Avolon, the international aircraft leasing company, today announces that one of the world’s leading airline groups, AirAsia Aviation Group Limited (AirAsia), has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding to lease a minimum of 100 VX4 eVTOL aircraft from Avolon.
These eVTOL aircraft will allow AirAsia to further revolutionise air travel by providing advanced air mobility to a whole new range of passengers, transforming how we all connect more efficiently in our everyday lives.
Vertical says the piloted, four-passenger VX4 eVTOL craft will operate at speeds of up to 200 mph over a maximum 100-mile range. The emissions-free vehicle is touted to be nearly silent in flight and boasts a low per-passenger-mile cost that will limit prices for air taxi use close to those of existing ground options. The company is already working with Heathrow Airport on potential UAM services between the hub and central London locations.
Vertical has directly agreed to pre-orders or pre-order options of 1,350 craft representing $5.4 billion with clients including American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Iberojet, Bristow Group, Marubeni, and of course Avolon. In addition to supplying the aircraft to AirAsia, Avolon says this week’s deal also involves its innovation affiliate partnering with the airline to develop a UAM platform serving Southeast Asia nations. To that end, the two companies will form a working group to pursue local certification, research potential market opportunities, and study infrastructure requirements. AirAsia will also leverage its successful travel and lifestyle mobile app, the AirAsia Super App, to help support and build an eVTOL ride-sharing platform with Avolon.
Avolon CEO Dómhnal Slattery celebrated the agreement as offering the company the opportunity to work with acclaimed Malaysian entrepreneur and AirAsia co-founder Tony Fernandes.
“We are delighted to partner with AirAsia, who share our vision of revolutionizing the future of air travel,” Slattery said. “We look forward to working with Tony and the AirAsia team on their eVTOL journey. Together we will develop a ride-sharing platform and bring the zero-emissions VX4 aircraft into service, positioning AirAsia as the operator of choice for sustainable air travel in the region.”
A very delight Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A the parent company of AirAsia said “Innovation has always been in our DNA and using technology to look at more efficient and sustainable ways of doing things is a core focus across Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group). We are now much more than just an airline with over 20 products and services on our super app leveraging off each other including flights, hotels, food, retail, delivery, ride-hailing and more. I am truly excited about this partnership between Avolon and AirAsia and the potential for zero-emissions ultra-short-haul air travel in Southeast Asia. The digital era is now. In the VX4, we have identified what we believe will be the of choice and we are thrilled to be the launch airline for the aircraft in Southeast Asia. We are also delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with Avolon, which has a proven track record of delivering for its customers and is in sync with our goal to become the leading one-stop travel and delivery platform in ASEAN.”
Though not a direct participant in the Avolon-AirAsia agreement, Vertical applauded the deal as another vote of confidence for its eVTOL VX4. “We are delighted that AirAsia is the latest leading airline committing to lease our zero operating emissions VX4 aircraft,” said Vertical CEO Stephen Fitzpatrick. “AirAsia provides many fantastic opportunities to travel around some of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world, and I am thrilled that we will be bringing zero emissions flight to people all across Asia.”
STO signs agreement to purchase MSS Graphene
State Trading Organisation (STO) has signed the agreement for the purchase of MSS Graphene. This is the third vessel to be purchased by Maldives State Shipping (MSS).
Managing Director of STO Hussain Amr and the Managing Director of German-based company Kandlar, Jonas Keller, signed the agreement at a special ceremony held at the STO head office. Managing Director Amr said MSS Graphene is the latest addition to the MSS fleet and that it will facilitate direct cargo service between the Maldives, Singapore, and Malaysia. He said that the purchase of the new ship is a huge step towards expanding the services of MSS to the international sphere.
Furthermore, Amr noted the accomplishments MSS has been able to achieve within a short period of time and said that this was the first ever negotiations held to purchase a container ship for the Maldives. He added that work is now being done to obtain containers stamped with the MSS logo.
