Airlines, Airports and Airliners News 21 Dec to 10 Jan 2021

Compiled by Willie Bodenstein



UGANDA AIRLINES FLIES FURTHER WITH ITS BRAND-NEW A330NEO



Uganda Airlines, the country's flag-carrier, has taken delivery of its first A330neo, the latest version of the most popular widebody airliner. It is the first Airbus aircraft delivered to Uganda Airlines, which was established in 2019.

In line with the company's strategy to keep offering its customers unbeatable economics, increased operational efficiency and superior passenger comfort, the A330-800 is the latest addition to Airbus' commercial aircraft product line. Thanks to its tailored, mid-sized capacity and its excellent range versatility, the A330neo is considered the ideal aircraft to operate as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery.

The A330neo will enable the new airline to launch its long-range operations with non-stop intercontinental flights to the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Featuring Airbus' Airspace cabin, passengers can enjoy a unique experience and explore its full comfort with 20 full-flat, business-class beds, 28 premium-economy seats and 210 economy-class seats, totalling 258 seats.

The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on the features of the popular A330 and using technology developed for the A350. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired Sharklets, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency. The aircraft burns 25% less fuel per seat than previous generation competitors. The A330neo cabin offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.

AIRBUS AWARDS ETHIOPIAN FOR ITS UNIQUE AGILITY AND RESILIENCE DURING THE COVID - 19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC CRISES



Ethiopian Airlines Group, the largest aviation group in Africa, is pleased to announce that Airbus, the largest aircraft manufacturer, has awarded Ethiopian for the unique agility and resilience that it displayed amid the COVID 19 global crisis.

In connection with the award, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Group CEO remarked, “We at Ethiopian are immensely delighted that one of the top companies in the world, Airbus, has recognized the efforts of the management and employees of Ethiopian Airlines unique agility and resilience amid the COVID 19 global crisis. We were there when the world needed us most. I would like to express my gratitude to the over 17 thousand hardworking Ethiopian employees and management team."

Mr. Hadi Akoum, Airbus Vice President Sales Africa and Levant Customer Affairs on his part said, "This is to express the admiration of Airbus executive management and Airbus whole employees for the unbelievable achievement of Ethiopian Airlines in this unprecedented epidemic. While other airlines were just trying to figure out what to do, Ethiopia Airlines was aggressively pressing ahead finding solution, creating solution converting their passenger aircraft to freighters. Ethiopian Airlines is the first one to do it on Airbus A350 and continue to fly and create even new business. This is something unique all over the world. Today, Ethiopian Airlines is able to maintain the operation of all fleet where others are at 10 percent of their capability and many airlines have just simply gone bankrupt and people have lost their jobs. This has been done because of the visionary leadership, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam. Ethiopian Airlines today is showing the example to the whole world in resilience and visionary thinking of the leadership. Thank you very much, it is a real admiration that we express at Airbus for your leadership and for Ethiopian Airlines employees. “

Ethiopian Airlines is the first global airline that converted A350 passenger aircraft to cargo to transport the much-needed medical supplies to combat the spread of COVID 19. The Airline is now operating 16 A350 aircraft in its network.

AIR GREENLAND PLACES CHRISTMAS ORDER FOR AN A330NEO



Air Greenland, the flag-carrier for Greenland, is the latest airline to order Airbus' next generation A330neo widebody aircraft.

The new A330-800 will replace the airline's ageing Airbus A330-200ceo to secure operations linking the Arctic island with Denmark from end of 2022 onwards and beyond.

Air Greenland's CEO's Jacob Nitter Sørensen said: “The A330neo is a fundamental part of Air Greenland's fleet strategy. The new aircraft will, for years to come, offer travellers to and from Greenland a unique inflight experience while leaving the lowest carbon footprint possible. The A330neo is a perfect fit for the very challenging task of providing safe and efficient all year passenger, cargo and freight services to and from Greenland.”

“We're pleased to see Air Greenland renew its confidence in the A330 family and join the growing number of operators who are selecting the A330neo as a logical replacement for their ageing fleets,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer. “To imagine the airline's distinctive red livery set against the Arctic's environment provides some Christmas cheer at the end of a year that has been harsh for our entire industry.”

