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Monday, August 31st, 2020

Boeing woes mount as eight 787 Dreamliners grounded over structural defects creating risk of failure

Boeing has been forced to ground eight of its 787 Dreamliner jets after the discovery of two manufacturing flaws which could severely compromise the structural integrity of the aircraft.

The problems in question relate to the composite barrel sections at the rear of the 787. These sections are melded together at the South Carolina Boeing plant, which has previously suffered lapses in quality, including the 2015 case where Boeing was fined US$12 million. “We are taking the appropriate steps to resolve these issues and prevent them from happening again,” Boeing said by email. The company said it has “fully briefed” the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and is “conducting a thorough review into the root cause.”

The first issue affecting the grounded aircraft involves shims that are built to a robot’s precise, laser-guided measurements to fill any gaps where the two barrels are joined to ensure that stresses are distributed as designed. Some of the gaps were improperly filled, according to Air Current, as reported by Bloomberg. The aircraft also were found to have roughness on the inner skin of the barrel wall. Combined, the two issues meant that the segments might not withstand the required structural loads, the Air Current said. This news is especially critical for Boeing after structural flaws with pickle forks on earlier-generation 737s have been discovered and the 787 Dreamliner has been a saving grace for the planemaker in terms of cash while the 737 MAX remains grounded.

Carriers affected by this latest grounding of a Boeing jet include, but is not limited to Air Canada, United Air Holdings Inc., and Singapore Airlines Ltd. However, the effect on Boeing will be nowhere near as drastic if data analysis determines that any more of the current 977 in-service Dreamliners become grounded. The wide-body jet caters predominantly for long-haul flights, which are already severely restricted owing to the drop-off in international travel as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Joramco and Ryanair continue maintenance agreement

Joramco, the Amman-based MRO and the engineering arm of Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), is heading into the new season and starting maintenance on the new line of aircraft after successfully completing its first-time base-maintenance agreement with the Irish budget airline, Ryanair.

The former agreement covered Joramco’s performance of heavy checks on the airline’s Boeing 737 NG fleet. Ryanair booked two parallel lines at the Joramco facility during the winter season, initially set from November 2019 until June 2020. The new line of checks started on July 15, 2020 and will continue through March 2021 and consist of five Boeing 737 NG aircraft, followed by seven Airbus A320 aircraft.

FLYdocs partners with Eurowings for paperless records management

Eurowings, the Lufthansa Group’s point-to-point airline has signed a new contract to use the FLYdocs® aircraft records management platform across its fleet of 100 aircraft.

The five-year agreement will help the airline to modernize, automate and digitize its aircraft records. The FLYdocs® platform’s seamless integration with market-leading ERP systems AMOS will also help drive full digital aircraft compliance on-demand for the Eurowings team.

Holger Beck, Managing Director at Eurowings Technik said: “We have accelerated our digital drive across all our operations, and the adoption of FLYdocs® is part of a smarter future at Eurowings. The digital transformation of our aircraft records will enhance our ability to adapt as well as generate major cost and efficiency savings. After working with the FLYdocs team on a number of different projects in the past, we are pleased to be on the next phase of our partnership.”


Change in the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG

Within the stabilization package of the Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) of the Federal Republic of Germany for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, it has been agreed that the Federal Government may appoint two members to the Supervisory Board of the Company in its role as shareholder. This part of the agreement has now been completed with the appointment of Angela Titzrath and Michael Kerkloh.

Titzrath and Kerkloh will soon be appointed as new members of the Supervisory Board by court order. As agreed, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Karl-Ludwig Kley, had the right to propose new members and the German goverment confirmed the nominations.

In order to enable the appointment of two new members, the current Supervisory Board members Monika Ribar and Martin Koehler are resigning from their positions with immediate effect. Ribar has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG since 2014.  Koehler is the longest-serving member of the Supervisory Board, which he joined in 2010. His term would have ended in 2023 without him being eligible for re-election. Photo: Angela Titzrath, Photo: Michael Kerkloh


Swissport agrees to comprehensive restructuring with creditors and shareholders

Swissport has agreed to a comprehensive restructuring with creditors and shareholders including a debt-for-equity swap and a new €500 million long-term debt facility. The restructuring will deliver a significant deleveraging for the company. Swissport has also finalized the €300 million additional interim facility.

Following the announcement on August 21, 2020 of an agreement ‘in principle’, Swissport has now entered into binding agreements on a comprehensive restructuring and refinancing (the Lock-Up Agreement) and on a €300 million super senior interim debt facility.

“Today’s binding agreements secure Swissport’s long-term future. We are pleased that a consensual deal has been reached with a majority of our creditors and our current shareholder,” says Eric Born, Group President & CEO of Swissport International AG. “The restructuring, and the robust financial platform it brings, will enable us to confidently trade through the market recovery and positions Swissport as the first choice partner for airlines around the globe.”

Under the terms of the Lock-Up Agreement, Swissport will shortly be launching an M&A process to run in parallel with other restructuring steps as customary in such situations. Absent any qualifying third-party bid, the senior secured creditors will own substantially all the equity of Swissport, with the seven institutions of the AHG (an ad hoc group of senior secured creditors) controlling more than 75%. The Lock-Up Agreement further provides for a conversion into equity of all existing super senior and senior secured debt, the extinguishment of all senior unsecured and all junior debt at corporate level, as well as the provision of a new €500 million four-year debt facility. The new €500 million facility will refinance the €300 million Interim Facility and will give Swissport the resources to invest into the business, drive operational improvements and to accelerate growth globally. The financial restructuring is expected to be completed in late 2020.


Nordic Aviation Capital delivers one ATR 72-600 to Windrose Aviation Company

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has confirmed the delivery of one ATR 72-600, MSN 1458, to Windrose Aviation Company, on lease.

Ukrainian carrier Windrose Airlines is included in the IOSA airline registry and operates a fleet of five Airbus A321 aircraft, one Airbus A320 aircraft, three Embraer ERJ-145 EU / EP / LR aircraft and three Hawker aircraft. In April 2020 the Ukrainian carrier has launched a domestic scheduled program, connecting the six largest cities of Ukraine – Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Lviv, Odesa, and Mykolaiv on ATR72-600 aircraft. Windrose is currently operating three ATR72-600s on their domestic program.

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Tamar Jorssen
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