AirAsia Japan, the LCC being set up by All Nippon Airways and AirAsia, is now hiring 30 engineers. The carrier will perform its own line maintenance but has not decided what contracting arrangements it will make for heavy maintenance. AirAsia Japan CEO Kazuyuki Iwakata tells Aviation Week the carrier plans to have more than 30 aircraft by the end of 2016.

Ameco Beijing started offering modification capabilities for the nitrogen generation system modification on a Boeing 777. The modification will reduce the aircraft center fuel tank flammability by introducing nitrogen-enriched air to the lower oxygen concentration.

Ameco Beijing says it is targeting to get a 20-30% increase in efficiency within two or three years. Consistent with that, it expects to slowly increase its staffing level of about 6,000 over the next few years.

Evergreen Maintenance Center has expanded its certificate to include the Airbus A320 family. “With the new company's vision in place, EMC is focused on expanding our programs and services by 20% within the next 12 months,” says Hal Heule, CEO of Evergreen Maintenance Center.

Flybe is adding an airborne weather detection kit to its aircraft that also will provide the carrier's aircraft Iridium-based satellite voice and data connectivity. The Flybe effort is due to begin in May with 20 aircraft. AirDat is funding the sensor and connectivity upgrades to gather real-time data, and Flybe can use the equipment to provide enhanced passenger connectivity.

Haeco will provide cabin reconfiguration services for Virgin Atlantic's Gatwick-based fleet of Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The modifications will reconfigure the Boeing 747 fleet with upgraded passenger seating, a new inflight entertainment system with connectivity, new monuments, interior furnishing and décor enhancements. Haeco's workscope includes aircraft modification project management, material management, on-site coordination with cabin and inflight entertainment vendors, cabin reconfiguration and associated system testing. Northwest Aerospace Technologies will serve as engineer integrator and support the EASA STC certification.

JetFlite Intl. received FAA Part 145 repair station certification on Oct. 5, which will allow JetFlite to perform scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, repairs and alterations on many aircraft models within the JetFlite fleet.

Lufthansa Technik expanded a component support contract with Maximus Air for five years and added three more freighters to the agreement. Lufthansa Technik also will carry out line maintenance in Europe for the carrier's A300-600 freighters.

Malaysia Airlines' maintenance arm MAS Aerospace Engineering (MAE) has secured business from Virgin Australia and appears set to gain KLM as a Boeing 747-400 heavy maintenance customer. Virgin Australia signed a firm contract giving MAE heavy check work on 14 of the airline's 737-700/800s. These are aircraft that Virgin Australia is returning to lessors, says MAE CEO, Roslan Ismail. This contract runs until the end of 2012, he adds.

Star Alliance selected B/E Aerospace to provide new standardized seats for economy on long-haul flights. Three airlines—Lufthansa, Austrian and Air China—signed firm contracts, but more Star carriers are expected to follow. A total of 15,000 seats are to be installed mid-year. Star Alliance carriers have 700,000-800,000 seats installed on their aircraft. According to Star Alliance, all seat manufacturers except Koito participated in the competition.

StandardAero received third-party certification for its environmental management system.

Monarch Airlines selected STG Aerospace's SaftGlo photoluminescent floorpath marking system for at least 30 aircraft, including Airbus A300/321 and A330s.

Turkish Airlines signed a C check maintenance agreement with Yakutia Airlines covering one Boeing 737-800. The two companies also signed a service agreement that covers painting a 737-800 tail.

Virgin Australia consolidated all of its subsidiary carriers—Virgin Blue, V Australia and Pacific Blue—under the same brand, except for its Samoan joint venture, which it has renamed. New deliveries will arrive with the Virgin Australia livery and the existing fleet will be repainted over time. About 20 aircraft display the new livery so far, a Virgin Australia spokeswoman tells Aviation Week. By the beginning of 2012, 25 aircraft will have the new livery. Virgin Australia also is rolling out a redesigned cabin. New economy- and business-class cabins will be installed on 56 of its 737s by Jan. 18.

Engines

CFM International says that production of its CFM56 engines is likely to reach around 1,600 turbofans a year in 2014, bolstered by near-record order intake so far this year. The company had a 8,415 turbofan backlog for CFM56 and Leap engines through October. The company reports that its revenue from spares linked to CFM56s should double by 2020.

Chromalloy's San Antoinio, Texas repairs station has received an approved organization exposition certificate from the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau. The facility can provide turbine engine component repairs for Japanese airlines, including Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

FedEx Express selected the CF6-80C2 engine to power its order of 27 new Boeing 767-300 freighters. In addition, it signed a multi-year OnPoint solution agreement with GE that covers the engines' MRO.