The Airbus A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on features popular for the A330ceo and developed for the latest technology A350. Equipped with a compelling Airspace cabin, the A330neo offers a unique passenger experience with the latest-generation, in-flight entertainment systems and connectivity. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired 'Sharklets', the A330neo also provides an unprecedented level of efficiency - with 25% lower fuel-burn per seat than previous-generation competitors. Thanks to its tailored mid-sized capacity and its excellent range versatility, the A330neo is considered the ideal aircraft to support operators in their post-COVID-19 recovery.

HIFLY A380 FAREWELL FLIGHT



HiFly said farewell to their A380 9H-MIP and in a very special way. They drew a heart in the sky as a final tribute to the Mirpuri Foundation and the “Save the Coral Reefs” Campaign, raising awareness of the need to protect our oceans.

After almost three years flying worldwide with a sustainability message, the inspiring Hi Fly Airbus A380 took off for the last time but not without amazing us once again with its love for the planet.

Flight HFM380 took-off from Beja at runway 01L was followed by two fly byes over the runway, one at low speed, one at high speed. Then, after a rapid climb to FL400, she headed to the sea, some 100 nautical miles west of Lisbon.

After the drawing, airplane proceeded to Toulouse, overflying Grândola, Lisbon, Santarém, Castelo Branco, Covilhã, Guarda, Salamanca, Zamora, Lerma, Burgos, Logronõ, Sanguesa, Jaca, the Pyrenees Mountains, Bagneres de Bigorre, Lannemezan and Muret.

Arriving in Toulouse, the aircraft performed a low pass followed by a full landing. Block time 03H55, distance 2.269Km.

The flight was under the command of Captain Carlos Mirpuri, with First Officer João Domingues, Cabin Crew Gonçalo Romão and Margarida Quaresma and Engineers Vítor Silveira and Sara Claro.

Also onboard this memorable flight was Paulo Mirpuri, President of Hi Fly.

NEW IL-114-300 REGIONAL PASSENGER AIRCRAFT MADE ITS MAIDEN FLIGHT -



Last month, a new regional passenger turboprop aircraft Il-114-300, made its maiden flight at the Zhukovsky airfield. The aircraft developer is Aviation Complex, named after S. V. Ilyushin (the main enterprise of the Transport Aviation Division of United Aircraft Corporation within the Rostec State Corporation).

The flight was performed by an experienced crew consisting of PJSC Chief Pilot, 1st Class Test Pilot, Hero of Russia Nikolai Kuimov, 1st Class Test Pilot Dmitry Komarov, and 1st Class Flight Test Engineer Oleg Gryazev.

“The end of the 2020 year is rich in aviation premieres. As you know, yesterday the MC-21-310 medium-range airliner with PD-14 engines took off for the first time. Today, the Il-114-300 turboprop made its maiden flight - it is another aircraft in the passenger line, which our aircraft manufacturers will offer to carriers in the near future. The new aircraft is especially relevant for our country: it is compatible with different levels of airfield equipment, it is adapted to operate in the harsh conditions of the North, Siberia, the Far East and due to the optimal cabin capacity, it can become the basic vehicle for the development of regional transportation. In 2022, UAC plans to complete the certification of the Il-114-300 and from 2023 - to begin serial deliveries,” said Sergei Chemezov, General Director of Rostec State Corporation.

During the flight, the flight crew checked power plant operation modes, aircraft stability and controllability as well as the operation of its systems.

"The first flight of the IL-114-300 is the result of the excellent work of tens of thousands of people - researchers, engineers, specialists - working in the design bureau and at the plants of the United Aircraft Corporation, at the enterprises of our suppliers and partners. The development of the new regional turboprop aircraft opens up new prospects for the Russian civil aircraft industry," said Yury Slyusar, General Director of United Aircraft Corporation.

Il-114-300 is a short-range passenger turboprop aircraft. The aircraft is being manufactured for local airlines, for the operation in the regions with weak airfield infrastructure and with difficult climatic conditions. The Il-114-300 can be used to ensure air mobility of the population in remote regions of the North, the Far East and Siberia.

The aircraft is equipped with TV7-117ST-01 turboprop engines designed and manufactured by JSC UEC-Klimov JSC (part of JSC United Engine Corporation, Rostec State Corporation). The engine's take-off power is up to 3100 hp., which is higher in take-off and cruise modes in comparison with the base engine (TV7-117CM). Except the engine, the power plant includes a new high-thrust AV-112-114 propeller and a new automatic control system using a combined modernized engine and a BARK-65SM propeller control unit. This control system allows us to maximize the potential of the engine and propeller, increasing the efficiency of the power plant.

