“‘Liar’ is just as ugly a word as ‘thief,’ because it implies the presence of just as ugly a sin in one case as in the other. If a man lies under oath or procures the lie of another under oath, if he perjures himself or suborns perjury, he is guilty under the statute law.” Theodore Roosevelt
African Pilot’s aircraft of the week identification quiz
African Pilot’s November 2020 edition
As we get closer to the end of this year, the November edition features ‘Gifts for Pilots’ as well as many international newsworthy aspects and developments in aviation. The November edition is complete and once again I would like to thank our valuable advertisers for their support, because the only way that any magazine exists these days is through advertising expenditure. The November edition of African Pilot is the third magazine where we have used the new 3D software to publish a superb digital magazine.
This bumper edition consisting of 252 pages, has 53 illustrated articles, 16 videos and nine picture galleries embedded within the magazine. This is yet another record for African Pilot showing that the ‘new normal’ digital method of publishing has placed African Pilot onto the world aviation map. Therefore, whilst our small team continues to innovate within the digital space, other aviation magazines and weekly newsletters have been left behind.
Advertisers can now see the benefits of marketing their products and services to a vast international aviation audience including short videos, picture galleries and actual virtual shops, they will realise that marketing is most important for future profitability. In South Africa and the African continent, African Pilot is the only aviation publication that has purchased the latest software to provide digital enhancement to any advertiser anywhere in the world. At the same time African Pilot is also the only aviation magazine that is easy to read on any digital smart device, because our team understands the importance of ensuring the ease of use in this ‘new normal’ digital age. It is now quite obvious that ALL the other aviation publications are attempting to copy what African Pilot has pioneered, but this was to be expected. However, at least African Pilot publishes correct aviation information such as the calendar of events on a regular basis.
African Pilot’s December 2020 edition
The December edition will feature Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Drones, Flying Cars and Urban Conectivity. These subjects have fascinated me over the past few years as more ambitious projects come to market. There is no doubt that our future world will be highly connected and far more robotic that ever before as mankind explores opportunities to improve service delivery.
All editorial content should be sent to me Athol Franz e-mail: email@example.com.
For advertising positions please contact Adrian Munro
Tel: 0861 001130 Cell: 079 880 4359 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
About African Pilot
There is no doubt that African Pilot provides the finest overall aviation media reach in Africa.
We are positioned to provide professional video and stills photography, website development, social media platforms, company newsletters as well as several other important media services to our customers.
The monthly magazine is available as a digital edition where ALL advertisers enjoy the direct routing to their websites at a touch on a smart phone or tablet as well as a click of the mouse on a computer screen or tap on any smart phone device.
Then of course this APAnews service has been part of African Pilot’s line-up since the inception of the magazine 20 years ago.
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Visit www.APAcom.co.za and register yourself as a user
Video of the week:
View and download African Pilot’s last three (3) 2020 editions.
Click on the covers below.
Launch of Wouter Botes’ e-book ‘Flights to Nowhere’
Wouter Botes’ E-book on Flight to Nowhere is available by visiting www.africanpilot.co.za and click on the button provided on the home page. We have provided an option for payment of R60 per download on the page.
AERO South Africa news
Take your business to NEW HEIGHTS this August at the one-stop business to business platform. The platform will be active for 12 months, allowing you to market your products and services to a targeted global General Aviation market and engage with visitors and other exhibitors on the portal. Want to book your booth on the AERO South Africa Virtual Marketplace or simply find out more? Contact one of our team members below to take your business to new heights.
Aero Club of South Africa’s Centenary Yearbook
SOUTH AFRICAN AVIATION NEWS
Important news from CAASA
Dear CAASA Member,
Kindly take note of the attached amended Notice from the SACAA on their new PROCESS FOR LODGING COMPLAINTS. The SACAA has created a ASO Task Team that will in future specifically handle all complaints on behalf of the SACAA and resolve them within a reasonable time frame.
In short, the process as follows:
- Members will hand in an application.
- If feedback is not received within the Service Charter turnaround times (as attached for your convenience), members will forward a complaint to the ASO Task Team.
