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Friday, February 19th, 2021

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Brazil changes tack over airline subsidy complaint

Brazil, home to the world’s third-largest commercial plane manufacturer, has decided not to pursue its complaint against Canada over what it saw as unfair subsidies paid to rival manufacturer Bombardier. At the time of the initial complaint, Bombardier was producing the CSeries of jets, a direct competitor for Embraer’s own ERJ series. That situation changed when the CSeries was sold to Airbus, which has renamed it the A220.

In a recent announcement concerning the case against Canada and Bombardier, Brazil’s foreign ministry said: “Brazil remains convinced of the strength of its case. Nevertheless, it has become clear that the dispute could not effectively remedy the impacts of such large-scale subsidies on the commercial aircraft market.”

This news was welcomed by Embraer, with its Chief Executive, Arjan Maijer, telling Reuters news agency that: “We believe we should look for something similar on the funding of development and production of commercial aircraft to create a level playing field,” and adding: “We are going to see funding come to the market due to COVID-19 and we see environmental challenges ahead of us as an industry, with funding flowing for that as well.”

William Reinsch, a former U.S. Commerce official and expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Brazil’s move was: “a recognition of reality” as the WTO dispute settlement system was not functioning smoothly. “Even if it pursued the case and won, the remedy is not likely to be helpful to Brazil’s aircraft industry.”

Airbus has reiterated calls for a negotiated settlement to draw to a close its long-running feud with Boeing. Chief Executive Guillaume Faury referred to the situation of U.S. and European tariffs as a “lose-lose”, saying the time had come to negotiate

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Lufthansa Group streamlines pilot training program

Lufthansa has decided to use the interruption caused by the pandemic to modernize the existing training concept at its in-house flight schools. The principle of ab-initio training will remain in place, as it has been proven to be successful for decades. However, in the future, a so-called “campus model” framework will provide modern, digital forms of training along with new selection procedures. These will enable more needs-based training for the various airlines of the Lufthansa Group and take into account the volatile demand in air traffic.

The campus training will be comparable to a university study program with defined qualification and training standards resulting in an institutionalized, internationally recognizable degree. After completing the training, graduates will be recruited depending on the demand situation of the respective flight operations of the various airlines of the Lufthansa Group.

Consequently, this gives the current generation of student pilots another perspective on a possible entry into cockpits at Lufthansa Group Airlines later on. In view of the current lack of prospects for pilot careers within the Lufthansa Group, last year the Group's training division, Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT), offered all flight students the option of ending their training without incurring any costs or, alternatively, continuing their training at another flight school.

Part of the new training concept is to provide theoretical and practical training, which is located closer to the customer. In the future, the theoretical part will be concentrated at the traditional Bremen location, where the digital modules for theoretical pilot training will also be developed. The practical part of the training, which is scheduled to take place in Germany, will be consolidated at Rostock-Laage: LAT already operates a modern and recognized training facility at "RLG" airport, the site of its largest external customer.

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Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings reports strong increase in earnings for 2020

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings has reported strong increases in volumes, revenue and earnings for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020. These results were driven by ongoing demand for its assets and services and its operational execution.

On a reported basis, net income totaled US$184.0 million for the three months ended December 31, 2020. Results compare with a reported loss of US$410.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2019, which was primarily due to a non-cash special charge of US$616.2 million (US$485.2 million after tax).

On an adjusted basis, EBITDA rose to US$279.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with US$204.7 million in the prior-year period. Adjusted net income increased to US$143.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared with US$98.2 million in the prior-year period.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2020, net income totaled US$360.3 million which included a US$71.1 million unrealized loss on financial instruments. Reported results for the twelve months ended December 31, 2019, reflected a net loss of US$293.1 million which included a non-cash special charge of US$638.4 million (US$503.1 million after tax), partially offset by an unrealized gain on financial instruments of US$75.1 million.

On an adjusted basis, EBITDA grew to US$844.2 million in 2020 compared with US$504.8 million in 2019. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2020, adjusted net income increased to US$379.0 million compared with US$139.6 million in 2019.