SAL LAUNCHES NEW PHARMA AND PERISHABLE FACILITIES FOR COVID VACCINES DISTRIBUTION



Saudi Arabian Logistics Company (SAL), Saudi Arabia's leading cargo ground handler and logistics provider, is pleased to announce the unveiling of its new pharma and perishable facilities at the Cargo Village in Riyadh, specializing in perishables and all types of pharmaceuticals, including the much-awaited COVID vaccines soon to be rolled out worldwide.

His Excellency, the Saudi Minister of Transport Eng. Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser, inaugurated SAL's new facilities at the country's main gateway, King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. SAL, a subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation that is tasked to complement the nation's goal of creating a global logistics hub.

With 5,000 square meters of storage, the pharma and perishable facilities combined can adequately handle up to 365,000 tons of cargo a year. With SAL's partnership with the Saudi Customs, Saudi Food and Drug Authority has made clearance of shipments becomes easier and faster.

The new facilities have four docks for loading refrigerated containers. The project, which started its operations, also has twelve warehouses with different temperatures ranging from minus 20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius to suit the nature and type of cargo to be stored. In addition, within the facility, there is special storage dedicated for flower cargo.

SAL CEO Omar Hariri commented, “The launch of the Riyadh Cold Storage facilities comes at a historic moment that coincides with the world's anticipation for the delivery of the COVID vaccine. This urgency makes us harness the capabilities of the operation capacity of our pharmaceutical facility and be fully prepared to receive and handle the new vaccines in coordination with the health authorities.”

The new project, he added, will enhance SAL's handling and storage services for medical and pharmaceuticals in line with the highest quality standards approved by the EU GDP.

The opening of the facilities ushers in a new and advanced phase for handling sensitive cargoes including foodstuffs that require special care. Within the facilities, there are divisions run by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority and the Saudi Customs to inspect and expedite the cargo handling process to avoid an unbreakable cool chain.

The new facilities also feature a 650 sqm temperature control breakdown area. There's also an area for shipping refrigerated containers enough for 20 active containers. It is also equipped with a thermal isolation area.

Last May, SAL started its operations at its new facilities in the Riyadh-based King Khalid International Airport's Cargo Village. The total area of the facilities is 42,000 square meters, while its operation capacity reaches 450,000 tons a year including cargoes and goods handled.

SAL aims to contribute to the Vision 2030 objectives and turn the Kingdom into a global logistics hub and invest in its strategic geographical location connecting three continents.

The Saudi Ministry of Transport assured the country's transport infrastructure and facilities, particularly air cargo and logistics, are fully prepared to handle COVID-19 vaccines once it's ready for distribution.

BOEING DELIVERS TRIO OF 777 FREIGHTERS TO QATAR AIRWAYS CARGO



Qatar Airways Cargo took delivery of three Boeing [NYSE:BA] 777 Freighters as the airline continues to build its cargo division with the world's largest and most capable twin-engine freighter. The milestone also marks the 200th 777 Freighter to be delivered.

The triple delivery comes as air freight is playing a pivotal role amid the COVID-19 pandemic - including transporting newly approved vaccines - and is projected to increase more than 4% over the next two decades.

With the arrival of the trio of 777 Freighters, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this airplane model, along with two 747-8 Freighters. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, Qatar's dedicated freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub and also delivers freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to an extensive network.

"With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market, which is very much required during the pandemic. The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry," said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker. "With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfil our customers' logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade."

The 777 Freighter can fly 4,970 nautical miles (9,200 kms) and carry a payload of 224,900 pounds (102,010 kg). The airplane's long range translates into significant savings for operators like Qatar Airways Cargo, as fewer stops reduce landing fees, congestion, cargo handling costs and delivery times.

"During these challenging times, Qatar Airways Cargo has been transporting humanitarian relief and medical goods to those in need and we are proud that their growing fleet of 777 Freighters is supporting such a commendable effort," said Ihssane Mounir, senior vice president, Commercial Sales and Marketing, The Boeing Company. "We deeply appreciate our long-standing partnership with Qatar Airways and their confidence in the 777 Freighters as the backbone of their expansive global air cargo operations."

