Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Play rises from the ashes of WOW as new Icelandic carrier

The founders of Iceland’s newest airline have announced that Play will be the carrier’s name and they have also revealed the airline’s striking red livery.

Play is due to commence commercial cargo-only operations in December and will initially lease Airbus A320 medium-range jets. However, the company has yet to obtain an air operator’s license, though it is understood the final stages have been reached. Initially, Play will fly to six European destinations this winter using two A320s, while six of the aircraft are expected to be in service by the summer. Play intends to add four destinations in North America to the schedule by the spring. By 2023 Play hopes to have ten operational aircraft.

Avianta Capital, owned by Aislinn Whittley-Ryan, the daughter of Michael Kell Ryan, one of the founders of Ryanair, will take a 75% stake in the new carrier in return for providing US$40 million in capital to ensure continued operations for a minimum of three years. The remaining 25% stake will be held by Neo, owned by PLAY founders Arnar Már Magnússon, former director of airline operations at WOW Air, Sveinn Ingi Steinþórsson, former director of the economic division at WOW Air, Bogi Guðmundsson, lawyer at Atlantik Legal Services and board director of BusTravel, and Þóroddur Ari Þóroddsson, who previously worked in London as a consultant in the aircraft trade.  


Heathrow unveils cutting-edge tracking tech to link network of expansion hubs

As Heathrow prepares to select its final four Logistics Hubs, a cutting-edge centralised tracking system for expansion has been revealed. The technology will serve as a nerve-centre, enabling a network of separate offsite construction centres to work in unison throughout the project. The technology will track and monitor millions of component parts of the expanded airport, providing updates to the construction sites and keeping the incredibly complex expansion project moving.

The concept was successfully pitched by Siemens Digital Logistics as part of the Heathrow Innovation Partners process, which threw open its supply chain inviting any organisation to share ideas on how expansion could be delivered more efficiently and affordably. Last year, over 150 organisations initially expressed interest in partnering with Heathrow, and now Siemens Digital Logistics being named as one of the businesses that will see its idea become integral to the airport’s offsite strategy, potentially transforming the way that major infrastructure is delivered in the UK.

Heathrow’s Innovation Partner search is just one of the ways that the airport is looking to spread the benefits of expansion to across the UK, whilst mitigating the project’s impact on local communities. Since 2017, the airport has been looking for communities keen to become Logistics Hubs, construction centres that pre-assemble parts of the expanded airport offsite before transporting them to west London in consolidated loads just as they are needed. The final four sites, which are set to be announced next year, will use this centralised tracking technology for the efficient management of the project.

Norwegian reports October load factor up 2.1 points to 87%

Norwegian’s traffic figures for October showed an increased unit revenue for the seventh consecutive month and was up 6% compared to the same month in the previous year.

A total of 3,118,722 passengers have chosen to fly with Norwegian in October. The total traffic was down 3% and the capacity growth was down 5% compared to the previous year, in line with the strategy. The load factor was 87.1%, up 2.1 points.


MTU Aero Engines develops and operates unique engine assembly system

With the geared turbofan (GTF), Pratt & Whitney and MTU Aero Engines are building the most eco-efficient propulsion system currently available in the marketplace. MTU not only contributes key turbine and compressor technologies to this highly advanced family of engines, the company is also
responsible for final assembly of one third of the PW1100G-JM geared turbofans that power the Airbus A320neo. “To gear up for these engines, MTU has developed an innovative floor-based line assembly system and built it up and put it into operation at the company’s headquarters in Munich,” explains MTU Chief Operating Officer Lars Wagner. “The system, which is unparalleled worldwide, meets the highest technological standards and also satisfies ergonomic needs.”

The core of MTU’s GTF production assembly line is a highly innovative, remotely controlled floor-based transportation system that – thanks to its modular design – can be flexibly adapted to
accommodate the individual build stages of the engine. “The system was integrated into an existing building,” says Ulrich Peters, Senior Vice President, Production. The system provides for PW1100G-JM engine assembly to be performed in several work steps and allows several engines in various stages of completion to be assembled concurrently. Peters: “Once the final expansion stage has been reached, 80 employees will work at the line and assemble one engine per day.” For MTU, this
geared turbofan is the first commercial engine ever assembled by the company in its 85-year history. The line has been up and running since late 2016, and around 300 engines have meanwhile left the MTU shop. On average, 20 engines are completed every month.


