AAV News in Brief 20 January 2021

Qatar Airways, Airbus, Embraer, Riga Airport, LanzaJet, Caeli Nova, ADB SAFEGATE, Watson Farley & Williams, Nexshore, AJW Group, Honeywell, Kale Logistics

Qatar Airways suit seeks US$600 million
(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Qatar Airways suit seeks US$600 million: Qatar Airways is seeking more than US$600 million in compensation from Airbus over A350 flaws, according to court documents filed in London. Qatar also asked the London court to order Airbus not to attempt to deliver any more of the jets until what it describes as a design defect has been fixed. Qatar Airways says its national regulator has ordered it to stop flying 21 out of its 53 A350 jets after the problems appeared, prompting a bitter dispute with Airbus which has said that while it acknowledges technical problems, there is no safety issue. The Gulf airline is calling for US$618 million in contractual compensation from Airbus over the partial grounding, plus US$4 million for each day the 21 jets remain out of service. The claim includes $76 million for one aircraft alone – a five-year-old A350 that was due to be re-painted in livery for the 2022 World Cup, which Qatar is hosting later this year, according to a Reuters report. Airbus said it understood the cause and would “deny in total” the airline’s complaint. It has accused the airline, once one of its most highly courted customers, of trying to mischaracterise the problems as a safety concern.

Boeing-EmbraerEmbraer announces aerostructures deal: Embraer and Aernnova, an international reference company in the supply of aerostructures, announced a strategic partnership for Embraer Metálicas and Embraer Compósitos industrial units, located in the Aeronautical Industry Park of Évora, Portugal. The transaction contemplates the sale of all shares of company’s wholly owned subsidiaries to Aernnova for the reference price of US$172 million, subject to adjustments on the closing date. The agreement aims to increase the production of the centres of excellence, which operation has strategic importance for the current and future products of Embraer. With 37,100 and 31,800-square metres respectively, and employing around 500 people, these facilities combine the most advanced technologies in both metallic and composite airframe construction with a high level of digitalization and automation of plant production processes. Among other activities, both factories produce parts for wings, vertical and horizontal stabilizers for programmes such as the Praetor 500 and Praetor 600 business jets, the two generations of the E-Jets family of commercial jets and the multi-mission aircraft KC-390 Millennium. Évora industrial units will constitute Aernnova’s largest production centre in the world.

Riga Airport to invest in baggage works: Over the next year, Riga Airport will reconstruct and expand the baggage handling infrastructure, which will increase its baggage sorting capacity, modernise compliance with the requirements of the latest generation baggage handling security systems and strengthen the continuity of baggage handling infrastructure. The new baggage handling infrastructure for Riga Airport will be delivered, installed and integrated into the Airport systems by Siemens Logistics S.r.l., which won the Airport’s tender and signed a contract worth 4.43 million euros in Riga this week. The Airport will cover these investments from its investment budget. The works for the new baggage handling system are to be completed in about a year.

LanzaJet secures financing for alcohol-to-jet SAF plant: LanzaJet, a sustainable fuels technology company and renewable fuels producer, announced it has secured financing for its Freedom Pines Fuels plant in Soperton, Georgia, through the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund. The Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund has made a US$50 million investment to support the construction of LanzaJet’s first alcohol-to-jet sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production plant. The innovative structure of Microsoft’s financing will enable LanzaJet to bring lower-cost sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel to the global market. LanzaJet is dedicated to accelerating the energy transition in sectors where decarbonisation is hard, such as aviation. LanzaJet produces SAF and renewable diesel from low-carbon, sustainable ethanol sources. This investment also creates the opportunity for LanzaJet and the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund to work together in enabling LanzaJet, through the Freedom Pines Fuels plant, to catalyse the market for 2nd generation, waste-based ethanol feedstock, demonstrating clear demand signals for ethanol that can achieve greater carbon reductions. The construction of Freedom Pines Fuels is progressing as planned, even with supply chain, manufacturing, and labor shortages impacting the global economy. Fabrication of the plant is well underway; some modules are already completed and final site engineering is nearing completion. The LanzaJet Freedom Pines Fuels plant is expected to achieve mechanical completion this year and begin producing 10 million gallons of SAF and renewable diesel per year from sustainable ethanol, including from waste-based feedstocks, in 2023.

Caeli Nova raises US$8 million in Series A funding: Caeli Nova has successfully closed its Series A round of financing. This latest round of investment will allow the breathing technology developer to take greater strides in enhancing its technology, and to bring its first products to the market. Cordillera, Caeli Nova’s launch product, is an advanced aircraft emergency oxygen system that overcomes limitations associated with the existing technology, while significantly reducing costs and carbon emissions for airlines by enabling aircraft to fly the most direct routes. The company is aiming to install Cordillera onto first aircraft during 2022. LG Capital, Switzerland-based venture builder and co-founder of Caeli Nova, spearheaded the company’s Series A financing round, which has drawn investments from both the healthcare as well as the aviation sectors. The round was led by principal investor Ornament Health, a Swiss digital health company. Other primary financing partners participating in this round included Latécoère, a leading stock market listed Tier 1 aerospace manufacturer.

