Northrop Grumman starts satellite facility expansion in Arizona, US

Aerospace engineering company Northrop Grumman started the expansion work on its existing satellite engineering and manufacturing facility in Arizona, US.

As part of the project, the facility will be expanded with 100,000ft² of additional space.

A new 120,000ft² two-storey administrative and engineering building will also be constructed.

New Zealand and Wisk to conduct autonomous air taxi trials

The New Zealand Government and urban air mobility (UAM) company Wisk signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to conduct an air taxi trial in Canterbury.

As part of the agreement, the passenger transport trial will use Cora, Wisk’s self-flying, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) air taxi aircraft.

The move is part of the government’s Airspace Integration Trial programme announced in October 2019.

US carrier United Airlines purchases flight training academy

US airline operator United Airlines agreed to buy a flight training academy in Arizona, US, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of Westwind School of Aeronautics in Phoenix will make the company the only major US carrier to own and operate a flight academy.

The United Aviate Academy is an expansion of the company’s Aviate programme and aims to recruit and train aspiring aviators.

UK company OneWeb launches 34 satellites on board Soyuz vehicle

Communication company OneWeb launched 34 satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan.

OneWeb 34 satellites were on board the Soyuz launch vehicle.

The satellites were launched from the rocket in nine batches. Signal acquisition was confirmed on all 34 satellites within hours.

Pratt & Whitney GTF engine to power Korean Air’s A321neo aircraft

South Korea’s national flag carrier Korean Air selected Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engine to power its 50 Airbus A321neo aircraft.

The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2021.

Since entering operations in 2016, the GTF engine showed reduced fuel burn and nitrogen oxide emissions by 16% and 50% respectively compared with the regulatory standard. Noise emission is also reduced by 75%.

Collins Aerospace signs 787 maintenance agreement with JAL

Aerospace and defence sector technology supplier Collins Aerospace Systems entered an agreement to provide maintenance services for Japan Airlines’ (JAL) Boeing 787 aircraft.

Under the five-year contract, Collins Aerospace will offer its flight management solution FlightSense to the carrier’s 787.

Valued at approximately $200m, the deal includes air management and an electric power components service.

Delta to invest $1bn over ten years to become carbon neutral

US carrier Delta Air Lines pledged to invest $1bn over the next ten years to become carbon neutral.

The commitment is the airline’s efforts to fight emissions across its operations and advance sustainability, starting in March.

Delta will fund research and projects involving clean air technologies, as well as carbon emissions and waste reduction.

JAXA selects Mitsubishi Electric for MMX space probe

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) selected electrical manufacturing company Mitsubishi Electric for the Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) space probe.

The mission was previously in the pre-project phase and became a part of JAXA project, following officially authorisation by the Japanese Government.

According to the contract, Mitsubishi Electric will design, manufacture and operate the MMX system.

UK DfT safety review finds recreational GA performance ‘acceptable’ 

A new review by the UK Department for Transport (DfT) found that the current safety performance of recreational General Aviation (GA) in the country is ’acceptable’.

Commissioned and funded by the DfT, the independent assessment was conducted to measure the existing risk level to private pilots, their passengers and third parties.

The review was initiated in July 2019 and follows DfT’s commitment to improving aviation safety set out in ‘Aviation 2050: The Future of Aviation’ green paper.

Air New Zealand unveils lie-flat sleep pods for economy class

Flag carrier Air New Zealand enhanced economy class travelling with the introduction of lie-flat sleep pods.

Known as Economy Skynest, the six full-length lie-flat sleep pod prototypes follow three years of research and development by the carrier.

The airline also took into account feedback from more than 200 customers at its Hangar 22 innovation centre in Auckland.