Thursday, June 27th, 2019

American Airlines to retire its fleet of 26 MD-80s

As part of its strategy of having “the youngest fleet of global network carriers”, American Airlines has announced it is to retire the final 26 of its original mainline fleet of 30 MD-80 aircraft
nicknamed “Mad Dog”. The final flight, Flight 80, will leave the carrier’s main base at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Texas for Chicago O’Hare International Airport on September 4, after which it will be ferried to Roswell International Air Center in New Mexico.

In what American Airlines describes as a “bittersweet but well-earned retirement” the MD-80, also known as the Super 80, was the carrier’s workhorse during the 1980s. American Airlines took delivery of its first MD-80 in 1983 according to Boeing’s order and delivery log. The current average age of the fleet of 26 “Mad Dogs” is over 20 years.

American Airlines is believed to operate 957 aircraft in its mainline fleet, with a further 607 aircraft in its regional fleet. In 2018 it placed a combined order for an additional 47 Boeing 787- 8 and 787-9 Dreamliners to take the place of its aging 767s and other older, wide-body models. Delivery of the Dreamliners is scheduled to being in 2020. In addition to starting to take delivery of Airbus A321neo jets this year, American Airlines also placed an order at the Paris Air Show on June 19 for a total of 50 of the new A321 XLR (Xtra Long Range) jet, which included a conversion of 30 previously ordered A321neos.

While the retirement date for the “Mad Dog” has been confirmed, American Airlines is still uncertain as to when its fleet of Boeing 737 MAXs will become operational again. Having previously penciled in August 19 as a return-to-the-skies date, this has been postponed for a second time, now aiming for early September.


Serbia and Airbus Helicopters expand partnership

Serbia has received its first H145M helicopter and will become a maintenance hub for SA 341 / SA 342 Gazelle helicopters. ”Both events underline the fact that Serbia and Airbus have entered into a close partnership”, as Airbus Helicopters CEO Bruno Even pointed out at the Partner Defence Exhibition in Belgrade.

The Moma Stanojlovic aeronautical plant, located near Belgrade, has been certified by Airbus Helicopters to carry out maintenance work on the Gazelle. More than 160 Gazelle SA 341 / SA 342 were produced under license by the Soko plant in Mostar from 1971 to 1991 and these helicopters are still operated in Serbia and its neighboring countries.

At the Partner Defence Exhibtion, Serbia also received its first H145M helicopter. Altogether, Serbia will receive nine H145Ms, earmarked for the Air Force and for the Ministry of Interior.

NAC delivers one new ATR 72-600 to Air KBZ on lease

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has delivered one new ATR 72-600, MSN 1534, to Air KBZ on lease.

Under the guidance of Myanmar Investment Commission, AIR KBZ, was established in June 2010. The purpose of this establishment is to help the fellow existing airlines cater to the growing demands of air travel in Myanmar. The airline had its first commercial flight in April 2011. Currently, it operates scheduled domestic services throughout Myanmar from Yangon's International Airport and a hub in Mandalay. In December 2016, Air KBZ began scheduling services between Yangon and Chiang Mai in neighbouring Thailand. Myanmar Airways International is a sister company, within the KBZ Group.

Onex receives approval from the Minister of Transport (Canada) on proposed acquisition of WestJet

Onex Corporation has received approval from the Minister of Transport (Canada) on the basis that the proposed acquisition of WestJet by Onex does not raise public interest issues as related to national transportation.

WestJet and Onex entered into a definitive agreement on May 12, 2019, for the proposed acquisition of WestJet by Onex under a plan of arrangement pursuant to which each outstanding share of WestJet will be exchanged for CA$31.00 in cash (the Arrangement).

Receipt of the Minister of Transport's approval is one of the conditions to closing of the Arrangement.

Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO said, "We welcome the decision by the Minister of Transport, and we will continue to cooperate with the necessary authorities on the remaining regulatory approvals."

The Arrangement is still subject to other conditions to closing including other regulatory approvals, approval by the securityholders of WestJet at a special meeting to be held on July 23, 2019 and final approval of the Arrangement by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.

Jet Parts Engineering

Cebu Pacific Air adds A321s to AFI KLM E&M components contract

Seven A321ceo and 32 A321neo aircraft are being included in the component support contract signed in 2017 by Cebu Pacific Air initially covering its fleet of over 40 Airbus A320s. AFI KLM E&M is proud to support the expansion of one of the most profitable low-cost airlines on a rapidly growing market. The array of services provided under the long-term contract includes component repairs from Singapore and AFI KLM E&M's worldwide repair network as well as access to a local spares pool.

The contract extension bolsters AFI KLM E&M's leadership position in the Asian market for component support services, embodied in particular through its local joint venture with Sabena Technics, Singapore Component Solutions (SCS) as well as a large regional customer community operating from various hubs throughout the region.

Turkish Airlines to fly long-range 787-9 Dreamliner on new non-stop international routes

Boeing has delivered the first 787-9 Dreamliner for Turkish Airlines, which plans to use the airplane's fuel efficiency, range, reliability and size to operate new non-stop international routes such as Bali, Bogota-Panama, Washington and Atlanta.

As part of the 787 Dreamliner family, the 787-9 is powered by a suite of new technologies and a revolutionary design. It can fly 7,635 nautical miles (14,140 km) in addition to carrying more cargo and allowing airlines to profitably grow routes. The airplane allows operators to achieve better fuel efficiency per seat compared to the previous airplanes in its class.

