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Business


SriLankan Engineering gets contract to dismantle Airbus A320

SriLankan Engineering achieved yet another milstone in its quest to become an aircraft maintenance organisation of choice in the region, when it was contracted to dismantle an entire Airbus A320 aircraft that is being taken apart by its owner, at end of lease with SriLankan.

The project for AAR Corporation, a company based in the United States that owns and leases aircraft to airlines around the world, is the first aircraft dismantling programme undertaken by SriLankan Engineering.

The project involves separating all of the thousands of usable parts and systems on the aircraft, packing them, and shipping them to the owning company. The work was carried out over just six weeks. The parts will be used as spares for other aircraft.
Acting Head of SriLankan Engineering, D.A.G. Jayasuriya said: “In the past such a project would have been carried out in the United States or elsewhere. But AAR Corporation awarded the contract to SriLankan Engineering, since we now have the expertise and our rates are very competitive.”

The aircraft was one which SriLankan Airlines had leased over the last five years, and retired recently during its re-fleeting programme. Sri Lanka’s National Carrier is currently replacing its older aircraft with more modern ones, the first having arrived last November, with the second expected in March.

“This dismantling programme has also given our engineering staff some invaluable exposure, and we hope to take on more such dismantling projects soon,” said Jayasuriya.

SriLankan Engineering, which holds the prestigious EASA 145 certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), is taking on a growing number of projects for airlines and other members of the global air transport industry. Its training wing SriLankan Technical Training holds the EASA 147 certification to provide training in aircraft maintenance to foreign and local students.

SriLankan possesses a modern hangar facility and engineering workshops at Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport, and its services have been contracted for major aircraft maintenance projects by other airlines such as Emirates, Airblue, and IndiGo. These projects take place simultaneously with SriLankan Engineering’s day to day maintenance work on SriLankan’s Airlines’ own fleet.

The efficiency of SriLankan Engineering also played a major role in SriLankan Airlines being awarded two prestigious titles by Airbus Industry for operational excellence among all small airlines that operate the 4-engined A340 and twin-engined A330 aircraft.

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Emirates clocks 100,000th in-flight mobile phone calls

Keeping people connected, Emirates in-flight mobile telephone service has clocked up its 100,000th user this week, confirming a dramatic increase in calls this year. A total of 31 Emirates passenger aircraft are now installed with the AeroMobile service, the largest of any commercial airline.

The milestone was passed when a Singaporean passenger made a call from 36,000 feet during Emirates flight EK404 from Dubai to Singapore.

Thousands of passengers on 31 AeroMobile-equipped Emirates aircraft depart daily from Dubai to destinations across its global network. Over 350 Emirates short and long-haul flights operate weekly with AeroMobile covering services to 49 countries.

The AeroMobile in-flight system allows passengers the choice of safely using their own mobile phones to make and receive phone calls and text messages from Emirates aircraft, with charges in line with international roaming rates. The fast-growing popularity of the service sees typically more than 30 per cent of passengers on each flight taking advantage of the award-winning system.
With the first 50,000 users in the first nine months since the system’s launch, the second 50,000 have been clocked up in less than two months.

Emirates’ Vice President, Passenger Communications and Visual Services, Patrick Brannelly said: “The AeroMobile facility is growing in popularity day by day. The feedback has been excellent, and our passengers are clearly using the system to stay in touch, as we saw with big increases in the number of calls and SMS messages over special occasions such as the New Year period. We even saw a surge at the time of the result of the US Presidential election.

“For many of our passengers, making a call on their own mobile phone during a flight, has become as natural as watching their in-flight TV screens, which offer a choice of up to 1200 channels of entertainment.”
The AeroMobile service can only be used at cruise altitude, and allows passengers to send and receive text messages and make and receive calls, just as they do when roaming abroad.

Following a successful launch with Emirates in March 2008 – a world first – AeroMobile-equipped aircraft have seen over 370,000 flight hours of operation. Emirates Engineering are now rapidly rolling the system out across the remainder of the Airbus and Boeing fleets. AeroMobile is presently operating on Emirates A340, A330 and B777 aircraft.

AeroMobile Chief Executive Bjorn-Taale Sandberg said: “As the service availability has broadened, the number of users has shot up from 10,000 a month at the end of 2008 to 25,000 a month so far this year – and it’s rising rapidly as each day goes by.
“The sharp increase is not due only to the wider availability as our system is rolled out across the Emirates fleet, but the acceptance from passengers of what a valuable and stable service it is.”

Usage data from actual flights shows that at peak times, in excess of 100 passengers are switching on their mobile phones during a flight.
Later this year, the AeroMobile system on Emirates aircraft will be upgraded to offer GPRS services. This will enable passengers to send and receive e-mails via devices such as Blackberrys and laptops with GPRS data cards.

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Top Chinese aircraft maker launches global recruitment drive

China’s leading state aircraft maker Thursday launched its first global recruitment drive, offering jobs in fields such as military product development to both Chinese and foreigners.

“This is the first time for an enterprise in the military industry of China to recruit senior executives from home and abroad,” the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) said in a statement.

Jobs on offer are 13 Vice President-level positions in 12 subsidiary companies, including AVIC Defence, which makes fighters and missiles, and AVIC Aircraft Corporation Limited, a transport and passenger aircraft producer.
Gao Jianshe, an Executive Vice President of AVIC, which makes civil and military aircraft, told reporters that the vacancies were open to Chinese and foreign nationals.

Asked whether foreign employees would be given access to the research and development of military products, Gao said AVIC “would hire those it trusts and not hire those it doesn’t.”
He added that the company aimed to “change from the conservative ways of thinking of the past to adopting an open and cooperative concept, so as to actively merge into the world aviation industrial chain”.

“This is a big step forward for the company’s international expansion,” Gao said.
Gao said the global recruitment was also expected to facilitate the development of large homegrown aircraft, a major ambition for China’s aerospace industry.

China has said it aims to build large aircraft such as passenger jets with more than 150 seats, fanning expectations that it could eventually compete against Boeing and Airbus.

AVIC, created from a merger of two Chinese plane makers in November, now holds total assets of 320 billion yuan (47 billion dollars). Revenue last year reached 166 billion yuan, according to a company statement.
It said previously that it hoped to have a sales growth of 22.3 percent a year and achieve and annual sales of one trillion yuan by 2017. (AFP)

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