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Tuesday, January 19th, 2021

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Air Canada to reintroduce 737 MAX on selected routes at beginning of February

With 24 Boeing 737 MAX 8s in its fleet of commercial aircraft, Air Canada has announced that subsequent to Transport Canada’s (TC) Airworthiness Directive and January 20, 2021 lifting of the existing Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the aircraft ungrounding by regulatory bodies worldwide, and the carrier’s own independent assessments of the aircraft and operating procedures by its specialized safety and flight operations experts, it will be including the 737 MAX on selected commercial flights commencing February 1, 2021.

Routes now covered by the 737 MAX will include Toronto to and from: Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.  All flights will be operated in accordance with Air Canada’s biosafety protocols, centered around the Air Canada CleanCare+ program.

“We are very confident the nearly two-year regulatory process undertaken by Transport Canada and other regulators worldwide ensures the utmost safety of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet from nose to tail, and from wing to wing.  As part of Air Canada’s multi-layered approach to reinforcing and enhancing safety, our internal experts have also worked with independent specialists to conduct assessments of the aircraft and our operating procedures,” said Captain Murray Strom, Vice President, Flight Operations at Air Canada. Strom added that in addition to implementing all required updates and modifications to the aircraft, Air Canada has gone beyond by equipping its fleet with additional safety-enhancing features that exceed required regulatory standards.

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IBA forecasts partial aviation recovery in 2021 with major regional variations

The advent and rollout of vaccines will start to drive a partial recovery in the aviation sector in 2021, but with significant variance between global regions, according to new data from IBA.

In its recent 2021 Market Update webinar, IBA the aviation data consultancy, outlined the key factors affecting recovery rates across different regions, as well as highlighting changes in aircraft orders and deliveries, market values and lease rates.

IBA forecasts a strong economic recovery in 2021, with global GDP recovering by 4% but still down 5% on 2019. Estimated GDP growth rates for 2021 will vary between regions from around 2.5% in Japan and Russia, around 3.5% in the EU and US, and as high as 7.9% for China.

The differing levels of vaccine stocks held by countries will affect the speed and extent to which they reopen their borders. 10 billion doses of the eight approved vaccines have now been ordered, with 50% of that commitment from advanced economies covering just 13% of the global population. The countries with orders covering 100% or more of their populations are largely across the Northern Hemisphere, along with Australasia, and IBA forecasts this will significantly affect global travel patterns and airline route commitments in 2021 and beyond.

IBA forecasts a mixed picture of traffic recovery across the globe, with North America set to lead regardless of vaccine coverage with revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) growth of around 60%. RPK growth of around 50% is expected for Europe, who will roll out the vaccine aggressively to reduce restrictions before the summer, and Asia Pacific which will recover strongly, continuing a trend started in China in the second half of 2020. All other regions are forecast to see RPK growth of around 30%, including Latin America where traffic will rise steadily, Africa where a slow recovery is expected, the Middle East where volumes will take time to return, and Australasia which has growing domestic traffic but a cautious approach to international air links.

Current aircraft utilization levels also differ substantially across the globe. Chinese air traffic had recovered by December to pre-Covid levels, although with a lower proportion of international traffic and load factors also lower at around 70%. Russian air traffic recovered fully by August 2020, but by December was a third lower. Flights in North America are only at half of pre-Covid levels with load factors at around 50%. Europe saw a partial recovery in Summer 2020 but by the end of the year, traffic was just a third of pre-Covid levels. Traffic in the Middle East has recovered partially to just under half of pre-Covid levels, but load factors are currently less than 40%

Phil Seymour, President of IBA, says: “There is a long road ahead for the aviation sector in 2021. The arrival of vaccines is positive news, but the variance in their roll out and in a number of economic and industry factors, will ensure we see a patchy recovery with marked differences between global regions.”

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Chapman Freeborn Airchartering adds Cargo Director and new Northeast office in U.S.A.

Expanding its international operations, Chapman Freeborn is growing to meet the increasing demands of the air charter sector and support existing customers in the U.S. market.

