Milestone Aviation to lease 2 AW139 helicopters to Norsk Luftambulanse

Milestone Aviation Group Limited will provide 2 AW139 helicopters from its order book with Leonardo Helicopters to Norsk Luftambulanse AS (NLA) to support emergency medical services (HEMS) in Norway,.

In July, Norway´s National Air Ambulance Service awarded NLA with a 6-year contract (with a further 2-year extension option) to operate all 12 HEMS bases in Norway.

Milestone Aviation Group, a GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) company, is a helicopter leasing and financing company. The company has a fleet of helicopters worth over USD 4.0bn plus debt commitments of approximately USD 400m. The company has a forward order book of firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price in excess of USD 3bn.

Milestone partners with helicopter operators worldwide, providing a wide array of financial and productivity solutions, including operating leases, purchase/leasebacks, secured debt financing, engine leasing and fleet advisory. The company supports over 35 customers in more than 30 countries serving a variety of industries, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services, police surveillance, mining and other utility missions.

The GECAS portfolio comprises a wide range of aircraft types including narrowbodies, widebodies, regional jets, turboprops, freighters, and helicopters. The company offers multiple financing products and services. It owns or services a fleet of over 1,950 aircraft (~1,700 fixed wing/ ~250 rotary wing) in operation or on order, plus provides loans collateralized on an additional ~400 aircraft. GECAS serves ~ 270 customers in over 75 countries from a network of 25 offices.

Norsk Luftambulanse AS is a Norwegian HEMS operator currently serving 9 of Norway´s 12 HEMS bases. In addition NLA operates all 3 HEMS bases in Denmark. The company is owned by the Norwegian Air Ambulance Foundation.

Digi XBee employed by NASA for wireless communications tests

Digi International´s (NASDAQ: DGII) Digi XBee 802.15.4 modules will be used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as part of a test program for wireless communications within satellites and payloads from the International Space Station (ISS), the company said.

Slightly after noontime on Monday, at an altitude of approximately 250 miles, the ISS will release a TechEdSat 5 (Technical and Educational Satellite 5), a cuboid-shaped device, approximately the size of a fire extinguisher.

After a 30-minute time-period, Digi XBee modules, taking the place of wired connections, will begin to operate as the wireless “data-crossroads” between key components of the satellite. At ten second intervals, the Digi XBees will transmit important orbital data within the satellite including the satellite´s translational acceleration and angular rate, magnetic field, atmospheric pressure, temperature, and strain. This data will then be used in the design of future satellites.

Typically, data communications are transmitted through wired connections, but as part of a “wireless-in-space” effort, NASA is working to augment traditional wiring with wireless networking to lessen weight, increase payload capacity and create new communication models. For example, through wireless communications, future satellites could communicate directly with each other in a mesh network.

In addition to testing wireless communications within the satellite while in orbit, the mission will include the testing of a passive de-orbit system for the ISS to bring samples back to earth in an “on-demand” model.

Typical de-orbit delivery methods require the use of rocket technology to decelerate delivery payloads, but, due to safety concerns, storage of rockets on the ISS is not a possibility. NASA´s Ames Research Center in California´s Silicon Valley has been experimenting with “drag” technology to deliver payloads in a parachute-like manner back to earth through the use of an Exo-Brake, a specially-designed braking device that operates similar to a parachute at extremely high speeds and low air pressures, designed to descend to earth over a period of weeks.

Over the course of its descent, Digi XBee will be transmitting data on the performance and testing of the modulating Exo-Brake as it changes its surface area to allow the satellite to more precisely enter the atmosphere.

As a first test, the initial deployment will call for the satellite to be burned up in the atmosphere, but later missions are planned with wingsail style parachutes that will continue the effort to bring perishable experiment samples quickly back from the ISS.

Founded in 1985, Digi International is a global provider of business and mission-critical machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity products and services.

Pie Five Pizza franchisee Creative Food Group opens location at BWI

Pie Five Pizza Co. and Creative Food Group have opened a new location at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), marking the first of two Pie Five locations to be opened at BWI, with the second opening planned for early May,.

Pie Five franchisee, Creative Food Group, has been operating restaurants in airports since 2004 and at BWI since 2012. Pie Five´s TurboChef oven doesn´t require a hood, allowing it to be used in a variety of unique locations like airports.

Dallas-based Pie Five Pizza Co. is a subsidiary of RAVE Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: RAVE). RAVE owns, franchises, and supplies more than 300 Pie Five and Pizza Inn restaurants operating domestically and internationally. Pie Five Pizza Co. offers individual handcrafted pizzas with fresh ingredients made to order in less than five minutes.

Creative Food Group currently operates in 8 airports and has over 60 restaurants under its umbrella including many franchised brands.

Hainan Airlines to award frequent flyer points based on ticket price

Beginning July 1, 2017, Hainan Airlines´ frequent flyer awards program, the Fortune Wings Club, will change the way it values accruals, with members earning points based on ticket price and membership level instead of flight distance and class, the airline said.

In addition to base ticket fares, airline surcharges will also be counted towards points accrual. For regular members, every RMB 10 in ticket fares or airline surcharges will earn ten Fortune Wings points; for Fortune Wings Club Select Card, Silver Card, Gold Card, and Platinum Card members, RMB 10 in ticket fares or surcharges can earn an additional one, three, six and eight points respectively. The higher the ticket price and membership level, the more points a member can earn. Up to 75,000 points can be earned for a single leg.

Points for flights on Fortune Wings Club partner airlines or for special tickets will still be awarded according to the purchased class and flight distance. Other rules pertaining to Fortune Wings elite membership qualification and maintenance remain unchanged. Base points and base segments will still be calculated based on class and flight distance, and they only serve as the basis for elite qualification and maintenance and cannot be used for redemption.

The Fortune Wings Club will also change the award ticket redemption method to reduce restrictions on both the number of award seats available and redemption standards. This new redemption method will provide more available seats at different redemption rates, and the points required for redemption will fluctuate with real ticket prices. The lower the price, the fewer points needed for redemption. Special promotions and discounts may also be used with award tickets. These changes will greatly improve the value and flexibility of Fortune Wings points.

The changes to earning award points is the first revision to the frequent flyer awards program since the Fortune Wings Club enhanced its frequent flyer system.

Lockheed Martin missile wins 2017 Aviation Week award

Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin´s (NYSE: LMT) Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) was selected as a 2017 Aviation Week Laureate Award winner in the defense category,.

The annual awards by the Aviation Week Network recognize the extraordinary efforts of both individuals and teams in aviation, aerospace, and defense industries.

LRASM is a precision-guided, anti-ship standoff missile based on the successful Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile – Extended Range (JASSM-ER). It is designed to detect and destroy specific targets within groups of ships by employing advanced technologies that reduce dependence on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms, network links, and GPS navigation in electronic warfare environments.

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 97,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

Elite Aviation, Elite Engineering combine to form Elite Aerospace Group

Elite Aviation Products, along with its sister company Elite Engineering Services (EES), have completed their corporate rollup into their new parent company Elite Aerospace Group, Dustin Tillman CEO of Elite Aviation Products (EAP) said.

In addition to EAP and EES, three new entities have also been created under the Elite Aerospace Group umbrella. These entities include: Elite Logistics & Integration, Elite 360 Technologies, and Elite Financial Services.

Elite Aerospace Group (EAG) is an advanced design, engineering, manufacturing and technology leader within the aerospace industry.

Southwest, Material Specialists reach agreement in principle on new contract terms

Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) has reached an Agreement in Principle with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) on the terms of a new contract for the company´s Material Specialists, the workgroup responsible for the its technical operations inventory management across the system, the airline said.

Details of the agreement were not released.

Southwest said its negotiating team will be meeting with IBT representatives in the coming days to finalize the contractual language. IBT currently represents approximately 290 Material Specialists.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) operates a network of 101 destinations in the United States and eight additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season. Its 53,000 employees serve more than 100 million customers annually. As of December 31, 2015, it operated 704 Boeing 737 aircraft.

Bombardier C Series aircraft wins 2017 Aviation Week award

Aviation Week Magazine has recognized Bombardier´s C Series aircraft with its 2017 Civil Aviation Laureate Award,.

The Aviation Week Laureate Awards recognize extraordinary achievements of individuals and teams in aviation, aerospace, and defense.

The C Series aircraft combines cutting-edge aerodynamics, technology, and materials to respond to some of aviation´s most pressing challenges: lowering operating costs, increasing connectivity, and ensuring a more sustainable future.

By using 21st century supercomputing capability, Bombardier has designed an aircraft with one of the highest lift-to-drag ratios in the industry, resulting in optimal performance. In addition, the unique combination of the C Series aircraft and the Pratt & Whitney engine delivers reduced emissions, noise, fuel burn, and ultimately the lowest operating costs.

Montréal, Canada-based Bombardier (TSX: BBD) is a manufacturer of both planes and trains. Together with its subsidiaries, it manufactures and sells transportation equipment worldwide. The company operates in four segments: business aircraft, commercial aircraft, aerostructures and engineering services, and transportation. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016, the company posted revenues of USD 16.3bn.

Macquarie Global Infrastructure Total Return Fund approves USD 0.37 dividend

The board of directors of Macquarie Global Infrastructure Total Return Fund Inc. (NYSE: MGU) has declared a regular distribution for the quarter ending February 28, 2017 of USD 0.37 per share, the company said.

Based on the Fund´s net asset value of USD 25.18 and New York Stock Exchange closing market price of USD 21.97 on February 24, 2017, the USD 0.37 per share distribution is equal to an annualized distribution rate of 5.9% at NAV and 6.7% at market price, respectively.

This distribution will be payable on March 31, 2017 to shareholders of record on March 16, 2017, with an ex-dividend date of March 14, 2017.

Macquarie Global Infrastructure Total Return Fund Inc., a diversified closed-end fund, is listed on the NYSE. The Fund´s investment adviser is Macquarie Capital Investment Management LLC, which is a part of Macquarie Asset Management and a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Macquarie Group Limited.

Hyatt plans branded hotel in Algeria

A Hyatt Hotels Corporation (NYSE: H) affiliate has entered into a management agreement with Société d´Investissement Hôtelière EPE SPA for a Hyatt Regency hotel to be located at Houari Boumediene Airport in Algiers, Algeria, the company said.

The hotel, expected to open late 2018, will mark the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Algeria. Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport will add to Hyatt´s growing brand presence in Africa, following the successful openings of Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay in Morocco and Park Hyatt Zanzibar in Tanzania in 2015, which brought the total number of Hyatt-branded hotels in Africa to six.

Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport will be part of a wider airport expansion in one of North Africa´s largest cities. The 326-room hotel will be situated directly opposite the airport´s new terminal and will be the only terminal-linked hotel.

Ideally located at the entry to the airport, Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport will offer guests a one-stop experience, designed with everything under one roof.

Société d´Investissement Hôtelière EPE SPA has developed numerous internationally branded hotels throughout the country.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 13 premier brands.