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Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

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900 jobs at stake as Norway vetoes sale of Rolls-Royce’s Bergen Engines to Russia

Having temporarily suspended the proposed sale of Rolls-Royce-owned Bergen Engines to Russia’s TMH Group earlier this month, the Norwegian government has now announced it will block the sale of the Norwegian business on security grounds.

The agreed sale price was approximately US$178 million. Bergen Engines has been owned by Rolls-Royce for over 20 years and has supplied NATO member Norway’s navy as well as global shipping. “We now have sufficient information to conclude that it is necessary to prevent the company from being sold to a group controlled from a country with which we do not have security cooperation,” Justice Minister Monica Maeland of the centre-right minority government told parliament. “The technology possessed by Bergen Engines, and the engines they produce, would have been of significant military strategic interest to Russia, and would have boosted Russian military capabilities,” the Norwegian government said in a statement.

Rolls-Royce has indicated that it is still determined to dispose of the asset and has turned to the Norwegian government for help in finding another buyer, pointing out that up to 900 jobs could be at stake. “We do not intend to retain the business,” Rolls-Royce said in a statement. “We will be seeking the assistance of the Norwegian Government to swiftly find another option, which can provide Bergen Engines and its people with the investment required for the future and Rolls-Royce with an appropriate outcome.”

TMH Group said it was disappointed by Norway’s decision. “Throughout the transaction process TMH has remained as transparent as possible regarding the ownership structure and development plans for Bergen Engines,” TMH Group said in a statement issued to Reuters news agency. “In the course of TMH’s preparation for the transaction, nothing has been found that would indicate that the Norwegian Security Act applies to the transaction.”


West Star Aviation implements Corridor Go program via iPads

As part of a company-wide objective of improving efficiency and further reducing downtimes, West Star Aviation has implemented the Corridor Go program that will put custom configured iPads in the hands of over 600 technicians. The new technology will improve the scaling of the overall work process on the shop floor, leading to a simpler way of work.

West Star distributed custom configured iPads to technicians in PCD last fall as part of a beta-test with Corridor Go.  Through this testing it found how useful an iPad is to a technician beyond accessing Corridor Go. The company's GJT location finished distributing iPads this week and is currently focusing on CHA and ALN with company-wide implementation, including applicable affiliate companies, completed by the end of May 2021.  This gives the West Star technical teams access to the latest technical information, including specific vendor issued apps (ex. GoGo, L5 Install) and OEM maintenance manuals. Technicians can also order parts directly from their iPads without having to leave the work area. The program will have wide ranging benefits as related to aircraft services, airframe maintenance, avionics installation/repair, NDT and window repair services.

The iPad provides access to West Star's proprietary systems, such as our internal communication channel and learning management system for “on-demand training”. This type of training enables technicians to immediately access company developed training, FAA specific training along with virtual maintenance initial training provided by our partners without technicians looking for a way to connect. The result is a technical team that is up to date with requirements from valued customers, partners and vendors.


IAG signs US$1.8 billion multi-borrower secured three-year Revolving Credit Facility

International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a Revolving Credit Facility with a syndicate of banks. The total amount available under the facility is US$1.755 billion and will be available for a period of three years plus two one-year extension periods at the discretion of the lenders.

The facility is available to Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberia, each of whom has a separate borrower limit within the overall facility. Amounts drawn would be secured against eligible unencumbered aircraft assets and take-off and landing rights at both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports. Simultaneous with entering into this new Revolving Credit Facility, British Airways has cancelled its US dollar facility that was due to expire on June 23, 2021 and which had US$786 million undrawn and available at December 31, 2020. In addition, approximately €400 million of facilities are due to expire undrawn by the end of March.

As a net result, the Group’s total facilities have increased by nearly €400 million and their weighted average availability period has extended by at least 1.5 years compared to previously.

IAG continues to have strong liquidity with an estimated total as of March 31, of €10.3 billion, comprised of €7.8 billion cash, cash equivalents and interest-bearing deposits, €1.7 billion undrawn general facilities, including this latest facility undrawn, and €0.8 billion committed aircraft financing facilities.


Recaro Aircraft Seating SL3710 seat makes its North American debut

Recaro Aircraft Seating’s (Recaro) lightweight SL3710 seat has made its North America debut on Frontier Airlines’ (Frontier) A320 aircraft on March 23, 2021. Weighing in at 8 kilograms, the seat is the lightest member in the economy class seat market and supports Frontier’s mission of being “America’s Greenest Airline.”

Frontier is slated to receive 156 Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft over the next six years, which will be equipped with 186 and 240 SL3710 seats, respectively. Starting in July 2020, Recaro ramped up the customization and certification process to ensure the first seats would begin delivery in February 2021.

Avionica appoints new Vice President of Product and Services

Avionica, a global aircraft connectivity leader, has announced the promotion of aviation industry veteran, Scott Ridge, as its new Vice President of Product and Services. In this newly created position, Ridge will be putting more focus on building the right products and services for customers and bringing new business models to the industry.  Demands from turbulent times within the aviation industry has driven focus to more customized offerings for clients.

Ridge joined Avionica four months ago and was tasked with establishing a strong partner and dealer network.  His efforts and leadership have proven successful.  Ridge has worked for major OEM’s, commercial airlines, and an aviation software startup. 


Jet MS becomes dealer of ALTO Aviation’s premium cabin solutions

Jet MS, a global provider of base and line maintenance services for business and regional aircraft, and a part of the global aerospace business group Avia Solutions Group, gained a dealership agreement with ALTO Aviation, a premium cabin In-Flight Audio/Entertainment system design, manufacture, and distribution company.

Under the partnership, Jet MS will represent Alto Aviation products and will offer its clients not only components, but also various modifications and upgrades, extending already wide range of Jet MS offered services and products.

ALTO Aviation's user-friendly, intuitive products include a full line of loudspeakers, amplifiers, subwoofers, Cadence™ Cabin Management System, with drop-in direct replacement passenger controls, Bluetooth audio, System Master Controllers, and cabin entertainment accessories. All company's components are DO-160 tested and hold TSO certification.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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