Even as aircraft engine makers continue their very focused efforts to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, the use of biofuel alternatives to jet-A is an increasingly important facet of the campaign to make air transport more environmentally sustainable. Plans for making biofuels a more mainstream option for operators now account for around half of all the objectives set by the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (Acare).
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
The number of training programs preparing flight crews for the new multi-crew pilot license (MPL) continues to multiply. Before year-end, there will likely be 30 or more active MPL programs around the world with well over 3,000 cadets in the pipeline.
The MPL is intended as a competency-based training license focused on preparing new pilots to become airline first officers. Guidance for the MPL was published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2006.
When taking the helm of a company that already owns a substantial portion of the regional aircraft market, one might be tempted to wonder if there’s anything more to be done. But Patrick de Castelbajac, who was appointed CEO of ATR at the beginning of June, knows there’s plenty of work left to do.
With India’s airlines still mired in losses, the country’s new budget, announced on July 11, did little to address some of the aviation industry’s most pressing concerns. It offered nothing on reforms in taxation on aviation fuel and maintenance, repair and overhaul—long issues of contention the aviation industry hoped India’s new government would address.
Sri Lankan regional airline Cinnamon Air expects a significant boost from traffic resulting from the recent move by its codeshare partner, SriLankan Airlines, to join the Oneworld alliance. Owned by the Saffron Aviation joint venture among John Keels Holdings, MMBL Leisure Holdings and Phoenix Ventures, Cinnamon operates scheduled domestic services in the South Asian country, as well as charter flights.
IT provider Sita has begun using new technologies such as Apple’s iBeacon to provide real-time information on mobile devices to help passengers move seamlessly across airports to board flights on time. American Airlines has become the first carrier to try the Sita common-use beacon registry, launched at the recent Sita Air Transport IT summit in Brussels.
An attempt by the government of Kazakhstan to stave off an exodus of foreign investors this past February not only saw the abrupt devaluation of the country’s currency, it meant that national carrier Air Astana would have to curtail its ambitious growth plans. “The devaluation forced us to slam on the brakes on new aircraft orders,” said company president Peter Foster during a recent press conference in London.
The sight of a building badly dented by the right wingtip of an Airbus A380 as the aircraft taxied at Le Bourget Airport ahead of the 2011 Paris Air Show emphasized the challenge posed by ground obstacles to pilots navigating around unfamiliar airports. Honeywell Aerospace seeks to address the problem through an innovative adaptation of its enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS). The new Passive Wingtip Protection System (PWPS), which has based on an upgrade to the EGPWS software, is now under development at the group’s facility in Redmond, Wash.
The production system that promises to support a reduction in final assembly times for the Boeing 737 from 10 to nine days this year should become still more efficient with the introduction of a new automated panel assembly line (PAL) by early 2015. Built by Mukilteo, Washington-based Electroimpact, the PAL fastens stringers to wing skin panels at twice the rate Boeing now can manage using the current process at the 737 plant in Renton, Washington. Electroimpact designed the machine to “normalize” to the panel with an array of lasers that “see” the surface without touching it, allowing it to follow the panel curvature or contour. The process improves accuracy, consistency and “repeatability,” according to Boeing.
Chinese carriers have canceled several flights to Kota Kinabalu in response to poor market demand and safety concerns following a spate of kidnappings of Taiwanese and Chinese tourists in the east Malaysian state of Sabah since April.