AirAsia X Berhenti Beroperasi di Indonesia, Ada Apa?

Foto Pesawat Airbus A330-900 yang dipesan AirAsia X(dok AirAsia X, Airbus)

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Maskapai AirAsia X berencana menutup operasionalnya di Indonesia. Langkah tersebut dilakukan agar dapat bertahan di tengah pandemi Covid-19. Sebagaimana diketahui, maskapai yang merupakan bagian dari AirAsia Group itu belum dapat beroperasi sejak Maret lalu. Deputy Chairman Air Asia X Lim Kian Onn mengatakan, penutupan operasional juga merupakan bagian dari restrukturisasi yang tengah dilakukan maskapai guna menghapus utang sebesar 63,5 miliar ringgit atau setara Rp 222 triliun (asumsi kurs Rp 3.500 per ringgit).

Lim mengaku kesulitan untuk mendapatkan persetujuan dari para investor dan kreditur. Pasalnya, mereka merasa kecewa dan meminta meminta persyaratan yang lebih baik, termasuk ekuitas gratis untuk utang yang dihapuskan. Namun, Lim menambahkan, hal itu tidak mungkin dipenuhi oleh maskapai penerbangan.  Meskipun begitu, Lim memastikan bahwa pihaknya akan menemukan jalan tengah guna memajukan bisnis maskapai.

“Tidak ada yang bisa mendapatkan keuntungan dari ditutupnya usaha kami,” ujarnya dikutip dari The New Straits Times, Senin (19/10/2020). Sebagai informasi, AirAsia X merupakan maskapai yang difokuskan untuk melayani penerbangan jarak jauh, dengan waktu terbang lebih dari 4 jam. CEO AirAsia Group Tony Fernandes pun mengakui, penerbangan jarak jauh akan memakan waktu pulih lebih lama ketimbang jarak dekat. “Business travel, penerbangan antarbenua, first class travel, akan membutuhkan waktu lama untuk bangkit,” ucap Fernandes.

Artikel ini telah tayang di Kompas.com dengan judul “AirAsia X Berhenti Beroperasi di Indonesia, Ada Apa? “, Klik untuk baca: https://money.kompas.com/read/2020/10/19/140800926/airasia-x-berhenti-beroperasi-di-indonesia-ada-apa.
Penulis : Rully R. Ramli
Editor : Sakina Rakhma Diah Setiawan

Boeing 737 MAX Dinyatakan Aman Terbang oleh Regulator Penerbangan Eropa

Boeing 737 MAX Dinyatakan Aman Terbang oleh Regulator Penerbangan Eropa

ejak insiden yang menimpa Boeing 737 MAX Lion Air dan Ethiopian, pesawat tersebut dilarang terbang di seluruh dunia. Namun, hari ini Boeing akhirnya mendapat kabar positif setelah sekian lama.

Melalui BloombergEuropean Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) atau regulator penerbangan Eropa telah menyatakan puas atas perkembangan yang dilakukan oleh Boeing untuk pesawat Boeing 737 MAX.

Meski demikian, bukan berarti Boeing 737 MAX akan segera terbang dalam waktu dekat. EASA melalui Executive Director-nya, Patrick Ky, menyatakan bahwa Boeing 737 MAX dinyatakan aman dan bisa kembali terbang sebelum tahun 2020 berakhir.

Saat ini EASA sedang menyiapkan dokumen final untuk sertifikasi kelayakan terbang yang seharusnya akan rampung bulan depan. Kemudian komentar dari publik akan dikumpulkan selama periode 4 minggu. Barulah setelah itu di bulan Desember 2020, Boeing 737 MAX bisa kembali mengudara di langit Eropa.

Boeing 737 MAX 8 milik Garuda Indonesia. Foto oleh Ikhwan Hidayat

Boeing 737 MAX Dituntut Lebih Baik

Meski sudah dinilai layak terbang, namun EASA nampaknya tidak akan puas dengan perkembangan saat ini. Kedepannya, EASA juga mengharapkan perkembangan lanjutan untuk Boeing 737 MAX. Spesifiknya, sistem sensor sintetis ketiga akan dipasang untuk meningkatkan level keamanan dari pesawat tersebut.

Pada insiden terjatuhnya pesawat Lion Air & Ethiopian, sistem sensor angle-of-attack (AOA) pada kedua pilot mengalami malfungsi. Sensor sintetis ketiga tersebut akan menjadi fitur back-up yang membantu pilot untuk melihat apakah pesawat mengarah ke atas atau ke bawah.

Disebutkan bahwa perlu waktu 2 tahun untuk mengembangkan sensor tambahan tersebut, yang mana akan diwajibkan pada varian terbesar Boeing 737 MAX 10 yang akan mulai beroperasi di tahun 2022.

Penutup

Regulator penerbangan Eropa telah memberikan lampu hijau untuk pesawat Boeing 737 MAX. Kemungkinan besar kita bisa melihat pesawat tersebut mulai terbang di langit Eropa sebelum tahun 2021. Melihat perkembangan positif tersebut, tidak menutup kemungkinan pesawat tersebut akan turut mendapat sertifikasi & kembali terbang juga di benua lain.

Ketika kembali terbang, saya cukup percaya bahwa Boeing 737 MAX akan menjadi salah satu jenis pesawat teraman. Wajar saja mengingat banyaknya uji coba dan regulasi baru yang harus dipenuhi oleh Boeing. Meski masih ada keraguan, saya pribadi tidak masalah untuk terbang di pesawat tersebut.

Link: https://pinterpoin.com/boeing-737-max-aman-terbang-eropa/

Kiat Maskapai Bertahan Saat Pandemi: Thai Airways Jualan Gorengan, AirAsia Bisnis Akikah

Gerai penjualan patong-go di gedung THAI Catering, Bangkok.
Gerai penjualan patong-go di gedung THAI Catering, Bangkok.(FACEBOOK THAI CATERING)

JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – Penyebaran pandemi virus corona ( Covid-19) membuat performa industri maskapai babak belur. Jumlah penumpang anjlok seiiring dengan pembatasan aktivitas di berbagai negara. Tak mau tinggal diam menanti ancaman kebangkrutan, perusahaan maskapai penerbangan terpaksa merambah bisnis lain agar bisa tetap bertahan. Salah satu kiatnya yakni memanfaatkan anak usaha atau divisi bisnis katering untuk meraup pendapatan tambahan. Sebagaimana diketahui, industri kuliner memang relatif kebal terhadap pandemi Covid-19. Belanja masyarakat yang masih tinggi terhadap konsumsi makanan jadi tolok ukurnya. Berikut contoh dua maskapai penerbangan yang terjun ke bisnis kuliner.

1. AirAsia buka bisnis daging akikah

Maskapai penerbangan swasta terbesar Malaysia ini baru saja mengumumkan langkah bisnis dengan terjun ke perdagangan daging akikah. Populasi muslim di Negeri Jiran yang besar, membuat prospek bisnis daging kambing untuk aqiqah sangat potensial. Selain itu, AirAsia juga fokus menggarap pasar umat muslim di luar negeri yang jadi wilayah operasional armada pesawat AirAsia seperti Timur Tengah, Bangladesh, Thailand, dan India. Permintaan daging akikah selalu tinggi dan tak mengenal musim. Air Asia sendiri meluncurkan platform penjualan online bernama Ikhlas yang bisa diakses di laman ikhlas.com/aqiqah. Bisnis daging akikah ini dijalankan anak perusahaannya, Ikhlas Com Travel Sdn Bhd yang berkantor pusat di Kuala Lumpur Sentral, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Harga kambing yang ditawarkan bervariasi yakni antara RM 499 atau sekitar Rp 1,77 juta (kurs Rp 3.500) dan paling mahal sebesar RM 799 atau sekitar Rp 2,83 juta. “Sebagai bagian dari ekspansi bisnis digital grup AirAsia, Ikhlas, lini bisnis airasia.com yang melayani platform gaya hidup Muslim hari ini meluncurkan layanan terbarunya, aqiqah,” tulis Air Asia di laman resminya seperti dikutip pada Senin (12/10/2020).

