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June 2015

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ANA partners for MRO Japan bookmark

A consortium led by ANA HOLDINGS, JAMCO Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, The Okinawa Development Finance Corporation, Bank of The Ryukyus, Bank of Okinawa, The Okinawa Kaiho Bank, and The Okinawa Electric Power Company have reached agreement to establish MRO Japan – a new company to carry out aircraft maintenance operations at facilities to be constructed at Naha Airport in Okinawa. This will commence operations at Naha Airport during the second half of the 2017 financial year. Its operations will consist of base maintenance and heavy maintenance for regional aircraft and medium-sized jets, such as the Airbus A320 and A321, Boeing 737 and 767, Bombardier CRJ and Q300/400, Mitsubishi Regional Jet, as well as fuselage painting. The company’s expected customers are airlines from the ANA Group, plus other domestic and foreign airlines, including low-cost carriers.

 

The company will be inspected for certification by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. Initially, MRO Japan will start to operate at Itami Airport in Osaka from this September until the new maintenance facilities at Naha Airport are ready. MRO Japan will aim to take advantage of Naha Airport’s location in the centre of East Asia to capture growing demand for aircraft maintenance services from the Asian aviation market. The company also aims to contribute to the revitalisation of Okinawa.

 

ANA HOLDINGS will have a 45% shareholding in MRO Japan, while JAMCO will hold 25% and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 20%. The other five consortium members each have a shareholding of 2%.

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LEAP-1A and LEAP-1B start flight tests bookmark

The first Airbus A320neo equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines completed its maiden flight on 19 May in Toulouse, France. The flight lasted four hours and 25 minutes, during which tests were performed to validate the aircraft’s flight envelope up to the maximum altitude (39,000ft) and test the engine speed variation (low/high) in addition to checking the system’s behaviour. The first flight is another major step in the joint aircraft/engine development programme that will culminate in entry into commercial service in 2016. CFM is on track for joint FAA and EASA certification with nearly 60% of the required engine certification reports submitted and approved to date. The LEAP engine was chosen as a powerplant for the A320neo in December 2010. Since then, the engine has won 2,508 orders and commitments, representing 55% of the orders to date of A320neo aircraft for which an engine selection has been made.

 

This followed the first flight of the LEAP-1B for the Boeing 737 MAX on 29 April, which took place at GE Aviation Flight Test Operations in Victorville, CA, using the company’s modified Boeing 747 flying testbed. The testing is the next major milestone in a two-year programme that will culminate in engine certification in 2016 and delivery of the first aircraft in 2017. The engine behaved well and completed multiple aeromechanical test points at various altitudes during a first flight of five hours and 30 minutes. Over the coming weeks the flight test programme will encompass a comprehensive test schedule that will gauge engine operability, stall margin, performance, emissions and acoustics. It will also further validate the advanced technologies incorporated in the engine, including: the woven carbon fibre composite fan; the Twin-Annular, Pre-Mixing Swirler (TAPS) combustor; ceramic matrix composite shrouds in the high-pressure turbine; and the titanium aluminide blades in the low-pressure turbine.

 

Currently, there are over 30 LEAP engines (all three models, including the LEAP-1C for the COMAC C919) on test or in final assembly, and the programme has logged more than 3,660 certification test hours and 5,460 test cycles.

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STG launches visiWing bookmark

STG Aerospace has launched visiWing, an addition to its safTsign product range, which increases visibility and minimises the risk of collision from ground handling vehicles following installation of the Aviation Partners Boeing Split Wing Scimitar winglets. Using materials already approved by Boeing – visiWing is also approved by APB, through an official No Technical Objection (NTO) – it incorporates photoluminescent and reflective technologies to ensure maximum visibility in daylight, in the dark when the aircraft is parked, and when lit by vehicle headlights.

 

The lead customer is Luxair of Luxembourg. Luxair originally approached STG Aerospace expressing concerns about the risk of ground vehicles colliding with the ventral strake. STG Aerospace and Luxair agreed that the solution would have to be easy to install and handle, excluding any paint-based options. The resulting product was thoroughly tested to ensure it could withstand the harsh environment of the wing tip. Under the current contract, three Luxair 737-800 aircraft were fitted with visiWing by end of May 2015.

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