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Wednesday, December 16th, 2020

China Airlines to increase freight capacity and enter new markets with additional 777 Freighter

China Airlines has unveiled the first of six Boeing 777 Freighters, officially becoming the 20th operator of the twin-aisle freighter. The 777 Freighter joins the airline amid growing demand for dedicated freighters as operators grapple with the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. An operator of all-Boeing freighter fleet, China Airlines debuted its new 777 Freighter during a ceremony in Taipei.

China Airlines aims to increase its cargo capacity by 15% in 2021 and is planning to launch the 777 Freighter on routes connecting Taipei with North America — a key market with strong demand and escalating yields. The airline is set to take five more 777 Freighters as part of an order announced at the 2019 Paris Air Show.

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HEICO Corporation increases credit facility to US$1.5 billion and extends term

HEICO Corporation has amended and extended its existing credit facility to a US$1.5 billion unsecured revolving credit facility with a one-year extension to its maturity date, now November 2023, with the option for an additional one-year extension. The Facility is with a banking syndicate led by Truist Bank, Bank of America and Wells Fargo Bank. Co-Syndication Agents are PNC Bank and TD Bank, and other banks participating are Capital One, Fifth Third Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, and U.S. Bank as co-documentation agents, as well as Citibank, Synovous Bank, IberiaBank, and BankUnited.

The record facility for HEICO may be increased to US$1.85 billion under certain circumstances and amends the Company’s existing US$1.3 billion revolving credit facility. HEICO’s Facility, which is available for general corporate purposes, will principally be used to fund acquisitions. Laurans A. Mendelson, HEICO's Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, along with Co-Presidents, Eric A. Mendelson and Victor H. Mendelson remarked, “Despite the pandemic’s complications, HEICO’s solid financial performance and strong credit profile enabled us to significantly expand our existing credit facility and extend the maturity by an additional year. The increased financial commitments, along with the Facility’s longer duration, will help us to continue making acquisitions and execute our strategic goals, while maintaining a low cost of capital.”

HEICO Corporation is engaged primarily in the design, production, servicing and distribution of products and services to certain niche segments of the aviation, defense, space, medical, telecommunications and electronics industries through its Hollywood, Florida-based Flight Support Group and its Miami, Florida-based Electronic Technologies Group.

State of Finland preparing to make hybrid loan of €400 million available to Finnair

The State of Finland and Finnair are preparing to make up to €400 million available to Finnair in the form of an unsecured hybrid loan. The final decision on the possible financing arrangement is subject to a decision by the Government Plenary session, which will also confirm the final terms and conditions of the loan. The hybrid loan requires approval by the EU Commission.  

Finnair’s equity as of the end of the third quarter 2020 was €940 million and cash reserves were €725 million. The facility will be structured so that Finnair is able to access the funds, if its cash or equity position would drop below the limits to be defined in the facility’s terms and conditions.  

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Saab and Rolls-Royce to research innovative propulsion sensing technology

Saab and Rolls-Royce are undertaking a joint research program into fibre-optic sensing technologies for aerospace propulsion systems.

Fibre-optic sensing technologies have the potential to provide a novel solution that acquires multiple measurements such as strain, pressure and temperature along a single wire. Compared to existing technologies, this low-weight integrated solution could offer higher temperature and accuracy within the harsh operating environment of an engine. Such advanced measurement systems compliment the journey to the intelligent engine and enhanced data driven engine services. Known as Project FibreSense, this collaborative research program between Rolls-Royce and Saab will develop and demonstrate fibre-optic sensing technology for aerospace propulsion systems.

The research will take place within the Eureka Network projects program as a joint initiative between the Swedish Innovair and the British Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI).

Eureka is an international co-operation program supporting collaborative market-oriented research and development projects for innovative products, processes and services. This joint initiative between the U.K. and Sweden aims to develop project proposals which have strong market potential in these countries and globally.

Aviation Blade Services awarded UH-60 rotor blade maintenance contract by Colombian Army

Aviation Blade Services, a wholly owned subsidiary of First Aviation Services, was awarded an inspection and repair contract to support main rotor blade repair for the Colombian Army Aviation Battalion fleet of UH-60 rotorcraft. 

Aviation Blade Services, along with its sister company Piedmont Propulsion Systems, have been making significant investments in facilities, engineering, workforce, and inventory in support of the worldwide S-60 fleet for main and tail rotors, hubs, and dynamic components.

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AELF FlightService partners with Avianor on A330 auxiliary cargo conversions

AELF FlightService has partnered with Montreal-based Avianor for the conversion of its passenger A330-200s to auxiliary cargo configuration.

An aircraft maintenance and cabin integration specialist, Avianor supplied the custom Supplemental Type Certificate ("STC") conversion kit and parts support for the modifications, in which all passenger seats are removed from the cabin and netted cargo restraints installed.

The Avianor contract covers four of the AELF FlightService A330-200s. The first two aircraft, MSN 700 and MSN 472, have completed the embodiment of the Avianor STC, and each aircraft now has a cargo capacity of 230m³ of volume and 58T of payload. Two additional aircraft, MSN 466 and MSN 871, are currently undergoing the conversion.

With increased demand for urgent transport of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), the netted cargo capacity offered by AELF FlightService's A330's has particular value now. The grounding of a significant percentage of passenger flights globally that would normally transport freight in aircraft cargo holds has implications for the timely and efficient distribution of a wide variety of critical cargo, including vaccines for COVID-19.

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FedEx Express takes delivery of first purpose-built Regional ATR freighter

FedEx Express has taken delivery of the first ever purpose-built turboprop regional freighter to the FedEx fleet. This follows the company’s 2017 signing of a firm order of 30 aircraft, with the option to purchase 20 more.

The aircraft will be operated by ASL Airlines Ireland, a FedEx ATR operator since 2000, as part of the FedEx Express Feeder fleet. This global fleet allows the company to provide fast, economical services to small and medium-sized business areas around the world.

Rex receives green light from CASA for hight capacity AOC

Rex, the Australian independent regional and domestic airline, has been issued a High Capacity Air Operator’s Certificate (HCAOC) by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). Rex is now approved for Regular Public Transport (RPT) services using the Boeing 737-800NG on its existing network where appropriate. The way is now clear for the carrier to commence domestic operations between Sydney and Melbourne from March 1, 2021 and thereafter to other major cities.

In commencing domestic operations, Rex is helping the national recovery effort by offering employment to some of the thousands made redundant by other carriers.
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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar