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Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

Pilots seek further changes to 737 MAX operating procedure for runaway stabilizer

Boeing had set November 2 as the date by which it wished to receive feedback from pilots regarding the revamped MCAS system, including the new procedure for a runaway stabilizer.

Pilot consensus has been that the requirement to remember an eight-part procedure was too complicated and that a simpler design was required. Two fatal crashed involving the 737 MAX were put down to a faulty MCAS system which received erroneous sensor data and subsequently the anti-stall system kept forcing the plane’s nose downward, despite the efforts of pilots, on both occasions, to override the system. Relatives of those who were killed in the crash have objected to the latest pilot training for its new operating systems, classing it as “inadequate”, and “insufficient to ensure that 737 MAX pilots are properly equipped to handle all MCAS-related emergencies and prepared to serve as the last line of defense against another tragedy.”

One of the physical changes to the jet has been the installation of a second sensor so that the MCAS system has two data feeds instead of the original one. The Southwest pilots’ union has made it clear that its pilots are unhappy with the new runaway stabilizer procedure, making it clear that simplification was required, stating that: “error rates increase exponentially with a checklist containing eight memory steps including three conditional steps.”

According to Reuters News Agency, after testing the checklist in a MAX “simulator” the union “found it difficult to recall the steps in order, and furthermore find this checklist is ‘clunky at best.’” The British Airline Pilots Association proposed changes including requiring all five MAX special flight training elements be conducted in a MAX full-flight simulator, instead of allowing some in a 737-NG simulator. The Allied Pilots Association recommend reducing intervals for recurrent training on runaway stabilizer from 36 months to 24 months.

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GA Telesis to remarket and sale four 747-400 aircraft for China Airlines

GA Telesis has been awarded a mandate from China Airlines, to remarket and sell four Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The remarketing mandate will be executed by GA Telesis’ Aircraft Transaction Group (ATG).

The 747-400s (MSNs 33734, 33735, 33736 & 33737) are powered by General Electric CF6-80C2B1F engines and deliveries are expected in the first quarter of 2021. This campaign is the third major remarketing project that GA Telesis has undertaken for China Airlines.

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Ryanair reports first-half loss of €197 million

Ryanair has reported a first-half 2020 loss of €197 million, compared to a profit of €1.15 billion in the first half of 2019. Revenue in the first half of 2020 fell by 78% to €1.18 billion as traffic fell 80% to 17.1 million.  With almost zero first quarter traffic, the vast majority of first-half revenue was earned in the second quarter.  Ancillary revenue performed strongly as more guests chose priority boarding and reserved seating.

During the first half-year substantial work has been undertaken to successfully improve Ryanair’s long term cost leadership.  The goup has agreed modest pay cuts with its people and their unions which helped minimize job losses. Lauda has been completely restructured, better terms were agreed with maintenance providers, lessors, other suppliers and many airport deals were renegotiated.  Due to significantly reduced world traffic forecasts and ongoing aircraft delivery delays, the group recorded a €214 million ineffectiveness charge on fuel and currency hedges in the first half of 2020.

Boeing expects a return to service for the MAX-8 in the fourth quarter, allowing Ryanair to, hopefully, accept delivery of its first MAX-200 in early 2021. The group expects to take delivery of approx. 30 MAXs before the peak season of 2021. While the group received supplier reimbursements in the second quarter, compensation discussions will not be finalized or concluded with Boeing until the MAX returns to service and revised delivery schedules can be finalized and agreed.

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Collins Aerospace to upgrade U.S. Air Force F-15 fleet with ACES 5® ejection seats

Collins Aerospace Systems has been awarded a sole-source US$700 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the delta qualification, production and fielding of a next generation ejection seat for various Air Force aircraft. Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed Oct. 22, 2030. The first delivery order focuses on outfitting the USAF fleet of Boeing F-15s with the ACES 5 ejection seat.

ACES 5 is Collins Aerospace’s next-generation ejection seat and features enhanced head, neck, arm and leg flail prevention, in addition to a load-compensating catapult based on the occupant’s weight. ACES 5 reduces overall ejection-related major injuries to less than 5 percent and ejection-related spinal injuries to less than 1 percent. Collins Aerospace ACES 5 seat provides MIL-HDBK-516C safety while meeting Government requirements to include a qualification schedule planned within Air Force program objectives and equal or lower life cycle costs. Most recently, the seat was selected for the U.S. Air Force’s T-7A Red Hawk trainer.

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IAG Cargo partners with IATA's Net Rates platform to expand digital offering

The cargo division of International Airlines Group has partnered with IATA’s air cargo rates distribution platform, IATA Net Rates, to offer an additional platform which customers can use to do business with IAG Cargo. 

As the industry continues to progress digitally, IAG Cargo has significantly invested in developing its APIs, offering instant access to rates and availability, facilitating real-time bookings to any of IAG Cargo’s hundreds of destinations. This partnership extends that commitment to its customers and through IATA Net Rates, IAG Cargo will be able to grow its reach further.

Recently launched for the South Africa market and rolling out globally shortly, IATA Net Rates’ ‘all-in-one’ platform offers freight forwarders the latest information on rates, tariffs and rules that can be integrated directly into customer systems, accelerating the distribution of rates to market whilst simplifying and reducing the cost of rate handling procedures. For freight forwarders, this streamlined process and on-demand access to the latest data means huge potential gains in accuracy and productivity.

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Spirit AeroSystems posts third-quarter net loss of US$156 million

Spirit's third quarter of 2020 revenue was US$806 million, down from the same period of 2019, primarily due to the significantly lower 737 MAX production resulting from the grounding of the program and the impacts of COVID-19. Deliveries decreased to 206 shipsets during the third quarter of 2020 compared to 437 shipsets in the same period of 2019, including Boeing 737 MAX deliveries of 15 shipsets compared to 154 shipsets in the same period of the prior year.  

Spirit's backlog at the end of the third quarter of 2020 was approximately US$40 billion, with work packages on all commercial platforms in the Boeing and Airbus backlog.

Operating loss for the third quarter of 2020 was US$(177) million, down compared to operating income of US$206 million in the same period of 2019. Included in the 2020 operating loss were excess capacity costs of US$72.6 million, forward loss charges of US$(128.4) million, primarily driven by the lower production rates announced by Boeing and Airbus on the 787 and A350 programs, and restructuring expenses of US$19.5 million for cost-alignment and headcount reductions. In comparison, during the third quarter of 2019, Spirit recorded US$(28.8) million of net forward loss charges.

Spirit reported a third-quarter net loss of US$(156) million and cash from operations of US$(53) million, down from US$255 million in the same quarter last year, primarily due to negative impacts of working capital requirements and significantly lower production deliveries, partially offset by favorable cash tax.

On October 30, the Company closed the acquisition of select Bombardier assets. Prior to the closing, on October 26, 2020, Spirit, Bombardier, Inc. and certain of their affiliates entered into an amendment to the purchase agreement that reduced the net proceeds purchase price payable to the sellers from US$500 million to US$275 million.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar