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Flight Safety Information

TopFlight Safety Information


SEPTEMBER 3, 2019 -No. 177



In This Issue


Latest Boeing Max delays imperil return of jet by Christmas

Incident: PSA CRJ7 near Charleston on Sep 2nd 2019, fuel gauge inoperative

Incident: Gol B738 at Juazeiro Do Norte on Sep 2nd 2019, rejected takeoff due to engine failure

Incident: Asiana A333 at Jakarta on Sep 2nd 2019, cabin did not properly pressurize

Airline Passenger Punches Crew, Tries Opening Flight Door Mid-Air, Forcing Emergency Landing

Upset Training Course for ICAO Member Aviation Inspectors and Regulatory Authorities

Delhi's IGI Airport gets India's tallest ATC Tower

Torqued: The Case for Voluntary SMS for Small Operators

Airbus A320neo engines and the faults with them

Flights resume at Adelaide Airport following delays caused by heavy fog

IATA Regional Aviation Forum on September 17 in Nairobi

Singapore's Clarmont Group Acquires Majority Stake in Israeli Aviation Company Eviation Aircraft

CAE forms strategic partnership with Directional Aviation

Which Airlines Still Fly The Boeing 717?

S.Korea's Aekyung, KCGI to join bidding for Asiana Airlines - sources

Boeing Gets New Orders for Its 777-300ER Aircraft

Why Tomorrow's Aircraft Will Be Hybrids

Advanced Aircraft Accident Investigation from SCSI

TSI - Aviation Safety Risk Management Using BowTie - Course

TSI - Instructor Qualification & Excellence Course

International Conference on Unruly Airline Passenger Behaviour


New Angle of Attack ebook




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Latest Boeing Max delays imperil return of jet by Christmas

American and United are scrubbing the narrow-body from their plans until December. Norwegian and others, meanwhile, are giving up on plane at least until January.

(Bloomberg) - American Airlines Group Inc. and United Airlines Holdings Inc. removed Boeing Co.'s grounded 737 Max from their schedules into December, while other carriers are giving up on getting the narrow-body back in time for the Christmas and New Year holidays.

For American, the extension means the cancellation of 140 daily flights through Dec. 3, according to a statement Sunday. While United pulled the Max from its flight plans until Dec. 19, Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA is among the major Max customers that isn't counting on a return to service until 2020, its interim Chief Executive Officer Geir Karlsen said on Monday.

American, the world's biggest airline, said it's confident software updates and a new training regime devised by Boeing will lead to re-certification of the 737 this year.

Southwest Airlines Co., the largest Max operator, has scrubbed the plane from schedules through Jan. 5, while Air Canada is counting it out until Jan. 8 at least. Ryanair Holdings Plc, the biggest European customer, said in July it expects to receive barely half of the 58 jets due for next summer, though the delivery schedule is complicated by its order for a higher-density variant.

The Max, Boeing's best-selling jet, has been grounded worldwide since March 13 following two crashes within five months that killed 346 people.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is likely to conduct its certification flight for the Max in October, people briefed on the matter said last month. That would broadly match Boeing's estimate that the aircraft will return to service early in the fourth quarter.

Among other major Max buyers, tour operator TUI AG said it sees no operational problems if the plane remains absent this winter, the low season for European vacations, without saying when it expects the model to return.

The company, which has 15 of the aircraft grounded and should have received a further eight, is more concerned about planning for next year and whether it will need to lease in more jets as cover.

Norwegian blamed the grounding of the Max, as well as issues with Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc engines on its Boeing 787 Dreamliners, for a 1.5 billion kroner ($165 million) hit to working capital. It said Monday it needs to push back maturities on some debt.

According to a Dow Jones report, friction between Boeing and regulators worldwide may keep the Max grounded into the Christmas travel season.

Aviation authorities, including those from Europe, Brazil and the U.S., have complained that the planemaker has failed to provide technical details about modifications to the Max's flight-control computers, Dow Jones said, citing government and pilot union officials.

The complaints stem from a meeting last month in Seattle that was cut short by regulators, Dow Jones said. Boeing will have to resubmit documents on proposed software changes, which must then be vetted by the FAA, the report said. A Boeing spokesman declined to comment on the meeting to Dow Jones.

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Incident: PSA CRJ7 near Charleston on Sep 2nd 2019, fuel gauge inoperative


A PSA Airlines Canadair CRJ-700 on behalf of American Airlines, registration N706PS performing flight AA-5445 from Cincinnati,KY to Washington National,DC (USA), was enroute at FL310 about 30nm south of Charleston,WV (USA) when the crew decided to divert to Charleston advising ATC they had no indication for the left fuel tank quantity, they did not expect any leak or similiar, just the gauge was inoperative. The aircraft landed safely on Charleston's runway 23 about 15 minutes later.

The aircraft remained on the ground for about 100 minutes, then continued the flight and reached Washington with a delay of 2 hours.

