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EASA publishes Annual Safety Review 2024

The 2024 Annual Safety Review (ASR) of the EASA is now online. The 2024 Edition looks at the safety performance of the European aviation system in 2023. This year, there is a new chapter specifically looking at unmanned aircraft system (UAS) / drone safety performance.

In 2023, traffic reached 95 % of 2019, pre-COVID levels. A total of 2.3 billion passengers were welcomed by Europe’s airports in 2023. Passenger traffic across the European airport network increased by 19 % compared with the previous year. At a global level, over recent years, there have been around 10 fatal accidents annually (between 2020-2022); in 2023 this dropped to two fatal accidents. From these two accidents, there were 77 fatalities, marking a decrease compared to 2022. It is the second-lowest fatality count in the decade, close to the record-lowest number set in 2017 (66 fatalities). In 2023, there were 7.3 million safe flights in Europe with no fatal accidents, involving a European operator both for complex and non-complex aeroplanes.


Boeing and Airbus to take on Spirit AeroSystems’ operations

Boeing agreed to buy back Spirit AeroSystems for $4.7 billion in stock and Airbus moved to take on the supplier's loss-making Europe-focused activities. The near-two-decade independence of the world's largest standalone aerostructures company ended in a carve-up between its largest customers after the latest Boeing 737 MAX crisis. "By reintegrating Spirit, we can fully align our commercial production systems, including our Safety and Quality Management Systems," said Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun.

Airbus and Spirit have also entered into a binding term sheet in relation to a potential acquisition of major activities related to Airbus, notably the production of A350 fuselage sections in the U.S. and France; of the A220’s wings and mid-fuselage in Northern Ireland and Morocco; as well as of the A220 pylons in the U.S. Airbus said it would receive $559 million in compensation from Spirit, depending on the final outlines of the deal, while it would pay the supplier a symbolic $1 for the assets.   


EASA updates guidance on navigation system outages and alterations

The EASA has updated the Safety Information Bulletin (SIB) on ‘‘Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Outages and Alterations Leading to Communication / Navigation / Surveillance Degradation’’. The second revision of this SIB was published to warn operators about interference with navigation systems caused by spoofing and jamming of signals, particularly close to conflict zones. ‘Jamming’ blocks a signal, whereas ‘spoofing’ sends false information to the receiver on board the aircraft. Awareness of these potential issues allows pilots to use other forms of navigation aids if they encounter issues and thereby mitigate the risks.

This publication (SIB 2022-02R3) is the third update and reflects the latest analysis and recent phenomena, such as cases of pilots having reacted to false terrain awareness and warning system pull-up (TAWS PU) warnings, resulting in high-rate uncoordinated climbs. SIB 2022-02R3 also makes it clear that spoofing is riskier for air operations than jamming. Spoofing is harder to detect and may affect multiple systems, leading to a cumulative effect if several systems are affected. The SIB updates the recommendations to the various actors accordingly.


People: Sascha Hardegger appointed new CEO of Dufour Aerospace

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

Dufour Aerospace, the Swiss drone and eVTOL company, last week announced the appointment of Sascha Hardegger as CEO, effective August 1, 2024. Hardegger succeeds Thomas Pfammatter, a co-founder of the company who led it as CEO for seven successful years. Pfammatter will continue to serve as Head of Strategy, and as a member of the Board of Directors. 

Mr. Hardegger previously served as Dufour’s Chief Commercial Officer, joining the company in 2021. He has 12 years of experience in Helicopter Emergency Medical Services, and Search and Rescue at Swiss Air-Rescue Rega. There, as a member of management and Head of Helicopter Operations, he led Rega's innovations in unmanned aerial vehicles and its drone program. Educated at the University of Zurich, Mr. Hardegger has worked as a journalist, as a media spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police, and on peace-keeping missions abroad for the military. Educated at the University of Zurich, he has worked as a journalist, as a media spokesperson for the Swiss federal department of justice and police and on peace-keeping missions abroad for the military. He is an aviation enthusiast with time spent flying planes, gliders, paragliders, RC-models, and drones.

Dufour Aerospace develops efficient and sustainable aircraft for cargo transportation, logistics and public safety. It uses distributed electric propulsion and a hybrid module to meet today's Advanced Air Mobility and medium-sized drone market requirements. The company was incorporated in 2017 and has its headquarters in Visp, Switzerland, with a design office and flight testing facilities in Dübendorf, Switzerland. Currently, Dufour Aerospace employs more than 50 employees.

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