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​Asia-Pacific deliveries hard hit by 737 Max grounding

Airlines in the Asia-Pacific took delivery of 35 of the 91 commercial aircraft delivered during July 2019, with Boeing recording no narrowbody deliveries in the region as the 737 Max grounding continues.

Overall deliveries in the region were flat compared to a month earlier, and compared unfavorably to the 65 deliveries recorded in July 2018, according to Cirium’s Fleets Analyzer.

During the month, European airlines took 26 new aircraft, followed by North American airlines with 15.

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Deliveries by region through July 2019

All data Cirium Fleets Analyzer

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Deliveries by Asia-Pacific country – July 2019

Among Asia-Pacific countries, China led with 11 deliveries, followed by India with six. Otherwise deliveries were evenly spread among countries.

The Asia-Pacific carrier with the most deliveries in July was IndiGo, which took four new aircraft, all Airbus A320neos.

It was followed by China Southern Airlines, which took three new jets: a single A320neo and a pair of A321neos.

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Asia-Pacific deliveries by type – July 2019

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Boeing, Airbus deliveries in Asia-Pacific through July 2019

Airbus commanded deliveries in the region, with a total of 26 aircraft against five for Boeing.

Airbus delivered 23 narrowbodies of which 21 were A320neo family jets. This was against no deliveries for the 737 amid the global grounding of the re-engined Max variant.

Among widebodies, however, Boeing led with five deliveries: two 787-8s, two 787-9s, and a single 787-10. Airbus delivered three widebodies in the region: two A350-900s and one A330-900neo.

Lessors were involved with 18 of the region’s 35 deliveries, with AerCap and Air Lease Corporation being most active.

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Lessor involvement in Asia-Pacific deliveries – July 2019

AerCap was involved with the two A320neos that went to China Southern Airlines, as well as an Embraer E190-E2 that went to Air Astana.

Air Lease Corporation was involved in two A320neo deliveries, one each to Air Astana and Vietnam Airlines, and the 787-10 delivery, which went to EVA Air.

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Air Astana low-cost unit to add second base

FlyArystan, the budget arm of Kazakhstan’s flag carrier, has picked a location for its second domestic base ahead of a planned doubling of its fleet.

Since May, FlyArystan has been operating six routes from Almaty using a pair of Airbus A320 narrowbodies handed down by parent Air Astana.

A new base is to be opened at Karaganda, Kazakhstan’s fourth-largest city, in the second quarter of 2020. One A320 will initially be stationed there, and the airline plans to add a second in late 2020 or early 2021.

FlyArystan has been operating from Karaganda since May, and serves Almaty daily from the city.

Finance chief Ibrahim Canliel believes that the new base should give the carrier ample opportunities to develop its route network.

“We’re looking to massively expand our Karaganda operation starting from the second quarter of next year,” he says. “After having based there two aircraft, the number of our scheduled destinations will be around a dozen, and passenger numbers could reach 1 million.”

The immediate business plan for FlyArystan’s second operational base envisages hiring 120 flight and ground personnel.

During the three months since its launch, the carrier has transported 200,000 passengers. By 2022, it wants to increase its fleet up to 15 aircraft stationed at several bases across Kazakhstan.

This story has been updated to clarify the plans for Karaganda and correct the spelling of Canliel’s surname

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HAV secures letters of intent for Airlander 10

Hybrid Air Vehicles has secured its first two letters of intent for its Airlander 10 hybrid airship, as it works to secure a launch order and start a certification campaign.

The commitments, from “commercial” operators, with others “in train”, come as the UK business steps up its efforts to market the world’s largest aircraft to the high-end leisure market. HAV installed a luxury cabin mock-up at its Bedford premises earlier this year, and has been exhibiting it to potential customers.

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Hybrid Air Vehicles

The 15m-long walk-in demonstrator – built by Design Q and shown to FlightGlobal this week – includes a large U-shaped bar, and is intended to illustrate what the full 47m-long interior might look like in VIP configuration. This includes eight double bedrooms, seating areas and features such as panoramic windows and windows in the floor. HAV and Design Q showed a virtual reality version at last year’s Farnborough air show.

In an effort to offer what it describes as the first zero-carbon aircraft, HAV is also working with Collins Aerospace Systems on an electrical-powered system that will eventually replace the current four Thielert diesel engines, says new chief executive Tom Grundy.

The former BAE Systems engineer says HAV is ready to open a production line – he will not reveal where – and build three flight-test aircraft as soon as the company secures its first firm customer or customers. The company plans to begin flight testing “by the early 2020s” with deliveries from 2024. Initial output is likely to be three aircraft a year, but will “ramp-up fairly rapidly” to 12, says Grundy.

He says HAV is “well placed” to secure the institutional funding it needs to build flight test aircraft and a final assembly facility. Until now, small, enthusiast shareholders – including Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson – have provided most of the start-up’s finances.

Damage sustained in a ground incident in November 2017 – six brief sorties into an earlier test-flight programme, and 15 months after an earlier crash – put paid to the 92m- (300ft)-long Airlander 10 prototype. HAV has spent the 21 months since refining the design of the 10t-payload aircraft, Grundy says.

One of the changes has involved moving some of the equipment from an aft service bay to above the gondola – which hangs underneath the helium-filled hull – creating more space for passengers, freight or surveillance systems.

“We’ve been taking everything we learned from flying the prototype to come up with the most compelling proposition possible,” says Grundy. “We’ve been in a period when we’ve really been able to look at the design, and we’ve optimised it for commonality for the different markets we’ve identified.”

As well as the luxury cruise sector, these markets include organisations carrying cargo to remote mines or conducting aerial surveys, and defence. HAV’s predecessor company designed the original Airlander for a US Army surveillance contract scrapped before the aircraft entered service.

Grundy anticipates defence organisations making up about half of HAV’s customers. The company will showcase the Airlander 10 to this market when it exhibits at September’s DSEI defence and security expo in London.

However, Grundy says HAV is now also seeing “real momentum” in the leisure market, with the Airlander 10 pitched as a longer-endurance, luxury competitor to the small number of Zeppelin airships offering sightseeing excursions.

“We are able to offer an aircraft that can go places where the leisure industry cannot operate,” says Grundy. These range from cruises over the Alps to transport between remote luxury resorts. “There is a growing interest in new day and overnight experiences that people are prepared to pay for, as well as in sustainable travel, and we can deliver both,” he says.

Grundy says that for both the commercial and defence markets, HAV will likely team with specialist partners or prime contractors. “The core of our business model is to deliver cost effective capability, which can be tailored to individual customer needs by a third party,” he says.

Although he will not reveal details, Grundy says HAV is aware of what regulators’ requirements are for a flight test and certification programme. “We have had a lot of detailed conversations with EASA [European Union Aviation Safety Agency] and have opened that same conversation with the FAA [US Federal Aviation Administration], and we know what the process will involve,” he says.

Six years after a group of visionaries formed HAV to certificate a new version of the abandoned US Army Airlander design, putting together a team of engineers and test pilots, as well as a supply chain, Grundy says “we are now in a position where we are really happy” with the aircraft.

“We are finally transitioning from a design and flight test organisation to being a production organisation able to make 12 aircraft a year.”

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Sierra Nevada to restart Dornier 328 production in Germany

US manufacturer Sierra Nevada intends to restart production of the Dornier 328 turboprop in Leipzig.

The regional government of Saxony, where the city is located, has confirmed the plan.

A press-conference invite issued by Saxony’s state ministry for economy, work and transport says that Sierra Nevada and its Munich-based subsidiary 328 Support Services – the aircraft’s type-certificate holder – will on 21 August disclose establishment of “a new aircraft manufacturer” at Leipzig/Halle airport.

The project will be announced “in presence of representatives of [Germany’s] federal government and Saxony’s state government” during a national aviation conference at the regional airport, the ministry says in the invite.