- The ASO Task Team will then resolve the issue within a reasonable time frame.
- If members are not satisfied with the outcome, they may then forward the issue to CAASA (email@example.com) to escalate the issue to Senior Management Level.
Kindly take note that this process does not apply to:
- Issues currently outstanding.
- Issues relating to regulations, policy and directives.
It is requested that CAASA members follow this process in future. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this regard.
The Lufthansa Group increases its flights to South Africa
The restart of international travel and the onset of summer holidays means many South African holiday makers are rethinking their travel plans abroad. To encourage international travel and support the local tourism industry, the Lufthansa Group is offering exciting promotional travel fares in the South African market. Furthermore, Lufthansa and SWISS just announced additional services to Johannesburg as of 1 December 2020. By the end of December 2020, the Lufthansa Group will collectively offer 18 weekly flight services between South Africa and its European hubs. These include five weekly flights between Johannesburg and Frankfurt, three weekly flights between Cape Town and Frankfurt, as well as three weekly services between Cape Town and Munich, all operated by Lufthansa. An additional two weekly flights will be offered be-tween Cape Town and Zurich on Edelweiss, as well as two weekly flights between Cape Town and Vienna operated by Austrian Airlines. SWISS will also offer three weekly flights between Johannesburg and Zurich. While for many people health and safety remain a concern when traveling, the Lufthansa Group has taken special hygiene measures to protect passengers and employees. These apply not only on board, but also before and after the journey so travellers can enjoy their journey with peace of mind.
Emirates strengthens South African presence with FlySafair partnership
Emirates and FlySafair signed an interline agreement, opening up connections for customers to selected routes on FlySafair’s network in South Africa. Through the arrangement, Emirates and FlySafair plan to offer the ease of single-ticket travel and through tagging of baggage for travellers transferring from Emirates’ three gateways – Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to FlySafair domestic points in South Africa, such as Port Elizabeth, East London and George.
Kirby Gordon, chief marketing officer at FlySafair said, “We are in a very fortunate position whereby we were able to restart operations in June this year. As of November, we will be operating at our full capacity again, which will see us operating just over 75 percent of the available domestic seat capacity in South Africa. International traffic is still very limited given the various restrictions in place, but we are happy to report that there has been a slow and steady uptick in the volumes of flights we are selling through our connection agreements like that with Emirates.” Emirates resumed its operations to Johannesburg and Cape Town on 1 October and Durban on 8 October and is presently operating 17 flights a week into South Africa.
Mystery of the new SAA plan
Confusion surrounds last-minute changes to SAA’s business rescue plan, with one industry insider arguing it is no longer valid. That is after a different proposal than that voted on by creditors in July was presented to parliament two weeks ago. The sticking point is that the National Treasury’s R10.5 billion bailout is not going where creditors had initially agreed. The way the plan was meant to work, concurrent creditors would get R600m (they are owed R8bn), those who leased aircraft to SAA would get R1.7bn (they are owed R30bn) and the unfunded ticket liability. In other words, tickets paid for by passengers which SAA still needs to honour was R3bn. However, the plan presented to parliament, which has not been voted on, is different. In this new scenario, the unfunded ticket liability has been cut to R2.2 billion, while the concurrent creditors and lessors appear to have been elbowed out in favour of maintenance division SAA Technical, subsidiary Mango and severance payments to staff.
Hercules 403 to be stripped for spares
All the salvageable and usable parts from C-130BZ Hercules (tail number 403) will go to keeping the remainder of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) medium transport aircraft fleet airborne for at least the foreseeable future. The 28 Squadron operated Lockheed Martin aircraft suffered structural and other damage during a January runway excursion at Goma airport in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The ageing high-wing transport was carrying 59 passengers, all from the United Nations’ MONUSCO peacekeeping mission and a crew of eight when the left outer engine caught fire on landing, a spokesman for the UN mission in the DRC said after the incident. There were no serious injuries or fatalities. What appears to be the final chapter, as far as public communication on 403 is concerned came earlier this month in a three-paragraph statement from Brigadier General Hilton Smith, Director: Corporate Staff Services. “The complete aircraft will be recovered and brought back to South Africa. The recovery team completed its activities and returned to South Africa.
