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Thursday, March 25th, 2021

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Finnair signs Letter of Interest on electric aircraft developed by Heart Aerospace

Finnair has signaled its interest for electric aviation as a force to be reckoned with for future flying, signing a Letter of Interest for Heart Aerospace's electric ES-19 aircraft, which is currently under development.   

Finnair could acquire up to 20 of the new 19-seater Heart Aerospace ES-19 electric aircraft, for use on the airline’s short routes. According to Heart Aerospace, the aircraft are expected to be available for first commercial flights in 2026.

Anne Larilahti, Finnair Vice President of Sustainability, said: “Finnair believes electric aviation will be one of the tools for the future of flying. It will help to promote responsible and sustainable aviation especially on short routes, in an era where climate change will increasingly dominate the agenda. We want to be actively involved in developing and implementing new technologies which enable carbon-neutral flying. Solving the climate challenge of flying is essential so that the social and economic benefits of aviation can continue. Many of the measures require collaboration across industries in tandem with partners playing a key role in our ongoing sustainability work."

Since 2019, Finnair has been a part of the Nordic Electric Aviation initiative to drive the development of electric flying, with focus on standardizing electric air infrastructure in the Nordic countries; developing business models for regional point-to-point connectivity between Nordic countries; developing aircraft technology for Nordic weather conditions; and creating a platform for European and global collaborations.  

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Sweden targets older planes for ‘pollution tariff’

The Swedish government has announced that it will be setting higher take-off and landing fees for aircraft with high levels of pollution. Consequently, older, less fuel-efficient aircraft will be hit hardest by this new ‘tariff’. “This means that takeoff and landing fees can be more significant when a plane’s climate impact is higher and they can be reduced when the climate impact is lower,” the Ministry of Infrastructure said on Monday, March 22.

Though the proposal has yet to be approved by parliament and will involve Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport and Gothenburg’s Landvetter Airport, it will also take into account aircraft which use biofuel. The government has also confirmed that the scheme was not yet finalized and further fine-tuning will occur. The fees charged are likely to be the first of their type anywhere in the world, and Sweden has a reputation of coming down hard on pollution within the airline industry.

In 2018 the flygskam, or ‘flight-shame’ movement began, which has heaped considerable pressure on people to change their flying habits and consider rail travel instead. Swedish Railways is currently promoting the fact that one single flight between Sweden’s two largest cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg, will generate as much carbon dioxide as 40,000 train journeys between the two cities. Research also shows that compared to 1990, every Swede who traveled by air in 2017 was responsible for roughly 50% more carbon dioxide emissions at 1.1 tons.

American Airlines prepays secured loan from U.S. Department of the Treasury

American Airlines Group has closed its previously announced US$10 billion financing backed by the AAdvantage® program and used a portion of the proceeds to prepay its secured loan from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In doing so, American has terminated its loan commitments under the secured loan agreement.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act established a US$25 billion secured lending facility for U.S. airlines in response to the global pandemic. American was allocated US$7.5 billion through the loan program, with the AAdvantage program pledged as collateral. The term of the loans under the facility was approximately five years.

American borrowed US$550 million of the facility in September 2020 and, per the terms of the loan program, issued to the Treasury Department warrants to purchase up to 4,396,483 shares of American’s common stock at US$12.51 per share. As of March 24, American has prepaid the US$550 million and terminated the loan agreement.

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Liebherr and Air France KLM Component Services Shanghai sign commercial MRO agreement

Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance Components China and Liebherr-Aerospace & Transportation SAS and Liebherr (China) have signed a commercial agreement, which recognizes AFI KLM E&M Components China as the “Dedicated Partner & Repair Center” in charge of MRO services for the electronic controllers on board Airbus A320 and A330 programs. The controllers have been designed and manufactured by Liebherr.

Under this agreement, AFI KLM E&M Components China joins Liebherr’s service network in China to provide test, repair and overhaul the relevant Liebherr products, including during the OEM warranty period. Now the two parties can offer tailored solutions and reliable local repair services on the Liebherr products to Airbus operators in China.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection to add more Special Mission Beechcraft King Air 350/360CER aircraft

Textron Aviation has been awarded a contract for the 28th and 29th Beechcraft King Air 350/360CER turboprop aircraft for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO).

“These two Multi-role Enforcement Aircraft (MEA) will complete the current acquisition program of record and join a fleet of King Air 350 turboprops safeguarding the United States border,” said Bob Gibbs, vice president, Special Mission Sales.

The agency’s aircraft are equipped with a sophisticated array of technology that can be deployed for ground interdiction operations, air-to-air intercept operations and medium-range maritime patrols, including active and passive sensors and an optimized communications suite. The aircraft are operated by skilled crewmembers who employ the mission equipment and coordinate information flow to the ground.

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GA Telesis Flight Solutions Group receives Chinese CAMAC certificate of Civil Aircraft Parts Distributor

GA Telesis (GAT) has been granted a certificate of Civil Aircraft Parts Distributor from the Civil Aviation Maintenance Association of China (CAMAC). This marks GA Telesis as the first foreign entity to receive the
highly coveted CAMAC certification, allowing GAT to sell and lease civil aviation parts, both new and used, in China. This certificate's award is a testament to the strong, long-term relationship GA Telesis’ Flight Solutions Group (FSG) has built with Chinese customers, CAMAC, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the CAAC.

In addition to providing high-quality aircraft parts in the region, GAT offers a wide range of services, including engine overhaul, component repair and overhaul, aircraft and engine leasing, asset management, and teardown management to support its growing network of customers in China.

Swissport supports start-up Aero K in South Korea

Starting April 1, 2021, Swissport AIK, a joint venture between Swissport and Aero K Holdings, will provide airport ground services for Aero K, South Korea’s newest low-cost carrier. From Cheongju International Airport (CJJ), Aero K will fly three times daily with an Airbus A320 aircraft to Jeju International Airport (CJU), a popular island holiday destination off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula.

Following a successful domestic launch, and once international travel regulations with regard to Covid-19 permit, Aero K intends to introduce international flights to destinations in China, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Swissport in South Korea is providing airport ground services and air cargo handling for 27 airline customers with a workforce of some 850 qualified staff, among others, at South Korea’s largest airport, Incheon International Airport.

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Gulf Avionics locates headquarters at Kerrville Airport in Texas’ Hill Country

Gulf Avionics, a full-service avionics maintenance and repair operation (MRO), has located its headquarters and operations at the Kerrville/Kerr County Airport in Texas’ Hill Country region, which runs between the state’s central and southern sections. The company will service aviation clients from the greater San Antonio area and plans to create 50 avionics and aerospace jobs in the next five years. After a year-long site selection process, the MRO chose Kerrville and has moved into 7,000 ft² of space at one of the airport’s hangars.

Gulf Avionics, an official dealer for manufacturers including Garmin, Honeywell, Trans-Cal, and PS Engineering, will be offering inspection and general maintenance assistance to hundreds of aircraft owners and operators as it grows its presence in Kerrville and throughout the Austin-San Antonio corridor, home to 4.5 million people.

The new Kerrville headquarters is now servicing tenants on the field and having customers fly in from nearby areas. The company has started the process of recruiting talent and hiring local employees.

Gulf Avionics is part of a holding company named E.H. Caddis & Co. which also owns Dallas-based RBR Aviation.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar