Wednesday, September 11th, 2019


Air France-KLM shares hit hard as bid for failed Aigle Azur becomes public

The share price for Air France-KLM fell sharply on Monday September 10, after it became apparent it was bidding for the now defunct Aigle Azur which filed for bankruptcy protection on September 2.

At the close of trading on Monday, the share price had fallen by 9.8%. While Air France confirmed it had placed a bid, no further information was forthcoming. Aigle Azur had fallen foul of a combination of increased low-cost flight competition and higher fuel costs, which had already seen the demise of other low-cost carriers including, Germania, Air Berlin, Skywork, Primera Air and the U.K.’s Monarch Airlines. The low-cost carrier’s principal shareholders are China’s HNA Group and Brazilian entrepreneur David Neeleman, and has also suffered from a failed expansion in transitioning from profitable medium-haul services focused on Algeria into a long-haul carrier providing services to Brazil.

Air France would be keen to pick up Aigle Azur’s prized take-off and landing slots at Paris Orly Airport, while also expanding into Algeria and Lebanon, the principal operating territory of Aigle Azur. Air France’s bid would likely see the salvaging of up to 70% of Aigle Azur’s staff positions for cabin crew and pilots through an open selection process. Additional letters of interest have been submitted by Air Caraibes owner Dubreuil Group and low-cost carriers Vueling and easyJet. A further bid was received from an investor group led by Lionel Guerin, former head of Air France’s Hop!.


MTU Maintenance Zhuhai to maintain, repair and overhaul LEAP engines

MTU Maintenance Zhuhai now has the capability to maintain CFM International LEAP engines. The General Support License Agreement (GSLA) signed between China Southern, MTU Maintenance Zhuhai’s 50/50 joint venture partner alongside MTU Aero Engines, and CFM International will enable the facility to maintain, repair and overhaul LEAP-1A and -1B engines.

The first quick turn LEAP-1B engine was inducted on September 10. Alongside the newly introduced capabilities, MTU Maintenance Zhuhai was also celebrating groundbreaking on its 50% expansion, taking it to a capacity of 450 shop visits by 2021.

The fleet of CFM International’s advanced LEAP engine is building up rapidly, logging more than five million engine flight hours through August, just three years after commencing commercial service.

MTU Maintenance Zhuhai has carried out significant preparations for the implementation of the LEAP program at its facility in the Zhuhai Free Trade Zone, close to Hong Kong and Macao. These include the procurement of tooling and testing equipment, review of technical documents, employee training as well as obtaining the necessary aviation authority approvals.

The LEAP engine is a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.

Elevate Capital Partners acquires three E195 leases

Elevate Capital Partners has closed its fourth transaction, wherein it arranged for the acquisition by a large financial institution of three Embraer E195 aircraft (MSN 19000475, 19000660, and 19000662) on lease to Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras S.A.  

Elevate will serve as asset and lease manager for the duration of the leases with Azul and beyond. Azul is the third largest airline in Brazil.

Elevate is a leasing and investment firm based in the San Francisco Bay Area, exclusively focused on mid-life commercial aircraft.


Horizon Air and Embraer sign heavy maintenance services agreement

Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, has selected Embraer Aircraft Maintenance Services (EAMS) in Nashville, Tennessee, as the exclusive heavy maintenance provider for the company’s fleet of 30 Embraer E175 aircraft.

The multi-year agreement includes airframe maintenance, modifications and repair services provided by Embraer’s portfolio of solutions TechCare. Fittingly, the deal was signed at the Regional Airline Association’s 44th Annual Convention that took place in EAMS’s hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

Comlux orders fourth ACJ320neo

Comlux has placed a new order for an ACJ320neo, re-affirming its role as the largest single customer for the aircraft and taking its total orders for the type to four. The deal means that Comlux has now ordered a total of 20 Airbus corporate jets. Cabin outfitting will be done by Comlux Completion in Indianapolis.

The ACJ320neo is derived from the Airbus A320neo Family, which features new engines and wingtip-mounted Sharklets.


