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Friday, July 24th, 2020

Spirit AeroSystems threatened by further production cuts into 2022

Having already laid off thousands of its workforce, Spirit Aerosystems (Spirit), which makes the fuselage for the troubled Boeing 737 MAX, is in discussions with lenders over loosening debt terms.

Kansas-based Spirit had already been asked by Boeing to cut back on production owing to further knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in what looks like an annual delivery of 70 units as opposed to the original 200 or so. Subsequently, Spirit warned last month it was at risk of breaching its financial covenants.

For 2021 deliveries are expected to fall just short of 200, roughly half the previously anticipated number, while for 2022 the number of units is now forecast to be 400 instead of 500 units.


GA Telesis expands A320neo flight hour support contract with Air Astana

Air Astana, the national air carrier of Kazakhstan and A320neo launch customer in the CIS, has announced the expansion of its GA Telesis Flight Hour support contract for its fleet of Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft.

The support program entails warranty administration, repair management, 24/7/365 AOG support, a large main-base stock placed at Air Astana's hub, and a greatly expanded pool access of inventory that will be used to support the airlines’ flight operations. Additionally, Air Astana will have access to GA Telesis’ extensive inventory of A320-family rotable components and GA Telesis’ MRO capabilities for both components and aerostructures.

Boeing secures Aircraft Finance Germany order for two 737-800 Boeing converted freighters

Responding to strong near and long-term express cargo demand, Aircraft Finance Germany (AFG) signed an agreement with Boeing for two 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF).

Based on the popular Boeing Next-Generation 737, the 737-800BCF offers operators newer technology, lower fuel consumption and better reliability than other standard-body freighters. Primarily used to carry express cargo on domestic or short haul routes, the airplane is capable of carrying up to 23.9 tons (52,800lbs) and flying up to 2,000 nautical miles (3,750 km).

“We are always looking for the best way to invest and deploy aircraft that support our customers,” said Peter Koster, AFG’s Head of Freighter Trading. “The 737-800BCF gives us the opportunity to serve a growing market with a workhorse that can reliably and efficiently fit into most operators’ fleets.”


Bulgarian Ministry of Transport and SOF Connect consortium sign concessionaire agreement

On July 22, the Bulgarian Ministry of Transport and the SOF Connect consortium signed the concessionaire agreement for Sofia Airport. The project has now entered a new phase and Meridiam, Strabag and Munich Airport are looking forward to closely working together with all stakeholders to enhance the attractiveness of Sofia Airport as well as the Bulgarian economy.

Thierry Déau, Founder and CEO of Meridiam: “Our ambition is Sofia Airport to become an enabler of social, economic, environmental and inclusive growth that contributes to Sofia, its region and Bulgaria. World-class, sustainability and resilience standards will be applied to transform Sofia Airport in a success story which will benefit the Bulgarian citizens, the airport employees and partners.”

With a proven experience in the airport sector and an existing portfolio of landmark airports including LaGuardia Central Terminal (New York, USA), Queen Alia International (Jordan) or Ivato and Nosy Bé (Madagascar), Meridiam intends to set the ground for another long-term success story with the new Sofia Airport. Building a new sustainable infrastructure with positive impact.

Stevens Aerospace successfully completes AS9110/ISO9001 Quality Management System audit

Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems (Stevens) Greenville, S.C. (GYH) facility successfully completed a multi-day surveillance audit with zero nonconformances earlier this month.

This audit marks a four-year anniversary of Stevens’ registration commitment to the AS9110 and ISO9001 Quality Management System standards. Commitment and adherence to these standards furthers Stevens’ goals of continuous improvement and customer satisfaction.

Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems provides MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) services on a wide range of aircraft produced by manufacturers such as Textron, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Pilatus, Dassault,
and Embraer.


Over 800 aircraft to exit airline fleets says IBA

Over 800 aircraft have been identified as subject to exit from their current airline fleets, according to the leading aviation data and advisory company IBA in its recent Mid-Year Market Update.

Covid-19 has driven a mix of airline failures and administrations, early lease returns and accelerated retirements, all of which feed into IBA’s analysis, which draws on data from IBA.iQ, the leading platform for aviation intelligence.

Over two thirds of the aircraft identified will be retired or placed in long term storage, and are unlikely to fly again. This includes almost all fleets of older aircraft such as the MD-88 and MD-90, but also significant proportions of younger aircraft including almost 30% of the A380 and almost 50% of the A340-600 fleets.

British Airways has since announced the retirement of its Boeing 747-400 fleet in response to the global pandemic afflicting our industry. These aircraft would have otherwise been operated until 2024.

Phil Seymour, Company President of IBA, says: “A mix of airline failures, the grounding of the 737 MAX and radical changes in fleet strategy are changing the dynamics of the commercial aircraft marketplace like never before.

“By the start of 2021, airline fleets across the world will look very different following reductions in size and variety as airlines focus on operating fewer numbers of smaller, younger, proven and more efficient aircraft.”

Although older widebody aircraft feature heavily in airlines’ retirement strategies, the number of widebody order cancellations has actually fallen from 237 in 2019 to just 32 thus far in 2020, highlighting that new widebody aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 continue to play a part in airline’s future plans.

By comparison, 452 cancellations of the 737 MAX, combined with smaller numbers of the A320neo family and A220, have driven the total number of narrowbody cancellations from 421 in 2019 to 497 so far in 2020.

While airlines remain responsible for the majority of cancellations, lessor cancellations have increased, largely as a result of the grounding of the MAX. The number of new leases has also fallen sharply between Q1 and Q2 of 2020, and IBA predicts that lease ends will exceed lease starts for the first time ever this year.

The total number of new aircraft deliveries has also fallen significantly. Thus far in 2020, 28 regional jet, 88 widebody and 185 narrowbody aircraft have been delivered. IBA estimates that the total figure may reach 600 by the end of the year, compared to 1,400 deliveries in 2019. The number of new deliveries has not previously fallen below 950 in the last 20 years.

The number of aircraft returning to the air, having been parked or in storage, varies considerably by type according to data from IBA.iQ.

Over 60% of regional jet aircraft are now back in operation whilst almost 50% of widebodies remain parked. Additionally, while two thirds of all narrowbodies were parked in April, almost 60% are now in service.


Vistara receives first A321neo aircraft

Vistara, a joint venture between TATA group and Singapore Airlines (SIA), took delivery of its first Airbus A321neo aircraft in New Delhi. The aircraft, arriving from Airbus’ final assembly lines in Hamburg, Germany, features India’s most advanced aircraft cabin in the sky with fully flat beds in business class.

Overall, Vistara’s A321neo features a three-class layout with 12 seats in business class, 24 in premium economy and 152 in economy class. The aircraft is the first of six A321neo for the airline, on lease by Air Lease Corporation and part of the 50 A320neo Family aircraft order signed in 2018.

All Vistara A321neo will be powered by latest-generation CFM-Leap 1A engines. These aircraft will be supported by Airbus’ Flight Hour Services Tailored Support Package (FHS-TSP) programme to optimize and secure Vistara fleet operations. The aircraft will complement Vistara’s current Airbus fleet of 32 A320 Family aircraft.

GKN Aerospace Sweden joins feasibility studies of future fighter jet engine

GKN Aerospace will participation in feasibility studies on technology development for the future combat air system and next generation of fighter jet engines with partner industries in Italy and the U.K. GKN Aerospace and Saab are the two companies in Sweden that are part of the cooperation.

Air combat capabilities are designated by Sweden as a national security interest. Through a joint technology development, the Swedish aviation industry will be able to build and sustain their continuous development of competencies and capabilities in a cost-effective way. GKN Aerospace was contracted in Q1 2020 by FMV to conduct a study on collaboration with Rolls Royce on technology development of the future fighter engine.

Future fighter jets will impose completely new demands on the engine. It will not only have to meet increased propulsion needs, but also supply increasingly demanding sensors and weapons with more power output and cooling needs. Therefore, a substantial technological leap will be needed compared to today's fighter engines.

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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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