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Digest
November 2019

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AAR has announced that Alaska Airlines has signed on for a digital trial of Airvolution, AAR’s cloud-based platform for component repair cycle management. The two organisations will work closely over the coming months to achieve seamless integration of Airvolution with Alaska Airlines’ existing technology stack and selected supplier base. Through this partnership, Alaska Airlines can expect to improve efficiencies, reduce operational costs, maximise productivity and gain enhanced component availability.

 

AAR has announced the integration of Donecle drone technology into its MRO operations. AAR´s Miami facility is the first in its global network to use the fully automated drone technology to drive operational and cost efficiencies, where the pilot phase has yielded increases in speed and precision. With laser positioning, the drone can safely perform end-to-end visual inspections of Airbus A320 Family and Boeing 737 aircraft in under an hour.

Designed for MRO specifications, the drone is programmed to detect any aircraft structural damage, as well as assess paint quality, markings and signs of lightning strike. One complete scan by a drone covers the equivalent of several maintenance tasks and personnel, conserving significant time and resources in the inspection and overall maintenance turnaround time.  

            AAR and Donecle have partnered on an initial 12-month technology agreement, and upon further assessment and results, will expand the platform to other MRO facilities. In compliance with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, AAR performs manual aircraft inspections in addition to the drone inspections.

 

Aerospace Engineering Solutions (AES Global) has recently been awarded EASA STC (No10070986) that applies to Boeing 737 and 757 variant aircraft types and allows the operator and lessors to fly aircraft legally with a Zero passenger configuration. This STC is based on the latest EASA guidance regarding the approval of Incomplete Passenger Cabins as detailed in proposed EASA Certification Memorandum CM-CS-010-001.

 

AFI KLM E&M is setting up a dedicated Teardown Management subsidiary to source aircraft and oversee their teardown to re-use the assets recovered in support of its maintenance activities, which has been in development since 2016.

Through its organisation and network, AFI KLM E&M is structured in such a way as to be able to exploit the potential of components and engines that can be re-used after aircraft teardown. As an airline MRO, the Group has an extensive visibility over the fleet plans of its customer airlines, enabling it to source the investment opportunities that are opening up on the teardown market. The teardown activities can be carried out in-house by KLM UK Engineering, which has approval for narrowbody aircraft teardown, and at Bonus Tech for engines, or with other partners. The assets recovered are inspected, overhauled, and recertified for use before supplying maintenance shops and spares pools worldwide. Alternatively, they may be sold on the used parts market via the AAF Spares broking joint-venture.

The AFI KLM E&M Teardown Management entity centralises management and coordination of all these activities, from sourcing to broking and the supply of parts, and offers the agility required to rapidly take up the investment opportunities corresponding to maintenance requirements.

 

 

      (Photo:APB)     

 

 

Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) has announced that flydubai is the first operator in the Middle East of its latest Split Scimitar Winglet technology. The first installation was completed in late September at Joramco in Amman, Jordan. flydubai intends to install the Split Scimitar Winglets on most of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft by October 2020.

 

Barfield, a subsidiary of AFI KLM E&M, has signed an agreement allowing Toulouse-based Falgayras to become a Barfield authorised repair centre in Europe. The agreement covers the repair and calibration of several GSTE products including air data/pitot static, and turbine temperature.

 

Boeing has announced multiple digital flight operation and supply chain management solution agreements with European airline customers. ACE Cargo and Star Air, cargo operators, have agreed to multiyear contracts for Boeing Maintenance Performance Toolbox, an industry leading aircraft maintenance solution that increases efficiency with fleet-wide document management. Neos and Blue Panorama, Italian-based operators, have signed five-year agreements for Boeing Maintenance Performance Toolbox, to enhance fleet-wide maintenance document management. UK-based Jet2.com has signed a parts package agreement that provides local stock to support operations, along with effective cost control and assurance. Additionally, Jet2.com has signed interior, avionics, and performance modification upgrade packages in support of several newly acquired 737-800NG mid-life aircraft.

Boeing also introduced a new Windows-based version of Boeing Mobile Logbook, providing a full-fleet solution to enable flight and maintenance crews to enter and share maintenance information. An iOS version will also be available in Q1 2020.

