Yesterday (Wednesday 6th) NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen asked Congress to build on the CARES Act in calling for continued, targeted relief for the nation’s general aviation (GA) industry, including business aviation, in written testimony submitted before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
“Since early March, general aviation operations have declined more than 70 percent, resulting in severe economic consequences for a wide variety of businesses, from aircraft operators to airports and aviation manufacturers,” reads the testimony submitted for the hearing, “The State of the Aviation Industry: Examining the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic,” convened May 6th by committee chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Among the relief measures requested by NBAA include expanding the temporary suspension of certain air transportation excise taxes to include non-commercial GA fuel taxes. Bolen explained that measure will serve, “as a catalyst to help small general aviation businesses recover once the immediate crisis begins to recede,” with the resulting boost in traffic bolstering the nation’s GA airports and a variety of small businesses including flight schools and fixed based operators.
“Your efforts to provide near and mid-term relief for air carriers and small businesses under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) injected much-needed funds into general aviation businesses,” Bolen continued. “Still, we believe additional assistance will be necessary. The uncertainty as to the longer-term prospects for aviation requires us to think creatively.”
By Kathryn B. Creedy.
We have been hearing about the death of newspapers and journalism for decades, most recently in The Guardian.
Instead of the end of the industry, however, we have witnessed changes wrought by online content which has resulted in the layoffs of many talented writers.
But, given the tons of “ink” devoted to the impact of Russian interference on democratic elections around the world and the coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic on society, trusted journalism has never seemed more important.
This may be a good sign, but all is not well in aviation journalism in the time of Coronavirus. It has pivoted from the loss of ads and pages which has meant salary cuts, loss of jobs and work for freelancers. Worryingly writers and sales representatives are being furloughed. Indeed, mirroring the industry, consolidation in the aviation press has resulted in a few big players.
“The question is,” suggests Rob Mark, a professional pilot, publisher of Jetwhine.com and creator of the 21st Century Aerospace Writers, “if you don’t work for one of the established aviation publications do you really have a career?”
Operated by the North Slope Borough Search and Rescue Department (SAR) in the northernmost region of the United States, the PC-24 provides basic medical care for 9,800 residents across a territory of 95,000 square miles (246,000 square kilometres).
Outfitted with tandem LifePort AeroSled stretchers and five passenger seats, it is the fourth PC-24 to be delivered in a medevac configuration.
The town of Barrow, Alaska, also known as Utqiagvik, is located at 71 degrees north latitude. The average temperature in mid-January is -14 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 degrees Celsius) and the sun does not rise completely above the horizon until early February. This region, with its exceptionally harsh conditions, will be the new home for the Super Versatile Jet.
By Jane Stanbury
As IBAC calls on ICAO to adjust the CORSIA emissions baseline (it has requested only 2019 figures, versus the average annual level of emissions between 2019 and 2020, are used for the offsetting component) - it is also adapting and modifying its own services to try and preserve an element of continuity for the global business aviation community.
From the outset IBAC has issued regular COVID-19 updates, and just recently became a member of CAPSCA (Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation). This enables the Council to push out periodic up-to-date information related to the pandemic from ICAO, the WHO, and other key stakeholders, to members of the business aviation sector.
Remote activity has become the new norm as the global organization embraces the opportunity provided by technology to fulfil its regular tasks. For example, it continues to produce Aircrew Cards and certificates of registrations for IS-BAH and IS-BAO organizations remotely. A new enhanced IBAC website, planned before COVID-19, was launched in the midst of the pandemic and continues to be enhanced.
In March it introduced the IS-BAO and IS-BAH COVID-19 Remote Auditing options, and is also holding regular webinar style workshops.
By Neil Cloughley, Managing Director, Faradair.
Can you remember what you were doing on December 7th 2019? Maybe not, but I would wager most of you were considering the excitement of a new decade in 2020, a fresh start.
A global pandemic that has crippled industries across the world in less than six months was probably not high on the betting slip as to what 2020 would actually bring.
But here we are and for sure, aviation will be very different for the next two years at least. The world has now realised that the joy of a globally connected air transport system has also created the perfect transmission network for a virus and that within six months, infected nearly every country on Earth.
What has also been violently showcased is the fragility of the aerospace market. Unlike tech markets that can plough hundreds of millions into ventures that make losses continually, in aerospace with fixed physical assets, there comes a time when a bill has to be paid, or you go bust. We have seen the challenges for airlines before the Wuhan Virus struck, with many going bankrupt and now we see even the largest airlines being given bailouts simply to survive.
