Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

South African Airways offered “Business Rescue” lifeline

State-owned South African Airways (SAA) has been operating at a considerable loss since 2011 and in the last three years has been the beneficiary of government bailouts totalling some 20 billion rand (US$1.4 billion) which has done little other than allow it to remain operational.

On Monday December 12, South Africa’s prime minister, Cyril Ramaphosa announced that there was no other financially viable or workable option other than to place the carrier on “business rescue”, a form of bankruptcy protection where a specialist adviser takes control of a company in order to restructure it.

“The financial crisis had become so grave that the only way to secure its survival was to take this extraordinary measure,” Ramaphosa said in his weekly newsletter. According to Reuters news agency, SAA has been granted a 4 billion rand (US$272 million) lifeline from the government and banks to launch the rescue plan, though analysts have indicated that this sum will only be sufficient for a few months.

According to the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan, the decision to rescue the airline, rather than let it fail, as some analysts have argued, would save many of the 10,000 jobs at SAA. A number of state-owned enterprises such as SAA have suffered at the hands of corruption and mismanagement, and Ramaphosa has been charged with carrying out badly needed economic reform. “We will not allow any of these strategic entities to fail. Rather, we need to take all necessary steps - even drastic ones - to restore them to health,” he said.


Ipeco establishes new repair facility in Beijing

Ipeco, a recognised leader in aircraft crew and executive passenger seating and a growing manufacturer of aircraft galley inserts, has announced further expansion across the Asia Pacific region.  Following its recent inauguration of a Singapore distribution and repair facility, Ipeco has opened a Beijing repair facility to complement its Hong Kong distribution centre in Greater China.  The facilities in Beijing and Hong Kong are both managed by General Manager, Christina Chong.

The Beijing start-up capability includes cockpit seating for Boeing 737, 767, 777 and 787 series, as well as all crew seating for Embraer E2 series aircraft with galley insert repair capability being added later in 2020. 

The Ipeco range of crew seats is built to uncompromisingly high standards and subjected to extensive test programmes for both Part 25 and Part 23 certification, including Boeing, Embraer, Airbus, ATR, Gulfstream and Lockheed applications. Ipeco’s executive passenger seating frames, and fully upholstered seats, can be found across several Bombardier and Textron business aircraft.  Ipeco also has an increasing portfolio of galley inserts on board A350, A380, B787 and B777X platforms with ovens and water heaters available on A320 narrow bodies.

GMF AeroAsia and SR Technics partner on component services for Garuda Indonesia

MRO service provider SR Technics, has extended its partnership with PT Garuda Maintenance Facility AeroAsia (GMF). As per the agreement, effective November 1, 2019, the two parties will be providing Integrated Component Services (ICS) for Garuda Indonesia’s fleet of Airbus A330neo and Airbus A330ceo aircraft.

As the first Airbus A330neo integrated component services contract for SR Technics, this agreement marks a milestone for the company, which has been working with Garuda Indonesia Group for over 30 years, and further strengthens its long-standing business relationship with GMF AeroAsia. Building on existing Integrated Component Services (ICS) agreements for the airlines’ Airbus A330 and Boeing 737NG fleets, the new contract will support the continuous improvement of component repair processes and turnaround times.

The contract covers component maintenance and flexible availability solutions, including the management and maintenance of components under a flight-hour rate. Services will be provided
by the SR Technics Center of Excellence for component maintenance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and its operational headquarters in Zurich. The contract also includes on-site support, pool access, logistics and facilitated leasing.


Solvay supplies high-performance thermoplastic film to Safran

Solvay has signed an agreement with Safran to supply Halar® ECTFE high performance film for its LEAP engine acoustic panels. Film made from Halar® ECTFE with additional plasma treatment offers excellent adhesion to composite substrates providing superior aesthetic surface aspects to perfectly blend with its surroundings.

Solvay’s high-performance Halar® ECTFE, a partially fluorinated semi-crystalline polymer, is used as a protective layer on the engine acoustic ring panel against the aggression of the harsh environment typical of the entrance of an aircraft engine. It is strong and tough and its resistance to erosion, abrasion, and aircraft chemicals and fluids make it ideal for this application.

Solvay is a longstanding and trusted partner of Safran, delivering advanced composite material solutions for both our aircraft engines and nacelle programs,” said Thierry Haud, Vice-President Safran Purchasing, Safran. “The supply agreement for Solvay’s high-performance thermoplastic film extends our mutual collaboration and further consolidates the relationship between us as we enlarge our cutting-edge portfolio of materials, techniques and processes.”


