Tag Archives: Avgeek

Saab strengthens ties to Quebec and Canada through CRIAQ partnership

This collaborative relationship aims to leverage Quebec’s R&D ecosystem’s strengths to encourage the development of collaborative research projects between Saab and Canadian industry, as well as universities and research organizations.

This collaboration has been formed to support Saab’s future Industrial and Technological Benefit (ITB) commitments, if the Gripen fighter is selected for Canada’s Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP).

Flight test with the first Brazilian Gripen E fighter aircraft.

“The quality and breadth of aerospace research and innovation in Canada is globally recognised, with the Quebec region home to many excellent companies and institutions. Therefore, it was natural to reach this agreement with an important organisation like CRIAQ. We look forward to working together to benefit research and the fostering of talent in Quebec,” said Jonas Hjelm, Senior Vice President and Saab’s Head of business area Aeronautics.

“During such unsure times within the industry, this partnership demonstrates that the aerospace industry in Quebec and Canada remains attractive and world class. We are very pleased with this signing as we continue to develop our aerospace industry, adding a new global player to our ecosystem. I am convinced that CRIAQ’s academic, industrial and SME community, and the Quebec economy as well, will clearly benefit from this international collaboration,” said Alain Aubertin, CEO of CRIAQ.

Swedish Air force Gripen E

The ITB Policy is the government’s main tool for leveraging procurement to create jobs and economic growth in Canada. Saab has submitted an offer of 88 Gripen E fighters for the Canadian FFCP, and a core element of the Gripen industrial offering includes CAE in Montreal, Quebec who will supply training and mission systems solutions.

C-390 Millennium receives Aviation Week Grand Laureate in the Defense Segment

São Paulo, Brazil, October 19, 2020 – The Embraer C-390 Millennium multi-mission aircraft, manufactured by Embraer, today received the Grand Laureate in the Defense Segment and the Laureate Award for the “Best New Product” in Defense from Aviation Week Network. The citation for the award reads, “The first C-390 tanker/transport, the largest and most sophisticated aircraft yet developed by Embraer, was delivered to the Brazilian Air Force in 2019.”

“To receive an award with as much prestige as the Laureate is a very significant acknowledgement of the exceptional work of all Embraer employees. This is a substantial recognition of the merits of our engineers and the ability of our workforce to execute the development of such an advanced product with excellence,” said Francisco Gomes Neto, Embraer S.A. President and CEO. “Embraer’s new business strategy seeks to increase revenue and profitability, and the C-390 Millennium plays an important role in solidifying the Company as a serious entrant in a new market segment.”

“We are honored to receive this award, which recognizes the excellence of our programs and of this aircraft, which was developed to set new standards in its class, bringing exceptional performance complemented by the lowest life-cycle cost in the market,” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security. “The C-390 Millennium offers greater flexibility and value to operators performing air transport and air mobility missions, among others.”

The Aviation Week Laureates Awards recognize the extraordinary achievements and innovative personalities that represent the values and vision of the global aerospace community. Programs honored with Laureates Awards have changed the way people work and move around the world. Aviation Week continues to recognize the very best accomplishments in the four pillars of our industry: Defense, Commercial Aviation, Space, and Business Aviation.

In 2009, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) contracted Embraer to design, develop, and manufacture the C-390 Millennium aircraft as a replacement for its aging C-130 fleet. Deliveries to FAB started in September 2019. The C-390, which was recently ordered by the Portuguese Government, is a new generation multi-mission transport aircraft that offers unrivaled mobility, fast reconfiguration, high availability, and enhanced flight safety, all on a single, exclusive platform.

The aircraft can perform a variety of missions, such as cargo and troop transport, cargo and paratrooper airdrop, aerial refueling, search and rescue, aerial firefighting, medical evacuation, and humanitarian missions.

Flying faster and delivering more value, the Millennium is the right sized platform for major airlift deployment scenarios. Minimized intervals and on condition maintenance, combined with highly reliable systems and components, reduce downtime and costs, contributing to outstanding availability levels and low life cycle costs.

The C-390 benefits from a modern fly-by-wire flight control system with integrated technology that lowers the workload of the crew and increases the safety of its operation. Furthermore, the aircraft can refuel other aircraft in flight, with the installation of removable internal fuel tanks. The aircraft can also be refueled in flight, thus providing greater flexibility for longer missions. An advanced self-defense system increases the aircraft’s survival capability in hostile environments.

Equipped with two International Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines, the latest avionics, a rear ramp, and an advanced cargo handling system, the C-390 is capable of carrying up to 26 metric tons of cargo at a maximum speed of 470 knots (870 km/h), with ability to operate in austere environments, including unpaved or damaged runways. The aircraft can carry troops, pallets, armored wheeled vehicles, and helicopters.

Aero Engines V2500 turbofan engines

Scalable Agile Beam Radar (SABR) upgrades continue for US Guard, reserve and active-duty fighters

BALTIMORE – Oct. 15, 2020 – The U.S. Air Force has met Full Operational Capability (FOC) readiness for Northrop Grumman Corporation’s (NYSE: NOC) AN/APG-83 SABR active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar on Air National Guard F-16s to meet a U.S. Northern Command Joint Emergent Operational Need (JEON) for homeland defense.

On Sept. 7, the U.S. Air Force began installation of APG-83 radars on Air National Guard F-16s at Joe Foss Field, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the fourth U.S. Air Force base to receive AN/APG-83 SABR AESA radar upgrades.

Northrop Grumman’s AN/APG-83 radar being installed in an Air National Guard F-16 at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. (U.S. Air Force photo/released)

The radar upgrade of Air National Guard F-16s extends the operational viability and reliability of the fleet while providing pilots with 5th-generation fighter radar capabilities to defend our nation’s airspace.

“SABR enables F-16 pilots to detect, track, identify and target a greater number of threats faster and at longer ranges from outside the threat envelope,” said Mark Rossi, director, SABR programs, Northrop Grumman. “This upgrade will keep the multirole F-16 fighter relevant and capable for decades to come.”

The AN/APG-83 features all-weather, high-resolution synthetic aperture radar mapping to present the pilot with a large surface image for more precise target identification and strike compared to legacy systems. Its design incorporates proven hardware and advanced operating modes from Northrop Grumman’s fifth-generation F-35 and F-22 AESA radars. The high degree of commonality and shared manufacturing processes and infrastructure drives efficiencies and affordability improvements across all of Northrop Grumman’s AESA radar programs.

The AN/APG-83 AESA is now an official program of record for both the active and reserve U.S. Air Force as well as the Guard after the service procured units in February for Air Combat Command and Air Force Reserve F-16 aircraft.

An Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcon from Kelly Field, Texas

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defense and cyberspace to meet the ever evolving needs of our customers worldwide. Our 90,000 employees define possible every day using science, technology and engineering to create and deliver advanced systems, products and services.

Joe Ford joins Draken International as Chief Executive Officer

Las Vegas, NV – The Board of Directors of Draken International, LLC has elected Joseph “Joe”Ford as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Ford will also serve as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.


Ford previously served as President, DynAviation at DynCorp International. At DynAviation, Ford was responsible for all aspects of the segment’s profit and loss performance with functions including operations, supply chain management, finance, quality assurance, human resources, contracts and internal and external business development.


Ford will succeed Jared Isaacman who has served as Draken’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer since 2011. Isaacman will become the non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and will assist Ford through the transition.

Mirage F1B


“During a period of tremendous growth for our company and the commercial adversary air industry, there is no better person to lead Draken International,” stated Isaacman. “After serving
his country with distinction for 25 years and growing defense companies that support the U.S. military, Joe has the leadership, strategic vision and record of execution to fly Draken to new heights. His insight for how to apply modernization to our comprehensive fleet of fighters will prove beneficial and is exactly what Draken needs as the company enters its next
chapter of expanded growth.”


“I am beyond thrilled to join the Draken family,” stated Ford. “I understand the need to provide the U.S. military aviation community with the readiness it needs while making every taxpayer dollar go further. Draken is the best in the business and I am honored to have Jared and the Board’s support as we remain focused on supporting our nation’s military aviators every day.”
Before his career in the private sector, Ford had a distinguished military career, retiring from the U.S. Air Force as a Colonel in January of 2007 as the commander of the 401st Air Expeditionary Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy.

Other roles during his military career include commander of the
18th Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan and commander of the 35th Fighter Squadron at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. Mr. Ford is a combat veteran with four fighter deployments to
the Middle East. His aviation career includes over 4,000 hours in aircraft including the F-4C/D,A-7D, F- 117, F-16A/B/C/D, F-15C/D, HH-60, E-3 and KC-135R.

