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LATEST NEWS

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

Virgin Australia goes into administration

Virgin Australia Holdings (Virgin Australia) has called in Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte to act as administrator for Australia’s second-largest airline which has accrued debts of AU$5 billion (US$3.15 billion). Having failed to operate profitably for the last seven years and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, failing to obtain a bailout loan of AU$1.4 billion from the Australian government, has proved to have send the airline into administration.

While the carrier continues to fly a skeleton schedule, over ten individual parties have expressed an interest in recapitalizing the carrier. “Generally, you get the best outcome where you sell it as a whole, so that is definitely the preferred approach,” Strawbridge told reporters on a teleconference, while, according to Reuters news agency, Australian private equity group BGH Capital is among the interested parties, but declined to comment when questioned.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told media at a separate briefing that the government has appointed Nicholas Moore, who for a decade led investment bank Macquarie Group, to engage with the administrator to find a “market-led solution” with a view to keeping two airlines on key routes.

Strawbridge said the airline was also seeking talks with Boeing about the future of its order for 40 737 MAX planes. The carrier employs over 10,000 staff directly and 6,000 people indirectly and its main rival, Qantas would now have a virtual monopoly if Virgin Australia ceased all operations. Shares in Qantas jumped 7.2% at one point on Aprils 21, before settling at an increased 3%.

Virgin Atlantic is part owned by Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Nanshan Group, HNA Group and Virgin Group.

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Italian manufacturer Aviointeriors develops Corona seating concept

Aviointeriors, the Italian company producing aircraft cabin interiors and passenger seats, has developed two new seating concepts for after the COVID-19 crisis.

One of the designs is called "Glassafe", a kit-level solution that can be installed on existing seats to make close proximity safer among passengers sharing the same seat. “Glassafe” is made of transparent material to make the entire cabin harmonious and aesthetically light, but perfectly fulfilling the objective of creating an isolated volume around the passenger in order to avoid or minimize contacts and interactions via air between passenger and passenger, so as to reduce the probability of contamination by viruses or other. “Glassafe” is supplied in various executions with fixing systems to the seat that allow easy installation and removal.

The other option is called "Janus Seat", this proposal is distinguished by the reverse position of the center seat of the triple to ensure the maximum isolation between passengers seated next to each other. While passengers seated on the side seats, aisle and fuselage, continue to be positioned in the flight direction as usual, the passenger sitting in the center is facing backwards. Each place of the “Janus” seat is surrounded on three sides by a high shield that prevents the breath propagation to occupants of adjacent seats.

Both seat-concepts are made of easy cleaning and safe hygienisation materials.

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IATA calls for governments to work with industry on confidence-boosting measures

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for governments to work with the industry on confidence-boosting measures in the face of an anticipated slow recovery in demand for air travel.

“Passenger confidence will suffer a double whammy even after the pandemic is contained—hit by personal economic concerns in the face of a looming recession on top of lingering concerns about the safety of travel. Governments and industry must be quick and coordinated with confidence-boosting measures,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

An IATA-commissioned survey of recent travelers found that 60% anticipate a return to travel within one to two months of containment of the COVID-19 pandemic but 40% indicate that they could wait six months or more, while 69% indicated that they could delay a return to travel until their personal financial situation stabilizes.

Early indications of this cautious return-to-travel behavior are seen in the domestic markets of China and Australia, where new coronavirus infection rates have fallen to very low levels. In China domestic demand began to recover when the rate of new COVID-19 infections fell into single digits and rapidly headed towards zero (measured by new infections as a percentage of the seven-day moving average of total COVID-19 cases). While there was an early upswing from mid-February into the first week of March, the number of domestic flights plateaued at just over 40% of pre-COVID-19 levels. Actual demand is expected to be significantly weaker as load factors on these flights are reported to be low. China accounts for some 24% of all domestic passengers.

Australia's domestic demand continued to deteriorate even after the rate of new infections fell into single digits which triggered an initial recovery in the Chinese domestic market. In fact, there is still no sign of a recovery (total domestic flights are at 10% of pre-COVID-19 levels) even as new infections nears zero. Australia accounts for 3% of all domestic travelers.

