Irish Subsidiary Leases Cutting-Edge Aircraft to KLM for European Expansion

Abhishek Nayar

12 Sep 2023

In the dynamic world of aviation, partnerships and aircraft acquisitions play a pivotal role in the success of airlines. On September 11, 2023, CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co., Ltd. ("CDB Leasing"), announced the signing of lease agreements with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ("KLM") for three new Airbus A321neo aircraft. This exciting development marks a strategic move for KLM as it enhances its fleet and paves the way for future growth and expansion.

A New Horizon for KLM

The Airbus A321neo: A Game-Changer in Aviation

The Airbus A321neo is a cutting-edge narrow-body aircraft renowned for its fuel efficiency, environmental sustainability, and advanced technology. It is equipped with CFM LEAP-1A30 engines, known for their reliability and superior performance. These engines not only reduce carbon emissions but also promise operational cost savings for airlines.

KLM's Vision for Growth

KLM, one of the world's oldest airlines with a rich history dating back to 1919, has always been at the forefront of innovation and customer service. With the lease of three Airbus A321neo aircraft from CDB Aviation, KLM is reaffirming its commitment to excellence. These new additions to the fleet align perfectly with KLM's vision for growth and modernization.

A Strategic Partnership

CDB Aviation: A Reliable Partner

CDB Aviation, as a subsidiary of CDB Leasing, brings a wealth of experience and financial stability to the table. Their reputation for reliability and excellence in aircraft leasing makes them an ideal partner for airlines seeking to expand their fleets.

Medium-Haul Routes in Europe

KLM's decision to deploy these aircraft on medium-haul routes in Europe is strategically significant. With Amsterdam Schiphol as its global headquarters, the airline is well-positioned to maximize the potential of these new additions. Passengers can look forward to more comfortable and eco-friendly travel options on popular European routes.

The Road Ahead

As KLM eagerly anticipates the delivery of the three Airbus A321neo aircraft between September and November 2024, the airline is preparing to embark on a new chapter of its storied history. These modern, fuel-efficient, and environmentally conscious aircraft will not only enhance KLM's operational efficiency but also contribute to its sustainability goals.


"We are thrilled to be expanding our long-standing relationship with KLM through the addition of these brand new A321neos to their fleet on operating lease," stated Peter Goodman, Chief Commercial Officer of CDB Aviation. "These next-generation aircraft offer the best performance in their category for the group's network needs, benefiting from the latest technological innovations."

"Carriers like KLM, whose fleet renewal strategies are ambitious, value the flexibility and certainty provided by lessors they can rely on to execute." With a rapid post-pandemic recovery, lessors have been required to rely on ingenuity and novel techniques to help airlines reach their fleet expansion and renewal goals. We are pleased that KLM chose our team for these aircraft. The results of our collaboration will be critical in assisting KLM in meeting its decarbonization targets," stated Jie Chen, CDB Aviation Chief Executive Officer.


The lease agreements between KLM and CDB Aviation represent a strategic move that will undoubtedly propel KLM to new heights in the aviation industry. With a commitment to excellence, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, KLM is well-prepared to serve its passengers and shape the future of air travel.

With Inputs from CDB Aviation

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Aviation Employment Surges 8% Since Pre-COVID Levels

Abhishek Nayar

12 Sep 2023

In the dynamic world of transportation and aviation, the latest statistics from the Bureau of Transportation paint a picture of remarkable growth. As of July 2023, the aviation sector boasts a staggering 803,893 employees, marking an impressive increase of over eight percent since July 2019. This significant rise encompasses both passenger and freight airlines, showcasing the industry's resilience and determination.

The Ascension of Aviation Employment

The statistics gathered in the middle of July reveal that the industry has welcomed an additional 60,853 workers in 2023 compared to its 2019 counterpart. This growth is indeed a testament to the sector's ability to bounce back from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

Aside from the report's main conclusion of increased employment in the industry, the data provides an array of intriguing insights. Notably, the industry continues to grow at an impressive rate, with 2,058 fresh employment opportunities generated between June and July 2023 alone.

Pre-Pandemic Employment Figures

To better understand this remarkable surge, it's essential to put it into perspective. In the year 2023, before the pandemic altered the course of the aviation industry, the Department of Transportation reported that there were 743,040 personnel actively contributing to the commercial aviation sector.

Key Factors Behind the Surge

Several factors have contributed to the resurgence of the aviation sector's workforce:

Economic Recovery

The post-pandemic world has witnessed a rapid economic recovery. As global economies have regained their strength, the aviation industry has followed suit, benefiting from increased passenger demand and the need for efficient cargo transportation.

Technological Advancements

The aviation sector has also embraced technological advancements, streamlining its operations and enhancing its overall efficiency. From cutting-edge aircraft designs to improved air traffic management systems, innovation has played a pivotal role in driving growth.

Expansion of Regional Routes

A notable development has been the expansion of regional routes, connecting previously underserved areas. This has opened up new opportunities for airlines, resulting in a higher demand for skilled personnel.

The Importance of a Skilled Workforce

With the aviation sector's workforce reaching unprecedented numbers, the importance of a skilled and well-trained workforce cannot be overstated. From pilots and cabin crew to air traffic controllers and ground staff, every role within the industry plays a critical part in ensuring the safety and efficiency of air travel.

The Future of Aviation Employment

As we look ahead, the future of aviation employment appears promising. With the continued growth of international travel and the development of next-generation aircraft, the industry is poised to offer even more career opportunities in the years to come.


In conclusion, the latest statistics from the Bureau of Transportation paint a bright picture for the aviation sector. With an increase of over eight percent in its workforce since July 2019, the industry has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability. As economies recover, technology advances, and regional routes expand, the aviation sector's growth trajectory remains firmly on course.

With Inputs from Bureau of Transportation Statistics

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New Rajkot International Airport Begins Flight Operations

Radhika Bansal

11 Sep 2023

The Rajkot International Airport in Gujarat has officially commenced its flight operations on September 10. Meanwhile, the old Rajkot Airport has ceased its commercial operations, with the closure beginning on September 8 night. The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has closed down the previous Rajkot Airport as the new greenfield airport becomes operational. Officials and equipment from the old airport will be relocated to the new Rajkot International Airport as part of the transition to the new facility.

Budget airline IndiGo will now operate all its services from Rajkot International Airport, with scheduled flights arriving and departing from this new facility. The last flight from the old Rajkot Airport took off on September 8.

Situated on the Rajkot-Ahmedabad highway, the newly built airport is located 30 km away from Rajkot City and the erstwhile Rajkot Airport. To enhance passenger convenience, the state government will provide a bus service from the ST bus stop to Rajkot International Airport, with daily departures starting at 6 a.m. and every two hours after that.

Rajkot International Airport, dedicated to the nation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July, covers a total land area of over 2,500 acres and was developed at a cost of more than INR 1,400 crore. The construction includes a runway, apron, and parallel taxi track, among other features. This international airport is envisioned as a transportation hub for travellers departing from the state and heading overseas. Its terminal building, with a total built-up area of 23,000 sqm (excluding the basement), can handle up to 1,800 passengers during peak hours.

The airport incorporates a blend of modern technology and sustainable features. The New Terminal Building (NITB) is equipped with sustainability features like a double-insulated roofing system, skylights, LED lighting, and low-heat gain glazing. Additionally, the terminal building is GRIHA-4 compliant, signifying its adherence to Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment standards for sustainability.

Apart from advanced features, the new airport has a runway, apron and a parallel taxi track. This international airport is envisioned as a pivotal transportation hub, catering to travellers departing for foreign destinations. The terminal building, boasting a substantial built-up area of 23,000 sq metres (excluding the basement), can accommodate up to 1,800 passengers simultaneously.

