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Vietjet To Finance Fleet Expansion With Foreign Investment

Vietjet To Finance Fleet Expansion With Foreign Investment

Vietnamese budget carrier, Vietjet, has signed two agreements worth a total of US$1.2 billion with Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Company Limited (MUL) and BNP Paribas in order to fund its fleet expansion plans which includes the acquisition of up to five brand new aircrafts, costing a total of US$614 million.

The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and also included the signing of a memorandum of understanding worth US$625 million between Vietjet and Natixis, a French banking group, as well as several Japanese equity underwriters.

These deals have been made under a financial plan whereby Vietjet would claim future ownership of the aircrafts and the acquisition of the new aircrafts, which includes the A321neo aircraft, are also acknowledged as part of a contract signed earlier between Vietjet and Airbus.

Currently, Vietjet operates 60, A320, A321 aircrafts and operates more than 385 flights daily, carrying more than 65 million passengers across 101 routes to destinations such as Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Cambodia.

Moving forward, Vietjet has announced plans to develop three new routes linking Vietnam with Japan in the coming three months which would facilitate the growth of tourism and trade between the two countries and across the region. The new routes include Osaka-Hanoi, Osaka-Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo-Hanoi.


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Surface Finishing Of Components For The Aerospace Sector

Surface Finishing Of Components For The Aerospace Sector

Manufacturers can rely on a mass finishing system that is capable of completely eliminating manual operations and cutting processing times for finishing of blisks from several days to a few hours.  Contributed by Walther Trowal

A condition monitoring vibratory system can help manufacturers ensure efficient surface finishing of high value work pieces like blisks for airplane and land based turbines. A reliable system allows the work pieces to receive a uniform, homogeneous high quality finish with repeatable results.

The surface finish of blisks—blade integrated disks—in aircraft and other turbines affects to a large extent the airflow characteristics and thus, the overall efficiency, fuel consumption and noise emissions.

To date, the surface finishing of blisks have been done manually with grinding disks and other manually operated tools. Due to the “human factor”, the quality of the final finish could greatly vary between work pieces. And it could even happen that certain surface areas were not finished at all.

For the consistent and high quality finishing of circular high value components, Walther Trowal has redesigned the rotary vibrator condition monitoring system in close cooperation with leading turbine manufacturers to make it more suitable for treating all kinds of turbine components. The system allows deburring and general surface improvement of components with diameters of up to 980 mm.

Single work pieces are mounted to the inner dome of the processing bowl. The height of the inner dome itself has been drastically shortened. After grinding media has been filled into the bowl, a vibratory motor causes the complete work bowl to vibrate. This causes a constant “rubbing” of the media against the fixed work piece. Since the “rubbing” action is highly homogeneous, a uniform, even finish on all surface areas of the disk and blades is achieved.

After completion of the process the surface roughness readings amount to Ra = 0.2 to 0.4 µm.

Starting with an initial surface roughness of Ra = 4 to 5 µm, the desired finishing results are achieved within approximately five to six hours. Compared to this innovative method the manual finishing of blisks can take several days.

Christoph Cruse, sales manager at Walther Trowal, explained: “Especially for the production of turbine components, any manual manufacturing operations must be viewed with great skepticism, because the quality of the work will vary greatly. With our new finishing machine we have completely eliminated the vagaries of the human factor. And we can reduce the finishing times for blisks from several days to just a few hours.”

Could The Autonomous Plane Tech Race Change The Aviation Industry?

Could The Autonomous Plane Tech Race Change The Aviation Industry?

Worldwide: Plane manufacturers including Airbus and Boeing are aiming to develop artificial intelligence that could one day mean teaching computers to fly planes autonomously.

Currently, commercial flights commonly have at least two pilots in the cockpit—a common practice for several decades. As such, completely autonomous planes might be some time away.

Chief technology officer of Airbus Paul Eremenko has said that the company is developing autonomous aircraft and technologies that will allow a single pilot to operate commercial jetliners.

“The more disruptive approach is to say maybe we can reduce the crew needs for our future aircraft. We are pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen have also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation,” said Mr Eremenko in a recent interview with Bloomberg Television.

In addition to autonomous aviation technology being in its preliminary stages, there is also currently no aircraft certified for a single pilot or pilotless flight. Passengers (or their insurers or carriers) might also prove hesitant to accept such technology.

The company is also exploring technologies that will bring more automation to the cockpit of planes that could help resolve the shortage of pilots. This is especially important in emerging markets such as China, which is on track to become the world’s biggest aviation market in less than a decade. Mr Eremenko added that discussions are being held with Chinese companies such as Baidu to find ways to apply self-driving vehicles to the aviation industry.

With an estimated 637,000 pilots needed to fly commercial aircraft globally in the next two decades according to Boeing, Mr Eremenko said that the industry needs to find ways to produce more cockpit crew as only 200,000 pilots have been trained since the start of the aviation industry.

The aerospace industry is seeing a similar trend as the car market, where automakers are investing in or acquiring autonomous driving companies. The venture arm of aircraft manufacturer Boeing, HorizonX, recently acquired Near Earth Autonomy and Aurora Flight Sciences, which specialise in self-driving vehicle technology and autonomous aircraft systems respectively.

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