This Week in Air Transport (W/C Nov. 27)
Dominating this week’s top air transport stories include Boeing’s type inspection authorization for the 737-10 and an order for 60 more Airbus A320 family aircraft by SMBC Aviation Capital.
Boeing has been granted long-awaited type inspection authorization (TIA) for the 737-10, clearing the way for formal FAA certification flight testing to begin and marking a major milestone in the company’s progress since the 737 MAX returned from a global grounding.
In other regulatory news, the FAA said it does not plan to issue a draft rule codifying new requirements for manufacturers to disclose safety-critical information during certification programs until 2024, which is later than originally planned. The new rule is one of several notable regulatory changes prompted by ACSAA and the 737 MAX probes.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) certified the Embraer E190-E2 and E195-E2, clearing the way for delivery of Singapore Airlines subsidiary Scoot’s first E190-E2 in March 2024.
Malaysia’s stock market regulator has removed AirAsia X from list of companies deemed to be in shaky financial condition, a move supported by the carrier’s latest profitable quarter.
In aircraft news, Dublin-based lessor SMBC Aviation Capital ordered a further 60 Airbus A320 family aircraft, taking its total for the type to nearly 340.
Malaysia Airlines received the first of its leased Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from Air Lease Corp., after recently expressing frustration at delivery delays. The aircraft is scheduled to enter commercial service Nov. 20 on a domestic route from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu, located on Borneo.
In airline news, Finnair completed a share offering, which CEO Topi Manner previously described as “very important” for the airline’s long-term strategy, raising approximately €570.4 million ($623 million) in gross proceeds.
United Airlines has joined Star Alliance’s intermodal partnership with German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) and its transatlantic joint venture partner Lufthansa. Starting Nov. 22, under the new cooperation, United passengers departing by train from 25 German cities and Basel, Switzerland, to Frankfurt airport can use the DB railway system to connect to their U.S. transatlantic flights.
Melbourne, Australia-based LCC Jetstar Airways is making Perth its latest base to boost its international network. To support its planned growth in Perth, Jetstar will open a pilot base for at least 60 pilots. The airline will also base four aircraft there, including Airbus A321LRs.
China Eastern Airlines added a new nonstop connection between mainland China and Egypt, with flights between Shanghai and Cairo. The new service marks the SkyTeam alliance member’s return to the African continent after an absence of more than 15 years.
Brunei startup Gallop Air is looking forward to operational integration with Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA) as it awaits attaining its air operator’s certificate (AOC) as well as type certification for the COMAC ARJ21 and C919 from the Bruneian Department of Civil Aviation.
In sustainability news, Boeing, FAA, and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) plan to introducing an initiative that seeks to accelerate the adoption of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries. The announcement was made on the sidelines of the APEC summit held Nov. 11-17 in San Francisco. APEC countries include Australia, Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.
Plans by Airbus UpNext—the aircraft maker’s technology innovation arm—to research the impact of hydrogen on contrail formation under its Blue Condor project have taken a major step forward with the start of flight tests of a modified glider powered by a hydrogen-fueled turbojet.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has partnered with hydrogen-electric propulsion startups H2Fly, Universal Hydrogen and ZeroAvia to explore the retrofit of its regional aircraft fleet with zero-emission powertrains.
In advanced air mobility news, Archer Aviation signed an agreement to deliver up to 100 Midnight air taxis to Dubai-based heliport operator Air Chateau, part of its effort to launch service in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) beginning in 2026.