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Friday, March 19th, 2021

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GECAS subsidiary AFS Investments sells 18 Airbus A320neos to Air China

While the Boeing 737MAX remains grounded in China, 18 Airbus A320neos have been purchased by Air China from AFS Investments Inc, a subsidiary of aircraft lessor GECAS.

This is a major boost for Airbus in its efforts to compete against COMAC and its soon-to-be-certified C919 narrow-body passenger jet. Based on list prices, the order is worth approximately US$2.24 billion, with deliveries expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Air China commented that an attractive exchange rate and low financing costs had been major factors when agreeing the purchase, while this is the first deal involving Air China and Airbus since the Chinese carrier bought 20 A350s in 2019.

GECAS is the air finance arm of General Electric and terms were agreed earlier this month for AerCap to purchase it for US$30 billion, which will make AerCap the largest aircraft lessor with control of an estimated 18% of the current global leased fleet of Western-manufactured narrow-body and wide-body aircraft. 

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Travelport and American Airlines extend full content agreement

Worldwide travel retail platform, Travelport, has signed a multi-year extension of its full content agreement with American Airlines, including an agreement on the distribution of American Airlines’ NDC content. The agreement also supports American’s new codeshare and extended services relationship for domestic bookings with Alaska Airlines and JetBlue Airways.

As part of the agreement, Travelport will roll out several enhanced functionalities to simplify how its tens of thousands of connected agencies shop and manage NDC bookings with American Airlines. This rollout  includes the airline’s new Main Plus offer, which provides either a main cabin extra seat or preferred seat along with an additional free checked bag and boarding privileges. The partners will continuously deliver the end-to-end NDC retailing capabilities agencies need to upsell, personalize and change bookings over the course of 2021.

Aviation leaders launch first in-flight 100% sustainable aviation fuel emissions study on A350-900 aircraft

A team of aerospace specialists has launched an in-flight emissions study using 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) on a wide-body commercial passenger aircraft.

Airbus, German research centre DLR, Rolls-Royce and SAF producer Neste have teamed up to start the pioneering ‘Emission and Climate Impact of Alternative Fuels’ (ECLIF3) project looking into the effects of 100% SAF on aircraft emissions and performance.

Findings from the study - to be carried out on the ground and in the air using an Airbus A350-900 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines - will support efforts currently underway at Airbus and Rolls-Royce to ensure the aviation sector is ready for the large-scale use of SAF as part of the wider initiative to decarbonize the industry.

Fuel-clearance engine tests, including a first flight to check operational compatibility of using 100% SAF with the aircraft’s systems, started at Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, France, this week. These will be followed by the ground-breaking flight-emissions tests due to start in April and resuming in autumn, using DLR’s Falcon 20-E ‘chase plane’ to carry out measurements to investigate the emissions impact of using SAF. Meanwhile, further ground tests measuring particulate-matter emissions are set to indicate the environmental impact of SAF-use on airport operations.

Both the flight and the ground tests will compare emissions from the use of 100% SAF produced with HEFA (hydro processed esters and fatty acids) technology against those from fossil kerosene and low-sulfur fossil kerosene.

The SAF will be provided by Neste, a leading worldwide supplier of sustainable aviation fuel. Additional measurement and analysis for the characterization of the particulate-matter emissions during the ground testing will be delivered by the U.K.’s University of Manchester and the National Research Council of Canada.

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Vallair places final B737-400 freighter with Malaysian operator M Jets International

Vallair has placed its final B737-400 freighter with Malaysian start-up operator, M Jets. The B737-400 is a legacy product for Vallair and the company will now focus its future freighter conversion programs on A321, B737NG and ATR variants. The aircraft, MSN 26605, will be the first freighter to enter into M Jets’ fleet and will be operated under the brand Kargo Xpress.

“The B737-400 is long established as a successful freighter,” comments Gregoire Lebigot, CEO of Vallair. “Offering eleven container positions, the classic series, to which the -400 belongs, is well suited for a start-up operator because of its reliability and economical operating costs.  In addition to this as the aircraft is well-known throughout the world, finding suitable maintenance facilities, crew, engineers, as well as spare parts, will not be an issue.”

M Jets a subsidiary of MMAG Holdings Berhad, is the fifth cargo operator in Malaysia and will serve to fulfil Malaysia’s burgeoning supply chain demands, as well as those of neighboring countries which have seen a surge in air cargo driven by the demands of e-freight and e-commerce due to the pandemic. The conversion was carried out in 2018 and was carried out by PEMCO Conversions. Although Vallair will no longer be converting this aircraft variant, it has confirmed that it will continue to offer legacy support.

Aviator Finland introduces fully electric tow vehicle to operations

Aviator, a Nordic one-stop-shop for aviation ground handling services, has introduced Kalmar FB600EL, a fully electric tow tractor for pushback and maintenance towing of wide-body aircraft, to Aviator Finland operations, increasing its bases operational capability and reducing Aviator’s environmental footprint.

The fullyelectric sixty-ton conventional tractor increases Aviator Finland's capability within wide-body operations and is a welcome addition to the company’s arsenal of Ground support equipment (GSE). The machine is suitable for towing weights of up to 600,000 kilograms and can be used for aircraft of the majority of Aviator’s customers, including Embraer ERJ190s, Airbus A319-321s, A330s, A350s and Boeing 737, 757, and 787s.

As the global attention to eco-consciousness continues to grow, the Kalmar FB600EL tow truck marks the next step in Aviator's sustainability initiative towards electrically operated GSE. When fully charged, the vehicle can be in operation for four hours. It is capable of handling aircraft, while producing zero emissions and less noise than conventional diesel-powered units.

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Cebu Pacific adopts cloud-based FLYdocs® platform to digitize aircraft records

Cebu Pacific, the largest carrier in the Philippines, has selected the FLYdocs® Aircraft Records Management platform for its fleet of 66 aircraft. The agreement will see the founding member of the Value Alliance adopt a fully paperless approach to its records management.

The FLYdocs® platform has an enhanced integration with leading planning and maintenance software, AMOS, to seamlessly interface the two systems to deliver a full digital aircraft compliance on-demand.

André Fischer, CEO at FLYdocs said: “This long-term partnership with Cebu Pacific comes at a time when we are really investing a lot of resources into the Asia-Pacific market. We are excited to partner with Cebu Pacific on its journey to becoming a truly paperless company with now both FLYdocs® and AMOS seamlessly working together to provide improved operational efficiencies. There are several players in the market, and we are delighted that FLYdocs continues to stand out as the leading platform of choice for a growing number of airlines.”
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar