Acronis Welcomes ECMSI as New #TeamUp Partner for the Cleveland Cavaliers

ECMSI and Acronis partner with the Cleveland Cavaliers to provide cyber protection support to the NBA team

Acronis and ECMSI TeamUp with Cavaliers

Acronis Welcomes ECMSI as New #TeamUp Partner for the Cleveland Cavaliers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Acronis, a global leader in cyber protection, and Executive Computer Management Solutions Inc. (ECMSI), are pleased to announce their official partnership with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The partnership will enhance the NBA team’s cyber protection posture by using Acronis’ advanced technology solutions to protect critical data and systems. Acronis’ #TeamUp partner program exclusively offers managed service providers (MSPs), like ECMSI, an opportunity to join forces with global sports teams to keep their data safe and stay #CyberFit.

“We are excited to partner with Acronis – a highly respected and experienced global leader in technology services,” said Mike Conley, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer at the Cleveland Cavaliers. “With the help of the local IT provider ECMSI to better manage our critical business infrastructure and detect anomalies across our ever-growing tech stack.”

Through the #TeamUp partnership, ECMSI will support the Cleveland Cavaliers with Advanced Management for Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud along with co-managed support. ECMSI will also provide the Cleveland Cavaliers with integration and support services for Acronis disaster recovery services. The partnership will provide the managed service provider (MSP) with powerful sports marketing and business development opportunities including attendance at networking events, case studies, and more.

“It’s an incredible honor and a privilege to be the trusted Acronis partner to support the Cleveland Cavaliers,” said Ralph Blanco, CEO/President of ECMSI. “We’re looking forward to working with this great organization and I believe that together in this #TeamUp program, Acronis and ECMSI will provide best-in-class cloud backup, protection, and disaster recovery services to the Cleveland Cavaliers. All for one and one for all!”

The collaboration involving ECMSI, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Acronis represents a momentous achievement in Acronis’ #TeamUp mission to equip professional sports teams with world-class cybersecurity and data protection solutions. Through the Acronis #TeamUp initiative, MSPs gain an unparalleled platform to exhibit their prowess and competencies to a global community of sports fans.

“The latest #TeamUp partnership with ECMSI and the Cleveland Cavaliers underscores Acronis’ unwavering dedication to bolstering the cybersecurity defenses of professional sports teams,” said Acronis Vice President and General Manager, Americas, Pat Hurley. “As part of our #TeamUp program, we are thrilled to announce this latest partnership and support the Cleveland Cavaliers with a suite of data protection solutions that will enable them to reach a secure digital landscape. Together, we embrace the challenge of safeguarding their valuable assets, ensuring the team can focus on the game with cybersecurity confidence.”

About Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers are the 2016 NBA Champions and the 2007, 2015-2018 Eastern Conference champions. The team plays and operates Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse are part of Rock Entertainment Group. The Group also includes the Cleveland Monsters of the AHL, the Cleveland Charge of the NBA G League, Cavs Legion of the NBA 2K League, Legion Lair Lit by TCP home of Cavs Legion in Cleveland, and Cleveland Clinic Courts.

The Cavaliers are frequently recognized for their extensive community support and engagement programs and contributions, workplace diversity and inclusion leadership, and an on-going economic impact that now registers in the billions of dollars locally. Dan Gilbert is Chairman of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert and his Family of Companies have now invested over $1.6 billion in Cleveland. Gilbert is also Founder and Chairman of Rocket Mortgage, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, and Founder and Chairman of ROCK, the For-More-Than-Profit Family Office for the Gilberts and their Family of Companies. Nic Barlage is the Cavaliers, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Rock Entertainment Group CEO, and the Cavaliers team is led by President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman, General Manager Mike Gansey and Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff.

About ECMSI
Executive Computer Management Solutions Inc (ECMSI), founded in 1999, is a trusted and accountable managed IT service provider delivering infrastructure IT solutions that focus on security, reliability, disaster recovery, and productivity for their partners. Based out of Struthers, Ohio, a suburb of Youngstown, ECMSI leads its team and partners with the core values of: Empathy, communication, modesty, services, and integrity. With a team of certified technical and security members, ECMSI has continued to grow into additional locations and offer business and IT Strategy events for local businesses. ECMSI was named to CRN Magazine’s MSP 500 List in 2021 for the Pioneer 250 award, as well as 2022 for the Security 100 award. To learn more about ECMSI, visit: www.ecmsi.com.

About Acronis
Acronis unifies data protection and cybersecurity to deliver integrated, automated cyber protection that solves the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) challenges of the modern digital world. With flexible deployment models that fit the demands of service providers and IT professionals, Acronis provides superior cyber protection for data, applications, and systems with innovative next-generation antivirus, backup, disaster recovery, and endpoint protection management solutions powered by AI. With advanced anti-malware powered by cutting-edge machine intelligence and blockchain based data authentication technologies, Acronis protects any environment – from cloud to hybrid to on premises – at a low and predictable cost.

