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Monday, March 30th, 2020

Singapore Airlines rescued with US$13 billion funding package

The future of Singapore Airlines (SIA) amidst the COVID-19 outbreak looks assured with a successful rescue package being put in place, headed by state investor Temasek Holdings, amounting to SG$19 billion. The figure represents the largest aid package to date for any airline struggling with the dramatic decrease in air travel.

The package comprises SG$5.3 billion in equity and up to SG$9.7 billion in convertible note portions, all of which will be underwritten by Temasek, which owns a 55% stake in SIA. According to Reuters news agency, SIA has also secured a SG$4.0 billion bridging loan from Singapore’s biggest lender, DBS Group Holdings Ltd which will cover short-term liquidity requirements until money is raised from a rights issue at SG$3 per share, a 53.8% discount on SIA’s last traded price of SG$6.5, the company’s share price having fallen by over 10% on the announcement of the rescue package, the value now standing at a twenty-two-year low.

Temasek International Chief Executive Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara said the deal would not only tide SIA over a short-term liquidity challenge but would position it for growth beyond the pandemic. SIA confirmed that it would use the funding from the rights issues to shore up its capital and operational expenditure needs while the carrier also said it would cut capacity by 96%, ground almost its entire fleet and impose cost cuts affecting about 10,000 staff.

To quote from a blog post by Shukor Yusof, head of aviation consultancy Endau Analytic: “Under the current dire circumstances, the rights issue is the best tactical move for SIA. It underscores the carrier’s strategic importance to Singapore and the island state’s position as both a financial center and aviation hub.”

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Boeing to use 3D printing capabilities to manufacture face shields

Boeing is taking additional steps to support COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. The company released that it will begin using its 3D printing capabilities at several facilities across the United States to manufacture face shields to help protect those who are on the front lines of fighting the virus. Boeing's initial production goal is to produce thousands of face shields per week followed by subsequent production increases. Boeing has additive manufacturing machines in St. Louis, Missouri; El Segundo, California; Mesa, Arizona; Huntsville, Alabama and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that will be used for this initial response, as long as those facilities remain in operation, consistent with federal, state and local health orders and the health and safety of Boeing employees.

The company said it has also offered the use of its Dreamlifter, one of the largest cargo carriers in the world, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals.

To date, Boeing has donated tens of thousands of masks, gloves and other equipment to hospitals in need. The company is also analyzing several other ways to use its engineering, manufacturing and logistics expertise to help the cause.

Airbus deploys new air-bridge flight between Europe and China

Airbus has deployed a new air-bridge flight between Europe and China to deliver additional face mask supplies to France, Germany, Spain and United Kingdom health systems, in support of the COVID-19 crisis efforts.

The aircraft, an Airbus A330-200 undergoing conversion as Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), took off on 26 March at 19.15 local time (CET) from Airbus’ Getafe site near Madrid (Spain) reaching the Airbus site in Tianjin (China) on 27 March. The aircraft, operated by an Airbus crew,
returned to Spain on 28 March at 04.05 local time (CET) with a cargo of more than 4 million face masks.

In recent days, Airbus had already organised flights from Europe and China with A330-800 and A400M aircraft to donate thousands of face masks to hospitals and public services around Europe.

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Americas’ summer season bookings are 26.8% behind

Analysis by ForwardKeys, the travel analytics company, reveals that, as at March 24th, international summer season bookings for air travel to all American destinations (North, Central and South America plus the Caribbean) are currently 26.8% behind where they were at the equivalent moment last year. The setback in bookings started with the COVID-19 outbreak in the second half of January and has continued to March when cancellations are now exceeding new bookings. Bookings for June are 31.4% behind and for July and August are 24.6% and 23.3% behind respectively.

However, ForwardKeys’ study also reveals that 17% of summer season bookings are typically made in the period September-January, 29% in the period February-April, which looks likely to be the peak of the COVID-19 crisis and the associated travel restrictions, and 53% between May and August. Therefore, if the world starts to recover from the worst of the outbreak around the end of April, there is still time for a rapid booking recovery to rescue the summer season.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, said: “What this analysis reveals is how late people actually book. With the temporary freeze on bookings induced by the COVID-19 crisis and associated travel restrictions, it is likely that summer booking will be even more last-minute in nature, owing to pent up demand. However, when the recovery comes, it will not affect source markets and destinations equally; so to understand how strong it is, it will be crucial to keep careful tabs on what flights are and are not in service and how well bookings for each market are progressing.”

Embraer’s new, enhanced Phenom 300E receives triple-certification

Embraer Executive Jets' new Phenom 300E was granted its Type Certificate by ANAC (National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil), EASA (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) and the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The new Phenom 300E is the most enhanced version of the Phenom 300 series, which was the most delivered business jet series in the 2010s.

