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EASA proposes first EU-wide regulation on ground handling

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency published the first ever proposal to regulate ground handling across European Union airports, to increase the safety, cybersecurity and consistency of all the actions that happen on the ground before and after a flight. This Opinion proposes a regulation that will affect approximately 300’000 workers in the ground handling industry. Ground handling in the EASA definition includes aircraft loading and unloading with cargo, mail and baggage; passenger boarding and disembarkation; de-icing and anti-icing; refuelling; and securing the aircraft on the ground during turnaround, pushback and towing.

The Opinion proposes an efficient approach on the oversight of ground handling organisations by competent authorities. This is expected to avoid multiple verifications of the same activities and organisational aspects and gradually reduce the significant number of audits performed mostly by aircraft operators. “Today, a large ground handling organisation operating at 100 stations may be subject to over 600 audits from external stakeholders in a year, entailing almost 5000 hours of work,” EASA Acting Executive Director Luc Tytgat said. “In future, air operators will be able to rely on the results of oversight performed only once by the competent authority and reduce their own audits only to the necessary additional aspects.” The ground handling Regulation is expected to be published in late 2024 or early 2025. The Opinion proposes a transition period of three years for implementation after the publication of the Regulation.


Pilatus to take over RUAG Aerostructures

From the second quarter of 2024, Pilatus will gradually take over RUAG Aerostructures Schweiz AG’s entire workforce of around 230 employees, as well as all its machinery. RUAG Aerostructures Schweiz AG has produced parts and components for Pilatus Aircraft Ltd since the early 90s, including fuselages for the PC-21 and horizontal stabilizers for the PC-12. The acquisition of both employees and machinery will allow Pilatus to increase its own production capacity and add new competencies. Pilatus will rent a spacious facility from RUAG Real Estate AG at the new site at Emmen airfield. Future operations will be directed exclusively to making parts and components required for aircraft production in Stans. For a limited period, Pilatus will continue to take orders from external customers previously served by RUAG Aerostructures Schweiz.


A $100 million settlement for parents of man killed in helicopter crash

A helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon went tragically wrong in February 2018. An Airbus EC130 B4 spun out of control before crashing and bursting into flames. Five British nationals aboard were killed. The National Transportation Safety Board released its report on the Papillon accident two years ago. Its investigation put the probable cause as a loss of tail rotor effectiveness, the pilot’s subsequent loss of control, and collision with terrain during an approach to land in gusting, tailwind conditions. The lawsuit had accused Airbus Helicopters of failing to equip the aircraft with a crash-resistant fuel system (CRFS), leading its fuel tank to burst into flames. A judge in Las Vegas recently has approved a $100 million dollar payout to the parents of one of the victims. The settlement stipulates that Airbus Helicopters pay $75.4 million and Papillon $25.4 million.

CRFSs have been required by US federal law in all newly manufactured helicopters since 1994, but the lawsuit claimed that Airbus Helicopters took advantage of a regulatory loophole to avoid the safety requirement. Papillon adds that the company installed crash resistant fuel cells in its airframes in the months following the accident.


People: New Jet Aviation President: Jeremie Caillet

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

David Paddock, President Jet Aviation will be leaving the organization at the end of March to assume the role of President General Dynamics Land Systems in Michigan, USA. Jeremie Caillet will take over as President of Jet Aviation effective April 1, 2024. He will also continue to lead Jet Aviation’s EMEA operations for the foreseeable future, with responsibilities for the region’s Completions, MRO, FBO, Aircraft Management and Charter businesses, and the Middle East Joint Ventures.

Caillet has over 15 years’ experience in the aerospace industry. He joined Jet Aviation in 2008 and has held a number of roles within engineering, key account management, project management, operations and most recently, as vice president VIP completions. Caillet’s career began at Dassault Falcon Jet in the US. An engineer by training, Caillet holds a master’s degree in engineering from the Ecole Supérieure des Techniques Aéronautiques et de Construction Automobile in Paris and an Master of science degree in aircraft design from Linköping University in Sweden.

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