“The return of removed parts / components commenced four weeks after the accident. The SAAF output with regard to serviceability and airworthiness have been met, every piece of material that can be certified airworthy will be used for spares to sustain operational ability of the SAAF C-130BZ fleet.” To date the SAAF board of inquiry has not provided any findings on why the accident happened that has led to the scrapping of this aircraft.
Tshwane plans to reclaim category five status for Wonderboom Airport
The City of Tshwane wants to reclaim category five status for Wonderboom Airport which it lost for failing to comply with the South African Civil Aviation Authority’s aerodrome licence regulations last year. The airport, downgraded from category five to two, could not comply with regulations because of poor management and inability to appoint a manager. The City had previously been embroiled in litigation from the appointment of a private company to manage the airport, instead of hiring a manager in line with its by-laws.
The appointment landed the metro in hot water with the aviation authority. However, then-roads and transport MMC Sheila Senkubuge claimed the municipality was not in the wrong as it had given the authority reasons why it veered from the licence requirements. Wanting to put the city’s legal troubles behind, new MMC Dikeledi Selowa said she wanted to address the challenges that resulted in the downgrading of the airport. She believed the airport was a strategic asset to the City, and normal operations ought to be revived. “Thus, a core part of my focus will be to revitalise its operation and ensure that it is operating optimally and complies with its aerodrome licence obligations as per South African Civil Aviation Authority-related regulations.”
To meet her goal, she said it would be important to stabilise the airport management and staff the airport with appropriate expertise. Selowa would also address litigation actions initiated against the city’s aviation non-compliance as part of a process to re-obtain a category five airport licence. In the process, she said, her focus would be on adequately developing the airport to have long-lasting scheduled flight services again. Enhancing the maintenance requirements at the airport would be part of her priority, as would be identifying the spending requirements needed to address airport compliance requirements. Selowa said: “Many of these have been initiated, as airport management have already presented a scorecard in terms of challenges experienced, present areas of non-compliances, budget requirements and a plan of action to address the issues of immediate concern.”
The City was taken to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, early this year by the Wonderboom Airport Interest Group, which successfully challenged the appointment of Ntiyiso Consulting to manage the airport. The group obtained an interim order for the suspension of Ntiyiso after it argued that the company lacked experience in the aviation industry. Part of its legal bid was to get the city to appoint a “properly qualified airport manager” to run the airport. Alternatively, the City was asked to redeploy former manager Hendrik Kleynhans, under whom the airport’s category was moved from level three to five. Before Ntiyiso’s appointment, the city had on several occasions extended the services of privately-owned company Professional Aviation Services to manage the airport on its behalf.
In 2018, Airlink withdrew its service to run flights between Pretoria and Cape Town due to the alleged mismanagement. Former mayor Stevens Mokgalapa contemplated selling or leasing out the airport because he deemed it to be a liability.
What happened in aviation over the past week?
Helicopter squadrons top the SAAF Sword of Peace list
The South African Air Force (SAAF) highest operational honour, the Sword of Peace have largely been received by helicopter squadrons. This is due mainly to specific tasks of search and rescue. The Sword of Peace was awarded 15 and 22 squadrons at AFBs Durban and Ysterplaat, as well as to the sole combat support helicopter unit in the force. The award generally goes to efforts in the humanitarian field and includes search and rescue (on land and at sea), delivering aid to far-flung sites and evacuating people from life-threatening situations. It appears that no Sword of Peace recipient was named at this year’s SAAF prestige awards event preceding Prestige Day, which this year marked the centenary of airborne arm of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021 at Lanseria International Airport from 24 to 26 March
The organisers of the AAD Expo are excited to announce a new event on their calendar, Aerospace and Defence Trade Show 2021. Leading up to Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo in September 2022, AAD continues to create platforms that will promote innovation and capabilities within the defence and aviation industry.
The Aerospace and Defence Tradeshow 2021 (ADTS 2021) is about exploring new paths, sharing solutions and showcasing innovation beyond COVID-19. Accessible to trade visitors only, the event will be industry focused and aptly emphasise industry capabilities and technologies that emanated from the challenges posed by the pandemic. ADTS 2021 will include business to business meetings, onsite capability demonstrations for aircraft and UAVs and a conference. Parallel to the Lanseria event programme, traders can also expect a fully-fledged display of land forces innovation and capability demonstrations at the Gerotek Testing Facility. Located in the west area of Pretoria, Gerotek offers a variety of testing and capability demonstration set to marvel participants.
ADTS 2021 is set to bring together approximately 150 exhibitors consisting of 80% local industry and 20% international industry including the Defence and General Aviation industry, Airports, UAV / Drone operators, Security System Operators (Cybersecurity, Crowd Control, etc), Medical Supply Companies , Support and Logistic services to name but a few. This experience gives the South African and International defence and general aviation industries an opportunity to showcase their products and services, while also engaging in dialogue and discourse on what is pertinent to their industries.
The AAD Expo traditionally brings together a plethora of local and key international guests to explore and discuss opportunities on the African Continent. Through ADTS2021, AAD will entrench its position as an economic catalyst for the Defence and Aerospace industry. For more bookings and trade information, please visit: www.aadexpo.co.za.
Picture of the Week
What is scheduled for the next few months?
African Pilot’s 2020 calendar
We will publish the aviation calendar within APAnews three months ahead, but you can always visit African Pilot’s website: www.africanpilot.co.za if you would like to obtain the full calendar for the entire year.
27 and 28 November
SAPFA Speed Rally at Springs airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 855 9435
PilotInsurance Fly In Rhino Park Airfield
Contact Franz Smit Tel: 084 979 8632
5 and 6 December
Sport Aerobatics Club Ace of Base TBC
Contact Annie Boon e-mail: email@example.com
CAASA year-end function and award ceremony
Contact Sam Keddle E-mail: Sam@caasa.co.za
On behalf of the CAASA Board, CAASA members are cordially invited to attend the CAASA Year End Function and Awards Ceremony:
Venue: CAASA House, Gate 9, Lanseria International Airport
12h00 Arrival (cash bar)
12h30 CAASA Award Ceremony
13h00 Networking: The braai will be available if you want to bring some food
Kindly ensure that you register in order to arrange for access to Lanseria International Airport.
Send confirmation email on or before 27 November 2020 to Sam Keddle on Sam@caasa.co.za
SAPFA Rand Airport challenge
Contact Frank Eckard E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 083 269 1516
SAPFA AGM also at Rand Airport after the rally
Contact Rob Jonkers e-mail: email@example.com cell: 082 804 7032
30 & 31 January
Sport Aerobatics Club Gauteng Regionals Vereeniging Airfield
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SAPFA Witbank Speed Rally at Witbank Airfield
Contact Jonty Esser E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 082 855 9435
6 & 7 March
Sport Aerobatics Club Judges Trophy Venue TBA
Contact Annie Boon E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
12 & 13 March
Bethlehem Aero Club event TBA
Contact Stephan Fourie E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 072 344 9678
19 and 20 March
FASHKOSH airshow at Stellenbosch airfield
Contact: Anton Theart E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 079 873 4567
22 to 25 March
HAI Helicopter Association International La Nouvelle New Orleans Los Angeles USA
Contact E-mail: email@example.com
22 to 26 March
Flight Inspection Symposium (IFIS) and Trade Show ICC Convention Centre Durban
Contact Christo van Straaten (IFIS chair) Tel: 011 545 100 Cell: 083 451 2632 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
24 to 26 March
CAASA AAD Trade Show Lanseria International Airport
Contact Louise Olckers (GM) Cell: +27 (0)82 847 3403
SAPFA Brakpan Fun Rally at Brakpan Airport
Contact Frank Eckard, E-mail: email@example.com Cell: 083 269 1516
26 & 27 March
Uitenhage Wings and Wheels
Contact Lourens Kruger E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Cell: 082 320 2615
As further dates are sent to me, I will continue to update the aviation calendar
I have started preparing the 2021 calendar with assistance from Air Show South Africa and the various sections of the Aero Club of South Africa. Please send me your planned aviation event fixtures for next year so that I may accommodate them on the calendar. Thank you.
