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Tuesday, May 11th, 2021

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Airbus looks to reduce A220 losses with appointment of new Canada operations chief

In an effort to reduce current losses plaguing the A220 program, Airbus has appointed Benoit Schultz, a former Bombardier employee and a current supply chain executive with the European planemaker, to the role of running the Canadian operation. He will adopt his new role on September 1, when the current chief, Philippe Balducchi, leaves to “pursue opportunities” beyond Airbus. Balducchi was responsible for overseeing much of the takeover of the then Bombardier C-Series by Airbus with regard to the transitioning of Bombardier’s production plants into Airbus ones and opening a new U.S. assembly line.

While Airbus has been able to secure more sales for the A220 as airlines seek to reduce fuel costs and favor smaller aircraft in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the program is still losing money and Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury has been looking to achieve cuts of 20% in the cost of major components, according to REUTERS. This is needed to push the program into the black as sales alone without reduced production costs are unlikely to achieve this result and could further increase the program’s losses.  While he has been successful with Raytheon Technologies and Spirit Aero Systems, Faury has failed to achieve the same with other suppliers of major components.

Airbus could further reduce costs by redesigning parts and overhauling the production system for the A220, which competes with Embraer regional jets and smaller Boeing 737s, but such spending is seen as unlikely during the pandemic.

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StandardAero to provide Air Nostrum with PW127M and APU services

Spanish regional airline Air Nostrum has selected StandardAero to provide support services for the Pratt & Whitney PW127M engines powering its fleet of ATR 72-600 regional turboprops. Under the exclusive five-year agreement, StandardAero will provide Air Nostrum with PW127M hot section inspections (HSIs) and additional services from its OEM-authorized PW100 Designated Overhaul Facilities (DOFs) in Gonesse, France and Summerside, PE, Canada.

Air Nostrum has also renewed its selection of StandardAero as the exclusive support provider for the Honeywell GTCP36-150RJ and RE220 auxiliary power units (APUs) equipping the airline’s fleet of CRJ200 and CRJ900/1000 regional jets. Under these contract renewals, StandardAero will continue providing Air Nostrum with a range of services for the GTCP36-150RJ and RE220 from its Maryville, TN location, which is a Honeywell-approved Authorized Service Center for the APUs.

Willis Lease Finance posts first quarter pre-tax loss of US$1.7 million

Willis Lease Finance has reported first quarter total revenues of US$61.1 million and pre-tax loss of $1.7 million. The company reported lower revenue in the first quarter when compared to the prior year period, primarily due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The slowdown in global travel continues to impact aircraft and engine utilization as well as demand for aircraft and engine spare parts. For the three months ended March 31, 2021, aggregate lease rent and maintenance reserve revenues were US$51.3 million and spare parts and equipment sales were US$4.6 million.

As of March 31, 2021, the company’s US$1.888 billion equipment held for operating lease portfolio and US$197.6 million notes receivable represented 295 engines, eight aircraft, one marine vessel and other leased parts and equipment. As of December 31, 2020, the company’s US$1.887 billion equipment held for operating lease portfolio and US$158.7 million notes receivable represented 291 engines, eight aircraft, one marine vessel and other leased parts and equipment.

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Lufthansa Cargo to build new art warehouse at Frankfurt hub

Lufthansa Cargo has laid the foundation stone for the construction of its new art storage facility at the Frankfurt hub. The so-called ArtCube at the Lufthansa Cargo Center will in future have an area of 168 m² and offer its customers secure and professional storage of valuable works of art of all kinds. The new building is being constructed as part of the modernization of the airfreight hub in Frankfurt initiated by Lufthansa Cargo and is scheduled to go into operation at the end of the year.

The new art warehouse will be self-sufficiently equipped with air-conditioning units with heating and cooling functions, creating an almost constant temperature. Through the vertical window bands the ArtCube receives natural lighting. There is a separate lounge area for art attendants. Access to the special storage area is restricted by state-of-the-art security technology.

