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Tuesday, April 13th, 2021

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France to scrap certain domestic flights where the train offers a viable alternative

As part of a series of beneficial climate and environmental measure, French MPs have voted to ban all domestic flights in France where trains offer a viable alternative in two and a half hours or less travel time. It is estimated that planes that fly these short-haul routes produce 77-times the volume of CO2 per passenger compared to trains. However, the measure, which was put forward by the climate set up by President Macron has been seen by many as only a half measure as the original proposition was to include all flights where routes were also covered by train journeys of four or less hours. Thus, while flights between Paris Orly Airport and Nantes, Bordeaux and Lyon will be scrapped, those to Toulouse, Marseille and Nice will remain unaffected.

Mathilde Panot, of the hard left La France Insoumise, said the measure had been “emptied”, while her colleague Danièle Obono said retaining the four-hour threshold would have made it possible to halt routes that “emit the most greenhouse gases”.

When the French government gave Air France-KLM a €7 billion bailout a year ago to cope with the effects of the pandemic on airlines, one of the conditions was that certain internal flights would be dropped from Air France’s schedule, while Air France-KLM Chief Executive Benjamin Smith has said the airline is committed to reducing the number of its French domestic routes by 40% by the end of this year.

France’s new law will be watched closely by other countries. Austria’s coalition conservative-green government introduced a €30 tax on airline tickets for flights of less than 217 miles (350km) last June and a ban on domestic flights that could be travelled in less than three hours by train. (€1.00 = US$1.19 at time of publication.)

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flypop signs multiple aircraft A330-300 lease deal with Avolon

flypop has signed a multiple aircraft A330-300 lease deal with aircraft lessor Avolon.

Navdip Singh Judge, CEO & Principal of flypop, commented: “As a twin-engine double-aisle wide-body that can carry over 400 passengers, the A330-300 aircraft will deliver everything we want to offer our flypop passengers, especially the lowest seat prices to India. With this lease deal we have been able to submit our AOC license application to the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority and expect our first flights to commence by October. And many thanks to the U.K. Government's Future Fund for its financial assistance, which has enabled us to raise further funding. Increased flight connectivity, especially on new routes, will create much needed economic benefits for both the U.K. and India.”

Throughout the pandemic, flypop has been busy preparing for launch later this year, when international travel resumes to India.  In the last few months the team has grown significantly, including a number of new hires who all bring to flypop a diverse wealth of aviation experience and knowledge from many different fields. These include Charlie Clifton, ex Director of Ryanair, who has joined flypop as Senior Operations Adviser and Board Member.

flypop is a new low-cost British international airline providing the most affordable non-stop flights between the U.K. and the second cities of South Asia, starting with India.

Government of Canada and Air Canada reach deal on relief package

Air Canada has entered into a series of debt and equity financing agreements with the Government of Canada, which will allow Air Canada to access up to CA$5.879 billion in liquidity through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) program. The financial package provides for fully repayable loans that Air Canada would only draw down as required, as well as an equity investment, and is comprised of: Gross proceeds of CA$500 million for Air Canada shares at a price of CA$23.1793 per share.

As part of the financial package, Air Canada has agreed to a number of commitments related to customer refunds, service to regional communities, restrictions on the use of the funds provided, employment and capital expenditures. In detail:
  • Beginning April 13, 2021, Air Canada will be offering eligible customers who purchased non-refundable fares but did not travel due to COVID-19 since February 2020, the option of a refund to the original form of payment. In support of its travel agency partners, Air Canada will not retract agency sales commissions on refunded fares.
  • The resumption of service or access to Air Canada's network for nearly all regional communities where service was suspended because of COVID-19's impact on travel, through direct services or new interline agreements with third party regional carriers;
  • Restricting certain expenditures, and restricting dividends, share buybacks and senior executive compensation;
  • Obligations to maintain employment at levels which are no lower than those at April 1, 2021; and the completion of the airline's acquisition of 33 Airbus A220 aircraft, manufactured at Airbus' Mirabel, Quebec facility. Air Canada has also agreed to complete its existing firm order of 40 Boeing 737 Max aircraft. Completion of these orders remains subject to the terms and conditions of the applicable purchase agreements.
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Chorus Aviation signs lease agreements with Sky Alps

Chorus Aviation Capital (CAC) has entered into agreements to lease two Dash 8-400 aircraft to Sky Alps of Bolzano, Italy. CAC expects to deliver the aircraft (MSNs 4230 and 4237) in April and May 2021.

“Sky Alps is very pleased to have selected CAC as our aircraft supplier for the initial launch of services from our South Tyrol base in Bolzano with two Dash 8-400 on long-term operating leases. Throughout our engagement, CAC has demonstrated its expertise in regional aviation matters and its commitment to Sky Alps operations. The Dash 8-400 will play a key role in the development of leisure and business access to our region,” said Josef Gostner, President of Sky Alps.

Sky Alps will begin domestic scheduled services to the Alpine region in the summer season of 2021, with a fleet of Dash 8-400 aircraft.

Jet Aviation gains FOCA approval for thermography testing in Basel

Jet Aviation has received approval from the Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) to use infrared thermography for non-destructive testing (NDT) in Basel. This is the company’s sixth NDT technique approved in Basel. The Basel NDT
shop was established in 1991 and further supports liquid penetrant-, X-Ray-, magnetic particle-, eddy current- and ultrasonic testing.

Used to detect heat or thermal energy from an object, infrared thermography is a highly sensitive and reliable
method of non-destructive testing that converts heat energy to a temperature, which can then be depicted as
an image of temperature distribution. It is the same technology used in night vision goggles and is also
employed in medical science to detect irregularities such as cancer and chronic disease. In aviation, it is
typically applied to the airframe and components to test structural integrity.

Typically performed during scheduled maintenance, infrared thermography is used to detect delamination, defective bonding, and water ingress, as well as corrosion and material thinning. It is particularly well-suited for the inspection of composite materials.

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ITS and TAG Aero finalize definitive strategic partnership agreement

TAG Aero and ITS have finalized the definitive strategic partnership agreement to support the 737 New Gen and A320 market with 131-9B and 9A APU solutions. ITS’s strategic fleet retirement solutions combined with TAG Aero’s extensive APU repair and overhaul capabilities will establish reliable, global support for 737 New Gen and A320 operators. Together, TAG Aero and ITS will provide solutions for 131-9 series maintenance, leases, flat-rate exchanges and outright APU sales.

“We could not be more pleased to have now completed this joint venture with TAG Aero and be able to fully support the global market on 131-9B/9A APU solutions," said Bo Lump, Vice President of Sales for ITS.

ITS, located in Arizona, offers a wide range of custom solutions to airlines, leasing companies, MROs, OEMs, and resellers worldwide from fleet retirement, contractual based component support, rotable exchange pools, leasing, and repair management. This global support has established them as a trusted supply chain partner in the air transport industry.

TAG Aero is a 145 certified repair station specializing in Auxiliary Power Units and related material. Between two state-of-the-art facilities in Florida and South Carolina, TAG provides customers comprehensive APU solutions including sales, procurement, leasing, exchanges, and LRU repairs.
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