Those who have saved for the rainy day are now doing all they can to ride the storm, those who fail to secure bailouts and those who hedged their fuel costs with no conception of $20 a barrel, are feeling the pain. Even the OEM’s have finally been forced to cut back production levels, already questionable before this crisis, due to some quality failures in the public domain. In the aviation sector we live in ‘cycles’, both those on our assets and the markets we operate in. This has just been the end of one of the longest cycles in aerospace history.
Dan Gilbert is founder and MD of Design Incorporated, a UK-based creative, digital and marketing agency.
For over 20 years the company has specialised in the aerospace and aviation sectors, providing branding, advertising, website and exhibition solutions to international clients ranging from OEM’s to SME’s and start-ups.
What are you advising clients who would be preparing to launch products at EBACE.
Typically, we’d have started discussing activity a couple of months ago - so just as the pandemic took hold. We’re suggesting to clients that they use this time to plan for, and be ready to execute a strategy that blends online comms, advertising, and media activity to maximise interest in a new product or service. Currently, client audiences are ‘captive’ and are more likely to be receptive to the right messaging. We’re advising clients to explore the diverse set of tools that can be implemented to effectively distribute messaging in our locked-down world. Webinars, press articles, advertising, website videos, social content – all can all be targeted or sponsored.
This requires optimising the changing platforms offered by industry publishers, as well as a need for careful management to ensure the narrative is consistent, mindful and coordinated. In this new norm, activity won’t be so ‘event led.’ Now is a good time to become familiar with the options.
What is the lead time usually for big campaigns or websites? Should people use this lock down time to think about NBAA for example?
A. Lead times will always depend on the depth and breadth of the campaign. For example, simple modernisation of a website, could typically take just 2-3 months, whereas the launch of a brand new website could be a deeper process involving market research and analysis, message identification, and content creation, supported by communications and advertising activity. For that we’d say allow from five months upwards. So, there is time to start planning for NBAA, but start today!
NBAA welcomes FAA’s COVID-19 Relief on GA Pilot Medicals
The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has welcomed Federal Aviation Administration approval on regulatory changes to pilot medical certifications, training proficiency and a host of other pressing requirements for business aviation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
NBAA has continually advocated for the accommodations to address the dramatically changing circumstances presented by the COVID-19 crisis. Many business aviation pilots and operators are facing expiration of training and proficiency requirements, medical certifications and more, with no safe or practical means of renewing those certifications, in light of stay-at-home orders prohibiting nonessential activities and social-distancing guidance.
The FAA addressed NBAA’s requests for extensions or exemptions on pilot training and medicals, and a number of other matters, in a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). The SFAR serves as a direct, final rule providing relief for a number of regulatory requirements, including certain flight reviews, crew requirements, and provisions addressing large aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems, among others.
NBAA will provide details about the SFAR’s implementation date and other aspects of the relief package. Additionally, the association plans an upcoming NBAA News Hour webinar to go through the SFAR’s particulars.
WINGX Global Market Tracker:
Global business aviation activity was down by 68% for the period April 1st through May 5th according to WINGX`s weekly Global Market Tracker published today.
The key North American and European markets are respectively declining by 69% and 70% respectively, compared to the same dates in 2019. Asia is doing slightly better at 67% below normal, with flight activity out of South America 64% down. Flights to, from and within the Oceania region have recovered to 48% of normal activity.
Alasdair Whyte, co-founder of Corporate Jet Investor.
Alasdair Whyte is co-founder of Corporate Jet Investor, the information and events business for the global business jet market he launched with his wife Louisa.
Alasdair started writing about aviation in 1998 and edited and published six other magazines, including Airfinance Journal, before launching CJI. More than 50,000 people read Corporate Jet Investor online every month and 10,000 receive the email newsletter.
CJI, recognised with a Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2019, organises conferences, events and training courses in London, Singapore, Dubai, Geneva and Miami. Corporate Jet Investor London is its flagship event, attracting upwards of 600 people from more than 35 countries. He is also responsible for content for Helicopter Investor and Revolution.Aero - which organises aviation technology conferences in San Francisco and London. Since March CJI has been organising free virtual Town Halls every Wednesday at 3pm UK time.
Since the lock down your Town Hall online gatherings have been the 'go to' place to keep the business aviation community connected. What have been the stand-out hopes and fears from your various guests?
The Town Halls have been really motivating. It is amazing having more than 600 people online watching. It is really nice when people log in and say: “Hello from Sydney,” “Greetings from Opa-Locka,” “Hi from Berlin,” and so on. This is a unique period in history and people have always come together during crises. It is how humans evolved.
