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Monday, April 26th, 2021

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Leonardo to acquire 25.1% stake in HENSOLDT AG for €606 million

Leonardo has entered into a definitive agreement with Square Lux Holding II S.à r.l., a portfolio company controlled by funds advised by Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts & Co., to purchase a 25.1% stake in HENSOLDT AG (HENSOLD) for a cash consideration of approx. €606 million or €23 per share.

HENSOLDT is a leading European player in the field of sensor solutions for defence and security applications, with an expanding portfolio in cyber security, data management and robotics. As a result of the stake purchase, Leonardo will become the largest shareholder of HENSOLDT alongside Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) which is 80% owned by the Federal Republic of Germany. KfW agreed to acquire a 25.1% stake in HENSOLDT in March 2021.

With the investment in HENSOLDT Leonardo will establish a strategic long-term presence in the fast growing German defence market.

Already today, Leonardo and HENSOLDT have a well-established relationship, including collaboration on the Eurofighter Typhoon program as independent operators within the consortium model. The envisioned closer cooperation will be based on a strong complementarity of the two companies in terms of geography, product portfolio, end markets, customers and suppliers in the Air Land and Naval domains, and will allow them to deepen access to their respective markets, offer complete solutions to their customers and share best-practices for the development of future technologies.

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Finnair pilots sign new 3.5-year collective labor agreement

Finnish Air Line Pilots’ Association and Service Sector Employers Palta have signed an agreement on a new, 3.5-year collective labor agreement for Finnair pilots.  

The new CLA is in force until September 30, 2024 and it encompasses several important structural changes that support Finnair’s competitiveness in the fiercely competitive post-pandemic market. These include moving from a service year-based salary structure to a vacancy-based salary structure, and measures enabling balancing the seasonality of air traffic more effectively.

“With the new collective labor agreement our pilots demonstrate their willingness to contribute constructively to Finnair’s rebuild phase in the middle of the largest crisis in the history of aviation”, says Johanna Karppi, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Finnair. “I am happy that we have together been able to agree on solutions that support Finnair’s competitiveness while ensuring Finnair is a good employer for Finnish pilots also in the future. The long agreement period brings us predictability and supports the long-term efforts in building Finnair’s future.” 

JetBlue Technology Ventures invests in Universal Hydrogen

JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), the venture capital subsidiary of JetBlue Airways has announced its investment in Universal Hydrogen, the company fueling carbon-free flights, as part of its US$20.5 million Series A funding round. The financing allows Universal Hydrogen to accelerate the development of its hydrogen logistics network and regional aircraft conversion kits, and bolsters its burgeoning commercial activities.

JTV’s primary goal is to better position JetBlue with startup-led innovation set to disrupt the travel industry, ultimately helping JetBlue chart a path toward net zero emissions. JTV supports JetBlue’s ambitious sustainability strategy and targets by investing in technology focusing on advanced methods of measuring and reducing emissions, improved environmental protections, and game-changing transportation. In 2020 JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to achieve carbon neutrality for all domestic flying, today primarily through carbon offsets while the industry builds up lower-carbon technologies to reduce direct emissions.

Universal Hydrogen is building a fuel distribution network that connects hydrogen production directly to the airplane using modular capsules that are transported using the existing freight network, avoiding the need for costly new pipelines, storage facilities, and fuel trucks. The company is also developing conversion kits to retrofit existing 40-60 passenger regional airplanes with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

Universal Hydrogen was founded in 2020 by aviation industry veterans Paul Eremenko, John-Paul Clarke, Jason Chua, and Jon Gordon. First commercial flights are planned no later than 2025, with operating costs equivalent to those of conventional hydrocarbon-burning airplanes and decreasing rapidly thereafter.

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IAG to power 10% of its flights with sunstainable aviation fuel by 2030

International Airlines Group (IAG) has released that it will commit to powering 10% of its flights with sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.

The Group will purchase one million tons of sustainable jet fuel per year enabling it to cut its annual emissions by two million tons by 2030. This equates to removing one million cars from Europe’s roads each year.

In addition, IAG will extend its net zero commitment to its supply chain. The Group will be working with its suppliers to enable them to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050 for the products and services they provide to IAG.

Luis Gallego, IAG´s chief executive, said: “For more than a decade, IAG has led the airline industry’s actions to reduce its carbon footprint. It’s clearly challenging to transition to a low carbon business model but, despite the current pandemic, we remain resolute in our climate commitments.

Aeromexico eyes US$2 billion in discounts involving 28-plane deal with Boeing

Having filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2020, Aeromexico has announced it has struck a deal to buy 28 planes from Boeing and also confirmed that it has successfully negotiated discounts of around US$2 billion.

Additionally, the carrier has also negotiated more favourable conditions for it existing fleet and leasing contracts with Boeing. The deal includes a combination of 24 737-8 MAXs and 737-9 MAXs, along with four 787-9 Dreamliners. While a price for the planes was not disclosed, according to a statement issued by Aeromexico: the agreement "represents a fundamental stage in Aeromexico's transformation for the coming years, under highly competitive economic conditions compared to current market values."

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Embraer and Brazilian Air Force sign MoU for joint study of unmanned aircraft system

Embraer and the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that establishes a cooperation for the study and evaluation of the necessary capabilities for the conceptual design and development of advanced unmanned aircraft systems to meet FAB’s needs.

“This study is of fundamental importance for the maintenance and expansion of Embraer's competencies in the development of aerial defense systems with high technological content and great integration complexity,” said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO, Embraer Defense & Security. “It is also an opportunity for the continuous development of new technologies and products for the FAB and the Ministry of Defense, aimed at expanding the operational capacity and guaranteeing national sovereignty. A major challenge for this aerial system will certainly be its integration and joint operation with other systems and aircraft, manned or unmanned.”

The cooperation within the scope of this MoU aims at the joint study of the needs of the FAB in the context of its missions, as well as the understanding and prioritization of operational and logistical elements related to the development of a superior class unmanned aircraft system of multiple capacities. The development of an unmanned aerial aircraft system with Brazilian technology offers a relevant opportunity to the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) and its strategic companies, promoting its development and strengthening knowledge to meet the needs of the Brazilian State.

Lufthansa Cargo pushing ahead with modernization of logistics center

Lufthansa Cargo is setting an important course for the future of the airfreight center in Frankfurt. The airfreight company has signed one of the highest-volume contracts in its comprehensive infrastructure program. The detailed planning and realization of the new central high-rack storage system, the centerpiece of the Frankfurt hub, will be implemented with the German mechanical engineering company Bleichert Automation GmbH & Co. KG in the future.

"With Bleichert Automation, we were able to gain experienced experts in the field of warehousing and material handling technology who will support us with individual and custom-fit solutions," explains Harald Gloy, the cargo airline’s Chief Operations Officer. "By continuing the successful cooperation with our logistics general planner agiplan, we now have a high-performance team on board for the realization phase and can move forward in large steps towards construction."

Lufthansa Cargo will further develop and renew the logistics center at its home hub in Frankfurt on a modular basis. The transit high-rack storage system, which will be around 40 meters high in the future, with four aisles over 13 levels as well as a multi-level distribution axis along the production areas, forms the centerpiece of the renewal of cargo handling at the Frankfurt hub. The new building will further improve handling times at Lufthansa Cargo's central location and increase efficiency. This means a higher turn-over rate, smoother transport processes and an improvement in service quality for all customers.

Construction and commissioning will take place in several stages, with realization of the high-rack storage system and the first part of the material distribution axis planned between 2022 and 2025. The complete modernization of the Lufthansa Cargo Center is scheduled for completion in 2029.
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