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Friday, April 2nd, 2021

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Boeing obtains approval for 737 MAX 8200 – now one step closer to Ryanair deliveries

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved the design for the Boeing 737 series MAX 8200 variant, which also includes all of the design improvements recommended for the 737 MAX following a 20-month review after the two fatal air crashes. The approval from the FAA moves Boeing one step closer to delivery of the jet to Ryanair as approval is still awaited from the European Union Air Safety Agency (EASA).

Ryanair placed its first order for the 197-seat 737 MAX 8200 in 2014. In December 2020 the Irish low-cost carrier placed an additional order for a further 75 of the MAX 8200 variant, which has a greater capacity than the MAX 8. Boeing said on Wednesday that it would "continue to work with global regulators to safely return the 737-8 and -9 to service. Our teams are also focused on ensuring future members of the 737 family meet all regulatory requirements."

Ryanair Group Chief Executive Michael O’Leary said last week that the airline expected to receive eight of the MAX aircraft in April, and a further eight in May.

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CDB Aviation reports strong activity amid headwinds

CDB Aviation, a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing (CDB Leasing), has reported that the year 2020 marked a period of robust business activity despite the toughest market the aircraft leasing industry has ever experienced.

“The pandemic-battered environment has inflicted an array of unexpected and unparalleled challenges upon all stakeholders across the global air transport sector, generating significant near-term headwinds,” reflected CDB Aviation Chief Executive Officer Patrick Hannigan. “In the face of these adverse conditions, our team has persisted to attain continued growth and advance key initiatives, progressing several aspects of our long-term vision.”

During 2020, the team's steadfast efforts and initiatives were reflected in the execution of 61 new leases and 16 lease extensions, 29 new aircraft acquisitions, including nine 737 MAX 8s, seven A321neos, six A320neos, five 737-800s, one 787-9, and A350-900. The company delivered 21 aircraft, worth US$1.2 billion, from sale and leaseback transactions and signed 23 additional aircraft commitments under sale and leaseback transactions, totaling US$1.2 billion, to be delivered in 2021 or 2022. CDB Aviation sold 18 aircraft and reported US$4.7 billion of financing transactions.

In addition, CDB Aviation contracted its first-ever A330-300 P2F freighter conversions, leading the market into this exciting new program, and delivered on the 2020 Management Plan to bolster capabilities as a top-tier platform through enhanced systems, policies, and processes, as well as key IT, analysis, reporting, and compliance projects, charting its course for the future.

As of December 31, 2020, CDB Aviation's fleet consisted of 399 owned, managed, and committed aircraft, and its global customer network comprised 74 lessees across 37 jurisdictions. Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and WestJet Airlines were among a number of new customers added in 2020. The company ended the year with a total of 122 employees.

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Lufthansa Consulting increases power in internal and external consulting business

Effective April 1, 2021, Lufthansa Consulting intensifies the clout of its sales division: Christine Weigner, previously Associate Partner in the company, was appointed as Head of Market Lufthansa Group. Ronald Schulz joins Lufthansa Consulting and takes over the new position as Head of Market Global.

Weigner manages the in-house consulting business of Lufthansa Consulting and its future development and is thus responsible for dealing with all topics and functions within the Lufthansa Group. She was promoted to Lufthansa Group leadership level and now continues her successful responsibility for Lufthansa Consulting’s internal consulting activities in this new leadership role.

Schulz will coordinate the worldwide consultancy activities. He has worked in various business units and management positions within the Lufthansa Group, most recently as Senior Director - Head of Liaison Office Russia/CIS in Moscow. He has 30 years of experience as leader, change and relationship manager.

MNG Airlines invests in next generation freighter A330P2F conversion by EFW

MNG Airlines has entered into a contract with Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW), joint venture of ST Engineering and Airbus, for the Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion of two Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The first A330 aircraft has been inducted for conversion on April 1, while conversion for the second aircraft will commence in 2022.

Conversions will be carried out at EFW’s facility in Dresden, Germany. With these two A330-300P2F conversion freighters, MNG Airlines will add further capacity to its network, complementing its current Airbus aircraft fleet of four converted A300-600RF and one factory-produced A330-200F.

The A330-300P2F provides best-in-class versatility and about 23% more volume than its closest competitor B767-300ER. Depending on the weight variants, the conversion freighter can offer a gross payload of up to 63 tons per flight and a range capability of up to 3600nm.

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FAA awards US$627.7 million in airport improvement grants

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award more than US$627.7 million in infrastructure and safety projects through the FY2021 Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

AIP projects promote safety, efficiency, environmental stewardship, infrastructure, and security at the nation’s airports. The grant announcement includes 449 grants to 390 airports in 39 states, Puerto Rico and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Examples of projects receiving grants include:

Newtok Airport in Newtok, Alaska, over US$21.1 million – For construction of a new replacement airport in Newtok, Alaska. The project is critical to the airport and to the village of Newtok, which is home to an Alaska Native community of 374 residents. The airport and the community will relocate to higher ground because the ground surrounding the airport and village is eroding. The residents depend solely on aviation to transport people, goods, mail, medicine and other essential services. The replacement airport project and the relocation of village residents is scheduled for completion in 2023.

Willow Run, Detroit, Michigan, over US$15.8 million – For shifting and re-configuring the existing runway. This project will create jobs and continue to improve the safety and efficiency of the airport, which is important for cargo companies that support the auto industry.

Salt Lake City International, Utah, over US$19.7 million – For constructing an apron and taxi lanes as part of a large scale, multi-year terminal redevelopment program. Including this grant, approximately US$95 million in AIP funds have been spent on the project. The project has supported thousands of jobs since it began in 2014.  This funding will help the airport become more green and sustainable—the expectation is that SLC will attain LEED Gold Certification upon completion of the project.

Sawyer International, Gwinn, Michigan, over US$4.6 million – To construct, improve, and rehabilitate the expanded hangar building. This grant is provided under the Military Airport Program, which provides grant funding to assist in transforming prior military airports and facilities for public use. This project will create jobs and help to ensure the sustainability of regional airline service for the local community.

Rafael Hernandez Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, over US$19.5 million – For reconstruction of Runway 08/26. This project is critical because poor pavement conditions have reduced the payload capacity of aircraft using the runway by 25%. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2025.

Gunnison-Crested Butte Regional, Gunnison, Colorado, over US$1 million – To expand and improve the terminal to allow the airport to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Historically, the AIP grant program receives approximately US$3.2 billion in Congressional funding each year. The FAA will award more than 1,500 grants this year.

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GA Telesis disassembles three ANA Boeing 777-200 airframes and APUs

GA Telesis (GAT) has completed the disassembly of three All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing 777-200 airframes and associated APUs. Along with multiple others scheduled for 2021, these disassemblies compliment GAT’s already well-known position as a leading independent supplier of Boeing 777 used serviceable material (USM). GAT will strategically position the USM at its Asia Pacific distribution center and its other global distribution centers in Europe and the Americas to support its airline customers.

GAT has disassembled over 400 commercial aircraft with the airframe inventory supporting their SNAP, iGEAR, and ACCESS programs, as well as fulfilling day-to-day sales requirements. And now, with the ramp-up of its APU inventory program, the GTCP331-500 APU tear downs will support multiple airlines and MRO requirements worldwide.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Tamar