that Ethiopian is among the few leading airlines in the world to invest in this efficient flying machine. Operating the youngest fleet in the industry with modern and comfortable features in the cabin is one of the four pillars of our ‘Vision 2025’ 15-year strategic road map. The introduction of the A350 is also a component of this strategy. The Airbus A350 XWB will enable us to further expand the quality of our service, especially on our long-haul flights.”

Ethiopian Airlines has ordered 14 Airbus A350 aircraft in total.
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News : Cobham wins satcomms contract with Airbus

Cobham wins satcomms contract with Airbus

Under a new deal, Cobham Aerospace Communications will supply its new Inmarsat SB200 safety system – known as the AVIATOR 200S and 700S – to both Airbus’ single-aisle and long-range aircraft families.
The Aviator 200S is part of Cobham’s compact SwiftBroadband single channel system, which is central to the new satellite communication solution offered by Airbus to its customers.
The shipset of the Aviator 200S aims at providing voice and data air-to-ground communication for the Aircraft Control Domain (ACD) and the Airline Information Services Domain as well as to the Passenger Information and Entertainment Services Domain in its alternate configuration (AVIATOR 700S). 
It connects ACD applications to high-priority air-to-ground communication channels for regulated communications between pilots and air traffic control, as well as providing independent air-to-ground communications for other aircraft systems such as electronic flight bags, in-flight entertainment, cabin distribution and other connected off-board networks.
Eiji Kawaishi, SVP of Cobham Aerospace Communications, commented, “This is the second major contract won with Airbus in two months to equip their A320neo Aircraft family. The Digital Radio and Audio Integrated Management System announced last month and the Light Inmarsat Satcom System are two critical systems for the aircraft. We are extremely proud of the confidence shown by Airbus in awarding Cobham this dual selection.”
The contract will see Airbus aircraft being fitted with Inmarsat's SB200 technology from 2018.

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