Domestic market behavior is a critical indicator as the post-pandemic recovery is expected to be led by domestic travel, followed by regional and then intercontinental as governments progressively remove restrictions.

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Eirtech and Resonate Testing collaborate to support passenger to cargo modification for COVID19 flights

Eirtech Aviation Services will support one of Europe’s largest leading airlines with a request to transport essential personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies in the cabin.

Eirtech, in conjunction with Resonate Testing, successfully carried out flammability tests relating to the installation of cargo bags within the
cabin to allow the transportation to go ahead.

Eirtech provided Part 21 engineering support to enable the transportation of the PPE and other vital medical supplies relating to the current Covid-19 crisis.

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Magnetic MRO drastically expand engine workshop capabilities

Magnetic MRO, a Total Technical Care and asset management organization, has acquired tooling, dedicated to the engine workshop and drastically expanding its capabilities which already have received full EASA AND FAA approvals.

New tooling has already been delivered to Magnetic MRO's engine workshop in Tallinn, Estonia. This latest addition adds more than 40 new services to the company's list, including the ability to perform modular maintenance and repair of CFM56-5B and CFM56-7B engines.

Other new capabilities include Fan, LPT MM, Hot section modules replacement, special procedures, partial and full replacement of HPT blades, HPT NGVs, HPT shrouds, LPT Stage 1 Vanes and others.

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Thomas Global secures EASA approval for Boeing 757/767 plug-and-play LCD flight display upgrade

Thomas Global Systems has received European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) approval for its TFD7000 Series plug-and-play LCD flight displays for Boeing 757 and 767 cathode ray tube (CRT)equipped aircraft. It is the first EASA-approved retrofit of its kind for Boeing 757-200/300 and 767200/300 aircraft.

The TFD-7000 Series delivers 757/767 flight decks with all the benefits of LCD technology and added functionality and capacity for current and emerging airspace requirements. Its inventive plugand-play design enables cost-effective installation on overnights or even at the gate, without flight or maintenance crew retraining and with no changes to flight deck wiring, panels or simulators.

The TFD-7076/7066 plug-and-play LCD solutions replace legacy Rockwell Collins EDU-776/766 CRT displays currently installed on 757, 767 and Boeing 737 Classic flight decks. The TFD7076/7066 LCDs are both interchangeable and intermixable with the existing legacy EDU-776/766 CRT displays and are fully compatible with the EFIP-701D/E Boeing symbol generators.

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APOC Aviation acquires A319 for teardown

APOC Aviation has purchased an A319-111 from SMBC Aviation Capital for tear-down. MSN 3380 was previously operated by Spanish flag-carrier, Iberia, and is the fourth A320 family plane acquired this year. Two are already being parted out in Marana, Arizona, and this particular aircraft is already located at eCube in Wales, awaiting the easing of COVID-19 restrictions before work can begin.

Jasper van den Boogaard, VP Airframe Acquisition & Trading at APOC Aviation, says the Company is focused on securing the right assets. “We’re keen to build our stock of high-quality commercial parts for A320 family aircraft. This is a relatively young aircraft, manufactured in 2008, and we were able to secure the airframe at the right price. Our airline customers will be first in line for this excellent serviceable material.”

Over the next few months, the secured A319 parts will be assessed, and then APOC’s audited group of repair stations worldwide will return the stock to serviceable status. All stock will be located at its Rotterdam warehouse forming part of the Company’s rapidly expanding inventory of spares.

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HEICO is known worldwide as a leader in high-quality, cost-saving aftermarket parts supply and repair solutions. Please visit www.heico.com for more information.

Air Canada to temporarily suspend U.S. flights

Air Canada will suspend scheduled service to the U.S. after April 26 as a result of the agreement between the governments of Canada and the United States to extend border restrictions by an additional 30 days, effective April 21. Air Canada plans to resume service to the U.S. May 22, subject to any further government restrictions beyond that date.

Since March 16, Air Canada has reduced its schedule by more than 90% as a result of COVID-19. Following the initial announcement of U.S.-Canada travel restrictions on March 21, Air Canada maintained limited service to 11 U.S. destinations from its three Canadian hubs, primarily to facilitate the repatriation of Canadians. The last scheduled commercial flight from the U.S. to Canada will be on April 26.
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