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Airbus, Safran and Tikehau Ace Capital to acquire Aubert & Duval

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Airbus, Safran and Tikehau Ace Capital have signed a memorandum of understanding with mining and metallurgical group Eramet to acquire the group’s subsidiary, Aubert & Duval.

The proposed transaction is subject to consultation and necessary regulatory approvals and the closing is expected in the fourth quarter of 2022. The three partners intend to acquire 100% of Aubert & Duval through a new joint holding company.

Aubert & Duval is a strategic supplier of critical parts and materials for the aerospace, defence and nuclear industries. The company has end-to-end capabilities in special materials and superalloys, as well as nascent expertise in titanium, both which are critical to aerospace, transportation, energy and defence applications.

Airbus says the acquisition would allow Airbus and Safran to secure a strategic supply chain and new material development for current and future civil and military aircraft and engine programmes.

Safran CEO Olivier Andriès said: “Aubert & Duval is a historical supplier of Safran with unique technical expertise in Europe. The planned acquisition will ensure national sovereignty for our most strategic programmes for disruptive civil and military aircraft engines.

“Given its industrial expertise in metallurgy, Safran will lead the operational management of the company. The transformation programme will reinforce customer confidence and create a national champion with a strong French industrial base capable of serving global markets.”

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said: “Aubert & Duval, with its critical knowledge and expertise dating back more than a century, is a strategic supplier to Airbus and the entire aerospace and defence industry. Our sector, which has started to emerge from the COVID crisis, needs a solid partner to ramp up production while preparing next-generation technologies in aerospace.

“With this acquisition and an ambitious transformation plan, we aim to restore the operational excellence and market confidence in Aubert & Duval to create, in the mid- to long-term, a leading European player able to face global competition as well as to reduce geopolitical risk of supply.”

Bonza aircraft on sky

Bonza reveals route map and airport bases

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Bonza aircraft on sky

Australian independent low-cost carrier Bonza has revealed its route map and airport bases and announced Sunshine Coast Airport as its home base and head office location.

The carrier’s fleet consists of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. Initially, two aircraft will be based at Sunshine Coast Airport while Melbourne Airport, the carrier’s second airport base, will also have two aircraft.

Bonza has also announced its destinations, which include Albury, Avalon, Bundaberg, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gladstone, Mackay, Melbourne, Mildura, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba Wellcamp, Townsville and the Whitsunday Coast.

Tim Jordan, CEO of Bonza, said: “Since announcing Bonza to the world late last year, we’ve always said we wouldn’t just fly between Australia’s three largest cities and instead give people in the regions more choice. Today we deliver on that promise, with the largest launch announcement in Australian aviation history.

“From our two bases on the Sunshine Coast and Melbourne, we will give Aussies more options at ultra-low fares to explore their own backyard. With destinations ranging from Albury to the Whitsundays, travellers will now be able to fly, instead of impossibly long road trips, as well as fly direct without a stopover in a major city.

“Aussies can look forward to enjoying more time at their destination and spending less of their hard-earned cash getting there in the first place.”

To mark the launch, Bonza also unveiled its brand new 737 MAX aircraft with its striking purple livery.

Artex distress tracking ELT

ACR Electronics announces major deals for its distress-tracking ELT solution

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Artex distress tracking ELT

ACR Electronics has secured deals to supply its distress-tracking ARTEX ELT 5000 (DT) solution with crash survivability to two of the world’s largest commercial aircraft manufacturers.

ACR Electronics says the announced deals establish its next-generation emergency locator transmitter (ELT) as the preferred solution to support production aircraft in compliance with the ICAO 2023 GADSS (global aeronautical distress and safety system) initiative.

The ACR Electronics product is offered to the market in combination with SKYTRAC’s autonomous distress tracking system as a complete GADSS solution.

The GADSS initiative recommendations are currently being adopted into regulations by regulatory bodies such as EASA. The key GADSS concept of operations objectives include addressing late notification of search and rescue services when aircraft are in distress, identifying the location of an end-of-flight aircraft position, ensuring efficient and effective SAR operations and assisting with timely recovery of flight data by providing an accurate report of the aircraft’s final position.

John Nguyen, President of ACR Electronics, said: “The two contracts secured by ACR Electronics to supply the ARTEX ELT 5000 (DT) to the world’s major aircraft manufacturers are a powerful endorsement for our multi-faceted distress-tracking ELT programme. It demonstrates the high confidence in the industry that the development of the next generation ELT 5000 (DT) will future-proof aircraft with a state-of-the-art emergency distress signalling and tracking solution.

“The ability to create a compliant system by combining the ELT-DT and ADT technology of sister brands ARTEX and SKYTRAC means the ACR Group is the only company with a full end-to-end GADSS solution for airframe manufacturers and airline operators.”

The system is triggered by a potential distress condition from independent aircraft monitoring. The 406 MHz ARTEX ELT 5000 (DT) intelligently activates and will automatically begin transmitting 406 MHz distress messages with the current location in real time while the aircraft is in flight.

The company says the distress tracking provides the precise location of the aircraft to assist the relevant monitoring bodies to respond to the alert quickly and effectively using the COSPAS-SARSAT satellite network.

It is also possible to trigger the ELT manually from inside the cockpit if necessary.

Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines announce merger

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Spirit Airlines and Frontier Group Holdings have announced a merger agreement to create America’s most competitive ultra-low fare carrier.

The airlines say they expect to bring more ultra-low fares to more travellers in more destinations across the US, Latin America and the Caribbean – to major cities as well as underserved communities.

William A Franke, the chair of Frontier’s board of directors and the managing partner of Indigo Partners, Frontier’s majority shareholder, explained that Indigo has a long history with both Spirit and Frontier.

He said: “We worked jointly with the board of directors and senior management team across both carriers to arrive at a combination of two complementary businesses that together will create America’s most competitive ultra-low fare airline for the benefit of consumers.”

Ted Christie, President and CEO of Spirit, said the carrier is thrilled to join forces with Frontier to further democratise air travel. He said: “This transaction is centred around creating an aggressive ultra-low fare competitor to serve our guests even better, expand career opportunities for our team members and increase competitive pressure, resulting in more consumer-friendly fares for the flying public. We look forward to uniting our talented teams to shake up the airline industry while also continuing our commitment to excellent guest service.”

Barry Biffle, President and CEO of Frontier, said: “Together, Frontier and Spirit will be America’s greenest airline and deliver more ultra-low fares to more people in more places. I couldn’t be more excited for our team members, customers, partners, the communities we serve and our shareholders.”

Thai Airways IFE partnership

Thai Airways chooses Stellar Entertainment as content service partner

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Thai Airways IFE partnership

Thai Airways has chosen IFE content specialists Stellar Entertainment as the carrier’s new content service partner.

Stellar Entertainment will now be supplying the Thai carrier with a full range of in-flight entertainment services, including account management, strategic curation and licensing of all film, television and audio content, production services, technical services and content delivery.

Stellar’s teams in Sydney, Singapore and Malaysia will be managing the content for the carrier.

Kittiphong Sansomboon, Executive Director of Customer and Marketing at Thai Airways, said: “To fulfil Thai’s vision to be a high-quality full service carrier with strong Thai brand connecting Thailand to the world, we have chosen a highly experienced IFE partner who can deliver on every level.

“From up-to-date releases of content, innovative content strategies such as helping us introduce the idea of pairing music with our inflight F&B experience, to agile technical expertise; we are confident that Stellar can help Thai deliver our promise to the world through our new IFE experience.”

Stellar Entertainment’s Managing Director, Sam Allen, said: “As a leading CSP in Asia-Pacific, we feel privileged to work with another prestigious flag carrier in this region, one that is renowned for world-class in-flight products and services. Airlines seek stable and flexible partners with reliable expertise during these current fluid times and Stellar Entertainment meets those requirements, backed by almost five decades in the industry.”

Norse Atlantic Airways & OSM Aviation Academy cadet programme

Norse and OSM Aviation Academy launch cadet programme

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Norse Atlantic Airways & OSM Aviation Academy cadet programme

Norse Atlantic Airways has partnered up with OSM Aviation Academy to launch a cadet programme that will prepare the flight academy’s students for a future career with the new long-haul carrier.

Norse is set to take to the skies in the second quarter of 2022. The airline will be operating affordable flights between Europe and North America with a fleet of 15 Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Norse says the development of the cadet programme will commence in close collaboration with OSM Aviation Academy once the airline is fully operational.

Norse’s Chief Culture Officer, Kristin Berthelsen, said: “Initiating a career path and mentorship programme for our pilots as early as their initial stages of education and training aligns with our values of inclusive, ownership and kindness. We believe that taking ownership and including our future colleagues at an early stage will be a key effort in securing the talent of tomorrow.”

Hans Kyrre Hultgren, Managing Director at OSM Aviation Academy, said: “We are thrilled to launch this collaboration with Norse Atlantic Airways, a company that represents innovation and will create many new jobs in the aviation industry. We see our students as future colleagues, ensuring that they have the best career options after graduation. This partnership will motivate them even further to study diligently and work hard to pursue these opportunities and make a future for themselves.”

OSM Aviation Academy says it is aiming to offer carbon-neutral pilot education by 2025 and promotes inclusion and diversity in the aviation industry.

Norse’s CEO Bjørn Tore Larsen owns 73.5% of the academy through his company BTLCO.

Southwest Airlines restores onboard drinks service

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After pausing its full menu of onboard beverage options in March 2020, Southwest Airlines has announced it will be offering an expanded selection of drinks to its customers again, effective from 16 February.

Tony Roach, Southwest Airlines’ Vice President Customer Experience and Customer Relations, said: “Customers have expressed a desire for more beverage options, so we’re delighted to restore additional onboard offerings as a part of the Southwest hospitality that our customers know and love.”

