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Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

Textron ceases flight simulator production in Canada – up to 2,000 jobs to go

Textron Inc (Textron) has announced that its plant in Montreal, Canada, which manufactures flight simulators is to suspend production until further notice, endangering approaching 2,000 jobs across a number of business units. The suspension of operations is as a result of the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on the travel industry. Textron also anticipates fewer sales for its Cessna business jets and ground support equipment for the foreseeable future. 

"There has been a substantial decline in demand and order cancellations for flight simulators in light of the expected long-term impact of the pandemic on the commercial air transportation business," the company said in a filing.

Textron also said it would record pre-tax charges of US$110 million to US$130 million in the second quarter related to the restructuring. According to Reuters news agency, Textron will continue to produce flight simulators for other fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft at its Tampa, Florida, U.S. factory. Textron also manufactures Bell helicopters and anticipates 2020 cash outflow in the range of US$80 million to US$95 million. The expected job losses will amount to approximately 6 percent of Textron's employees, having already furloughed some 7,000 U.S.-based workers in March.

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Alaska Airlines starts flying Embraer 175 jet to state of Alaska

Alaska Airlines will start flying the Embraer 175 jet aircraft in the state of Alaska starting in October 2020. The E175, operated by regional partner Horizon Air, will serve select markets in Alaska.

The E175 aircraft compliments the current Boeing 737 mainline flying in, to and from the state of Alaska and is perfect for many communities where larger jets are not the best option.

With no middle seats, the regional jet is configured with 12 seats in first class, 12 in premium class and 52 in the main cabin. Onboard amenities include Wi-Fi access, and Alaska Beyond Entertainment, which includes free movies and TV shows direct to customer devices and power outlets in first class.

Alaska Airlines recently added Boeing 737 service to Cold Bay, and started service one month early to King Salmon and Dillingham. Alaska Air Cargo also began serving Unalakleet earlier this month with our 737-700 freighters.

Seeker Aircraft announces business affiliation with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Arabian Development & Marketing

Seeker Aircraft has announced that the Seeker, a mission specific, light observation aircraft, designed and developed for surveillance missions, is now available for purchase from Arabian Development & Marketing Co. (ADMC), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. This relationship marks the first expansion for Seeker Aircraft into the Middle East.

“Engaging with ADMC as an official Seeker Aircraft affiliate organization is a major step in expanding our sales & production efforts into the Middle East,” said Ed Lundeen, President and CEO of Seeker Aircraft, Inc. “We are pleased to have formalized this relationship, knowing that ADMC’s aviation and market-based expertise is a perfect fit for promoting our value proposition to regional government ministries, military special forces, law enforcement and commercial customers.”

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Air France-KLM appoints Henri de Peyrelongue Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales

Henri de Peyrelongue has been appointed Executive Vice President, Commercial Sales Air France-KLM, as of July 1, 2020. He will lead the current organization “Sales and Alliances” and will join the Group Executive Committee. He will report to Benjamin Smith, Chief Executive Officer of the Air France-KLM Group.

Henri De Peyrelongue is currently Senior Vice President, Commercial Planning Air France-KLM. This promotion follows the decision of Patrick Alexandre, currently Executive Vice President, Sales and Alliances Air France-KLM, to retire effective September 30, 2020.

Pieter Bootsma, currently Executive Vice President, Commercial & Revenue Air France-KLM, will be named Chief Revenue Officer Air France-KLM. In this capacity, he will remain in the Group Executive Committee, reporting to Benjamin Smith. Pieter Bootsma will chair the Commercial Committee, which will oversee the direction of all shared commercial activity at the Air France-KLM Group.

Air Canada closes two additional financing transactions for net proceeds of CA$1.23 billion

Air Canada has closed two additional financing transactions for net proceeds of CA$1.23 billion. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, Air Canada has raised CA$5.5 billion of liquidity.

On June 22, 2020, Air Canada completed a private offering of CA$840 million aggregate principal amount of 9.00% Second Lien Secured Notes due 2024 (the 2024 Notes), which were sold at 98% of par. The 2024 Notes are secured obligations of Air Canada, secured on a second lien basis by certain real estate interests, ground service equipment, certain airport slots and gate leaseholds, and certain routes and the airport slots and gate leaseholds utilized in connection with those routes.

Earlier in June, Air Canada completed a private offering of one tranche of Class C EETCs with a combined aggregate face amount of approximately US$315 million, which were sold at 95.002% of par. The Class C tranche ranks junior to the previously issued Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs, and is secured by liens on the 27 aircraft financed under the Series 2015-1, Series 2015-2, and Series 2017-1 EETCs. The Class C EETCs have an interest rate of 10.500% per annum, and a final expected distribution date of July 15, 2026.

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Airbus to upgrade training capabilities of German Eurofighter pilots

Airbus, acting as the main contractor within the industrial Pilot Synthetic Training System (PSTS) consortium, has been awarded two contracts to extend the Eurofighter PSTS at the Main Operating Base (MOB) in Laage and introduce state-of-the-art simulator cockpits at all Eurofighter MOBs in Germany.

The first contract includes the upgrade of existing Full Mission Simulators (FMS) and Cockpit Trainers (CT) in Laage and the provision of two additional FMS according to the new standard, extending the training capability from two to four simulators. This will enable the German Air Force to perform four-ship training at a single location and multi-ship training at distributed networked locations. Due to the new design of the Visual Display Systems, the building can accommodate the
four FMS within the existing simulator halls without major infrastructure adaptions.

The second contract includes the replacement of 10 cockpits in the FMS and CT at all the German Eurofighter bases in Neuburg, Laage, Wittmund, Nörvenich and the Central Integration Facility at Airbus Manching.

With the introduction of modern cockpit replicas within the PSTS, a major sub-system of all Eurofighter simulators will be renewed to guarantee best performance of the pilot’s working place for the next decade. All PSTS cockpits for the German MOBs will be equipped with a full suite of cockpit displays and control panels including a newly developed facsimile head-up-display. It will also comprise a G-seat motion cueing system, an anti-G inflation system as well as a breathing air system, all controlled by a cockpit linkage system developed by Airbus. The entire cockpit will be night vision goggle compatible.

The FMS will be equipped with a state-of-the-art LED projection system, which provides a high-resolution out-the-window view for pilots, regardless of the time, day and weather conditions in which the training takes place. Furthermore, by introducing a common concept for computer racks, power supplies and emergency equipment throughout all devices, a baseline for future upgrades of the remaining German MOBs has been created.

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Virgin Galactic signs Space Act agreement with NASA for private orbital spaceflight to International Space Station (ISS)

Virgin Galactic, a vertically integrated aerospace company, has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Johnson Space Center to encourage commercial participation in orbital human spaceflight to the International Space Station (ISS) while enabling the development of a robust economy in Low Earth Orbit.

Under the agreement, Virgin Galactic will develop a new private orbital astronaut readiness program. This program will include identifying candidates interested in purchasing private astronaut missions to the ISS, the procurement of transportation to the ISS, on-orbit resources, and ground resources. Supporting and coordinating the use of ISS resources will be an important point of integration required for each private astronaut mission. The next generation of space traveller is interested in a variety of space experiences. Building on its commercial spaceflight training experience, Virgin Galactic believes it can provide an unparalleled, personalized customer experience for orbital space travel.

NASA is seeing greater demand for use of the ISS for scientific and technological research and development, commercial activity, and international collaboration. Private astronaut experiences could range from private citizen expeditions to government-enabled scientific research missions.

As part of this partnership, NASA will leverage Virgin Galactic’s commercial expertise and industry
knowledge. Virgin Galactic will also contribute end-to-end program management and integrated astronaut training packages for private passengers, tailored to meet the needs for a commercial orbital space flight experience. The partnership also serves as a pathfinder for the ISS National Laboratory by demonstrating additional involvement by the commercial sector in human spaceflight, and may lead to commercial participants conducting research and other commercial activities aboard the ISS.

Virgin Galactic has already developed a customized Future Astronaut Readiness program for its customers flying out of Spaceport America in New Mexico. Virgin Galactic’s existing space experiences could play an important role in the training for orbital travel, allowing passengers to become familiar with the environment in space, such as G-forces and zero-G. Spaceport America, Virgin Galactic’s home base, will be utilized for some elements of the training program, using the
facilities designed for private astronaut training.

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Inflite The Jet Centre adds Bombardier Global 700 Series to its approvals

Inflite The Jet Centre (ITFC), part of the Inflite group of companies, based at London Stansted Airport, will add base maintenance capability for the Bombardier Aviation Global Express (BD700 Series). Capability for both line and base MRO is now active under ITJC’s Part 145 organisation EASA rating. Further applications are in process to add the BD700 Series to all other NAA existing capabilities held by ITJC.

“This is another important strategic step for Inflite The Jet Centre, following our acquisition of Bombardier MRO specialist Excellence Aviation early in 2019. This latest accreditation expands the portfolio of aircraft types we can support and we look forward to working with, and supporting more Global Express operators in Europe and the Middle East,” commented Alan Barnes, General Manager, Inflite The Jet Centre.

With the now concluded integration of Excellence Aviation businesses, (which include CAMO and its Part NCC aircraft management business) Inflite can offer solid expertise as a Bombardier Challenger and Global BD700 MRO business. “This equips us well to serve demands for maintenance support on Bombardier platforms in the region - and at our London Stansted home too,” he added

Inflite remains fully operational for both base and line maintenance, as does Inflite’s fully integrated VVIP integrated award-winning FBO - available to all corporate services.
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