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Monday, March 9th, 2020

U.S. House investigation find fault with both FAA and Boeing for 737 MAX crashes

An investigative report produced by the U.S. House Transportation Committee into the fatal Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX has found fault both with the way the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the plane’s design, and design failures on the Boeing side.

The preliminary investigation classed the FAA’s certification of the aircraft “grossly insufficient” and that the agency had failed in its duty to identify critical safety problems. The 13-page report made it clear that: “The combination of these problems doomed the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines flights,” while also stating that: Boeing’s 737 MAX design “was marred by technical design failures, lack of transparency with both regulators and customers, and efforts to obfuscate information about the operation of the aircraft.”

The FAA said in a statement it welcomed the report’s observations and that lessons learned from the two fatal crashes “will be a springboard to an even greater level of safety. While the FAA’s certification processes are well-established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs, we are a learning agency and welcome the scrutiny.”

The report also showed that both the FAA and Boeing missed “multiple red flags and clear data points” in recommending that the 737 MAX should continue to fly after the Lion Air crash. The U.S. House panel also faulted Boeing for what it described as a “culture of concealment” in its failure to disclose information to airline pilots about the 737 MAX’s MCAS stall-prevention system which has been linked to both crashes, and that a key angle-of-attack cockpit alert was “inoperable on the majority of the 737 MAX fleet.”

Separately, according to Reuters news agency, last Friday the FAA proposed fining Boeing US$19.7 million for allegedly installing equipment on hundreds of 737 aircraft containing sensors in heads-up displays that regulators had not approved for use.


AvAir opens facility at Dublin Airport

AvAir, a global supplier of aftermarket aviation parts, will open a 25,000-ft² warehouse facility at Dublin Airport.

The United States based company’s expanded presence in Europe comes as at the start of its 20th year and as part of a new strategic vision for AvAir, which offers customized solutions for customers and suppliers to buy, sell, exchange, loan, lease, or consign more than 26 million in-stock aviation parts.

“The new Dublin location will allow us to provide better service to our customers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East,” Bianco said. “With this new facility, we are removing nearly 5,000 miles from the total distance much of our inventory would need to travel. This allows us to be more responsive to our customers while saving time and money.”

To lead the Dublin office, Fjalar Scott has been promoted to vice president of sales in Europe. Scott has led the European business development for the company with a focus on expanding its footprint to better serve international clients for the last four years.

GKN Aerospace posts strong 2019 performance

GKN Aerospace has delivered a strong performance in 2019, with sales up 7% and operating margin up to 10.6% (from 9.9% in 2018), coupled with new contract wins, breakthrough technology developments and more than £50 million invested in key sites.

During the year, GKN Aerospace has signed a contract for a large workshare on the all-new Gulfstream G700 Business Jet, including design and manufacture of empennage and floorboards and production of fuselage panels. In addition, Aerion Supersonic selected GKN Aerospace as a supplier on the AS2 supersonic business jet. GKN Aerospace will design the empennage and the electrical wiring and interconnection systems (EWIS).

GKN Aerospace continued its strategic expansion in the growing Asian market, announcing a new facility in China and starting production in its new wiring site in Pune, India. Over £50 million was committed to new investment productivity across key European and U.S. facilities, including Cowes, Luton and Portsmouth in the U.K., and Garden Grove in the U.S.


Southwest implements enhanced aircraft cleaning program

Southwest Airlines has announced that its team works throughout the day to execute an aircraft cleaning program built upon standing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) which is designed with Customer Safety and comfort in mind. As part of the program, Southwest aircraft routinely undergo more than six labor hours of cleaning every night.

As of March 4, Southwest’s Aircraft Appearance Technicians enhanced the cleaning procedures by expanding the use of an EPA-approved, hospital-grade disinfectant to address human touchpoints across the passenger cabin, lavatories, and flight deck.

Additionally, Southwest equips all of its aircraft with a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, which filters out recirculated air onboard each plane to remove airborne particles. As a reference, HEPA filters are also used in hospitals to provide patients with clean air.

TP Aerospace opens wheel and brake MRO in Russia

TP Aerospace has opened its first wheel and brake MRO in Moscow, Russia. The extension to the green family, is part of the Green Sunrise strategy, an ambitious growth plan for increasing proximity to airline customers worldwide and provide the best possible wheel and brake support, wherever in the world their aircraft may be.

