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Friday, May 14th, 2021

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FAA gives Boeing’s troubled 737 MAX all-clear over fix for electrical faults

The fix for electrical faults on the Boeing 737 MAX that forced over 100 of the jets to be grounded in early April has received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Two bulletins with appropriate fixes which received FAA approval have been sent to affected carriers.

"After gaining final approvals from the FAA, we have issued service bulletins for the affected fleet," Boeing told Reuters news agency. "We are also completing the work as we prepare to resume deliveries." The FAA’s Administrator, Steve Dickson, advised U.S. lawmakers that the electrical issue would need a "pretty straightforward fix," and that he remained fully confident in the safety of the troubled jet which had only returned to the skies in November 2020 after a 20-month grounding following two fatal crashes.

The electrical problem was a consequence in a change to manufacturing methods of the jet in order to speed up productivity. Initially, only one problem had been identified, which was linked to a back-up power control unit in the cockpit on a number of recently manufactured 737 MAXs. However, the same problem was subsequently discovered in the storage rack where the unit was housed, and the instrument panel facing the pilots. U.S. carriers were hardest hit with 60 of their planes affected out of 109 worldwide.

United Airlines expects its "Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to return to service in the coming days as we complete our inspection process and ensure those aircraft meet our rigorous safety standards." American Airlines has confirmed that it will begin making required changes and anticipates "all affected aircraft will begin safely returning to service in the upcoming days.” Southwest Airlines with 32 affected planes, said it estimates the work will take two to three days per aircraft and estimates it will take about three weeks to complete the work necessary.

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SAS starts direct flights to New York again

SAS is resuming its direct route from Oslo to New York on July 3. The Oslo – New York route will start with two weekly round trips, departing from Oslo on Wednesdays and Saturdays and returning on Thursdays and Sundays. SAS will then continuously review a possible increase in frequency based on demand. The route provides easy access to city breaks in New York and onward travel to the rest of the USA via Newark Liberty International Airport’s many transfer options.

On March 13, 2020, the pandemic put a temporary stop to SAS’ direct route between Oslo and New York. Over a year later, the route is finally reopening and will be operated by Airbus A330 aircraft with 266 seats. SAS will also continue to fly to Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington from Copenhagen.

First Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer joined with its aft section

The front fuselage of the first Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced trainer was joined perfectly with its aft section in less than 30 minutes — a testament to the digital heritage of the U.S. Air Force’s first “eSeries” aircraft and witness to the benefits of model-based engineering and 3-D design. The digital splice was completed in 95% less time than traditional splices and with substantial quality improvements.

The aft fuselage was designed and built by Saab in Linköping, Sweden, under a joint development agreement with Boeing. After making the journey of more than 4,500 miles (7,200 km) to St. Louis, the aft section was lined up perfectly to the forward fuselage by Boeing aircraft mechanics.

The aircraft, which will be used for static test, is the first engineering and manufacturing development test asset to be spliced. It will be followed by five engineering and manufacturing development jets as part of 351 T-7A Red Hawk trainers to be produced for the U.S. Air Force.

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Fly Leasing reports first quarter 2021 financial results

FLY is reporting a net loss of US$3.4 million for the first quarter of 2021. This compares to net income of US$38.1 million for the same period in 2020. During the first quarter of 2021, FLY recognized US$5.9 million of costs associated with the pending transaction with Carlyle Aviation.

Adjusted net loss was US$1.4 million for the first quarter of 2021, compared to adjusted net income of US$43.6 million for the same period in the previous year. On March 31, 2021, FLY’s total assets were US$3.1 billion, including investment in flight equipment totaling US$2.8 billion. Total cash on March 31, 2021 was US$151.2 million, of which US$117.2 million was unrestricted. On March 31, 2021, FLY's net debt to equity ratio was 2.2x, reduced from 2.3x as of December 31, 2020.

FLY announced on March 29, 2021 that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an affiliate of Carlyle Aviation Partners (Carlyle Aviation), the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm within The Carlyle Group’s US$56 billion Global Credit platform. Under the terms of the merger agreement, FLY shareholders will receive US$17.05 per share in cash, representing a total equity valuation of approximately US$520 million. The total enterprise value of the transaction is approximately US$2.36 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including applicable regulatory clearance and the approval of FLY’s shareholders.

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SmartLynx Airlines adds five Airbus A330 aircraft for cargo operations

SmartLynx Airlines Malta, EU-based specialists in full-service ACMI aircraft leasing solutions, has announced an important addition to its Airbus fleet. Currently operated Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft will be joined by Airbus A330 aircraft type with a goal to become leaders of the long-haul market.

The five Airbus A330 aircraft will be modified to zero LOPA by removing passenger seats and preparing aircraft for cargo flights. The planes are planned to be added to SmartLynx Airlines’ fleet during May and June.

According to IATA, in April 2021, air cargo demand reached an all-time high and was up 9% compared to pre-COVID levels (Feb 2019). The increased market demand for long-haul cargo operations prompted SmartLynx Airlines to grow its fleet and introduce the modified aircraft, able to transport cargo shipments, including vaccines, and medical supplies, on long-haul flights.

The global aircraft leasing platform CDB Aviation will be leasing out several Airbus A330 aircraft to SmartLynx Airlines.

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FL Technics Engine Services to become one-stop-shop for CFM56-family engine repair

Following a successful start of operations late last year, FL Technics Engine Services, subsidiary of FL Technics, MRO organization, has announced the addition of more EASA Part 145 approved services for engine repair and maintenance.

In addition to previously available services that include engine external examination, boreblending, engine preservation and storage services, QEC/LRU removal and installation, top case repair, and lease return services, FL Technics Engine Services will now offer its clients the full scope of crucial services for CFM56-family engines, related to fan, hot section, and low-pressure turbine repair. The newly added services will be provided at a brand new fully authorised 3-bay quick-turn activities engine shop located at KUN/FEZ, next to FL Technics base maintenance hangar, offering clients a convenient one-stop-shop experience.

FL Technics Engine Services quick turn engine shop opened its doors last year and now allows customers to optimize their engines’ Time on Wing (ToW), while simultaneously optimizing and minimizing costs using the full scope of FL Technics Engine Services and FL Technics one-stop MRO services.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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