GE signed multiple service agreements at the Dubai Airshow: Air China signed a 15-year OnPoint MRO agreement for its GEnx-2B engines, Cathay Pacific signed a 15-year OnPoint deal for its GE90-115Bs, Cargolux signed a 15-year contract for its GEnx-2Bs and Emirates inked a 12-year OnPoint deal for its GE90-115B engines.

Rolls-Royce signed a $350 million contract from Hawaiian Airlines to deliver Trent 700 engines to power five Airbus A330s. The order includes TotalCare long-term services for the aircraft, which will be delivered from 2013 to 2015. Rolls-Royce also signed a memorandum of understanding to provide Trent 700 engines to AviancaTaca for four A330s. The agreement includes TotalCare long-term engine services.

Avionics/IFE

Ameco Beijing has become the first MRO in the China civil aviation industry to install inflight WLAN on Air China's Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The airline is the first to offer this service in China. Ameco Beijing installed a server in the aircraft to enable more entertainment offerings for customers to browse via portable devices.

Inmarsat selected Aircell and OnAir to be distribution partners as it prepares to roll out its Global Xpress satellite service in mid-2013. Inmarsat is investing nearly $1.2 billion in its Inmarsat-5 satellite constellation, which will use three Ka-band satellites to provide Internet connections at speeds of up to 50 Mbps.

Monarch Airlines chose Goodrich's SmartDisplay electronic flight bags for its Airbus A300/320/321/330 aircraft. The carrier installed it on an A321 and conducted a two-month in-service demonstration. SmartDisplay EFBs will roll out across the airlines' remaining Airbus fleet with retrofits to be finished by the second quarter.

Scandinavian Airlines introduced its first Boeing 737-800 WiFi-enabled aircraft in December. By the summer, the operator plans to have 10 737-800s and in the future plans to offer it on all short-haul routes and intercontinental routes as well. The service will offer a shared connection of 12 Mbps, and the carrier will add text and voice capabilities this year.

Virgin Australia selected a WiFi-delivered inflight entertainment system that moves content from seat-back screens to passengers' own devices. The BoardConnect system, developed by Lufthansa Services, will be installed from mid-2012. The two companies signed a memorandum of intent covering production and installation. Virgin America is another customer of this system.

Parts/Components

AFI KLM E&M signed a five year non-exclusive contract for component services on Emirates' Boeing 777 and Airbus A330/A340 fleets.

A.J. Walter Aviation signed an agreement with XL Airways France for a five-year, power by the hour support offering for the operator's Boeing 737NG fleet. It is A.J. Walter's first power by the hour contract in the French aviation market.

Locatory.com signed a cooperation agreement with the Russian State Research Institute of Civil Aviation to work closely to ensure the authenticity of aviation parts within the Russian market. Locatory says that a successful implementation of the agreement will lead to it offering more services to customers in Eastern Europe, Russia and the CIS.

Oman Air has gained ISO 9001:2008 certification for its supply chain management operation under Bureau Veritas.

Lufthansa Technik expanded its cooperation with NAS-Holding of Saudi Arabia for component and engine services for the NAS fleet and support for the new technical subsidiary NAS-Tech. The MRO has also inked a non-exclusive, five year agreement for component maintenance on the Airbus A330/A340 and Boeing 777 fleets.

Sabena Technics and ULS Airlines Cargo signed a three-year agreement for component repair services on three Airbus A300-B4 and three A310-300 aircraft.

Taikoo Landing Gear Services Co., Haeco's landing gear overhaul facility, acquired a ship set of Boeing 777-200 landing gears. The gears will support the global market in an exchange or lease program.

Joint Ventures/Acquisitions

PATS Aircraft Systems reached a restructuring agreement with lenders that will give Wayzata Investment Partners, a private equity firm, ownership of a majority of the company's equity.

Quest Global Engineering acquired GKN Aerospace Engineering and entered into a long-term agreement with the company to provide engineering skills and resources to support GKN Aerospace's long-term growth strategy.

Facilities

A.J. Walter Aviation established AJW Capital Partners, in Hong Kong, to develop the group's financing capabilities by promoting spare parts leasing solutions and alternative investment structures.

Avia Solutions Group and its subsidiary FL Technics opened its first representative office in Kuala Lumpur at the end of 2011. The office will operate as a one stop shop and provide clients with line maintenance and engineering as well as engine management, landing gear overhaul, spare parts, leasing and training services.

IT

BCX Software, a start-up electronic data management firm, has developed a new electronic data sharing product to streamline and standardize processes for complying with FAA requirements for obtaining airworthiness certification. Its airworthiness management system (AMS) will allow applicants, certificate holders and regulatory authorities to do their jobs. BCX says that the system will reduce cycle time for the certification program by standardizing criteria for data management and presentation.