The new workshop is located close to Sheremetyevo International Airport and consists of a combined office and workshop space, currently operated by six skilled staff, four technicians and two in management.


Delta suspends Atlanta-Rome service March 11 through April 30

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, Delta is temporarily suspending service between Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL) and Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
starting Wednesday, March 11 through April 30.

Additionally, seasonal Detroit to Rome service will be delayed to May 1. It was originally scheduled to begin April 1.

Delta is also extending its suspension of service from New York - John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) to May 20. Service from New York-JFK to Venice Marco Polo Airport (VCE) is postponed to May 21.

Customers traveling between Rome and the United States will continue to have access through New York-JFK from March 11 through April 30. New York-JFK to Rome will be Delta’s only flight to Italy during this period.


Finnair traffic performance in February 2020

In February, Finnair carried 1,035,000 passengers which is 4.0% more than in the corresponding period of 2019. The overall capacity (ASK) increased in February by 2.9%. Finnair's traffic (RPK) decreased by 1.7%. The leap day had a growth contribution of some 3% to passengers, ASK and RPK, as there was an additional day in February compared to 2019. The Passenger Load Factor decreased year-on-year by 3.6% points to 76.1%.

Nav Sandhu appointed Nasmyth Group’s Head of Programme and Project Management

Nasmyth Group has released that Nav Sandhu has been appointed as Head of Programme and Project Management, effective immediately.

Based at Nasmyth Group’s U.K. Head Office in Coventry, he will form part of the Group’s Management Team. Establishing long-term programme and project management systems, Sandhu will lead in introducing these foundations across the whole of the Nasmyth Group.


Hensoldt selects CoreAVI’s software and COTS-D hardware IP platform

Core Avionics & Industrial (CoreAVI) and Hensoldt announced that Hensoldt has selected CoreAVI’s COTS-D hardware IP and graphics and compute software to provide a new generation of safety certified mission computers and display systems. The system will be certified to DO-254/ED-80 and DO-178C/ED-12C Design Assurance Level (DAL) A. The system will use the AMD E9171 GPU, AMD’s latest graphics processor that is provided by CoreAVI to the avionics and high reliability markets. Hensoldt’s scalable and most advanced display and compute systems will address the need for both technology refresh requirements as well as deployments for new safety critical avionics programs.

Hensoldt’s new feature-rich avionics computing system offers the scalable power and high performance to meet the needs of a wide range of safety critical avionics applications. Purpose-built for graphics and compute capabilities with support for both OpenGL® SC 2 and Vulkan®, this
highly flexible solution will offer enhanced video with 4K display capabilities and will enable parallel processing to host both compute and video applications concurrently. Having one partner provide the full system solution - from the GPU, to safety critical software, to certification packages - is key to speeding and easing Hensoldt’s integration efforts, and this collaboration between the two companies is designed to ensure this new solution offers customers the highest levels of safety and security without sacrificing features and performance.


Avianca Holdings reports US$98.6 million fourth quarter 2019 operating profit

During the fourth quarter 2019, Avianca Holdings successfully concluded its financial reprofiling; deferring a total of approximately US$220 million aircraft operating lease and debt amortization payments and exchanging 88.1% of its US$550 million May 2020 bond.

In addition, Avianca drew US$250 million stakeholder financing from United Airlines and Kingsland Holdings as well as an additional US$125 from other market participants.

This is aligned with the “Avianca 2021” Strategic Plan which the company is currently implementing to improve operational efficiency, strengthen the Avianca’s financial position and liquidity, and improve results of its operations.

4Q 2019 operating revenues reached US$1.2 billion for the quarter; a 9.5% year-on-year decrease. Fourth-quarter 2019 total operating expenses decreased by 9.7% mainly driven by a 79.3% decrease in flight operations, a 21.8% decrease in passenger services as well as a year on year reduction of 10.3% in fuel expenses.

EBITDA for the 4Q 2019 was US$223.9 million, with a 19.2% EBITDA margin. Further, operating income (EBIT ) reached US$98.6 million with an 8.4% operating margin a 28-bps increase, while net income totaled - $0.4 million, compared to US$58.2 million in 4Q 2018. Net income margin for 4Q 2019 reached 0.0%.


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

Technical Aspects of a Leased Asset 2020
April 21, 2020 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

Maintenance Reserves Seminar 2020
April 22, 2020 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: [email protected]
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