Monday, Febuary 3rd, 2020

AirAsia suspected of being involved in Airbus bribery deals

No sooner had Airbus admitted to bribing public officials and making hidden payments involving the U.K., USA and France, than U.K prosecutors have now accused executives of AirAsia Group and AirAsiaX of receiving bribes from Airbus to secure plane sales.

According to Reuters News Agency, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) revealed last Friday that between October 2013 and January 2015, Airbus’ then-parent business EADS paid US$50 million to sponsor a sports team that was jointly owned by two people described as AirAsia Executive 1 and Executive 2. The SFO said the executives were rewarded for an aircraft order from Airbus, an allegation AirAsia denied late on Saturday.

“The Securities Commission Malaysia will examine the allegations and review all available evidence to determine if there is any breach of securities laws,” Syed Zaid Albar, the regulator’s chairman, said in a statement. Directors who act with the intent to cause wrongful loss to their listed firms can face jail or fines, he added. The anti-corruption agency in Malaysia has already launched a separate investigation into the allegations.

However, on Saturday, AirAsia said in a statement that it had not been involved with the SFO’s investigation of Airbus or given any opportunity to provide clarification. It denied any wrongdoing.

AirAsia, Asia’s largest low-cost airline group, currently runs an all-Airbus fleet of 97 planes, excluding any subsidiary carriers. It also has a further 362 Airbus aircraft on order comprising 351 A321neos and 11 A320 neos.


Javier Sánchez-Prieto takes helm at Iberia

Javier Sánchez-Prieto, currently Vueling chairman and chief executive, has been appointed chairman and chief executive of Iberia. Marco Sansavini, currently Iberia chief commercial officer, has been appointed chairman and chief executive of Vueling.

Both Sánchez-Prieto and Sansavini will take up their new roles in late March when IAG’s chief executive Willie Walsh stands down to be replaced by Luis Gallego, currently Iberia chairman and chief executive.

DAE signs new US$300 million 5-year dual tranche unsecured term financing facility

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has signed a US$300 million 5-year dual tranche unsecured term financing facility with Emirates Islamic and Emirates NBD Capital, the investment banking arm of Emirates NBD.

The facility will contain a conventional and an Islamic tranche and can be upsized to US$600 million. The facility will support the future financing needs of DAE’s business.


Rolls-Royce appoints Arrow Aviation as latest authorized maintenance repair overhaul center

Rolls-Royce has appointed Arrow Aviation as the newest FIRST network™ Authorized Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Center (AMROC). Headquartered in Broussard, Louisiana, Arrow Aviation will provide certified MRO services for M250 and RR300 engine customers.

Previously, as a Rolls-Royce M250 Authorized Maintenance Center, Arrow Aviation provided comprehensive in-house component repair reworks capabilities to customers worldwide. As a new AMROC member, the team will add overhaul capabilities to their portfolio of certified services.

Bombardier sells two Learjet 75 Liberty aircraft

Bombardier has sold two Learjet 75 Liberty aircraft to North Dakota-based Fargo Jet Center (FJC). The aircraft are to be converted to dedicated medevac configuration and delivered to air ambulance service provider Lotnicze Pogotowie Ratunkowe (LPR), based in Warsaw, Poland.

LPR selected the Learjet 75 Liberty aircraft, with FJC’s proposed medevac interior, to serve its expanding operations.

The Learjet 75 Liberty, Bombardier's newest Learjet aircraft, will enter into service this year. This spacious and powerful light jet features a next-generation flight deck and optimized operating costs, with enough range to reach any European destination nonstop out of Warsaw.


American Airlines and TWU-IAM Association reach tentative agreements for joint collective bargaining agreements

American Airlines and the TWU-IAM Association have reached tentative agreements last week for new joint collective bargaining agreements that cover more than 31,000 team members.

The tentative agreements are subject to ratification by maintenance and related and fleet service team members, represented by the Association. The association will communicate details of the agreements to its members in the coming weeks.

Batik Air receives first A320neo

Batik Air, the full service wing of Indonesia’s Lion Group has taken delivery of its first A320neo aircraft. The aircraft is the 46th Airbus aircraft in Batik Air’s fleet that already includes 44 A320 Family Aircraft and one A330-300.

The new aircraft features 156 seats (12 business and 144 economy seats) and will be deployed by the carrier on its regional services and increase its capacity.

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 15% fuel savings at delivery and 20% by 2020. At the end of December 2019, the A320neo Family had received more than 7,100 firm orders from over 100 customers worldwide.


Wright Electric begins engine development program for 186 seat electric aircraft

easyJet has welcomed the announcement by its partner Wright Electric on its engine development program for its flagship 186 seat electric aircraft, named Wright 1.

Wright is engineering electrical systems at the megawatt scale which will be necessary for commercial flight for its 186 seat electric aircraft. It is building a 1.5 MW electric motor and inverter at 3 kilovolts. These components will form the powerplant of Wright’s revolutionary Wright 1 aircraft and move towards aiming to pave the way for a future of zero emissions flight in Europe and worldwide.

Wright Electric is in discussions with BAE Systems relating to flight controls and energy management systems. Wright intends to conduct ground tests of its motor in 2021 and flight tests in 2023. At an event the company held in New York City on January 30, Wright demonstrated a preview of its motor and fan. Wright also announced that it is moving its headquarters to Albany, NY to take advantage of the world-class engineering talent there.

The motor development program is the next step towards building its narrowbody class aircraft. Wright will be simultaneously conducting aerodynamic tests on its fuselage, which will inform the propulsion design. The company expects entry of service of its flagship Wright 1 in 2030. A number of government agencies in the United States are aiding research by providing funding into electric aviation including NASA and Air Force Research Laboratory.

Airbus Helicopters concludes Heli-Expo 2020 with 38 orders

Airbus Helicopters concluded Heli-Expo 2020 with 38 orders, as well as 20 retrofits for the new
five-bladed H145. German air rescue and ambulance provider DRF Luftrettung placed an order for 15 H145s, making them the largest operator of the H145.

Show highlights included the increased power of the H125 that will enable operators to lift up
to an additional 190 kg (419 lbs), Shell Aircraft confirming their interest in using the H160 for offshore transportation missions, and Metro Aviation ordering an additional 12 new EC145e helicopters.

Customs and Border Protection will add 16 new H125 helicopters to their fleet, with deliveries beginning later this year from Airbus’ production facility in Columbus, Miss. Another H125 order was signed with Ascent Helicopters in Western Canada.

Airbus received an order for three new H135s from NASA, marking the first-time partnership between the U.S. space program and Airbus Helicopters.

Tourism operator Maverick Helicopters announced it will retrofit its entire fleet of 34 EC130 B4 helicopters with the Airbus Crash Resistant Fuel System.

On the support and services side, Airbus secured numerous global support contracts, including Papillon, Heliportugal, and DRF Luftrettung who extended its HCare Smart contract for another eight years.


SkyWest signs contract for 20 Embraer E175 jets

Embraer and SkyWest have signed a firm order for 20 E175 jets in a 76-seat configuration. The order has a value of US$ 972 million, based on 2019 list prices, and is already included in Embraer’s 2019 fourth-quarter backlog. Deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2020.

“Embraer and SkyWest enjoy a partnership marked by a longstanding history of service to the mainline carriers, and we relish the opportunity to break new ground,” said Charlie Hillis, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, North America, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “Today, we are excited to announce that these 20 new aircraft will be the first E-Jets operated by SkyWest within
the American Airlines network.”

Embraer’s relationship with SkyWest dates back to 1986, when SkyWest began operating the EMB 120 Brasilia turboprop. With this additional order for the E175, SkyWest has purchased more than 180 aircraft of this model since 2013 alone.


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