Aviation News in Brief 24 August 2020

Nordic Aviation Capital, BOC Aviation, Lufthansa Technik, FACC, NEC, Red Hat OpenShift, Qatar Airways, Honeywell, MySky, Satcom Direct

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Use this oneNordic Aviation Capital announces full-year results, new CEO: Nordic Aviation Capital, the world’s largest regional aircraft lessor, said it posted a strong first-half performance in 2020 but the last quarter was “extremely challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company said it lost US$639 million for the year but increased lease revenue by 2 percent to US$760 million and reported EBITDA of US$686 million. The company also reported it priced a record-breaking US private placement of US$859 million in February 2020, representing the largest private placement by an aircraft lessor in the history of the market and celebrated the opening of its new headquarters in Limerick, Ireland. It recorded a 22 percent increase in placements and extensions compared to last year including the execution of 65 lease extensions with existing customers. Shareholders collectively injected US$60 million of new equity into the business and through an approved scheme of arrangement, reached an agreement with lenders to standstill on and defer debt obligations for a period of 6-12 months, to ensure stability as the aviation market gradually recovers. The company also welcomed new CEO Patrick de Castelbajac, the former CEO at ATR. NAC has 75 airline customers in over 50 countries with a fleet of almost 500 aircraft including ATR 42, ATR 72, De Havilland Dash 8, CRJ900/1000, Airbus A220 and Embraer E-Jet family aircraft.

BOC Aviation reports net profit in first half: BOC Aviation said in the six months to 30 June 2020 it posted a net profit after tax of US$323 million in the first half of 2020. Total revenues and other income rose at around the same pace as our total assets in the first half of 2020, up 11 percent to US$1 billion from US$930 million in the first half of last year. “BOC Aviation successfully navigated its way through the first half and delivered a resilient performance in a challenging environment. We proactively supported our airline customers through purchase and leasebacks,” said Robert Martin, managing director and CEO. “We successfully accessed the debt capital markets on three occasions in January, April and June, ending the half year with US$4 billion of liquidity available.” The company reported total assets increased 14 percent to US$22.6 billion as at 30 June 2020 from 31 December 2019, it utilised US$3.8 billion in bonds and term loans and maintained strong liquidity of US$4 billion as at 30 June 2020, comprising US$398 million in cash and cash equivalents, and US$3.6 billion in undrawn committed unsecured revolving credit facilities. The company said it now had a portfolio of 5,711 owned, managed and committed aircraft and reshaped its orderbook, committing to purchase 86 incremental aircraft and restructured its Boeing 737 MAX order, ending the period with an orderbook of 1,971 aircraft scheduled for delivery through to 31 December 2024.

Lufthansa Technik hands over first Airbus A350 to German Special Air Mission Wing: Lufthansa Technik recently handed over the first of three new Airbus  A350-900s to the German Armed Forces. During a small ceremony in Hamburg, conducted according to current pandemic rules, Minister of  Defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took a first look at the future  flagship of the Federal Ministry of Defence’s (BMVg) Special Air Mission Wing. On the way to the final operational readiness of the aircraft, the military certification for the 10+03 designation and various test flights with the new widebody aircraft will take place  in the coming weeks. This is the world’s first government aircraft of this type and thus also the world’s first Airbus A350 not to be used in commercial airline service. The factory-fresh aircraft, which was still on the civil register as D-AGAF, arrived at Lufthansa Technik at the beginning of May. It is equipped with a special transitional cabin for political-parliamentary flight operations. The cabin comes with office and conference areas, adjoined by a multifunctional lounge area. The remaining space is available for delegations flying on the  aircraft. After sister aircraft 10+01 and 10+02, which are currently under construction, will receive a fully-fledged government cabin from Lufthansa Technik next year, the transitional cabin in the 10+03 will also be exchanged.