The airport is capable of handling Airbus A380Boeing 747 and Boeing 777 type of widebody aircraft, and has a rainwater harvesting system, solar power system and a green belt along its periphery to act as a noise barrier. It has a built-up area of 23,000 sq.m. and has an Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower, four aerobridges, an apron suitable for parking 14 aircraft, three conveyor belts, 20 check-in counters, advanced firefighting systems along with modern and efficient passenger facilities. It will be capable of serving over 1,800 passengers during peak hours. 

The facade design of the terminal is based on the Ranjit Vilas Palace and various traditional art forms like Dandiya dance, a renowned dance form of Gujarat. The airport, measuring 2,534 acres (10.25 km2), is situated 36 km from the existing Rajkot Airport, whose capacity is constrained and cannot be expanded because of urban growth around it.

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Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 Engines Approved by FAA for G700 & G800 Business Jets

Radhika Bansal

11 Sep 2023

Gulfstream says the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certificated the Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 turbofans which power its G700 and G800 large-cabin business jets. Gulfstream says the Pearl 700’s FAA certification brings the G700 and G800 programmes “another step… towards entry into service and customer deliveries”.

Gulfstream, which aims to have the G700 certificated first, disclosed the milestone on 8 September. FAA documentation shows the type certificate was issued on 16 August – almost a year since the engine was approved by European regulators.

“The G700 and G800 are introducing new standards for efficiency and performance in the business aviation industry thanks to the combination of Gulfstream aerodynamics and the Pearl 700’s efficiencies,” adds Gulfstream president Mark Burns.

About Rolls Royce Pearl 700 Turofans

R-R developed the 18,250lb (81.2kN)-thrust Pearl 700 specifically for G700 and G800 business jets. Gulfstream launched those development programmes in 2019. The engines have 10-stage high-pressure turbines and four-stage low-pressure turbines, and generate 8% more take-off thrust than R-R’s previous generation BR725 turbofans, according to the engine maker. Developed at the Rolls-Royce Center of Excellence for Business Aviation Engines in Dahlewitz, Germany, the Pearl 700 incorporates the engine-maker’s Advance2 engine core with a new low-pressure system. This results in an 8% increase in takeoff thrust, to 18,250 pounds, compared with the predecessor BR725 engine. Rolls-Royce said the engine also provides a 5% efficiency improvement while keeping down noise and emissions.

The engine has a blisked fan with reduced weight and number of components resulting in lower drag and improved efficiency. There are 24 blades and cutting-edge technology including friction welding. The Advance2 core has a 10-stage, lightweight design HPC with six titanium blisks and a record 24:1 pressure ratio. It includes an ultra-low emissions combustor, greener technology and reduced noise. The two-stage HP turbine has a shroudless blade design, enhanced aerodynamics and blade cooling.

The enhanced four-stage LP turbine allows for higher fan power to increase thrust. This includes state-of-the-art 3D airfoil geometry and 360-degree low-weight cast stators. The new ultra slim-line nacelle has an aerodynamically optimized target door thrust reverser. There is a maximized acoustic treatment for an increased reduction in noise levels.

The brand new G700 Business Jets

The G700 and its G800 sister – both 19-passenger long-range business jets – are to become Gulfstream’s flagships when they enter service. The G700 will have 7,750nm (14,307km) of range and a cabin measuring 17.3m (56.9ft) front to back. The G800 is a bit smaller – its cabin measures 14.3m in length – but Gulfstream advertises its range as 8,000nm.

Both the G700 and G800 come equipped with Gulfstream’s award-winning Predictive Landing Performance System and the industry’s only electronically linked active control sidesticks. They also feature the most extensive use of touch-screen technology in business aviation. The G700 and G800 offer the Gulfstream Cabin Experience, which includes 100% fresh air, the lowest cabin altitude in the industry, incredibly low noise levels, and an abundance of natural light from the recognizable Gulfstream Panoramic Oval Windows.