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 2,000 employees in 45 locations. Acronis Cyber Protect solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 18,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.

Acronis Press Contact:
Julia Carfagno
Public Relations Manager
Julia.Carfagno@acronis.com

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/3c87b9d7-0a9e-434d-afb6-6de5c07f079c

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8929191

AGF Management Limited Reports Third Quarter 2023 Financial Results

TORONTO, Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

  • Reported quarterly diluted earnings per share of $0.34
  • AGF reported mutual fund net redemptions of $151 million
  • AGF saw growth of 43% in its ETFs and SMA AUM year over year
  • Quarterly dividend of $0.11 per share

AGF Management Limited (AGF or the Company) (TSX: AGF.B) today announced financial results for the third quarter ended August 31, 2023.

AGF reported total assets under management and fee-earning assets1 of $42.3 billion compared to $41.2 billion as at May 31, 2023 and $39.6 billion as at August 31, 2022.

“We continue to see the results of implementing our long-term strategic plan to diversify our business across asset classes and client channels allowing us to persevere through different market cycles,” said Kevin McCreadie, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, AGF. “Our flows continue to exceed the industry at a time of heightened market volatility and against a backdrop where investors are feeling pressure due to higher inflation and higher interest rates.”

AGF’s mutual fund gross sales were $633 million for the quarter compared to $594 million in the comparative period. Mutual fund net redemptions were $151 million compared to sales of $51 million in the comparative period. AGF reported ETFs and SMA AUM of $1.3 billion as at August 31, 2023 as compared to $0.9 billion in the comparative period.

“Key to our continued success during this time of market uncertainty is the diversification of our product lineup,” said Judy Goldring, President and Head of Global Distribution, AGF. “As our clients embrace different ways of accessing our investment capabilities, we are seeing the benefits of our vehicle agnostic approach in the form of consistent, strong growth in separately managed accounts both here in Canada as well as in the U.S.”

Key Business Highlights:

  • In August, AGF Investments Inc. expanded its lineup with the launch of AGF Enhanced U.S. Equity Income Fund, which is available as a mutual fund with an ETF series option. As the firm takes a more vehicle agnostic approach, this is the first in a series of strategies expected to launch or to be made available in a mutual fund and ETF.
  • AGF continued to experience a better than industry redemption rate of 13% in Canadian mutual funds, compared to the industry average of 15% for IFIC reporting firms.2
  • The firm celebrated 55 years of AGF Management Limited’s stock being listed on the TSX with a Market Open event at the TMX. This longevity is a testament to AGF’s history of innovation, a disciplined investment approach and an unwavering commitment to our clients.
  • AGF International Advisors Company Limited, a subsidiary of AGF, was once again accepted as a signatory to the UK Stewardship Code, a best-practice benchmark in investment stewardship.
  • Judy Goldring has been named Chair of the Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC). In this role, she leads an experienced Board that provides oversight and guidance to IFIC as it carries out its important advocacy work as the voice of Canada’s investment funds industry.

1 Fee-earning assets represents assets in which AGF has carried interest ownership and earns recurring fees but does not have ownership interest in the managers.
2 Long-term mutual funds in the Canadian mutual fund industry on a trailing-twelve-months basis as of June 2023. Source: IFIC and Investor Economics.

Financial Highlights:

  • EBITDA for the three months ended August 31, 2023, was $33.8 million, compared to $33.2 million in the prior year comparative period.
  • Net management, advisory and administration fees were $73.8 million for the three months ended August 31, 2023, compared to $70.9 million for the comparative prior year period. Net management, advisory and administration fees are directly related to our AUM levels, the proportion of AUM invested in various strategies (i.e., equity fund vs. fixed income fund) and commission fee structures (i.e., fee-based, front-end, or deferred sales commission basis).
  • Revenue from Private Capital for the three months ended August 31, 2023, was $7.3 million, compared to $6.6 million for the comparative prior year period. Of the $7.3 million, $2.5 million was generated from AGF’s interest in Private Capital Managers and $4.8 million was generated from AGF’s investment in Private Capital long-term investments, compared to $0.7 million and $5.9 million in the comparative prior year period.
  • Selling, general and administrative costs were $50.2 million for the three months ended August 31, 2023, compared to $46.4 million in 2022. The year-over-year increase in SG&A was impacted by higher incentive compensation as a result of our track record of investment outperformance and the successful execution of our sales strategy, which is to increase our presence in the investment dealer channel. In addition, the increase incorporates strategic investments made into the business to support our growth plan, including Private Capital, as well as increases driven by the market environment. AGF is committed to being an employer of choice, which means looking at responsible practices and initiatives to attract, develop and reward employees.
  • Net income for the three months ended August 31, 2023, was $23.0 million ($0.34 diluted EPS), compared to $22.1 million ($0.32 diluted EPS) in the prior year comparative period.
Three months ended Nine months ended
(in millions of Canadian dollars, August 31, May 31, August 31, August 31, August 31,
except per share data) 2023 2023 2022 2023 2022
Revenues
Management, advisory and administration fees $ 107.4 $ 109.8 $ 103.8 $ 324.0 $ 327.4
Trailing commissions and investment advisory fees (33.6 ) (34.1 ) (32.9 ) (101.5 ) (103.3 )
Net management, advisory and administration fees1 $ 73.8 $ 75.7 $ 70.9 $ 222.5 $ 224.1
Deferred sales charges 1.8 2.1 1.8 5.7 5.4
Revenue from Private Capital1 7.3 18.0 6.6 29.4 19.6
Other revenue1 1.1 0.3 2.4 2.4
Total net revenue1 84.0 95.8 79.6 260.0 251.5
Selling, general and administrative 50.2 53.0 46.4 156.2 143.0
Deferred selling commissions 37.1
EBITDA before commissions1 33.8 42.8 33.2 103.8 108.5
EBITDA1 33.8 42.8 33.2 103.8 71.4
Net income 23.0 30.3 22.1 70.9 45.1
Diluted earnings per share 0.34 0.45 0.32 1.05 0.64
Free cash flow1 23.0 19.8 20.6 62.1 46.2
Dividends per share 0.11 0.11 0.10 0.32 0.29
(end of period) Three months ended
August 31, May 31, February 28, November 30, August 31,
(in millions of Canadian dollars) 2023 2023 2023 2022 2022
Mutual fund assets under management (AUM)2 $ 24,377 $ 23,631 $ 24,029 $ 23,898 $ 22,496
ETFs and SMA AUM 1,332 1,400 1,394 1,236 930
Segregated accounts and sub-advisory AUM 7,058 6,876 7,045 7,204 6,930
Total AGF Investments AUM 32,767 31,907 32,468 32,338 30,356
AGF Private Wealth AUM 7,360 7,162 7,324 7,349 7,072
AGF Private Capital AUM 42 48 54 55 60
Total AUM $ 40,169 $ 39,117 $ 39,846 $ 39,742 $ 37,488
AGF Private Capital fee-earning assets3 2,090 2,087 2,082 2,077 2,067
Total AUM and fee-earning assets3 $ 42,259 $ 41,204 $ 41,928 $ 41,819 $ 39,555
Net mutual fund sales2 (151 ) 77 221 251 51
Average daily mutual fund AUM2 24,168 24,017 23,782 22,504 22,207

1 Net management, advisory and administration fees, revenue from Private Capital, other revenue, total net revenue, EBITDA before commissions, EBITDA, and free cash flow are not standardized measures prescribed by IFRS. The Company utilizes non-IFRS measures to assess our overall performance and facilitate a comparison of quarterly and full-year results from period to period. They allow us to assess our investment management business without the impact of non-operational items. These non-IFRS measures may not be comparable with similar measures presented by other companies. These non-IFRS measures and reconciliations to IFRS, where necessary, are included in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis available at www.agf.com.
2 Mutual fund AUM includes retail AUM, pooled fund AUM and institutional client AUM invested in customized series offered within mutual funds.
3 Fee-earning assets represents assets in which AGF has carried interest ownership and earns recurring fees but does not have ownership interest in the managers.

For further information and detailed financial statements for the third quarter ended August 31, 2023, including Management’s Discussion and Analysis, which contains discussions of non-IFRS measures, please refer to AGF’s website at www.agf.com under ‘About AGF’ and ‘Investor Relations’ and at www.sedar.com.

Conference Call

AGF will host a conference call to review its earnings results today at 11 a.m. ET.

The live audio webcast with supporting materials will be available in the Investor Relations section of AGF’s website at www.agf.com or at https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/zwqr45mo. Alternatively, the call can be accessed over the phone by registering here or in the Investor Relations section of AGF’s website at www.agf.com, to receive the dial-in numbers and unique PIN.

A complete archive of this discussion along with supporting materials will be available at the same webcast address within 24 hours of the end of the conference call.

About AGF Management Limited

Founded in 1957, AGF Management Limited (AGF) is an independent and globally diverse asset management firm. Our companies deliver excellence in investing in the public and private markets through three distinct business lines: AGF Investments, AGF Private Capital and AGF Private Wealth.

AGF brings a disciplined approach focused on providing an exceptional client experience and incorporating sound responsible and sustainable practices across its businesses. The firm’s collective investment solutions, driven by its fundamental, quantitative and private investing capabilities, extends globally to a wide range of clients, from financial advisors and their clients to high-net worth and institutional investors including pension plans, corporate plans, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and foundations.

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, AGF has investment operations and client servicing teams on the ground in North America and Europe. With over $42 billion in total assets under management and fee-earning assets, AGF serves more than 800,000 investors. AGF trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol AGF.B.

Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with investment fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. Investment funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated.