Aero L159s


“Draken is the kind of mission driven company with which we like to partner,” said Todd Hirsch, Senior Managing Director at Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and a member of the company’s board. “A decade ago, Draken was an idea – that commercial adversary air support
can improve readiness and reduce sustainment and training costs for the U.S. Armed Forces.


Today, Draken is the industry’s leading provider of military aviation readiness training,completing over 20,000 flight hours with a fleet of more than 100 mission capable aircraft.

Ex South African Air force 2 Squadron Cheetah C (375) recently took to the skies after 18 years on the ground 2 weeks ago at Denel Aeronautics base at OR Tambo International Airport,South Africa.This will also be one of Drakens assets!Picture by Casper van Zyl

Under Joe’s leadership, it will continue to set the standard in airborne adversary support, flight training, threat simulation, electronic warfare support, research, testing, as well as other missions
uniquely suited to their fleet of aircraft.” Hirsch continued: “On behalf of the rest of the board and all our employees, we thank Jared for

creating this industry leading firm and guiding it so well. We are grateful to continue to have him as a partner.”

Mirage F1M


The board also elected Bill “Sweet” Tart as Chief Operating Officer. Sweet joins Draken from DynAviation where he was Senior Vice President, Business Development. Prior to his private sector career, Sweet served in the United States Air Force for 25 years, retiring in 2014 as the Director of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Division at the Pentagon. He previously served as the commander of the 432nd Operations/Expeditionary Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada and the senior military assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs. Sweet is a Risner Trophy winner for outstanding performance at USAF Weapons
School.

Ex South African Air force Cheetah C serial (370) “Vlaggie” one of twelve Cheetahs that have been sold to Draken International from Denel Aeronautics.
Dassualt Mirage F1B, recently Draken got a handful of ex Mirage F1s from various air forces around the world that recently retired them for use.

Draken International is the world’s largest operator of ex-military aircraft. With over 100 tactical fighter aircraft incorporating modern 4th generation capabilities, the company is the partner of choice to support the growing global demand for commercial air services. Draken
employs world class, military trained fighter pilots including USAF Weapons School Instructors,Fighter Weapons School Graduates, TOP GUN Instructors, Air Liaison Officers, and FAC-A Instructors. In 2019, funds affiliated with Blackstone Tactical Opportunities completed a strategic investment into Draken International to facilitate the next phase of modernization and growth. 

Denel Cheetah C “375” flies again after 18 years!

October 9th 2020,after sitting on the ground for 18 years, Cheetah C “375” took to the skies again over OR Tambo international Airport in Kempton- Park this past week.

The aircraft was flown by Denel fixed wing test pilot Ivan “Viking” Pentz,who has a number of flying hours on both the Cheetah B,D,D2 and C models.He has also flown the Hawk MK120,Mirage F1,The AHRLAC and many more!

Denel Cheetah B “Bandit”

Extremely high quality restoration to flight work by Denel. After a few test flights, it’ll be boxed up and sent to Draken International in Florida as said by African Defence Review Darren Olivier.

DRAKEN INTERNATIONAL HAS CREATED A NEW STANDARD IN AVIATION SERVICE CAPABILITIES FOR ALL BRANCHES OF THE UNITED STATES MILITARY, DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE AND ALLIED MILITARIES GLOBALLY. WITH A FLEET OF 150 TACTICAL FIGHTER AIRCRAFT, DRAKEN OWNS AND OPERATES THE WORLD’S LARGEST COMMERCIAL FLEET OF TACTICAL EX-MILITARY AIRCRAFT.

DRAKEN SUPPORTS MILITARY TRAINING OBJECTIVES AROUND THE GLOBE, PROVIDING TREMENDOUS COST SAVINGS OVER THE USE OF TRADITIONAL MILITARY FIGHTER ASSETS. AS AN ORGANIZATION, WE ARE UNIQUELY POSITIONED TO ANSWER THE GROWING DEMAND FOR CONTRACT AIR SUPPORT.

The Atlas Cheetah was a South African fighter aircraft designed and produced by the aviation company Atlas Aircraft Corporation now known as Denel Aeronautics. It was developed at the behest of, and principally operated by, the South African Air Force until the aircraft were retired from SAAF service to be replaced by the SAAB Gripen in 2008.

Pictures by Casper van Zyl

Aero Club Celebrates a Centenary of Recreational Flight

By Rob Jonkers

There is a sense of achievement on reaching a Century, on all manner of occasions it calls for a celebration, subject for congratulations on the significance and justifiable pride, the past century of the existence of the Aero Club of South Africa has been integral in seeing the growth in Recreational Aviation, the collective of the various disciplines
that make up flying for fun, that have allowed the freedom of development in the achievement of products, ideas, adventures, competitions that are existential of this magical world that is recreational flight.

This journey has been long, sometimes tedious and difficult but the persistence and passion of our members across the century has made it possible for the Aero Club to be the success it is today. One of the many great benefits and joys of living since the 20th Century is that we have had the immeasurable privilege to be able to fly, as since the dawn of mankind we have aspired to the ease and freedom of flight that only birds could enjoy, and from those early 20th Century years mankind learned to fly!

On the 10 th October 2020, after many months after postponement since C-19 made us all go into hiding, the Aero Club’s official Centenary Balloon Launch took place at Bill Harrop’s Balloon Safaris in the Magalies Valley. The weather outlook also looked great, and the launch event was a go sent out by the organisers just after 5 am. The wind started picking up somewhat, and first off the ground were the three commercial balloons that occurred at 6am, thereafter the Aero Club Balloon which was rebuilt in Aero Club Centenary colours (carrying the registration ZS- HOI as the ex Capital Radio balloon) was unfurled and prepared for a tethered inflation and launch.

Chairman of BAFSA Richard Bovell who was also this Centenary event organiser was the first pilot supported by student pilot Sema Mathebula, got the balloon off the ground in somewhat gusty conditions, the wind at that stage would not have been favourable to actually fly. Hanke Fourie took over from Richard for a second tethered stint, giving a good photographic opportunity for the guests in attendance.

After the balloon landed and was furled up again, the guests were treated to a scrumptious breakfast, as only one can experience as an early morning African sunrise breakfast in the bush. As MC for the event Richard Bovell gave a short speech on a brief history of sport ballooning in South Africa, thanked the guests for their attendance, and handed over the very first Aero Club Centenary Yearbook which is hot off the presses to the Doyen of Ballooning in South Africa Terry Adams, who since his arrival in SA in 1976 established the mainstay of balloon manufacturing
and pilot training in SA.

Thereafter Rob Jonkers as the Chair of the Aero Club thanked BAFSA and their team of hosting this one of a kind event, and the only event marking the Aero Club’s Centenary that will take place in 2020. A ceremonial Centenary cake cutting was then carried out by the Aero Club’s Executive Committee, Rob Jonkers (Chairman), Marthinus Potgieter (Vice-Chairman), John Gaillard (Hon Treasurer) and Hanke Fourie (Exco Member).

Although the year 2020 will go down in history as a great disrupter and has essentially rained on our Centenary parade, we will be looking at recovering much of the planned events in 2021 as time and resources will allow to bring justice to our 100 year heritage, especially poignant is to hold a 100 aircraft of all types flypast ( 101 also looks like a good number…) and an all Recreational Aviation Airweek as was initially planned for this year at Middelburg.

The Centenary coffee table book, which is now available for sale (details on the Aero Club website), is a compendium of each of our flying disciplines, historic and contemporary with numerous personalities with some
remarkable stories in recreational flying as a celebration for this signature Centenary Year.

Bell aircraft used to safeguard food and agriculture amid historic locust infestation

In the last 12 months, food security has been under serious threat from devastating swarms of locusts, destroying crops from East Africa to the Arabian Gulf. With experts warning of a “rolling emergency” 1 that could endanger harvests across the regions for the rest of the year, governments and international organizations face a herculean challenge in controlling the infestations. Aircraft from Bell, the U.S.-based helicopter manufacturer, have been playing a key role in the joint efforts to fight this ancient plague.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), desert locusts – whose destructive infestations cause major crop damage – are a species of grasshopper that live largely solitary lives until a combination of conditions promotes breeding and leads them to form massive swarms.

The region’s current crisis began in October 2019 as swarms formed along the Red Sea coastal plains in Yemen Saudi Arabia, Eritrea and Sudan, spreading eastwards across the Arabian peninsula and further south in Africa in the following months.

By January, Kenya, one of the countries hardest hit by the crisis, was already experiencing its worst outbreak of desert locusts in 70 years. To target this problem, authorities contracted South African helicopter operator BAC Helicopters, who had recently purchased three Bell 206L-4 helicopters, to carry out the Emergency Desert Locust Survey and Control operation in an effected part of Kenya.

The helicopters were tasked with surveying vast areas throughout the Marsabit and Turkana counties in Northern Kenya, locating and mapping the locust swarms which were threatening food security through the region. The 206L-4’s were each equipped with specialized Agricultural
Survey Equipment, an FDC Barrier Filter and Satellite Tracking System. Essential data gathered by the survey helicopters was then transferred to both fixed wing and helicopter spraying aircraft, allowing them to accurately target specific areas where the locust swarms were present.

Sameer Rehman, Managing Director of Africa and the Middle East, Bell, commented: “With a number of countries in eastern Africa and some parts of the Middle East at ongoing risk, the FAO has estimated that a locust control plan would cost $76 million to secure agriculture in the
affected region. Bell understands the need to protect the food source of these regions and we’re pleased our products can be essential tools in the collective mission to eradicate the problem.

“When it comes to food security, the stakes are very high so the reliability and capability of every tool used in the fight against locust swarms is paramount. The Bell 206, and newer light aircraft like the Bell 505 have shown time and again that they can be trusted to operate in high
temperatures and with heavy payloads, providing a capable defense wherever the swarms may be present.”

Bell 505

In most years, desert locust swarms tend to die out during dry season. However, with unusually high rainfall in 2020 in certain regions, the exponential growth in the populations has not abated,
creating the specter of further swarms over the coming months.
The FAO states that countries most affected by the locust situation are Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia in Africa as well as Yemen, Saudi Arabia and parts of the UAE and Oman in the Middle East.

Retirement Of SAAF Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang

On Wednesday 30 September,members of the South African Air force and members of the media got to witness a series of beautiful flypasts from a number of aircraft of squadrons based across South Africa.A fitting tribute and thank you to the former Chief of the South African Air force!

Lieutenant General Fabian Zimpande (Zakes) Msimang integrated into the South African National Defence Force in 1994 after the first Democratic Elections as a qualified helicopter pilot.He received his flying training at Frunze 1 Central Officers Training Center – Kirghistan, in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics between 1986 to 1991.

He graduated from the institution with a diploma in Command and Tactics of Military Aviation.During Msimang’s Career he has flown the Mi8, Mi25 ,Alouette III and Oryx Helicopters.He also completed a factory conversion onto the Agusta A109E Helicopter at Agusta/Westland now known at Leonardo in Italy.

Mil Mi8
MIL MI25
Alouette III
Agusta A109LUH

He was a member of the Umkhonto We Sizwe (MK),the military wing of the African National Congress.He engaged in combat in Angola in 1986.In 1994,he completed the Air force Junior Staff Course in Zimbabwe before returning to the South African National Defence Force.Post 1994,he served as an operational pilot in both maritime and inland operations.

In 2000,Msimang was appointed the assistant project officer on the acquisition programme of the Agusta A109LUH in Italy.He went onto successfully complete the Senior Staff Course at the Italian Air force War School.On his return in 2003 from Italy,he was appointed the Officer Commanding of 87 Helicopter Flying School at Air force Base Bloemspruit. The Following year he successfully completed the Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme at the South African National War College.

First South African Air force Agusta A109 In Italy
Oryx Helicopter

In 2005,he was appointed officer commander of Air force Base Bloemspruit and promoted to the rank of Colonel.In 2006,he completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College.In 2007,Msimang,after a two and half year tour as OC at Air force Base Bloemspruit,he was appointed Director Helicopter Systems and Promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at Air Command.

Eldorado Park Aviation Expo 2017 with Gripen display Pilot Major Geoffrey “Spartan” Cooper

In November 2010,he was appointed Chief Director Air Policy and Plans and then promoted to the rank of Major General,responsible for Air force Strategy,policies,capabilities and resource allocation.On 28 September 2012 he was accepted command as the Chief of the South African Air force from Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano.

Bell APT 70 Successfully Completes NASA’s Systems Integration and

Fort Worth, Texas (1 October, 2020) – Bell Textron Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today the successful flight of the Bell Autonomous Pod Transport (APT) 70 as part of a joint
flight demonstration with NASA. Bell was selected to participate in NASA’s Systems Integration and Operationalization (SIO) activity in 2018, which includes multiple flight demonstrations focusing on
different types of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and their flight environments.


The objective of Bell’s SIO demonstration was to execute a Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) mission in an urban environment transitioning into and out of Class B airspace representing future commercial
flights. Mission results will be used to evaluate and demonstrate Detect and Avoid (DAA) and Command and Control (C2) technologies for use in future certified operations in controlled and uncontrolled
airspace. Data collected during the demonstration will be used to support future standards development and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification guidelines.


“This successful demonstration highlights the great potential for the APT 70 to complete complex
missions for businesses and healthcare providers,” said Michael Thacker, executive vice president,
Innovation and Commercial Business. “With teammates like NASA, we can carve a path forward for future commercial operations to solve the cargo and goods transportation challenges our world currently faces.”
Launching from Bell’s Floyd Carlson field in Fort Worth, TX, the APT 70 flew a preprogrammed 10-mile circuit path along the Trinity River. Once armed from the ground control station, the APT 70 initiated a
vertical takeoff.

The vehicle then rotated to fly on its wings where it became nearly silent to the ground below. The vehicle executed its mission profile at an altitude of 500 feet above ground level. The route
included a road crossing and transition in and out of Class B airspace. Communication between the ground station and the aircraft was maintained through a redundant datalink. A prototype airborne detect
and avoid system, along with visual observers, provided the remote pilot with awareness of air traffic in
the vicinity and recommended flight maneuvers.

NASA is excited to partner with Bell to help accelerate routine UAS operations into the national airspace
with this successful flight demo,” said Mauricio Rivas, UAS integration in the NAS project manager at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. “Our efforts with Bell and our other SIO industry partners will
help commercial UAS move closer towards certification to make missions like this transport flight a
common event.”

Bell’s technology partners for the demonstration include Xwing and the University of Massachusetts
Amherst’s Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA). Integrated onto the APT
70 is Xwing’s airborne, multi-sensing detect and avoid system. Xwing’s system comprises of radars, ADS- B, visual system and onboard processing to provide aircraft tracks and pilot alerts transmitted to the
ground station. The APT 70 also includes CASA’s intuitive, integrated display to provide pilots with local weather risk awareness and route-based weather alerts issued by their City Warn Hazard Notification
System deployed in the DFW metroplex.


It is envisioned that in the future, an operational APT 70 could provide efficient, rapid and dependable transport for payloads up to 70lbs. The APT 70 is estimated to move three times as fast as ground transportation. The vehicle is capable of autonomous flight, automatically flying a programmed flight route and handling an array of contingency functions. Potential uses for the APT 70 include medical deliveries,
third-party logistics, offshore delivery, humanitarian relief and many more.

South African Airways Technical reaches an agreement with its customers and reinstates Aircraft Maintenance Services

Johannesburg, 04 October 2020. South African Airways Technical (SAAT) has reached an agreement with its customers and has begun to reinstate aircraft maintenance services to some of its customers. This development follows a decision taken by SAAT to suspend maintenance services to four of its airline customers in September 2020 due to outstanding payments on services already rendered.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with at least two of our customers and will continue to have discussions with two others as we seek to find a resolution and settlement on these matters,” said SAAT CEO, Adam Voss.

SAAT is one of the leading Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) entities in Africa and offers an array of services (that include base and line maintenance) to its customers to ensure that they operate in a safe and legally compliant manner. In addition, preservation maintenance is offered for the protection of the aircraft that is not operating.

“The decision we took to suspend services to our customers was not taken lightly. We had to protect our commercial interests which extend to the wellbeing of our employees who were adversely impacted by the cashflow challenges we experienced, resulting in payment of 25% of their salaries for the month of September,” explained Voss.

SAAT apologized to all its employees for the inconvenience and is in discussions with its labour unions to arrange for the payment of balance of salaries for the month of September.

South African Airways (SAA) is one of the airlines that was impacted by the suspension of the aircraft maintenance service. The airline has made a payment to SAAT and the suspension of services was lifted on Wednesday. SAA charter flights planned to operate this week were consequently not impacted by last week’s suspension.

Another customer, Mango Airlines, has reached an agreement with SAAT making it possible to lift the suspension on Mango Airlines to commence work on their fleet as of Friday. The aircraft affected returned to service on Saturday, 3 October, to transport passengers.

“We all appreciate that the aviation landscape has changed drastically due to the impact of Covid-19 outbreak globally. We know that many of our customers were not able to trade and generate much needed revenue to pay for services rendered. As part of recovery strategy and a way forward, we agreed with these customers that SAAT will receive upfront payment for services that must be rendered,” Voss concluded.

Discussions are ongoing with all affected customers to find solutions on how to address the legacy issues that resulted in the suspension of the maintenance services.

As an MRO, SAAT is satisfied with progress made and is committed to working with all its customers and partners as the industry seeks to rebuild itself and to adapt to the new norms brought about by the coronavirus.

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