Aviation News in Brief 9 November 2020

Japan Airlines, Thai Airways, Nok, Air Transport Training College, Changi Airport, Embraer, Porsche, FACC, Leonardo, Magnetic MRO, TrueNoord, Airinmar, Volaris, Airinmar, Volaris, China Eastern, Honeywell, Rex Airlines

(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

Use this oneJapan Airlines to raise cash: Japan Airlines has announced it plans to raise up to 168 billion yen (US$1.6 billion) through a public offering, followed by a third-party allotment, in a bid to raise capital after the COVID-19 pandemic has virtually shut down all international air travel. The company will issue new shares while also investing in more fuel-efficient aircraft in preparation for when demand picks up again. The company will issue up to 100 million new shares, accounting for 30 percent of its current outstanding stock of 337 million shares. The public offering will be open to Japanese as well as overseas investors. While 100 billion yen of the capital will be used for investments, the remaining 68 billion yen will be used for the repayment of interest-bearing debt.

Thai Airways selling planes, Nok moves ahead in court: Thai Airways announced on its trading site that it is putting up for sale a large share of its fleet including 34 used Boeing and Airbus passenger aircraft. In addition, budget carrier Nok Airlines, in which Thai Airways has a 13 percent holding, recently secured court approval to continue its debt rehabilitation plan. The move by Thai to shed planes is part of the carrier’s efforts to restructure US$11.4 billion of debt. Interested parties wishing to bid on the planes face a 13 November deadline. In September, Thai Airways International (THAI) secured approval from the Central Bankruptcy Court for its restructuring petition. The aircraft on sale includes 10 Boeing 747s, 12 Boeing 777s, nine Airbus 340s among others. The planes are being offered on an ‘as-is, where-is’ basis, according to a statement on the airline’s website. Thai Airways expects to deliver the planes to buyers by the second quarter of next year. It did not provide additional details on the sale. Late last month, nearly 5,000 Thai Airways International employees signed up for the company’s early retirement programme as the carrier struggles to reduce its operating costs. Nok Air’s stock exchange announcement says the court has appointed Nok Air directors and Grant Thornton Specialist Advisory Services to put forward a plan, which will be ready in 2021’s first quarter. Nok Air has liabilities of US$1.13 billion and a negative shareholder equity of US$192 million.

Air Transport Training College being bought by Vaayu Group: Air Transport Training College (ATTC) said it was being acquired by global company Vaayu Group. The sale is expected to help ATTC launch new courses and training programmes that are focused on skills training and re-training. This includes investing in courses in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence in aviation and in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) space. ATTC will leverage Vaayu Group’s international operations in the United States and Middle East and apply best practices to refresh its offerings in Singapore. Emad AlMonayea, chairman and president of  Vaayu Group said, “the next few years are crucial for any aviation institution globally. With our operations across the world and ATTC’s solid foundation in education, we believe that ATTC will be well-positioned to achieve global benchmarks in aviation training. We hope that our insights and experience in the marketplace will help students further their journey in the aviation industry, individually and as a whole.”

Singapore Airport tests 5,000 workers for COVID-19: About 5,000 airport workers have tested negative for COVID-19 in a one-time operation conducted to test airport workers who had worked at Changi Airport Terminal 3 from early October 2020 onwards. This follows the detection of two COVID-19 positive cases involving airport workers on 24 October 2020. Thirty-three airport workers who were unavailable for the one-time operation have been temporarily suspended from duties until they are tested negative for COVID-19. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), together with the airport community, has also enhanced airport Safe Management Measures (SMMs). The measures were developed in consultation with the Ministry of Health. These enhanced measures to protect frontline airport workers include: Use of Personal Protection Equipment. All workers who come into close contact with inbound travellers from high-risk countries/regions will be required to wear full Personal Protection Equipment comprising face mask, face shield or goggles, gloves, shoe covers and medical gown, as appropriate. All other workers will continue to be required to wear masks, and where necessary, gloves; Cleaning. The frequency of disinfection and cleaning at the airport has been increased; Surveillance testing. Airport workers who work with travellers, their belongings, and surfaces that travellers come into contact with, have been placed on Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) from 1 Nov 2020. Under the RRT, they will be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks.

Embraer and Porsche announce design collaboration: Embraer and Porsche have collaborated to create the Duet, a limited-edition, limited-quantity Embraer Phenom 300E aircraft and Porsche 911 Turbo S car pairing. Embraer and Porsche will produce just 10 pairs of business jets and sports cars. “Duet is an exclusive package developed in a unique design collaboration with Porsche. This rare, refined combination will only be available through this one-time-only pairing,” said Michael Amalfitano, president and CEO, Embraer Executive Jets. “In the spirit of delivering the ultimate customer experience, we are fusing two of the most notable brands in the aerospace and automotive industries, bringing together the pinnacle in production sports cars with the market benchmark in light jets, once again proving that we don’t simply follow trends — we create them.”

