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LATEST NEWS

Friday, May 8th, 2020

BOC Aviation and Wizz Air sign purchase-and-leaseback agreement for six A321neo aircraft

BOC Aviation has signed a purchase-and-leaseback agreement with Wizz Air for six new Airbus A321neo aircraft. All six aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ PW1100G-JM engines, and are expected to deliver in 2020 and 2021.

József Váradi, Chief Executive Officer of Wizz Air said: "We are delighted today to be signing yet another deal with BOC Aviation. The six new Airbus A321neo aircraft will expand our fleet and further strengthen our aim to fly the greenest and most efficient aircraft currently available. In these unprecedented times, Wizz Air is strongly committed to its aircraft order and today's development reinforces our goal to stay the most efficient, most productive and financially one of the best-performing airlines in Europe."

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HEICO Avionics Group supplies high quality, cost saving solutions for complex avionic systems and avionic parts. www.heicoavionics.com

UAS Holdings completes acquisition of TAG Aero and Unique Airmotive Services, companies to merge

TAG Aero and Unique Airmotive Services have completed a dual acquisition and merger facilitated by Mill Hill Capital. UAS Holdings Company has been formed as the parent company and migrates both facilities under one brand, TAG Aero.

The combined companies will bring together a leading APU repair station with capabilities reaching 20,000 aircraft worldwide. Unique Airmotive Services, located in South Carolina, has specialized in the repair and overhaul of APUs since 2011 and has in-house capabilities for the GTCP331-200ER, GTCP331-250H, GTCP36-150 Series, GTCP85 Series and the APS2000.

TAG Aero, founded in 2012 and based in Florida, specializes in the purchase, sale, and lease of all APU models for commercial and regional aircrafts. In 2018, TAG Aero acquired FAA/EASA 145 repair station certification for the repair and overhaul of the GTCP131-9A and GTCP131-9B APU.

Managing partners, Myles Thomas and Roger Brochu, seek to acquire additional capabilities and build comprehensive programs to advance industry growth. The alliance of TAG Aero and Unique Airmotive Services is a collaboration between two industry leaders within the APU sector. Both Thomas and Brochu have significant experience and recognition in MRO, aftermarket sales and the leasing of APU. They will now join forces to create a new and unique path for the APU industry.

JetHQ names international division leaders

JetHQ has added and promoted presidents to lead two newly created international divisions covering Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The aircraft transaction and brokerage company announced that it has brought in a seasoned sales professional to head up Asia, while elevating its own veteran aviation executive to oversee Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Rohit Kapur joins the company as president of JetHQ Asia after serving as Founding Partner at Arrow Aircraft. Rebecca Johnson, President of JetHQ EMEA, acted as JetHQ’s Vice President of Sales prior to her promotion.

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LHT starts work on Airbus A350-900 for German Federal Government's Special Air Mission Wing

Lufthansa Technik has begun working on the cabin conversion of the first of three Airbus A350-900s for the German Federal Government's Special Air Mission Wing. The aircraft, with the temporary civil registration D-AGAF (later military registration 10+03), arrived at Hamburg's International Airport in Fuhlsbüttel, where it will be given a government cabin by Lufthansa Technik's VIP & Special Mission Aircraft Services product division.

As this aircraft is to be made available to the German Air Force very soon, it will initially be equipped with a special transitional cabin for the transport of representatives of the Federal Government and its accompanying delegations. The corresponding preliminary work had already begun in November last year in Lufthansa Technik's VIP workshops. Once the aircraft has received its cabin, it is scheduled to be delivered to the customer by the end of July.

The transitional cabin is tailored to the specific requirements of the customer. It will be equipped with office and conference areas, adjoined to a multifunctional lounge area. The rest of the cabin space will be available to the accompanying delegations. It will have generous seat spacing, an appropriate number of washrooms and modern kitchen equipment.

Only after the sister aircraft 10+01 and 10+02, which are currently still under construction, receive a fully featured VIP cabin from Lufthansa Technik next year, the transitional cabin in 10+03 will also be exchanged for one.

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JetBlue to pare back Airbus orders after posting first-quarter loss

JetBlue, the sixth-largest American low-cost carrier by passenger numbers carried, has posted a first-quarter 2020 loss of US$269 million and, as a result, has reduced its order book with Airbus by approximately one third in a bid to save around US$1.1 billion on aircraft purchases.

