Friday, January 24th, 2020

Three American firefighters killed as Hercules crashes fighting Australian bushfires

Three American aerial firefighters who had been contracted to assist with the raging Australian bushfires have been killed on Thursday, after their Lockheed C-130 Hercules being used in water bombing operations crashed on the Snowy Montaro area in the southern region of New South Wales.

The aircraft had been leased from Coulson Aviation, a North American firm, as part of a seasonal lease arrangement with Australian authorities. Currently there are approximately 200 American firefighters who have been deployed in Australia since December. While there is no news yet on the cause of the crash, Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said “initial reports” indicated there was a “large fireball” when the plane crashed and that an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation is underway. He also said the experienced and "well known" crew had been contracted to Australia to help fight the unprecedented bushfires this season.

The death of these three firefighters brings the death toll from the bushfires to 28, of which seven have been firefighters.

American Airlines Group reports fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 profit

American Airlines Group has reported its fourth-quarter and full-year 2019 financial results. The Group reported pre-tax earnings of US$571 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, and pre-tax earnings excluding net special items of US$679 million, a US$90 million increase from the fourth quarter of 2018.

Continued strength in passenger demand and a record passenger load factor drove a 3.4% year-over-year increase in fourth-quarter 2019 total revenue to US$11.3 billion, driven by a 2.4% increase in passenger load factor. Passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) grew 0.9% to 14.72 cents, a record for the fourth quarter. Cargo revenue was down 18.3% to US$216 million due primarily to a 15.6% decline in cargo volume. Other revenue was up 5.4% to US$750 million due primarily to higher loyalty revenue. Fourth-quarter total revenue per available seat mile (TRASM) increased by 0.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2018 on a 2.9% increase in total available seat miles.

Total fourth-quarter 2019 operating expenses were $10.6 billion, up 2.1% year over year, driven primarily by higher salaries and benefits, maintenance, and regional expenses.

Fourth-quarter 2019 earnings were US$0.95 per diluted share. Excluding net special items earnings were US$1.15 per diluted share, up 19% year over year. Full-year 2019 earnings were US$3.79 per diluted share. Excluding net special items earnings were US$4.90 per diluted share, up 8% year over year.


Vienna Airport handles 31.7 million passengers in 2019

The year 2019 was characterised by strong passenger growth. 39.5 million travellers (+15.0%) were registered by the Flughafen Wien Group (Vienna Airport and the foreign strategic investments in Malta Airport and Kosice Airport). Vienna Airport itself handled a total of 31.7 million passengers (+17.1%), comprising a new all-time high. The growth curve will likely flatten out in 2020, but the outlook continues to be positive. The Flughafen Wien Group expects a 3-4% rise in passenger volume along with an increase in revenue, EBITDA and the net profit. The total number of passengers at Vienna Airport is anticipated to climb by 3-5% in the year 2020.

The higher level of capacity utilisation at Vienna Airport means that no further slots will be available in peak periods starting in 2020. Accordingly, only very restrained growth will be possible in the future.

NAC finalizes order for 20 A220 Family aircraft

Regional aircraft lessor Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), has signed a firm order with Airbus for 20 A220 Family aircraft at the end of 2019.

This latest order from NAC, counted in the 2019 order-book, is a huge endorsement and affirms the strong market demand for the state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient Airbus A220 Family.

NAC is one of the largest lessors of regional aircraft, managing and owning 500 aircraft on lease to 78 airline customers in over 50 countries.


Elix Aviation Capital delivers one ATR 42-300 to Rheinland Air Service (RAS)

Elix Aviation Capital (Elix) has delivered one ATR 42-300, MSN 291, under a purchase by Rheinland Air Service, headquartered in Monchengladbach, Germany.

RAS provides aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), plus aircraft sales, support and fueling. With over 40 years of technical expertise, and employing about 250 people across Europe and Africa, the RAS companies reliably serve business and commercial aviation.

Southwest posts full year net income of US$2.3 billion

Southwest Airlines' fourth-quarter 2019 total operating revenues increased 0.4%, year-over-year, to US$5.7 billion, on 0.9% fewer available seat miles (ASMs, or capacity), year-over-year, due to the MAX groundings.

Southwest has posted fourth-quarter 2019 net income of US$514 million compared with fourth-quarter 2018 net income of US$654 million. Fourth quarter 2019 net income was reduced by a US$124 million (pre-tax) profitsharing award, or US$97 million after-tax in light of Boeing compensation.

The estimated operating income reductions from the MAX groundings for fourth quarter and annual 2019 were US$313 million and US$828 million, respectively.

Annual 2019 net income was US$2.3 billion, compared with annual 2018 net income of US$2.5 billion and annual 2018 net income, excluding special items, of US$2.4 billion. Annual 2019 net income was reduced by a US$124 million (pre-tax) profitsharing award in light of Boeing compensation.


CDB Aviation and Atitech agree on business relationship

Full-service lessor CDB Aviation has agreed to work with MRO provider Atitech, located in Napoli Italy, in developing a mutually beneficial business relationship, that will begin with maintenance check work to be scheduled on two Airbus A330-300’s at Atitech's MRO facility in Naples.

CDB Aviation offers a wide array of valuable services to airlines, from traditional operating leases, to fleet renewals, to structured financings.

SWISS concludes cabin refurbishment on Airbus A340 fleet

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has concluded the cabin refurbishment program for its Airbus A340 aircraft fleet in mid-January. All five fleet members have now been provided with a totally new cabin and a new inflight entertainment system. As a result, SWISS now offers its passengers internet connectivity on board throughout its long-haul fleet.

The airline has newly equipped the cabins of its five Airbus A340 aircraft with First, Business and Economy Class seats, which already feature on its Boeing 777s, together with a new inflight entertainment system that includes internet connectivity.

“With the completion of our Airbus A340 cabin refurbishment program we are further underlining our quality commitment, and now offer all our customers the same premium air travel experience, including inflight internet connectivity, on all our long-haul flights,” says SWISS Chief Commercial Officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour.

SWISS operates its Airbus A340s on services between Zurich and Boston, Johannesburg and Shanghai. The A340 will also be deployed on SWISS’s new Zurich-Osaka (Japan) route, starting March 1.


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MRO Latin America
January 22 - 23, 2020 – Cartagena, Columbia

Manufacturing World
February 26 - 18, 2020 – Makuhari Messe, Chiba-city, Japan

Operating Lease & Aviation Finance Seminar
March 24 - 26, 2020 - London, UK