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US Firm, Airbus Partner On Business Jet Dev

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With its Aerion AS2 su
personic business jet, the Nevada-based Aerion Corporation aims to cut flights by nearly half the normal time.
How would you like to trim three hours off the current commercial jet flight time between Paris and Washington, D.C.?
Or two hours and 48 minutes off the flight between New York and Sao Paulo?
Or two and a half hours between Tokyo and Singapore?
Now it has a gigantic new partner to help it realize those ambitions: Airbus.
According to the CNN, the two companies announced this week that they’ll collaborate on technologies and “capabilities in design, manufacturing and certification” to advance the development of the AS2.
“This is a major step forward for Aerion,” said Aerion chairman and principal investor, Robert M. Bass in a statement. “It puts us solidly on track toward our objective of certifying the world’s first supersonic business jet in 2021.”
“This agreement accomplishes two major objectives,” said Aerion CEO Doug Nichols. “It provides validation from the industry leader in aerospace innovation, and it decisively kicks the program into high gear. Each company will benefit.”
Aerion was founded in 2002 with the intention of commercializing supersonic aviation technology.
Using its proprietary supersonic laminar flow technology, Aerion says the AS2 will fly at Mach 1.6 (1,217 mph).
The Airbus group’s Defence and Space Division will provide technical and certification support to Aerion, with its engineers working with the company in Nevada.
According to the U.S.-based aviation consulting firm Leeham Company, the aircraft’s engine partner hasn’t yet been announced.
Aerion says the AS2’s newly designed wings reduce overall drag by 20%, allowing for lower fuel consumption and longer range.
Its 30-foot-long cabin is forecast to seat up to 12 passengers in business-style comfort.
All seats can be berthed to sleep four on overnight flights.
The projected price of the AS2 is more than $100 million.
Aerion hopes to begin test flights by 2019.
A handful of companies are developing private supersonic business jets.
Boston-based Spike Aerospace’s S-512 Supersonic Jet is designed to fly at Mach 1.6, while seating 12 to 18 passengers.
The company says the plane will fly from London to New York in three hours and from Los Angeles to Tokyo in six hours.
UK-based HyperMach is developing the SonicStar, a business jet it claims will be capable of reaching Mach 4 (about 2,600 mph, or almost twice the speed of the Concorde), and which it says will be able to make the flight from New York to Dubai “in the time it takes to watch an inflight movie.”
The company has said the plane could enter production in the 2020s.
The world’s only supersonic passenger jet service ended in October 2003 when British Airways retired the Concorde from service.
The Concorde had a cruising speed of 1,350 mph, more than twice the speed of sound. A typical London to New York flight took a little less than three and a half hours, as opposed to about eight hours for subsonic flights.
Modern commercial long-haul jets typically cruise at speeds between 480 and 560 mph.

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Aviation

COVID-19: Arik Airline Sacks 300 Staff

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At least 300 staff of Arik Air have been relieved of their appointments by the airline’s management.

This was announced in a statement by the airline on Friday.
It blamed the sacking on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
The press statement was titled, “Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant”.
The company explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected workers with the help of the aviation unions.
The statement read in part, “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.
“The leadership of the impacted unions has been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
The airline added that over 50 per cent of its workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months.
In a separate statement also forwarded to our correspondent by its Public Relations and Communications Manager, Banji Ola, the airline apologised to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by the protest carried out by the National Union of Air Transport Employees on December 3, 2020.
The picketing disrupted operations in Lagos and prevented the airline from processing passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2.

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S’East Leaders Laud FG Over EndSARS

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South-East leaders on Saturday, lauded the Federal Government on the matured and responsive manner it handled all issues relating to the EndSARS protest and agitation.
The leaders of the zone, which included Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members as well as traditional, religious and youth leaders, gave the commendation in a communiqué issued after their meeting with a Presidential delegation in Enugu.
The presidential delegation was led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who is the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“We thank President Buhari for the speed and restraint with which he handled the EndSARS protest, which has engendered peace throughout the country, especially the South-East.
“We, therefore, request the President to look into demands of various groups and youths with a view to resolving them,’’ the statement, which was read by the Chairman of South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Dave Umehi, said.
It also called for joint operation by security agencies and local vigilant groups into all forests in the zone to flush out criminals and killer herdsmen with AK47 rifles.
“But we pledge our commitment to continuous coexistence with peaceful herdsmen who have been living peacefully with us.
“We stand for an indivisible and united Nigeria, built on love, fairness, equity and justice. We believe that under this platform – NIGERIA; we are bigger and stronger,’’ it said.
It also called on the Federal Government to continue its support and diplomatic push for the former Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to be elected as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The statement thanked the Federal Government for the timely interventions in Akanu Ibiam International Airport rehabilitation as well as intervention in road infrastructures in the zone.
“We are grateful for the attention given to the second Niger Bridge and completion and inauguration of the Zik’s mausoleum.
“However, we urge the Federal Government to give attention to the completion of the current road projects within the zone,’’ it said.
The statement said that the states in the zone will provide money for the compensation for those affected by the EndSARS protest, help to rebuild police stations and their logistics; while engaging the youths constantly to forestall any violent development in the zone.
“We have plans to set up various empowerment programmes to gainfully engage the youths. The governors also plan to mainstream the youths in their governance to give them a sense of belonging.

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Minister Hails Meeting With S’East Leaders

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described as “extremely fruitful” the meeting which a presidential team had with leaders and stakeholders of the South-East.
“The meeting of the presidential delegation with South-East leaders was very useful,’’ Mohammed told journalists on Sunday in Enugu.
The delegation, led by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, met for more than eight hours in Enugu with selected South-East leaders.
Mohammed said that it was quite instructive that all the groups which took part in the meeting believed in the unity and oneness of the country, pointing out that they clearly spelt out this in their presentations.
“We listened clearly and carefully to all the positions and demands and we are going back to report directly to President Buhari,’’ the minister said.
He noted that the Federal Government had been spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country, simultaneously and equitably.
“We want the South-East people to be confident that the Federal Government is spreading development and infrastructure to all parts of the country equitably and will never marginalise any zone in the ongoing development and infrastructure agenda.
“This is what I want to assure Nigerians living in the South-East,’’ Mohammed noted.
According to the minister, when the team gets back to Abuja it will see what can be done immediately concerning some of the positions and demands made by the South-East leaders.
The presidential delegation met with South-East governors, statesmen, elders, religious and traditional leaders, as well as market women and youth leaders.

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