AGF Management Limited shareholders, analysts and media, please contact:

Courtney Learmont
Vice-President, Finance
647-253-6804, InvestorRelations@agf.com

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements about the Company, including its business operations, strategy and expected financial performance and condition. Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or include words such as ‘expects,’ ‘estimates,’ ‘anticipates,’ ‘intends,’ ‘plans,’ ‘believes’ or negative versions thereof and similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as ‘may,’ ‘will,’ ‘should,’ ‘would’ and ‘could.’ In addition, any statement that may be made concerning future financial performance (including income, revenues, earnings or growth rates), ongoing business strategies or prospects, fund performance, and possible future action on our part, is also a forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements are based on certain factors and assumptions, including expected growth, results of operations, business prospects, business performance and opportunities. While we consider these factors and assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available, they may prove to be incorrect. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and projections about future events and are inherently subject to, among other things, risks, uncertainties and assumptions about our operations, economic factors and the financial services industry generally. They are not guarantees of future performance, and actual events and results could differ materially from those expressed or implied by forward-looking statements made by us due to, but not limited to, important risk factors such as level of assets under our management, volume of sales and redemptions of our investment products, performance of our investment funds and of our investment managers and advisors, client-driven asset allocation decisions, pipeline, competitive fee levels for investment management products and administration, and competitive dealer compensation levels and cost efficiency in our investment management operations, as well as general economic, political and market factors in North America and internationally, interest and foreign exchange rates, global equity and capital markets, business competition, taxation, changes in government regulations, unexpected judicial or regulatory proceedings, technological changes, cybersecurity, the possible effects of war or terrorist activities, outbreaks of disease or illness that affect local, national or international economies (such as COVID-19), natural disasters and disruptions to public infrastructure, such as transportation, communications, power or water supply or other catastrophic events, and our ability to complete strategic transactions and integrate acquisitions, and attract and retain key personnel. We caution that the foregoing list is not exhaustive. The reader is cautioned to consider these and other factors carefully and not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Other than specifically required by applicable laws, we are under no obligation (and expressly disclaim any such obligation) to update or alter the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. For a more complete discussion of the risk factors that may impact actual results, please refer to the ‘Risk Factors and Management of Risk’ section of the 2022 Annual MD&A.

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8929205

Azerion announces proposed changes to its Supervisory Board

Amsterdam, 27 September 2023 – Since the start of 2022, Azerion has seen a period of significant transformation and growth including its listing on Euronext Amsterdam, the completed sale of the Youda card games portfolio and the recently announced placement of EUR 165 million of senior secured floating rate bonds.

Following their successful stewardship throughout this period, Azerion today announces the decision of Peter Tordoir (Chairman) and Derk Haank to step down from Azerion’s Supervisory Board. Both decisions to step down are expected to take effect as from the date of an Extraordinary General Meeting (“EGM”) to be convened as soon as is reasonably practicable to appoint the proposed new Supervisory Board members described below.

As Azerion prepares for the next stage of its growth plan and the business continues to scale into becoming one of Europe’s largest digital advertising and entertainment media platforms, Azerion is delighted to welcome Zafer Karataş and Wim de Pundert as proposed new Supervisory Board members. Further details relating to both proposed Supervisory Board members and the arrangements for the EGM are expected to be published shortly. A new Chairperson will be appointed by the Supervisory Board in due course.

Commenting on the proposed changes, Umut Akpinar, CEO Azerion said “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Peter Tordoir and Derk Haank for their invaluable contribution to the success of Azerion and, in particular, during its initial phase as a listed company. We will be pleased to welcome Zafer Karataş and Wim de Pundert as new Supervisory Board members bringing additional commercial, industry and capital markets experience to the Board.”

Background on proposed new Supervisory Board members

Zafer Karataş brings extensive experience in Business Management, M&A, Reorganizations and Financial Audit. He is currently Chairman of the Board of technology company MeritGrup and a Supervisory board member of DVA Bilisim and Most Teknoloji.

Wim de Pundert has been active as an investor and entrepreneur since the early 1990s, including through the use of buy and build and market consolidation strategies. De Pundert founded HTP Investments, a shareholder of Azerion, together with Klaas Meertens. He is also a member of the supervisory board of Knaus Tabbert AG, a European manufacturer of caravans and mobile homes listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

About Azerion
Founded in 2014, Azerion (EURONEXT: AZRN) is one of Europe’s largest digital advertising and entertainment media platforms. We bring global scaled audiences to advertisers in an easy and cost-effective way, delivered through our proprietary technology, in a safe, engaging, and high quality environment, utilizing our strategic portfolio of owned and operated content with entertainment and other digital publishing partners.

Having its roots in Europe and with its headquarters in Amsterdam, Azerion has commercial teams based in over 26 cities around the world to closely support our clients and partners to find and execute creative ways to make a real impact through advertising.

For more information visit: www.azerion.com

Contact:
Investor Relations
ir@azerion.com

Media
press@azerion.com

This communication contains information that qualifies as inside information within the meaning of Article 7(1) of the EU Market Abuse Regulation.