The new Phenom 300E achieved its certification goals with an intracontinental range of 2,010 nautical miles (or 3,723 km, considering NBAA IFR reserves with 5 passengers), a high-speed cruise of 464 ktas, a maximum payload of 2,636 lb (1,196 kg), a takeoff distance of only 3,209 ft (978 m) and an unfactored landing distance of 2,212 ft (674 m). In addition, the new Phenom 300E received both avionics upgrades and enhancements that lowered cabin noise levels.

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Securing Munich Airport's future amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Due to the travel restrictions and the drastic reductions in available flights resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, Munich Airport is currently experiencing massive decreases in every area. The number of take-offs and landings declined steadily in March and last week had plummeted to less than 10% of the number counted in the corresponding week in 2019. Meanwhile, passenger traffic is now at just 5% of last year's level.

Against the backdrop of the sharp declines, Flughafen München GmbH (FMG) and its subsidiaries began several weeks ago to implement far-reaching measures to secure the airport's liquidity. These include a groupwide set of measures to impose tight limits on personnel and material costs to bring about extensive savings in all areas. As a result, planned investment projects such as the
western parking facility, the new corporate headquarters and the new budget hotel have been postponed until further notice.

Jost Lammers, the President and CEO of Munich Airport said: "We are experiencing a crisis in global air transportation on an unprecedented scale, with no end in sight. Protecting the health of the passengers and employees at Munich Airport remains our top priority. Another vital concern is to limit the enormous economic damage for Munich Airport and the people working here by taking all necessary measures to preserve our financial stability."

In keeping with its role as critical infrastructure, Munich Airport will continue to operate and thus help to ensure that returnees can get home and that cargo shipments keep moving quickly. The airlines now have over 100 out-of-service aircraft parked at Munich Airport. Unneeded infrastructure in the A, B and D areas of Terminal 1 and the Terminal 2 satellite facility have been temporarily shut down.

"Our goal this year is to adjust our economic and financial fundamentals to the current situation and the dry spell that lies ahead. In doing so, we will benefit from Munich Airport's strong economic performance over the years and especially in 2019," said Jost Lammers.

At present, any prediction as to when the aviation industry might rebound and resume its upward trend would be mere guesswork. With regard to the long-term outlook for the entire industry and Munich Airport, however, the CEO is looking ahead with confidence, citing the extensive experience gained from past crises in the world of aviation. "The effects of the coronavirus crisis far exceed the
impact of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or the global financial crisis in 2008. Consequently, it may take significantly longer this time before demand returns to the previous level. Nor can we rule out structural changes in air traffic. But I have no doubt that the global need for mobility will increase in the medium term and that air travel will therefore return to growth once more," said Mr. Lammers.

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Aerkomm appoints new leadership team

Aerkomm, a development stage service provider of in-flight entertainment and connectivity-solutions for the airline industry, has announced that on March 22, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Company, made a number of appointments effective immediately to position the company into its next of phase for future growth and operations.

Dr. James Busuttil has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Dr. Busuttil has served as a member of the Board since December 2017. He is an attorney admitted to practice before the courts of New York State since 1983, as well as numerous U.S. Federal Trial and Appeals Courts, practicing international, financial and corporate law.   

Louis Giordimaina has been named Chief Executive Officer.  Giordimaina served as de facto Chief Operating Officer of the Company since May 2018.  He is an experienced aviation executive with more than 40-years of experience in airline executive management, operations, Maintenance and Repair Organizations and aircraft leasing.

Georges Caldironi has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer. Caldironi served as a Project Director since January 2019. He is an aviation professional with over 40-years of experience in aircraft modifications, avionics communication and In-Flight Entertainment and Connectivity systems.  

Jeffrey Wun has been named Chief Technology Officer.  Wun served as Chief Executive Officer from December 2017 to March 22, 2020 and has been a member of the board of directors since February 2017.  He served as Chairman of the board of directors from January 2018 to March 22, 2020.

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Airflow Solutions receives enhanced FAA Op-Specs approval

Airflow Solutions (Tulsa, OK U.S.A.) has received enhanced FAA Op-Specs approval for jet engine maintenance in its expanded 65,000 ft² MRO and Engine Storage and RTF Preservation facility, as well as on-wing field team dispatch authority.

Enhancement was expedited to support capacity requirements for engine inspections, preservation and storage as global pandemic has forced the grounding of thousands of commercial aircraft. Engines supported include CFM56, V2500. Trent 700, RB211-535E & Trent 800. Ready-to-Fly Storage and Preservation facility is located next to existing 35,000 ft² MRO operations in centrally located Tulsa, OK facilities complex.

Airflow Solutions was founded in 2017 with a core focus of complete pylon down support. Full in-house repair, refurbishment and overhaul capabilities on nacelle and exhaust systems, engine mounts, as well as “hospital” type triage repair to support remaining green time of engine and to avoid full engine overhaul shop induction. Transaction based services such as RTF Storage, vBSI inspection, LRU swap, and long-term preservation services for commercial aircraft engines.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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