2. Thai Airways jual gorengan

Thai Airways adalah satu contoh maskapai yang terbilang sukses menggeluti bisnis kuliner di luar katering penerbangan di saat pandemi Covid-19. Tak tanggung-tanggung, maskapai flag carrier ini bahkan mengandalkan jualan gorengan.

Gorengan yang dijual Thai Airways cukup populer bagi masyarakat Thailand, khususnya di Bangkok. Perusahaan ini memanfaatkan aset kateringnya untuk memproduksi gorengan yang diberi nama Patong-go tersebut.

Untuk penjualannya, selain menyewa tempat di berbagai lokasi strategis, Thai Airways juga memanfaatkan aset-aset propertinya seperti kantor di berbagai sudut kota untuk lokasi berjualan. Setiap orang, orang-orang rela mengantre untuk membeli Patong-go sejak dibuka mulai pagi hari. Dikutip dari Bangkok Post, setiap kotak dijual seharga 50 baht (Rp 23.600) yang berisi tiga gorengan dan sebungkus saus celup yang terbuat dari ubi ungu dan telur custard. Beberapa lokasi penjualannya antara lain toko roti Puff & Pie di pasar Or Tor Kor, di kantor pusatnya di distrik Chatuchak, gedung Rak Khun Tao Fa, gedung Thai Catering di distrik Don Muang, serta kantor cabang Thai Airways di Silom. Thai Airways tak hanya menjual gorengan, lini bisnis kateringnya juga dimanfaatkan untuk menjual roti. Perusahaan juga menyulap restoran menjadi kabin pesawat kelas satu. Untuk membangun suasana, restoran itu dilengkapi dengan kursi yang nyaman dan awak kabin yang perhatian.

Thai Airways restoran pop up di Bangkok, Thailand.
Thai Airways restoran pop up di Bangkok, Thailand. (Dok. AFP)

Artikel ini telah tayang di Kompas.com dengan judul “Kiat Maskapai Bertahan Saat Pandemi: Thai Airways Jualan Gorengan, AirAsia Bisnis Akikah”, Klik untuk baca: https://money.kompas.com/read/2020/10/12/150600626/kiat-maskapai-bertahan-saat-pandemi-thai-airways-jualan-gorengan-airasia.
Penulis : Muhammad Idris
Editor : Muhammad Idris

Tuesday’s Market Minute: Southwest Asks Union Employees For Pay Cuts

Southwest Airlines Co (NYSE: LUV) is asking its employees to agree to pay cuts for the first time through the end of next year. This notion is specific to union employees, and the airline has said is the trade-off to avoiding furloughs and future job cuts. Non-union salaries will already be cut by at least 10% until the beginning of 2022. And the Southwest CEO Gary Kelly is also already foregoing his salary entirely through 2021, with several senior-level executives taking a 20% pay cut.

While it is not news that the airlines as a whole have been one of the hardest-hit sectors throughout the pandemic, it remains unclear when they will see any degree of relief. Airline travel demand remains down 70% compared to a year ago despite receiving federal aid of $25 billion dollars earlier this year. Under the terms of the government package, all airlines were banned from laying off or furloughing any employees until October 1.

As October quickly crept up and federal aid restrictions lifted, the airlines began taking necessary measures to remain afloat. American Airlines Group Inc (NASDAQ: AAL) laid off roughly 19,000 employees and United Airlines laid off about 13,000 employees within the last week.

While another round of stimulus has been in talks, a formal package remains unapproved. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even asked the U.S. airline executives on Monday to hold off on further job cuts, promising that relief is on the way. The Southwest Airlines’ CEO has confirmed the company can avoid job losses if these terms are reached within the unions by the start of 2021, also noting “I feel like we have a moral obligation to them.”

Southwest stock remains down about 28% this year, outperforming its airline peers who have on average lost about 50% of their value in the last 8 months.

Link: https://www.yahoo.com/news/tuesdays-market-minute-southwest-asks-142348948.html?.tsrc=daily_mail&uh_test=1_04

Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Will Present Tough Challenge to Cargo Airlines

Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Will Present Tough Challenge to Cargo Airlines

  • Inoculations for the new coronavirus will require thousands of extra flights, taxing stretched airlines
  • UPS is combining multiple refrigerators at its airport hubs to store vaccines in transit.