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000841341

10 areas of the aerospace industry to be disrupted by AI tools

DUBLIN, Ireland, Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The use of AI in aviation goes beyond customer support chatbots and price comparison tools for travelers. While these applications will definitely stay and become ubiquitous, the real disruption will come from optimizing the “hard” areas of aviation – from revenue management to evaluating the likelihood of a strike. Chairman of Avia Solutions Group Gediminas Ziemelis shares his predictions regarding the areas where AI in aviation will make a massive difference.

  1. Unlocking true dynamic pricing. In the airline business, revenue management has never been an easy game, but the stakes are even higher in the post-COVID world. According to IATA, the average profit margin per passenger today is truly razor-thin – just $2.25, compared to double-digit numbers in 2019. AI can help improve the tough task of analyzing historical data and calculating the right price, taking into account the client’s location and a myriad of other factors. While larger airlines will probably opt for building their own solutions in-house, there’s already a growing number of carriers partnering with the likes of AirGain – an AI-driven predictive solution with a data lake covering 6 billion price points.
  2. Maintaining engine health. Predictive maintenance has been an integral part of MRO for quite some time now, with sensors helping airlines determine when and what needs to be fixed or replaced. Artificial Intelligence can use both real-time sensor data and predictive historical fault patterns to reduce downtime and overall costs of maintenance. A recent study conducted by the University of Maryland’s Center for Advanced Aviation System Development (CAASD) found that predictive maintenance can reduce aircraft operational costs by up to 20%. AI is already disrupting this field. For instance, Lufthansa Technik has leveled up aircraft upkeep with its AI-driven predictive maintenance systems. Their Condition Analytics solution employs machine learning algorithms to analyze sensor data from various aircraft components, predicting maintenance needs with remarkable precision. The creation of so-called “digital twins” – perfect virtual replicas that change their parameters according to the physical component’s wear – MRO technicians use digital twins for predictive maintenance and to detect anomalies by comparing real-world sensor data to the data generated by digital twins.
  3. Planning the most efficient route. According to IATA, airlines will spend $215 billion this year, accounting for around 28% of operating expenses, which can be reduced with more efficient route planning. Numerous variables (including air traffic congestion, quickly changing weather patterns, and fluctuating fuel costs) make route planning a complex and demanding task, which can either improve or damage a carrier’s bottom line, depending on how efficiently it is performed. AI-enabled platforms can accelerate decision-making for operators, helping them harness not just the power of historical data but also of predictive mechanisms that, together, generate an actionable and clear picture. One example of such a platform is Flyways, which uses scheduled and active flight data to map out flight routes that go through less-congested areas and bypass areas with adverse weather conditions. The solution has already been tested out by Alaska Airlines, saving the company 480,000 gallons of fuel and resulting in 4,600 fewer tons in carbon emissions over a six-month period. The results of such AI-operator collaboration are reflected not only in cost savings but also in helping businesses become more sustainable. Once such solutions become commonplace not just among airlines but also flight authorities around the world, we will look back at today and be surprised at how inefficient all of us were when planning routes.
  4. Predicting strikes. While strikes in aviation usually make headlines because of the disruption they have on travelers’ plans (especially around major holidays), the fact that airlines can lose tens if not hundreds of millions per strike is often overlooked. In 2022, for instance, SAS lost $145 million over a 15-day pilot strike. As AI can analyze not just technical but also sociological data, a model could be designed to help airlines predict a potential strike and be better prepared for potential negotiations. Models like this that can predict the probability of individual employees leaving their jobs have already been developed by IBM, producing 95% accuracy.
  5. Improving workflows in-flight. An AI can serve as a helper not just to the staff on the ground but also to the cabin crew. It is not just about making routine tasks easier – a properly trained tool can offer expert advice on managing the aircraft and making quick, informed decisions, especially when the pressure is on and quick decisions are vital. The wheels are already in motion to bring this vision to life, with Level 1 AI applications nearing certification, thanks to EASA’s Trustworthiness of Machine Learning based Systems guidelines established in April 2022.
  6. Helping pilots and crew maintain their mental health. Could an AI model have prevented the suicide-by-pilot disaster of Germanwings Flight 9525 that led to the death of 150 people? While this is an area of much speculation, specially designed regular staff screenings can help predict the likelihood of mental issues exacerbated by exposure to stressful events, such as circadian rhythm disruptions, instances of turbulence, and onboard emergencies. Another promising application, which is already being tested by the UK startup Blueskeye AI, is the use of facial sensing technology to identify fatigue in pilots. Today, fatigue is calculated based on the number of hours a pilot has flown, but in the future, this metric will be highly individualized.
  7. Predicting the probability of Airworthiness Directives. An Airworthiness Directive (AD) for either a part of the frame or the engine can ground a sizeable share of an airline’s fleet, especially one that is not diversified across different models. Knowing the likelihood of such a risk can massively help at different stages of fleet management – from fleet formation to maintenance. Much like AI-driven risk management software in banks and financial institutions, a similar solution could be deployed to calculate and mitigate AD risks.
  8. Improving in-house quality management processes. While no malfunction will ever rival the $20 billion bill that Boeing had to foot because of the crashes and subsequent grounding of the 737 MAX, a QA issue can still bankrupt a company. While quality assurance standards in aviation are already higher than in any other industry due to strict regulation of everything related to safety and security, AI can boost in-house quality assurance protocols within the realms of aviation manufacturing and airline management. At the manufacturing stage, a sophisticated computer vision system enhanced by manual checks can better pinpoint flaws in components. For airlines, an AI-enhanced Safety Management System (SMS) can take into account vast amounts of data from various sources, including performance, weather partners and maintenance information.
  9. Finding the best logistics solution for AOG situations. While every aircraft on ground (AOG) situation is unique, it can cost the airline anything from $10,000 to $150,000, not to mention reputational damage. Figuring out the puzzle of both finding the spare part needed and delivering it in hours, and not days, can be tricky, especially if the AOG situation happens far away from major hubs. An AI solution could help the company quickly locate and ship the part to the aircraft. At the same time, a predictive maintenance solution can help prepare for potential AOG events and make sure that there are always enough critical parts in stock.
  10. Determining insurance pricing. In the post-9/11 world, aviation insurance buyers globally are still encountering escalating prices and diminished availability when it comes to war risk coverage. An AI model can help airlines calculate the risks they are facing more precisely, helping them to understand their “war risk” exposure when they are making insurance-related decisions.