WORLDWIDE ACCIDENTS AND INCIDENTS
Plane sinks after pilot fails to remove gust lock before flight
The pilot reported that, before the flight, he was rushed and did not follow the pre-flight checklist. During the take-off with the Cessna 172 near maximum gross weight with three passengers on board, he noticed that it was accelerating slowly but that the airspeed was sufficient. He applied elevator back pressure to rotate, but he immediately noticed that the control lock was still in place on the yoke and he attempted to remove it, to no avail. He added that he did not recall trying to abort the take-off or reduce power. The airplane overran the end of the runway at the airport in St. Petersburg, Florida, hit water, and turned over before sinking. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and empennage. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Flying with an air cast boot leads to loss of directional control
The pilot reported that he was flying the airplane while wearing an ‘air cast boot.’ During landing to the airport in Rock Hill, S.C., the Aerostar 601 decelerated and he asked the passenger to move his feet up to the brake pedals and apply the brakes. He added that the passenger applied ‘insufficient differential brake application’ and the airplane veered left. The passenger applied right brake and rudder to correct, but the plane then veered right, exited the runway and hit a ditch. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing. The pilot reported that he was wearing the boot due to a previous injury. He added that he had the ability to fully manipulate both rudder controls, but the boot prevented him from being able to fully apply brake pressure. The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.
Mechanic’s error leads to forced landing in a field
The pilot reported that, during a ferry flight, while climbing the Cirrus SR22 to cruise altitude, the engine temperatures increased quickly and the engine then surged. He ‘switched’ the boost pump, adjusted the mixture lever and then deployed the ballistic parachute system at 3,500 feet mean sea level. During the off-airport landing in a field near Sand Creek, Wisconsin, the airplane hit an irrigation sprinkler system, sustaining substantial damage to the fuselage. A post-accident examination by an FAA inspector revealed that two air lines were disconnected and that there were no torque lines on the lines. According to the FAA inspector, the pilot and a mechanic who had conducted the airplane’s last maintenance reported that the airplane had been flown seven hours since the last maintenance. The mechanic had replaced three cylinders during the maintenance, which required removal of the air lines. It is likely that, during the maintenance, the mechanic did not properly secure the air reference line, which led to a loss of engine power.
Transplant heart survives helicopter crash
A pilot was slightly injured but a life was also saved in the aftermath of the crash of a helicopter on a rooftop hospital helipad. The Agusta A109S was carrying a human heart for transplant when it encountered trouble on landing at Keck Hospital of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The helicopter ended up on its side on the helipad and the pilot was hospitalised with minor injuries. The two people on the medical team accompanying the heart were not hurt at all and declined treatment. As for the heart, it is unusual journey was not quite over.
First responders managed to get at the organ in the wreck of the helicopter and deliver it to a member of the transplant team. That man tripped and fell while hurrying the organ to its new life. The heart hit the roof of the building before being scooped up and rushed to the operating room. Hospital spokeswoman Meg Aldrich said that despite the rough journey, the heart was not hurt and was stitched into the recipient two hours after the crash and tumble. “It’s actually an amazing story,” she said. Wow, really good news that the very valuable organ came through undamaged. I hope the recipient has a much less dramatic recovery. He or she will certainly have some interesting stories to tell about the surgery.
WORLD AVIATION NEWS
Emirates to continue flying A380, expects advantage in future
While other airlines retire their Airbus A380 aircraft, Emirates airline plans to remain the world’s largest superjumbo operator in the future. In an interview with Aviation Business, Emirates’ CEO Tim Clark said that despite COVID-19, Emirates’ A380s still had an important role to play in the airline’s business model in the future. “ A380s remain hugely popular with the traveling public and with less of them around now, I should think we will do particularly well with this aeroplane when we get them all flying again,” said Clark. “The A380 was probably the best thing that could have happened to Emirates and certainly Dubai.” In March 2020, Emirates, which had almost half of all A380s in the world, grounded its fleet of 115 A380 jets due to the coronavirus crisis. On 27 October 2020, Emirates officially retired its first A380 jumbo jet, registered as A6-EDB. Emirates has 114 remaining A380s in its fleet, while eight are pending delivery. During the pandemic, the A380 continues to serve passengers on key routes including Cairo, Paris, London Heathrow, Guangzhou, Moscow and Amman. The airline still operates 31 weekly flights with the double-decker.
