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Friday, October 16th, 2020

Rolls-Royce looks to double up on October 1 bond offering to now raise £2 billion

On October 1, Rolls-Royce Holdings (Rolls-Royce) announced its intention to raise at least £1 billion through a bond offering as part of its strategy to raise £5 billion in a recapitalization package to support its long-term strategy. However, unanticipated strong demand for the investor Notes has seen the company double the size of the offering, which will now comprise three tranches in three separate currencies issued by Rolls-Royce and guaranteed by the Company.

The Bond Offering will comprise:  US$1,000 million aggregate principal amount of 5.750% Notes due 2027; €750 million aggregate principal amount of 4.625% Notes due 2026; and £545 million aggregate principal amount of 5.750% Notes due 2027. The recapitalization package also includes an approximately £2 billion fully underwritten rights issue (the “Rights Issue”) and commitments for a new two-year term loan facility of £1 billion. The combination of the proceeds from the Notes, the Rights Issue and the commitments for the new £1 billion term loan facility is expected to provide the company with gross proceeds of approximately £5 billion.

According to Rolls-Royce, it has “also received support in principle from UK Export Finance for an extension of its 80% guarantee to support a potential increase of up to £1 billion to our existing £2 billion five-year term loan facility. However, given the increase in the quantum of Notes being issued, we do not currently plan to progress this potential extension to our loan facility, while still having the option to do so at a later time if required.”

The Bond Offering is expected to close on October 21, 2020 and the proceeds will be escrowed and will be available to Rolls-Royce upon successful completion of its Rights Issue. (£1.00 = €1.10 or pound dollar US$1.29 at time of publication.)

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Aereos Interior Solutions integrates antimicrobial technology into high-touch aircraft interior products

High-touch aircraft interior products manufactured by Aereos Interior Solutions now include integrated antimicrobial technology from BioCote. It is the first time that antimicrobial technology, which permanently prevents the growth of a wide range of microbes – including bacteria, mould and some viruses – has been integrated into aeroplane interiors to provide an additional level of hygiene. When containing BioCote technology, Aereos Interior Solutions’ products are certified as greater than 99.8% effective against MRSA and E. coli.

Aereos Interior Solutions, a division of global aircraft solutions provider Aereos, INC., has introduced an additional layer of hygiene protection by integrating long-lasting BioCote antimicrobial technology into its high-touch products; a first for the aviation industry. The technology has been built into its tray tables, toilet shrouds, toilet seats and window shades, and is available with no incremental cost to customers.

Working alongside stringent cleaning regimes and good hand hygiene practices, antimicrobial technology permanently protects surfaces by preventing the growth of a wide range of microbes. Protected products are easier to keep hygienically clean, and the risk of cross-contamination is lowered. Material degradation, odours and staining are also reduced, helping to extend product life. Once manufactured into a product, BioCote antimicrobial technology acts in minutes and works continuously for the expected lifetime of the treated product; it cannot wear out or wash off.

The technology is effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria (including E. coli, MRSA, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Listeria), mould, fungi, and the influenza A H1N1 virus. It has also been proven to reduce a strain of feline coronavirus (Munich) by 90% in two hours. Tests carried out by an independent microbiological testing laboratory have certified that Aereos Interior Solutions products containing BioCote technology are greater than 99.8% effective against MRSA and E. coli.

BioCote antimicrobial technology is also certified by HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) International and is approved as food contact safe by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

Fly Leasing closes new US$180 million term loan

Fly Leasing (FLY), a global leader in aircraft leasing, has closed a new US$180 million term loan (the 2020 Term Loan). The interest rate on the five-year term loan is LIBOR plus 6.00% with a 1.00% LIBOR floor.

The financing was issued at an original issue discount of 4.5%. The 2020 Term Loan will be secured by 11 narrow-body aircraft owned by FLY and its subsidiaries, four of which are unencumbered and seven of which are currently financed in FLY’s 2012 Term Loan. The proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes.

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American Airlines renews global distribution agreement with Sabre

Software and technology company Sabre Corporation and American Airlines, have renewed their long-term, worldwide distribution agreement.

Under the renewed agreement, Sabre will continue to distribute American Airlines flights and services through the Sabre travel marketplace, ensuring that Sabre connected-agencies will continue to have access to the same American Airlines content, including branded fares, ancillary products and services.

“It’s been a challenging year for the travel industry, and it is critical to us that we support our agency community well,” said Alison Taylor, chief customer officer of American Airlines. “Sabre remains important to American, as we work together with our mutual agency partners to facilitate bookings.”

American Airlines is a long-standing Sabre customer employing Sabre’s travel marketplace as well its SabreSonic reservations system, and multiple other airline IT solutions. With a partnership that extends over 20 years, Sabre and American are committed to delivering relevant and meaningful content that helps connect travelers with experiences that matter in their lives.

Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority entrusts NAS with passenger handling services at Baghdad International Airport

The Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) has entrusted National Aviation Services (NAS), an aviation services provider across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, to upgrade and operate passenger-handling services and processes at the Baghdad International Airport.

NAS will extend its expertise and resources at the Babylon and Samara passenger terminals as well as the international transit halls. NAS will also be responsible for the refurbishment and upgrade of infrastructure and facilities, installation of new equipment, and implementation of all required technology solutions at the two terminals.

The two terminals serve all major airlines flying in and out of the country, making NAS the exclusive passenger handling services provider for all international flights. Baghdad International Airport re-opened in July 2020, following a four-month suspension of flights due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The upgraded infrastructure, facilities and technology will contribute heavily to these airline operations including automated passenger departure systems, enhanced safety and security, productivity and on time performance (OTP).