About Gediminas Ziemelis

Gediminas Ziemelis (born April 4, 1977) is an accomplished Lithuanian entrepreneur, business consultant, and the founder and current Chairman of the Board of Avia Solutions Group, the largest global ACMI (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, and Insurance) provider, operating a fleet of 196 aircraft. He was selected twice among the top 40 most talented young industry leaders by Aviation Week & Space Technology.

Gediminas is known for his cosmopolitan mindset and exceptional management skills, which have contributed to his success in various business fields. Over his 26-year-long career, Gediminas has founded more than 100 start-ups, 50% of which are still in operation, led companies through 4 successful IPO/SPO processes, and raised over 800 million euros in global public capital and bond markets.

In December 2022, Gediminas Ziemelis was listed as the richest Lithuanian by TOP Magazine, with estimated assets worth 1.68 billion euros.

Gediminas is the largest donator of Rimantas Kaukenas Support Group, a charity and support fund, that provides help to children with oncological diseases and their families. He is also the biggest shareholder in the leading basketball club Wolves.

Media contact: 
Silvija Jakiene 
Chief Communications Officer 
Avia Solutions Group 
silvija.jakiene@aviasg.com 
+370 671 22697

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000841364

HRH Crown Prince launches Soudah Peaks’ masterplan

HRH Crown Prince launches Soudah Peaks’ masterplan

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 27, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prime Minister, and Chairman of Soudah Development has launched the masterplan to develop Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa into Soudah Peaks – a luxury mountain tourism destination set 3,015 meters above sea level on Saudi Arabia’s highest peak. Situated within an extraordinary natural and cultural environment in the Aseer region (southwest Saudi Arabia), the project is a key part of the Public Investment Fund (PIF)’s efforts to diversify the economy by expanding vital industries such as tourism, hospitality, and entertainment, and supporting Aseer development strategy.

HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Chairman of Soudah Development’s Board of Directors, stated that Soudah Peaks represents a new era of luxury mountain tourism by providing an unprecedented living experience while preserving the natural environment, cultural, and heritage richness. It is strategically aligned with Vision 2030 goals of expanding tourism and entertainment, supporting economic growth, attracting investments, contributing more than SAR 29 billion to the Kingdom’s cumulative GDP, and creating thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities.

HRH said, “The masterplan reaffirms our commitment to global efforts in preserving the environment and natural resources for future generations and aims to contribute to diversifying national income sources and building a strong economy that attracts local and global investments.”

HRH added, “Soudah Peaks will be a significant addition to the tourism sector in Saudi Arabia and place the Kingdom on the global tourism map, whilst highlighting and celebrating the country’s rich culture and heritage. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover the beauty of Soudah Peaks, explore its rich culture and heritage, and experience the authentic hospitality of the local community. Soudah Peaks will offer unforgettable experiences amidst lush greenery, above the clouds.”

Soudah Peaks aims to offer high-end luxurious hospitality services to over two million visitors throughout the year by 2033. The masterplan is being designed to reflect the local traditional, and architectural styles, and will promote both the cultural and landscape heritage of the region. The destination will be home to 6 unique development zones: Tahlal, Sahab, Sabrah, Jareen, Rijal, and Red Rock. Each will offer a range of world-class facilities including hotels, luxury mountain resorts, residential chalets, villas, premium mansion sites, entertainment and commercial attractions, as well as outdoor attractions dedicated to sports, adventure, wellness and culture.

Soudah Development will deliver 2,700 hospitality keys, 1,336 residential units, and 80,000 square meters of commercial space for Soudah Peaks by 2033. The masterplan will be developed over three phases, with 940 hotel keys, 391 residential units, and 32,000 square meters of retail space expected to be completed in 2027, within Phase one.

Soudah Peaks is set across more than 627 square kilometers of awe-inspiring nature, with less than 1% of the land being acquired for building, reflecting Soudah Development’s commitment to protecting and preserving the environment, following best-in-class sustainability standards, and contributing to the efforts of the Saudi Green Initiative.

As a closed joint-stock company owned by PIF, Soudah Development aims to develop a unique luxury mountain tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, whilst preserving the natural environment and cultural heritage of the project area spread across Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa.

About Soudah Development
Soudah Development is a closed joint-stock company fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. It has been established to drive the development of a luxury mountain tourism destination, covering Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa, in the Aseer region in southwest Saudi Arabia. It aims to preserve the natural landscape and respect the rich cultural heritage of the region, whilst attracting 2 million visitors every year by 2033. Soudah Development was announced by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prime Minister, and Chairman of PIF, on February 24, 2021.

For more information, visit the links below:
Website: www.soudah.sa & www.soudahpeaks.com
Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook: @Soudahpeaks
Or by email: press@soudah.sa

Source: NewsBeatWire

Contacts:

Mohammed A. Alshehri

Press@soudah.sa

A Media Snippet accompanying this announcement is available by clicking on the image or link below:

HRH Crown Prince launches Soudah Peaks’ masterplan

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 1000841357

Philippines to craft more assertive strategy for sea territories

The Philippines is in the process of crafting a more assertive strategy for waters it claims in the disputed South China Sea, a Navy commander said on Wednesday.

Philippine Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos comment came days after Manila accused China Coast Guard ships of installing a floating barrier – removed later by the Philippines – at the sea’s disputed Scarborough Shoal, which China on Monday reiterated was its territory.

Manila, which also claims the shoal, was in the midst of forming “a national strategy” with a “stronger assertion of rights in the sea,” Carlos said, referring to waters within the Philippines’ jurisdiction.

Carlos’ command is in Palawan, the country’s western frontier facing the West Philippine Sea – Manila’s name for the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone.

“For the military alone, our line of efforts include the effective occupation of the islands that we already occupied and also establishing a stronger naval presence in our area,” he said.

The strategy would allow the military to “know what is happening in our area, precisely where they are, where are all the vessels of interest, the militia vessels, the Chinese Coast Guard,” Carlos said.

A United Nations tribunal in 2016 dismissed China’s sweeping claims over most of the South China Sea, including Scarborough Shoal, but Beijing has refused to recognize the ruling.

Instead of seeking to enforce the ruling, then-President Rodrigo Duterte sought to ingratiate himself with China in exchange for pledges of investments.

In contrast, his successor as president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has been firm on the Philippines’ position and has sought stronger defense alliances with the United States and other western countries including Australia and Britain.

China reacts

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Wednesday maintained his nation’s hardline stance on the shoal.

“What the Philippines did looks like nothing more than self-amusement,” he told reporters.

“China will continue to safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests over Huangyan Dao,” he said, using the Chinese name for Scarborough Shoal.

Carlos rejected the Chinese stance on the barrier at the shoal, which the Philippines calls Bajo de Masinloc.

“We are not stirring [up] any trouble. We are just asserting our rights in the area,” he said.

“Our duty is to defend and protect our sovereignty and sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. We are just doing our job, we are doing our job as far as asserting our jurisdiction over our exclusive economic zone.”

China has disputes with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan over the South China Sea and has become more aggressive in the region.

In addition to the floating barrier, Chinese ships have harassed military resupply missions to troops on the Philippine-occupied Ayungin Shoal in recent months.

The troops are stationed on a World War II-era ship, the BRP Sierra Madre, that was grounded at the shoal in 1999 to serve as a military outpost. The China Coast Guard has fired water cannons and taken steps to harass Philippine Coast Guard ships escorting missions to the BRP Sierra Madre.

The Philippine Western Command chief said Marcos’ directive was to ensure that BRP Sierra Madre remains where it is and “strong enough to be able to fly the Philippine flag.”

“We intend to comply with that order,” Carlos said.

More training

Meanwhile, the Philippines and the United States navies are set to launch joint exercises in the South China Sea next month, said Lt. Col. Enrico Gil Ileto, military public affairs chief.

More than 600 U.S. Navy personnel are expected to attend the 12-day drills dubbed Sama-Sama. Representatives from Britain, France, Indonesia, Japan and New Zealand are scheduled to attend as observers.

Ileto said the annual exercise “aims to further strengthen international defense cooperation and advance a rules-based international order.”

He said the Philippine Navy’s guided missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna will be joined by the USS Dewey, a guided missile destroyer, and the USNS Wally Schirra cargo ship.

