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RAAF to perform ‘high-complexity’ combat training in the NT



F-35A Lightning II aircraft A35-033 touches down at RAAF Base Williamtown after transiting from the United States. Photo Sergeant David Gibbs 2

Around 30 RAAF aircraft, including F-35 Lightning II and F/A-18A/B Hornet fighter jets, are set to be deployed for Exercise Rogue Ambush in the Northern Territory over the next three weeks.

The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed over 300 personnel and approximately 30 aircraft to RAAF Bases Darwin and Tindal for Exercise Rogue Ambush 21-1, where they are set to conduct a range of tactical flying activities across the Northern Territory.

As part of the exercise, which will run from 15 June to 2 July, the RAAF will leverage Tindal restricted airspace and Delamere Air Weapons Range.

Aircraft involved in the exercise include the F-35A Lightning II, F/A-18A/B Hornet, E-7A Wedgetail, Hawk 127 lead-in fighter and KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport.

The F-35A Lightning II, E-7A Wedgetail and KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker Transport will operate from RAAF Base Darwin, while the F/A-18A/B Hornet and Hawk 127 lead-in fighter will operate from RAAF Base Tindal.

The exercise is set to mark the final phase of the first F-35A operational conversion course conducted in Australia since its introduction.


“F-35A fighter pilots from No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit and E-7A Wedgetail co-pilots and aircrew from No. 2 Squadron who have deployed from RAAF Base Williamtown will face challenging training during the final phase of their six-month operational conversion courses,” Exercise Commander, Group Captain Matthew McCormack observed.

“The biannual Rogue Ambush exercises are designed to produce personnel ready to deliver air power for the joint force in peace and war.”

GPCAPT McCormack said participants would engage in “high-complexity” air combat training and interoperability activities with other Force Element Groups, enabling the RAAF to put its deployment capabilities to the test.

“The exercise provides our new pilots and aircrew an offensive counter-air training environment to fly complex aircraft and achieve an extremely high performance of precision strike missions, airborne command and control and air to air refuelling,” he added.

Aircraft are expected to operate during routine flying hours on weekdays only.

Exercise Rogue Ambush follows Exercise Arnhem Thunder, which saw two F-35As deployed with a full arsenal for the first time.

In addition to their internal payload, the F-35s departed with laser-guided GBU-12 bombs attached to their under-wing pylons.

More than 500 personnel and 50 aircraft participated in the training exercise, the largest post-COVID, which concluded on Tuesday (15 June).

Aircraft conducted air-to-air combat scenarios and dropped live ordnance on the Delamere Air Weapons Range, with a contingency response squadron activating forward operating base at the Mount Bundey Training Area.

Exercise director, Wing Commander Steven Bradley, lauded the success of Arnhem Thunder.

“It is a prime example of Air Force’s ability to mobilise and integrate its air and ground-based capabilities in response to a range of security threats,” WGCDR Bradley said.

“The exercise allowed Air Force’s key elements – Air Combat Group, Surveillance and Response Group, Air Mobility Group, and Combat Support Group to conduct important training.”

Written by Charbel Kadib.

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Production of De Havilland turboprops key to negotiations as strike deadline nears



From City News 1130 – link to source story


The exterior of the Bombardier Global 7500 jetline is photographed during a press conference event in Mississauga on Wednesday, December 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin

The union representing Bombardier and De Havilland aerospace workers in Toronto are threatening a strike this week unless negotiations can guarantee Dash 8 turboprop jobs remain in the GTA.

After a three-week cooling-off period, separate talks were set to resume Sunday ahead of a Tuesday strike deadline.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said the negotiations are about “protecting the kind of highly skilled advanced manufacturing jobs we need now more than ever.” 

About 2,200 members of Unifor Local 112 and Local 673 at Toronto’s Downsview plant manufacture Bombardier’s Global business aircraft and until recently the Dash 8 turboprops for De Havilland Canada. 

The labour negotiations come at a time when the aviation sector is taking baby steps to recover from government-forced shutdowns of international commercial travel because of COVID-19.

With the COVID-19 pandemic taking a bite out of aircraft sales, hundreds of aerospace employees are on layoff as production winds down on the Dash 8.

The regional aircraft is used by airlines including WestJet, Porter and Jazz.

The union wants De Havilland, whose parent company is Longview Aviation Capital Corp., to commit to making the Dash 8 somewhere in Greater Toronto when production resumes.

“When they say to me we don’t have any sales on the horizon, I believe them. But the bottom line is, if they’re going to build that plane our members are building it,” said Dias, who began his career working at the Downsview plant in the 1970s.

Longview bought the turboprop program from Bombardier for $300 million in June 2019 and formed a holding company called De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. 

The company announced earlier this year that it would no longer produce new Q400 aircraft at the facility beyond currently confirmed orders. De Havilland indicated two years ago that work will end at Downsview once lease agreements for the land expire.

Dias fears De Havilland plans to move production to its facilities in Alberta.

He said the company refused to bargain any sort of scope clauses that would limit production to somewhere in the GTA, including Pearson International Airport where Bombardier has broken ground on a new facility for its Global business jets.

“Their silence on the matter is very troublesome,” he said in an interview. “The bottom line is we’ve got a lot of people have worked there for a lot of years and have worked on this program and they deserve the right to continue to build the program.”

De Havilland said it believes the Dash 8 has a future despite the challenges faced by the industry because of the pandemic. 

“However, the company cannot and will not rush to a decision on future production location, nor negotiate a site plan in public,” it said in an email.

“We are eager to work in partnership with the union as we chart a sustainable long-term future for aircraft manufacturing. But that future relies on a concerted effort to transform the business to the circumstances we are facing.”

De Havilland said the union must agree to “a fair and reasonable” collective agreement that is fundamental to the company’s future investment in the aircraft.

Unifor is negotiating separately with Bombardier, with the two sides battling over a variety of items including wages and working conditions.

However, Dias said a strike would affect operations of both companies because of their shared driveway, entrance and exit.

“The bottom line is, if we have a strike with either of the two, the entire facilities are down,” he said, adding that there’s a lot of solidarity among members because many worked side-by-side for 25 to 30 years.

Unifor negotiated a contract with Bombardier in 2018 that expired in June. They committed not to sell the Dash 8 program and then did just that.

“So the mess we’re in now by and large they created. So if they end up being caught in the crossfire, well then too bad for them. They created a mess in the first place.” Dias said.

Bombardier said talks are progressing “constructively” after both sides agreed to a brief pause but the company declined to comment on “hypothetical scenarios.”

“Bombardier negotiations with Downsview employees have a history of positive outcomes – we’ve concluded agreements for nearly two decades,’ it said in a statement. 

“Right now, Bombardier is focused on reaching an equitable agreement that helps preserve jobs and positions Bombardier and Unifor members for success as the business aviation industry rebounds.”

Workers in Toronto have built Dash-series aircraft since 1946, including the Dash 8 series for more than 30 years. 

The federal and Quebec governments recently announced a $700-million injection into the aerospace industry, including nearly $70 million for aircraft engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney to develop the first sustainable hybrid-electric prototype propulsion system with various partners, including DHC and the Dash 8. 

Bombardier sold Downsview, a 148-hectare tract of land that used to be a military airport, to Canadian pension manager Public Sector Pension Investment Board in June 2018 for US$635 million or net proceeds of US$550 million after costs.

Unifor wants the federal and Ontario governments to press De Havilland to maintain jobs in the province especially after approval of severing the land in Downsview was approved on the premise that jobs would be protected, said Dias.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 25, 2021.

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Israel’s El Al Airlines Starts Flying to Morocco After Diplomatic Resolution Between the Two Countries



El Al Israel Airlines on Sunday launched nonstop flights to Marrakesh from Tel Aviv following a resumption of diplomatic ties last year between Morocco and Israel.

Flight 553 took off at 11:35 a.m. (0835 GMT) using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft for the six-hour journey.

Israel and Morocco agreed last December to resume diplomatic ties and relaunch direct flights — part of a deal brokered by the United States that also included Washington’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

“This route will help promote tourism, trade and economic cooperation between the two countries,” said Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov.