Burnham Sterling advises Hawaiian Airlines on Japanese yen financing of four Airbus A330 and two A321neo aircraft

Burnham Sterling, a financial advisory firm specializing in large asset financing, has acted as exclusive financial advisor and placement agent to Hawaiian Airlines for the Japanese yen (JPY)-denominated financings of four Airbus A330 and two A321neo aircraft. 

“Burnham Sterling helped us execute this very innovative financing with a fixed coupon well under 1.0%,” said Shannon Okinaka, Chief Financial Officer at Hawaiian Airlines. “This financing solution has been a win-win for Hawaiian, as it serves the dual purpose of providing a natural hedge to our growing JPY revenues while lowering our all-in financing cost.  Most importantly, we were introduced to eight new investors in the Japanese market by the Burnham team, which all took place in the transaction.”

StandardAero and Thales team to certify autopilot system for light helicopters

StandardAero and Thales have signed a teaming agreement formalizing a mutual commitment for developing and certifying an advanced autopilot system for the light helicopter market. The system will initially be certified for installation on the popular Airbus Helicopters AS350 platform.

Based on extensive autopilot experience, Thales has incorporated the features and safety design architecture usually found in multi-engine Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) helicopters into its Compact Autopilot, now available to light helicopter platforms. Thales is offering a lightweight four-axis solution
that enables permanent aircraft stabilization, eliminating the traditional dedicated flight control computer. The autopilot can also fully control the helicopter from initial hover to coupled approach and position-hold.

StandardAero brings its extensive and proven aftermarket experience in aircraft modifications and
supplemental certification capabilities to the AS350 Compact Autopilot product. The company’s extensive engineering and certification knowledge serves to ensure the fielded solution will far exceed the basic certification requirements and will satisfy operators’ exacting expectations for system
operation, airframe integration, simplified maintenance and product support.

“Our Compact Autopilot solution capitalizes on the proven levels of safety and reliability that are already deployed on larger air transport platforms. We will use this technology and experience as the basis for a cutting-edge, timely solution, bringing light helicopters into a new era,” said Christian Bardot, Thales Vice-President in charge of Helicopter Avionics business.

British Airways explores possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts

British Airways is exploring the possibility of using 3D printers to create aircraft parts in the future. These printers would be located at airports around the world to reduce delays for customers and
emissions caused by transporting items.

The airline’s innovators predict that non-essential cabin parts will be first on the list to be generated, including pieces of tray tables, entertainment systems and toilets. While these components do not impact the safe operation of the flight, they can reduce the number of seats or toilets available for customers and cause delays as engineers wait for the parts to be flown to wherever the aircraft is.

3D printing is an essential step towards the sustainable future of aviation, as the printers can produce parts that, while as strong and durable as traditional components, weigh up to 55%. Every kilogram removed saves up to 25 tons of CO2 emissions during the lifespan of an aircraft.


International Airlines Group reports November traffic figures

International Airlines Group (IAG) has reported that November traffic increased 4.9% compared to the previous year, while capacity for the month increased 1.0%. The Group's load factor improved 3.2 points, to 83.9%, compared to November 2019.

FAI Technik completes ADS-B and FANS installations on Bombardier Challenger 604s

FAI Technik GmbH, the German MRO supplier and member of the FAI Aviation Group, has completed two FANS installations on two Bombardier Challenger 604s (D-AFAA and D-AFAG) during October / November. It has also just commenced a further installation, scheduled for completion by mid-December 2019.

Simultaneously, FAI Technik GmbH has received an EASA-STC for a Garmin ADS-B solution for a
Bombardier Learjet 60, designed by FAI Engineering in collaboration with FAI’s Part 21-Design Partner S4A, located in Madrid, Spain. With three Learjet 60 ADS-B modifications already completed, FAI Technik is now seeking to modify another three Learjet 60 models before year end. This will mean
that FAI’s entire Air Ambulance fleet, comprising six Learjet 60s, plus four Challenger 604s, will be ready for unrestricted Transatlantic flying by the end of this year.

Its six other European based Learjet 60s are scheduled for ADS-B modification in the first and second
quarters of 2020, respectively, in time for the EASA mandate by June 2020.

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Air France-KLM Cargo appoints Adriaan den Heijer Executive Vice President

Air France-KLM Cargo has appointed Adriaan den Heijer as Executive Vice President, effective January 1, 2020. He will join the Air France-KLM Group Executive Committee.

Most recently, den Heijer has been Senior Vice President Pricing & Revenue Management for Air France-KLM, responsible for the development and implementation of the pricing and revenue management strategies for the Air France-KLM Group.


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