Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

737 MAX grounding hits flydubai first half 2019 financial results hard

Dubai’s state-owned carrier, flydubai, has announced that the continued grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX has put the carrier under unprecedented financial pressure, resulting in a January-to-June loss of US$53.6 million.

Prior to the grounding, flydubai had anticipated expanding its current fleet of aircraft to 62, but instead this will only grow to 43 this year. flydubai is one of the largest 737 MAX customers with 14 of the currently grounded jets out of an existing order of 250. When the 737 MAX was first grounded, the airline’s chairman indicated that it would turn to Airbus for replacements. However, Chief Executive Ghaith al-Ghaith, issued a statement saying: “We are in ongoing discussions with Boeing, as our long-standing partner, to resolve the unprecedented nature of this grounding and the significant impact it has had on our business and growth strategy.”

Having posted a loss of US$43.6 million last year following a first-half loss of US$86 million, the carrier was optimistic of returning to profitability this year, prior to the 737 MAX debacle. The current six-month loss is a 38% reduction when compared to the first half of 2018, while total revenue remains unchanged from the same six-month period at US$759 million. ASKM was reported at 12,877 million; down 14.9% compared to the period ending 30 June 2018. Passenger numbers dropped to 5 million during the first six months of the reporting period; a decrease of 7.5% as a result of the reduction in capacity.

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Lufthansa Technik, GE Aviation joint venture XEOS opens its doors

On September 30, XEOS, the new aircraft engine service center located in Środa Śląska near Wrocław (Poland), has celebrated its official opening. The company is a joint venture of Lufthansa Technik (51%) and GE Aviation (49%) and is a service centre for GEnx-2B and GE9X engines.

It was built in a record time of 16 months and the first commercial engine was accepted for repair in April 2019. At the end of 2019 a total of about 20 engines will have been inducted for service here. After reaching its maturity in 2023 the plant will repair more than 200 engines per year.

The joint venture partners have invested about PLN 1 billion (about US$250 million) to construct the facility and its own training center from scratch, along with a test cell which is still in the ongoing second construction phase of the project.

Ultimately, the plant will employ about 600 people. At the moment the XEOS team consists of 300 people: aircraft engine mechanics, engineers, logistics specialists and administration staff. They come not only from Środa Śląska and Lower Silesia but from all over the world – with 12 nationalities in total.

Cambridge Airport to offer in-house FBO services

Cambridge City Airport will begin offering in-house FBO services from October, as part of its plans to grow its executive charter business in line with recent announcements. This will include aircraft, passenger and baggage handling, refuelling, security, customs and immigration services.

The airport will take over these services from ExecuJet, part of the Luxaviation Group, who have been providing FBO services at Cambridge since 2012. Services are expected to be fully transferred to the airport by the end of October.

Cambridge City Airport is owned and managed by Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, who have been making significant investment in the airport in recent months, including appointing Kevan Craske as new director, in August and revamping the airport’s corporate image and website


China’s Sichuan Dahua acquires Austria’s ‘ArrowCopter’

Sichuan Dahua General Aircraft Manufacturing Company of China has successfully acquired the entire assets of the European gyrocopter company, ArrowCopter. The transaction was brokered by consultants Aerospace Investments Co. Ltd (UK) and Silk Wings Aviation (Beijing), who are now actively assisting in the completion phase. The deal follows the recent conclusion of a formal agreement in an insolvency court in Austria.

Production of the all-composite ArrowCopter will remain in Austria, whilst discussions take place with several of the company’s former key personnel.

Sichuan Dahua General Aircraft Manufacturing Company is committed to investing in production in Europe. There will also be a parallel, complementary certification programme to prepare the ArrowCopter for serial production in China. Dahua will continue to further develop the business,
focusing on R&D upgrades on the ArrowCopter series, as well as streamlining production within Europe and China.

The market potential for Gyrocopters in Asia is developing rapidly, especially in China, where the ArrowCopter will be certified in the Lightweight Sports (LSA category). Three Gyrocopter manufacturers have already been certified by the CAAC (LSA) in China and are enjoying strong sales success.

ArrowCopter is an innovative high-performance Gyrocopter. Available in a single seater (AC-10) and the two-seat tandem (AC-20) model. ArrowCopter has acquired sport aircraft flight certifications in several EASA countries as well as being registered in the USA in the experimental class, on a designated permit to fly.

Magnetic MRO Training expands training facility

Magnetic MRO Training, EASA Part-147 approved type training organization, has re-opened its training facility after the most recent expansion. The new premises were opened on Thursday, September 19, 2019 and are aimed to be used mainly by Magnetic MRO and Estonian Aviation Academy for theoretical technical training for future aircraft mechanics.