The pandemic has revealed shortcomings in global supply chains and forced business to make logistics a bigger strategic priority. Successfully delivering Covid-19 vaccines will test manufacturers and shippers on what lessons have been learned.
“If 50 million doses were available today, could we distribute them?” asked Glyn Hughes, head of cargo at the International Air Transport Association, a trade group. “The answer is almost certainly ‘No’, for every jurisdiction.”
The air-cargo industry is making plans for delivering as many as 20 billion Covid-19 vaccination doses, even before regulators have approved any of the multiple treatments under development. Shippers say they are having to plan without knowing exactly how many vaccine doses they’ll have to ship, where they will be manufactured and how cold they have to be kept.
Pharmaceutical companies and shippers say they expect the bulk of vaccine supplies to be transported by air. Cargo-airline executives are working on a delivery schedule that assumes initial batches become available during the traditional peak season for shipping that runs from fall through early February.
Carriers such as FedEx Corp. FDX 0.44% and the DHL arm of Deutsche Post AG DPSGY 0.22% have started preparations such as introducing new temperature-monitoring systems to track future vaccine shipments. United Parcel Service Inc. UPS -0.41% and Deutsche Lufthansa AG are building “freezer farms” combining multiple refrigerators at their airport hubs to store vaccines in transit.
Yet cargo flights are fast filling up through February with bookings for consumer electronics, apparel and industrial parts through the holiday season and new year, said airline executives. This year’s peak season is expected to include a lift from the delayed iPhone 5G from Apple Inc. and Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 5.
“We’re planning for the mother of all peaks,” said Don Colleran, president of FedEx’s express division, on an investor call last month.
Airlines said they would make room for essential supplies such as vaccines, just as they have for personal protective equipment throughout the pandemic.
Most of the potential vaccines have to be kept at a low constant temperature throughout the journey to prevent spoiling, according to cargo experts. These fall into two temperature ranges—around freezing and about minus 70 degrees Celsius—with very different transport and storage requirements.
Pharma executives said spoilage rates for other vaccines during transport range from 5% to as much as 20% because of poor temperature control.
“This is going to be one of the biggest challenges for the transportation industry,” Michael Steen, chief operating officer at Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc., said in an interview. Atlas is one of the largest cargo airlines, flying freight on behalf of customers including Amazon.com Inc. and DHL.
Cargo executives said they expect it will take two years for a vaccine to reach all of the world’s population, with particular challenges in some emerging markets where infrastructure is limited.
The air-cargo industry isn’t starting from scratch. Pharma products have been one of the fastest-growing and most profitable cargo types over the past decade. Shippers have developed increasingly sophisticated supply chains for vaccines in recent years, especially for the flu. Gene therapies, another booming area, already require transport and storage at very low temperatures.
Planning flu-season vaccine deliveries typically starts months ahead and includes analyzing which routes and airports carry the highest risk for delays and spoilage, said Larry St. Onge, president of DHL’s life sciences and health care unit.
DHL is applying that analysis to potential Covid-19 vaccines, which will have more-urgent delivery needs and far larger volume.
IATA estimates transporting a single dose to the global population would require the equivalent of 8,000 fully-laden Boeing Co. 747 flights, based on dimensions for vials and packaging provided by pharma companies. A recent study by DHL and McKinsey & Co. pegged demand at 15,000 flights, while including syringes and protective equipment for medical staff would increase the cargo-space requirement.
Pharma shipments already account for around 1.9% of global air-cargo volume, said IATA, and adding Covid-19 vaccines could double that share. Not every freighter jet is able to handle very cold cargo because of regulatory restrictions on how much dry ice they can transport to cool them, said executives.
Air-cargo capacity is already tight, with flights flying fuller than before the pandemic started. International air-cargo capacity was down 32% in August from a year earlier while demand was only 14% lower.
The pandemic-driven travel downturn has removed from service hundreds of passenger jets and the belly space that once carried cargo. More freighters are joining the fleet, with Atlas returning stored 747s from the desert and passenger airlines converting around 100 planes to carry freight in their cabins.
Covid-19 vaccine makers such as Pfizer Inc. have already begun manufacturing doses to be ready for shipment should regulators authorize their use. However, the uncertainty over approval timing and shipping requirements has meant they have stopped short of booking space on cargo flights, said airline executives.
The U.S. government last month outlined its initial plans for distributing vaccines domestically under its Operation Warp Speed program run by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Pentagon, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
McKesson Corp. , one of the world’s largest drug wholesalers, has been contracted by CDC to ship some vaccine types in the U.S. It hasn’t detailed how they would be transported, and air-cargo executives said they haven’t signed any Covid-19 vaccine-related deals yet. McKesson declined to comment.
President Trump said during the opening presidential debate last week that the military would support distribution of the vaccine. The Pentagon said it doesn’t expect to have to use military transport aircraft, except to very remote areas. “Our best military assessment is that there is sufficient U.S. commercial-transportation capacity to fully support vaccine distribution,” said a spokesman.

