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Wednesday, March 10th, 2021

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Norwegian government security concerns halt sale of Rolls-Royce engine subsidiary Bergen Engines

The Norwegian government has temporarily suspended the sale of Rolls-Royce-owned Bergen Engines. The sale had been agreed between Rolls-Royce and a company controlled by Russia’s TMH Group as Rolls-Royce looks to reduce the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the British engine maker.

Located in Bergen on the west coast of Norway, Bergen Engines is currently responsible for supplying the country’s navy, with Norway being a member of NATO. “There is significant uncertainty in relation to national security interests, and this uncertainty must be dealt with,” Justice Minister Monica Maeland announced at a news conference. “We don’t know which conclusion we will draw.”

TMH Group has confirmed that it will cooperate with Norwegian authorities and was optimistic that the sale will still go through. “We are fully aware of and take seriously our export control compliance obligations,” TMH said, adding that: “This will include those obligations that relate to Bergen Engines, relating to the protection of any controlled technology including to prevent it being used for unauthorized end use.”

A Rolls-Royce spokesman commented: “We understand, however, that the Norwegian Government wishes to further investigate the deal and Rolls-Royce will co-operate in any way we can with that review. As requested, we have paused the sales process.”

According to Jakub Godzimirski, a research professor at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs: “It must be decided under Norway’s security law whether the new owners would get access to sensitive information,” adding that: “If a Russian firm acquires a leading maker of engines, it could also give the Russian navy access to new technology.” Bergen Engines makes medium-speed gas and diesel engines for the marine and power generation sector, employing approximately 950 people and generating US$332 million in revenue in 2019.

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AJW Group signs power-by-the-hour contract with Aer Lingus

AJW Group has been selected by Aer Lingus as its supply chain management provider. AJW Group will perform data analysis and assistance regarding component engineering services for the entire Aer Lingus fleet of A320 family and A330 aircraft, as well as providing repair and logistical support. The contract is a Repair Cycle Management (RCM) agreement.   

This contract, see’s AJW directly support Aer Lingus’ fleet of A320, A321LR/XLR and A330 aircraft covering the majority of airframe and engine LRUs and includes new A321neo aircraft.

AJW are offering a sophisticated system integration with Aer Lingus’ AMOS system to deliver a highly efficient supply chain solution to drive superior performance and operational excellence which aligns with AJWs digital expansion strategy. The service includes a very close working relationship between AJW and Aer Lingus engineering teams and AJW Technique, the Group’s Maintenance Repair and Overhaul facility, will play a significant role in the new contract with a high degree of capability of the contracted coverage of Aer Lingus components.

Vallair augments aircraft maintenance capability with addition of new Châteauroux facility

Vallair,  the multi-faceted aviation business dedicated to the support of aircraft operators and lessors, has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Centre-Val de Loire Region and The Châteauroux Centre Airport Establishment. The LoI will see Vallair awarded a ten-year lease for a state-of-the-art full-service aircraft maintenance, repair, overhaul and cargo conversion hangar adjacent to its existing aerostructures repair and logistics facility in Châteauroux, France.

“This is an important step for Vallair as we establish our blueprint for growth,” says Gregoire Lebigot, CEO of Vallair. “This new facility will be a natural extension of Vallair’s existing operations in Montpellier and Châteauroux providing maintenance, lease transfers, modifications, reconfigurations, aircraft parking and storage as well as repairs of aerostructure and composite elements. In addition to this we will be establishing our own dedicated conversion unit which will showcase Vallair’s experience and knowledge of passenger-to-freighter conversions. Our aim is to support our customers through these challenging times and to be prepared for the surge in demand expected from the fourth quarter. Vallair currently has seven aircraft scheduled for such work in Châteauroux, with another five expected over the coming weeks. This will be our initial orderbook.”

This new hangar will soon begin to positively impact on local employment through the creation of 200 jobs which will be divided between Vallair employees and subcontractors. With a footprint of 8,500 m² the facility will be able to accommodate four A321-size aircraft, or a combination of A330s and A321s. Although completion is anticipated by Summer 2021, Vallair will continue to support this project with a forecasted €5 million investment in the coming months.

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Aero Capital Solutions closes strong year 2020

Aero Capital Solutions (ACS), a leading mid-life aircraft leasing platform, has announced a summary of results for calendar year 2020. While a challenging year for the aviation industry, ACS continued to deploy capital and work with airline partners to provide tailored structures in support of airlines’ evolving needs.

Overall, 2020 saw a strong development in portfolio origination with solid momentum in the sale-and-lease back segment of its business. The company concluded deals for 36 aircraft in sale-and-leaseback transactions with U.S. and European operators. The ability of ACS to perform timely transactions provided its airline partners with a vehicle to effectively address the economic impacts of the pandemic. ACS purchased 60 aircraft for its portfolio and sold 14 aircraft during 2020.

In addition to the aircraft transactions, 27 engine lease agreements were signed in 2020. ACS further purchased eight engines and sold 15 engines from its inventory during the pandemic, illustrating the depth and breadth of its industry partnerships. Backed by strong funding, and having expertise in both aircraft and engine transactions, ACS can provide innovative structures which support airline partners’ unique financial and operational requirements.

As of January 2021, ACS had more than 95 aircraft and 75 engines in its portfolio, encompassing 28 lessees in 21 countries.

IMOD DDR&D and IAI inaugurate advanced navigation technology center

A new technological center dedicated to developing and producing non-GPS navigation systems has been launched by the Directorate of Defense Research & Development (DDR&D), part of Israel's Ministry of Defense (IMOD), and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). In the new center, IAI will develop and manufacture highly-accurate inertial sensors. These sensors will enable the production of next generation navigation systems, and will significantly increase their performance and capabilities.

The innovative navigation sensor technology is founded on unique Israeli innovation based on years of research and collaboration between DDR&D and IAI. These sensors will be implemented in various operational systems within Israel's defense systems, thus enabling Israel to maintain its qualitative advantage and to continue to address the challenges of the modern battlefield.

The new navigation technology center established at TAMAM, IAI’s electro-optics and navigation house in IAI’s Systems Missiles and Space Group, represents decades of experience in developing navigation systems.

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Rolls-Royce set to power Vertical Aerospace’s all-electric aircraft

Rolls-Royce’s is set to power Vertical Aerospace’s flagship Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft. A Rolls-Royce electrical power system will be integrated into the piloted all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle, which will carry up to four passengers for 120 miles at cruise speeds of over 200mph and is on course to certify in 2024.

Vertical Aerospace is a key collaboration for Rolls-Royce Electrical as it marks its first commercial deal in the UAM market and builds on previous agreements to work with partners on demonstrator programs. Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system, the electric power system that includes its latest 100kW-class lift and push electrical propulsion units, the power distribution and the monitoring system that will support operations.

Around 150 Rolls-Royce engineers based in countries including Hungary, Germany, U.S. and the U.K. will work with the Vertical Aerospace team on developing the aircraft which is aiming to be one of the world’s first certified eVTOLs. Vertical Aerospace, based in Bristol, has already flown multiple full-scale eVTOL prototypes and the build of VA-X4 will begin shortly with assembly taking place in the U.K. and the first flight happening this year.

Electrification of flight is an important part of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability strategy and supports our aim to contribute to a net zero carbon future by 2050. Rolls-Royce Electrical is a specialist team whose focus is to develop sustainable, efficient and quieter technology for aviation, marine, land and industrial applications.

American Airlines builds on commitment to sustainable fuels with Kuehne+Nagel

American Airlines has reached an agreement in principle with Kuehne+Nagel to allocate a portion of the carbon reduction benefit the airline generates through its use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to the logistics company, one of American’s leading cargo customers.

The agreement in principle is believed to be the largest SAF collaboration between a freight logistics company and an airline, based on the three million gallons of fuel it covers. This volume equates to a reduction in lifecycle carbon emissions from air travel of nearly 26,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) over three years, the equivalent of a Boeing 787-9 passenger aircraft flying carbon neutral around the world 25 times. Importantly, the reductions in carbon emissions are accounted for within the aviation sector.

“Partnering with Kuehne+Nagel as part of our effort to reduce the impact of aviation on our planet has been an incredible example of the kind of collaboration that will drive real change,” said Jessica Tyler, President of American Airlines Cargo and Vice President of Operations Innovation & Delivery. “This strategic, market-based solution will help create a cleaner supply chain and is aimed at accelerating our transition to a low-carbon future.”

The agreement in principle with Kuehne+Nagel follows a similar agreement between American and Deloitte. Each such agreement is a model the airline hopes can be adopted more widely as a way to reflect demand for sustainable aviation fuel, build the market and quicken the industry’s transition from fossil-based jet fuels to more sustainable alternatives.

American has been taking delivery of SAF at San Francisco International Airport since last summer and has committed to using nine million gallons of SAF over the coming three years. The SAF American is using in its operation is produced from waste fats and reduces lifecycle CO2 emissions by 75% compared to traditional jet fuel. Since SAF meets stringent ASTM aviation fuel specifications, all aircraft and engine manufacturer operational procedures and limitations are identical to those for regular aviation fuel.

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Czech Airlines Technics to provide base maintenance services for Air Corsica aircraft

Czech Airlines Technics (CSAT) has signed a new Base Maintenance Agreement with Air Corsica. Based on a successful tender, two Airbus A320 aircraft will undergo overhauls in the hangar located at Václav Havel Airport Prague, during the first quarter of 2021. Last year, CSAT experienced teams completed over 70 base maintenance checks within its main division.

The agreement with the French air carrier includes the performance of complex scheduled base maintenance checks and repairs based on the manufacturer and operator guidelines. Specifically, two narrow-body Airbus A320 aircraft, which Air Corsica uses mainly on its direct flights to various destinations across Europe, will undergo base maintenance in hangar F located at Prague Airport premises in the first quarter of 2021.

Last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a major impact on the entire aviation sector, Czech Airlines Technics managed to implement and successfully complete over 70 base maintenance overhauls on Boeing 737, Airbus A320 Family and ATR aircraft. Finnair, Transavia Airlines, Czech Airlines, Smartwings and NEOS are among the most important Czech Airlines Technics clients in the base maintenance division. In 2020, a team of CSAT mechanics also worked on projects for new customers, namely Jet2.com, Austrian Airlines and clients from both the government and private sectors.

West Star Aviation receives Mexican AFAC Repair Station certification for two locations

West Star Aviation has received the recertification for both its East Alton, IL (ALN) and Houston, TX (CXO) facilities as Mexican AFAC Repair Stations.

This replaces the DGAC certificate originally issued and provides safety and certification continuity between the FAA and Mexican aviation authorities. West Star’s Grand Junction, CO (GJT) location was originally certified from the onset of the requirement in 2004. They now have a total of four locations approved by the Mexican AFAC, East Alton, IL (ALN); Houston, TX (CXO); Chattanooga, TN (CHA) and Grand Junction, CO (GJT).

“The extended certification will aide our customers at both of these strategic locations and provide our customers with additional service opportunities as needed,” said Santiago Carol, Regional Sales Manager, Mexico & Latin America.
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