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Rolls-Royce signs Totalcare® agreement with Uganda Airlines

Rolls-Royce has signed a TotalCare® agreement with new customer Uganda Airlines for its two new Airbus A330neo aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines. Uganda Airlines received the first A330neo in December 2020 and the second in January 2021.

TotalCare® offers more than just an engine maintenance plan; it is a service concept based upon predictability and reliability. This agreement will give Uganda Airlines a secured cost of operating and maintaining its Trent 7000 engines, through a dollar-per-flying-hour payment mechanism, as well as enhanced aircraft availability.

Dowty Propellers enhances global distribution network with e-commerce spare parts portal for R408 propeller system

In a move to further enhance its global distribution network and improve the customer experience, Dowty Propellers has launched an e-commerce spare parts site for the R408 propeller system on De Havilland Dash-8 400 regional airliners. This digital sales portal offers live inventory updates as well as the functionality to place and track orders.

Dowty Propellers is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and type certificate holder for the R408 propeller system that equips the Dash-8 400 – a twin-engine turboprop-powered aircraft flown worldwide by regional airlines and other operators. The R408 propeller system incorporates an advanced swept blade design and optimised airfoil sections, providing excellent climb and cruise performance along with low noise. It also features a fail-safe electronic control system, together with single removable blades which facilitate maintenance.

As part of Dowty Propellers’ digital services initiatives, the company will consider expanding its e-commerce product range in the future, according to Johnston.

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Air Côte d’Ivoire takes delivery of first Airbus A320neo

Air Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast’s flagship carrier based in Abidjan, has taken delivery of its first A320neo, becoming the first operator of the type in the West-African region. This latest generation aircraft will join Air Côte d’Ivoire’s existing Airbus fleet of six aircraft.

With improved levels of efficiency, this new aircraft will be deployed on Air Côte d’Ivoire’s regional network to serve Senegal, Gabon, and Cameroon. Destinations like South Africa will be added at a later stage, highlighting the operational flexibility of the A320neo. Powered by CFM International LEAP-1A engines, the aircraft is configured in a comfortable two-class layout with 16 seats in Business- and 132 seats in Economy Class.

Air Cote d’Ivoire’s first A320neo took off from Toulouse carrying 1 ton of humanitarian goods including medical equipment and toys. In partnership with Aviation sans Frontières and the Airbus Foundation, the mission is part of Air Côte d'Ivoire’s corporate social responsibility initiative. The transported goods will serve local NGOs in Abidjan, thus supporting the education and health sector in the country.

Leadership team changes at ORIX Aviation

Helfried Schwarz will be joining ORIX Aviation Systems' (ORIX Aviation) legal team based in Dublin as General Counsel and Mike MacConnie will step up to the role of Chief Operating Officer, in addition to his current role of Chief Technical Officer.

Schwarz was previously a partner in Milbank Transportation and Space Group where he practiced for over 30 years, having worked in their New York, Frankfurt and London offices. He joined ORIX Aviation on February 15, and will become ORIX Aviation’s General Counsel, effective April 1, 2021, replacing Dean Gerber, who will be leaving the company to pursue opportunities closer to his home in the United States.

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Astronics awarded contracts to support Boeing’s MQ-25 unmanned tanker for U.S. Navy

Astronics Corporation has been awarded contracts by Boeing to supply CorePower® aircraft power distribution units and custom-engineered exterior lighting for the MQ-25 unmanned aerial refueling program.

The CorePower system replaces pilot-operated, thermal mechanical breaker systems with intelligently controlled, solid-state switches to provide safe, reliable performance remotely. The system planned for the MQ-25 incorporates the use of Astronics’ latest generation ECBU products to create an evenly distributed system at a fraction of the wire weight and increased reliability compared with traditional systems.

Astronics is also currently working with Boeing to design custom lighting for the MQ-25 that to provide for safe operations for flight deck personnel and aid in the aerial refueling process.

The MQ-25 is the U.S. Navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft and is designed to provide a much-needed refueling capability. The contract supports Boeing’s engineering and manufacturing development program.
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