FACC hurt by COVID-19: FACC did not remain untouched by the global impact of the corona crisis. In the second quarter of 2020, FACC was unable to withstand the global impact of the corona crisis. Some 80 percent of aircraft fleets worldwide were grounded for months, inductions of new aircraft were postponed, and hardly any new orders were placed. This resulted in necessary adjustments of the production rates of the main customers to the new market conditions and, as a consequence, a reduced sales volume for FACC. Revenues in the first half of 2020 amounted to 292.1 million euros compared to 394.9 million euros in the same period a year ago. The decline of 26 percent is mainly attributable to the corona-related slump in the aircraft industry, which had a noticeable impact on business performance, particularly in April, May and June of the reporting period. EBIT before impairment stood at 0.5 million euros in the first half of the year, with all segments recording lower results. Impairments arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the medium-term market environment amounted to a loss of 37.4 million euros with EBIT in the first six months of 2020 amount to a loss of 36.9 million euros. Based on the information currently available on the aircraft programmes essential for FACC and the short and medium-term production rates of FACC’s key customers, the revenue expectation for the business year 2020 is between 500 million euros and 520 million euros. As regards earnings, management is anticipating EBIT in the range of losses of 55 million to 65 million euros.

NEC onboards Red Hat OpenShift: Red Hat announced that NEC has used Red Hat OpenShift as the foundation for Narita International Airport’s new “Check-in to boarding experience” known as “One ID” in Japan. One ID covers the entire passenger experience within an airport, from check-in to boarding, and uses Red Hat OpenShift to provide the massive scale and flexibility required to handle peak passenger volume at Narita. One ID extends biometric technology to provide a solution tailored to the growing need for “fast travel” in the airline industry. The system requires a facial photo of a passenger to be registered when they initially check-in at an airport service desk or self-service KIOSK at Narita Airport. From there, the passenger is able to move more rapidly through the airport, including screening, baggage storage and the boarding gate without having to show a boarding pass or passport. Biometric scanners at each phase of the travel process are able to confirm the individual’s identity, helping to improve traffic flow through the airport and the overall travel experience. One ID is expected to go live at Narita International Airport’s 1st and 2nd passenger terminals in the near future. Following the introduction of One ID at Narita Airport.

Qatar opens additional routes: Qatar Airways in the month of August announced the resumption of eight destinations, including: Houston (three-weekly flights starting 2 September increasing to four-weekly from 15 September); Kigali (three-weekly flights started 3 August); London Gatwick (daily flights starting 20 August); Nairobi (double daily flights started 3 August) Philadelphia (three-weekly flights starting 16 September); Sialkot (three-weekly flights starting 1 September). Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker, said: “Since the onset of the pandemic Qatar Airways network has never fallen below 30 destinations with continuous services to five continents. Our airline has lead the industry in offering passengers more choices and greater flexibility so they can plan and book travel with confidence. We have also implemented the most advanced safety and hygiene measures onboard including becoming the first airline to require passengers to wear face shields in addition to face coverings.”

Honeywell 3D part gets FAA approval: Honeywell has created the first certified, flight-critical engine part using additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing. The part, known as the #4/5 bearing housing, is currently in production and was installed on an in-service engine. It is a major structural component in the ATF3-6 turbofan engine used on the Dassault Falcon 20G maritime patrol aircraft, which are used by the French Navy for patrol and search-and-rescue missions. Designed by Garrett in the 1960s and certified in 1967, there are only about a dozen ATF3-6 engines still flying. This presents sourcing and supply chain challenges for operators of Dassault Falcon 20G aircraft. Additionally, the #4/5 bearing housing is a complicated part to manufacture — making it extremely costly for operators to replace due to the low quantity of orders placed. This challenge is combined with the high cost of tools needed to produce parts with traditional casting methods, where molten metal is poured into a mold and allowed to harden. With additive manufacturing, these parts can be printed much more quickly and in smaller quantities without the need for expensive tools. During this process, components are built from the bottom up, with layers of powdered metal fused on top of one another using a laser.

MySky and Satcom Direct form strategic alliance: MySky, the only AI-powered spend management platform designed for the private aviation industry, and Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation solutions provider, announced a strategic alliance enabling access to real-time data for private aviation. Subscribers to MySky and SD will benefit from an all-encompassing approach to aircraft management that combines operational and financial information into a single source of data, the SD Pro platform. Designed to bring transparency to the industry for the first time, MySky provides access to financial data and proprietary IT tools that help owners and operators reduce costs, refine spending and improve the overall aircraft ownership experience. SD Pro, the digital management dashboard, provides relevant and timely information about pre- to- post flight aircraft performance to aircraft operators around the world. An open architecture platform, SD Pro adds value to the user experience through the integration of third-party suppliers. As a result of the integration with MySky, SD will add a financial component to its SD Pro platform.

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