Virgin Atlantic to Test Cabin Crew and Pilots for COVID-19 at Least Once a Month

Photo Credit: Virgin Atlantic

Beleaguered airline Virgin Atlantic is to test all of its cabin crew and pilots for COVID-19 at least once a month as part of measures to “instil confidence” in the safety of air travel. The airline, which is majority-owned by Sir Richard Branson, however, warned the move would do little to increase ticket sales without a system to replace draconian quarantine rules with mass COVID-19 passenger testing.


Pilots and cabin crew have been taking part in a trial of rapid pre-flight COVID-19 testing since September 30 on flights to Hong Kong and Shanghai. Both of these destinations require crew to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate before being allowed entry.


The plan is now to extend rapid testing to other destinations that require negative tests for crew members, as well as those where such requirements don’t currently exist. In effect, it would mean that all crew would be tested for COVID-19 at least once per month.


Testing would be mandatory for certain destinations.
The move follows a similar initiative developed by shareholder Delta Air Lines. The Atlanta-based airline has now tested every member of staff for the novel Coronavirus and plans to roll-out mass rapid testing in the near future.
Results from the mass-testing program, Delta claims, shows that cabin crew are less likely to succumb to COVID-19 than the general public. The airline put that down to safety measures like mandatory mask-wearing rules and enhanced aircraft cleaning.


Last week, Air Canada also announced plans to roll-out mass rapid COVID-19 testing for staff members on a voluntary basis. The airline is using the Abbott rapid ID NOW testing system that can produce results in as little as 15-minutes.
On Monday, the South African government had to clarify rules for flight crew entering the government after Emirates apparently cancelled some services over confusion with new COVID-19 travel restrictions. While passengers must present a negative test certificate dated within 72-hours of travel, this will no longer be a requirement for cabin crew.
They won’t, however, now be allowed to leave their hotel rooms as part of preventative measures.

Link: https://www.paddleyourownkanoo.com/2020/10/05/virgin-atlantic-to-test-cabin-crew-and-pilots-for-covid-19-at-least-once-a-month/

Sustainable Aviation Fuels Still The Immediate Future

The prevailing view at Air Transport Action Group’s (ATAG) Global Sustainable Aviation Forum (29-30 September) was that the immediate future for decarbonization remains the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs).  Robin Hayes, CEO of US low-cost carrier JetBlue, says the airline chose SAFs as a focus for the next five to ten years, because new zero-emission aircraft will come later. JetBlue found that SAFs, which are already being used on flights from San Francisco, are a cost-effective way of reducing emissions, he adds.  

Another way is having more efficient air traffic control in congested regions, he says, adding that JetBlue has noticed that fewer flight delays – in the current low traffic COVID-19 period – has resulted in lower fuel burn for each flight.  JetBlue recently became the first US airline to achieve carbon neutrality for all domestic flights through the purchase of carbon offsets. Hayes say the airline did this because “customers, regulators and communities want [tangible] action now.” During the forum’s chief technology officers’ (CTO) panel, Safran CTO Stéphane Cueille said ATAG’s Waypoint 2050 target – of halving aviation’s global emissions by 2050 as compared to 2005 – is achievable.  

France’s government has announced that it expects to see a regional aircraft – powered by either hybrid-electric or hydrogen technology – enter service around 2030 and see a more fuel-efficient Airbus A320 aircraft enter service from 2033-2035.  Cueille says conventional turbine powered aircraft will still be the mainstay of the global commercial aircraft fleet in the early 2030s, so Safran is working to ensure the turbines are 100% compatible with alternative fuels like SAFs. Safran is also working on hydrogen-powered propulsion systems, Cueille says.   

Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce CTO, says disruptive technologies are unlikely to arrive in the short term, and that it first aims for efficiency gains of about 10% using its upcoming UltraFan technology. Rolls-Royce also plans for its engines to be 100% compatible with SAFs, he adds.  Rolls-Royce is also active in disruptive technologies including hydrogen, hybrid and battery-electric, Stein says. Early next year it will attempt to break the speed record for the world’s fastest zero-emission aircraft using its electric aircraft demonstrator ACCEL, he adds.  

GE Aviation general manager advanced technology, Arjan Hegeman, says GE is working on a wide range of technologies, including allowing engines to utilize SAFs and aiming for double-digit efficiency improvements in its open-rotor engine technology. He also says GE is developing megawatt-scale power generation for electric motors.  Raytheon Technologies head of technology and global engineering, Mark Russell, says the company is working on a wide range of carbon-cutting technologies, through improved efficiency, SAFs and hybrid-electric propulsion. 

Airbus CTO Grazia Vittadini says hydrogen fuel can be used for about 50% of the journey to a carbon neutral industry. She says Airbus’ zero-emission hydrogen-powered aircraft will be available by 2035, but that SAFs will also play a part in the journey as well, she adds.  ATR senior VP engineering and head of design organization, Stéphane Viala, says: “ATR has looked at battery technology, but it is not the way to go [as it is too heavy]. We are not carrying enough payload.” Viala says the only technology they are considering are those using hydrogen. He says they are looking at hydrogen fuel cells and burning hydrogen in turbines. A challenge we face is producing hydrogen in a ‘green way’ and at affordable cost, says Viala, adding that the other issue is developing the infrastructure to support a hydrogen-powered aviation industry.

Link: http://www.smartaviation-apac.com/2020/10/sustainable-aviation-fuels-still-the-immediate-future/

Rolls-Royce completes ground-testing of technology set to power the world’s fastest all-electric plane: ACCEL

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Rolls-Royce has completed testing of the technology that will power the world’s fastest all-electric plane. All the technology has been tested on a full-scale replica of the plane’s core—called an ‘ionBird’—including a 500hp electric powertrain powerful enough to set world speed records and a battery with enough energy to supply 250 homes. The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL, short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight”.

The ACCEL project team includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight. The team has been developing the technology while adhering to the UK Government’s social distancing and other health guidelines; the systems will soon be integrated into Rolls-Royce’s ‘Spirit of Innovation’ plane. There is a long history of iron-birds in aviation for testing propulsion systems ahead of flight; in this case Rolls-Royce named the test airframe “ionBird”, after the zero-emission energy source propelling the aircraft. 

The dedicated team have tested each and every component of the system including running the propeller up to full speed (approximately 2,400 rpm) using the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for aircraft propulsion. When at full power during the flight-testing phase, it will propel the aircraft to more than 300 mph setting a new world speed record for electric flight.

More than 6,000 cells are packaged in the battery for maximum safety, minimum weight and full thermal protection. Since January, engineering and test pilots have spent many hours optimizing the system and developing operating procedures for electric flight. GBs of data—generated every hour of operation—are analyzed to improve performance wherever possible. 

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Rolls-Royce is committed to playing a leading role in reaching net zero carbon by 2050.The completion of ground-testing for the ACCEL project is a great achievement for the team and is another important step towards a world record attempt. This project is also helping to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we remain a leader in delivering the electrification of flight, an important part of our sustainability strategy. —Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical

Bremont will be the official timing partner for the all-electric speed record attempt. The British luxury watch maker has also helped develop the design of the plane’s cockpit which will feature a stopwatch, while the company has machined canopy release parts at its Henley-on-Thames manufacturing facility. 

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The first flight is planned for later this year; the aim is to beat the current all-electric flight world record early next year. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK. The ACCEL project is the first Rolls-Royce project to use offsetting to make the whole program carbon neutral. The company also hopes to inspire young people with the ACCEL project to consider STEM careers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Link: https://www.greencarcongress.com/2020/10/20201001-accel.html

How to Fix Plane Certification

In this Monday, June 29, 2020 file photo, a Boeing 737 MAX jet heads to a landing at Boeing Field following a test flight in Seattle, USA.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file

After being grounded in March 2019 following two fatal crashes, the Boeing 737 MAX is expected to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly again later this fall. Investigations pointed to a problem with the aircraft’s Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS. This automated control system was designed to stabilize the plane and compensate for the more powerful engines used on the 737 MAX compared to previous versions. The FAA’s certification of the plane has come under fire because manufacturers can speed up the process by having only enhancements to a preapproved aircraft reviewed and certified. Ronnie R. Gipson Jr., an expert in aviation law and visiting professor at the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, whose work was cited in the House Committee on transportation and infrastructure’s report on this issue, explains what happened and ways to improve these safety regulations.


What are the criticisms of the FAA certification process stemming from the 737 MAX crashes?
The process for the certification of a transport category aircraft is a very involved and costly process. The aircraft manufacturers that go down this path have to be committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars. It starts with an initial design, and the aircraft that is produced is then subjected to dynamic flight testing for compliance with all of the Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Once the airplane satisfies all those requirements, the aircraft is given an original type certificate by the FAA. The aircraft manufacturer is then allowed to produce aircraft and sell them. 

As time goes on, technology advances and the manufacturer identifies ways to improve on that original design. So the manufacturer goes back to the FAA and says, “We want to take this initial design that we have and amend it because we made some changes.” At this point, the aircraft manufacturer files what’s called an amended type certificate application for a derivative aircraft from the baseline aircraft. For example, the original type certificate for the first 737 design was submitted to the FAA in 1967. That original design has had multiple derivative aircraft approved by the FAA, with the 737 MAX being the 13th version. In the amended type certification process, the regulatory authority focuses only on what’s changed.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the FAA just doesn’t have the manpower to oversee all the tests that go with an amended type certificate approval. Therefore, the FAA reviews most of the critical changes related to safety and delegates the noncritical changes for review to the manufacturers – in this case to a body in Boeing which consists essentially of Boeing employees.


And that’s what happened here. MCAS wasn’t necessarily presented as a change in the design impacting control in flight. As a result, the MCAS was not a priority for the FAA in the amended certificate approval process. The MCAS capabilities and what it was supposed to control were never fully revealed. That’s really where the problem started. It was with the narrative that was being presented to the FAA, and the lack of oversight in the amended type certificate process. The result was that the MCAS system that was initially presented to the FAA at the beginning of the amended type certificate process was not the same system that ended up in the aircraft (view chart in gallery).


How will the recent recertification for the 737 MAX ensure that the model is now safe?
The FAA has had to backtrack and give the MCAS system the intense level of scrutiny that it deserved. The FAA has required the manufacturer to go back and make significant adjustments to the software, in addition to changes to the operator’s manual, which is what the pilots would see.


How can the certification process be improved?

I see two paths to take. First, for a transport category aircraft, regulations are changed so that the manufacturer can receive amended type certificates for only 20 years after the original type certificate has been issued by the FAA.Here’s how that would work: An aircraft manufacturer designs an aircraft for certification in the transport category and applies for the original type certificate in 2020. Once the original type certification is awarded in, say, 2025, then the manufacturer should have 20 years. That means that the manufacturer would have until the year 2045 to seek an amendment to that original type certificate. Beginning in 2046, if the aircraft manufacturer wants to make subsequent design changes, they have to start over and get a new original type certificate.The second component to resolving this problem would be to step in and review what areas the FAA can delegate oversight authority for system changes in an amended aircraft certification application review.


What are the obstacles to making these changes?

One would be money. The FAA has a budget, and these are very costly measures because the FAA will need more engineers and administrators. And for that to happen, Congress has to be prepared to spend the money to make that happen by increasing the FAA’s budget.
There’s also going to be a cost to the industry. Implementing the proposal of a 20-year cap on the validity of that original type certificate is going to impose a greater financial cost on the aircraft manufacturers of transport category aircraft. They’re not going to have as much time to get a return on their investment for the aircraft that they produce. So the aircraft are going to end up costing more, which means the airlines are going to end up paying more for those planes. And that cost is going to trickle down to the flying public in those seats.

Certification timeline of the Boeing 737 series of aircraft.US Department of Transportation, Office of Inspector General

Link: https://www.mbtmag.com/home/news/21196218/how-to-fix-plane-certification

World First Hydrogen-Electric Passenger Plane Flight

Given the role that metrology plays in the manufacturing and support of commercial and military aviation Metrology.News believes that the following news story is of measurable significance, and worthy of bringing to the attention of the metrology sector, as the aviation industry takes a step-forward in decarbonising commercial aviation. 

ZeroAvia, a leading innovator in decarbonising commercial aviation, has completed the world first hydrogen fuel cell powered flight of a commercial-grade aircraft. The flight took place at the company’s R&D facility in Cranfield, England, with the Piper M-class six-seat plane completing taxi, takeoff, a full pattern circuit, and landing. 

ZeroAvia’s achievement is the first step to realising the transformational possibilities of moving from fossil fuels to zero-emission hydrogen as the primary energy source for commercial aviation. Eventually, and without any new fundamental science required, hydrogen-powered aircraft will match the flight distances and payload of the current fossil fuel aircraft. 

This major milestone on the road to commercial zero-emission flight is part of the HyFlyer project, a sequential R&D programme supported by the UK Government and follows the UK’s first ever commercial-scale battery-electric flight, conducted in the same aircraft in June. ZeroAvia will now turn its attention to the next and final stage of its six-seat development program – a 250-mile zero emission flight out before the end of the year. The demonstration of this range is roughly equivalent to busy major routes such as Los Angeles to San Francisco or London to Edinburgh. 

​“It’s hard to put into words what this means to our team, but also for everybody interested in zero-emission flight. While some experimental aircraft have flown using hydrogen fuel cells as a power source, the size of this commercially available aircraft shows that paying passengers could be boarding a truly zero-emission flight very soon. All of the team at ZeroAvia and at our partner companies can be proud of their work getting us to this point, and I want to also thank our investors and the UK Government for their support.” comment’s Val Miftakhov, ZeroAvia CEO. 

ZeroAvia’s innovation programme in the UK is part-funded through the UK Government’s Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) Programme. Through the HyFlyer project, ZeroAvia is working with key partners the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) and Intelligent Energy to decarbonise medium-range small passenger aircraft by demonstrating powertrain technology to replace conventional engines in propeller aircraft. Intelligent Energy will optimise its high power fuel cell technology for application in aviation whilst EMEC, producers of green hydrogen from renewable energy, will supply the hydrogen required for flight tests and develop a mobile refuelling platform compatible with the plane. 

In addition to all the aircraft work, ZeroAvia and EMEC have developed the Hydrogen Airport Refuelling Ecosystem (HARE) at Cranfield Airport – a microcosm of what the hydrogen airport ecosystem will look like in terms of green hydrogen production, storage, refuelling and fuel cell powered-flight.

This also marks another world’s first – a fully operational hydrogen production and refueling airport facility for primary commercial aircraft propulsion. The successful flight represents good news for the aviation industry’s role in supporting the net zero transition, but also raises hopes for innovation that can reduce commercial challenges in the medium term, particularly important for the industry as it considers the post pandemic recovery.

ZeroAvia’s hydrogen-electric powertrain is projected to have lower operating costs than its jet-fuelled competition due to lower fuel and maintenance costs. The company plans to control hydrogen fuel production and supply for its powertrains, and other commercial customers, substantially reducing the fuel availability and pricing risks for the entire market.

Link: https://metrology.news/world-first-hydrogen-electric-passenger-plane-flight/