Airbus picks suppliers for eVTOL rear structure
June 24, 2022
Airbus has selected two German companies, KLK Motorsport and Modell- & Formenbau Blasius Gerg, to design and manufacture the rear structure of its in-development electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. Lightweight design specialist KLK Motorsport and Blasius Gerg, a model and mouldings manufacturer, will work together to develop an ultra-lightweight rear fuselage, the European airframer says. Both suppliers are based in Hohenthann, southeast of Munich, and previously co-operated on projects. Airbus notes the two companies provided a high-visibility carbonfibre canopy for the airframer's high-speed helicopter demonstrator Racer. The rear structure for the in-development CityAirbus NextGen will require "high-end" lightweight composite solutions and components, the airframer adds. Its head of urban air mobility, Jorg Muller, states: "Directly interacting with the centre fuselage and the wing, the rear structure will leverage both suppliers' expertise in homogeneous design for Formula E and Formula One vehicles, while complying with the most stringent safety and reliability standards." Airbus unveiled its CityAirbus NextGen prototype in 2021. It recently selected Thales and Diehl for the development of flight control computers and Spirit AeroSystems for its wings. The airframer says it is also working closely with industrial and institutional partners to lead the development of urban air mobility (UAM) ecosystems. It recently teamed up with ITA Airways to develop UAM services in Italy, and launched an air mobility initiative in Germany.

BA check-in staff vote to strike
June 24, 2022
Over 700 check-in staff working for British Airways have voted for strike action this summer in a dispute over pay. Unions representing staff are demanding that a 10% salary cut imposed at the peak of the pandemic be immediately reversed. IAG-owned BA says it is "extremely disappointed" with the result, which follows an offer of a 10% bonus to account for lower salaries. This offer, the airline says, was accepted by staff in other areas of the business. Union members balloted by GMB and Unite voted overwhelmingly in favour of the action, raising the prospect of widespread disruption at BA this summer. “The problems British Airways is facing are entirely of its own making," states Unite national officer for aviation Oliver Richardson. "It brutally cut jobs and pay during the pandemic even though the government was paying them to save jobs. “In the case of this dispute, they have insulted this workforce, slashing pay by 10% only to restore it to managers but not to our members. BA is treating its loyal workforce as second-class citizens, and they will not put up with it a moment longer." The unions and BA will now enter a short period of negotiation, failure of which would result in strike days being announced. BA says it remains "fully committed to work together to find a solution" and intends to keep customers updated on the status of their flights. The vote applies to just under half of its Heathrow-based customer-service staff. Several airlines across Europe are facing strike action by employees, as a tight labour market and runaway inflation prompt demands for improved terms and conditions.

Ryanair loses appeal against Finnair state aid
June 23, 2022
Ryanair has lost its bid to overturn a European court's dismissal of its complaint about approval of state aid for Finnair.
The European General Court in April 2021 rejected Ryanair's plea against Finland's granting of a €600 million ($633 million) loan guarantee to Finnair. The Irish budget carrier then brought an appeal to the European Court of Justice, arguing that the loan guarantee was an "unfair subsidy" that favoured Finnair over other EU-based carriers. But the Court of Justice of the European Union's General Court says in a 22 June statement that Ryanair's action "seeking annulment of the decision by the [European] Commission to approve aid granted by Finland to the airline Finnair is dismissed in its entirety". The court adds: "The Commission was entitled to approve the recapitalisation of Finnair, carried out by its public and private owners on a pro rata basis in proportion to the previously existing ownership structure, without initiating the formal investigation procedure." Ryanair has brought a number of appeals against state aid granted to EU-based carriers during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to Finnair, it has sought to overturn decisions to approve state aid for SAS and Air France. In May 2021, Ryanair's complaints against state aid approved for TAP Air Portugal and KLM resulted in an annulment by the General Court, although the effects of the annulment – including any recovery of the aid – were suspended. In the Finnair case, the General Court says that Ryanair has not provided "any conclusive evidence of the existence of doubts as to the compatibility of the measure at issue with the internal market with respect to the commission's assessment of Finnair's market power on the markets in question". Ryanair has the option of appealing the latest ruling.


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