FACC delivers first entrance area for the new A320 Airspace cabin: With the first delivery of the complete entrance area of the A320 Airspace cabin, FACC is not only expanding its decades of successful partnership with Airbus, but is also broadening its product portfolio in the area of aircraft cabin interiors. Airbus commissioned FACC to develop and produce the entrance area of the Airspace cabin for the A320 models. After an intensive development phase, the first article parts have now been delivered to Airbus in Hamburg. Immediately after the first delivery, FACC will start the ramp-up of serial production. The completely redesigned entrance area of the A320 family boasts a high-quality design, has a sophisticated appearance, and makes important contributions to consistent weight optimization with innovative fibre composite materials. The cabin solution comprises the entire lining of the entrance and door area in the front, middle and rear sections of the aircraft. Through a sophisticated integration of the lighting system, called “Hero Light” and newly introduced by Airbus in the airspace cabin, a completely unique and pleasant interior atmosphere is created for the passengers – and this throughout from the entrance area via the main cabin to the rear service area of the aircraft cabin.

Leonardo delivers helos to US EMS operator Life Link III: Leonardo announced that Life Link III, an EMS operator in Minnesota and Wisconsin in the United States, has signed a contract for an AW169 and an AW109 Trekker for air medical transport missions. The helicopters will ensure in-flight critical care and transport patients across the upper-Midwest of the country and delivery is anticipated to take place in the fourth quarter of 2021. This order marks the entry of the AW109 Trekker into the US for EMS applications and further grows the success of the AW169 in this market. The AW169 features a spacious 222 cubic ft. cabin and Life Link III will have a FAA certified EMS interior which provides 360-degree patient access essential for critical care. The helicopter can travel up to 440 nautical miles, with a top speed of 160 knots and it can climb to 14,500 feet. The Trekker has high-end EMS capabilities in terms of its interior, performance, advanced avionics, and safety standards. The twin-engine helicopter is equipped with Night Vision Goggles (NVG), single-pilot instrument flight rules, and a customised interior built to meet Life Link III’s requirements. This sale will increase Life Link III’s Leonardo helicopters fleet to 14 aircraft and the company will be the first to operate a mixed fleet of AW119 IFR and AW109 Trekker.

Magnetic MRO signs new CAMO agreement with TrueNoord: Magnetic MRO, a Total Technical Care and Asset Management organisation, has announced that it has recently signed a CAMO service agreement with regional aircraft leasing company TrueNoord. The agreement includes the re-delivery of two Mitsubishi Heavy Industries CRJ900 NextGen (previously Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen series) type aircraft from a previous operator and all engineering services related to maintaining the aircraft in an airworthy and controlled environment. The general terms of agreement for CAMO services were signed at the end of September. Currently, both of the aircraft have been delivered to Tallinn and implementation into long-term storage is in the final stage. Before the ferry flight, Magnetic MRO Engineering department team visited the previous operator’s facilities in Copenhagen Kastrup airport where they performed a detailed re-delivery inspection for exterior and interior including additional ground checks.

Airinmar selected by Volaris for warranty management services: AAR subsidiary Airinmar signed a new three-year support services agreement with Volaris, Mexico´s leading domestic airline. The agreement covers the provision of new aircraft warranty services to augment and support Volaris’ internal management team and maximize the recovery of warranty entitlements. The services will cover airframe, engines and components and entail warranty detection, claim management and benefit recovery. “Airinmar’s services will support us in effectively recovering our warranty entitlements and continue reducing our unit costs on our fleet of 84 Airbus aircraft, which in turn will ultimately contribute to Volaris delivery of low base fares and a high quality service,” said Mario Geyne, Volaris fleet director.

China Eastern opts for Honeywell APUs: Honeywell and China Eastern Airlines signed a selection agreement at the China International Import Expo (CIIE) 2020. China Eastern Airlines has selected Honeywell 131-9A auxiliary power units (APUs) for its 36 new Airbus A320NEO aircraft. Honeywell will also provide training and services to help China Eastern Airlines improve its in-house APU repair capabilities. This APU will help the airline reduce flight delays and cancellations, creating a more pleasant flying experience for passengers. “It’s pleasure to collaborate with Honeywell. The proven outstanding performance of its APU and comprehensive repair services make it ideal choice for our aircraft, said Cheng Guowei, deputy general manager and safety director of China Eastern Airlines, “China is quickly recovering from the pandemic, we are seeing a sharp increase in air travel demand. I believe our collaboration will help us get well prepared for the coming busy future.”

Australia’s Rex Airlines take delivery of first 737: Rex Airlines has taken a step toward launching its domestic operations, with the delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft.  It’s the first of six 737s leased by Rex and will be used for training activities before the proving flight for the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) on 5 December 2020. Rex will begin flying Melbourne-Sydney return services on 1 March next year and to Brisbane from Easter. Rex Deputy Chairman John Sharp said, “Rex has an 18-year track record of leading On-Time Performance and affordable fares in its regional services and for the first time the domestic market can look forward to a safe, reliable air service that is affordable. If our services prove successful, we will inject up to 10 aircraft into the domestic market by the end of 2021. From there, we intend to develop a full domestic airline network, linking all the capital cities over time.” The livery for Rex’s domestic airline fleet will be released by the end of the month.

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