Thursday, July 4th, 2019

German Efromovich sets sights on ailing Alitalia

Having been ousted as Chairman of Columbia’s Avianca airline after defaulting on a loan from United Continental Holdings (United), Bolivian-born German Efromovich has now made an approach to acquire a 30% stake in the struggling Italian flag-carrying airline Alitalia. Italian daily financial newspaper Il Sole 24 reported a conversation it had with Efromovich in which he said: "We wrote a letter to Ferrovie dello Stato and the adviser Mediobanca two weeks ago saying we can purchase up to 30% of Alitalia," adding, "We want to join the company’s management and I’d like to be the chief executive officer, at least at the start." According to the newspaper, a 30% stake in the Italian carrier would cost in the region of US$273 million. While Efromovich was forced out of Avianca after his holding company, Synergy Group Corp, defaulted on a loan from United, he still owns a 72% share of the airline’s voting rights and 52% of its capital. Efromovich has confirmed that he would not need to take out a loan to raise the necessary funds to purchase a stake in Alitalia and it is understood the capital would be raised through a combination of family funds and trusts. Ferrovie dello Stata Italiane SpA (Ferrovie) is responsible for heading the talks surrounding any rescue package for Alitalia and has extended the deadline for binding bids to July 15 after easyJet withdrew all interest. Currently Ferrovie, the Italian government and U.S. carrier Delta Airlines are committed to investing in Alitalia, but only to a capped level and thus an additional investor(s) is being sought. According to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the Italian infrastructure group Toto Holding, has also shown interest in investing in Alitalia.


Spanish airline Volotea to invest €15 million to improve customer experience this summer

Volotea, the Spanish airline of mid and small-sized European cities, has implemented a set of measures that include the coordination of flight operations, new and improved passenger services and new additions to the onboard experience that will improve customers’ satisfaction and travel experience. The company has invested €15 million to launch these improvements ahead of the summer 2019.

Volotea carried 6.6 million passengers in 2018, an increase of 36% on the previous year. Following this strong growth, the airline has implemented an ambitious improvement plan with a focus on its customers’ needs.

To do this, operational improvements have been made in order to remain high in the European punctuality rankings; new channels of communications with clients have been introduced; presence at airports has been reinforced and passenger booking process and flight experience have been improved.

Volotea has added six additional Airbus A319 aircraft this year, for a total fleet of 36 aircraft. Two of these additional aircraft will act as back-up to support flights of the fleet assigned to operate each route. These two aircraft, for a total of four strategically located in France, Italy and Greece, will work as resources to allow a faster response when needed.

The airline is also reinforcing their cabin crews who will stand as back-up at the bases. With a 50% increase in back-up crew staff, activation time will be 33% faster.

Furthermore Volotea has also invested in an ambitious flight protection programme that will significantly reinforce the integrity of its operations in the event of possible problems caused by European air traffic space congestion during the summer months.

Werner Aero Services

Elix Aviation Capital delivers two ATR 72-500 to Sky Express

Elix Aviation Capital has confirmed that it has delivered two ATR 72-500 Aircraft (MSN 699 and MSN 767), on lease to Sky Express of Greece.  With these two deliveries, Elix expands its portfolio of leased assets operating in Greece, a market with short-haul routes ideally suited to the performance and efficiency of turboprops.

Sky Express has been operating since 2005, offering domestic flights to almost 30 destinations (including Rhodes, Kos, Athens, Corfu, Mykonos). The airline operates not only regular flights but also charter flights. The Sky Express fleet consists of ATR 42-500 and ATR 72-500 planes. The main hubs of the carrier are the airports in Heraklion, Thessaloniki and the international airport in Athens.

Flexjet selects GE Aviation for Digital Flight Operations Technology

Flexjet and GE Aviation have implemented a comprehensive safety and fleet modernization project including flight operations quality assurance (FOQA), quick access recorders (QARs) and cellular data services. The equipment will monitor Flexjet’s fleet of 150 aircraft including Embraer Phenom 300 and Legacy 450, Bombardier Challenger 300, 350, Global Express and the Gulfstream G450 and G650.  

FOQA (Flight Operations Quality Assurance) is a powerful data analytic tool, based on flight data recorded during each flight.  Airlines and operators that adopt FOQA are better able to identify and eliminate potential safety hazards in flight operations.

TP Aerospace

Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions purchases Airbus A330 from TAP

Aircraft End-of-Life Solutions (AELS) has purchased one Airbus A330-223 from Portuguese operator TAP. The aircraft will be flown to Twente Airport at the end of July. AELS will disassemble and dismantle the aircraft according to the highest industry standards.

The A330, MSN 195, with registration CS-TOI, has been operated by TAP since 2007. The aircraft initially flew for Austrian Airlines. TAP will replace the aircraft with new and more efficient A330neo aircraft.

