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Friday, February 21st, 2020

France, Germany and Spain to develop next-generation fighter jet prototype

It has been announced on Thursday that France and Germany have signed a €150 million deal to develop a next-generation fighter jet, with Dassault Aviation and Airbus building the aircraft. The intention is for the jet to be ready by 2040 with a view to replacing the current Dassault Rafale and German Eurofighter.

"This is a very ambitious project between France, Germany and joined by Spain," French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told reporters after a signing ceremony, adding that: "It will enable our nations to face the threats and challenges in the second half of the 21st century ... and illustrates our will and ambition for a European defense".

Spain will join France and Germany later in the year for the initial phase and will be investing €50 million in the project, which has been titled Future Combat Air System (SCAF). The prototype should be completed by 2026 and will cost a total of €4 billion. It is expected the jet will be operational by 2040.

While Dassault and Airbus will build the jet, Safran and MTU Aero Engines will develop the engine, Airbus and MBDA will work on the drones, while Airbus and Thales SA will be responsible for the digital aspects.

In 2018 the UK launched its own “Tempest” program for a new combat jet, though it is hoped that the two projects may merge at a later date to reduce competition from the USA and also China. (€1.00 = US$1.08 at time of publication.)

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Liebherr-Aerospace signs landing gear overhaul agreement with Great Dane Airlines

Liebherr-Aerospace has signed a landing gear overhaul agreement with Great Dane Airlines, for the overhaul of the Danish airline’s Embraer E195 fleet. Startup airline Great Dane Airlines was founded in 2018 and started services in mid-2019.

Last year has been quite successful for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) as it was able to include in its order book several landing gear system overhaul contracts for E-Jet E1 aircraft from operators all over the world.

Royal Aero inducts first GE90-115B engine for teardown

Royal Aero has inducted its first GE90-115B engine for teardown, with the first overhauled parts being available by the end of March.

Supporting the much loved-B777 fleet, with an extended life due to new cargo conversion programs, Royal Aero has forecast a solid demand for engine material on this engine type for many years.

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ATP Flight School opens airline pilot training center in San Antonio, Texas

ATP Flight School’s newest Texas training center will open March 2, 2020, at the San Antonio International Airport. Part of a nationwide network of 40 locations, this new facility is ATP’s seventh in the state, including operations in Austin, Dallas and Houston.

The new San Antonio training center will be solely focused on the development of future airline pilots, which ATP has specialized in for over 35 years.

Starting from zero experience, students at the San Antonio location can earn their pilot certification in just nine months through the Airline Career Pilot Program. This airline career solution provides aspiring pilots in the area with the training resources and airline connections needed to become an airline pilot at a fixed cost, in the shortest time frame possible.

High fuel costs weigh on Air France-KLM's fiscal year 2019 results

In the full-year 2019, the Air France-KLM Group has posted an operating result of €1,141 million, down by 18.8% compared to last year, impacted by a challenging trading environment and a higher fuel bill. Net income amounted to €290 million in 2019, a decrease of €130 million compared to last year. The fuel bill including hedging stood at €5,511 million in 2019, up €550 million. This increase is mainly explained by a hedging gain of €50 million this year, compared to a hedging gain of €650 million last year. Currencies had a positive €367 million impact on revenues and a negative €122 million effect on costs (ex-fuel) including currency hedging in 2019.

The 2019 fourth quarter unit cost declined by -1.5%, delivering a -0.9% improvement for full-year 2019, consistent with guidance. On a constant currency and fuel price basis, unit costs were down -1.5% in the fourth quarter 2019, with the first realizations of cost efficiency measures at Air France.

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FL Technics expands line maintenance network to more than 50 line-stations

FL Technics, a global provider of aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, has begun 2020 by strengthening its position in Europe with the acquisition of Italian company Flash Line Maintenance S.r.l. The company provides line maintenance services for the Mediterranean region, and its acquisition will enable FL Technics to expand its line maintenance network to more than 50 line stations across Europe. With its expansion, FL Technics will become one of the largest providers of line maintenance services in Europe.

Flash Line Maintenance S.r.l. acts as a line maintenance service provider for narrow- and wide-body aircraft and provides line maintenance services in 15 line maintenance stations operating in various airports in Germany, France, Italy and Spain. The company’s client portfolio includes regional, international, cargo and low-cost airlines such as Volotea, EasyJet, British Airways CityFlyer, Wizzair, ASL Airlines, Air Dolomiti.

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SWISS takes delivery of first A320neo

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has taken delivery of its first A320neo aircraft at a delivery ceremony in Hamburg, Germany. It is the first of 25 A320neo Family aircraft ordered by Swiss International Air Lines. SWISS has chosen Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines to power its new aircraft.

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new-generation engines, Sharklets and cabin efficiency enablers, which together deliver 20% fuel savings. With more than 7,300 orders received from over 110 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60% share of the market.

Qantas Group delivers strong performance in first half of full-year 2020

The Qantas Group continued to deliver strong earnings in a mixed market in the first half of full-year 2020 (FY20), with an underlying profit before tax of AU$771 million and a statutory profit before tax of AU$648 million.

The underlying result was AU$4 million less than the same period last year – despite AU$51 million in higher foreign exchange related cost impacts, a AU$68 million impact from global freight weakness and disruption in Hong Kong, and a AU$55 million increase in operating costs from the sale of domestic airport terminals.

The Qantas Group has taken immediate action in response to demand weakness as a result of the evolving Coronavirus situation, focused chiefly on capacity management. Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: “Coronavirus resulted in the suspension of our flights to mainland China and we’re now seeing some secondary impacts with weaker demand on Hong Kong, Singapore and to a lesser extent, Japan. Other key routes, like the US and UK, haven’t been impacted."

“We’re taking action now to limit our exposure to softening markets. The Group’s total capacity to Asia will reduce by 15% from now until at least the end of May and Qantas’ only route to mainland China (Shanghai) will remain suspended for the same period.

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MTU Aero Engines posts full-year 2019 net income of €537.6 million

MTU Aero Engines AG had another record year: revenue in 2019 reached a new high of €4,628.4 million (2018: €4,567.1 million). Operating profit came in at €756.9 million, surpassing the previous high of €671.4 million in 2018 by 13%. The EBIT margin rose from 14.7% to 16.4%. Net income increased by 12%, from €479.1 million to €537.6 million.

The order backlog at MTU in 2019 was 13% higher than in the previous year, at €19.8 billion (2018: €17.6 billion). This is equivalent to a full capacity utilization of just over four years.

Earnings in 2019 rose significantly, particularly in the OEM business, where there was a gain of 15% to €495.6 million (2018: €431.4 million). Earnings in the commercial maintenance business grew by 9% to €260.9 million (2018: €239.7 million). The margin advanced by 1 percentage point, from 8.6% to 9.6%.

MTU’s free cash flow increased by 77%, from €202.9 million in 2018 to €358.3 million in 2019. The cash conversion rate was therefore 67%.

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Aery Aviation wins Naval Special Warfare contract

Aery Aviation has won an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Naval SpecialWarfare Contract to be executed in the second-quarter of 2020.

Aery will provide air to ground ISR services in the form of Full Motion Video (FMV), specialized sensor, and communications equipment to support ground elements throughout the training and research/development exercise event.

These services will be in the form of aircraft, flight hours, ground and flight crew, supporting equipment, FAA requirements for the safety of flight for MIP, and integration support necessary to support flight execution. Aery’s team will provide these services utilizing a C-208. Aery successfully bid, won, and performed this project in Q2 2019 and won the contract again in 2020.

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