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Incident: Gol B738 at Juazeiro Do Norte on Sep 2nd 2019, rejected takeoff due to engine failure


A Gol Transportes Aereos Boeing 737-800, registration PR-GUB performing flight G3-1561 from Juazeiro Do Norte,CE to Sao Paulo Guarulhos,SP (Brazil) with 154 people on board, was accelerating for takeoff from Juazeiro's runway 31 when the crew rejected takeoff at high speed due to the failure of the right hand engine (CFM56), which emitted streaks of flames. The aircraft slowed safely and stopped about 1700 meters/5600 feet down the runway.

The airline reported the aircraft experienced a "technical limitation" near takeoff and had to return to the apron for maintenance.

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Incident: Asiana A333 at Jakarta on Sep 2nd 2019, cabin did not properly pressurize


An Asiana Airbus A330-300, registration HL8259 performing flight OZ-762 (sched. dep Sep 1st, act dep Sep 2nd) from Jakarta (Indonesia) to Seoul (South Korea) with 290 people on board, was climbing out of the Jakarta when the crew stopped the climb at about FL230 and descended the aircraft to 9000 feet due to the cabin not properly pressurizing. After about 12 minutes at 9000 feet the crew attempted another climb but aborted again at FL130, descended the aircraft to 7000 feet, burned off fuel for about 70 minutes and returned to Jakarta for a safe landing about 2:20 hours after departure.

Passengers reported the aircraft was undergoing maintenance prior to departure due to the air conditioning not working. The aircraft was subsequently released and departed, however, the air conditioning system still did not work.

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Airline Passenger Punches Crew, Tries Opening Flight Door Mid-Air, Forcing Emergency Landing

An EasyJet passenger assaulted the crew and tried to open the plane door, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. The incident took place onboard an EasyJet flight from Spain to the United Kingdom on Sunday.

The 49-year-old passenger, identified as Lisa, was drinking red wine from a cold drink bottle throughout the flight. Just 45 minutes before the flight's arrival at London Southend Airport, the passenger began screaming.

Recalling the incident, a co-passenger said the woman "flew down the aisle, screaming and swearing. She punched one of the crew in the face then kicked another into the emergency door. We thought she was going to bash the door down." The crew held her until the flight landed at the U.K. airport, 20 minutes before time.

Essex Police was contacted following reports that "a passenger on an in-flight bound to Southend Airport had assaulted cabin crew staff".

"Officers attended and arrested a 49-year-old woman on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm. She has been questioned and released on bail until Sept. 27," Essex Police spokesperson said.

EasyJet said the passenger was taken into custody at the Southend Airport for "behaving disruptively."

"EasyJet's cabin crew is trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time. Whilst such incidents are rare, we take them very seriously, do not tolerate abusive or threatening behavior on board. The safety and well-being of passengers and crew is always EasyJet's priority," the airline said in a statement.

In a similar incident in August, an EasyJet flight was diverted after two passengers became aggressive toward the crew. The flight from London to Gibraltar landed in France where police officers boarded the flight and forcefully escorted out the two passengers.

Recalling the incident, a co-passenger had said, "Once the flight landed, passengers were vocal when coming off the plane past us. The staff on the flight were very honest with us when we got on board and informed us all fully that the couple were disembarked in France due to aggression and violence towards the crew which made the flight unsafe to continue."

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Upset Training Course for ICAO Member Aviation Inspectors and Regulatory Authorities

Aviation Performance Solutions LLC (APS), the global leader in Upset Prevention & Recovery Training (UPRT), announced the expansion of its service to specifically address the needs of ICAO member National Aviation Authorities and Aviation Safety Inspectors to include EASA and the FAA. These unique APS UPRT solutions are turnkey programs designed to aid regulators, inspectors and auditors in regulation development, proper implementation guidance and effective assessment of UPRT providers.

SINGAPORE, Sept. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Aviation Performance Solutions LLC (APS), the global leader in Upset Prevention & Recovery Training (UPRT), announced today at the 16th Annual Asia Pacific AirlineTraining Summit (APATS) 2019 in Singapore their dedicated programs designed to meet the needs of ICAO member National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) such as EASA and the FAA. These turnkey NAA inspector and auditor programs have been developed in response to growing demand from regulatory authorities needing to understand the proper implementation of safe and effective on-aircraft and simulator-based UPRT to overcome aviation's number one cause of fatal accidents, Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I).

Because of the complex nature of a comprehensive UPRT solution, it is imperative that regulators and inspectors gain a thorough understanding of proven solutions to effectively evaluate and offer corrective guidance to airlines and flight schools beginning to implement UPRT or desiring to optimize their implementation of UPRT. APS NAA Regulator Upset Training immerses participants in a fully developed, proven-effective and comprehensive UPRT program that spans the spectrum of career-long UPRT implementation while adhering to all regulatory standards and requirements as well as proven best practices for safe and successful upset training.

This critical hands-on training allows regulatory authorities to directly observe and experience the critical factors of integrated regulatory-compliant UPRT and how they work together to develop the skills pilots need to tangibly reduce the number of accidents related to LOC-I. Most importantly, NAA inspectors and auditors will gain a deep and comprehensive perspective of the key safety concerns inherent in providing and administering UPRT. For example, participants see firsthand the operational controls and processes necessary to ensure the delivered UPRT is not only safely conducted, but also mitigates the dangers of negative training and negative transfer of skill to the end users.

