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Flybe Comeback Planned for Spring 2021

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Flybe entered administration on 5 March 2020.  All its flights were grounded and the UK airline stopped trading with immediate effect.  At the height of its operations, Flybe was responsible for around 40% of all regional flights in the UK.  In particular the links with KLM long haul flights departing from Schipol Airport in Amsterdam.  There is now a glimmer of hope that Flybe could take-off again in 2021.

Why Flybe Went into Administration

Flybe Spirit of Exeter Fleet © Flybe

 For over a year Flybe had battled to survive.  In February 2019 Thyme Opco (an investment firm owned by hedge fund Cyrus Capital) in a consortium with Virgin Atlantic and Stobart Group (owner of Southend Airport) took control of Flybe.  But this rescue attempt failed.  Flybe was already struggling due to intense competition from other budget airlines, a weak pound and Brexit.

In January the airline appealed to the UK Government for help.  It was allowed to defer air passenger duty but discussions relating to a loan failed.  Ryanair boss, Michael O’Leary led the opposition to a government funding package.  He referred to it as a billionaires’ bailout due to Virgin’s Richard Branson’s part-ownership of Flybe.

The dramatic reduction in passenger numbers due to COVID-19 meant survival became impossible and in March it went into administration with EY.  But the administrators continued to look for a way to rescue the airline.  Now, a former shareholder could be about to agree to a rescue deal.

Flybe De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 © Flybe

What Makes a Revival of Flybe Possible?

Crucial to any rescue of Flybe was the retention of the airline’s licence and its slots.  EY has won a legal battle to keep the carrier’s operating licence.  However, slots may be a problem.  IAG, the parent company of British Airways took over Flybe’s slots at Heathrow when the airline ceased operations.  The administrators challenged their right to these slots.  And the European Commission granted them grandfathering rights on 4 August.

A Flybe plane takes off from Manchester Airport © REUTERS/Phil Noble

Thyme Opco, acting alone, has reached a deal with the administrators of Flybe.  It has acquired the airline’s remaining assets, including its intellectual property, stock and equipment.  Their spokesperson is optimistic that the airline will re-commence operations in the spring.  He went on to say: “We are extremely excited about the opportunity to relaunch Flybe. The airline is not only a well-known UK brand, but it was also the largest regional air carrier in the EU, so while we plan to start off smaller than before, we expect to create valuable airline industry jobs, restore essential regional connectivity in the UK and contribute to the recovery of a vital part of the country’s economy.”

Source: https://travelradar.aero/flybe-comeback-planned-for-spring-2021/

Aviation

RAF Firefighters Successfully Tackle Blaze in The Middle East

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Royal Air Force (RAF) firefighters currently stationed at a coalition air base in the Middle East have successfully dealt with a blaze that broke out in one of its buildings.

On Tuesday 10th November a fire is believed to have been caused by a defective air conditioning unit was brought under control by the firefighters.

A Royal Air Force Firefighter tackles flames and heat at the multi-simulator training unit at the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre, Manston.| (C) MOD via Defence Imagery UK

What are the RAF doing in the Middle East?

The RAF firefighters are deployed on a four-month rotation and provide firefighting cover across the air base.

There were no reported casualties and the fire had no impact on coalition operations.

One firefighter who responded to the incident has recently passed out from the Defence Fire Training and Development Centre, which saw the last cohort pass out in October.

I was excited to use the knowledge I had learned throughout my training. I carried out search procedures to identify the fire room and carried out offensive firefighting tactics to extinguish the fire. The result was the fire was contained to a single room, preventing further damage to the building.

When RAF firefighters arrived on the scene they were met with high levels of smoke from the building.

Members of the Fire Section at RAF Coningsby tackle a simulated aircraft fire during routine training.| (C) MOD via Defence Imagery UK

Another firefighter commented:

It was brilliant to be able to react and produce a successful response from an emergency service within a coalition environment. This highlights the effectiveness and adaptability of the RAF Fire and Rescue Service.

Where are the RAF currently based?

The RAF firefighters are currently deployed to the Middle East as part of the 83 Expeditionary Air Group (EAG). They are based at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar as part of a coalition operation.

The area of responsibility for 83 EAG extends from the southern end of the Arabian Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean.

The team provides fire cover for a range of different military aircraft and buildings at the coalition airbase. They have been regularly involved in practice exercises with the host nation to test their joint procedures.

Let us know your comments on this below!

Source: https://travelradar.aero/raf-firefighters-successfully-tackle-blaze-in-the-middle-east/

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BREAKING-Antonov AN-124 Suffers Runway Excursion Following Emergency Landing

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An engine failure has caused a Antonov AN-124 to make an emergency landing at Novosibirsk-Tolmachevo Airport (OVB) in Central Russia.

The Antonov An-124-100 freighter, registered as RA-82042, took off from OVB on its way to Wien-Schwechat International Airport (VIE) carrying a total of 14 people.

During take-off a failure was reported on the number 2 engine. This prompted the crew to initiate emergency protocol and conduct a go around followed by an immediate landing.

It is reported that the cowling from the no.2 engine was found in a nearby field.

Inspectors from the Investigative Committee of Russia have been sent to carry out a preliminary investigation and establish the circumstances of the incident.

Travel Radar will continue to update on this story as more information becomes available.

