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Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

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Aer Lingus and Dublin Airport Authority get financial help from ISIF

On Monday, February 8, the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) released details of its commercial investments in COVID-19 pandemic-hit businesses, which includes a three-year, €150 million loan to IAG’s Irish airline, Aer Lingus, and a €40 million loan to the Dublin Airport Authority.

The ISIF was launched in 2014 to invest in supporting economic activity and employment in Ireland. Last May it was mandated to directly invest up to €2 billion in pandemic-hit larger firms through debt, equity and hybrid instruments. In relation to the loan extended to Aer Lingus Conor O’Kelly, the chief executive of the National Treasury Management Agency, which oversees ISIF, told a news conference that: “It is a commercial investment, it’s not state aid,” adding: “Probably the reason that Aer Lingus would want liquidity from us is it’s possible that the banking system is going to find itself already over-exposed to the sector.”

Aer Lingus made it clear in a statement that the debt facility represented an important contribution to its future funding requirements while it is forced to navigate through the unprecedented crisis. Ireland’s Finance Minister, Paschal Donohoe, felt confident the state would get its money back from the investments. “We want to get back out of these investments ultimately in two or three years’ time. This is a temporary phenomenon. We’re backing great companies who were great companies before the pandemic, they just help to get through,” O’Kelly said. (€1.00 = US$1.21 at time of publication.)

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TUI reports first financial quarter 2021 results, well prepared for holiday season

TUI continued to realign the Group in the first financial quarter of 2021 (October to December) against a backdrop of widespread lockdowns and massive travel restrictions, and is prepared for a relaunch of its tourism business in the coming weeks. Tourism was the first industry to be affected by massive COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020. With the approval of highly effective vaccines, more vaccinations and reliable and widely available rapid tests, the groundwork has been laid for a return to basic freedoms and also open borders.

During the reporting period, the measures initiated before the pandemic to realign the Group were further advanced. Cost discipline and liquidity-strengthening measures were also consistently pursued. As a result, the monthly cash outflow was significantly reduced in the three reporting months (October to December), averaging around €300 million. Previously, the Group had expected 400 to €450 million. Adjusted EBIT on a constant currency basis was thus limited to €-698.6 million (previous year's quarter not affected by the pandemic: €-146.7 million). Revenue reached €468.1 million (previous year: €3.85 billion) despite significant travel restrictions and worldwide lockdowns.

In the period under review, TUI had agreed a third Corona financing package together with shareholders, banks and the Economic Stabilisation Fund (WSF) due to the ongoing pandemic situation. The package with a total volume of €1.8 billion was successfully completed in the last week of January. It includes a rights issue, which will provide the Group with funds of around €500 million. The Mordashov family, as a strategic shareholder of the Group, participated in the capital increase beyond its previous stake and now holds 30.1% of TUI AG. Including the third financial package and the early redemption of the senior bond with a volume of €300 million due in October 2021, TUI had financial resources of €2.1 billion as at February 3, 2021. The Group thus secures further liquidity until the planned return of the business.

Despite the current uncertainties due to the rapidly changing pandemic situation, demand for summer holidays is good. TUI has recorded a total of 2.8 million bookings for summer 2021 – around 56% of bookings at the same time for summer 2019, with average prices 20% higher than for summer 2019. Capacity for the 2021 summer program remains around 80% of the summer 2019 program. The uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic and ever-changing quarantine and travel requirements are also having an impact on the timing of bookings, as expected. As was already the case last summer and autumn, customers are booking at shorter notice and thus later in the year.

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Tiziana Masullo appointed as Managing Director and President of ATR Americas

ATR has appointed Tiziana Masullo Managing Director and President of ATR Americas, a subsidiary of ATR, effective from December 2020. Based in Miami, Tiziana previously served as Vice President of Services Sales and Contracts, and succeeds Jurgen Lebacs. She will oversee a staff of 32 people covering the following areas: technical support and safety, training and flight ops, services sales and contracts, customer material support, GMA & Repairs, CSDs and FSR, finance and human resources.

Masullo began her career with Leonardo, before moving to ATR where she has spent 27 years. With a lengthy background and many leadership positions in training, flight operations and services sales, as well as contract negotiation, she brings a wealth of experience to her new role. She is also the first woman to lead one of ATR’s subsidiaries.

Air Charter Scotland Europe now flying on Maltese AOC

Air Charter Scotland, a British private jet operator and aircraft management company, has ratified six months’ preparation during the summer lockdown to secure an international Maltese Air Operator’s Certificate. Two aircraft from its ten-strong fleet are now under the Maltese jurisdiction, enabling the business to operate within the EU under fifth freedom rights (the ability to fly between the 27 EU states), complementing its mainstay G-Reg operations out of the U.K.

The first aircraft, 9H-EDT, a Bombardier Challenger 350 is based in Nice, South of France and the second, 9H-WIN, a CJ3+ is positioned in Malta. The latter took its new registration at the end of December, with Air Charter Scotland Europe becoming the last new operator of 2020 to be registered under the friendly jurisdiction. The business now has three dedicated crew based in Europe to support the operation.

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Safran and HAL sign MoU on military engine collaboration

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Safran Aircraft Engines have signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) announcing their intent to work together on bringing niche engine technology to India.

Under the terms of the MOU, HAL and Safran Aircraft Engines intend to explore opportunities to assemble the Safran M88 engine and manufacture components for the engine with HAL for additional batch of Rafale Aircraft for India and for any aircraft manufactured in India by HAL fitted with M88.

The transfer of a significant amount of technology in the assembling/manufacturing programs is also contemplated. The MOU also encompasses collaboration between HAL and Safran Aircraft Engines for indigenization programs relating to design and development of high thrust engines of 110 kN power and above with transfer of key technology in the framework of this development.

Delta extends middle seat blocking through April 2021

Delta is continuing its commitment to provide more space on board as the only U.S. airline to block middle seats and limit capacity on all flights departing through April 30, 2021, ensuring customers can confidently plan and book their spring travel.

The airline has consistently listened to its customers and prioritized their preferences by offering more space through seat blocking and reducing the overall number of people on board each flight since April 2020.

“We want our customers to have complete confidence when traveling with Delta, and they continue to tell us that more space provides more peace of mind,” said Bill Lentsch, Chief Customer Experience Officer. “We’ll continue to reassess seat blocking in relation to case transmission and vaccination rates, while bringing back products and services in ways that instill trust in the health and safety of everyone on board – that will always be Delta’s priority.”
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