"The APS Aviation Inspector/Regulator UPRT program thoroughly illustrates the optimized, efficient delivery of regulatory-compliant upset training for both on-aircraft cadet training as well as simulator based airline-level implementation," said John Galea, TRI/TRE and Transport Malta - Civil Aviation Directorate Flight Operations Inspector. "Overcoming Loss of Control In-flight, aviation's top cause of fatalities, must be done exceptionally well right from the start to ensure improved operational safety. APS' leadership in establishing the standards and defining the best practices and common pitfalls of UPRT implementation was invaluable to Transport Malta - Civil Aviation Directorate and provides great benefit to any agency overseeing UPRT regulation, implementation, or compliance. Well done."


Aviation Performance Solutions LLC (APS) trains thousands of professional pilots and instructors in comprehensive Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) skill development. UPRT programs include integrated LOC-I solutions via industry-leading computer-based, on-aircraft (jet, turboprop, and piston), and full-flight simulator UPRT. All training is in full compliance with the Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid, FAA AC 120-109A, ICAO Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training, IATA Guidance Material and Best Practices for the Implementation of UPRT, and the FAA AC 120-111 on UPRT. Headquartered at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona with additional training locations in the US and Europe, APS provides global access to the highest quality upset prevention and recovery training available.

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Delhi's IGI Airport gets India's tallest ATC Tower

  • At a height of 102 meters, the tower enables air traffic controllers to have better visibility of all the three runways
  • Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the Delhi Air Traffic Service Complex,

New Delhi: The tallest ATC tower in the country which is expected to enhance safety and efficiency of air transport management services over the capital's skies was inaugurated at the IGI Airport on Monday.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri inaugurated the Delhi Air Traffic Service Complex, which is the tallest Air Traffic Control tower in India with a height of 102 metres.

The Airports Authority of India said that the new complex comprises of three buildings - the Aerodrome Control Tower, Area & Approach Control Services Building and the Administrative Block.

The commissioning of the new tower is expected to enhance the efficiency of air traffic management services at the IGIA which is the busiest airport in India.

At a height of 102 meters, the tower enables air traffic controllers to have better visibility of all the three runways, apron area and taxiways.

Besides the physical aspects, the tower also boasts of additional control positions, sophisticated equipment and state-of-the-art control room set-up.

In addition, the new facility opens the possibility for independent parallel approach. This allows for simultaneous landings from the same direction on parallel runways which will further increase the capacity of the airport.

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Torqued: The Case for Voluntary SMS for Small Operators

by John Goglia

The safety benefits of maintaining a safety management system (SMS) in aviation should be well known at this point. An effective SMS provides an organization with a systematic approach to managing safety risks and making sound safety decisions. A functioning SMS begins with a commitment from the top of the corporation but engages workers at all levels of the company in identifying safety hazards so that their risks can be assessed, analyzed, and eliminated or mitigated. It will also ensure that risks are properly assessed over time and changing circumstances. Of course, the point of SMS is to reduce the potential for accidents or incidents but, in my experience consulting with airlines of all sizes, it also provides economic benefits unrelated to safety, such as improving efficiencies and promoting cost-savings.

But since the FAA doesn't require SMS for corporate or Part 135 operators, I'm asked on a regular basis by these operators whether I think their company should voluntarily adopt an SMS program, whether the time and cost of adopting a program is worth the effort. Some have read something about SMS and are curious if they will soon be required by the FAA to have it. Based on the lengthy rulemaking process and the fact that there's no rulemaking proposal out there, it's pretty doubtful that any new SMS requirements would come out for operators in the next 5 or even 10 years. But some operators just want to know whether-and how-it could benefit them. A few Part 135 operators may have read the NTSB's 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, which includes adopting SMS to improve the safety of Part 135 aircraft operations.

The NTSB's recommendation pertains to Part 135 air medical service, air-taxi, charter, and on-demand flights and recommends that Part 135 operators be mandated to "implement safety management systems that include a flight data monitoring program, and they should mandate controlled-flight-into-terrain-avoidance training that addresses current terrain-avoidance warning system technologies." Clearly, the NTSB is strongly advocating for the expansion of SMS requirements to Part 135 operators. But the NTSB can only issue recommendations. It takes the FAA-or congress-to make them mandatory.

Most of the companies asking me about SMS these days are the smaller business flight departments and charter operators. The larger ones (those that provide non-medical transportation) have-to my knowledge-all adopted SMSs either because they are flying customers to countries abroad that require them to have an SMS or because they need an SMS to get a high rating from a charter rating service, or both. For example, if a Part 135 or business aircraft operator wants to fly to a European Union country, the charter company must have an approved SMS program that meets the requirements of ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization).

In addition, to get a platinum rating from Argus, one of the major charter rating services, or qualify for IS-BAO (International Standard for Business Aircraft Operators) registration, an operator must have a functioning safety management system. Many charter customers-especially the major corporations-require a charter company to hold a platinum rating to contract for the air transportation of company employees. So, in terms of business competitiveness, a functioning SMS is highly desirable for many operators, and they have chosen to voluntarily adopt an SMS program.

At this time, the FAA's SMS rule-14 CFR Part 5-applies only to Part 121 operators. So technically speaking, the Federal Aviation Regulations don't require any company other than an air carrier flying under Part 121 to have an SMS. But the FAA has been encouraging Part 135 and other operators for some time to adopt voluntary SMS programs in advance of any rulemaking. Although voluntary, the FAA has an approval process, which lays out that a Part 135 operator satisfy the requirements for operating in EU countries. The FAA's voluntary program tracks the Part 5 requirements for Part 121 operators so it's likely that if Part 5 is ever expanded to include Part 135 operators, those with an approved voluntary program will be ahead of the game when it comes to compliance.

I have been a big proponent of SMSs for years, decades really. Having been involved in aircraft accident investigations for virtually my entire working life, I have been to the scenes of far too many accidents that subsequent investigations have determined were caused by lax organizational processes and poor safety cultures. I have spoken to far too many victims' families distraught to learn not just that their loved ones had died, but that the accident might well have been preventable.

A functioning SMS can create a safety culture that encourages employees to identify and report hazards that executives in their offices would never be aware of. SMSs provide a structured approach to safety risk management that can be a significant benefit to companies of all sizes, even mom-and-pop operators. Of course, a good SMS program is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Clearly, smaller, less complex operations can do with a properly scaled program that's easy for a small operator to manage and yet provides safety benefits.

So, even if the FAA has not seen fit to mandate that Part 135 or business operators implement an SMS program, I would strongly urge operators-especially air ambulance providers who have had a challenging accident record-to voluntarily adopt one that meets the requirements of Federal Aviation Regulation Part 5.

Since SMS implementation for operators other than Part 121 air carriers is voluntary, companies have a great deal of flexibility in how they adopt a program. There are many resources for help getting started, including talking to professional associations your company may belong to. The FAA's website is a good place to start to get some background on the SMS program.

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Airbus A320neo engines and the faults with them

  • The P&W 1100G-JM engine that powers A320neo planes is a "fan driven-geared turbine engine" manufactured by US-based P&W
  • Airlines operating this aircraft have faced several problems with the engine

Passengers of IndiGo and GoAir-the two airlines operating Airbus A320neo planes powered by Pratt and Whitney (P&W) engines-have faced delays, cancellations, and, importantly, a threat to their safety as glitches related to this engine surfaced. Mint takes a look at the issue.

The P&W 1100G-JM engine that powers A320neo planes is a "fan driven-geared turbine engine" manufactured by US-based P&W. The engine has been "type certified" by the Federal Aviation Administration of the US and, subsequently, by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. It is more fuel efficient, generates more thrust, and produces less noise and is environment friendly. At present, there are 127 P&W engine-powered A320neo aircraft in India and 436 operating globally. In India, IndiGo operates 92 P&W powered A320neo planes, while GoAir has 35 such aircraft in its fleet.

What are the technical problems?

Airlines operating this aircraft have faced several problems with the engine. The major ones involve combustion chamber distress, low pressure turbine (LPT) and gear box failures, engine vibration, among others. While some issues, such as combustion chamber distress, have been addressed, P&W is working on suitable mitigation measures to resolve the remaining problems. To resolve problems related to LPT failure, redesigned and more durable LPT stage 3 blades are being incorporated, while a redesigned piston seal in the high pressure compressor will be used to address transient vibration.

What happens when a fault is detected?

The engines are removed and sent for maintenance or modification. Those with gear box issues are immediately sent for a software update. This has been done on all such engines in India.

What is the aviation regulator doing?

Measures taken by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to detect problems early include removal of engines to prevent glitches, and more frequent combustion chamber inspections and engine replacements. DGCA has asked airlines to log all cases of detection of odour or smoke in the cabin during operations, monitor and inspect engines in case of vibration. It is also restricting the operation of A320neo aircraft with P&W engines on the Port Blair sector as the plane has to fly over water bodies.

How are the remaining issues being tackled?

All A320/321neo aircraft inducted after August must be installed with a modified main gear box (MGB) and new modified third stage LPT blades. At present, no engine from maintenance, repair and overhaul units is accepted unless installed with modified MGBs and new LPT blades. This excludes those which are at final stages in shop or in transit. There is also a restriction on acceptance of lease engines without modified LPT and MGB. The engine failure related to MGB is expected to be contained after software updates.

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Flights resume at Adelaide Airport following delays caused by heavy fog

PHOTO: Fog over the River Torrens in Adelaide. (ABC News: Nick Harmsen)

Flights have resumed arriving and departing from Adelaide Airport after delays and diversions this morning because of heavy fog.

Fog blanketed Adelaide's western and northern suburbs from about 7:00am, causing international and domestic flights to be diverted from Adelaide Airport.

The airport confirmed two international flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur were diverted to Melbourne, along with two domestic flights, while other planes sat in a holding pattern over the city.

Flights from Broken Hill and Port Lincoln were also cancelled.

Adelaide Airport executive general manager Brenton Cox said the two international flights were still on the ground in Melbourne at 11:00am.

"Because while the fog's lifted from here, it's out to ocean, so traffic control are just giving them the heads up there is a chance it could roll back in later," he said.

Flights resumed landing and taking off from about 9:00am.

Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman Peter Gibson said planes had equipment to be able to fly in a variety of weather conditions but fog was a challenge.

"At some point you've got to be able to see the end of the runway if the fog's right down to the ground," Mr Gibson said.

Heavy fog across the runway at the Adelaide Airport
PHOTO: Heavy fog has delayed flights in and out of Adelaide Airport. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Spence Denny)

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a road weather alert with fog affecting South Road, Salisbury Highway and Port Wakefield Road.

"Reduced visibility in areas of fog will make road conditions dangerous during Tuesday morning," it said.

It said it was the foggiest day at the airport since 2003.

SA Police have advised people to slow down, take extra care, leave more room between vehicles and turn on their headlights.

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IATA Regional Aviation Forum on September 17 in Nairobi

September 03, 2019: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Regional Aviation Forum 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, hosted by Kenya Airways on September 17, will focus on the theme: 'Aviation Connecting and Enriching Africa'.

"Africa is set to become one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years, with the industry set to expand by nearly 5 percent annually. This creates significant opportunities for aviation to fuel sustainable economic growth and social development. However, the continent's economy cannot take off while its runway is obstructed. The forum provides a platform to discuss the main challenges, which the industry, together with its government partners, must address to unleash Africa's full potential," said Muhammad Ali Albakri, IATA's regional vice president for Africa and the Middle East.

In addition to Albakri, who will deliver keynote remarks, the opening plenary will feature an address by Kenya Airways' chairman, Michael Joseph, and chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz.

The key topics discussed will be critical issues that keep airline CEOs awake at night, digital transformation, new trends in-flight safety & operations, and developing regulations to support sustainable growth and deliver quality infrastructure. In addition, the IATA Value of Aviation Report for Kenya will be launched at the forum.

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Singapore's Clarmont Group Acquires Majority Stake in Israeli Aviation Company Eviation Aircraft

In June, Eviation unveiled a fully-electric passenger plane. Dubbed Alice, the aircraft can fly up to 1,000 kilometers at a speed of 440 kilometers per hour on a single charge

Singapore-based investment group The Clarmont Group has acquired a majority stake in Israel-based aviation company Eviation Aircraft Ltd., the former announced Thursday. Clermont now owns a 70% stake in Eviation, the company said. The company first entered an agreement to acquire majority control of Eviation in January.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

In June, Eviation unveiled a fully-electric passenger plane at the Paris Air Show. Called Alice, the aircraft can fly up to 1,000 kilometers at a speed of 440 kilometers per hour on a single charge, according to the company.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in central Israel, Eviation has raised $200 million to date, an unknown sum of which was invested by Clarmont. The company said it already has orders for several dozen electric planes at a price of approximately $4 million each.,7340,L-3769535,00.html

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CAE forms strategic partnership with Directional Aviation

Flight training provider CAE has formed a strategic partnership with corporate aviation investment firm Directional Aviation, further strengthening its foothold in the business aviation market.

Under the agreement, CAE will create a joint-venture with Directional affiliate Volo Sicuro and acquire - for $85 million - a 50% stake in simulator-based training company Simcom.

In turn, six other Directional affiliates - manufacturer Nextant Aerospace, and operators Corporate Wings, Flexjet, Flight Options, Flairjet and Sirio - will enter into a 15-year exclusive training services agreement with Simcom and CAE. Together, the operators have a growing fleet, currently totalling 175 business jets and turboprops.

CAE chief executive Marc Parent describes the agreement as "another step in the expansion of [the company's] business aviation training business". This includes the $645 million acquisition of Bombardier's Business Aviation Training arm. The deal was completed in March, bringing 12 new Bombardier business jet full-flight simulators - located in Dallas, Texas and Montreal, Canada - into its training network.

As part of this latest agreement, Simcom will purchase equipment from CAE including five full-flight simulators.

"We have a clear vision for Simcom's future as an innovative training provider focused on the owner-flown market, as well as fleet operators," says Simcom chief executive Eric Hinson. "We are extremely pleased to partner with CAE and leverage its industry-leading technology and training expertise to better serve our customers."

Simcom currently operates 47 simulators spanning jets, turboprops and piston-engined aircraft across its facilities in Orlando, Florida, Scottsdale, Arizona, and Humberside, the UK.

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Which Airlines Still Fly The Boeing 717?

The Boeing 717 was never as popular as the 737, nor as iconic as the 747. However, it filled a much-needed niche in regional operators fleets and seems to have stood the test of time. Out of 155 produced, 148 are still in operation today. We take a look at who's still operating the 717.

Boeing 717
Who still flies the Boeing 717? Photo: Sardaka via Wikimedia

Originally designed by McDonnell Douglas and marketed as the MD-95, Boeing renamed the jet when it took over the company in 1997. It took its first flight in September 1998, and the first delivery was to AirTran Airways a year later. By 2002, Boeing had delivered its 100th aircraft of the type, and before production ended in 2006, a total of 155 717s were ordered and delivered.

AirTran 717
AirTran was the launch operator for the 717. Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia

At one point, almost 20 different operators had the 717 in their fleets, but today there are just four. Let's see who they are, and where you can still hop on a 717 today.

