Aviation News in Brief 17 Jan 2020

CALC, Airbus, Boeing, VietJet, FAAC, Cathay Pacific, Paradise Seaplanes, TrueNoord, Etihad, Magnetic Leasing, Ideagen.

(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

CALC orders 40 new A321neos, welcomes Dreamliners: CALC announced that it has ordered 40 new Airbus A321neo aircraft and received its first batch of two Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Following this new order, CALC’s accumulative order book with Airbus now stands at 252 aircraft, making CALC the seventh-largest lessor customer for Airbus. The A321 is the largest member of the A320 family and seats up to 240 passengers, depending on cabin configuration. The arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner passenger jets marks a milestone in CALC’s history, as it is the group’s first widebody aircraft in its order book. These two aircraft were successfully delivered to an airline in Asia in December 2019 and January 2020. CALC is one of the world’s top 10 aircraft lessors in terms of the combined asset value of fleet and order book, according to ICF International. Further growth is expected in years to come, with the group currently holding a substantial order book of 257 aircraft scheduled to deliver by 2023.

Vietjet expands network to northeast Asia: Following the launch of Can Tho – Seoul route and the announcement of five new routes to Japan, VietJet has commenced its latest international route connecting Da Lat – the famous tourist destination in Vietnam’s Central Highlands, and Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. The new route continues to expand the airline’s network to northeast Asia. The Da Lat – Seoul (Incheon) operates four return flights weekly. Adding the two new routes, VietJet now has 11 direct routes, 480 flights per month, operating the most flights connecting Vietnam and South Korea.

FACC receives CAAC Part-145 maintenance organisation approval: The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has granted FACC approval as a maintenance organisation according to Part-145. This CAAC certification represents a further milestone for the Austrian aerospace group in its latest “Aftermarket Services” business segment. It joins the long list of certifications the company already holds, which include the European EASA, the FAA of the United States and the Canadian TCCA. FACC is thus taking an important step in the expansion of its global customer base and is offering airlines in the growing Chinese market a comprehensive range of maintenance, repair and modification services. FACC is now authorised to perform maintenance work on components and systems operating under Chinese registration.

Pax numbers continue decline at Cathay Pacific: The Cathay Pacific Group released combined Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon traffic figures for December 2019 that show decreases in the number of passengers carried. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon carried a total of 2.9 million passengers last month – a decline of 3.6 percent compared to December 2018. Passenger load factor increased by 1.2 percentage points to 85 percent, while capacity, measured in available seat kilometres (ASKs), decreased by 1.3 percent. For 2019 as a whole, the number of passengers carried declined by 0.7 percent against a 5.1 percent increase in capacity as compared to 2018. Cathay Pacific Group Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Ronald Lam said: “Demand for travel into Hong Kong continued to be weak in December with our inbound passenger traffic seeing a year-on-year decline of 46 percent – unchanged from November. The sentiment for travel into Hong Kong was particularly weak on our regional routes such as mainland China, Taiwan and Japan. On the brighter side, our long-haul routes performed well with better load factors. Outbound traffic, meanwhile, was down 4 percent – a further improvement over the previous few months, but still significantly below what we would expect for a peak holiday month. Given the overall weak performance of both our inbound and outbound traffic, we remained heavily focused and reliant upon lower-yield transit traffic via Hong Kong, which grew by 15 percent…Looking ahead, advance bookings for Chinese New Year appear promising with the boost in transit passengers; however, we continue to see a significant shortfall for the period after Chinese New Year, especially from inbound traffic.”

Seaplane offers sustainable way to explore Sunshine Coast: A vintage seaplane may not scream “environmentally friendly” at first glance, but a flight with Paradise Seaplanes is one of the most sustainable ways to explore the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Paradise Seaplanes owner and pilot Shawn Kelly said Willy, as their post-world war Wilga Warbird (PS104-80) is affectionately known, is the only commercially-operated seaplane between Port Macquarie and Gladstone, and the only seaplane of its type in Australia. “She may not seem environmentally friendly thanks to her 9-cylinder radial engine but we are very proud to be Australia’s first carbon neutral Seaplane operation. We purchase certified carbon credits to offset all our flights but even before that Willy’s impact is minimal,” Kelly said. Paradise Seaplanes currently operate from the Maroochy River and offer several different flights – the most popular being the Maroochy River Adventure which flies over Mooloolaba and Point Cartwright, the Sunshine Coast Adventure which flies over the Mooloolaba harbour down to Caloundra and back, and the Noosa River Adventure which goes north over Mudjimba Island, past Mt Coolum and the Noosa National Park and Noosa River, all including the exciting river take-off and landing. The seaplane can accommodate two to three people per flight with a maximum passenger weight of 200kg.

TrueNoord leases two further ATR 72-600s to US-Bangla: TrueNoord, the specialist regional aircraft lessor, has placed two more new ATR 72-600 aircraft on long-term operating leases with expanding Bangladeshi domestic and international operator, US-Bangla. The aircraft have been financed by Citibank, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Canada under TrueNoord’s revolving warehouse facility. Milbank represented TrueNoord and Clifford Chance advised the banks on the financing side of the transaction. These new aircraft supplement the recently re-marketed ATR72-600 that TrueNoord transitioned from Air France HOP! in October and bring TrueNoord’s total fleet placed with US-Bangla to three ATRs. This aircraft type now shapes the backbone of the airline’s modern regional fleet.

Etihad targets zero net carbon emissions by 2050: Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has committed to a minimum target of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 and halving of its 2019 net emission levels by 2035. The company’s ambitious environmental targets will be achieved through a mix of internal initiatives, collaboration with industry partners and adoption of a comprehensive program of relevant carbon offsets, to be developed with specific focus on the requirements of the UAE and markets served by the airline.

Ryanair contracts Magnetic Leasing for landing gear lease: Magnetic Leasing, an international aviation asset management company and unit of Magnetic MRO, has signed a deal with Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, for a landing gear lease. The agreement covers an eight-month lease period during which the landing gear will be used on different aircraft based on the carrier’s demand. Magnetic Leasing has already delivered its landing gear to Ryanair’s maintenance base at London Stansted (STN) where it has been installed on one of the carrier’s Boeing 737-800s. The leased nose and main gears will be used as a spare set to cover the overhaul period of the airline’s multiple landing gears. Currently, Magnetic Leasing manages an asset portfolio which includes Airbus A320 FAM, Boeing 737 NG and Boeing 737 CL aircraft, as well as CFM56-3, CFM56-5B, CFM56-7B, V2500-A5, RB211-535 engines and multiple Airbus A320 FAM and Boeing 737 NG/CL landing gear sets.

Ideagen secures software project with Saudi Arabia’s first flying academy: UK-based, global software firm, Ideagen, has secured a project with a Saudi Arabian flying academy that will see it provide software to help it meet regulatory and operational requirements. OxfordSaudia, owned by the Saudi National Company of Aviation (SNCA), will implement Ideagen’s Coruson system for quality management with additional functionality and capability for safety and risk. The flying academy is the kingdom’s first ever, and is an authorised training partner of the CAE, a global leader in training for the civil aviation, defence and security, and healthcare markets. Coruson will be adopted for specific tasks such as the electronic storage and management of crucial operational processes, tracking quality and safety issues, identifying risks and analysing data to provide areas of operational improvement.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.


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