Boeing debuting 777 to serve as 2019 flying test bed

Boeing is launching its latest round of flight-testing to assess new technologies that could address real-world challenges for airplane operators and passengers — from enhancing safety and sustainability to improving the flying experience. The company is debuting a Boeing 777 that will serve as the 2019 flying test bed for 50 projects.

Boeing's ecoDemonstrator program first took to the skies in 2012. Five airplanes — a 737-800, 787-8 Dreamliner, 757, Embraer E170 and 777 Freighter — have tested 112 technologies through 2018. More than a third of the technologies have transitioned to implementation at Boeing or by program partners. Nearly half remain in further development while testing on the other projects was discontinued after learnings were accomplished.

Among the technologies now in use are iPad apps that provide real-time information to pilots, enabling them to reduce fuel use and emissions; custom approach path information to reduce community noise; and a camera system on the 777X that will help pilots avoid ground obstacles.

A key part of the ecoDemonstrator program is collaboration with industry partners to jointly test technologies and share learnings that advance aviation. More than a dozen partners are participating in the 2019 program, including an industry consortium developing a connectivity
standard for networked cabins of the future known as iCabin.

Flight tests will be conducted this fall. The flights will include a trip to Frankfurt Airport in Germany,
where the ecoDemonstrator's technology mission will be presented to government officials, industry representatives and STEM students to help inspire the next generation in aerospace leadership. A majority of the test flights will fly on sustainable aviation fuel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate the fuel's viability.

SR Technics

APOC Aviation moves towards expansion in China

APOC Aviation, the innovative aircraft and engines leasing, trading and part-out specialist, recently participated in a trade conference with Chinese Government representatives in Amsterdam.  It is APOC’s intention to expand its global footprint with a trading presence in Asia and it has signed an MOU with its Chinese partners to progress a far-reaching growth plan throughout the region.  This is likely to include stock hubs in designated parts of the Chinese mainland together with warehousing and AOG support offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

According to APOC’s Founder & Managing Director, Max Wooldrik, who attended the trade conference with Barry Lemmers, Chief Financial Officer, APOC Aviation is pursuing a fast-growth strategy and a dynamic programme of investment is already underway. The Company has just acquired three A320 airframes for part-out.  MSN 712, 718 and 720 which were formerly acquired by CALC Group (China Aircraft Leasing Group) from China Southern Air Leasing.

“This was APOC’s first significant deal in China” says Wooldrik. “The acquisition of these three A320 airframes heralds our intention to expand our business in Asia and using local tear-down specialists maximises cost-efficiency from the outset. We’re retaining CALC Group’s MRO joint venture, FL ARI Aircraft Maintenance & Engineering Company Ltd (FL ARI), to perform the part-out in CALC’s aircraft recycling facility located in Harbin, China.”


RUAG sells business aviation sites in Geneva and Lugano

As part of its new strategic alignment, RUAG, the international technology group, is selling its Swiss business aviation sites. The buyer of the sites at the Geneva-Cointrin and Lugano-Agno airports is the French aerospace group Dassault Aviation. The successful sale of RUAG Business Aviation AG is the first step to realign the portfolio of RUAG.

Dassault Aviation will acquire all shares of RUAG Business Aviation AG. This also includes all 73 members of staff at the Geneva site as well as the 14 members of staff at the Lugano site.

The successful sale of RUAG Business Aviation AG is the first transaction undertaken by RUAG International, following the strategic decision of the Federal Council.

The Geneva and Lugano sites offer a wide range of maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, as well as upgrades for selected private and business aircraft from manufacturers such as: Dassault Aviation, Piaggio, Bombardier, Embraer, Pilatus and Hawker Beechcraft. The maintenance facility at the Lugano-Agno site enjoys a unique position as the only provider of MRO services for business jets at the airport. The sites are both certified maintenance organisations in accordance with EASA Part 145. Also, in Lugano and Geneva, VIP passengers, pilots and crew members enjoy in-house FBO (Fixed Base Operator) services to make their journey as comfortable as possible.

Bombardier MRO

Ryanair Group June traffic grows 13%

Ryanair has released June traffic statistics, reporting a 13% increase in traffic, to 14.2 million passengers. The Group load factor for June was 97%.

Astronics acquires Freedom Communication Technologies

Astronics Corporation has acquired Freedom Communication Technologies, Inc. (FCT), a developer and manufacturer of communication test equipment for the land-based mobile radio test market, providing innovative solutions to Long-Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed wireless communications customers globally. Astronics has acquired 100% of the equity of FCT for US$22 million in cash.

Based in Kilgore, TX, FCT was founded in 2015 and offers communications analyzers for testing and maintaining Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communications systems. FCT also provides an extensive range of capabilities, including automated radio testing and alignment, coverage mapping, and interference analysis.

In 2018, FCT had US$11 million in revenue and is expected to contribute approximately US$10 million in revenue in the second half of 2019.


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