Back to profitability in the future?
On 18 November 2020, after the UK added the UAE to its travel corridor list, Emirates announced plans to operate A380 aircraft four times a day to London Heathrow from 27 November 2020. There are also flights to Manchester planned six times a week from 2 December 2020 and from a current two-a-week to a daily A380 service to Moscow from 15 November 2020. “I believe that within the next 18 months, two years, we will return ourselves to profitability,” Clark told CNBC on November 15, 2020. “We will certainly be cash positive during the course of the back end of next year, returning to profitability in (financial year) 2022-2023,” he added. Clark is positive that with an increase of demand and the opening of travel corridors, the company can resume more of its operations.
Emirates might be one of the few carriers with a business model that could operate the superjumbo profitably. Clark confirmed that the airline was going ahead with its delivery schedule for eight A380 aircraft. The first ones should reach the airline in November and December 2020. It seems that the A380 is included in Emirates’ plans for the future. “It has been enormously successful for us, in many, many ways, directly and indirectly. So, we will have to manage eventually the departure of the airplane. But we are a long way off from that,” said Clark.
What is next for Airbus A380?
Many global airlines have already decided to retire A380 from their fleets. Air France was one of the first to announce the retirement of its entire fleet of A380s. In the summer of 2020, Qantas confirmed that its fleet of 12 Airbus A380s would remain grounded for the next three years. Etihad Airways’ A380s future is also in doubt, since the airline confirmed the grounding of its superjumbos until at least the Winter 2021. In the spring of 2019 Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) was the last airline to acquire A380s.
Most of the companies are set to focus on newer, more efficient widebody aircraft like the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. In response to increased demand for medical supplies, Emirates SkyCargo introduced its Airbus A380 converted to freighter. Recently, the new ‘mini-freighter’ successfully transported medical aid from Seoul to Amsterdam via Dubai. The air carrier optimised the capacity of the Airbus A380 to transport around 50 tons of cargo per flight.
Emirates, Etihad and Qatar: battling the second wave
Despite rising numbers of the COVID-19, the aviation industry seems to be on the recovery track. Three largest Middle Eastern airlines; Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are continuing to expand their networks. But which one of them is the most active at this? The premise was simple: as the worldwide lockdown commenced in March 2020, most airlines stopped operating completely; Qatar Airways did not and continued half-passenger half-cargo flights to more than two dozen destinations. Hence, as international travel began growing in April and May, Qatar had a firm lead in the number of destinations. But Emirates and Etihad started growing their networks immediately and, by June, came very close to challenging Qatar. Etihad, having a myriad of problems, smaller pre-pandemic network notwithstanding, was not able to keep up, as sporadic expansions were not enough to be on the same level as the other two. In August, it became clear that if Emirates keeps up its pace, Qatar, which briefly fancied itself as the world’s biggest airline, will be dethroned.
Big three of the Middle East; Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are amongst the best known airlines in the world and amongst the biggest rivals. COVID-19 epidemic only exemplified this rivalry, as each airline strived to announce a return to their pre-pandemic destinations. But how did their efforts fare against each other?
While airlines are still expanding their networks incrementally, the pace has slowed. Etihad’s last large expansion happened in September and since then only a couple of destinations have been added to the list. Qatar kept expanding as well. Having proudly announced adding several completely new destinations on its list, it had 103 in mid-November 2020. Emirates was the fastest-growing, though. Their network almost reached 100 destinations, two thirds of pre-pandemic 159, in early November 2020. No updates were announced since then, freezing the airline at the same level. Further expansions, delineated in this chart, are preliminary. Qatar announced plans in advance, stating that it intends to have 124 destinations in its network by the year’s end, meaning that 17 more destinations are still awaiting to be announced.
Emirates has a habit of restarting a whole bunch of scheduled flights at once. Seeing how close the size of both airlines is as of late November, Qatar’s lead does not look set in stone. Etihad has announced one future expansion: flights to Tel Aviv (TLV) starting from February 2021. The first Middle Eastern airline to do so, it was able to secure a very profitable route, despite its difficult financial position.
What does it all mean?
The expansion of post-pandemic networks became a thing of honour for three largest Middle Eastern airlines, locked in a bitter rivalry. All of them were relatively spared by early lockdowns and managed to avoid large financial troubles, mostly thanks to backing of their respective governments. Yet, as the pandemic drains revenue, they may have to let honour go. Operating unprofitable routes just for the sake of it is not a good strategy, even when there is no crisis going on. There is also a question of reliability of this data. As discussed previously, it is difficult to confirm if scheduled flights are carrying any passengers and sometimes if they are happening at all. Both Qatar and to lesser extent Emirates had a habit of announcing an expansion to one or another destination several times in a row, conducting flights, stopping them for some reason and renewing a month or two later with new pomp, as if it was the first time. Because of this, the numbers represented above should be seen as a kind of approximation. Yet, despite that, it is clear that Emirates and Qatar are bent on besting each other in terms of their networks.
What can happen now?
According to Qatar’s financial results, its financial year, which ended in March 2020 was the worst yet, forcing the government to inject $2 billion into the airline. As much of the trouble happened even before the start of the pandemic, Qatar’s losses for the current financial year are bound to be monumental. We may not know that before September 2021, but if the airline suddenly starts dropping destinations left and right, it is going to be a sign of something bad. Emirates, on the other hand, posted profit in March 2020. It was the smallest one in years, but still better than nothing. Yet, after posting the first-ever loss in their H1 results announced in early November 2020, they got $2 billion in government backing too. On the one hand, expanding the network means opening new streams of badly needed revenue. On the other hand, it is imperative to select new destinations carefully, avoiding ones that may not be worth it in the long run. Looking at the numbers, it seems that both Qatar and Emirates are willing to risk.
EAA is determined that AirVenture will happen in 2021
At last week’s fall meeting, held in a virtual format the EAA board of directors supported the ongoing planning efforts for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021, which will be held between 26 July and 1 August at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. Among those preparations are incorporating best practices for large public events that can be incorporated at Oshkosh next year. Advance sales for admissions, camping and other areas are currently open at the AirVenture website. In addition, free youth admission will be continued in 2021, giving more families and young people the opportunity to fully enjoy the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.
Taiwan grounds F-16 fleet after fighter goes missing
An F-16A of the Taiwanese Air Force (ROCAF) went missing two minutes after take-off from Hualien airbase, on the eastern coast of the island country. The search and rescue mission to recover the pilot is still ongoing. The single-seat F-16 jet, tail number 6672, operated by the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing, 26th Tactical Fighter Group, took off from the ROCAF airbase located at Hualien Airport (HUN). Two minutes into the flight, as the aircraft was about 16 kilometres (10 miles) over the sea, the controllers lost contact with the pilot. Two helicopters (a UH-60M Black Hawk and an EC225 Super Puma search and rescue helicopter) and a number of coast guard vessels were dispatched to locate the aircraft and its pilot. “The army will not give up any hope and do its best to search and rescue,” Taiwan Defence Minister Yan Defa said while visiting the family members of the missing pilot. It is the second fighter crash to affect the ROCAF in less than a month. On 29 October 2020, an F-5E fighter jet used as a trainer crashed off the coast of Taitung, south-eastern Taiwan, killing its pilot.
Switzerland receives offer to buy Eurofighter jets
The European plane manufacturer Airbus and Germany seek to sell Eurofighter aircraft to Switzerland. The Swiss Federal Office of Armaments received an official offer prepared by other Eurofighter nations and industrial partners which should modernise Switzerland’s current fleet and replace the older F-5 and F/A-18 fighter jets. Airbus and Germany seek to deepen the existing military partnership with Switzerland air force by offering the purchase of the Eurofighter. The fighter jet should gain full autonomy in use as well as maintenance and application of data from the aircraft to the country, announced Airbus in a press release on 18 November 2020.