Delta Air Lines
Delta has by far the biggest fleet of 717s in the sky today. With 91 of the type still in service, the carrier operates around 60% of the world's current in-service 717 fleet. Unlike other big US operators, Delta has adopted a strategy of making use of older aircraft. In fact, not one of these 717s were bought new from Boeing.

The majority of Delta's 717s actually came from AirTran, via Southwest Airlines. When Southwest bought out AirTran, it didn't want to diversify from its 737 only model, so looked to offload the 88 717s that had arrived as part of the deal. As such, Delta began leasing all 88 of the jets.

Five more came from Blue1, a Finnish airline owned by CityJet which has subsequently been dissolved and merged into the parent company. Before its dissolution, it sold off nine 717s, with five going to Delta and the other four to Volotea.

Blue1 717
Blue1 sold five of its 717s to Delta. Photo: Alf van Beem via Wikimedia

Using second-hand 717s and MD-90s has allowed Delta to retire its aging DC-9s, without incurring the high costs involved with buying new jets from Boeing or Airbus. Despite its fleet averaging 19 years old, Delta's in house MRO business, TechOps, has been very successful in keeping these older birds in the skies.

According to Planespotters, QantasLink, the regional brand of Australian airline Qantas, still operates 20 Boeing 717s. While the majority of its fleet is made up of DHC Dash 8 turboprops, the 717 is its second most prevalent aircraft type.

QantasLink 717
QantasLink operates 20 Boeing 717s. Photo: Tony Hisgett via Wikimedia

With an average age of 17.6 years, these 717s are not young aircraft. The oldest in the fleet is VH-NXH, at 19.8 years, while the youngest, VH-YQV, is 13.6 years old. However, Qantas is clearly keen to keep them in the air, securing a contract earlier this year for heavy maintenance for the 717s offshore in Singapore, according to Australian Aviation.

These aircraft are operated under the QantasLink brand by Cobham Aviation, formerly National Jet Systems. However, rumors of a buyout, as reported by Flight Global, could put the future of these antipodean 717s at risk.

Hawaiian Airlines
The joint second-largest operator of the 717 currently is Hawaiian Airlines, which has 20 in its fleet according to data on Planespotters. Some of the oldest in its fleet have passed the 20 years mark, while the youngest are just over 14 years old.

Hawaiian uses the 717 exclusively on inter-island routes, having bought most of its aircraft in 2001. In 2008, it added a further four 717s to its fleet on lease, to pick up capacity left when Aloha Airlines closed its passenger operations. More recently, in 2017, a further five were leased from Boeing Capital Corporation.

Hawaiian has previously noted that it would like to plan a replacement for the 717, but that, in the past, there has been no real substitute that can match the 717 on capacity. However, with the A220 proving its worth with other airlines in North America, we would not be surprised to see an order announcement from Hawaiian in the coming months.

The world's fourth largest and final operating airline is Volotea. The Spanish low cost carrier only launched in 2012, and began operations with the mindset to connect smaller European cities among themselves. They launched with a modest fleet of six 717s, all leased from Boeing Capital Corporation, which grew over the years to the current fleet of 17.

Interestingly, Volotea had not planned to begin service with the 717s. Rather, they had been studying the options of either the Bombardier C Series (now the A220) or the Embraer E195. However, when AirTran was acquired by Southwest, Boeing was suddenly heavy on 717s, and struck an attractive deal with the startup carrier.

However, it now seems that the Boeing jet's days with Volotea are numbered. According to CH-Aviation, Volotea is planning to phase out its fleet of 717s over the coming years, in favor of the A319. CEO Carlos Muñoz is quoted by the publication as saying,

"In the coming years we expect to have a 100 percent A319 fleet. These new aircraft will also allow us to serve more distant destinations and provide superior on-board service as there will be improved seating pitch."

The final 717 is expected to leave Volotea's fleet in 2021. Munoz told Flight Global that the 717 is too large for some of its smaller markets, and that the A319 simply serves its needs better.

Have you flown on a 717? Do you plan to jump on the baby Boeing before it goes to the great hangar in the sky? Let us know in the comments.

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S.Korea's Aekyung, KCGI to join bidding for Asiana Airlines - sources

SEOUL, Sept 3 (Reuters) - South Korea's retail-to-airline group Aekyung and activist fund KCGI plan to participate in preliminary bidding for a stake in Asiana Airlines, the country's No.2 carrier, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

South Korean conglomerates GS Group and SK Group will not participate in the bid for the debt-ridden carrier, company officials told Reuters.

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Boeing Gets New Orders for Its 777-300ER Aircraft

Amid the ongoing 737 MAX crisis, Boeing (BA) received positive news today. The aircraft manufacturer unveiled that it had received new orders for its twin-aisle wide-body 777-300ER (extended range) aircraft.

  • Boeing Gets New Orders for Its 777-300ER Aircraft

Longtime Boeing customer KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has placed orders for two 777-300ER jets to strengthen its long-haul fleet. However, Boeing revealed that the order wasn't new, and KLM was previously recorded in its book as an unidentified customer. The transaction is worth approximately $751 million at the list price.

The 777-300ER is a variant of the world's largest and most fuel-efficient twin-aisle Boeing 777 aircraft. The 777-series planes are considered to be about 30% more fuel-economical than the 747-series aircraft.

The aircraft has a seating capacity of 396 people in a two-class configuration and is capable of flying up to 13,650 kilometers in a single takeoff. It's powered by General Electric's (GE) GE90-115B Turbofan engine. The GE90-115B Turbofan engine is currently the world's most powerful jet engine. It has a maximum thrust of 115,300 pounds of force.

The aircraft's long-range capacity will allow KLM to make fewer stops on long-haul routes. Fewer stops between destinations improves passenger-mile economics and reduces landing and trip costs. KLM currently operates 29 Boeing 777 model planes, of which 15 are 777-200 and 14 are 777-300ER.

New orders from KLM will increase Boeing's 777-300ER orders to 844. Boeing delivered its first 777-300ER jet to Air France in April 2004. As of July 31, the company has shipped 804 planes. With 114 aircraft, Emirates airline has the world's largest fleet of 777-300ER planes and has 120 more unfulfilled orders.

A much-needed boost for Boeing
Boeing needed new orders for its wide-body jets, as orders for its fast-selling narrow-body 737 MAX aircraft have entirely dried up since mid-March. The 737 MAX planes have been facing a global flying ban since mid-March following two fatal accidents that happened within five months of each other. Air carriers around the world are resisting placing new orders.

One customer has even sued Boeing to cancel orders for the troubled jets. Russian aircraft leasing company Avia Capital Services filed a lawsuit on August 27 to cancel its orders for 35 MAX 8 aircraft.

The 737 MAX planes account for nearly 70% of Boeing's overall commercial aircraft shipments and contribute approximately 30% to its total operating profit. However, since the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10, MAX deliveries have entirely dried up. Frozen shipments for MAX planes are severely hurting the aircraft manufacturer's financials. In the second quarter, Boeing's overall commercial jet deliveries fell 54% YoY (year-over-year) to 90 units. As a result, its second-quarter revenue plunged 35% YoY.

Further, the company will have to bear a massive compensation burden for MAX customers' foregone revenue and profits due to the grounding. According to an August 20 Reuters report, the total cost of the crisis has already crossed $8 billion.

Among major US airlines, Southwest Airlines (LUV), American Airlines (AAL), and United Airlines (UAL) own a combined 72 MAX aircraft. Southwest has recorded over 20,000 flight cancellations since mid-March. American and United faced 7,800 and 3,440 flight cancellations, respectively, in the second quarter. All three air carriers are in talks with Boeing for compensation.

Therefore, we believe that this new contract win for wide-body aircraft will increase Boeing's order backlog. A rise in the company's orderbook should ensure long-term cash flows.

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Why Tomorrow's Aircraft Will Be Hybrids

Jerome Bouchard and Eric Confais

Without new technology not based on fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation industry will likely rise over the next decades. Photographer: Simon Dawson Photocredit:

Since the 1950s, aerospace has made incredible progress in increasing both the power and efficiency of engines. Yet, recent studies suggest engine technology may be close to the thermodynamic limits on the amount of energy it can extract from carbon-based fuel at a reasonable investment. That means more travel and more aircraft will lead to increased fuel use and more greenhouse gas emissions unless a suitable substitute for fossil fuel is found.

Today, the global aviation industry accounts for 2.4 percent of total carbon-dioxide emissions and about 12 percent of the greenhouse gases released by the transportation industry. But those percentages are expected to increase as expanding demand for air travel, particularly in Asia, requires the addition of substantially more capacity. By 2028, revenue passenger kilometers are expected to increase by more than 60 percent to 12 trillion, and the size of the global fleet will expand by 43 percent to more than 39,000 aircraft. By 2050, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) predicts emissions from aviation could increase by more than 300 percent. It's also likely its share of global GHG production will rise if no meaningful attempt is made to turn away from fossil fuels, given efforts by other carbon-emitting sectors, such as electricity generation.

Since a complete solution to the emissions problem-a commercial jet powered entirely by something other than fossil fuels-is likely to be decades away, a few pioneering aerospace companies are borrowing an idea from the automotive industry and creating hybrids. Just as they did for cars, these propulsion systems that are part internal combustion and part electric could represent an interim strategy to cut emissions and fossil fuel consumption until fully sustainable electric or hydrogen-powered aircraft are commercially developed. Given mounting evidence that the pace of climate change is accelerating, aviation can ill afford to wait another two decades to address its emissions problem.

While hybrid automobiles don't reduce emissions as much as fully electric vehicles, they do almost cut them in half compared to gasoline-powered cars. For aviation, going hybrid would still mean overcoming many engineering challenges and would require regulatory approval, but this alternative would likely be realized sooner than a fully electric airliner.

Research into the electrification of transportation is part of the global effort to avert large-scale drought and significant sea level rise by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While every nation and industry has pledged to do their part, carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise-up 2.7 percent last year, according to a report by the Global Carbon Project. Numbers from the International Air Transport Association show aviation emissions up 26 percent since 2013. With the pressure on to at least stabilize the situation, aviation needs to come up with immediate solutions in the next few years or face penalties under a United Nations-sponsored agreement called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation that require airlines to cap emissions at 2020 levels.

While electric cars and light vehicles are expected to dominate auto sales by 2040, Emissions Analytics, a global testing and data specialist that measures real-world emissions and fuel efficiency, has argued that promoting hybrids in the short term may in fact be more effective at cutting emissions over the long run. Why would not the same be true for aviation, given how elusive complete electrification of air transport is proving?

Representing a step change for the industry toward lower emissions, hybrids are powered by both conventional kerosene-fed turbine engines and electric motors using "clean" power stored in batteries or produced by hydrogen fuel cells. This dual-technology propulsion system would be usable through all phases of flight, and besides lowering emissions, it would likely cut an aircraft's consumption of jet fuel-the second biggest operating cost for airlines.

Working the problem

At least one small-scale attempt to assign some engine functions to electric motors has already been successful, but unfavorable economics stopped it from being adopted. In 2016, Safran Landing Systems and Honeywell abandoned an electric taxiing system that would have cut emissions and fuel use especially for airlines that focus on frequent, short-haul flights, because low fuel prices made the system less attractive to carriers.

There have also been test flights of small hybrid aircraft. Here are some examples: The University of Stuttgart's e-Genius plane conducted at least two successful flights over the Alps using a relatively complex propulsion system consisting of an electric motor, batteries, a generator, and an internal combustion engine. Similarly, Diamond Aircraft Industries and Siemens announced the first flight of a multi-engine hybrid electric aircraft late last year.

More ambitious hybrid experiments are underway as well. Most recently, SAS and Airbus announced a collaboration to create a hybrid-electric aircraft for large-scale commercial use. At the Paris Air Show in late June, hybrid projects were unveiled by Airbus, Safran, Daher, and Eviation, an Israeli startup. Rolls Royce also announced its intention to acquire Siemens' eAircraft business at Le Bourget, another indication of growing commitments to an electric future.

Battery versus fuel cell

Even with hybrids, there is a choice to be made about whether to go with lithium-ion batteries, now commonly used in electric vehicles and smartphones, or hydrogen fuel cells. Each has its advantages, and each its drawbacks.

The biggest hurdle facing batteries is the size required to provide enough power to run a commercial airliner, given current technology. One problem: Lithium-ion batteries have a relatively low energy density per unit of mass compared with current kerosene-based jet fuel. In a hybrid, of course, that disadvantage is offset by the fact that the battery is being backed up by a conventional internal combustion engine.

A next-generation battery also is needed to improve recharging time if it is to be used on aircraft that often have just 30 minutes between flights. While a rapid-charging option has been in favor for electric cars, researchers are still trying to develop battery-swapping capability, despite early problems with the technology. Tesla is quietly continuing to test it, and Chinese electric car maker Nio also is a proponent. If battery-swapping succeeds for cars-with some economic and environmental concerns to overcome as well-it would allow a fully charged battery to be substituted for a dead battery in the time it takes to fill up a fossil fuel-powered car. It would also remove one impediment for battery use by aircraft.

Lithium-ion batteries have other drawbacks, such as the fact that China controls 61 percent of global battery capacity. China also is the third largest miner of the raw material, lithium-often referred to as white petroleum because of its mounting economic importance-and has been buying up reserves in Chile, the second largest producer.

Hydrogen power

Hydrogen fuel cells are another alternative being researched. The most abundant element on earth, hydrogen has higher energy density per unit of mass than either kerosene-based jet fuel or batteries - some 33,300 watt-hours per kilogram versus 11,900 for conventional jet fuel and only a few hundred for batteries. Hydrogen fuel cells have been used on every manned US space flight, from Apollo through the space shuttle.

Three years ago, the HY4 - a four-seater using only an electric motor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell - successfully took off from the Stuttgart airport in Germany, staying airborne for 10 minutes. In Singapore, the world's first regional hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft was unveiled in October 2018. Although considered aspirational by many in the industry, the company has reportedly already received inquiries from regional airlines.

Within these cells, hydrogen and oxygen are combined electrochemically to produce electricity. Their only byproducts are heat and water vapor. But today most hydrogen is produced by separating it from natural gas, a process that then produces methane, another greenhouse gas. Hydrogen also can be produced from water, but the process is relatively expensive. Finally, fuel cell technology in general is pricey-another disadvantage.

Many aerospace executives privately discuss liquid hydrogen as the potential endgame for aircraft, emulating the propulsion design that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has used for decades to power its rockets. Recently, NASA funded a program at the University of Illinois that aims to develop a fully electric aircraft platform that uses cryogenic liquid hydrogen as an energy storage method. But for several years, the agency also has been researching the development of hydrogen hybrid aircraft.

Clearly, more must be done, and one of the biggest benefits of a hybrid strategy is that it may buy the aerospace industry the time it needs to create a new kind of flying machine that doesn't use fossil fuels at all. Given the absolute necessity to cut emissions, an industry hybrid strategy that focuses on incremental solutions raises the prospect of real progress on reducing emissions in the near term, even as air travel continues to expand.

Dave Marcontell and Tom Cooper, vice presidents in Oliver Wyman's CAVOK division in Atlanta, contributed insights to this article.

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