The exercises are part of the Mutual Defense Treaty signed in 1951, which calls on both countries to aid each other in times of aggression by an external power.

Source: Radio Free Asia

Party chief hosts Cuban delegation

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong hosted a reception in Hanoi on September 27 for a Cuban high-ranking delegation led by Politburo member of the Communist Party of Cuba and President of the National Assembly of People’s Power of Cuba Esteban Lazo Hernandez, who is in Vietnam to attend a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s trip to the liberated zone in the south of Vietnam.

Party chief Trong said the visit reflects the fraternal Cuban Party and State’s appreciation for the special relationship between Vietnam and Cuba.

He expressed his delight at the positive development of ties between the two Parties and countries, with practical activities to mark the anniversary, thereby raising public awareness of the tradition of bilateral special friendship, particularly among the young generation, thus contributing to deepening the bilateral comprehensive cooperation.

Vietnam always values, preserves and stays determined to deepen the special traditional solidarity and comprehensive cooperation with Cuba, he said, adding that Vietnam is consistent with its stance on solidarity and support for Cuba, opposing and calling for an end to the policy of blockade and embargo against the Caribbean country.

Esteban Lazo Hernandez, for his part, conveyed the regards of Cuban revolutionary leader Gen. Raúl Castro, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and President Díaz-Canel and other Cuban leaders to Party leader Trong.

He said the Cuban leaders and people wish to further deepen and expand ties between the two Parties and countries for the benefit of their people and for socialism, peace, cooperation and development in the region and the world.

Cuba regards its relationship with Vietnam as having strategic significance, he noted.

The guest thanked Vietnam for transferring technology, sending experts and offering timely support to Cuba during its difficult period.

Presenting Cuba’s plans and investment areas of its interest, he said the Cuban Government welcomes and will create favourable conditions for the Vietnamese firms operating in Cuba, and boost joint work between enterprises, organisations, and localities of the two countries.

Host and guest suggested the two countries’ ministries, agencies, organisations and localities work closely together and flexibly follow high-level agreements, programmes and agreements that have been signed. They shared the view that there should be an increase in the exchange of ideology, experiences and the selection of areas with high potential. This will help to identify appropriate methods to create new developments in economy, trade, investment, agriculture, education, biotechnology, health care, and others.

On the occasion, Trong reiterated his invitation to Raúl Castro and Díaz-Canel to visit Vietnam, saying that he looks forward to welcoming them to the country soon./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency

Coordinating council for Mekong Delta region opens first meeting

The coordinating council for Mekong Delta region opened its first meeting in Bac Lieu province on September 27 under the chair of Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai, who is also head of the council.

At the meeting, which saw the participation of officials from central agencies and representatives from 13 regional localities, participants discussed specific mechanisms and policies for the region’s development, as well as the connectivity and coordination among projects that promote intra-regional and inter-regional links.

Deputy PM Khai affirmed the meeting was an opportunity to promote the potential and strength of the region, and put forward solutions to existing problems.

He highlighted the region’s particularly important strategic position in terms of economy, culture, society, environment, defence, security, and foreign affairs of the country.

According to the Deputy PM, located in the country’s southernmost part, the Mekong Delta region is a bridge connecting Vietnam with other countries in ASEAN, especially those in the Mekong Subregion. It is also the country’s key agricultural region with various key products, especially rice, shrimp, tra fish, and fruits, and plays a huge role in the ecological environment, water security, and food security for the whole country.

Chairman of the Bac Lieu provincial People’s Committee Pham Van Thieu said the Mekong Delta is the country’s largest agricultural production hub, contributing 50% of total rice production and 95% of rice exports, 65% of aquaculture production, 60% of fish exports, and nealry 70% of fruit output.

He stressed the need to have a synchronous, effective coordinating mechanism in line with law and planning approved by competent authorities for the region’s fast and sustainable development.

Regarding orientations for the council in the near future, Deputy PM Khai urged ministries, sectors and regional localities to take specific actions to improve the operational efficiency of the regional coordinating council with a focus on modern, large-scale agricultural production, organic ariculture, the processing industry, preservation of agricultural and aquatic products, and product brand development.

He also urged the localities to promote economic restructuring, especially agricultural structure suitable for each ecological area, effectively implement projects related to climate change adaptation. Other key tasks are to solve riverbank and coastal erosion, subsidence, saltwater intrusion, and drought, while developing a comprehensive strategy for protection and sustainabl use of Mekong River water resources.

In July and August 2023, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh signed decisions on the establishment of coordinating councils for six regions across the country – the Red River Delta region, the North Central and Central Coast region, the Southeast Region, the Central Highlands Region, Mekong Delta region and the Northern Midland and Mountainous region.

The councils are responsible for coordinating linking activities for regional socioeconomic and infrastructure development, with priority given to transport infrastructure. They will study and propose the formation of a fund for regional infrastructure development./.

Source: Vietnam News Agency