El Al, Israel’s flag carrier which was hit hard last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, said it will operate up to five flights a week to Morocco, switching to smaller Boeing 737 planes.

Morocco was home to one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities in North Africa and the Middle East for centuries until Israel’s founding in 1948. An estimated quarter of a million left Morocco for Israel from 1948-1964.

Today only about 3,000 Jews remain in Morocco, while hundreds of thousands of Israelis claim some Moroccan ancestry.

Moroccan officials describe their deal with Israel, including the opening of liaison offices, as a restoration of mid-level ties that Rabat cooled in 2000 in solidarity with Palestinians.

In March, Moroccan Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui said she expected 200,000 Israeli visitors in the first year following the resumption of direct flights. That compares with about 13 million yearly total foreign tourists before the pandemic.

Tourism revenue in Morocco fell by 53.8% to 36.3 billion dirhams ($3.8 billion) in 2020.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

This article was written by Steven Scheer from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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MyWings starts using a Trade Air Airbus A319



"Mother Teresa", operated by Trade Air

MyWings is a new airline based in Pristina, Kosovo.

The pictured Airbus A319 is operated by Trade Air. Flights are operated by Trade Air under the Trade Air C3 code.

The A319 was welcomed at Pristina (Prishtina) on July 22 (above).

Operations began on July 23 with 9A-BTJ.

Trade Air made this announcement:

Here is our new member of the Trade Air fleet, A319, registration 9A-BTJ, that we immediately engaged to fly to PRN from where it will operate under colors of MyWings for the rest of the summer. It’s proudly carrying the name “Nana Teresa” (“Mother Teresa”).

Previously the virtual airline used Air Mediterranean to operate its flights which began on June 28, 2020.

Top Copyright Photo: MyWings – Trade Air Airbus A319-112 9A-BTJ (msn 1808) BSL (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 954513.

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American Airlines set to operate two new routes from Miami



United States carrier, American Airlines has announced that it plans to fly to a further two Caribbean destinations from Miami International Airport (MIA) later this year. The airline stated that from December it will serve Anguilla and Dominica in the Caribbean from December 8th and December 11th respectively.

The newly announced routes are part of a major expansion plan by American Airlines to further cement its presence in Miami as it faces growing competition from low-cost rivals such as Spirit and Southwest, which are also looking to connect to destinations in the Caribbean.

In a company statement, the Vice President of hub operations at Miami, Juan Carlos Liscano said “We have been strategically growing our route network to give customers more choices to new destinations, better meeting the demand for travel to Miami, the Caribbean and Latin America.”

According to a preliminary flight schedule, American Airlines plans to serve both destinations twice weekly with AA3579 departing on its outbound leg from Miami to Dominica at 11:00 and arriving at 15:21. It will then return to Miami International Airport departing Dominica at 16:24 and is scheduled to arrive at 18:55

In terms of services to Anguilla, American Airlines flight AA3780 is scheduled to depart Miami at 10:50 and arrive at 14:49 in the afternoon. It will then depart Anguilla at 15:40 before landing at Miami International Airport at around 17:53.

According to American Airlines, the Caribean is “American’s largest international gateway,” the airline added that it was proud to continue to strengthen its presence at Miami International Airport (MIA). Earlier this month, American Airlines stated that it plans to launch six domestic destinations from Miami.

In addition to these six domestic services, the North American carrier also plans to connect Miami with a further two new international destinations. The carrier plans to commence flights to San Andrés, a Colombian island in the Caribbean Sea from December 1st, while flights to Chetumal (CTM) a city on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula from December 4th.

The carrier said it expects that both of these services will be operated by its short-haul Embraer E175 aircraft. American Airlines Embraer E175 can carry a total of 76 passengers and is currently arranged in a 3-class configuration with 12 seats in first class, 20 extra-legroom seats and 44 economy seats.

According to a number of media reports, American Airlines, in addition to a few other airlines in the United States, are frantically looking to hire pilots in addition to airline staff in an effort to meet the surge in travel demand fuelled by steady vaccination rates as the country eases out of the pandemic.

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