ADB SAFEGATE completes acquisition of DBT Transportation Services: ADB SAFEGATE has acquired DBT Transportation Services LLC, which specialises in weather systems, sensor technologies and services primarily for the aviation industry. Laurent Dubois, CEO of ADB SAFEGATE said, “We are excited to work together to service our customers from approach to departure and expand our product offerings on the airfield. DBT has an impressive history of seamlessly servicing their customer base.” “DBT is pleased to be joining forces with a world-wide industry leader, such as ADB SAFEGATE,” said David Barnes, CEO of DBT. “ADB SAFEGATE has an unmatched 100-year history of delivering quality products and services to the aviation community, and we share a common vision of providing an efficient, safe and cost-effective experience for all airfield stakeholders.”

WFW expands aviation restructuring index: Watson Farley & Williams’ aviation experts have added the following four new jurisdictions to the firm’s online interactive legal analytics tool, the Global Aviation Restructuring Index (GARI): Chile; Colombia; Israel; and The Philippines. Launched on 19 October 2021, GARI offers a comparative index of 55+ restructuring procedures available in 30 key aviation jurisdictions. Freely available to all aviation sector participants, GARI presents information visually through infographics and assigns debtor and creditor ‘friendliness’ scores to complex restructuring procedures in order to make high-level comparisons easy to digest. GARI had well over 2,000 unique users in the first six weeks of its launch and now has a steady user base of over 60 unique users a day. WFW Global Aviation Sector Co-Head Jim Bell, one of GARI’s key developers, said: “Given GARI’s impressive use to date, we’re very pleased to have added four key new jurisdictions to the tool, further enhancing its use to aviation participants in analysing and comparing restructuring procedures worldwide.”

Nexshore expands advisory board: Nexshore, which powers the OneRecord air cargo logistics data-sharing platform, has appointed Lionel van der Walt, global chief commercial Officer (CCO) of PayCargo to its advisory board. Designed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and brought to life by Nexshore, the OneRecord platform is a digital ecosystem of air cargo stakeholders, communities, and data platforms. “We are very excited to have Lionel join us in an advising capacity. We are impressed with his business acumen and worldwide logistics expertise,” said Pramod Rao, CEO of Nexshore. Van der Walt spent the early part of his career in the South African Air Force and later over a decade with IATA, where he held various leadership roles based out of South Africa, Spain, and the United States, including President of Cargo Network Services Corp. (CNS), IATA’s US cargo subsidiary. He joined PayCargo in 2018, initially as a board member, becoming chief executive officer and president for the Americas in 2019 and taking up his current role as Global CCO in 2021.

AJW Group and Honeywell announce worldwide MAX deal: AJW Group and Honeywell announced a worldwide sole distributor agreement for the global sales of Air Data Inertial Reference Unit (ADIRU) PN HG2050BC04 for later generation B737NG and all current production B737MAX fleets of aircraft. Under the terms of the agreement, AJW will distribute the new production build ADIRU, for all Boeing 737 MAX aircraft for all Initial Provisioning and purchasing requirements for operators and integrated service providers. The collaboration includes AJW holding distribution inventory at their global facilities to meet the needs of worldwide Boeing 737 MAX operators, complementing the extensive inventory of Boeing parts and maintenance, repair and overhaul services that allow AJW to deliver complete support solutions to customers. In addition, AJW Technique, AJW Group’s maintenance hub and an authorised repair facility for multiple Honeywell products, is lining up for capability extension to offer complete support on the Airbus ADIRU platform.

Kale Logistics names new tech head: Kale Logistics Solutions has appointed Vikram Bansal as its new chief technology officer (CTO) to enhance digital capabilities and fast-track technological innovation at the company. Bansal has over 20 years’ experience as an IT professional, working in leadership positions with top organisations such as Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Lionbridge, and Wipro GE Healthcare. During this time, Bansal has worked on projects to launch cutting-edge technology solutions from conceptualisation through to deployment. “Vikram is a quintessential domain expert with over two decades of experience in fields such as logistics and fintech systems, mobile banking, telecom, healthcare and more,” said Rajesh Panicker, co-founder and chief operations officer of Kale Logistics Solutions. Bansal joins at a time when the organisation is expanding its footprint in North America and other geographies, and with his appointment as CTO, Kale looks forward to improving its digital capabilities and setting new benchmarks for innovation in the industry.

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