Thursday, July 18th, 2019

United Airlines posts second quarter net income of US$1.1 billion

United Airlines (UAL) has delivered two straight quarters of solid pre-tax margin growth and the highest second-quarter pre-tax income in the airline's history.

United reported second-quarter net income of US$1.1 billion, pre-tax earnings of US$1.4 billion and pre-tax margin of 11.9%, expanding pre-tax margin 4.0 points versus the second quarter of 2018.

Total passenger revenue increased 6.1% versus the second quarter of 2018. Consolidated second-quarter passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 2.5% year-over-year. Consolidated second-quarter unit cost per available seat mile (CASM) decreased 0.4% year-over-year. Consolidated second-quarter CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 0.6% year-over-year.


Rolls-Royce to develop hypersonic technology with UK MOD

Rolls-Royce has been awarded a contract to develop hypersonic propulsion systems for increased aircraft performance and capability.

The MOD’ procurement arm, Defence Equipment and Support, intends to place a circa 2-year, single sourced contract, of approximate value £10 million, for a UK programme to undertake design studies, research, development, analysis and experimentation relating to high-Mach advanced propulsion systems. The contract will be with Rolls-Royce Plc, (RR) and its technology partners, BAE Systems and Reaction Engines and will focus on enabling technologies for increased aircraft performance and capability.

Speaking at the 2019 Air and Space Power Conference, the UK’s Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, said: “As part of the technologies being developed in parallel with Project Tempest, I am delighted to reveal that in concert with Rolls-Royce, Reaction Engines and BAE Systems, we are developing hypersonic propulsion systems, which will be designed and tested over the next 2 years, paving the way for the UK to become a centre of excellence in this technology and contribute to meeting future UK Defence needs.”

LCI closes US$135 million asset-backed Helicopter facility

Lease Corporation International (LCI) ,a leading helicopter lessor and the aviation division of the Libra Group, has successfully closed a new asset-backed helicopter facility in excess of US$135 million with a syndicate of five banks led by CIT Group Inc. as agent.

The new facility, which has been agreed with CIT, National Westminster Bank Plc, National Australia Bank Limited, Barclays Bank PLC and The Huntington National Bank, will be used to support the
continuing development and expansion of LCI’s fleet.

LCI has also agreed to similar financing facilities this year with CaixaBank and Close Brothers Aviation and Marine. This brings the total amount of helicopter debt financing that LCI has raised since January 2018 to more than US$280 million.


S7 Technics finds new method to produce plastic components

S7 Technics, Russia’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider has begun to manufacture plastic products using vacuum thermoforming. The new method will allow the company to considerably expand the range of items it is able to produce for aircraft

S7 Technics’ specialists at Novosibirsk’s Tolmachevo airport have been producing plastic components since 2015, with pressure casting techniques using before. Now production of serial
parts using the new vacuum thermoforming method has been organized.

The technology of vacuum thermoforming involves heating of a plastic sheet, which is stretched over the mold with a vacuum. After this, the molded part is allowed to cool down. Then it is pushed out of the mold with excessive air pressure.

The design of new plastic production was carried out by the Design Bureau of S7 Technics’ Novosibirsk base. All materials used in the process passed the necessary fire tests carried out the
company’s own laboratory. The laboratory’s activity is certified by the National accreditation body in the ILAC-MRA system (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation).

Air Lease Corporation places two new Airbus A320-200neo aircraft on lease with Vietnam Airlines

Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has signed long-term lease agreements with Vietnam Airlines for two new Airbus A320-200neo aircraft.  The two new A320-200neos are scheduled to deliver to the airline in fall 2020 from ALC’s order book with Airbus. 

Vietnam Airlines currently has two A330-200s and six A321-200neos on lease from ALC, as well as six A321-200neos and eight Boeing 787-10 aircraft scheduled to deliver to the airline from ALC’s order book 2019-2021. 

SR Technics

Columbia Manufacturing having record year in MRO business

Columbia Manufacturing, a privately held manufacturer and supplier of precision metal components for domestic and international turbine engines, has announced that its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) business is on track to achieve record revenues for fiscal 2019. Year-over-year growth is expected to be at least 30%.