Do you want to provide us some more information regarding this event? Get in touch with our editorial news desk, editors@travelradar.aero

Source: https://travelradar.aero/breaking-antonov-an-124-suffers-runway-excursion-following-emergency-landing/

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FLIGHTPLAN Event Encourages Airlines to Boost Passenger Confidence for Post-COVID-19 Recovery

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A Passenger Confidence Tracker undertaken by Inmarsat Aviation was a central feature at the recent FLIGHTPLAN event.  The theme of the event was Strategies for Recovery post COVID-19.  An important element of recovery will be passenger confidence.  The survey, the largest ever undertaken, includes valuable insights into passenger behaviour during the pandemic.  It also explores their expectations post COVID-19.

Inside a British Airways Boeing 747 © Stuart Bailey via British Airways

The Passenger Confidence Tracker – A COVID-19 Survey

9,500 air travellers from twelve countries took part in the Passenger Confidence Tracker.  Over 80% said that their attitude to flying would change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  And 1 in 5 said they would choose specific, trusted airlines for their flights.  This is a significant factor and one the airlines should focus on.

The fundamental message is consistency regarding hygiene practices.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is trying to create worldwide standards.  There is a need for closer co-operation between nations regarding all aspects of a flight.  These include the journey from home to the airport.  The airport experience.  The flight itself and what happens on arrival at the destination.  Currently we are seeing a situation where airlines are competing by claiming to have the best safeguards in place.  But in the interests of the whole industry there should be co-operation across the board.  An industry acting cohesively will boost passenger confidence.

Technology at London Heathrow Airport © British Airways

Passenger confidence will lead to an increase in passenger numbers.

The New Passenger Journey Post COVID-19

Cabin cleanliness was the most important factor.  Passengers need to know what measures each airline is taking.  They also need to see that airlines care.  For example, staff wearing face masks and a reduction in the number of touch points.  Technology will be very important in creating a connection between customers and a brand.  Airline crews can engage with passengers through apps on their smartphones.  The refreshment trolley can be replaced by a system that allows passengers to order and pay in advance.

The definition of the flight experience will continue to evolve as more touchless technology is introduced.  Biometrics (facial recognition) will allow passengers to move through the airport without needing to produce passports and boarding passes. Passengers should be trusting in science.  Surveys say that the risk of inflight transmission of infection is very small.

People feel less anxious if they are in control of everything around them.  Touchless technology, and information delivered through smartphones will give passengers more control over their journeys.  But there are other elements of the journey that need to be addressed including passengers’ need for space.

Inflight WiFi © British Airways

Personal Passenger Comfort Post COVID-19

The Passenger Confidence Tracker also revealed a popular desire for more space in the cabin.  Many passengers are still keen to keep a social distance from those around them.  Delta is responding to this need by continuing to block middle in Economy.  At the other end of the scale is an emerging trend, the Pure Sky Room.  Passengers can enjoy the luxury of their own space surrounded by wall to ceiling curtaining.

Inflight WiFi will also be more important to the enjoyment of a flight.  There has been a large increase in the number of passengers using WiFi on flights during the COVID pandemic.  Social distancing and mandatory face masks have limited the opportunity to socialise during a flight.  Passengers will be more reliant on personal devices for entertainment.

It seems we are looking at a passenger-led recovery in the aviation industry.  Do you agree?  Post your views in the comments.

Source: https://travelradar.aero/flightplan-event-encourages-airlines-to-boost-passenger-confidence-for-post-covid-19-recovery/

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Boeing gets Air Force Training Contract from Middle East

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Boeing announced three foreign military sales contracts from the middle east market today, valued at more than $800 million these contracts cover the sales of training services.  This is a comprehensive support and includes for pre-delivery training and marks a great milestone for Boeing following a year of declining sales.

Over 100 Years of Boeing Training Arrives in Middle East

It is important to have trained personnel when sophisticated defence system products are purchased. Boeing enters the region with over a-hundred years plus experience and can effortlessly achieve this.

The Boeing contract is with the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) for their F-15QA program management: Including maintenance and aircrew training.

The $240million five year contract is expected to enhance the credibility of Boeing’s dwindling image due to the 737 MAX fiasco.

Meeting in-country demands and providing spares and logistics support is part of the deal

Boeing received a separate not-to-exceed $68 million contract to provide maintenance and logistics support.  This is towards the pre-delivery training for the F-15QA program.  This will commence in Q1 of 2021.

QEAF will send pilots and weapon system operators to the U.S., to achieve the force’s training needs.

Training will include in-person instruction, simulation events and flying operations, and will be held near Boeing’s F-15 production facility in the U.S. through mid-2021.

In the near future, Boeing will also assist the QEAF in establishing a maintenance and training centre in Qatar itself.  The whole process is expected to be completed by 2024.

“The tailored training and sustainment delivered by our team, coupled with Boeing’s platform expertise, allows us to deliver a holistic solution to our Qatari customer so they can optimize the full capability of their fleet with high availability rates,” said Tim Buerk, director of Middle East defense services for Boeing. Adding:

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Qatar and further supporting their mission readiness needs.”

The middle east defence market is an ever lucrative business opportunity to defence manufactures, such as Boeing.  The market always seeks the latest technologies and has the money to invest.  When a defence deal is done, a whole gamut of complete offerings including training services follows.  In this case,  Boeing training services have a natural advantage.  This development is positive news as far as Boeing is concerned.  Let us know your thoughts below!

Source: https://travelradar.aero/boeing-gets-air-force-training-contract-from-middle-east/

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