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Friday, February 12th, 2021

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Bombardier to lay of 1,600 staff – focus now on Challenger and Global jets

Bombardier is to continue its transition from plane and trainmaker to solely a business jet manufacturer as it looks to lay off 1,600 of its staff. The majority, 800, will be mostly those based in Quebec, though some 250 in Wichita are also likely to go as operations on the poorly performing Learjet are to be closed down.

Spurred on by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on the aerospace industry, the move comes as the company looks to generate US$400 million in recurrent savings by 2023. Pre-pandemic, Bombardier had anticipated breaking even on free cash flow in 2020; this has now been altered to between 2021 and 2023. This year the company anticipates business jet deliveries will be in line with 2020, showing modest revenue growth, and with an adjusted EBITDA in excess of US$500 million, as it closes down production of its Learjet later in the year in order to focus on the more profitable Challenger and Global business jet models.

According to Refinitiv IBES data, analysts have estimated an average 2021 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of US$661.3 million. Bombardier reported a 19.7% fall in business jet deliveries to 114 in 2020, in line with industry trends. However, 2020 revenues from corporate aircraft activities increased by 3%, assisted by year-end deliveries of Global 7500 jets and a bounce back in demand. The company reported 2020 free cash-flow usage from continuing operations of US$1.9 billion, while it expects to reduce cash burn in 2021 to better than US$500 million. The company said it now has pro forma cash and cash equivalents of about US$5.4 billion, including proceeds from the sale of its transportation unit, and a pro forma net debt of about US$4.7 billion. Bombardier reported an adjusted loss before interest and taxes of US$165 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, as opposed to a profit of US$168 million the previous year.

Bahrain Defence Force purchases one Avro RJ100 aircraft

On behalf of Braathens, Skyworld Aviation has concluded the sale of one Avro RJ100 aircraft to the Bahrain Defence Force. SE-DSZ (serial number 3380) will undergo maintenance at Norwich prior to ferrying to Bahrain. Seven out of the ten aircraft fleet from Braathens have now been sold.

The Bahrain Defence Force currently operates one Avro RJ85 and one Avro RJ100, both in VIP configuration.

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Volaris selects Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines to power additional 80 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft

Volaris has announced the selection of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine to power an additional 80 A320neo family aircraft. Pratt & Whitney will also provide Volaris with engine maintenance through a long-term EngineWise® comprehensive service agreement. Volaris previously placed an order for 44 GTF-powered A320neo family aircraft. This brings Volaris’ total commitment to 124 GTF-powered aircraft. 

Volaris is a low-cost carrier headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico and an affiliate of Indigo Partners. It was also the first airline in North America to fly the A320neo. Volaris currently operates 30 GTF-powered A320neo family aircraft and a fleet of 56 V2500®-powered A320ceo family aircraft.

The three other airlines affiliated with Indigo Partners – JetSMART in Chile, Wizz Air in Hungary and Frontier Airlines in the United States – have each selected GTF engines to power their A320neo family fleets. Together, the four Indigo Partners airlines have committed to 619 GTF-powered aircraft.

French ministry for Armed Forces selects Airbus Survey Copter Aliaca fixed-wing drone systems to equip its ships

Airbus Defence and Space mini UAS subsidiary SURVEY Copter has signed a contract with French DGA Armament general directorate to provide the French Navy with 11 systems, (22 aircraft), of the electrically powered fixed-wing Aliaca maritime version UAS (officially called SMDM / “Systèmes de Mini Drones aériens embarqués pour la Marine” by French authorities), including training and integrated logistic support. First deliveries are expected in 2021.

The Aliaca maritime UAS is a high endurance versatile system allowing up to 3 hours missions over a 50 km (27 Nm) range, perfectly adapted to maritime missions with high gyro stabilized EO/IR payload performances and qualified to operate in severe environmental conditions. Launched by catapult, the Aliaca maritime UAS concludes its flight by landing automatically using a dedicated net landing solution. With a length of 2,2m and a wingspan of 3,6m for a maximum take-off weight of 16 kg, the Aliaca maritime UAS benefits from a powerful yet silent electric motor. The system can be deployed easily and rapidly in less than 15 minutes by 2 operators only.

It is designed to conduct several types of missions around the ships, including increasing the understanding of the tactical situation, control of illegal operations at sea, search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, pollution detection, tracking of any suspicious behaviour in the ship environment and coastal surveillance.

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AES awarded EASA and U.K. CAA Part21J Design Organisation Approval

Aerospace Engineering Solutions (AES) has released that its Shannon, Ireland, office has received full EASA Part21J Design Organisation Approval (DOA) further complimenting their U.K. Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Part21J Design Organisation Approval.

AES believe this approval structure will provide a transparent Supplemental Type Certification (STC)/Modification process following the U.K.’s departure from the EU. This approach will avoid the complication and risk associated to validation of STC’s, repairs and modifications between the respective regulatory bodies within the UK and EU. This twin approval arrangement will provide its customers confidence so they can react quickly to the opportunities of a new aviation landscape.

Aero Capital Solutions acquires twenty A320 Family aircraft from easyJet through sale-and-leaseback

Aero Capital Solutions (ACS), a leading mid-life aircraft leasing platform, has acquired twenty A320 family aircraft from easyJet Airline Company on a sale-and-leaseback basis. The transactions were completed in two tranches during 2020.  

“Working collaboratively with our airline partners, we are able to build highly competitive and tailored solutions which support fleet development needs,” said Daniel Watson, ACS’ Chief Commercial Officer. “easyJet is one of the leading low-cost carriers in Europe, and including this recent transaction, is strategically well-positioned to emerge from the pandemic even stronger than before.”

The transaction was supported by Deutsche Bank and volofin Capital Management who acted as lenders to the transactions. Vedder Price represented ACS, Norton Rose Fulbright represented easyJet and Milbank represented the lenders.

U.S. House panel approves US$42.5 billion for transportation

On a 39-25 vote, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has approved US$42.5 billion for transportation sectors, including US$8 billion to U.S. airports and concessionaires and US$3 billion for a temporary payroll support program for aerospace manufacturing, as part of a COVID-19 relief plan.

Airports and concessionaires had previously benefitted from US$12 billion in financial support. According to Reuters news agency, the House Financial Services Committee held a lengthy hearing Wednesday February 10, on its portion of the US$1.9 trillion package, including US$14 billion in payroll support for U.S. passenger airlines and US$1 billion for contractors, but delayed a final vote until Thursday, February 11.

Since March 2020, U.S. airlines have been provided with US$40 billion in payroll support. The additional US$14 billion to be voted for on today will see nearly 30,000 airline workers remain in work until September 30. The US$3 billion aerospace manufacturing program would provide a 50% government subsidy to cover pay, benefits and training for employees at risk of being furloughed or who were furloughed due to the pandemic.

“This plan takes another critical step toward preventing essential systems from collapsing under the weight of the pandemic and will help to keep millions of Americans out of unemployment lines,” said Representative Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee prior to Wednesday’s vote on the rescue package. President Joe Biden had proposed just US$20 billion for struggling U.S. transit agencies - with nothing allocated for airlines or airports.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar