Wednesday, December 11th, 2019

Missing Hercules with 38 on board has crashed according to Chilean Air Force 

A Chilean military C-130 Hercules has disappeared while en route from Punta Arenas to a military base on Antarctica’s King George Island and is presumed to have crashed according to the Chilean Air Force. There were 38 people on board comprising 17 crew and 21 passengers who were traveling to provide logistical support on King George Island.

The plane took off from Punta Arenas at 16:55 local time and all communication was lost at 18.13 when the plane was approximately 450 miles into its 770-mile flight and within the area known as Drake Passage. While that area is notorious for bad weather conditions, the conditions for the flight were good at the time according to the Air Force.

According to Air Force Gen Eduardo Mosqueira, the plane did not activate any distress signal before it disappeared and that it was being flown by a pilot who had extensive experience. Air Force Gen Francisco Torres confirmed that the search for the plane had "begun immediately", with four ships and ten aircraft from Chile joining in, while Uruguay and Argentina have also sent a plane each to join in the search, which is currently focusing inside a 60-mile radius of the point where communication with the aircraft was lost.


Chilean-based carrier SKY orders ten A321XLRs to expand its international footprint

Chilean-based ultra-low-cost carrier SKY has signed a purchase agreement with Airbus for 10 A321XLRs. The airline will expand its international route network with the new aircraft.

SKY has been an Airbus customer since 2010 and became an all-Airbus operator in 2013. The airline’s fleet of 23 A320 Family aircraft serves national and international routes connecting Chile to Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay.

IATA reports moderate slowdown in passenger demand growth

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic data for October 2019, showing that demand (measured in total revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) climbed 3.4% compared to the year-ago period. This was a modest slowdown from 3.9% growth recorded in September, owing to softer traffic performance in domestic markets. October capacity (available seat kilometers or ASKs) increased by 2.2% and load factor climbed 0.9 percentage point to 82.0%, which was a record for October.

October international passenger demand rose 3.2% compared to October 2018, unchanged from September's year-over-year performance. With the exception of Latin America, all regions recorded increases, led by Middle East airlines for the first time since June 2018. Capacity climbed 1.6%, and load factor rose 1.3 percentage points to 81.0%.

Demand for domestic travel climbed 3.6% in October compared to October 2018, down from 5.1% annual growth recorded in September owing to softer performance in the US and China, the largest domestic markets. Capacity rose 3.4% and load factor increased 0.2 percentage point to 83.9%.

Chinese airlines' domestic traffic rose 5.3% in October, well down on 8.0% growth recorded in September and the third consecutive month of slowing growth. Modest easing in consumer spending combined with tougher year-ago comparisons contributed to the result.

Indian airlines saw their domestic traffic rise 3.6%, up from 1.9% in September, supported by the start of the main tourist season. Growth remains well below 2018 levels, however, reflecting the general economic slowdown and the impact of the collapse of Jet Airways.


Congo Airways signs order with Embraer for two E175 jets

Embraer and Congo Airways have signed a firm order for two E175 aircraft, with purchase rights for a further two. The deal has a total value of US$ 194.4 million at current list prices with all purchase rights exercised, and will be added to Embraer’s 2019 fourth quarter backlog.

Desire Bantu, CEO of Congo Airways said, “These new jets will replace our current turboprop offering and allow us to serve routes both within the Democratic Republic of Congo, and regionally to West, Central, and Southern Africa, from our hub in Kinshasa. We will now have the flexibility and the right sized aircraft to serve our market, which is growing so rapidly an additional order may be required, for which the E2 is a particularly compelling option.”


GA Telesis and HAECO ITM sign post-airframe-teardown consignment sale agreement

HAECO ITM, a member of the HAECO Group, has acquired a Cathay Dragon Airbus A330-300, (MSN083), for disassembly and has partnered with GA Telesis’ Component Solutions Group for the distribution and resale of the parts removed from the aircraft.

Once the components are recertified, they will support HAECO ITM’s inventory pool as well as GA Telesis’ customer base worldwide. A joint venture between HAECO and Cathay Pacific Airways, HAECO ITM offers services that include the provision and pool management of aircraft components. HAECO ITM currently manages a fleet of over 290 aircraft from an inventory pool located in Hong Kong.