It asserts that the project’s location in Leipzig will “strengthen” German aviation “as a whole”.

A Dornier 328 turboprop featuring “different configurations” will be on display during the event, to demonstrate the aircraft’s “versatility”, the invite adds.

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW119C turboprops, the 30-seat aircraft was developed and initially produced by now-defunct Dornier. A first flight was conducted in 1991.

Fairchild acquired the German manufacturer in 1996 and introduced a jet-powered version with two PW306B turbofans.

Production ceased after the collapse of the developmental Fairchild Dornier 728 regional jet programme in 2002.

Cirium’s Fleet Analyzer shows that 58 Dornier 328 turboprops and 50 Dornier 328-Jets – including nine business aircraft – are in service today.

Some 19 of the turboprops and nine of the jets have been stored, while 79 have been retired.

The largest operators of the in-service aircraft are the US Air Force (20 units), Danish carrier Sun-Air (12), German-based Private Wings Flugcharter (10), and US-based Ultimate Jetcharters (eight).

During the 2016 Farnborough air show, Sierra Nevada disclosed a plan to restart production of both Dornier 328 turboprops and jets through the manufacturer’s Turkish subsidiary TRJet.

The US manufacturer had a target of delivering in 2019 the first aircraft under a tentative deal with Turkey’s government for 50 units.

Sierra Nevada and 328 Support Services have not responded to requests for comment on the Leipzig plan.

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Skyborne helps pilots get airborne

Former commercial airline pilot Lee Woodward saw an opening for high-quality, bespoke airline training. Now with an established brand, the academy is preparing to begin courses at Spanish and UK sites

How did you get into aviation?

I always knew I wanted to follow a career in aviation – and from a very young age I dreamed of being an airline pilot. I successfully completed the selection process for the British Airways (BA) cadet sponsored pilot programme in the late 1980s. There were only 500 places and, allegedly, more than 60,000 people applied. I was one of the fortunate few.

How has your career progressed?

Having graduated from the BA pilot training programme in November 1990, I immediately embarked on a Boeing 757/767 type rating and seven years later, progressed to the 747-400. For medical reasons, I left BA and joined what was then CTC Aviation as a type rating instructor and examiner.

I spent 13 years with CTC in various capacities, including chief training captain, director of business development and chief operating officer. I have continuously held instructor and examiner qualifications on the 757/767 and I am also qualified on the Dassault Falcon 2000LX. I left CTC in 2017 to co-found Skyborne, using my industry experience and knowledge. The aim is for Skyborne to fill the gap in the market with a high-quality and bespoke airline training academy.

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What have been the highlights?

I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my career, but some of the highlights have been my first base training experience and my first flight with passengers on the 757. Aside from that, flying the 747-400 into the old Hong Kong airport, Kai Tak, and flying the then UK prime minister and his government to Jamaica. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have flown on Concorde, which was a truly amazing experience.

Why did you launch Skyborne?

I am very passionate about the airline piloting career and proud to have facilitated the career advancement of several thousand cadet pilots over the years. At Skyborne, we are taking the training delivery and user experience to another level.

We have established a forward-thinking, capable and dynamic team so we can innovate and improve all aspects of pilot training. I see a gap in the market for a high-quality, almost boutique approved training organisation and we plan to fill that niche.

What are the challenges facing the airline training industry?

One of the biggest challenges is removing barriers to entry, such as implementing inclusive funding solutions. Various factors such as the impending global pilot shortage mean it is vitally important that the talent pool widens so Skyborne can source the very best cadets for its airline customers. It therefore makes sense to provide easier and more affordable access to funds.

At Skyborne, we see this as a high priority and something we are working very hard on delivering, through conversations with various financial institutions and bodies.

Another challenge is the continued pressure to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies, such as electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft and alternative fuels, in order to lower carbon dioxide emissions. Finally, greater harmonisation and mutual recognition for pilot licensing qualifications across the board could improve labour markets.

What are your plans for the company?

We have completed the first stage of our development by introducing a strong brand that truly represents what Skyborne is about – quality. Since signing the agreement earlier this year, we will soon be opening our Spanish training base at Castellon airport, in eastern Spain, enabling our cadets to train in year-round perfect weather and flying conditions.

Here in the UK, our next major milestones will be the completion of our brand new 80-bedroom campus accommodation centre at Gloucestershire airport and embarking on formalising our airline partnerships. Our goal is to deliver 120 European Union Aviation Safety Agency-integrated/multi-crew pilot’s licence cadets and 60 modular pilots per year with Skyborne, and we are well on our way to laying the foundations to achieve these figures.

We are also launching a Bachelor of Science degree programme and will commence attestation training for up to 300 new cabin crew.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love this industry and truly enjoy engaging with fresh, new and talented cadet pilots embarking on their career pathways. I remember my first steps and it always resonates with me when we analyse how to do things better. I like solving problems and innovating. I enjoy working with like-minded professionals in the airlines and take great satisfaction in seeing the embryonic plans for a new cadet programme come to life. This is a dynamic industry that blends safety and professionalism with creativity and innovation. I am fortunate to run a successful business and continue to fly, train and examine.

The least?

There really are few downsides. There is the challenge around funding for would-be pilots, but we are working on a very innovative solution to that and, although we have challenges to overcome, I am entirely confident we will succeed.

If you would like to feature in Working Week, or you know someone who would, email your pitch to kate.sarsfield@flightglobal.com

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​Vietnam Airlines to carry Delta code on Tokyo-Hanoi route

Vietnam Airlines and Delta Air Lines plan to upgrade their codesharing relationship, setting the stage for Delta to offer seats on the Vietnamese carrier’s flights.

Vietnam Airlines says the move marks its first effort to capitalise on the country’s attainment of Category 1 status from the US Federal Aviation Administration in February.

In addition to allowing Vietnamese carriers to offer services to the USA, Category 1 allows Vietnamese carriers to carry to code of USA-based airlines.

The upgraded agreement will see Delta distributing Vietnam Airlines seats on the Hanoi-Tokyo route from October 2019. This adds to a previous agreement between the SkyTeam members signed in 2010, which allows Vietnam Airlines to sell onward connections aboard Delta from Tokyo Narita and Frankfurt.

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Le Hong Ha of Vietnam Airlines and Perry Cantarutti of Delta sign the upgraded agreement.

Vietnam Airlines

“The upgrade into a two-way partnership allows passengers to book a codeshare flight and fulfill flight formalities only once for their entire journey through either Vietnam Airlines or Delta Air Lines, thereby facilitating their visits to popular destinations in both countries,” says Vietnam Airlines.

It adds that Vietnam saw 757,000 arrivals from the USA in 2018, up 8% from 2017. Most of this traffic transits through North Asian hubs, with no carrier offering direct service between the two countries.

Both carriers serve Tokyo’s two airports, Narita and Haneda. Delta will cease all Narita operations in September and transfer all Tokyo flights to Haneda.

According to Cirium schedules data, Vietnam Airlines operates daily on the Hanoi-Tokyo Haneda service with the Airbus A350-900. This service arrives in Haneda at 15:05 and departs for the return service to Hanoi at 16:35.

This will allow it to receive feed from Delta’s inbound Minneapolis/St. Paul and Los Angeles services, which both arrive in the midafternoon.

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Soekarno-Hatta third runway enters service

The third runway at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International airport entered commercial service on 15 August.

The new runway is initially operating to a length of only 2,500m, however that is planned to open up to its full length of 3,000m around November.

With a three-runway system in place, Soekarno-Hatta’s movement capacity grows to 114 flights per hour, up significantly from the 80 it has been limited to with its two runways.

Soekarno-Hatta is Indonesia’s primary hub airport, but growth has been constrained for several years due to a lack of infrastructure and overcapacity.

In addition to the third runway, operator Angkasa Pura II is building a fourth terminal at the airport and refurbishing Terminals 1 and 2 to raise the capacity of each building to 22 million passengers per annum.