Columbia Manufacturing’s FAA and EASA certified repair operation offers a comprehensive range of in-house turbine engine and repair solutions to its customers both domestically and internationally. Based on deliveries during the first half of 2019, its current backlog, and expected new business, the company expects that 2019 will be the highest-grossing revenue year for the MRO business since it was founded in 1980.

Baines Simmons appoints Mike Da Silva as consultant

Baines Simmons, part of the Consulting & Training division of global aviation services group Air Partner, has appointed Mike Da Silva as consultant. He will report directly to Mike Wallace, Head of Operations.

De Silva is a practitioner and manager in Initial Airworthiness, Certification, Test and Evaluation, and Safety Management Systems (SMS), covering both military and civil environments. Having successfully achieved design and flight test approvals and implemented a SMS, he has practical experience in understanding the requirements and expectations of regulators and can advise clients on the best course of action to achieve success in gaining approvals.


GKN Fokker Services and Spectralux sign exclusive distributor agreement

GKN Fokker Services and Spectralux Avionics have combined forces to ensure sufficient availability of capable systems to satisfy the demand of CPDLC systems and installation.

There are less than 250 days left to comply with the February 2020 mandate to install Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC) capability on all civil aircraft flying in European airspace at FL285 and above. The DLINK+ system was recently upgraded to Mod status 5, which makes it fully compatible with the EU requirements for CPDLC. The DLINK+, which is compatible with the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), is available for installation on all modern aircraft types such as Boeing 737, Boeing 757 and Airbus A320. Currently, just a small percentage of aircraft flying in Europe are reported to be CPDLC capable. The remainder of the aircraft operating in Europe also need to have a compliant solution installed by 5 Feb 2020.

The DLINK+ solution offered by Spectralux and GKN Fokker Services provides a cost competitive alternative to the OEM solution. Therefore demand for this system and its installation is expected to grow significantly in the next few months.

Beach Aviation Group

FL Technics implementing next generation mechanics training using VR

FL Technics, a global provider of integrated aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul service, which is part of Avia Solutions Group, has begun implementing VR modules for the basic training of aviation mechanics. The company has presented its first VR module, which covers the opening of the reverse thrust engine of a Boeing 737NG, and is set to expand its list of modules in the coming months to cover the full scope of maintenance training.

Zilvinas Lapinskas, CEO at FL Technics, explains what inspired this innovative approach to training: “Our main goal is to reduce the time it takes new mechanics to enroll in the company. Globally the industry struggles with the 3-month long enrollment process needed for aviation mechanics. So that’s why we are pushing to shorten that process as much as we can, and we aim to try to get it down to 3 weeks. Once we’ve reached that target, we’ll be looking into the possibilities of taking our training product to market.”

The VR module itself has been designed to be as intuitive as possible, with the trainee mechanic proceeding through the series of tasks necessary for the opening of the engine. This starts with the mechanic selecting the right tools, then opening the covers, opening the reverse, inserting the safety lock and so on. The trainee can also select whether or not they require in simulation guidance. All efforts have been made to make the simulator as accurate and realistic as possible, even down to the fact that it will record any financial damage that would have been done to the aircraft as a result of the trainee’s performance.

Ramunas Paskevicius, Head of IT and Innovations at FL Technics, who is heading up the companies VR initiative, is convinced of the value that such training will provide: “We are currently testing the modules in-house and this will give us a better idea of how they fit into the business. As the general
demand for professional mechanics in the aviation industry is constantly growing, we are hoping to make the process shorter and prepare mechanics as fast as possible with no loss in quality. I am sure that our VR modules will help us to achieve all our goals.”

Royal Aero

Finnair Group releases half-year results

Finnair has released its half-year results from January 1 to June 30, 2019. Revenue increased by 7.8% to €1,466.0 million compared to €1,359.3 for the previous year.  Unit revenue (RASK) decreased by 4.3% and Unit revenue at constant currency decreased by 4.4%.

Fuel costs increased by €53,0 million (+19.4%) of which the impact of fuel price (Fuel price including impact of currencies and hedging) was €19 million.

Operating result was €30.3 million compared to €67.7 million in the first half of 2018. Net cash flow from operating activities was €325.0 million down from €341.1 the previous year and net cash flow from investing activities was €-217.2 million compared to €-91.1 in 2018.

The number of passengers increased by 9.0% while capacity for the first half year grew by 12.7%. The load factor dropped 2.2 points to 80.5%.

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