 

Czech Airlines Technics (CSAT) has successfully completed a two-year cabin modification and wifi network installation project for Finnair, one of CSAT’s long-term Base Maintenance division clients. A total of 24 Airbus A320 Family aircraft were modified at CSAT’s facility at Václav Havel Airport Prague. 

            The cabin work involved installation of the Safran SpaceFlex V2 galley/lavatories modification at the rear of the aircraft, allowing ?? extra seats to be fitted. At the same time, CSAT workers had to reinforce the fuselage to install the satellite antenna and radome on top of the fuselage (the service provider is Viasat using the Eutelsat network), install several Wifi Access Points and distribute cables throughout the aircraft, including the cockpit and passenger cabin.

Preparatory work took six months, involving CSAT, Finnair and Airbus, as well as suppliers. At times, two aircraft were in work simultaneously. Alongside the cabin modifications and wifi installations, regular base maintenance work was performed to make most efficient use of the aircraft downtime.

 

Dowty Propellers has announced an agreement establishing Pacific Propeller International (PPI) as a Dowty authorised repair and overhaul facility for Dowty’s metal-bladed propellers installed on the CASA C-212 (R334), BAE systems Jetstream J31 (R333), Fairchild Merlin (R324) and Metro/Merlin aircraft (R321). Under the agreement, Dowty Propellers will provide training, technical data, equipment and support to assist in establishing new repair and overhaul capability. Additionally, Dowty Propellers will provide ongoing engineering and technical assistance, as well as perform specialised repair processes to support PPI’s ongoing maintenance operations.

 

GECAS and Garuda Indonesia have entered into a lease agreement for two 737-800 Boeing-converted freighters (BCF). The passenger-converted aircraft are slated to be phased in mid-2020 and will provide additional capacity to Cargo Garuda Indonesia, which has three freighters currently in use.

 

Joramco and Testia, an Airbus company, have entered into a MoU to explore opportunities of utilising Testia smart inspection tools such as the SmartUE1 ultrasonic & eddy current instrument and ThicknessTool for the measurement of the remaining thickness in large blended out areas.

 

Joramco has received EN 9110 - Quality Management Systems certification, the first independent MRO in the MENA region to do so.

 

A ground-breaking ceremony has marked the official construction start of a 5,020m² aircraft maintenance hangar and 1,440m² workshop for KLM UK Engineering at Norwich Airport, due for completion by August 2020. Norwich Airport is owned and operated by Regional & City Airports (RCA), which also owns and operates Bournemouth Airport, Coventry Airport and Exeter Airport, is investing £7million. Rigby Real Estate, the group’s property division, is managing the project. MJS, a regional contractor in East Anglia, has been appointed as the construction company.

 

 

Lufthansa Technik has added Cyclean Engine Wash and prediction for APUs to its AVIATAR Digital Operations Suite.

The Cyclean Engine Wash application tracks an engine's individual washing interval and determines the right time for a wash by linking flight schedule data on AVIATAR and globally operated Cyclean stations with one another. If an engine wash is required, the application automatically requests a slot at a destination. Once the local Cyclean partner accepts the request and the customer accepts the time slot, the order is placed automatically. The application also supports teams with technical operations regarding monitoring, planning, and easy online access to certificates and historical data in real time. Cyclean and AVIATAR teams are developing and testing an enhanced digital solution, which will be available for customers in early 2020.

The Prediction Solution APU uses the vast amounts of aircraft and APU data available to inform customers about the condition of their APUs, enabling health management to avoid operational interruptions. The fundamental advantages of ongoing system monitoring were recently confirmed by the airline Eurowings, which is benefiting from shorter ground times, quicker troubleshooting and material supplies, and fewer AOG situations.

 

MAAS Aviation is due to start construction this winter of a dedicated multi-bay aircraft paint facility at Kaunas Airport, Lithuania. The company has rented an area located in the northern part of the airport following an auction. The multi-million euro investment will see a 12,000m² hangar start operations at the end of 2020. The paint bays will be able to cater for single aisle aircraft up to Airbus A321/Boeing 737 size. The project is a further development phase of aircraft MRO activities at the second largest airport in Lithuania. 

Tim Macdougald, CEO MAAS Aviation: “Kaunas is an excellent location for aircraft painting and the presence of FL Technics and other base maintenance operators [Kaunas Aircraft Maintenance Services and DOT] at the airport combined with a skilled labour pool and supportive governmental agencies were key in our decision to commit. I would like to thank the Lithuanian Airport Authority and Invest Lithuania for their contributions in making this venture possible.”

 

Magnetic MRO is offering a new Boeing 737 NG Full Flight Control Kit. The kit, with EASA Form 1 certificate, includes a complete ‘ready-to-GO’ list of primary and secondary flight controls that is available for worldwide delivery within 24-48 hours from the company’s hub in Warsaw, Poland. The kit includes Krueger flaps, spoilers, leading edge slats, rudder, elevators, trailing edge flaps, and ailerons. The components are available for sale, loan and exchange, and come both in kit and as standalone items.

Inga Duglas, Chief Commercial Officer at Magnetic MRO, said: “Anyone who is in the aircraft spare parts market for at least some time can easily imagine the chaos when it comes to finding and sourcing various flight control components. The market does lack flight control solutions – the supply, particularly of complete sets of both primary and secondary controls, is quite limited. Usually, these types of components are scattered throughout the globe and multiple vendors which, eventually, significantly prolongs delivery times and further increases AOG costs. Plus, it’s quite rare to find a flight control in serviceable condition.”

 

Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has installed the largest fully-enclosed engine test structure in Europe at its UK headquarters in Cambridge. The new multi-million pound Ground Running Enclosure (GRE) significantly reduces noise during aircraft ground testing and can accommodate aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 747-400. The new GRE is 90m wide and 20m high and enables conditioning of the airflow to the propellers and jet engine intakes. Construction began in May last year by Blast Deflectors. It will be fully up and running by the end of October.

 

MTU Aero Engines and the government of the Republic of Serbia have signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) establishing their close cooperation in the field of training of skilled labour. The aim is to effectively address the specific needs of the aviation industry in the curricula of vocational and trade schools. The move clears the way for an adoption of a training scheme based on the proven dual system of classroom and work-place learning for teaching people the ropes of the aviation industry.

            The decision to step up cooperation comes against the backdrop of MTU’s plan to open a dedicated engine parts repair facility in Serbia. MTU’s new shop will be located in Nova Pazova near Belgrade and is scheduled to be up and running in the course of 2022. In support of the project, a Serbian subsidiary, dubbed MTU Maintenance Serbia, has been set up, and the first employees have already been hired. Their focus over the next few months will be on developing a workforce to meet the company’s needs. While the construction of the new facility is under way, MTU will be training people for the skilled positions to be filled. This training will take place at local vocational and trade schools in Serbia and on site at MTU’s facilities in Germany along the lines of the MoC now signed.

 

Qatar Airways has become the first airline to use the GE Aviation GE360 Foam Wash system after partnering with GE on a three-year trial of the enhanced engine cleaning technology. It replaces the traditional water wash method to improve engine performance and fuel efficiency and reduce maintenance frequency on GE engine models.

            The GE360 Foam Wash system works by injecting a heated detergent solution, specially formulated to dissolve dust and dirt particles from the engine gas path. Unlike traditional water wash systems, the GE360 Foam Wash is a self-contained system, which allows it to be used inside maintenance facilities and is also friendly to the environment.

 

Rolls-Royce is to convert an ex-Qantas Boeing 747-400 into a flying test bed. The aircraft completed its final commercial flight for Qantas on 13 October 2019 from Sydney to Los Angeles. It then flew to AeroTEC’s flight test centre in Moses Lake, WA, where it will undergo an extensive two-year transformation.

AeroTEC engineers and technicians will convert the Boeing 747-400 from a commercial aircraft with 364 passenger seats to a flying testbed equipped with extensive instrumentation and systems to test current and future jet engine technology for both commercial and business aircraft. New systems will obtain better data faster than before, and technologies will be tested at higher altitudes and faster speeds. It will also support the Rolls-Royce IntelligentEngine vision, where engines are connected, contextually aware and even comprehending, starting from their time on the testbed.

            When complete, the aircraft will work alongside Rolls-Royce’s existing flying testbed, a Boeing 747-200, which has completed 285 test flights to date.

Rolls-Royce is investing $70m (£56m) in the acquisition and refurbishment of the aircraft. This is in addition to a £90m investment in Testbed 80, the largest and most intelligent testbed in the world, currently under construction in Derby, UK, and set to be commissioned in 2020.

 

S7 Technics’ production facility at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo airport has successfully completed its latest audit by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), manufacturer of the Superjet 100. Based on the results of the inspection, S7 Technics’ Novosibirsk site was granted approval for the design and production of leather covers for passenger seats on the SSJ100.

 

Safran Cabin says Air France is the first airline to choose its Efficient Cabin Open Space (ECOS) overhead bins to equip its Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, providing up to 60% more storage capacity than current bins and with no aircraft modifications required. A combination of new bins, ceiling and cove panels provide a lower shelf height for ease of loading and visibility while easy to reach doors do not encroach into the cabin aisle. By allowing side on luggage stowage with wheels at the back, the number of bags able to be carried on an A320 increases from 104 to 166 and from 113 to 192 on an A321. In total, Air France plans to gradually equip its 40 A320s and 11 A321s with 1,342 new bins between September 2020 and September 2022.

 

Singapore Component Solutions has celebrated its third birthday. In September 2016, Singapore Component Solutions (SCS) received its first certification from EASA. This meant that Sabena technics could officially inaugurate its ATR component repair workshop, located in the aeronautics cluster of Seletar Aerospace Park, Singapore. When AFI KLM E&M acquired a stake in the company in 2018, it brought its expertise in Airbus 320 and A330 aircraft, expanding to 800 part numbers in 18 months for these two aircraft types. In total, the joint venture has developed over 200 product families for a vast range of avionic, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic components.

            SCS facilities have expanded from 1,200m² to 4,500m² and now employs almost 60 people. It has obtained certificates from 10 authorities in Europe, the USA and the Asia-Pacific region, is currently going through the implementation phase with Chinese authorities and is on course to obtain AS9110 certification in 2020.

The company is supporting the development of its parent companies in the region – AFI KLM E&M supports 12 major customers in Asia-Pacific, with a total of 450 aircraft in service, while Sabena technics support 30 airlines with a total of 150 aircraft. SCS is also building its own portfolio, with Time and Material contracts accounting for over 30% of its revenues. It has over fifty customers, including major airlines based in the region as well as MRO and OEM partners.

            Over the coming years, SCS will be pursuing its industrial development and expanding its capacities, notably for hot air pneumatic and hydraulic product families. 

 

South African Airways (SAA) announced on 24 October that its flight schedule had returned to normal after 21 out of 25 aircraft had been released back into service after compliance checks required by the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA). The remaining four were undergoing a scheduled extended maintenance service so their absence did not affect the airline operations.

            SAA’s decision to recall its aircraft followed an oversight inspection conducted by SACAA at the airline’s maintenance subsidiary, South African Airways Technical (SAAT) and an audit on one aircraft operated by another carrier.

 

STS Aviation Group has finalised the purchase of the former Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL) aircraft maintenance facility in Birmingham, UK. The facility was put up for sale in March 2019. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. It features 18,580m² of space, including ramp area, and can house two widebody aircraft or 10 narrowbody aircraft at the same time. In addition, it has several on-site component repair and back shops, vertical lift storage devices, a global reporting room and dozens of laptop mobility hubs.

             In September, STS acquired Apple Aviation, based in Newquay, UK. Mark Smith, President of STS Aviation Group, said: “Thanks to the recent acquisition of Apple Aviation, we have the resources and the manpower in place to have the facility up, running and fully operational by January of 2020 subject to the lease transfer being agreed to.”

            P J Anson, CEO of STS, added “The widebody aircraft maintenance facility in Birmingham is a game-changer for our company. This purchase allows us to create a central European hub, one that will stand as a true focal point for multiple STS divisions already operating in the region.”

 

Triumph Group has launched Triumph Rotable Trading (TRT), expanding the services offered by its Triumph Product Support business unit. The new business will be based out of the Product Support headquarters in Arlington, TX, and will draw on the expertise of Triumph's MRO subsidiaries for part tagging services. Triumph Rotable Trading business will sell rotable spare parts and components in either repaired, overhauled, serviceable or 'as removed' condition to airline customers and MROs. It will focus on engine and airframe accessories as well as nacelle structures for legacy and new generation commercial aircraft models.

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