Aerospace Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on commercial aerospace in Q3 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Fleet – 447 mentions

Delta adding new Airbus aircraft to its fleet, the entire fleet of Etihad Airways flying without passengers onboard and British Airways retiring its Boeing 747 fleet were some popularly discussed topics in Q3 2020. According to an article shared by Airline Geeks, an aviation industry news provider, US airline operator Delta is adding Airbus A220-300 to its narrow-body fleet. The new aircraft will commence operations in November and join its sister aircraft A220-100. It is expected to add more value to Delta’s operations in the long run as Covid-19 pandemic continues to make operation of larger aircraft unfeasible, the article highlighted.

Further, Airways Magazine, a commercial aviation news website, shared an article about Etihad Airways operating its Airbus A380 fleet without a single traveller onboard. Etihad’s A380 fleet, comprising ten aircraft, stopped commercial operations since Covid-19 outbreak in March. The airline started using the aircraft for training, maintenance and storage flights in June. It has not yet considered sending the A380 fleet into long-term storage, the article noted.

Fleet also trended in discussions shared by Simple Flying, an aviation news portal, on British Airways’ announcement to take its entire Boeing 747 aircraft fleet out of service prematurely owing to the ongoing pandemic. The Boeing fleet served the airline for 50 years and is being retired as a cost cutting measure, the article highlighted.

2. Aircraft – 419 mentions

Boeing and Airbus’ plans to cease production of their largest aircraft, Amazon owning its aircraft and the discontinuation of six Chinese aircraft by Nepal Airlines were some widely discussed topics during the quarter. Tom Pallini, an aviation reporter for Business Insider, shared an article about Airbus and Boeing deciding to discontinue their largest aircraft A3380 and 747 respectively. The aircraft manufacturers have taken the decision as the slump in demand for these aircraft accelerated due to the ongoing pandemic. While Airbus A380 was retired in June, Boeing 747 will be withdrawn from production in 2022, the article noted.

AeroTime News, a commercial and military aviation news portal, further, shared an article about Amazon purchasing a Boeing 767-300 aircraft. The Boeing jet is the first aircraft in the e-commerce giant’s fleet and is expected to be converted into a cargo freighter. Amazon is also considering further expansion of its fleet, the article highlighted.

Other discussions surrounding aircraft included withdrawal of six China-made aircraft from service by Nepal Airlines, according to an article shared by Airline Economics, an airline economics magazine and newsletter. The airline retired four Y12Es and two MA-60s owing to their high operational costs and below par performance. Nepal Airlines also regretted its decision to buy the aircraft as they were not conducive for the country’s topography, the article noted.

3. Aviation – 282 mentions

Russian aircraft being ready for first flight, Cessna SkyCourier aircraft completing its flight test and Cuba being the first destination of Canadian airline were some widely discussed topics in the third quarter. According to an article shared by Airliner World, a leading aviation magazine, Irkut MC-21-300, a Russian aircraft equipped with indigenous engines, is set for its first flight by year-end. The aircraft was manufactured as a competition to Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320Neo. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000G turbofan engine, it completed its test flight in 2017. The aircraft conducted 20 trial runs over a period of six weeks at speeds ranging between 10kts and 150kts, the article highlighted.

Further, Aviation International News, an aviation and aerospace news portal, shared an article about Textron Aviation, the aviation unit of Textron, testing a second Cessna SkyCourier 408 flight-test aircraft, P1. The test was conducted roughly seven days after the first prototype of the aircraft completed its flight test. The flight flew for 95 minutes at a height of 14,200ft and speed of 210kts. The aircraft will be predominantly used in propulsion, avionics and environmental testing, the article noted.

Another discussion surrounding aviation was shared by ch-aviation, an airline intelligence provider, about OWG, the leisure unit of Canadian charter airline, signing its first contract with a travel company. OWG announced that it will start operations from November and its first flight will be to Cuba. The company is collaborating with different package holiday providers and will deploy Boeing 737-400 aircraft to different destinations, the article highlighted.

4. Cargo – 184 mentions

Air New Zealand dropping its cargo freighter plan, Qatar Airways performing cargo operations during the Covid-19 crisis and Emirates’ cargo flights connecting to 100 destinations were popularly discussed in Q3. Speed Bird, a commercial aviation news portal, shared an article about Air New Zealand doing away with its plan of converting its flights into cargo freighters. The company originally planned to transform their aircraft into cargo carriers but cancelled it due to lack of demand. Air New Zealand was also adversely affected by the ongoing pandemic and is estimated to incur losses amounting to $120m for the current financial year, the article highlighted.

Further, We Are Aviation, a news portal on commercial air travel industry, shared a video about Qatar Airways contributing to the Covid-19 crisis relief by transporting a million kilos of air cargo for free. The airline is transporting the relief material to destinations across the world on behalf of charities, the video mentioned.

Cargo was also discussed in an article shared by AVIATOR, a commercial airline news provider, about Emirates SkyCargo, a Dubai-based cargo airline, expanding its cargo connectivity to 100 destinations in six continents. The airline decided to go ahead with the expansion plan as the demand for air cargo volume is increasing. The cargo flights will operate more frequently to meet the demand for food and medical supplies during the ongoing pandemic, the article noted.

5. Sustainability – 95 mentions

Delivery of Avfuel’s first sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) shipment, Air BP supplying SAF to Airbus aircraft and commercialisation of SAF in India were widely discussed during the third quarter. According to an article shared by Aviation International News, Avfuel, an aviation fuel provider, supplied its first SAF shipment to agri-tech company Corteva Agriscience’s corporate flight department. AvFuel sold a wholesale shipment comprising blended SAF-jet-A to Corteva, which is the company’s first such delivery, the article highlighted.

Further, Airline Economics, shared an article about Air BP, a global aviation fuel products supplier, signing an agreement with Airbus for supplying SAF for delivery flights at the latter’s hangar at Hamburg Airport. Air BP also created a supply route, storage and transport facilities at the German airport to support Airbus flights in using SAF. The first aircraft from the facility to run on Air BP’s SAF are two Air Transat A321LR, the article noted.

Another discussion related to sustainability was shared by PLANEtalking, an aviation industry news site, about Gevo, a renewable chemicals firm, and Praj Industries, a project engineering company, signing a deal on commercialisation of SAF. The two companies agreed to collaborate on the supply of SAF and gasoline in India for use in the commercial aviation and defence industries, the article highlighted.