Esprit Digital UK launches Government-approved temperature scanner for bizav market.
While many commercial airports remain closed, FBOs around the world are continuing to serve their customers, and safety is the utmost priority.
To protect personnel and essential travellers against the virus, FBOs are implementing various measures. These include the two-meter rule, use of PPE, distributing hand sanitiser and spreading passengers more evenly across terminals.
Since countries have begun to see a slow reduction in the number of COVID-19 cases, policymakers have started looking at how businesses might operate after gradual ease of restrictions, including in travelling.
This week, an NHS app aimed at limiting the second wave of coronavirus will be trialled on the Isle of Wight. According to the UK transport secretary Grant Shapps, this is the first place the new solution will be adopted before being rolled out more widely later this month.
Smart imaging is also amongst the technologies on the list. InstaScan, a product powered by Esprit Digital UK and as of the 4th of May approved by the UK Government, measures the temperature of users in a matter of seconds.
Evacuates suspected coronavirus patient from Isle of Arran.
By Paul Eden.
At 01:00 hours on 22 April, a Royal Air Force Aviation Task Force COVID Support Force Puma helicopter launched from Kinloss Barracks in Moray, Scotland, on the detachment’s first live mission, to evacuate a suspected coronavirus patient to the mainland.
The British Army, Royal Navy and RAF have all contributed helicopters to the effort, basing them across the UK. The three-aircraft Kinloss unit is dedicated to supporting the NHS in Northern England and Scotland.
A Puma from the Kinloss detachment, training with NHS and HM Coastguard personnel on 17 April | Photo: SAC Sian Stephens/© UK MoD Crown Copyright 2020
In a little over three hours, the 22 April operation planned with an emergency medical care team from Glasgow, flew to the Isle of Arran, then transferred the patient to the University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock. Extensive training between NHS personnel and RAF crews ensured the success of a key mission when no other transport option was available.
By Emma Kelly.
Australia’s Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has received a funding boost from the Australian Federal Government to support rural and remote communities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A sum of A$11m (US$7m) has been pledged initially, with up to A$38m in essential services to be delivered to support remote communities affected by COVID-19. The funding is part of an A$52.8m aeromedical retrieval package, which in turn is part of the Australian Government’s A$2.4bn National Health Response Plan.
The funding will enable the RFDS to evacuate from regional and remote communities confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases; expand existing telemedicine services; deliver fly-in general practitioner respiratory clinics, including testing; and pre-position and replenish personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff.
By Alison Chambers, Resilient Aviation Editor.
Jetfly, the Pilatus PC-12/PC-24 fractional ownership company, has applauded its fractional owners for collectively donating 200 flying hours to support the transportation of front line medical professionals and equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result of their generosity, JetFly has teamed with Aviation Sans Frontières in France to focus on medical support flights in Europe aboard their Pilatus PC-12s.
“Having completed all our repatriation flights for clients by early April, we were faced with a lot of capacity and unable to fly our usual activity with borders closing. We contacted our co-owners and asked if they would be willing to donate some of their hours to move doctors, nurses and equipment including ventilators, protective masks, gloves, medical suits and gels. Very generously, their co-operation has enabled us to contribute 80 hours so far, flying mainly to intra France and Italy, free of charge,” said Jetfly UK Director Jonathan Clough.
While we look forward to the beginnings of recovery in our industry over the next few months, the long-term future of what’s likely to be a very different aviation ecosystem will be for a new generation of aviators and aviation professionals to decide.
Introducing the first in a series, Resilient Aviation talks with future aviators. Interview by Paul Eden.
Seventeen-year old Ellie Carter typifies the new generation of aviators. Part of the easyJet mentoring scheme primarily focused on encouraging girls into aviation, she also has a strong, inspirational social media presence, sharing her piloting adventures and the efforts she makes to achieve them, on Twitter.
“I wouldn’t say my hopes and expectations have changed as a result of the pandemic,” she says. “I’ve always kept my mind open when it comes to career options. I’d love to be a test pilot or an aerobatic pilot, but actually I just want to fly.” Right now, that’s not an option, but as soon as she can, Ellie plans to fly as much as possible. “I was due to start my aerobatic rating, so I’ll try to begin that as soon as I can. But I’m also studying for four A-levels and an extra certificate, and travelling a long way for school, so I still won’t be able to fly as regularly as I’d like.”