Additionally, Managing Director of MSS Abdulla Saeed said that MSS Graphene is similar in size to MSS Galena, with an on-board cargo capacity of 680TEU, and that the new ship will begin operations in August. He highlighted that the crew of all the ships in the MSS fleet are mostly made up of Maldivians and that the company is providing more training and employment opportunities for Maldivians interested in the shipping industry.
MSS is a shipping and logistics company owned by STO, offering an extensive international liner shipping service. MSS began its services in 2020 to reduce the price of goods imported into the country.
Bulgarian ‘Crypto Queen’ added to US most-wanted list
Ruja Ignatova was behind one of the most notorious scams in the frequently treacherous world of crypto currencies.
A Bulgarian woman dubbed the “Crypto Queen” after she raised billions of dollars in a fraudulent virtual currency scheme has been placed on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday put up a $100,000 reward for Ruja Ignatova, who disappeared in Greece in October 2017 around the time US authorities filed a sealed indictment and warrant for her arrest.
The 42-year-old, who is also a German citizen, was behind one of the most notorious scams in the frequently treacherous world of crypto currencies.
In 2014, she launched OneCoin, ostensibly aiming to replace Bitcoin as the world’s leading virtual money.
Tapping a global network to market the coin to friends and family in exchange for their own payouts, she and co-conspirators pulled in at least $3.4 billion and possibly over $4 billion, according to court documents.
Ruja Ignatova is the newest addition to the #FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List. She's #wanted for allegedly leading a fraud scheme that affected millions of investors worldwide. We're offering a reward of up to $100,000 for info leading to her arrest. https://t.co/5mk0NccE7x pic.twitter.com/xKoj0RN6BZ
— FBI (@FBI) June 30, 2022
Classic Ponzi scheme
Officials said that OneCoin was not backed by any secured, independent blockchain-type technology as other crypto currencies are.
Instead, they said, it was a classic Ponzi scheme, in which early investors are encouraged to find others and then paid out by receipts from later investors.
“OneCoin claimed to have a private blockchain,” said FBI Special Agent Ronald Shimko in a statement.
“This is in contrast to other virtual currencies, which have a decentralized and public blockchain. In this case, investors were just asked to trust OneCoin,” he said.
Rewards for information
Ignatova disappeared in 2017 as international investigators began to close in on her group.
“Investigators believe Ignatova may have been tipped off that she was under investigation by US and international authorities,” the FBI said Thursday.
“She travelled from Sofia, Bulgaria, to Athens, Greece, on October 25, 2017, and has not been seen since.”
On May 11, Europol announced it had added Ignatova to its most-wanted list, and offered a 5,000 euro ($5,200) reward for information on her whereabouts.
But on Thursday she was no longer on the list. It was not clear why or when she came off it, and authorities in Europe and the United States have not shown evidence of whether she is alive or dead.
Samsung starts mass production of advanced 3-nanometre chips
The new chips will be more powerful and efficient and will be used in high-performance computing applications before being put into gadgets such as mobile phones.
Samsung Electronics has become the first chipmaker in the world to mass-produce advanced 3-nanometre microchips as it seeks to catch up with Taiwan’s TSMC.
“Compared to 5nm process, the first-generation 3nm process can reduce power consumption by up to 45 percent, improve performance by 23 percent and reduce area by 16 percent,” Samsung said in a statement on Thursday.
The South Korean conglomerate last month announced a five-year plan to invest 450 trillion won (US$356 billion), saying it would “bring forward the mass production of chips based on the 3-nanometre process”.
The vast majority of the world’s most advanced microchips are made by just two companies – Samsung and Taiwan’s TSMC – both of which are running at full capacity to alleviate a global shortage.
Smaller, more powerful
The new chips will be smaller, more powerful and efficient, and will be used in high-performance computing applications before being put into gadgets such as mobile phones.
Samsung is the market leader in memory chips but it has been scrambling to catch up with TSMC in the advanced foundry business.
TSMC dominates more than half of the global foundry market, with clients including Apple and Qualcomm, while Samsung trails with around 16 percent market share, according to TrendForce.
TSMC plans to begin volume production of 3-nanometre technology in the second half of this year, and entered the development stage of 2-nanometre technology last year, according to the company’s 2021 annual report.
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