The recent expansion to almost 400m² space results in a nearly 50% capacity increase in Tallinn for theoretical type training programs. As type training is lengthy and on average takes between 1,5 - 2 months, the own facility not only helps to accommodate the growing needs of professionals in the industry but also allows to create comfortable training center which meets the needs of both instructors and trainees.


Ryanair opens new Toulouse base

Ryanair has opened its new Toulouse base (its 3rd in France) on September 27, and the launch of its new summer 2020 schedule, with 2 based aircraft and 23 routes (13 new), connecting Toulouse to Athens, Brest, Budapest, Dublin, Lille, Luxembourg, Marseille, Oujda, Palermo, Palma, Porto, Tangier and Valencia, which will deliver 1.4 million customers p.a. at Toulouse.

Airbus and Alibaba Cloud to develop skywise data centre in China

Airbus has signed a cooperation agreement with Alibaba Cloud, the data intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, to cooperate on developing a Skywise Data Centre in China.

Skywise is Airbus’ open data integration platform driving digital collaboration across the aerospace value chain. Skywise helps airlines to better optimise their internal operations, to save on costs and to support safety.

By partnering with Alibaba Cloud, and utilising the local data centre, Skywise will provide tailored services for Chinese domestic airlines, as well as features and tools for data compliance required for Chinese airlines to join the platform.

Since the beginning of 2019, Airbus has begun to provide advanced analytics services to Chinese domestic airlines through Skywise. To date, Spring Airlines, Yunnan Hongtu Airlines and Zhejiang Loong Airlines have connected to Skywise. Some 1,800 Airbus aircraft are operated by Chinese airlines today.


The first A350-900 for Air France

Air France has taken delivery of its first A350-900, the world’s most efficient all new design wide-body aircraft.

Air France will deploy the A350-900 fleet on its transatlantic and Asia routes. The Xtra WideBody aircraft features a comfortable three-class layout with 324 seats including 34 full-flat business, 24
premium economy and 266 economy class seats. Fully in line with Air France’s commitment to the environment, the all-new A350-900 will provide a 25% reduction in fuel burn and CO2 emissions.
Additionally, the aircraft’s delivery flight from Toulouse to Paris will be powered with a blend of conventional and synthetic biofuel.

Air France operates an Airbus fleet of 143 aircraft. It includes 114 single-aisle and 29 wide-body planes. The airline recently opted to purchase Airbus’ newest aircraft family member, the A220, which will join the fleet over the next years.

Aigle Azur, France’s second largest airline, closes down

Having ceased all commercial operations and filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this month, leaving 19,000 travelers stranded, Aigle Azur, France’s second-largest carrier, has now closed down.

Having immediately been put up for sale, those carriers who expressed interest in Aigle Azur included easyJet and Vueling, while confirmed bids to take over assets were received from Air France, Groupe Dubreuil (owners of Air Caraïbes and French Bee) and Lu Azur. While a joint bid between Air France and Groupe Dubreuil looked the most promising, legal problems relating to the conditions on which personnel would be transferred to a new owner were proving problematic. Ultimately, French courts decided that none of the rescue offers were acceptable and the bankrupt carrier closed down at midnight on Friday, September 27.

This also put an end to the French government’s attempts to sell off parts of the carrier in order to save approximately 1,150 jobs. Based out of Paris Orly Airport, Aigle Azur’s 9,800 take-off and landing slots would have been highly prized, but these could not have been sold directly and only acquired through taking over the company. Aigle Azur flew 1.9 million passengers last year to 21 destinations, predominantly between France and Algeria, but also Brazil, Russia and China. The closing down follows hot on the heels of another French carrier, XL Airways, which was forced to suspend all ticket sales last week.


Iberia changes corporate structure to focus on sustainability

Iberia is incorporating sustainability as a key part of its business strategy in keeping with its support of the UN’s sustainable development goals under the world body’s 2030 UN Agenda.

Iberia’s commitment to environmental protection and to social welfare in general has moved sustainability to the forefront of its list of priorities, leading to the decision to establish a
Sustainability Department to develop a general strategy and specific project to promote environmental and social sustainability in the airline.

Formerly, Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management activities of Iberia’s, airline, airport handling, and MRO businesses were dispersed across the company. Under the new management structure, they will be the responsibility of the new Sustainability Department, which will be charged with developing a sustainability vision and strategy geared to the fulfilment of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The new department will be headed by Teresa Parejo, with broad experience in matters relating to the environment, the climate change and sustainability. It will report to the new Corporate Division headed by Juan Cierco, which will encompass Corporate Communications, Corporate Affairs, People Development, and Corporate Social Responsibility

Parejo holds a PhD in Law by the University Carlos III in Madrid and a Master in Law by the European Union. She has been a professor of Law in Spain and abroad. She has served as a senior advisor to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and is a member of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University.


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