JetBlue now anticipates receiving 40 Airbus jets by the end of 2022 as opposed to the previously ordered total of 61, but still includes delivery of seven A321neos and one A220 jet this year.

Like all American airlines, JetBlue has been hard hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen domestic air travel drop by approximately 95%. Despite limited booking numbers, the low-cost carrier believes that May will now see a turning point in passenger numbers and anticipates second-quarter demand to be only 80% below pre-pandemic predicted results. In an effort to boost liquidity, JetBlue’s daily cash burn should now fall to below US$10 million, as opposed to a previous US$18 million in March, which excludes any government aid.

JetBlue is due to receive US$936 million from the government payroll assistance program, having also applied for a loan of US$1.14 billion to draw on if required. Quarterly financial results also revealed that revenue dropped 15.1% to US$1.59 billion for the quarter compared to 2019, including a 52% decline in March. Net losses were US$268 million for the quarter as opposed to a profit of US$42 million for the same quarter in 2019. Excluding special items, the net loss was US$116 million.

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Eirtech Aviation Services expands scope to include flight test approvals

Eirtech has announced that EASA has approved an expansion in capabilities to permit the approval of flight tests. Flight tests are sometimes required by EASA and the FAA for demonstration of compliance for aircraft modifications.

When requested, Eirtech can now provide a turnkey solution for customers which would include; developing a flight test plan, approving test conditions, taking part in the test flight and ultimately approving the performance of the modification.

Director of Engineering, Keith McKerchar said “While flight testing can be expensive, in some cases it is needed to support a specific customer requested modification to the aircraft. This new privilege will allow Eirtech to define the requirements and perform all the necessary testing to support the more significant modifications being requested by our customers. Having this internal capability allows Eirtech to control the test program without the involvement of another approved test house, and hence control the costs and timings of any tests”.

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LCI launches US$100 million helicopter co-investment vehicle with Thora Capital and RIVE Private Investment

Helicopter lessor LCI, the aviation division of the Libra Group, has strengthened its leasing platform with the establishment of a new co-investment vehicle with Thora Capital and RIVE Private Investment as partners.

The transaction covers six Leonardo AW139s and three Airbus H130 helicopters, all of which have long-term, secure debt financing in place. The helicopters, which are valued at over US$100 million, are currently deployed in Australia and the U.S.A. LCI will act as servicer for the co-investment vehicle.

The new arrangement is Thora Capital and RIVE Private Investment’s first with LCI, and follows the successful closure by LCI of a similar co-investment vehicle in late 2019.

Finnair carried 16,100 passengers in April, 98.7% less than the previous year

In April, Finnair carried 16,100 passengers which is 98.7% less than in the corresponding period of 2019. The overall capacity (ASK) decreased in April by 97.0%. Finnair's traffic decreased by 99.1%, while the passenger load factor decreased year-on-year by 57.5% points to 23.9%.

All traffic figures were heavily impacted by the significant coronavirus-related capacity reductions, which were visible especially in the North Atlantic figures as there were no flights to North America in April.

The ASK decline in Asian traffic was 99.4% and North Atlantic capacity decreased by 100.0%. In Europe the ASKs were down by 93.2% and ASKs in domestic traffic decreased by 96.1%.

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Iberia to offer COVID-19 antibody tests to all employees

Iberia is to implement a special COVID-19 health plan, designed in collaboration with the Quirónsalud health care firm and employee representatives. The aim is to give all employees the most robust possible protection against the virus.

The plan calls for blood test to detect COVID-19 antibodies in employees returning to on-site work following furloughs, as well as disinfection of all workplaces, the use of PPE and other hygiene measures, teleworking wherever possible, etc.

In May alone, antibody tests have been performed on some 2,500 Iberia employees working in the airport and in aircraft maintenance, as well as cockpit and cabin crews. In the course of the year, the entire staff of nearly 17,000 people can be tested.

Testing, which is voluntary for employees, will be performed when they return to work after furloughs, and again 15 and 30 days later. The tests will be carried out in Iberia health stations and on Quirónsalud premises.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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