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Friday, July 9th, 2021

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Airbus to showcase A350-1000 aircraft for the first time in Russia

Airbus will demonstrate its latest technological innovations and projects implemented in Russia at the International Aerospace Show which takes place in Zhukovsky from 20, to 25 of July. Key attractions will be the last-generation widebody A350-1000, which will be shown in the country for the first time, and the twin-engine EC145 rotorcraft.

The A350-1000 is the largest member of the clean sheet design A350 widebody-family, with a seating capacity of up to 440 passengers in a single class. The aircraft's state-of-the-art aerodynamics, inspired by nature, incorporates a unique morphing technology that continuously optimises the wing profile to reduce drag and lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions. The aircraft is powered by Rolls Royce Trent XWB 97 engines with 15% increased thrust, the aircraft can fly up to 16,100 km. More than 70% of the airframe is made from advanced materials, including 53% composites. Aeroflot already operates six A350-900s.

The Airbus A350-1000 will also take part in the flight program of MAKS-2021 aerospace show from 20 to 22 of July.

Another highlight on static display will be the EC145 helicopter – one of the five EC145, owned by the city of Moscow and operated by the Moscow Aviation Centre (MAC). Airbus Helicopters and the Moscow Aviation Centre have been cooperating for more than 14 years. During this period, the MAC AH fleet has contributed to saving the lives of more than 6,400 patients in the territory of Moscow. Easy access to the cockpit through wide, side-sliding doors or through the rear doors, a spacious cabin, and high reliability make this helicopter the preferred choice for medical missions.

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Lufthansa Cargo deploys two Airbus A321s permanently converted into freighters

Lufthansa Cargo is investing in the expansion of its cargo capacities. From the beginning of 2022, the company will offer its customers additional capacity in Europe by permanently converting Airbus 321 passenger aircraft into freighters. For this purpose, the twin-engine medium-haul aircraft will receive large cargo doors to enable the transport of containers on the main deck as well. Initially, the conversion of two Airbus aircraft is planned. These aircraft will be operated by Lufthansa CityLine on behalf of Lufthansa Cargo. They will be stationed in Frankfurt.

The growth for cross-border eCommerce shipments is forecast at around 20% per year for the next five years. Consumers expect ever shorter delivery times for their ordered goods. This is also increasing the demand for air freight connections within Europe.

The Airbus A321s (A321P2F) converted to freighters offer a payload of 28 tons with a range of 3,500 kilometers. The conversion allows the use of standardized cargo pallets on the main deck as well. The twin-engine Airbus A321 is one of the most versatile aircraft in its class and enables very efficient continental operations.

Spirit Airlines to resume all remaining international service from Orlando

Spirit Airlines is leading the Orlando International Airport's resurgence with newly announced plans to offer more than 80 departures per day at MCO by the end of 2021. South Florida-based Spirit Airlines unveiled the largest schedule it has ever operated from Orlando, including new flights to destinations stretching from New Hampshire to the Dominican Republic along with reinstating the balance of its international operation. 

Altogether, Spirit Guests will have roughly 20 additional flights and ten new destinations to choose from each day compared to two years ago. The airline's Orlando operations will be 45% larger than they were at the end of 2019 once the new routes and resumptions come online.

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Boeing to support Royal Air Force Poseidon fleet and train crews for next five years

Boeing and the U.K. Ministry of Defence have signed an agreement for Boeing to support the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) fleet of Poseidon MRA1 maritime patrol aircraft and train the crews that operate them.

Under the aircraft and training support contract, valued at US$321.6 million (£233.5 million), Boeing will provide maintenance services, spares and repairs, including tools and ground support equipment, as well as supply chain management, forecasting and inventory management, and airworthiness services for the RAF’s P-8 fleet.

The training element of the contract will offer a suite of training systems and courseware to prepare aircrew and maintainers to safely and effectively operate and maintain the fleet. Boeing will provide the flight instructors to train P-8A pilots, and under the terms of a subcontract, Burgess Hill-based CAE U.K. will create more jobs in the U.K. to provide rear crew and engineering instructors, and console operators and controllers who will perform role playing and support functions during training and mission rehearsal exercises.

These agreements will create 150 jobs in the U.K., including more than 100 at RAF Lossiemouth in northern Scotland. Boeing employees are already working alongside RAF personnel at the station in Moray, supporting the current fleet of five Poseidons.

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IBA: Aviation recovery slowly gathering momentum, but substantial fleet remains grounded

The recovery in air traffic is starting to gather momentum on both international and domestic routes, according to data revealed by IBA at its half year Market Update.

There were almost 400,000 international passenger flights in June 2021, the highest amount since March 2020 before the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research from IBA’s InsightIQ intelligence platform. While domestic services still account for the majority of passengers, the proportion of these flights has fallen from 85% in March 2021 to 79% in June.

Almost all global regions are now showing a sustained growth in passenger flights, with the exception of Asia Pacific where some recent Covid-19 outbreaks have caused the re-instatement of travel restrictions. Passenger flight traffic in North America leads the globe, with levels in June 2021 at 75% of that month in 2019, closely followed by Latin America at 68%. Europe, which had been significantly lagging behind other markets in early 2021, accelerated from 34% in May to 47% in June.

Orders for the Boeing 737 MAX have surged since the start of 2021, with 490 orders for the model compared to 137 for Airbus A320neo family aircraft. However, the order backlog for the A320neo still significantly surpasses the Boeing 737 MAX at 5,638 to 4,176. Airline commitments for widebody aircraft remain subdued with just over 150 orders since the start of 2021, 84 of which were for the Boeing 777.

IBA forecasts that overall deliveries will return to pre-pandemic levels in 2025, when it predicts around 1,900 new commercial aircraft will enter service.

The number of airlines failures and restructures thus far in 2021 has fallen to pre-pandemic levels. However, IBA believes the third calendar quarter of this year will be a challenging period for some airlines as they review whether normally buoyant (Northern Hemisphere) summer revenues will provide sufficient liquidity for the winter period.

The airline failures in 2020 are having a sustained effect on the aviation market with 447 aircraft still grounded. 172 remain grounded as a result of airline restructurings, including some current generation types such as the Boeing 787 and 737 MAX, and the Airbus A350. The leasing community has also disproportionately impacted, with ownership of 80% of all aircraft from airlines that failed in 2020.

This surplus of available aircraft is driving an increase in passenger to freighter conversions, with over 70 in the first half of 2021 – greater than the 2020 overall total. The 30 Boeing 737NG conversions thus far in 2021 are double the number for all of 2019, with A320ceo and A330ceo conversions also growing.

Governments across the globe have committed approximately $170 billion in airline industry support as of June 2021, with the mature airline markets of North America and Europe & CIS accounting for $77.4 billion and $44.2 billion respectively. When measured as a proportion of 2019 GDP, Government support to airlines in the Middle East was the highest at 0.36% with Latin America the lowest at 0.09%.

Phil Seymour, President of IBA, says: “We are starting to see a recovery in air traffic in many parts of the globe and, with it, greater confidence from some airlines with significant aircraft orders. However, the long-term effects of Covid on the industry should not be underestimated, and will affect aircraft availability, values and lessor portfolios for several years to come.”

IBA forecasts that aircraft trading activity in 2021 will return to 2019 levels with transactions set to reach 3,800 by the end of this year, with much of it driven by lessor acquisition and M&A activity.

The acquisition of GECAS by Aercap is also set to change the dynamics of the aircraft leasing market. The newly combined entity will have a fleet size three times the size of its nearest competitor. IBA predicts that it will sell off a significant amount of the older aircraft in its fleet, following a trend set in previous lessor mergers and acquisitions, with a possible knock-on effect on aircraft availability and values.

Flexibility from the major OEMs in airline delivery timescales in 2020, extensions and rental deferrals have suppressed the level of aircraft lease ends to around 1,300. However, IBA forecasts that this will now increase to over 1,600 in both 2021 and 2022.

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FL Technics obtains EASA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for cargo carriage aircraft modification capabilities in passenger cabin

FL Technics continues decisive development of the business tailored to current and future demand in the markets. This time it is the company's DOA team who received an important approval of capabilities to change aircraft interior design by creating cargo carriage capacity on the passenger cabin floor.

Such aircraft modification is considered as major and requires extensive knowledge and technical expertise to be certified by EASA. However, a rigorous process of approval, that takes up to six months to complete, is worth the effort as it allows FL Technics to provide crucial service to airlines and lessors. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, partial cargo conversion of passenger aircraft becomes increasingly popular as operators need to opt in for freight services and support delivering goods and medical supplies worldwide. This new STC enables maximizing cargo capacity without full aircraft conversion to a freighter.

The scope of obtained certification covers one of the most popular aircraft currently in service - the Boeing 737- and has already been applied to the B737-800 fleet conversion project for one of FL Technics trusted clients.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar