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Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021

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Aer Lingus blasts ‘anti-family’ travel restrictions – burn rate €1 million a day

Having posted a loss of €563 million last year and €103 million for the first quarter this year, Aer Lingus is exploring numerous options with regard to restructuring and obtaining financial support. Owned by IAG, which also owns British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, Aer Lingus has already been the recipient of a €150 million loan from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and is in talks with the state-controlled agency for further funding.

The Irish carrier’s chief executive, Lynne Embleton has made it clear that Aer Lingus needs “hundreds of million” of extra cash in order to survive the knock-on effects of the coronavirus pandemic. She has been particularly scathing of what she sees as “anti-family” travel restrictions that need to be lifted, particularly for their main markets, which are the U.K. and U.S. “We believe that’s a further impediment to Irish aviation getting back on its feet,” she said. “The particular consequences of the restrictions on travelers to the U.K. and from the U.K., and to the U.S. and from the U.S., is what I would describe as an anti-family policy,” she said. “You can travel as a family with vaccinated parents,” she explained. “An Irish family coming back into Ireland from the U.S. or U.K., the children would then have to quarantine or self-isolate at home. Any U.S. or U.K. families choosing to spend some time in Ireland, they would be able to move around in Ireland, but the children would need to again, isolate,” adding that: “This is a situation which dampens any enthusiasm for travel. It’s one which we believe should be revisited.”

From July 19, Ireland is set to adopt the EU Digital Covid Certificate for travel originating with the EU and European Economic Area countries. From that date. Fully vaccinated travellers from the U.S. can also visit Ireland without quarantining on arrival or having a pre-departure Covid test. The Aer Lingus chief said the carrier has also previously asked the government for supports including rebates for airport charges, an extension of wage supports into next year, and route specific supports, while also making it clear that any forms of government assistance could not have any strings attached, such as job security or connectivity. Embleton remains committed to closing Aer Lingus’ base at Shannon Airport. (€1.00 = US$1.19 at time of publication.)

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SkySelect signs TAP Air Portugal to transform the carrier’s aircraft parts purchasing

SkySelect, an extended purchasing arm for aircraft material powered by smart algorithms and robotic process automation, has announced the signing of TAP Air Portugal to a contract to facilitate cost savings and a streamlined approach to the airlines’ parts purchasing.

The flagship carrier of Portugal is leveraging the company’s industry knowledge, customer support and automated technology to transform its maintenance operations. 

SkySelect acts as an extended purchasing arm to airlines and MROs. It empowers people with technology and algorithms to do the work of matching real-time demand from buyers with supply. This process is already driving tangible time and cost savings.

Cathay Pacific Airways and HK Express select Airbus’s FHS to support A320 Family fleets

Cathay Pacific Airways and HK Express have signed contracts for Airbus’s Flight Hour Services (FHS) to provide support for their A320 Family fleets. These extend the service relationship with Cathay Pacific and welcome HK Express as a new FHS customer.

The multi-year, maintenance-by-the-hour contracts cover integrated component services, including on-site stock, pool access, and repair services. The airlines will also benefit from Airbus’s engineering expertise and FHS local representatives in Hong Kong.

“Airbus’s FHS will support the operational ramp-up at Cathay Pacific and HK Express,” said Bruno Bousquet, Head of Airbus Customer Services Asia-Pacific. “These new contracts will enable us to work even closer with both carriers to offer them the best services to cope with the new market reality."

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Qatar Airways Cargo offers customers Envirotainer’s Innovative Releye® container for pharma transport

Qatar Airways Cargo has announced the approval of Envirotainer’s latest innovation – The Releye® RLP container. With the newest addition to its range of temperature-controlled containers, the airline now offers 16 temperature-controlled container leasing options for life science and health care products to maintain a secure and seamless cool chain. It has been already offering customers Envirotainer’s RAP and RKN active pharma containers since 2014.

The Releye® RLP sets a new standard for secure cold chain solutions - maintaining the customers’ pharma cargo longer, without the need of recharging and is enough to cover transit times and delays, if any. With live monitoring, the airline’s customers will be able to track and monitor the product condition, location, temperature, humidity, battery levels, door openings, if their cargo is loaded or not and the progress of their shipments. Customized alert notifications can also be set up, offering full visibility to customers for proactive and reactive measures. Its unique air flow technology provides maximum temperature stability in the cargo bay. These containers also deliver up to a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions, in perfect alignment with the airline’s sustainability goals.