Chapman Freeborn’s Chief Commercial Officer, Neil Dursley said: “I’m delighted to have Ben Hampton join Chapman Freeborn and head up our Northeast office. It’s great news for us but also for customers with urgent needs like automotive and AOG shipments and for new customers nationwide who want to get their products into key markets around the world.”

With over 10 years in the aviation industry, Hampton joins Chapman Freeborn as the Cargo Director for the Northeastern U.S.A. Prior to joining, he was the Director of Sales for a part 135 operator, and prior to that was the Assistant Director of U.S. Cargo for a global charter brokerage.

Emirates becomes one of first airlines to trial IATA Travel Pass

Emirates has partnered with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to become one of the first airlines in to trial IATA Travel Pass – a mobile app to help passengers easily and securely manage their travel in line with any government requirements for COVID-19 testing or vaccine information.

IATA Travel Pass enables Emirates passengers to create a ‘digital passport’ to verify their pre-travel test or vaccination meets the requirements of the destination. They will also be able to share the test and vaccination certificates with authorities and airlines to facilitate travel. The new app will also enable travellers to manage all travel documentation digitally and seamlessly throughout the travel experience.

Prior to a full roll out, Emirates will implement phase 1 in Dubai for the validation of COVID-19 PCR tests before departure. In this initial phase, expected to begin in April, Emirates customers travelling from Dubai will be able to share their COVID-19 test status directly with the airline even before reaching the airport through the app, which will then auto-populate the details on the check-in system.

Adel Al Redha Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer said: “While international travel remains as safe as ever, there are new protocols and travel requirements with the current global pandemic. We have worked with IATA on this innovative solution to simplify and digitally transmit the information that is required by countries and governments into our airline systems, in a secure and efficient manner. We are proud to be one of the first airlines in the world to pilot this initiative, which will provide an enhanced customer experience and conveniently facilitate our customers’ travel needs.”

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SR Technics launches new brand STRADE

MRO service provider SR Technics, has launched its new component services brand STRADE, powered by SR Technics, on January 18, 2021. The new brand will operate as an independent unit inside the group.

STRADE provides component sale, lease, loan, and exchange services on all major aircraft platforms. It will benefit from SR Technics’ legacy in aircraft know-how and product reliability to offer 24/7 quality rotable services to customers worldwide.

Commenting on introducing the new brand, Jean-Marc Lenz, CEO of SR Technics said: “With the launch of the new brand, SR Technics shows its resilience and innovative spirit in challenging times for our industry. STRADE leverages the strength of our company with its entrepreneurial and agile setup.”

“We respond to a clear market demand for a more flexible and dynamic approach to component support,” said Stephen Fer, General Manager of STRADE. “We also see how SR Technics’ quality products will continue creating value through our renewed digitalized operating model.”

Acumen appoints Sean O’Connor as Managing Director Americas and VP Commercial

Acumen Aviation, a Dublin based Aircraft Lease Management company, has appointed Sean O’Connor as Managing Director Americas and VP Commercial, effective January 18, 2021. Sean will be based in the Acumen Aviation Americas offices in Miami, reporting to Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Eamonn Cronin.

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Eurowings plans first hires for summer 2021

Eurowings and the ver.di trade union for cabin staff at Eurowings Deutschland, have agreed on a crisis package. The agreement with social partners and the crisis contribution of the cabin staff of Eurowings Germany is a necessary step to be able to overcome the severe crisis and secure the future of the company in the long term.

Currently, Eurowings is assuming an upturn in tourism demand from summer 2021, which should lead to full employment in the Eurowings Germany cabin again for the first time. Eurowings will therefore shortly launch an application process to fill around 130 cabin jobs. This is an internal Lufthansa Group call for applications, which can be used to offer a new perspective to employees from the Lufthansa Group who are affected by job cuts. The exact details are the subject of current negotiations with ver.di. Employees who already fly for Eurowings Germany will initially be offered increases in working hours and internal transfers in advance of the hiring.

In view of the volatile situation, Eurowings reserves the right to adjust the ramp-up of flight operations up or down over the course of the year. The exceptional situation dictates that flight capacities be planned as closely as possible to demand. With rapid market adjustments last year, Eurowings demonstrated how dynamically the company can adapt to fundamentally new situations.

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