Engine Assurance Program (EAP) defers its minimum flight hours requirement to provide relief to operators affected by the COVID-19 crisis
Already known for having low hourly minimum usage requirements, EAP will now defer those hours until 2021 to help operators who may be flying less as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
EAP’s low 75-hour yearly minimum usage requirement is one of the significant benefits of its engine maintenance program. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, EAP has enhanced this benefit. EAP will waive minimums for 2020 if operators fly 150 hours by the end of 2021.
“If operators can’t reach 75 hours of flight time this year, they can roll the deficit into 2021 without penalty as long as they reach 150 hours of total flight time over the 2020 and 2021 calendar years,” said Sean Lynch, EAP program coordinator. “Our hearts go out to anyone who has been impacted by the virus, either directly or indirectly. Business is in flux, and we want to do our part to help things return to normal.”
EAP focuses specifically on older engine platforms and delivers high-end customer service and competitively priced engine coverage. Operators of Falcon 10, 20-5, 50, 900B/C; Hawker 700, 800A/XP, 850XP, 1000; Lear 31, 35, 55, 60/XR; Astra 1125/SP; Citation III, VI, VII; Gulfstream GIV/SP, or Challenger 601 1A/3A equipped with a TFE731-2, -3, -5, PW305 A/B, TAY 611-8, or CF34-3A/-3A1 engine can operate their aircraft more economically using EAP’s program.
By Chloe Wilson
Although the road to recovery for aviation remains long and tumultuous, the last couple of weeks have seen a trickle of growth in activity within the industry that is spurring on the hopes of passengers and stakeholders alike.
With countries starting to ease their lockdown restrictions, the Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air has resumed limited services from London Luton Airport in the UK to destinations including Lisbon in Portugal, Tenerife in Spain and Budapest in Hungary. It has also reopened its base in Timisoara, Romania.
As can be expected to be the norm going forward, customers are advised to check-in and make any additional purchases such as extra baggage online to reduce all non-essential interaction at the airport. Arrival at the airport up to four hours ahead of a flight and physical distancing before boarding are also advised.
Indeed, the passenger journey through the airport is likely to be a very different one in the post-pandemic world.
As airports prepare to resume commercial and general aviation operations, they will be required to demonstrate that proactive measures are in place to safeguard the health and wellbeing of employees and customers.
The European Business Aviation Association (EBAA) has welcomed the decision by the European Commission to extend the deadline for ADS-B compliance by six months for business aviation operators.
The European Commission (EC) announced it is extending the deadline for ADS-B equipage in new aircraft by six months, to 7 December 2020, citing the devastating impact of the COVID-19 crisis on aircraft operators.
"The outbreak of the pandemic of Covid-19 virus and the resulting impact on the aviation sector has led to unforeseeable obstacles for aircraft operators to pursue their activities to bring the aircraft in compliance [with the ADS-B mandate]," said the EC in its amended regulation.
EBAA also appreciates the additional flexibility offered by the European Commission with regards to the transition arrangements, as well as the exemption for aircraft that will stop operations before 31 October 2025. Indeed, the adapted regulation says that operators of aircraft made before 7 December 2020 will have until 7 June 2023, to comply with the ADS-B equipage mandate - if they have established a retrofit compliance program before the new 7 December deadline, and the operator has not received funds from the European Union to bring the aircraft to ADS-B compliance.
By Angus Batey
They say you shouldn't waste a crisis and it's a concept PrivateFly co-founder and CEO Adam Twidell is embracing personally and in his business life.
"Last Sunday I was in my attic, tidying that up, because that was a job I'd been putting off for six months," he says. "In business it's a bit like that as well. There are a number of things that we've all been living with because it's too difficult to change with all of the daily operations going on.
"Now companies can now utilise this time to change their software system, change their accountancy package, change their customer relationship management tools. You've got two or three months of real low sales with a team who need to be given tasks to do, so now is the time to do it."
PrivateFly, like everyone else, has seen its sales plummet. Despite their solid funding - the St. Albans-based, UK firm became part of Kenn Ricci's Directional Aviation stable two years ago - the company has had to approach the present crisis with both pragmatism and innovation.
By Emma Kelly
Australia’s largest independent regional airline Regional Express (Rex) has been given a lifeline, with a grant to provide services to regional and remote airports in the country under the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) programme.
In late March, Rex warned it would have to cease all regular public transport services throughout the country from April unless Federal and State Governments were willing to underwrite the airline’s losses.
The regional, which prior to COVID-19 operated a 60-strong fleet of Saab 340 turboprops on 1,500 weekly services to 59 destinations throughout the country, subsequently secured assistance from the state governments of Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to maintain minimum essential services in these states.