Turkish Airlines’ Dreamliner has seating capacity for 300 passengers, including 270 economy class seats and 30 business class seats. The carrier’s 787 includes long haul economy class seats and business class monuments produced in Turkey by Turkish suppliers.


Alcoa to divest minority interest in rolling mill to Ma’aden

Alcoa Corporation, a global leader in bauxite, alumina, and aluminum products, has amended its joint venture with the Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden) in which Alcoa holds a minority, 25.1%.

The joint venture was created in 2009 as a fully integrated aluminum complex in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, comprised of three entities: the Ma’aden Bauxite and Alumina Company (MBAC; the bauxite mine and alumina refinery), the Ma’aden Aluminium Company (MAC; the aluminum smelter and cast house), and the Ma’aden Rolling Company (MRC; the can and auto sheet mill).

As a result of the amended joint venture agreements, signed June 26, 2019, and expected to close by month end: Alcoa will transfer its 25.1% interest in MRC to Ma’aden. Alcoa will make a contribution to MRC in the amount of US$100 million paid in two installments: 1) US$34 million paid on June 17, 2019 to fund its 25.1% share of MRC’s current cash requirements, and 2) US$66 million paid at closing. Alcoa is released from all future MRC obligations, including Alcoa’s sponsor support of approximately US$295 million of MRC debt and its share of any future MRC cash requirements Alcoa will avoid future capital contributions in any MRC debt restructuring and recapitalization. Alcoa and Ma’aden further defined MBAC and MAC shareholder rights, including the dividend policy.

The parties will maintain their commercial relationship, which includes Alcoa providing sales, logistics and customer technical services support for MRC products for the North American can sheet market.

The Company will retain its 25.1% minority interest in MBAC and MAC, and Ma’aden will continue to own a 74.9% interest.

Romanian carrier TAROM selects ATR 72-600 to renew regional fleet

TAROM, the Romanian national air carrier, will introduce nine new ATR 72-600 aircraft into its fleet. The ATR 72-600 will be leased from regional aircraft lessor NAC.

Deliveries will commence in October 2019 through to 2020. TAROM has been very successful in its domestic market operations by using ATRs to allow it to compete with low cost carriers. This upgrade will ensure that the airline is equipped with the latest generation of turboprops burning 40% less fuel and emitting 40% less CO2 than regional jets. 

AerSale acquires Qwest Air Parts

AerSale®, a global supplier of aircraft, engines, used serviceable material (USM), and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services, acquired aircraft parts distributor Qwest Air Parts, Inc. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Qwest is a recognized leader in aircraft dismantlement and the refurbishment and resale of USM.

Qwest has disassembled over 200 aircraft, offers 24/7 AOG service, and operates a teardown facility in Crestview, Florida. Gary Jones, Qwest’s founder, President and CEO, will continue to lead Qwest, which will operate as a stand-alone independent subsidiary of AerSale. The acquisition of Qwest will add scale and reach to AerSale’s already significant airframe USM offerings. Furthermore, Qwest’s recently certified repair station, Q2 Aviation LLC, will supplement AerSale’s growing MRO platform.


Boeing and Kitty Hawk to collaborate on urban air mobility

Boeing and Kitty Hawk have announced a strategic partnership to collaborate on future efforts to advance safe urban air mobility. The strategic partnership will bring together the innovation of Kitty Hawk’s Cora division with Boeing’s scale and aerospace expertise.

“Working with a company like Kitty Hawk brings us closer to our goal of safely advancing the future of mobility,” said Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager of Boeing NeXt, an organization that is laying the foundation for a next-generation mobility ecosystem in which
autonomous and piloted vehicles can safely coexist. “We have a shared vision of how people, goods and ideas will be transported in the future, as well as the safety and regulatory ecosystem that will underpin that transportation.”

“Kitty Hawk was started to advance technology in flight and bring new innovations to life,” said Sebastian Thrun, co-founder and CEO of Kitty Hawk. “I am excited about our companies working together to accelerate making safe electric flight a reality.”

The agreement with Kitty Hawk Corp. is part of Boeing's disciplined, long-term strategy of entering into value-added partnerships that enhance and accelerate growth and deliver key differentiators for customers.

Kitty Hawk, headquartered in Mountain View, California, builds electric transportation solutions to free people from traffic and decrease carbon footprint. The company gets its name from the beaches of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where the Wright Brothers took flight for the first time in 1903. The company’s portfolio of vehicles includes Cora, a two-person air taxi and Flyer, a vehicle for personalized flight.

Sonaca Montreal opts for long-term partnership with thyssenkrupp Aerospace

Sonaca Montreal, specialized in the manufacturing of large aluminum aerostructures, has opted for a long-term partnership with thyssenkrupp Aerospace and has extended its contract, which has been in effect since 2016. Through 2023, thyssenkrupp's aerospace experts will be responsible for warehouse and supply chain management as well as comprehensive processing services for the just-in-time materials required for the Sonaca location in Mirabel, Quebec.

In order to meet the increased requirements and ensure just-in-time deliveries on a daily basis, Sonaca has invested in additional storage space and processing equipment. At the heart of this is the new waterjet cutting machine, which enables aluminum plate to be cut exactly to customer specifications.


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