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LATEST NEWS

Tuesday, July 7th, 2020

Virgin Australia bondholders and others demand alternative sale propositions be considered

Bondholders in Virgin Australia Holdings (Virgin Australia) have made an application to the Takeover Panel seeking approval to submit an alternative purchase proposal to creditors to consider against the currently accepted offer from private equity group Bain Capital for an as-yet undisclosed sum.

Bondholders are not the only ones to object to what they see as unacceptable sales processes carried out by the administrators, Deloitte, which had precluded them from submitting their own proposal. According to Reuters news agency, Singapore’s Broad Peak Investment Advisers and Hong Kong’s Tor Investment Management are also seeking interim orders allowing them to access information including the terms of the Bain transaction.

Deloitte selected Bain over a bid from private equity group Cyrus Capital Partners and a debt-to-equity swap proposed by the group of unsecured bondholders owed A$2 billion (US$1.39 billion), indicating the principal driving factor to accepting the offer from Bain was based on their ability to provide immediate interim financial help to the struggling carrier.

Virgin Australia had insufficient funds to continue to operate up until the time of the planned August meeting when shareholders will vote on the proposed Bain offer. The Takeovers Panel has not commented on whether or not it will act on the application of the bondholders.

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Michael Erfert to become new Head of Sales at Eurowings

Michael Erfert, currently 'Head of Global Sales Steering, Products & Processes Hub Airlines' Lufthansa Group, will join Eurowings as Head of Sales on August 15, 2020.

In addition to his function as Head of Sales, Distribution and Digital at Eurowings, he will also become Managing Director of the Eurowings digital subsidiary. Erfert will be responsible for all sales activities of Eurowings and will be in charge of the implementation and further development of the Eurowings digital strategy.

He succeeds Oliver Schmitt, who joined the Eurowings Management Board as Chief Commercial Officer in March.

Sundt Air orders two Beechcraft King Air 350C aircraft

Textron Aviation was awarded a contract by Sundt Air for two Beechcraft King Air 350C turboprop aircraft to support air ambulance and medevac missions throughout Greece.

The Athens-based aircraft will be owned by the country’s Ministry of Health, with the Hellenic Air Force overseeing maintenance and operation in support of disaster relief, medical rescue, inter-hospital transfer and repatriation to mainland health care services. Medical staff from the National Centers for Emergency Care will administer medical care to patients aboard the aircraft.

The ministry’s King Air 350C aircraft is equipped with a cargo door and a Spectrum Aeromed dual
stretcher system, which includes redesigned stretchers to accommodate bariatric patients and incubators raised by electrically powered loading devices. Additionally, medical cabinets, on-board oxygen with overhead lighting and equipment mounts, stowaway tables and adjustable seats provide an easy-to-sanitize, comfortable work environment for the medical staff and passengers.

To enhance the aircraft’s low fixed costs of operation, the Ministry of Health of Greece also utilized Textron Aviation’s ProAdvantage program which covers maintenance costs for a predictable hourly rate.

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ATR achieves major milestone in Chinese certification

As part of the validation for the certification process of the ATR 42-500 with modification 5948 in China a certification test flight took-off and landed from Francazal airport in Toulouse. The flight, which took place on Friday, July 3, is a major step toward ATR type certification validation in China, expected in autumn 2020.

The ATR 42-500 with modification 5948 is also known as the ATR 42-600 and certification will allow the first delivery of this latest generation aircraft to a customer in China. The three-hour test flight was performed in cooperation with the Chinese and European airworthiness authorities CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the latter of whose pilots were on-board the flight alongside an ATR crew.

SkyWorks posts second-quarter 2020 activities

SkyWorks Holdings has reported transactions and activities performed during the second quarter of 2020.

SkyWorks was retained by a group of bondholders in the LATAM 2015-1 EETC to manage the repossession and remarketing of 17 aircraft consisting of 11 A321-200s, 4 787-9s, and 2 A350-900s.

Copa Airlines retained SkyWorks to manage the sale of up to 20 737NG aircraft.

On behalf of a US-based financial institution, SkyWorks managed the lease return of a 747-400F aircraft from its previous operator and arranged the subsequent sale to Western Global Airlines.

Also on behalf of a US-based investor, SkyWorks arranged the sale of one A300F4-605R aircraft.

SkyWorks arranged for the repossession of one 2006 manufactured A320-200 aircraft (V2500) on behalf of a U.S. financial institution. The aircraft will be stored in Montpellier, France, while it is being remarketed for sale or lease.

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Premium AEROTEC commences first metal cut for A321XLR’s Rear Center Tank

Airbus’ manufacturing subsidiary Premium AEROTEC in Augsburg, Germany, has commenced production of the first Rear Center Tank (RCT) for the Airbus A321XLR. The "first metal cut" – the production of the first machined part for the tank – took place on June 25, 2020.

