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Monday, September 14th, 2020

Colombia’s Avianca Airlines blocked from receiving US$370 million emergency loan

A three-judge Cundinamarca Administrative court has blocked a loan from the Colombian government to stricken Avianca Airlines (Avianca) in response to a citizen’s lawsuit filed by Jonathan Ruiz Tobon. Avianca, which is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S.

Cundinamarca is a department and administrative suburb of Bogotá. Little is known about Tobon, who filed the lawsuit blocking the loan on the grounds it was a threat to public resources and as the current bankruptcy proceedings are taking place in a foreign court, this jeopardizes the likelihood of the loan being repaid.

The lawsuit also looked to force the government to disclose proof that there was no conflict of interest where the loan was concerned. Avianca’s Senior Vice President of Strategic Relations and Customer Experience, Maria Paula Duque, is the sister of Ivan Duque, Colombia’s President. Beyond this, the lawsuit also requested documentation to demonstrate that due diligence had been correctly carried out. This is a point of controversy as the firm hired to conduct such a study was only hired the night before President Duque announced the intended loan.

The lawsuit stated that as Avianca was already in trouble prior to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the pandemic could not be used to justify the financing, especially as this would show favoritism towards Avianca when other airlines are also seeking financial help. The magistrates admitted the lawsuit, and granted the injunction against the loan to Avianca, while denying a motion to require the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit to report on objective analysis that led to the approval of the loan and did not include a justification of possible conflict of interest between President Duque and his sister.


Boeing and Etihad Airways conclude testing on 2020 ecoDemonstrator program

Boeing and Etihad Airways have concluded testing on the aerospace company’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator program last week with a cross-country flight using a 50/50 blend of sustainable and traditional jet fuel.

Flying from Seattle to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina, Etihad’s newest 787-10 Dreamliner used the maximum sustainable fuel blend permitted for commercial aviation. The transcontinental flight also demonstrated a new way for pilots, air traffic controllers and airline operations centers to communicate simultaneously and optimize routing.

Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program takes promising technologies out of the lab and tests them in the air to accelerate innovation. This year’s program evaluated four projects to reduce emissions and noise and enhance the safety and health of passengers and crew. All of the 787-10 test flights used a blend of traditional jet fuel and sustainable fuel produced from inedible agricultural wastes to minimize emissions, with the final flight operating at the maximum 50/50 commercial blend.

The fuel from World Energy and supplied to Boeing by EPIC Fuels has been certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials to reduce carbon emissions by more than 75% over the fuel’s life cycle.


Air New Zealand grounds Boeing 777 fleet until September 2021

Air New Zealand has grounded its Boeing 777 fleet until at least September 2021 due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

In May the airline grounded the majority of its seven 777-300 aircraft until the end of the 2020 calendar year. At the same time the company also signalled it was unlikely to fly its eight 777-200 aircraft in the foreseeable future and began preparing to send these into long term storage overseas.

Four of Air New Zealand's 777-300 aircraft will be stored in Victorville in the Californian desert, while the remaining three will stay in Auckland where they are able to be returned to service if required. The airline's 777-200 aircraft will be sent to long-term storage facilities in both Roswell, New Mexico and Victorville, California from later this month.

The North American locations were chosen for its arid conditions and existing storage facilities which will ensure aircraft are kept in a condition that will enable them to be returned to service within six to eight weeks if required.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Carrie Hurihanganui says the recovery of the airline's international network post-COVID-19 is now looking to be slower than initially thought.


Air France-KLM and Amadeus sign new NDC distribution deal

The Air France-KLM group and Amadeus have announced an innovative NDC distribution deal. The agreement means that Air France-KLM NDC offers can be made available for travel agents through the Amadeus Travel Platform and its NDC-enabled solutions. To access Air France-KLM content distributed via NDC, agents will need to sign bilateral agreements with Air France-KLM and Amadeus.

Over the last few years, Air France-KLM has been working with Amadeus to connect its NDC services to the Amadeus Travel Platform. The prime booking flow of shop, order, pay has already been integrated, meaning pilot travel agents will be able to book via NDC through the platform in the fourth quarter of this year. The full integration with servicing capabilities is expected to complete in the first half of 2021.

NDC is a travel industry-supported program (NDC Program) launched by IATA for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard (NDC Standard). The NDC Standard enhances the capability of communications between airlines and travel agents.

SPL_04 (2020-01-17)

Air Transat posts third- quarter net loss of CA$45.1 million

Air Transat had suspended all of its flights as of April 1, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and therefore had no more sales from that date, until the partial resumption of airline operations on July 23, 2020. As a result, these factors caused a steep fall in revenues. The corporation recognized revenues of CA$9.5 million during the quarter, a decrease of CA$689.4 million (98.6%) compared with 2019.

Operations generated an operating loss of CA$132.0 million compared with operating income of CA$1.7 million in 2019, a deterioration of CA$133.7 million. The decline in operating results was accentuated by the unfavourable settlement of fuel-related derivative contracts. Transat reported an adjusted operating loss of CA$79.9 million compared with an adjusted operating income of CA$62.1 million in 2019, a deterioration of CA$142.0 million.

Net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to CA$45.1 million compared to CA$1.5 million in 2019. Net loss attributable to shareholders for the quarter includes a $67.7 million gain for changes in the fair value of fuel-related derivatives and other derivatives due to the significant recovery in fuel prices during the quarter, a $28.5 million foreign exchange gain mainly related to the remeasurement of lease liabilities.

EASA completes Boeing 737 MAX test flights

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has completed its test flights of the Boeing 737 MAX. These took place in Vancouver, Canada due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

As the next step in its evaluation of the aircraft for return to service, EASA is now analysing the data and other information gathered during the flights in preparation for the Joint Operations Evaluation Board (JOEB). The JOEB is scheduled to start this week in London, Gatwick in the United Kingdom.

EASA has been working steadily, in close cooperation with the FAA and Boeing, to return the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to service as soon as possible, but only if it is convinced that it is safe.


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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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