The new construction of the art warehouse is one of the first steps in the modularly planned "LCCevolution" infrastructure program of Lufthansa Cargo at its home hub in Frankfurt - in parallel, several preparatory measures are being taken for the new construction of the central high-rack warehouse at the Lufthansa Cargo Center. The complete modernization of the Lufthansa Cargo Center is scheduled for completion in 2029.

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Triumph Group sells three aerostructures sites to Arlington Capital Partners

Triumph Group has completed the sale of three of its aerostructures sites to Arlington Capital Partners. The transaction was effective May 7, 2021 and includes the Triumph Composites business consisting of the Milledgeville, Georgia and Rayong Thailand operations, as well as its structures operations in Red Oak, Texas. Combined, the businesses encompass approximately 1.8 million ft² of factory space and employ approximately 900 people.   

The Triumph Composites businesses provide structural and engine composite fabrications and assemblies across commercial, business jet, and defense platforms. The Red Oak operations specializes in the manufacture of large, complex composite and metallic structures such as wing, empennage, and fuselage assemblies.

Arlington Capital Partners plans to continue operations at all three locations under the business name "Qarbon Aerospace" and will maintain the leadership and employees currently supporting the business. Pete Wick, formerly Executive Vice President of Triumph Group who ran all of Triumph Aerospace Structures, will lead Qarbon Aerospace as CEO.

Triumph Group, headquartered in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, designs, engineers, manufactures, repairs, and overhauls a broad portfolio of aerospace and defense systems, components, and structures. The company serves the global aviation industry, including original equipment manufacturers and the full spectrum of military and commercial aircraft operators.

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Liebherr on board Dassault’s new Falcon 10X business jet

Liebherr-Aerospace’s workshare in the new Falcon business jet covers the integrated air management system, supplied to Dassault and landing gear components supplied to Héroux-Devtek.

On May 6, 2021 the Falcon 10X was launched by Dassault Aviation and Liebherr will supply major systems and components for the all-new business jet. Liebherr-Aerospace Toulouse SAS (France), Liebherr’s center of excellence for air management systems, is responsible for the Falcon 10X’s integrated air management system. This major work package covers the bleed, air conditioning, cabin pressure control, air preparation, overheat detection, and wing anti-ice protection systems. Building on the architecture of the Dassault Falcon 6X air management system also provided by Liebherr, this new package provides a combination of robust and proven equipment, along with new Liebherr component technology developments. One example is the introduction of smart valves developed by Liebherr, which offer increased digital control, opening the door to system control optimization and increased product health management.

The Liebherr-Aerospace team in Lindenberg was commissioned by the Canadian company Héroux-Devtek to supply landing gear actuation and steering components for the Falcon 10X. Based on its experience, Liebherr was able to offer for the business jet latest technology within a very short time according to the newest environmental requirements.

ABL Aviation appoints Michael Weiss as CCO to spearheading growth

ABL Aviation, the global independent aircraft investment management firm, has appointed Michael Weiss as Chief Commercial Officer. Weiss' appointment further strengthens ABL Aviation’s senior leadership team as the company pursues its growth strategy, underpinned by independent decision making and an innovative approach to aircraft financing.

In his new role Weiss will be responsible for further solidifying ABL Aviation’s close airline and institutional investor relationships and spearheading growth. He will bring over 30 years of broad-ranging aviation industry experience and expertise with him. During his long career he has held senior positions at a number of financial institutions including Investec, where he was Head of Aircraft Finance & Leasing and instrumental to driving the bank’s strategy of establishing dedicated aircraft related funds. More recently, Weiss was Head of Aircraft Trading at SMBC Aviation Capital, where he led the Aircraft Trading team into new markets and built up a presence in Asia, specifically Japan, by offering new, and innovative solutions to investors, alongside the Company’s Japanese shareholders.
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Tamar