Check out the Nov. 1 edition of What's Trending in Aerospace, where editors and contributors for Avionics International bring you some of the latest headlines happening across the global aerospace industry.


IAG Outlines COVID-19 Impact on Passenger Traffic, Revenue in Third Quarter Results

The International Airlines Group (IAG) published its third quarter results on Oct. 30.

International Airlines Group (IAG) published its results for the first nine months of the year, showing passenger capacity down by 64 percent between January and September, according to an Oct. 30 press release.

“In quarter 3 we’re reporting an operating loss of €1,300 million before exceptional items compared to an operating profit of €1,425 million last year. The total operating loss was €1,918 million, including exceptional items relating to fuel hedges plus restructuring costs at British Airways and Aer Lingus," said Luis Gallego, IAG's CEO.

"We are calling on governments to adopt pre-departure testing using reliable and affordable tests with the option of post flight testing to release people from quarantine where they are arriving from countries with high infection rates. This would open routes, stimulate economies and get people traveling with confidence. When we open routes, there is pent up demand for travel. However, we continue to expect that it will take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to recover to 2019 levels," he added.

Overall passenger revenue fell by 71 percent for the first nine months of the year across IAG's airlines. Passenger revenue during the third quarter was down by 86 percent, according to IAG.


Dubai International Airport Gets Vision-Box Biometric Technology

Emirates is using touchless biometrics scanning at Dubai International Airport. (Emirates)

Emirates Airlines' Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport will integrate biometrics technology supplier Vision-Box’s Orchestra Digital Identity Management Platform, according to an Oct. 26 press release.

The implementation will be made as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and it will create a touch-less and contactless passenger processing experience, according to the press release. The Orchestra Digital Identity Management Platform features touchless identification, contactless security checks for clearance, digital travel document authentication, touchless lounge access, and touchless boarding.

“The need for touchless identity management and seamless passenger flow management is the new reality,” Miguel Leitmann, the CEO of Vision-Box, said in a press statement. “As air travel dynamics have evolved under the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a safe contactless passenger experience is paramount to the industry’s revival. Emirates has been one of the first in the world to recognize the need for contactless digital technology for passenger safety and have sought to swiftly implement the most advanced technology with Vision-Box’s touchless and contactless technology.”


Air Traffic Management

EASA Publishes Updated Easy Access Rules for Air Navigation Services

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published its updated Easy Access Rules for Air Traffic Management/Air Navigation Services (ATM/ANS) on Oct. 27.

According to the agency, the updated rules contain "the applicable rules for the providers of ATM/ANS and other Air Traffic Management network functions." Described a revision from October 2020, the update also incorporates European Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/469. That implementing regulation includes new requirements for ATM services, design of airspace structures and data quality as well as runway safety data.

According to EASA, the updates will make "Easy Access Rules for Air Traffic Management/Air Navigation Services (Regulation (EU) 2017/373" applicable as of January 27, 2022.


FAA Issues Record of Decision on Florida Metroplex

he Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact-Record of Decision for the South-Central Florida Metroplex, which is the agency’s plan to modernize air traffic procedures for 21 airports in the southern half of the state, according to an Oct. 26 update published by the agency.

The agency posted the document and the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) on the Florida Metroplex Environmental website.

The decision enables the FAA to move forward with new satellite-based procedures that will enhance safety and efficiency. New procedures are scheduled for implementation in mid-2021.

The project includes new arrival and departure procedures for Miami, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Palm Beach, Orlando, Tampa and St. Pete/Clearwater international airports and 15 other smaller airports.



Inmarsat, GD Technics Develop New GX Aviation In-flight Connectivity Terminal

Inmarsat has a next generation terminal developed in collaboration with GDC Technics support its new North American in-flight connectivity network. (Inmarsat)

Inmarsat unveiled a next generation terminal for its GX Aviation in-flight connectivity (IFC) network in an Oct. 29 press release.

The terminal, developed in collaboration with GDC Technics, includes a flat panel antenna provided by Thinkom that has been integrated with smart dual aero modem technology that supports Inmarsat’s new GX+ North America service, announced with Hughes Network Systems last week.

“The global in-flight connectivity market is fast evolving and we have enjoyed working with Inmarsat to develop this next-generation terminal for GX Aviation, which is not only lightweight and low drag, but also boasts one of the lowest engineering failure rates in the market. We are hugely excited about the partnership and look forward to working with Inmarsat and its partners to bring this new terminal to airlines across the world," said Brad Foreman, Chief Executive Officer of GDC Technics.

The new GDC Technics terminal has been certified and is now flying on Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Additional retrofit and line-fit certifications are currently in progress and expected to be available by the end of this year, including retrofit options for the Airbus A320/330 family, and the Boeing 787 and 777 aircraft.


NASA is Crowdsourcing Cargo Solutions for Lunar Landers

NASA launched a competition on HeroX to find innovative ways for cargo to be unloaded from lunar landers and other spacecraft while operating in a lunar environment. (HeroX)

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration launched a competition on HeroX, a social network for crowdsourced solutions, to find innovative ways for cargo to be unloaded from lunar landers and other spacecraft while operating in a lunar environment, according to an Oct. 29 press release.

The competition, NASA’s Lunar Delivery Challenge, is open to anyone over 18 who lives in a country not sanctioned by the United States. NASA will select six winners who will share a total prize of $25,000.

"We are looking for broad concepts from the public, so this is not an engineer-specific challenge. We want to hear from everyone," Paul Kessler, Aerospace Vehicle Design and Mission Analyst at NASA, said in a press statement. "We are interested in concepts that range from simple to complex. We don't yet know what will work best, and that's why we're interested in every proposal. We are excited to see what people have to offer and to have them contribute to NASA's ambitious mission. This is the stuff that makes history."

NASA expects to use this challenge to support its Artemis program, which looks to land the first woman and second man on the moon in 2024. The solutions created through this program will have to account for a wide variety of cargo types and weights supporting everything from small scientific instruments to large rovers.

"Replicating our everyday activities on the Moon continues to be a challenge,” Christian Cotichini, CEO of HeroX, said in a press statement. “Finding ways to do these things in a lunar environment is crucial to the success of a sustained human presence on the Moon. The unloading of payloads is a critical part of that overall effort. NASA hopes it can once again leverage the brilliance of the crowd so that astronauts have access to the equipment and supplies they need."

NanoAvionics Gets a UK Expansion

NanoAvionics engineers assembling satellite subsystems. (NanoAvionics)

The nanosatellite bus manufacturer, NanoAvionics, is expanding in the United Kingdom moving to a larger facility for satellite assembly, integration, and testing. NanoAvionics will also expand its sales, technical support, and research and development activities, according to an Oct. 29 press release.

NanoAvionics announced a 300 percent revenue increase in the last 12 months, according to the release. Their products are used by NASA, ESA, and MIT and use a modular design and low-cost preconfigured nanosatellite buses.

“Following the establishment of our first office at Harwell Campus last year, NanoAvionics is now further expanding its business in the UK by investing in this new AIT facility, creating jobs and by developing a technology cluster and supply chain, similarly to what we have done in Lithuania and the USA,” Vytenis J. Buzas, CEO of NanoAvionics, said in a press statement. “To grow our Satellite production capabilities locally, we are going to connect with companies in Britain such as printed circuit board suppliers, electronics manufacturers, cable assembly providers, producers of mechanical components and surface treatment providers.”

Air Taxi

Canada Launches Air Mobility Consortium

The Canadian Air Mobility and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) are launching a multi-stakeholder group for research, development, and commercial operations in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector, Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium. (CAAM)

The Canadian Air Mobility and the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) are launching a multi-stakeholder group for research, development, and commercial operations in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector, Canadian Advanced Air Mobility Consortium (CAAM). The announcement was made in an Oct. 28 press release.

CAAM has more than 20 partners including TransLink, Helijet International, British Columbia Institute of Technology, and Bell Textron. It will create an AAM innovation hub to expand the sector and spur new technology.

"We've established an outstanding group of strategic members to support the design, integration, and implementation of Advanced Air Mobility in Canada," JR Hammond, Founder & CEO of Canadian Air Mobility and Executive Director of CAAM, said in a press statement. "We look forward to demonstrating the economic viability, environmental benefits and social inclusivity factors of this technology and making Canada a world leader in AAM. To that end, we welcome additional members who share our vision that AAM provides the path toward a safer, healthier, and more efficient mode of transportation."

AAM includes the use of zero-emission, electric, or hydrogen fuel cells and vertical take-off aircraft. It will provide transportation to rural and urban areas and could complete tasks like emergency medical response, and natural disaster assessment, according to the release.



HorseFly Delivery Drone Sends Type Certification Application to the FAA

The Workhorse Group Inc submitted a type certification application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its HorseFly UAS. (Workhorse)

The Workhorse Group Inc, a technology company that makes electric drones, submitted a type certification application to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its HorseFly unmanned aerial system (UAS), according to an Oct. 28 press release. Type certification takes about one to two years and signifies the airworthiness of a category of aircraft.

The HorseFly can deliver parcels, carry sensors and cameras, and operate autonomously, according to the press release. It has a payload of ten pounds for up to10 miles.

"FAA Type Certification is the only path to scaling meaningful, long-term commercial revenue operations in the U.S., and we believe our Aerospace division is firmly on that path," Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in a press statement. "We first started developing our unmanned aerial system over four years ago and have come a very long way in that time. Workhorse Aerospace has flown hundreds of live package deliveries in multiple states. With direct operating costs of the aircraft coming in at less than three cents per mile, package delivery integrated via drone represents a true step function improvement in terms of cost and efficiency. While there is much work ahead, this formal application is a milestone achievement for our team. We will continue to work diligently over the coming months as we progress through the various stages of the approval process."


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