Earlier in November 2020, Germany signed an agreement for acquiring 38 Eurofighters from the latest Tranche 4. With an aim to strengthen the political, economic and security partnership among the two countries, Germany offered Switzerland to purchase the same type of fighter jet. In the press release, Michael Flugger, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Switzerland, said that Switzerland could become a strategic ally with whom the country would like to further intensify the already close partnership. “With this offer, we are inviting Switzerland as our neighbour and reliable partner in security policy and economic matters to protect its airspace with the Eurofighter and to close cooperation between our air forces. The Eurofighter is the only platform jointly developed and operated by several European nations and would therefore be an ideal solution for Switzerland”, said Flugger.
Dirk Hoke, the CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, explained that the Eurofighter could be “the best overall package” for Switzerland as the jet was recognised as the most modern fighter jet currently built in Europe. “The Eurofighter meets all the requirements demanded by Switzerland. By providing construction data and other important information, Switzerland will be given complete and independent control of the Eurofighter, guaranteeing full transparency. With over 200 suppliers in the Confederation, Airbus is already a strong partner for Switzerland and we look forward to expanding this cooperation even further”, announced the CEO of Airbus. Airbus outlined that being chosen by military forces of such European countries as Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy, the Eurofighter is the most widely used fighter jet. Airbus announced that it currently has up to 600 orders of the fighter jet.
Piston deliveries increase in Q3 2020, whilst business aviation segment declines
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released its report of the general aviation aircraft shipments and billing through the third quarter of 2020. Piston aircraft deliveries saw an increase of 1.4%, while turboprop, business jet and helicopter sales declined. For the first nine months of 2020
When compared to the same period in 2019, just 254 turboprops have shipped this year, a 27% decline. Business jet deliveries, while slightly better, saw the delivery of 378 units through Q3 of 2020. This is still a 26.7% decline comparatively. Helicopter shipments showed similar results, having dropped 23.8% compared to 2019. The value of deliveries through the third quarter of 2020 was down 20.1%, at only $11.9 billion. This is the first quarter in history where GAMA is reporting certified electric aircraft deliveries.
XTI aircraft partners with VerdeGo Aero
XTI Aircraft is developing the TriFan 200, a configuration similar to its larger TriFan 600 VTOL passenger aircraft already under development. VerdeGo Aero is applying its diesel (Jet-A) hybrid powertrain to enable the TriFan 200 to offer operators favourable operating economics. When the programme reaches commercial development and certification, XTI’s TriFan 200 Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft will be an unmanned autonomous aircraft capable of transporting 500 lbs of cargo on missions of more than 200 nautical miles. The TriFan 200 will enable express logistics companies to address ‘miles 1 to 20’ when shipping cargo by rapidly connecting global air cargo hubs with distribution points throughout major cities.
Surface transportation in highly congested global cities currently takes up to 90 to 120 minutes for urgent cargo to travel between air cargo hubs at major airports and the city centres. The XTI TriFan 200 will allegedly enable significant time to be removed from both ends of the journey, allowing later pickup times and earlier deliveries. In addition to express shipping, the TriFan 200 may also be applicable to longer-range transportation in remote locations without infrastructure, including military logistics missions.
VerdeGo Aero’s diesel (Jet-A) hybrid systems offer the low operating costs and mission flexibility for next-generation electric aircraft. Combining VerdeGo’s efficient 180KW generator with VerdeGo’s battery pack, enables aircraft like the TriFan 200 to operate profitably for fleet operators. The high efficiency of VerdeGo’s diesel hybrid generators may be instrumental in reducing emissions and fuel burn by as much as 35% when compared to conventional turbine powertrains, while also reducing overall direct operating cost by 40%. Utilising globally available Jet-A fuel means no new infrastructure is necessary and aircraft utilizing VerdeGo’s hybrid systems could be ready for the biofuel Jet-A substitutes now under development.
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Until Thursday, please be ‘Serious about flying’.
Athol Franz (Editor)