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LATEST NEWS

Friday, March 13th, 2020

United Airlines borrows US$2 billion to pay costs as Trump bans European flights

United Airlines Holdings Inc (United Airlines) has confirmed that it has entered into a US$2 billion term loan facility to be repaid on its maturity date of March 8, 2021. The carrier has indicated that the funds are to be used to pay certain transaction fees and expenses, and for general corporate purposes.

Currently, airlines are being hard hit by the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak with a dramatic downturn in demand. United Airlines share value has fallen 38% over the last 12 months, and dropped 12% premarket on the announcement of the loan agreement. U.S. carriers have also been heavily hit by the latest announcement by Donald Trump, the U.S. President, banning most European flights. The move is being seen as a political one rather than purely for disease control as the U.K and Ireland are not included in the ban, despite the U.K. reporting many more cases of the virus than several ‘blacklisted’ European countries.

Former Finnish prime minister Alexander Stubb wrote on Twitter: “Viruses do not recognize borders. Decisions should be based on facts, not politics.” Share prices on both sides of the Atlantic dropped sharply on the news of the European – U.S. flight restrictions.

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Willis Lease Finance reports annual pre-tax profit of US$88.9 million

Willis Lease Finance has reported annual total revenues of US$409.2 million and pre-tax profit of US$88.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2019.

The Company’s 2019 pre-tax results were driven by continued leasing revenue growth as well as gains associated with the active management of its portfolio. Aggregate lease rent and maintenance reserve revenues were US$299.7 million for 2019. The Company's results also include US$18.2 million of non-cash write downs.

As of December 31, 2019, the Company had a total lease portfolio consisting of 263 engines, 12 aircraft, 10 other leased parts and equipment and one marine vessel with a net book value of US$1.651 billion. As of December 31, 2018, the Company had a total lease portfolio consisting of 244 engines, 17 aircraft and 10 other leased parts and equipment, with a net book value of US$1.673 billion.

Jackson Square Aviation delivers two Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners to Air Europa

Jackson Square Aviation (JSA), a full-service commercial aircraft lessor based in San Francisco, has delivered two new Boeing 787-9 aircraft on lease to Spanish airline, Air Europa.

These two deliveries result from JSA’s ongoing PDP and SLB delivery financing commitments to Air Europa, running since 2015 through to 2021 across multiple aircraft types.

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New leader to take the helm at Bombardier

Éric Martel has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, and a member of the Bombardier Board of Directors, effective April 6, 2020. He succeeds Alain Bellemare.

Martel joins Bombardier from Hydro-Québec, where he has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since July 2015. Prior to joining Hydro-Québec, he held several leadership positions at Bombardier, including President of the Business Aircraft Division and President of the Customer Services and Specialized Aircraft Division.

SunExpress selects GE Aviation for digital agreement

SunExpress, the joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines, has selected GE Aviation for a comprehensive safety contract including eFOQA Mainline. The program covers the SunExpress fleet including Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 airplanes and expands upon a previous agreement to enable advanced analytics with enriched data sets that will ultimately drive greater understanding of flight trends. Implementation is currently underway.

FOQA (Flight Operations Quality Assurance), also commonly referred to as FDM (Flight Data Monitoring), is the process of analyzing and reviewing routinely recorded flight data. Airlines and operators that adopt FOQA are better able to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards in flight operations.

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Lufthansa Group Airlines continue operating to the U.S.A.

Despite the new travel guidelines ordered by the U.S. administration on passengers from the European Union, Switzerland and other countries, Lufthansa Group Airlines will continue to offer flights to the U.S.A. from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.

The Lufthansa Group will continue operating flights from Frankfurt to Chicago and Newark (New York), from Zurich to Chicago and Newark (New York), from Vienna to Chicago, and from Brussels to Washington beyond March 14, thus maintaining at least some air traffic connections to the U.S.A. from Europe. The airlines are currently working on an alternative flight schedule for the U.S.A. Passengers will still be able to reach all destinations within the U.S.A. via the U.S. hubs and connecting flights served by partner airline, United Airlines.

In addition, all other U.S. flights will be suspended until further notice due to U.S. administration restrictions, including all departures from Munich, Düsseldorf and Geneva. The Lufthansa Group will continue to serve  all destinations in Canada until further notice.

The impact on the Lufthansa Group flight program due to the recently changed entry regulations for India is currently being evaluated.

Recaro Aircraft Seating installs first seats from SPRINT program on B737 aircraft

Recaro Aircraft Seating has installed its first ship-set of its BL3530 seats from the SPRINT program on Air Lease Corporation’s B737 aircraft start of March. Introduced in late 2019, the SPRINT program develops and ships predefined BL3530 seats for lessors within two months of the order being submitted.

The SPRINT program can equip either an A320 or B737 with the BL3530 economy class seat, which lessors can customize with one of five different predefined e-leather dress covers.

Recaro is the first aircraft seating manufacturer to introduce a seating program that offers lessors a customizable seat with a two-month turnaround.

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Boeing joins Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance

Boeing has joined the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA) in support of its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2025, and ultimately power operations with 100% renewable energy. This alliance of large clean energy buyers, energy providers, service providers and NGO partners supports a large-scale, rapid transition to a cleaner future.

REBA membership expands Boeing’s leadership in the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Two Boeing sites – Renton, Washington, and Charleston, South Carolina – use 100% carbon-free electricity through a combination of renewable energy consumption and carbon offsets from renewable sources. The company is ranked 16th on the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Fortune 500® Partners List.

Hawaiian Airlines reports February 2020 traffic statistics

Hawaiian Airlines welcomed more than 856,000 guests in February 2020. Total traffic increased 6.4% on an increase of 13.3% in capacity compared to February 2019. Load factor decreased 5.2 points year-over-year to 79.3%.

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HEICO Repair Group is the world’s largest independent component MRO with capability for over 26,000 unique aircraft parts, servicing over 60,000 components annually. www.heico.com

Norwegian to temporary lay off up to 50% of its employees

Following the U.S. ban on travel from most of Europe and the escalating coronavirus situation, Norwegian has released that it has decided to ground 40% of its long-haul fleet and cancel up to 25% of its short-haul flights until the end of May. The changes apply to the company’s entire route network.

From March 13th to March 29th, the carrier will cancel the majority of its long-haul flights to the U.S. from Amsterdam, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Barcelona and Paris. From March 13th to the end of May, all flights between Rome and the U.S. will be cancelled and from March 29th until the end of April, all flights from Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Amsterdam, Athens and Oslo to the U.S. will be cancelled.

All routes between London Gatwick and the U.S. will continue to operate as normal. Norwegian's goal is to reroute as many of its customers as possible through London during this difficult period.

Due to the extraordinary market situation as a result of the coronavirus, and thus a dramatic drop in customers and subsequent production decline, the airline has to temporary lay off up to 50% of its employees and the number may increase. All departments will be affected by the layoff.

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