The carrier will be restoring alcoholic beverages for onboard purchase and will also be adding tonic water, apple juice, Coke Zero, Dr Pepper, hot tea and hot cocoa in its drinks selection on flights of 176 miles or more. The airline is currently offering Coke, Diet Coke, 7 Up, water, ginger ale, seltzer water, orange juice, cranberry cocktail juice and coffee.

The cost for the alcoholic drinks will vary, with sparkling wine, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay costing US$6 and spirits such as vodka, Jack Daniels, Wild Turkey, Bacardi rum and tequila costing $7.

Southwest says its customers may redeem any Southwest drink coupons that were set to expire in 2020 or 2021 for an alcoholic beverage until 31 December 2022.

Airbus Beluga SAF

European aviation leaders welcome sustainability declaration

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Airbus Beluga SAF

Aviation giants Airbus, Air France-KLM, ATR, Dassault Aviation, Groupe ADP, Safran and Thales have released a joint statement welcoming the decarbonisation declaration made today in Toulouse by the European Commission and EU member states under the French EU presidency.

The companies say they all welcome the commitments to work with the European aviation industry to achieve the decarbonisation of the sector by 2050 and say they will continue to invest in the maturation, development and implementation of decarbonisation technologies such as next-generation aircraft and engines, sustainable aviation fuels and synthetic fuels.

The joint statement also urges the European Commission to launch industrial alliances critical to align the entire ecosystem around the joint ambition – including the Renewable and Low-Carbon Fuels Value Chain Industrial Alliance, the Alliance for Zero Emission Aviation and the European Raw Materials Alliance – and calls for the commitments taken by the European Union to be adopted globally to accelerate the decarbonisation of the industry around the world.

Etihad Airways Greenliner

Etihad Guest launches sustainably-focused Visa credit card

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Etihad Airways Greenliner

Etihad Airways’ loyalty programme Etihad Guest, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Visa have partnered to launch a sustainably-focused Visa credit card.

According to Etihad, the FAB Etihad Guest Visa sustainable card will reward shoppers for making sustainable choices and introduces a series of sustainability-focused benefits that will educate the loyalty programme members for making sustainable choices and provide options to offset emissions for their spending.

The partnership is powered by digital green finance infrastructure provider ecolytiq. The company provides its Sustainability-as-a-Service technology to track sustainable spending, supporting the change of behaviour and issuance of rewards for those making greener spending choices.

Etihad also rewards its frequent flyers for being more sustainable in the air and on the ground through its Conscious Choices programme. Customers are rewarded for offsetting their flights with miles, carrying less baggage on board and purchasing sustainable products in the Reward Shop and can also earn Tier Miles by offsetting everyday emissions such as driving.

Terry Daly, Executive Director of Guest Experience, Brand & Marketing at Etihad Airways, said: “We’re delighted to extend our Conscious Choices sustainability offering to consumers and Etihad Guest members by providing more opportunities to reward sustainable lifestyle choices through our partnership with FAB and Visa. The FAB Etihad Guest Sustainable Visa Credit Card will allow our members to understand where they can act more sustainably and provide incentives every time they make the sustainable choice in their everyday living and purchasing.”

Etihad is aiming to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and halve its 2019 emissions by 2035. The carrier has introduced several significant CO2 reduction initiatives under its Greenliner sustainability programme over the past two years, including adopting thousands of mangroves, using sustainable fuels, reducing contrails, flying optimised flight paths, operating more electric vehicles and working with partners who share its vision for cleaner skies.

Daly added: “It’s important for us to extend our own sustainability ambitions to empower our members and guests to contribute in their own way. We know this is a priority and a cause close to the heart of many of our guests and partners. As a corporate citizen, we are privileged to be in a position to help educate consumers to understand their carbon footprint, not just from travel but from their everyday spend. Consequently we are proud to reward our guests and members for making a conscious decision to reduce their impact on the environment.”

American Airlines celebrates Black History Month in the US

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American Airlines is hosting numerous events and initiatives this month to celebrate Black History Month in the US.

The carrier says that in 2022, American Airlines’ products and services in its Flagship Lounges, in-flight dining and entertainment offerings also aim to better connect with Black travellers.

Customers can now tune into the “American Black Film Festival” channel via the airline’s in-flight entertainment, with short film and documentary channel launches in February including films such as Not Just a Name, Postmate, Code Switch and Descended from the Promised Land: The Legacy of Black Wall Street. The airline will also continue to add more films throughout the year.

According to the carrier, it has sponsored the American Black Film Festival for more than 20 years. Its Black History Month in-flight entertainment channel is curated by the airline’s Black Professional Network Employee Business Resource Group that pays tribute to timeless films such as Selma, Moonlight and The Princess and the Frog.

American Airlines will also be offering a new domestic first class dining experience featuring brands rooted in diversity such as Partake. On the ground, the airline is working with top chefs such as Tiffany Derry to create menus for its Flagship Lounge and Flagship First Dining at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

Derry will create menu items with a high-end twist to her family’s classic southern recipes in partnership with the James Beard Foundation, an organisation with a mission to celebrate, support and elevate the people behind America’s food culture and champion a standard of good food anchored in talent, equity and sustainability.