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Tuesday, July 14th, 2020

Senior cuts staffing levels by further 12% as it struggles with overcapacity

British company Senior Plc (Senior) has announced that it will now be cutting a further 12% of its 8,200-strong workforce, taking the total to 17%, while 19% remain on furlough.

Established in 1933 the company operates in two distinct sectors – aerospace where it is responsible for manufacturing parts such as airframes and engine build-up tubes for planemakers, and flexonics, which provides the automotive and energy industries. Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Senior had already seen an increase in over capacity after Boeing, one of its principal clients, reduced production levels of the troubled 737 MAX.

In November last year, the company laid out a £20 million (US$25 million) restructuring plan, while in the following month it announced that it was actively considering the sale of its aerostructures business for a figure around £450 million (US$562 million) owing to weakening revenues. By April this year Senior decided that in the long term, it would be more beneficial to retain its aerospace division, which makes components for Boeing and Airbus, as well as for private jets and military helicopters such as the Black Hawk, and brings in the bulk of revenue.

Subsequent to this, a likely "prolonged contraction" due to the coronavirus crisis has forced it to broaden the restructuring. "The coronavirus pandemic has had a profound effect on our markets and customers since March and the impact will be with us for some time to come," CEO David Squires said. The company has seen weakness in most of its markets bar defense, semi-conductor equipment and medical, which have remained in a “healthy” state.

Senior anticipates a 30% drop in first-half 2020 revenue, while net cash inflow was approximately £3 million (US$3.75 million) during the period.


Lilium and Toray Industries sign supply partnership

Lilium, a German aerospace company developing the all-electric Lilium Jet, and Toray Industries, a leading manufacturer of carbon fiber, have signed an agreement for the supply of higher performance carbon fiber composite.

The Lilium Jet is a five-seater, emissions-free aircraft that can take off and land vertically and is designed to provide high-speed regional connections of up to 300km in under 60 minutes. The aircraft’s primary structures, such as the fuselage, wings and flaps will all be made from carbon fiber.

Toray Industries is recognized as a global leader in aerospace materials and its carbon fiber products played a critical role in the success of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. “Securing this supply agreement marks an important step in the maturity of our supply chain and in our preparations for serial production,” commented Daniel Wiegand, co-founder and CEO at Lilium.

In the first instance, the material will be supplied directly to Lilium for use in the production of further technology demonstrators, before being delivered directly to suppliers who will manufacture parts for prototypes and serial production.

The agreement also paves the way for further collaboration between the two companies, both in the provision of other high-performance materials and the establishment of research and development partnerships.


U.S. Air Force and Boeing sign deal for F-15EX fighter jets

The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a nearly US$1.2 billion contract to build the first lot of eight F-15EX advanced fighter jets to help the service meet its capacity requirements and add capability to its fighter fleet.

The award also covers support and one-time, upfront engineering costs. Already under construction at the Boeing F-15 production facility in St. Louis, the first two jets deliver next year.

The U.S. Air Force is also announcing the overall Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with a ceiling value of nearly US$23 billion for F-15EX.

Ryan O’Reilly appointed Supply Chain Director at Acro Aircraft Seating

Ryan O’Reilly has been appointed to the role of Supply Chain Director with Acro Aircraft Seating based at Gatwick. In post from May 2020, Ryan has taken on strategic and operational responsibility for the company’s global supply chain.

Reporting directly to Chief Executive Officer Neil Cairns, Ryan joins an enhanced and expanded Executive Leadership Team at Acro where his key responsibility will be driving performance improvements across the supply chain function. He will also drive improvements to supplier performance and relationships through enhanced processes and metrics.


Czech Airlines Technics signs new base maintenance agreement with Finnair

MRO provider Czech Airlines Technics (CSAT), has signed a new base maintenance agreement with Finnair, one of CSAT’s major customers within this division. The long-term co-operation contract was entered into for three years with an option for additional three years. CSAT will thus continue to provide base maintenance checks and repairs for the carrier’s Airbus A320 Family fleet at Václav Havel Airport Prague in the following period.

The base maintenance agreement governs the complex performance of all planned checks and repairs with the possibility of additional modifications of the aircraft cabin.

Last year, CSAT has successfully completed a two-year cabin modification and Wi-Fi network installation project for Finnair’s Airbus narrow-body aircraft. Throughout the course of the project, CSAT employees completed the cabin modification and connectivity installation on 24 of Finnair's aircraft. As a result, all aircraft feature new cabin configurations and layout and Finnair customers can access internet complimentary on board during the flight.

United Airlines reinstates three weekly flights from Munich to Washington

Effective immediately, U.S. airline United Airlines is resuming its flight connection from Munich to Washington. A Boeing 787-9 aircraft will take off for the American capital at every Friday, Sunday and Monday. Additional flights with United to Newark are to be added in August.

For airport CEO Jost Lammers, the resumption of the Washington connection marks another step towards returning to normal. “We are delighted that United Airlines is restarting flights with us and connecting Munich to another attractive, long-haul destination in North America. The resumption of the Washington route once again underlines the importance of Munich as a hub for international air traffic.”


Middle East Airlines selects Panasonic Avionics for A321 Family IFE and connectivity

Panasonic Avionics (Panasonic) has been selected by Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA) to provide inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) solutions for 15 of its Airbus A321 Family aircraft.

Upon delivery from July 2020 onwards, nine A321neos will become the first connected aircraft to join MEA’s fleet. They will be linefitted with Panasonic’s eX1 seatback IFE solution, designed specifically for narrow-body aircraft.

eX1 offers elegant full HD seatback monitors, complete with touch displays and handsets, and an intuitive, personalized interface. Passengers will have access to USB and laptop charging power points at every seat as well.

MEA’s A321neos will also be fitted with Panasonic’s inflight Wi-Fi service, with a host of next generation connectivity benefits from fast internet to video streaming, all powered by its new satellite modem which offers bandwidth up to twenty times greater than previously available.

Panasonic’s high-performance connectivity is a powerful way for airlines to build brand loyalty by delivering new and personalized content to passengers inflight.

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