News Roundup, FAA & MAX, A346 Cargo, Virgin Galactic supersonic concept, AF-KLM, IAG…

Top line news

Alaska Airlines has ended renting iPads for in flight entertainment. Covid to blame of course.

American Airlines has added free Apple TV+ in flight streaming.

Japan Airlines is seeing big downturns in demand as an outbreak in the country worsens. Even so its still less than 2% of the levels of disease in the US.

Alaska, Allegiant, Frontier, Hawaiian, and Spirit have sent 10,500 staff furlough notices. Yet more pressure on Congress to support a bailout of airline payrolls.

Airbus has cut production of the A350 series to just five per month.

Boeing’s third 777-9 is due to complete its first round of test flights today.

SpiceJet has been grated landing slots at London Heathrow, taking up those abandoned by the collapse JetAirways.

FAA & MAX

The FAA has insisted that Boeing fix the wiring looms on the 737 MAX before they’ll agree to certify them. 450 of the aircraft are sat waiting to be delivered and its estimate each aircraft will take a around 75 hours to repair.

The FAA also wants readiness flights for every single aircraft before certifying them individually.

The wire-bundle issue, discovered during the FAA’s comprehensive review of the MAX’s design and certification, concerns horizontal stabiliser trim arm and control wiring that runs the length of the aircraft. The FAA found that the wiring needs to be separated in twelve places to meet 2007 regulatory changes, put in place to prevent wiring failures from creating hazards. 

The agency ordered Boeing to fix the issue on new-production MAXs and develop instructions for in-service aircraft.

The main time frame issue for certification is still agreement on the length of time it takes to certify pilots.


AF-KLM

AirFrance-KLM has said its doing its best not to delay delivery of new aircraft. It sees the new aircraft it has on order as essential to maintaining future competitiveness.

What it is prepared to do is ditch older aircraft as soon as the new aircraft come on board, as it expects overall capacity need to remain well below 2019 levels for a very long time.

The idea is to come out of the period of decline leaner and fitter and ready to compete in the world when the Covid crisis finally abates.


European Aviation Group

Back in January 2018 EAG agreed to acquire 10 A340-500/600’s from Etihad.

Since then its also acquired ex-Virgin Atlantic A346 G-VFIT, one of 9 it currently operates, although most are parked up.

Yesterday they published some cheap looking modified liveries, where bits of paintwork had been blocked out and instead EUROPEAN CARGO emblazoned over the forward fuselage, while MOVING FORWARD is the strap line beneath.

Two more now registered under the Maltese flag as 9H-EAL and 9H-NHS have two different NHS (the UK National Health Service) tiles, one with a rainbow heart and with a solid red one, one saying Thank You, the other Protect.

9H-EAL and 9H-NHSIit seams 9H-NHS in the background with red engines was G-VFIT

IAG

International Airlines Group, owners of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia, Air Europa and Vueling as well as what’s left of Level, have secured major stakeholder Qatar Airways permission to raise another $2.5 billion in debt through the sale of bonds,

The money will be used to secure new aircraft that are due for delivery and are to late to cancel, and sustain the airlines daily burn rate which still exceeds its income.


easyJet

The airline has increased its UK operations to 40% of capacity, due to an increase in largely domestic demand, but also to flights to other European holiday spots. The expansion is expected to be short lived, and last at best through August and early September.

The airline has been accused of using staff sickness records as a deciding factor on who to make redundant. Its also said to be planning on a huge base cut and more job cuts than previously advertised. UK bases at Southend, Stansted, and Newcastle are all said to be set to close.


Virgin Galactic

Are we looking at the Second Age of the supersonic, even hypersonic jet?

If we are don’t expect to become a regular flyer. The number of passengers is unlikely to exceed 19, so this like so many elite travel options, is very much for the 1%.

New York in two hours from London? Sydney in five?

Its not all pie in the sky either. Virgin has already ordered supersonic aircraft from Boom, with an eye on the trans-Atlantic market, and they’re looking more and more realistic with every passing day.

These are another jump beyond that, hitting Mach-3 – but it needs to be Mach-5 to be truly hypersonic, still a way out of reach and more in the realm of aircraft carrier killing weapons systems than commercial travel right now.

But don’t think these won’t happen. Rolls Royce has agreed to enter into preliminary engine design concepts and despite the environmental ludicrousness of such aircraft, its a viable proposition.

So far Virgin Galactic, and Space-X have proven that while it may have taken years, persistence and innovation can lead to success.