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StandardAero acquires Western Jet Aviation

StandardAero announced last week that it has acquired Western Jet Aviation, an independently owned business jet maintenance company that specializes in Gulfstream aircraft, located at the Van Nuys, California airport – one of the busiest business aviation airports in the world, with an additional facility located at the Miami-Opa Locka, Florida Executive Airport.

Western Jet Aviation represents StandardAero’s 12th acquisition since 2015 and the company comprises a footprint of over 120,000 square feet of hangar, shop and office space on ten acres along with a team of nearly 100 aviation professionals. This marks the first acquisition by StandardAero that focuses on airframe/non-engine work in recent history. Like StandardAero, Western Jet Aviation is FAA and EASA certified and OEM licensed with capabilities to provide modifications and upgrades for its customers. Western Jet Aviation’s founder, Jim Hansen has led the company for over 20 years and commented, “After nearly 50 years in aviation, it was time for me to pass the reins. We have accomplished so much at Western Jet, but it was also time to find the right partner to help Western Jet go to the next level.”


Leonardo AW09 switches to Safran power

Leonardo Helicopters has picked French engine manufacturer Safran to supply the power unit for its next generation Kopter AW09 single-engine helicopter. Up until now, AW09 prototypes have flown with the Honeywell HTS900 engine. The production aircraft will feature the 1,000 shp class of power Arriel 2K engine, the newest generation of the Arriel family. The Arriel is one of Safran’s best sellers with over 15'000 engines in operation. It powers a variety of helicopters, including the Airbus Helicopters AStar family and Leonardo AW109. "The selection of the new engine guarantees the most efficient level of industrialization, global supply and supportability for customers", Leonardo and Safran said in a joint statement. The new propulsion system is already installed on the latest AW09 prototype, which is about to start flight test activities at Kopter’s facility in Mollis. PS5, the next and final prototype is planned to follow later in 2023. The AW09 will continue to be developed by Kopter in Switzerland with the contribution of joint Leonardo-Kopter teams. Kopter is set to become a Centre of Competence for new light helicopters and an incubator of new technologies for vertical flight. As such, it will contribute to the development of new hybrid and electrical propulsion systems and will play an important role in the framework of Leonardo’s Be Tomorrow 2030 strategic plan.


Qatar Airways and Airbus reach amicable settlement in legal dispute

Qatar Airways will drop its legal case, currently running in the High Court in London, alleging faults on its Airbus A350 fleet. In a short statement on 1 February the airframer and the airline said: "Qatar Airways and Airbus are pleased to have reached an amicable and mutually agreeable settlement in relation to their legal dispute over A350 surface degradation and the grounding of A350 aircraft. A repair project is now underway and both parties look forward to getting these aircraft safely back in the air. The details of the settlement are confidential and the parties will now proceed to discontinue their legal claims."

This is good news for both sides. Airbus had cancelled outstanding Qatar Airways orders for A350 aircraft and an order for 50 Airbus A321neo aircraft, which Qatar Airways was forced to replace with an order for 50 Boeing 737 MAX. It appears that the A350 order will be reinstated and, more surprisingly, the A321neo order too. The statement suggests that these will soon be back in the air, in a huge capacity boost to the airline.


People: CEO André Ebach strengthens Aero-Dienst management

Victor CEOs Toby Edwards (left) and James Farley (right)

German business aviation company Aero-Dienst has announced that as of December 1, 2022, André Ebach has joined the management team as CEO alongside Viktor Peters. Since embarking on his professional career in 2006, André Ebach has held various management positions in aviation, including business aviation. Together with his team, he spent the past five years steadily expanding Aero-Dienst’s maintenance division in his role as the company’s authorized signatory, Head of Maintenance and Member of the Executive Board. A new maintenance site was opened in Oberpfaffenhofen in addition to the expansions of the Klagenfurt and Graz locations, as well as the Landsberg component shop.

After graduating with a degree in aerospace engineering, Mr. Ebach began his career with Lufthansa Technik, where he provided support to customers in the US, Australia and selected European regions as Key Account Manager and Customer Support Engineer. During this time, he continued his studies alongside his professional tasks, graduating in 2011 as a Bachelor of Business Administration with a special focus on company management and sales & marketing.

In 2012, Mr. Ebach joined RUAG Aviation, starting in the role of Manager Sales & Customer Support. He made several career steps from then until 2015, after which he was entrusted with leadership of the entire business jet division with over 130 employees at the Oberpfaffenhofen location. He held this position until he began working with Aero-Dienst.

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