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Friday, April 17th, 2020

Airbus delays increasing output of A220 until next year

With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically affecting demand for new aircraft, Airbus has decided to delay ramping up the increase in production of is Canada-based A220 narrow-body jet until next year but has not opted to reduce production either.

By the middle of 2021, the European planemaker anticipates it will increase current output of four jets per month which are being built at the Mirabel plant near Montreal, while plans to increase production of the jet to four a month at the Mobile, Alabama facility are as yet unchanged.

Having acquired the program from Bombardier Inc, Airbus had anticipated producing up to ten of the jets per month by 2025, but this is now subject to revision. Current production at the Mirabel facility has been suspended until at least May 4, owing to the coronavirus outbreak as it is not classed as an essential business operation, while last month Airbus announced that narrow-body jet production would be reduced to forty units per month, while wide-body jet production would be reduced by 40 per cent.


WestJet Executive Charles Duncan to become President of Swoop

Charles Duncan, WestJet Executive Vice-President in charge of cargo, will now add Swoop President to his title. Duncan takes on the additional role starting April 17, 2020 as Steven Greenway steps down after two years.

Duncan will continue to report to Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO and in addition to the WestJet cargo team, will add three direct reports from Swoop.

Duncan joined WestJet in June of 2017 as the President of WestJet Encore. In August 2018, he moved into the role of Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer before adding Cargo to his portfolio in 2019. Before joining WestJet, he was with Continental Airlines and then, through merger, with United Airlines.

Boeing delivers 500th AH-64E Apache Helicopter

Production, flight test and deliveries of the AH-64E Apache helicopter continue at the Boeing site in Mesa, Arizona. With 500 AH-64E Apaches in service now with the United States Army and defense forces around the world.

First delivered in 2011, the AH-64E has been used in combat operations and peacekeeping efforts. Planned modernization of this multi-role combat helicopter ensures it is ready to fulfill operational requirements globally.


HAECO Composite Services adds GE90 fan case repair capability

HAECO Composite Structures (Jinjiang) has added capability for preventive maintenance inspections and associated repairs on fan stator modules for GE90 engines on Boeing 777 aircraft.

Established in 2009 and located in Jinjiang, Fujian province, Mainland China, HAECO Composite Services is a dedicated composite maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for aircraft nacelles, radomes, and aerostructures. GE Aviation is the GE90 engine’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM).

The scope of work includes ultrasonic inspections of composite panels and other metallic components of the fan stator module. Preventive maintenance inspections of the fan stator modules for GE90-100/115 engines are mandated by the OEM to be performed upon specified engines once they reach 50,000 flight hours. This new capability has been deployed by HAECO Composite Services on a number of Asian customers’ fan cases.

Confident European carriers influence share bounce back

As countries like Spain and Italy now look to have the COVID-19 pandemic under control and death tolls easing, both easyJet and Ryanair, Europe’s top-two low-cost carriers, have both issued strong statements about the near future of air travel once travel bans have been lifted.

Shares in easyJet rose 6.2% after it announced it had sufficient cash reserves to cope with a lengthy grounding of its entire fleet. Ryanair announced that it has prepared itself for an airline price war it expects to win once tourist destinations once again become popular.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index added 1 per cent, rising for the sixth time in seven days.

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IATA calls for coordinated approach to keep air cargo flowing

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has renewed its calls for a coordinated approach among governments to keep air cargo flowing. Delays in permit approvals, quarantine measures for air cargo crew and not enough support on the ground continue to hamper the movement of cargo flights carrying vital medical supplies and other necessities.

Many governments and international regulatory bodies are facilitating the movement of air cargo. The European Commission (EC) issued Guidelines on Facilitating Air Cargo Operations During COVID-19 Outbreak. The World Customs Organization (WCO) has implemented a series of emergency contacts to ensure cargo border blockages can be responded to immediately, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has issued a series of state letters urging member states to further facilitate air cargo flows during this time of crisis.

But there are still too many examples of delays in getting charter permits issued, a lack of exemptions on COVID-19 testing for air cargo crew, and inadequate ground infrastructure to/from and within airport environments. Air cargo needs to move efficiently throughout the entire supply chain to be effective.

“To keep cargo flights operating safely, airlines need access to alternate airports along all routes. These alternate airports are where aircraft can land in the event of an emergency during flight. Because of the sharp drop in passenger flights, some airports that serve the critical alternate airport function are closed or not available at all times. A coordinated effort by governments to keep alternate airports operational is needed. If not, the global air cargo network cannot function and vital shipments are at risk,” said Glyn Hughes, IATA’s Global Head of Air Cargo.


Airbus Board approves appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of Board of Directors

Airbus shareholders have approved all resolutions on the agenda for its 2020 Annual General Meeting, including the election of two new directors, while René Obermann formally succeeded Denis Ranque.

Owing to the global coronavirus outbreak, shareholders were encouraged to vote by proxy instead of attending the AGM physically in Amsterdam, in line with public health and safety measures. Shareholders showed a very high level of voting and strong engagement despite the COVID-19 situation, with 575 million votes expressed, up 5% compared to the 2019 AGM and representing around 74% of the outstanding share capital.

On 23 March, Airbus announced that it was withdrawing a voting item from the original AGM agenda related to the proposed payment of the 2019 dividend. The withdrawal of the dividend proposal was one of a number of measures announced by the Company to bolster liquidity and its
balance sheet in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Following shareholder approval, Mark Dunkerley and Stephan Gemkow each joined the Board as non-executive directors for a period of three years. Dunkerley has extensive experience of the commercial airline and aviation industry and is currently a Member of the Board of Spirit Airlines, while Gemkow is a Member of the Board of Amadeus IT Group and a former airline executive with 22 years at Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

The mandates of non-executive directors Ralph D. Crosby, Jr. and Lord Drayson (Paul) were each renewed for three years. Denis Ranque and Hermann-Josef Lamberti both stepped down as planned from the Board and its committees at the close of the AGM.

At the meeting immediately following the AGM, the Board approved the planned appointment of René Obermann as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In April 2019, Airbus announced that Obermann had been selected by the Board to succeed Denis Ranque as Chairman.


Boeing to resume commercial airplanes production in Puget Sound

Boeing will resume all commercial airplanes production in a phased approach at its Puget Sound-region facilities next week, after suspending operations last month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Approximately 27,000 people in the Puget Sound area will return to production of the 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs, supporting critical global transportation infrastructure, cargo services and national defense and security missions. The 737 program will resume working toward restarting production of the 737 MAX. Boeing South Carolina remains in a suspension of operations at this time. Earlier this week Boeing restarted mostly defense production operations in the region with
approximately 2,500 people.

Employees in the Puget Sound for the 737, 747, 767 and 777 will return as early as third shift on April 20 with most returning to work by April 21. Employees for the 787 program will return as early as third shift April 23, with most returning to work by April 24.


Atlas Air donates transport for critical PPE to NYU Langone Health

Atlas Air has donated air cargo transport to NYU Langone Health for critical personal protective equipment (PPE). Two flights were operated for this mission, including one from Shanghai to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on April 9, and a second from Shanghai to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on April 13.

The Atlas Air-operated Boeing 747-400 freighters were filled with medical gowns, face shields and masks necessary to safeguard frontline-responders dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.  Atlas Air Worldwide’s headquarters is located in the New York area served by NYU Langone.


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Tamar Jorssen
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