The RCT, which is unique to the new long-range A321XLR, is a permanently installed high-capacity fuel tank which makes maximum volumetric use of the aircraft’s lower fuselage. The RCT structure which is integrated in fuselage Sections 15 and 17 is located behind the main landing gear bay and holds up to 12,900 litres – which is more fuel than several optional Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs) combined could hold previously in the A321 Family. Moreover, since the RCT takes up less space in the cargo hold, it frees-up underfloor volume for additional cargo and baggage on long range routes of up to an unprecedented 4,700nm.

Premium AEROTEC, which was commissioned by Airbus in September 2019 to manufacture the RCT, will complete the structure’s sub-assembly over the next few months at its factory in Augsburg, Germany. This phase involves production of the other RCT parts, followed by structural
assembly, systems equipping and testing prior to delivery to Airbus’ major component assembly (MCA) facility in Hamburg early next year, where the tank will be integrated into the aircraft’s rear fuselage.

In addition to the dedicated RCT, other key changes for the A321XLR include a modified landing gear for an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 101 metric tonnes, uprated brakes, and an optimised wing trailing-edge flap configuration to preserve the same take-off performance and engine thrust requirements as today’s A321neo. By early 2020, the first long-lead components for the initial A321XLR flight-test aircraft were already in production – including the main landing gear forgings by Safran and the first parts for the centre wingbox by Airbus in Nantes.

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Finnair traffic performance in June 2020

In June, Finnair carried 55,200 passengers, which is 96.0% less than in the corresponding period of 2019 but 107.2% more than in May 2020.

The overall capacity decreased in June by 96.9% year-on-year. Finnair's traffic decreased by 98.4%. The passenger load factor decreased by 42.4% points to 43.8%. All passenger traffic figures were still heavily impacted by the significant COVID-19 pandemic related capacity reductions, which was visible especially in the Asian and North Atlantic figures as there were no scheduled flights to Asia and only one North Atlantic scheduled flight in June.

Trip & Co announces patent pending for cargo in cabin innovations

Trip & Co and SII have joined forces in order to develop efficient products to transport cargo on board of passenger flights. They now have received a tremendous number of requests from companies and corporations all over the world. Their new products are designed specifically for cargo in cabin applications. Suitable for all sorts of cargo, efficient loading and unloading resulting in higher revenues. Reason for Trip & Co to register some of its cargo in cabin innovations at the patent and trademark office’s database.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, many companies are coming up with creative initiatives in order to create new types of business and business-models for the airlines. Trip & Co delivers products that guarantee (air) cargo safety and protection. Examples of the cargo in cabin solutions Trip & Co and SII recently have developed are the Cargo Seat Bag (CSB) and the Cargo Stowage Container (CSC). The CSB and the CSC will be delivered with a STC approval. In addition, they meet and exceed all regulations.

“We have received a huge number of requests from companies all over the world to create more cargo in cabin solutions like the Cargo Seat Bag which can help to overcome these difficult and challenging times in the aviation industry. This gives us the confidence that we are on the right track.” says Tijmen Koster, CEO of Trip & Co.

More innovative products are to be launched on very short notice.

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North American Aerospace Industries Corporation urges aviation industry to adopt best practices for sustainability

North American Aerospace Industries Corporation (NAAI)’s Managing Principal/General Manager, Sven Daniel Koechler, PhD, believes the aviation industry can do more to promote sustainability. The top executive of this end-to-end aircraft recycling solutions provider stated,

“We are about to break ground on our planned aircraft recycling facilities in the GlobalTrans Park in Kinston, North Carolina. Although, we are looking to build a profitable business, it is equally important that, in doing so, we apply sustainable practices to protect our environment. We believe all sectors of the aviation industry from recyclers, MROs and FBOs to the airlines and leasing companies should be striving to promote sustainability.”

The three-part hangar system comprises: a 357,000 ft² dismantling shop, a 151,800 ft² MRO facility and a 102,000 ft² paint shop for both narrow-body and wide-body aircraft.

In addition, there is a 80,800 ft² space designated for storage and offices. Proprietary processes will be applied that will enable multiple aircraft to be processed simultaneously. The goal will be to recycle as much of an aircraft as possible to reflect a zero waste philosophy.

Koechler continued stating, “Sustainable aviation could not be timelier as the pandemic has increased the number of decommissioned aircraft substantially and aircraft bone yards were already very full. An estimated 600 aircraft are retired in the U.S. each year. This number is probably 15% higher this year due to the pandemic.”
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Tamar Jorssen
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