Air BP’s Airfield Automation goes live in Brazil’s São Paulo state

Air BP, the international aviation fuel products and service supplier, has completed the roll out of its innovative Airfield Automation digital technology across São Paulo state, Brazil. It is estimated that around 150 of Air BP’s airport and operator customers will benefit from the new technology which aims to enhance safety, reliability and compliance in airport fuelling operations. This includes many general aviation customers for whom the risk of misfuelling is considered greatest.

Brazil is known as South America’s most influential aviation market, with one of the biggest business aviation fleets in the world, a large proportion of which are based in São Paulo. The city is also home to Brazil’s largest fleet of helicopters. Air BP is the supplier at Helicidade São Paulo, one of the largest specialised helicopter service centres in the country, and HBR São Paulo.

Air BP customer, Marco Antônio Beolchi Adami, Captain at Rio Bonito Comunicação, Helicidade São
Paulo said: “Since we started using Air BP’s Airfield Automation platform in August, the fuelling process has become much more streamlined. It is faster and more efficient. Refuelling and turnaround times can be tight when there are two flights close to each other, and the pilot has a short time to land, refuel, do the post-flight and pre-flight checks and then has to take off immediately. With this technology, we now have an extra layer of safety to help prevent misfuelling. It’s a very welcome addition to the location. I am very happy to see that.”


NAC delivered one ATR 72-600 to Air Nostrum

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has delivered one ATR 72-600, MSN 1198, to Air Nostrum on lease. Air Nostrum was founded in 1994 in Valencia, Spain. It was created to become a reference point for the southern European regional aviation market sector as indicated by its original name: Air Nostrum Lineas Aereas del Mediterraneo (Air Nostrum Mediterranean Airlines). With about 74,000 annual flights and 4.3 million passengers, Air Nostrum is today, considered the leading regional aviation company in Spain. It is also considered one of the most important European regional aviation airlines. Funded by private capital, it operates as part of the Iberia Group under the brand name of Iberia Regional Air Nostrum.


Seabury Securities advises Avianca Holdings on reprofiling of US$4.5 billion of obligations

Seabury Securities, the wholly-owned investment banking arm of Seabury Capital Group (collectively, Seabury Capital) has announced the successful completion of a comprehensive liquidity program for Avianca Holdings (Avianca) that involved reprofiling over US$4.5 billion of lease and debt obligations (excluding debt at Avianca’s LifeMiles subsidiary) as well as securing US$375 million of new financing and financing commitments anchored by a US$250 million mandatorily convertible loan facility provided by United Airlines and Kingsland Holdings.

“The success of this liquidity program can be directly linked to the courage of Avianca’s executive team and Board of Directors in embracing comprehensive profit turnaround and liquidity plans that are codified in the Avianca 2021 Plan and to the financial support provided by United and Kingsland,” said John E. Luth, Chairman, President & CEO of Seabury Capital Group. “That combination gave us the ability to collectively persuade Avianca’s creditors, lessors, and other key stakeholders to commit to continuing to support Avianca.”


SAS improves customer service and cuts costs with Scandit’s barcode scanning on smartphones

Scandit, the enterprise technology platform for mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR), has reported that SAS (Scandinavian Airlines System) has integrated its powerful scanning software into its new Ground Handling App for smartphones, to replace expensive built-in scanners and upgrade critical ground workflows.

The mobile app (developed by Stockholm-based Objective Solutions) brings new efficiency and cost savings to workflows using mobile scanning of boarding passes, passports, meal vouchers and baggage tags. SAS has deployed the Scandit-powered app to their three Scandinavian airport hubs: Stockholm Arlanda, Oslo Gardermoen, and Copenhagen Kastrup.

SAS carries more than 30 million passengers annually to 120 destinations on over 170 aircraft and is widely recognized as a pioneer in digital innovation for the air travel industry. The Ground Handling App is part of a global, digital infrastructure initiative to streamline and improve key operations and improve the travelling experience for its growing volume of passengers. In the first deployment, SAS employees were equipped with 700 Galaxy A8 devices, with further rollouts planned across SAS’ global operations.

The Scandit software was easily integrated into the SAS IT ecosystem. Customer-facing SAS employees use the mobile app from anywhere in the airport, for example at the boarding gate where agents are no longer tied to gate podiums. Passengers are benefiting from a faster, more personalized service and SAS has reduced costs compared to the dedicated scanners and infrastructure. Booking changes can also be done seamlessly with the mobile app and baggage handlers use it to record and track baggage.


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