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Boeing to boost U.K. Royal Air Force Chinook fleet

U.S. Special Operations Command has awarded Boeing a US$578 million Foreign Military Sales contract approved by the U.S. Department of State to deliver 14 extended-range Chinook helicopters to the U.K. Royal Air Force (RAF).

The extended range Chinook gives the RAF fleet more versatility to execute the domestic and international heavy-lift missions that only the Chinook can facilitate.

“These Chinooks are the future of heavy-lift, built on an existing foundation of advanced capability and life cycle affordability,” said Andy Builta, Boeing vice president and H-47 program manager. “This contract for Block II aircraft sets the stage for the next 60 years of Chinook excellence on the battlefield.”

Boeing and the RAF recently celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first Chinook delivery to the U.K. Boeing will also celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Chinook’s first flight later this year.

The United Kingdom will be the first international operator of a Block II Chinook. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2026.

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AeroCentury files proposed plan of reorganization

AeroCentury (AeroCentury) has announced that the company and its two U.S. subsidiaries (collectively the debtors) have filed with the Delaware Bankruptcy Court a proposed combined Plan of Reorganization and Disclosure Statement with respect to its proposed plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The proposed plan was filed in connection with the company’s motion to approve a Solicitation Procedures Order, which, among other things, requests that the court conditionally approve the combined plan/disclosure Ddocument for solicitation purposes only and authorize the debtors to solicit votes to accept or reject the plan. The Bankruptcy Court has set a hearing date of July 12, 2021 to hear the proposed motion and to consider approval of the Solicitation Procedures Order.

The proposed plan/disclosure document contemplates two potential paths to the debtors’ emergence from bankruptcy. The first is the sponsored plan scenario that is dependent upon the company finding a suitable plan sponsor that would enter into a plan sponsor agreement with the company to operate the debtors’ businesses on a go-forward basis and relaunch the Debtors’ aircraft acquisition, leasing, and disposition operations using capital to be provided by the plan sponsor. The company has not yet entered into any agreement with a plan sponsor. The second path is the stand-alone plan scenario, which will occur if a plan sponsor is not found or an acceptable plan sponsor agreement is not reached with a plan Sponsor. Under the stand-alone plan, the debtors’ remaining assets will be monetized for the benefit of their stakeholders.

The company has proposed that if an acceptable plan sponsor is found and a plan sponsor agreement is entered into, the company will disclose the identity of the Plan Sponsor and the terms of such plan sponsor agreement in a plan supplement to be filed with the court prior to the vote on the proposed plan. The company further proposes that if a plan sponsor agreement is not executed by the voting deadline, the plan will proceed on the stand-alone plan scenario.
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Finnair and Juneyao Airlines enter into joint business partnership

Finnair and Shanghai-based Juneyao Airlines will enter to a joint business partnership on July 1, 2021, where the two carriers will cooperate commercially on flights between Helsinki and Shanghai as well points beyond in China and Europe. 

Finnair and Juneyao Airlines started a codeshare cooperation in July 2019, when Juneyao Air launched its Shanghai-Helsinki route. The joint business further deepens the partnership, providing corporate and leisure customers with more flexible routing options, attractive fares and enhanced benefits for frequent flyer members. Finnair’s and Juneyao’s customers will benefit from more consistent customer policies for example with baggage allowances, integrated customer care and enhanced frequent flyer award point accrual across the two airlines. Finnair customers will benefit from improved connectivity to a network of 57 destinations in China from Juneyao’s Shanghai Pudong hub, and Juneyao customers will enjoy better access to Finnair’s extensive network of 65 European destinations via its Helsinki hub. 

Finnair and Juneyao Airlines currently operate two flights per week between Helsinki and Shanghai and look forward to increasing frequencies as soon as the pandemic situation allows. In 2019, Finnair and Juneyao Air both operated daily flights between Helsinki and Shanghai.    

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar