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LATEST NEWS

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Virgin Atlantic and easyJet cabin staff to work in U.K. Nightingale COVID-19 hospitals

On the day that easyJet announced it has grounded all its aircraft, the U.K. government has announced that it will be inviting furloughed staff from both Virgin Atlantic and easyJet to take up non-clinical positions in five National Health Service (NHS) “field” or “Nightingale Hospitals” to be located throughout the U.K. including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Cardiff.

The NHS Nightingale Hospitals are named in memory of Florence Nightingale, one of the very first female nurses who worked tirelessly among wounded soldiers in field hospitals during the Crimea War of 1853-1856 and who is seen as the founder of modern nursing.

The temporary Nightingale Hospital in London will initially be equipped with 500 beds but will be perfectly capable of increasing capacity to 4,000 patients at any one time. Many airline staff have received considerable first aid training and will have an excellent work ethic and aptitude to working in such a critical environment. The positions, though being paid for through the U.K. government’s retention scheme, are voluntary, though these volunteers will not be expected to be working on the “front line” but instead will assist medical professionals and the general running of the hospitals, such as changing beds and other non-clinical tasks, etc.

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APOC Aviation closes on three airframe deals in first- quarter 2020

Part-out activity has commenced this month in Marana, Arizona for two A319-132 airframes recently acquired by APOC Aviation. MSN 1758 and 1790 were formerly operated by Air Macau and the parts are expected to arrive into APOC’s stock during April/May.

All of the harvested A319 parts will be assessed, and then APOC’s audited group of US repair stations will return the stock to serviceable status prior to shipment back to the Rotterdam warehouse, to form part of the Company’s rapidly expanding inventory of spares for sale and lease.

APOC also negotiated the sale of a recently purchased 1999 vintage A321-211 to an undisclosed European operator. “This aircraft was acquired from the Thomas Cook bankruptcy for a further planned APOC part-out. However, due to the high demand for A321s and because of the MAX groundings, the onward sale and return to active service was a calculated decision,” stated Jasper van den Boogaard, VP Airframe Acquisition & Trading at APOC Aviation.

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Qatar Airways resumes scheduled belly-hold cargo operations to China

Qatar Airways Cargo will resume scheduled belly-hold cargo operations to China with the utilization of wide-body and passenger-configured aircraft effective March 30, 2020. The additional cargo capacity is being added to the carrier’s existing freighter service amid increased demand for the shipment of immediate goods in and out of the region.

The decision to reinstate belly-hold service to six of its passenger destinations in the country is in line with airline’s initiative to continue supporting worldwide connectivity, re-establishing the global supply chain, and meeting the market’s strong demand for freight exports and imports. This includes the transportation of urgent medical relief aid that is pivotal to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The belly-hold cargo flights will be operated on a turnaround basis assuming the routes’ previously assigned flight numbers and frequencies, without any cabin crew members or passengers on-board. Supplementing the already-robust cargo payload offered on Qatar Airways’ existing four freighter routes to China, the recommencement of belly-hold service will add significant cargo capacity to six cities that include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing and Hangzhou, with an additional 600 tons of weekly capacity added, bringing the combined weekly capacity out of the country to more than 1300 tons.

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EDM installs Air Baltic’s A220 Extended Door Trainer in Riga, Latvia

EDM, a global provider of training simulators to the civil aviation and defense sectors, has completed a project for Air Baltic’s A220 Extended Door Trainer, which has been fully installed at the airlines' training facility in Riga, Latvia.

EDM was tasked by airBaltic to develop its new A220 Extended Door Trainer in response to the airline acquiring its new Airbus A220 fleet. This simulator will enable the airline to train its cabin crew and certify them to the new aircraft type. The Extended Door Trainer is fitted with key features to help simulate a number of scenarios that helps practice everyday functionality, but also for emergency situations.

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Airbus to pause majority of production in Spain amid new government restrictions

The Spanish Government announced new measures March 29, in the fight against COVID-19. These measures are taking effect from Monday March 30, until Thursday April 9 (included), and will restrict all non-essential activities across the country.

Some key activities in Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters and Defence and Space remain essential. Minimum activity in these areas for necessary support functions such as Security, IT, Engineering, will remain under the stringent health and safety measures implemented by Airbus to protect its employees against the COVID-19 pandemic.

All other activities in Commercial Aircraft, Defence and Space as well as Helicopters in Spain will be paused until April 9, the date when it is foreseen that restrictions will be lifted.

Airbus will closely work with its social partners to apply the social measures applicable under the latest restrictions. Airbus employees in Spain whose jobs are not linked to production and assembly activities and can work from home will continue to support Airbus business continuity in these difficult times.

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Lufthansa agrees on short-time work

Lufthansa has signed agreements with its works council and trade unions to introduce short-time working for cabin and ground staff in Frankfurt and Munich. This also applies to the management. An agreement with the pilots union “Vereinigung Cockpit” has not yet been reached.

The extent of reduced working hours is determined for employees depending on the loss of work and can be up to 100%. For some of the employees, reduced working hours began retrospectively in March 2020. The agreements apply to at least 27,000 employees of the approximately 35,000 employees of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Based on the current agreements, Lufthansa for the time being is increasing the short-time working allowance up to 90% of the net salary lost through short-time working. How long Deutsche Lufthansa AG can pay these top-up amounts depends largely on the duration of the crisis.

In solidarity with all employee groups, the Lufthansa Supervisory Board, Executive Board and Management will also participate in the measures. The members of the Supervisory Board have voluntarily waived 25 percent of their compensation, the members of the Executive Board have waived 20 percent and managers not affected by short-time working have waived between 10 and 15 percent of their monthly basic compensation. The voluntary waiver of remuneration for the Supervisory Board, board members and all managers in Germany will apply from April 1, 2020 for at
least a period of six months until the end of September.

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British Airways extends Revolving Credit Facility

International Airlines Group (IAG) has released that British Airways has extended its US dollar secured Revolving Credit Facility for one year from June 23, 2020 to June 23, 2021. The amount available under the extended facility is US$1.38 billion. Including the extended facility and some smaller additional facilities recently arranged, IAG has total undrawn general and committed aircraft financing facilities equivalent to €2.1 billion currently, compared to €1.9 billion at the end of 2019. IAG has not drawn down on any of its facilities.

IAG continues to have strong liquidity with cash, cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits of €7.2 billion as at March 27. Total cash and undrawn facilities are currently €9.3 billion.

In addition, the Group is exploring a number of operational and treasury initiatives to improve further its cash flow and liquidity and will update the market in due course.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar