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Monday, October 5th, 2020

KLM looks to Dutch government for €3.4 billion loan which has strings attached

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) has submitted its critical restructuring plan to the Dutch government as part of its commitment to reduce operating costs. The government had stipulated that the carrier needed to reassess its strategy, cost-cutting initiatives, financial considerations and how staff will embrace reduced employment conditions amounting to income-dependent, graduated cutbacks of up to 20%.

According to a press release from KLM issued October 2, it has now reached agreement with all unions for ground, cockpit and cabin staff on key principles of this plan for the period through 2022. This includes the unions VNC and FNV Cabine in the cabin domain and the unions FNV Luchtvaart, CNV, De Unie, VKP and NVLT in the ground domain, as well as the Dutch Airline Pilots Association VNV in the cockpit domain.

The government also wants KLM to reduce controllable costs by 15%, which can only be achieved through downsizing. It is estimated that by the end of 2020, 4,500 fewer people will be employed by KLM than were employed before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The option of terminating lease agreements and operating a more efficient fleet will be a likely outcome.

Pieter Elbers, KLM CEO, commented that: “Today (Friday) we took a major, exceedingly important step towards restructuring KLM. The plan we submitted to the Ministry of Finance today is a condition for obtaining a financial package, making this an important milestone in KLM’s recovery. The aim is to ensure that KLM survives this crisis and emerges stronger than before. The measures are far-reaching and painful for KLM staff, but they are necessary. I am grateful for the support of the Netherlands government and proud of the efforts of all involved – KLM staff, our Works Council and trade unions – who worked together to achieve this result. (€1.00 = US$1.17 at time of publication.)


DHL Global Forwarding appoints new Americas CEO

DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, announced that Tim Robertson will succeed Bill Meahl as CEO for DHL Global Forwarding Americas. Meahl is retiring after a successful career that has spanned almost four decades at DHL. Robertson will be reporting directly to Tim Scharwath, CEO DHL Global Forwarding, Freight.

In his new appointment as regional CEO, Robertson will be responsible for the management of DHL Global Forwarding business activities including leading more than 7,500 employees across 16 countries.

Farsound Aviation expands U.K. headquarters as part of longer-term growth plans

Farsound Aviation has purchased the building adjacent to its U.K. headquarters in Romford, Essex. The acquisition, which was finalized earlier this month, comes as part of the aero engine MRO supplier’s wider ambitions to develop the company in a carefully laid out expansion plan that will culminate in 2021.

Despite continued challenges in the aviation sector, Farsound Aviation has committed fully to a comprehensive growth plan that will see the company expand its facilities for supplying C-Class, B-Class and other fast-moving-consumable-parts and kitted solutions for the global aero-engine MRO sector.


Emirates expands network in Europe to 31 destinations

Emirates will resume flights to Budapest (from October 21), Bologna (November 1), Dusseldorf (November 1), Hamburg (November 1) and Lyon (November 4), expanding its European network to 31 destinations, and offering customers around the world convenient connections via Dubai.

The addition of these five destinations takes Emirates’ global network to 99 destinations, as the airline continues to gradually meet travel demand, while always prioritising the health and safety of its customers, crew and communities.

Flights to/from Budapest and Lyon will operate twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays while flights to/from Bologna, Dusseldorf and Hamburg will operate twice a week on Fridays and Sundays.

All flights to the five cities will be operated by the Boeing 777- 300ER, providing robust cargo capacity on each flight.

Queensland to assemble Boeing’s first Australian-designed, developed, unmanned aircraft

Queensland, Australia, will be the final production home for Boeing's unmanned defence aircraft – the first military aircraft to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a visionary new partnership with Boeing Australia means more high-skilled jobs, local supply opportunities and defence industry stimulus as Queensland continues to recover and grow from the COVID downturn.

The first aircraft prototype, called the Loyal Wingman, was unveiled with the Royal Australian Air Force in May this year.

Boeing has 1,700 staff in Queensland and supports 400 Queensland-based suppliers.


Spirit AeroSystems to close McAlester, Oklahoma facility

Due to the downturn in the commercial aviation market caused by the global pandemic and the effect on its business from the grounding of the 737 MAX, Spirit AeroSystems now has an excess of production capacity across its global operations. As a result, the company has decided to close its facility in McAlester, Oklahoma.

The fall-off in airline travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced overall demand for new commercial airplanes. In a matter of months, Spirit’s production rates for commercial aircraft fell from historic highs to much lower volumes. Airline travel, and corresponding demand for new airplanes, is not returning as fast as expected at this point. As a result, Spirit continues taking steps to restructure its company for a protracted market downturn, including consolidating certain operations.

Over the next several months, Spirit will begin moving the work currently performed by its McAlester operations to its facilities in Tulsa and Wichita, and a residual amount will be placed with its regional suppliers.


Airbus delivers two new H135 helicopters to NASA

Airbus has delivered two new H135 helicopters to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from the Airbus Helicopters, production and completion facility in Columbus, Mississippi.

These aircraft, along with a third scheduled for delivery early next year, will be based at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and operated for a variety of missions, including aerial security at rocket launches, emergency medical services, research, and qualified passenger transportation.

In October, one of the H135s will escort the members of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to the historic launch pad at 39A, where it will depart for a six-month expedition to the ISS. The helicopters will also support efforts to prepare for and execute Artemis, a planned expedition to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024.

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