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Sine Draco Aviation Technology receives AS9100 Rev. D and ISO 9001 certifications

Sine Draco Aviation Technology has received certification to the AS9100 Rev. D quality management standard at its North American headquarters in Bellevue, WA. The AS9100D approval also includes certification to the ISO9001:2015 standard.

Sine Draco's AS9100 certification supports its plans for development, management and execution of large-scale aviation projects, including aircraft design, modification and certification for passenger to freighter conversion and aircraft storage. Sine Draco recently launched development of an A321-200 passenger-to-freighter conversion with FAA approval anticipated in late 2021/early 2022.

These certifications highlight the company's commitment to meeting and exceeding the increasingly stringent industry requirements for aerospace related products. It also assures Sine Draco's manufacturing processes consistently meet or exceed the requirements and expectations of its customers. These standards are strongly supported and adhered to by major aerospace OEMs and by its vendors within the supply chain.

VALLAIR leases two A321-200 freighters to SmartLynx Malta

VALLAIR, the mature aircraft and asset specialis, has signed an agreement with SmartLynx to lease two newly converted A321-200 freighters. The aircraft will be the first cargo planes to be operated by SmartLynx. 

Vallair has been engaged in cargo conversions since 2015 and is the launching lessor of the Airbus A321 freighter (A321F).

“We look forward to seeing the A321Fs flying in Europe,” says Alistair Dibisceglia, Chief Leasing and Trading Officer for Vallair. “The aircraft will be operated by SmartLynx on behalf of an international freight forwarder and will be based in Malta. The location is ideal for inter European distribution and will help to also alleviate the pressure on congested cargo hubs.”

The A321F is the greenest narrowbody freighter currently available. “Converting younger aircraft into freighters certainly has environmental advantages,” continues Dibisceglia. “As the technology used within the aircraft is younger by default, operators of this freighter can expect to see a 20% reduction in fuel burn per payload. With the surge in demand for air cargo as a result of the pandemic, and the availability of feedstock, we believe that the A321F will be the future of e-commerce and satisfy market demands for the next 20 years.”

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Remotely controlled electric ground vehicles for moving Iberia aircraft at Madrid and Barcelona airports

Iberia Airport Services handling unit has deployed new “green pushback” tractors to move aircraft at Madrid and Barcelona airports. The emission-free electric vehicles are operated by remote control.

In late October, Iberia Airport Services will have eight of the new vehicles in Madrid and Barcelona, which are nearly silent, and each one will effectively cut annual CO2 emissions by some 23 tons. They operate more precisely than its predecessors, for greater safety on airport ramps and greater punctuality of flights by all client airlines at the two airports.

The new “Motok Spacer 8600” vehicles are powered by 80V batteries which enable them to move as many as 28 narrow-body aircraft between charges. This category includes all the Airbus A319s, A320s, and A321s in the short- and medium-range fleets of both Iberia and Vueling.

In the framework of the Iberia Airport Services’ Go Up! transformation program, the handling operator has replaced 80% of its ground vehicle fleet with more environmentally sustainable equipment, while also using more energy from renewable sources.

Iberia Maintenance is also using the new electric vehicles to move aircraft in the hangars where it inspects and services them at Madrid and Barcelona airports.  

Eve, first spin-off from EmbraerX, launched to shape future of Urban Air Mobility

Eve Urban Air Mobility Solutions (Eve) has been launched as a new, independent company dedicated to accelerating the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) ecosystem. Eve is developing a full portfolio of solutions to enable the UAM market and ultimately benefit people’s lives, including the progression and certification of the company’s electric vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (eVTOL), the associated comprehensive services and support network, and the creation of urban air traffic management solutions. André Stein, former head of strategy for EmbraerX, has been appointed CEO of Eve. 

Eve will benefit from greater focus, speed, and agility, allowing the company to innovate and execute at an accelerated pace in order to fully capitalize on the global UAM opportunity. Having been incubated for almost four years within EmbraerX, now is the right time to establish Eve as an independent company.

As part of the company’s initiative to accelerate the UAM revolution, EmbraerX has been part of the Uber Elevate Network since its inception in 2017.

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MD Helicopters awarded two Army contracting Command MD 530F contracts

MD Helicopters (MDHI) has announced two independent contract awards from Army Contracting Command-Redstone to support allied operations of the MD 530F Cayuse Warrior helicopter.

The first contract, worth US$6.1 million, requires MDHI to retrofit 18 legacy MD 530F helicopters operated by the Afghanistan Air Force with ballistic-tolerant crashworthy fuel systems (CWFS). Jointly developed with Robertson Fuel Systems, the 59-gallon MD 530F CWFS delivers unmatched safety and survivability. The system features ballistically self-sealing fuel cells, crash-worthy bladders compliant to MIL-DTL-27422, gravity fed auxiliary fuel transfer, compatibility with Robertson’s 38-gallon Little Bird Auxiliary Tank System (LBATS), and combat proven performance. Under the contract, MDHI will perform the retrofit of the CWFS for each helicopter in Afghanistan.

The second contract, worth US$6.4 million, modifies MDHI’s original 2018 indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity production contract to supply six aircraft to the Lebanon Air Force. The modification adds instructor pilot flight training, maintenance and armament training for 12 pilots and 16 maintenance technicians from the Lebanon Air Force. Training will take place at MDHI’s Flight Training Academy in Mesa, Ariz., which provides military-specific training to customers operating MDHI helicopters.
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