The latest round of certification testing has seen the G700 exceed the company's projections, with notable range, speed, and cabin altitude improvements recorded by Gulfstream Aerospace. In a statement shared earlier this week, the aircraft manufacturer clarified that it had increased its maximum specified range by 250 NM at both Mach 0.85 and 0.9 to 7,750 NM and 6,650, respectively. The top operating speed is also noted to have jumped from Mach 0.925 to Mach 0.935, owed to the aircraft's Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines, also in use on the upcoming G800.

Gulfstream has repeatedly delayed both jets’ certification programmes, with executives blaming the timeline pushbacks on increased scrutiny by the FAA. The company now aims to have the G700 certificated this year and the G800 cleared next. Certification in the United States has been a lengthy endeavour for Gulfstream Aerospace, with the Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 being certified by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), issuing official certification in August 2022, over a year ahead of the US FAA.

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Ayodhya Airport to Commence Flight Operations from November to These Cities

Radhika Bansal

11 Sep 2023

Ayodhya's much-anticipated Maryada Purushottam Shriram International Airport is gearing up to establish direct air connectivity with the national capital, Delhi, and three other major cities across India. Airport director Vinod Kumar said that the initial phase of operations at the Ayodhya airport is set to commence this November, with direct flights connecting the sacred city to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The construction of the first phase of Ayodhya Airport will be completed by October next month.

Ayodhya district magistrate Nitish Kumar shared insights into the airport's construction, revealing that it is being executed in three meticulously planned phases. The project has successfully acquired an expansive 821 acres of land to facilitate this ambitious endeavour. Along with this, the runway work of phase one of the airport has also been 100% completed. Here, the work of CAT-1 and RESA facilities for night landing and landing in fog and mist has also been 100% completed.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) is executing the Ayodhya airport project at breakneck speed. The airport is coming up on 821-acre land and the project is estimated to cost INR 320 crore. The airport will have a parking facility for 24 airplanes. Initially, small aircraft having a seating capacity of 60 passengers will land at the airport. By the time the final phase of the airport is completed by 2025, it will be ready to land Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

Development so far

In the first phase of development, the construction of the runway has been completed, boasting the capacity to accommodate aircraft operations seamlessly under diverse weather conditions, day and night. Additionally, the construction of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower has reached its final stages, ensuring effective air traffic management.

Recent weeks have witnessed a pivotal milestone as the Airports Authority of India (AAI) conducted a comprehensive calibration of various airport components. This calibration encompassed critical elements such as the Instrument Landing System (ILS), including localiser, glide path, marker, and more. The AAI reported substantial progress in the terminal building's construction, with over 78% of the work already completed. The remaining tasks are advancing swiftly with round-the-clock efforts spread across two daily shifts.

The domestic terminal, covering an area of 6,000 square metres, will be equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, including three aerobridges, capable of accommodating 300 peak-hour passengers. The runway, measuring 2,200 metres in length, has already been constructed, with plans to extend it to 3,125 metres in the second phase and 3,750 metres in the third phase.  The international airport, being developed in multiple phases, will span an overall area of 660 acres of land.

Efforts related to the parking facility for four aircraft on one apron have successfully concluded, while work on a similar facility for four aircraft on the other apron is currently in progress. These developments underline the meticulous planning and execution underway to transform Ayodhya into a key aviation hub, fostering enhanced connectivity and economic opportunities for the region.

The Maryada Purushottam Shriram International Airport holds great promise as it prepares to open its doors to travellers, connecting Ayodhya to major cities and playing a pivotal role in the city's growth and development.

According to AAI officials, the airport's entrance and the main building will give passengers a feel of the Ramayana era. The elevation of the airport building will resemble the Ram temple. Lord Ram's main weapon, bow and arrow, and various other artefacts from the Ramayana era will feature on the walls of the airport lounge area.