Aviation News in Brief 30 June 2020

Utility Air, Qantas, Regional Express, GEODIS, CDB Aviation

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Australia’s Utility Air announces Diamond tour: Utility Air, the exclusive Distributor for Diamond Aircraft in Australia, announced that a new Diamond DA40NG Aircraft is en route from Canada to Australia for demonstration purposes. The aircraft, in Utility Air Livery, will be hangered in Brisbane and used as part of a National Tour scheduled for later in 2020 as border restrictions ease. John Oppenheim, a director of Utility Air, said “after the slowdown in flying and events caused by COVID-, we are excited to be able to invest in the future of aviation in the region again. Bringing this aircraft to our marketplace shows a commitment not just to Diamond Aircraft but also to all our owners and prospective customers in Australia and New Zealand. It is only through investment in the growth of aviation and marketing that we’ll get back to where we all want to be – flying.” The aircraft will be displayed at the next Avalon Air Show and will be coming to regional airports soon.

Qantas reopening some domestic, regional lounges: Qantas has announced it will reopen a number of its domestic and regional lounges around the country following the easing of travel and venue capacity restrictions. The airline closed its domestic and international lounges on 23 March, as a result of government enforced restrictions that shut down the majority of domestic and international flying. With the relaxing of state-based restrictions and an increase in domestic capacity, Qantas is able to begin a phased reopening of those lounge facilities which support the current domestic network, starting with 11 of its 35 Australian domestic lounges from 1 July. As part of the Qantas Group’s ‘Fly Well’ programme, a number of measures will be put in place across the lounge network to promote the health and wellbeing of passengers and staff including: Capping the number of guests to comply with state-specific restrictions on indoor gatherings; a hosted All-Day Snacking Station replacing ‘self-serve’ buffets and drink stations; disposable coffee cups; additional cleaning protocols; sanitising stations.

Regional Express board approves plans for Australia ops: Following the announcement to the ASX on 13 May 2020 of the Regional Express Group’s intentions to explore the feasibility of commencing domestic operations in Australia, Regional Express (Rex) has been engaged in confidential exploratory discussions with various parties to assess the availability of funding for starting up domestic operations. The Rex board has now formed the view that Rex could successfully embark on domestic operations. Consequently, the Board has approved an initiative to raise a minimum of A$30 million, which the board now believes will be all that is needed for the launch of limited domestic operations, through one or more of the following avenues: sale-and-lease-back arrangement, equity injection and convertible notes. Due to the strong interest shown by various external parties to participate in the fund raising, including lessors willing to provide A$30 million for 15 of Rex’s fleet of 60 unencumbered Saab 340 aircraft, the board has now formed the view that funding will be forthcoming for the minimum target sought. Consequently, the board has authorised management to commence preparations in earnest for the operation of an initial fleet of five to 10 narrowbody jet aircraft to be based out of Sydney and/or Melbourne to service the golden triangle (Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane). The Board has confirmed 1 March 2021 as the targeted start date for domestic operations, subject to fund availability and regulatory approval.

GEODIS launches ‘GEODIS e-Logistics’ to help brands grow online sales: In response to the rapid increase in e-commerce activity, GEODIS is offering brands a new level of end-to-end logistics support to help them offer their customers the same buying experience online as they do in-store. For this, GEODIS relies on its network of e-commerce warehouses and transportation service at locations worldwide, and on its new digital platform for the processing of orders in real time. GEODIS wants to enable brands to restore their decision-making power to meet consumer expectations while controlling their logistical costs. The platform provides a real-time overview of all available inventory, in-store, in warehouse or in transit, worldwide. It also provides for the management of orders no matter the sales channel, and determines the most appropriate supply source, delivery method and returns options.

CDB Aviation signs deal with SAS: CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing, announced a new transaction with its long-standing customer, Scandinavia’s largest airline SAS, for a fleet of four Airbus aircraft, including three A320neos and one A350-900. The deliveries of these aircraft are expected to occur between June 2020 and May 2022. “We are very delighted to carry out yet another transaction with SAS for these Airbus aircraft,” said CDB Aviation Chief Marketing Officer Peter Goodman, elaborating that “we look forward to further assisting in the reshaping of SAS’ fleet, particularly in support of efforts to advance environmental sustainability goals for their fleet operations.”


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