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Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Malaysian government appoints new chairman for Malaysian Airlines

Ailing government-owned Malaysian Airlines Berhad (Malaysian Airlines) has a newly appointed non-executive chairman, YBhg Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (Wan Zulkiflee), effective July 1, taking over from Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof who resigned in March.

Malaysian Airlines has been struggling in the wake of the disappearance of Flight MH370 and the downing of Flight MH17, both in 2014, and the current global pandemic that has affected airlines worldwide. Currently Malaysian Airlines is estimated to need a government loan of US$5.15 billion to enable it to remain afloat until 2025. Wan Zulkiflee, a 37-year stalwart of Petronas, having risen to the ranks of president and CEO of Petronas, Malaysia’s only Fortune Global 500 company, is seen as a sound bet for Malaysian Airlines with the Malaysian prime minister hoping that it will “grow as a resilient and sustainable national carrier with good governance.”

Malaysian Aviation Group’s CEO, Izham Ismail has also approved the appointment of Wan Zulkiflee, saying: “Tan Sri Wan’s proven leadership and illustrious career at Petronas prove that he is the most suitable candidate to lead MAG forward as a strong player in the aviation industry and a critical enabler of national development.”

Over recent months the possibility of a merger between Malaysian Airlines and AirAsia has been mooted, though there has been considerable interest in the former, owing to its robust route network.


Lilium welcomes Baillie Gifford as new investor

Lilium, the Munich-based aviation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing aircraft for regional air mobility, has welcomed investment management partnership Baillie Gifford, as a new investor. Known for its track record of investing in high-impact technology companies such as Amazon, Tesla, Airbnb, Spotify and SpaceX, the partnership has invested US$35 million in the company, extending the current funding round to more than US$275 million and total investment to date to more than US$375 million.

The news comes less than three months after Lilium confirmed it had received US$240 million in additional funding from existing investors including Atomico, Freigeist, LGT and Tencent, who led the investment round. Combined, these funds will support the further development of the Lilium Jet as well as underpinning preparations for serial production in Lilium’s newly-completed manufacturing facilities.

U.S. Civil Air Patrol orders 17 Cessna piston engine aircraft

Textron Aviation was awarded a contract by the U.S. Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for the sale of 17 Cessna piston engine aircraft. Using fiscal year 2020 funds, the CAP agreed to purchase 11 Skyhawk 172S, five Skylane 182T and one Turbo Stationair HD T206HD aircraft. The aircraft will join a fleet of nearly 550 Cessna aircraft currently owned and operated by the CAP.

As the Air Force Auxiliary, the CAP performs missions for government agencies, and as a non-profit organization they also serve states and communities. In fiscal year 2019, the CAP saved 117 lives and flew nearly 96,000 hours in their Cessna piston fleet. Today, the CAP is the world’s largest Cessna piston operator.

In 2019 the CAP has ordered 19 aircraft and deliveries of those have begun with two Turbo Stationair HD pistons already delivered.


Honeywell and U.S. Army to demonstrate next-generation T55 engine for Chinook helicopters

Honeywell has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Army to demonstrate and fly its upgraded T55 engine on the heavy-lift, twin-engine Chinook helicopter. The new 6,000-horespower engine is 25% more powerful and consumes 10% less fuel than the current T55. New modifications also make the next-generation T55 easier to maintain with lower operating costs and increased readiness for the warfighter.

The new T55-GA-714C engine is specifically designed for next-generation military operators, and will improve the Chinook helicopter’s ability to lift troops and heavy cargo for the U.S. Army and National Guard. Because the engine is based closely on the T55 version currently in use, almost no airframe changes are required — the same intake, exhaust and engine airframe mounts are used. This provides the Army and National Guard with a major engine improvement without the need to retrain their maintenance and operational staff.

The design improvement will be demonstrated as part of the Cooperation Research and Development Agreement process with the U.S. Army. The engine upgrade can be incorporated either by modifying existing engines at overhaul in the U.S. fleet or with new production engines.

The installation and demonstration of the advanced T55 engine will take place on a CH-47F Chinook at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia, under the supervision of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center.


CDB Aviation names Paul Boyle Head of EMEA

CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co. (CDB Leasing), announced the latest addition to its Dublin-based leadership team, Paul Boyle, who has been appointed as Head of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Commercial, leading the lessor’s commercial activity within the region.

Boyle will drive commercial activity and outreach by engaging with airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and other industry participants to cement the lessor’s strategic aircraft placement plan and path to growth in the region. Boyle will report to Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Peter Goodman.

With nearly three decades in aviation and aircraft finance, Boyle has led cross-functional deal teams in a variety of transactions, including remarketing, sale and leaseback, and orderbook placements. Boyle has cultivated senior executive relationships across a wide swath of the region’s airlines. He has earned an industry-wide reputation for his ability to continuously dissect fleet requirements and shifting trends to tailor financing and fleet solutions that best leverage the operators’ emergent
opportunities and address their ongoing challenges.

IAI signs US$350 million Special Mission Aircraft-related contract with major European country

Israel Aerospace Industries has received a US$350 million Special Mission Aircraft-related contract from a major European country. The contract will be executed by IAI’s ELTA Systems, a global leader in the Special Mission Aircraft domain.

IAI has delivered Special Mission Aircraft to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and numerous countries worldwide, and they are considered to be strategic assets. IAI is one of a selected few companies which have these technology capabilities in-house.

IAI achieved a major breakthrough in Special Mission Aircraft thanks to advanced sensor miniaturization technology coupled with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning software applications, allowing high-performance business jets to be used as Special Mission Aircraft. Previously, most of the Special Mission Aircraft in the world were based on converted cargo or passenger planes.


Meridiam and partner Munich Airport awarded Sofia Airport concession

The Supreme Administrative Court of Bulgaria upheld the decision of the Commission for Protection of Competition from November 14, 2019, confirming the selection of Meridiam and its partner Munich Airport as concessionaire for Sofia Airport, by the Ministry of Transport.

The investment embedded in this 35-year long-term public-private partnership will contribute to Bulgaria´s economic rebound post Covid-19 crisis and support the Bulgarian government and local authorities to achieve significant regional benefits in social, economic and environmental aspects.

The airport will develop new standards of carbon accreditation and environmental standards – serving as benchmark for other airports and industries aiming at becoming an enabler of social, economic, environmental and inclusive growth that contributes to Sofia and Bulgaria.

With a proven experience in the airport sector and an existing portfolio of landmark airports including LaGuardia Central Terminal (New York, U.S.A.), Queen Alia International (Jordan) or Ivato and Nosy Bé (Madagascar), Meridiam intends to set the ground for a sustainable success story with the new Sofia Airport. Meridiam has committed to work with the entire aviation sector to achieve the reduction of carbon emissions as part of its mission.

Munich Airport will provide all its knowledge, expertise, best practices and market outreach, especially in terms of airline marketing, route development, passenger experience, smart airport development, airport city development and operational efficiency.


AFRAA and ACC Aviation Group announce strategic partnership

The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and aviation service provider ACC Aviation Group, have announced a strategic partnership for the provision of market-leading services that will support the development of Africa’s aviation industry.

The strategic partnership forms the basis for AFRAA’s membership services initiative, “AFRAA Consulting – Powered by ACC”, with the global aviation company lending its expertise across a range of aviation services, including strategic consultancy and asset management, aircraft charter and (Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance, Insurance) ACMI leasing.

AFRAA Secretary General, Abdérahmane Berthé, commented: “We are excited to partner with ACC Aviation Group. The air transport industry is a key component of Africa’s economic development and this joint initiative is an important step in promoting African airlines on the global stage."

“AFRAA Consulting – Powered by ACC will provide our members with access to market-leading strategic services and training, giving them the means to improve organisational resilience and
respond even more effectively to global market opportunities”.

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