In late April, the airline’s immediate future was further secured with the signing of a grant agreement with the Federal Government providing assistance to operate services to most destinations on the airline’s network. Rex now has funding to operate two to three return services a week to all destinations on the airline’s network - 88 weekly return services in total. The RANS programme provides funding for up to six months.
By Jeremy Parkin
The airline industry is built on a number of assumptions, including the need for each aircraft to spend the maximum amount of time in the air generating turnover.
As a rule of thumb, most long-haul aircraft spend half their life in the air, while the figure for short-haul is around one third due to their increased number of landings. Those figures are lifetime figures and allow for maintenance down-time.
A global shutdown like the current pandemic creates a massive problem for airlines as they suddenly need to find somewhere to park airliners in large numbers. Airline maintenance bases fill up very quickly, and the past has seen similar challenges in the days following the 9/11 attacks in New York in 2001 and the Icelandic volcano cloud in 2010.
Airports which do have usable parking space are more often regional airports and not the high-use hubs like Heathrow and Gatwick. In some cases, shorter runways at regional airports present a challenge for long-haul aircraft. The challenge of how to park tens of airliners is not a simple one. Airline maintenance crews will need access to keep the systems ticking over on a regular basis, and you can't block up taxiways which are still required for the remaining active flights. Additionally, the parking needs to bear in mind the time when aircraft can start to be used again, and needs to minimise the challenges that time will also bring.
Across the UK, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Bristol, Norwich, Southend, Glasgow and Prestwick airports are all being heavily used as storage centres. British Airways has parked their Cityflyer-operated 24 Embraer E170 and E190 fleet at Norwich and Southend, and are using Cardiff for seven Boeing 777s and six 747s.
By Jane Stanbury
Satcom Direct (SD) always emphasizes the importance of educating its customers to ensure onboard connectivity systems and ground operations are optimised.
During global lockdown, its dedicated training team led by Jason Rigby, Director of Training, has recognised the opportunity to extend its educational offerings. New practical training content and materials, including webinars, online training videos and lectures delivered by subject matter experts from SD, as well as leading industry partners, are available for a wider global audience through the enhanced SD Learning Management System.
“We know that a significant number of aviation professionals are working from home, with more time on their hands and access to digital devices. This creates a perfect training environment and we want to encourage them to access our latest educational resources,” says Rigby. “We are hoping more people in business aviation take this opportunity to advance their business aviation connectivity knowledge. It’s a great opportunity to learn new skills and upgrade professional expertise,” he adds.
The SD webinar series has been introduced as a direct response to COVID-19.
Disinfecting aircraft cabins has become the primary focus of Up and Airway Aviation’s specialist aircraft valeting and cleaning business these past months. On 27th February it took its first booking for the service.
“We didn’t take COVID-19 seriously then, but wisely we took the decision to make a significant investment in equipment, machinery and PPE," said Managing Director and owner Stefan Murphy.
"We bought loads of masks, oversuits, goggles, disinfectant sprays etc - all the things you’d need to operate safely during the outbreak so we were actually very well prepared. Then the virus got very serious and mindful of our customers flying long haul we sourced Universal Precaution Kits.”
New date for Women in Aviation Middle East Chapter conference
In line with local and national advice relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic, Women in Aviation Middle East Chapter has announced a revised date for its annual conference.
The event will now take place on Wednesday 28th October 2020 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
More information is available at www.waiorg.me
By Alison Chambers, Editor.
Blue Islands continues to provide lifeline flights to and from the UK during the pandemic. The Channel Islands based ATR-42/72 operator is running three flights a week between Jersey and Southampton Airport, exclusively for medical and essential workers, plus those travelling for compassionate reasons.
Passengers seeking to travel must provide information about their journey in order to qualify for the £100 one way fares. Blue Islands has also run a series of Government-chartered flights carrying medical supplies and workers to the Island’s new Nightingale Hospital. It will be formally opened on 11 May, virtually by the Duke and Duchess of Wessex.
Blue Islands, which became a Flybe franchise airline in 2016, re-established independent operations under its own brand following Flybe’s closure earlier this year. Established routes include London City Airport to Jersey, plus Jersey & Guernsey to Southampton.
‘Right-sized aircraft’ to expand regionally
“The airline has the right sized aircraft and set-up to widen its footprint in regional markets when the time is right,” says Non Executive Director Paul Simmons. Paul recently joined the airline following senior roles at Flybe, easyJet, Malaysia Airlines and Cobalt Airways. It is interested in taking a base at Southampton Airport and has also bid for the London Heathrow to Guernsey PSO route. British Airways, embroiled in much larger issues, is currently selling LHR-NQY flights commencing 2 July.