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​Boeing Australia steps up autonomous aircraft work

Boeing Australia continues work on developing technology for autonomous aircraft, as it aims for the first flight of the Air Teaming System (ATS) prototype in 2020.

Work designed to simulate mission capabilities and the aircraft’s lifecycle are taking place at the company’s Systems Analysis lab in Brisbane, says Boeing.

“We have a live digital copy of the entire aircraft design that we’ve been able to “fly” thousands of times under different scenarios to test aircraft performance and the mission system,” says Shane Arnott, director of Boeing’s Phantom Works International.

The use of simulation, he says, will help keep the ATS project on schedule, and create an “affordable, attritable unmanned teaming solution for global customers.”

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Boeing is testing autonomy on increasingly larger platforms


In addition, Boeing is working with 15 autonomous test beds to refine core technologies such as autonomous control, data fusion, object detection, and collision avoidance. Ten have flown in formation, and the work now involves larger aircraft capable of flying up to 300kph.

One focus area is developing “watchdog algorithms” that aim to find the correct degree of autonomy in manned-unmanned teaming.

“The algorithm rules defined by our customer are designed to ensure the operator in command of the teaming fleet can expect the same outcome each time – with a focus on building operator trust in autonomy behaviors,” says Arnott.

At Australia’s Avalon air show in February, Boeing unveiled a mock-up of a new unmanned air vehicle called the Airpower Teaming System, designed to fly as a loyal wingman alongside fourth- and fifth-generation fighter aircraft.

Similar to the US Air Force Laboratory Loyal Wingman concept, Boeing said it is co-developing the drone with the Government of Australia, but has not designed it to any specific military requirement.

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Cathay chief executive and commercial chief resign

Cathay Pacific chief executive Rupert Hogg has resigned, days after the airline was embroiled in controversy over crew members taking part in anti-government protests.

In a stock-exchange disclosure, the airline states that Hogg resigned “to take responsibility” as Cathay’s leader. No further reason was disclosed.

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Rupert Hogg

Bryan van der Beek

Also stepping down is Cathay’s chief customer and commercial officer Paul Loo, who gave a similar reason for his resignation.

Both Loo and Hogg also relinquish their roles as executive directors on the Cathay board.

Taking over as the Oneworld carrier’s chief will be Augustus Tang, who has been with Swire Group — Cathay’s majority shareholder — since 1982. Tang was most recently chief executive of Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company (HAECO), a post he held since November 2008.

Tang was also an executive director on the Cathay board from 2007 to 2008.

Meanwhile, HK Express chief Ronald Lam will replace Loo as Cathay’s chief customer and commercial officer. Lam has been with Swire since 1996. He will continue to helm the low-cost carrier while the search for his successor is under way.

The leadership changes take effect 19 August.

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Rupert Hogg

Bryan van der Beek

Separately, Cathay says the board of directors believe it was “the right time for new leadership to take Cathay Pacific forward”.

The two resignations follow massive service disruptions in and out of its Hong Kong hub.

For two consecutive days this week, anti-government protesters occupied large swathes of Hong Kong International Airport, forcing authorities to cancel all flights in and out of the airport. Cathay, as well as subsidiaries Cathay Dragon and HK Express, bore the brunt of these cancellations.

It was also reported that the airline had fired four staff members for their involvement in anti-government protests.

China has put pressure on Cathay in recent days following the protests, which stemmed from the government’s decision to introduce an unpopular extradition bill.

A public notice from the Civil Aviation Administration of China stated that from 10 August, all Cathay employees who supported “illegal protests and violent acts” in Hong Kong “must be immediately suspended from serving any mainland-bound flights or any other transportation activities involving the mainland”.

Cathay has also been forced to submit the identity of all crew operating flights to China, as well as those on overflights “for review or check”.

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Pausing 777-8 could give Boeing vital breathing room

The crisis meetings in Seattle have got longer and bleaker in recent weeks, as the fallout from the 737 Max grounding continues amid significant disruption to Boeing’s other existing and future programmes.

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