Demand for aviation workforce fuels AAR and WSU Tech partnership

AAR, a leading provider of aviation services to commercial airlines and governments worldwide, and WSU Tech have announced their new aviation maintenance education and training partnership to further enhance instruction, as well as student job experiences and career prospects at AAR upon graduation.

AAR’s EAGLE Career Pathway program will expand the curriculum of WSU Tech’s aviation maintenance technology program to include job shadowing and mentoring, as well as academic support and monitoring. WSU Tech students who pursue the FAA-certified aircraft mechanic’s certificate are eligible for up to US$15,000 in tuition reimbursements from AAR.

AAR’s partnership with WSU Tech is one of many ways the company is connecting students with education and real-world job experience to fill the gaps in aviation for middle skills that do not require a bachelor’s degree. There is demand for 189,000 new mechanics in North America through 2037, according to a Boeing study. But aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) are already in short supply.

AAR is introducing the EAGLE Career Pathway at schools near its five U.S. aircraft repair stations. EAGLE demonstrates how students can earn portable, stackable skills leading to multiple career paths at AAR. The stackable skills will enable interested students to pursue the coveted position of FAA-certified airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic.


ATSG elects Richard Corrado as President

Air Transport Services Group has announced that its Board of Directors has elected Richard F. Corrado, currently chief operating officer, as president of the aircraft leasing and air transport services company, effective September 16, 2019.

As president, Corrado will be responsible for goal-setting and oversight of
all ATSG businesses. Joseph C. Hete remains chief executive officer and a
director of ATSG.

The Board also elected Edward J. Koharik III as chief operating officer of ATSG, succeeding Corrado, effective September 16, 2019. He was most recently senior vice president of FlightSafety International in New York City. As COO, Koharik will take over the day-to-day operations management for the majority of the ATSG companies.

Lanmei Airlines selects Rusada’s ENVISION

Cambodian low-cost carrier Lanmei Airlines has signed up for Rusada’s MRO and Flight
Operations software, ENVISION.

Lanmei Airlines commenced operations in September 2017 and has since seen a rapid expansion of its fleet and routes. It now serves the destinations of Bangkok, Hong Kong, Macau, Sihanoukville and Palau from its bases in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. The airline’s fleet now stands at 9 aircraft, all of which are A320 family.

Rusada will begin the implementation project immediately with a view to go live by the end of the year. Lanmei have signed on for 9 of ENVISION’s modules including Base, Line and Component Maintenance, as well as Finance & Accounting and Human Resources.


StandardAero acquires Safe Aviation Solutions

StandardAero has acquired Safe Aviation Solutions (including Safe Fuel, Accel and B&E ACR), formerly the MRO services subsidiary of the B&E Group, which will continue to expand StandardAero’s Components, Helicopters & Accessories (CH&A) division and its portfolio of MRO and component repair services. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Houlihan Lokey acted
as exclusive financial advisor to B&E Group in its sale of Safe Aviation Solutions.

Save Aviation Solutions (Safe Fuel, Accel and B&E ACR businesses) is a privately held company that provides comprehensive testing, repair, overhaul and modification of engine fuel system components, pneumatic/hydraulic/actuation systems and aircraft power generation systems for airlines, freight companies, OEMs and other MRO providers. The company operates from two primary locations in South Florida, with nearly 56,000 f²t of operations and approximately 120 employees.

Safe Aviation Solutions has an outstanding reputation for superior repair quality on difficult-to-repair components and highly skilled and experienced employees focused on serving commercial aerospace programs with large installed bases of aircraft. Some of the more notable programs currently served include V2500, CFM56-5, CFM56-7, RB211 and Boeing 787 platforms.


Acro’s Series 3ST seats for Onur Air

AerCap has selected Acro’s Series 3ST seat for two A320 aircraft. AerCap, a global leader in aircraft leasing and aviation finance and Acro have a long-standing relationship. Acro has supported the lessor for several years with their seating requirements on a range of aircraft leasing programmes.

On this occasion, AerCap has leased the two A320 aircraft to Turkish low-cost carrier, Onur Air. Based at Istanbul Airport, Onur Air operates its service throughout more than 120 international destinations scheduled and non-scheduled in 25 countries, serving over 100 million passengers since 1992.

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