The 777 Freighter is now Boeing's top selling freighter. Customers from around the world have ordered 242 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005, including a record 45 units in 2018. Boeing, the market leader in air cargo aircraft, provides more than 90% of the dedicated freighter capacity around the world, including new production and converted freighters.

AIRCALIN TAKES DELIVERY OF ITS FIRST A320NEO



New Caledonia's Aircalin has taken delivery of its first A320neo. The aircraft joins two A330neo already delivered under the carrier's fleet modernisation plan. With its new fleet the airline benefits from the lowest operating costs in the respective size categories, as well as the unique commonality between variants of the Airbus Family.

Aircalin's A320neo is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000 engines and configured in a single class layout with 168 seats. With the A320neo, Aircalin will be able to increase capacity on its flights and open new routes across the Pacific region.

The A320neo Family offers the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky and incorporates the latest technologies, including new generation engines and Sharklets, delivering a 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, as well as 50 per cent less noise compared to previous generation aircraft.

At the end of November 2020, the A320neo Family had received 7,455 firm orders from over 120 customers worldwide.

AZMAN AIR TO ACQUIRE 3 B737-800S AND 1 ADDITIONAL A340-600



Azman Air has announced that it will acquire three B737-800s, as well as an additional A340-600. The airline also plans to add five smaller aircraft. The new B737-800s will be used for African destinations, while the smaller aircraft will be deployed on domestic routes. The additional A340-600 will be used to the airline planned new routes to Dubai, Guangzhou and Jeddah from its base in Kano.

Currently, Azman's fleet consists of seven aircraft, two B737-300s, four B737-500s and one A340-600. The Airbus, registered 5N-AAM, was delivered to the airline on 6 March, but has been ferried to Abu Dhabi on 21 December and is still there today. The other aircraft in the fleet are active.

SUMMER 2021: AIR FRANCE TO SERVE THE FRENCH CARIBBEAN, FRENCH GUIANA AND REUNION ISLAND FROM PARIS-CHARLES DE GAULLE AND PARIS-ORLY



Air France is increasing its service to the French Overseas Departments. This summer, the company will operate flights between the French Caribbean (Pointe-à-Pitre in Guadeloupe and Fort-de-France in Martinique), French Guiana (Cayenne) and Reunion Island (Saint-Denis de La Réunion) and Paris-Charles de Gaulle, in addition to its frequencies to and from Paris-Orly. Up to 56 flights will operate every week between these destinations and the two Paris airports, providing connections to the airline's entire short, medium- and long-haul network.

Launched last December, the number of services between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and the French Caribbean will increase, with 7 weekly flights to and from each of the two islands.

Services between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Cayenne and between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Saint-Denis de La Réunion will be launched on 2 and 6 April 2021 respectively.

EMIRATES TAKES ITS NEWEST A380 WITH PREMIUM ECONOMY TO LONDON



Emirates has announced that it will deploy its latest flagship A380 aircraft featuring new premium economy seats and luxurious enhancements across all cabins to London Heathrow.

Starting from 4 January, passengers flying between Dubai and London Heathrow can experience Emirates' latest A380. Operating as EK003/004, the aircraft is scheduled to depart Dubai daily at 14:30hrs, arriving at 18:20hrs in London Heathrow. The return flight departs London at 20:20hrs and arrives in Dubai the next day at 07:20hrs. All times are local.

Emirates last week unveiled its latest A380 with brand new premium economy seats that offer a generous seat pitch of up to 40 inches, in addition to new economy class seats similar to those installed on its latest Boeing 777-300ER gamechanger aircraft. Enhancements to its popular A380 First and Business Class include its signature Shower Spa and Onboard Lounge and refreshed colours and fittings across all cabins.

Until more Premium Economy seats enter its inventory, the airline intends to offer these as spot upgrades for its valued customers on a discretionary basis. All other signature Emirates A380 First, Business and Economy cabins are available for reservation on emirates.com or via travel agents.

The airline has safely and gradually restored its network over the past months, bringing back signature experiences onboard and on the ground with comprehensive measures in place for the health and safety of its customers and employees.

Emirates currently serves London Heathrow with 5 daily flights, of which 4 are operated with an A380. The airline also operates 10 flights a week to Manchester and daily flights to both Birmingham and Glasgow.

Emirates serves 99 cities across the world, offering travellers convenient access to Dubai and onwards to popular destinations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

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