SIA reports 5.1% higher net profit in first half 2019/2020

The SIA Group has achieved a net profit of SG$206 million in the first half of the financial year, SG$10 million (+5.1%) higher than last year. Revenue rose SG$418 million (+5.3%), primarily from strong growth in passenger flown revenue, partially offset by a reduction in cargo flown revenue, while higher expenditure (+SG$431 million or 5.8%) reflected enlarged operations.

Accordingly, operating profit for the Group was SG$413 million, down SG$13 million or 3.1% compared to the same period last year. The Group recorded a reduction in share of losses from associated companies (+SG$36 million), mostly from Virgin Australia, and a higher share of profits from joint venture companies (+SG$19 million). These were offset by increased net finance charges (-SG$54 million) due to the recognition of interest expense arising from lease liabilities following the adoption of IFRS 16 Leases and additional financing for fleet renewal and expansion.

Hervé Bouaziz named President of EPI

Hervé Bouaziz has been named President of Europrop International GmbH (EPI), effective November 4, 2019. As the head of this European consortium formed by ITP, MTU Aero Engines, Rolls-Royce and Safran Aircraft Engines, Bouaziz will assume responsibility for the TP400, the turboprop engine powering the Airbus A400M military transport.

Bouaziz started his career in 1994 with the French defense procurement agency DGA as a test engineer at the flight test center. He moved to the DGA's aircraft programs unit in 1999, in charge of the air-to-ground capabilities of the Mirage 2000 and Rafale. In 2001 he was named director of the Mirage 2000 N and D program. In 2005, Bouaziz was appointed deputy Armament Attaché at the French embassy in Washington, D.C. He returned to France in 2008, moving back to the DGA as head of the armed forces systems division at the Defense Analysis Center, before moving to Safran in 2010 as deputy to the Senior Vice President for Defense and Security. In 2013 he was named Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at Safran Electronics & Defense, prior to his appointment in 2016 as Vice President for Military Engines Programs at Safran Aircraft Engines.


Astronics Corporation reports third-quarter 2019 financial results

Astronics Corporation, a supplier of advanced technologies and products to the global aerospace, defense and other mission critical industries, has reported financial results for the three-months ended September 28, 2019. Financial results include the divestiture of the Test Systems’ semiconductor business on February 13, 2019.

Consolidated sales were down US$35.7 million including sales of the semiconductor business which was divested in the first-quarter of 2019. Excluding the divestiture, adjusted consolidated sales were down 2.4%, or US$4.3 million.

Consolidated operating income decreased to US$5.1 million compared with US$18.3 million in the prior-year period. Adjusted consolidated income from operations excluding the sales and direct expenses attributable to the divested semiconductor test business was US$3.2 million, or 1.8% of adjusted consolidated sales, compared with US$8.0 million, or 4.5% of adjusted consolidated sales, in the prior-year period.

Impacts to operating income and margin included tariff expenses of US$3.2 million and a US$1.7 million increase to a legal reserve for a long-term patent dispute. Also impacting operating income were operating losses of US$9.2 million related to the three challenged Aerospace businesses, which included a program charge of US$2.2 million. Operating losses related to the three challenged Aerospace businesses were US$11.2 million in the third-quarter of 2018 and US$7.7 million in the preceding second-quarter of 2019.

The third quarter had a US$1.3 million loss on the sale of a business related to the sale of intellectual property and certain assets associated with the Airfield Lighting product line which was divested in July.

The effective tax rate for the quarter was 31.3%, compared with a tax benefit recorded in the third quarter of 2018. The 2019 third quarter tax rate was unfavorably impacted by the tax associated with the gain on the sale of the semiconductor business.

Net income was US$1.2 million, compared with US$17.0 million in the prior year.


Pakistan International Airlines signs Global Distribution Agreement with Sabre

Sabre Corporation has signed a new content distribution agreement with Pakistan International Airlines. As the country’s national flag carrier, the agreement will provide Sabre’s extensive network of travel agents with both domestic and international content via its rich global travel marketplace.

Joining Sabre’s Global Distribution System will have a positive impact on both Pakistan International Airlines and the country’s travel economy. In addition to reinforcing a long-term partnership, the agreement with Sabre supports the carrier’s business strategy by driving its expansion and profitability, tapping into code-share and partnership sales, and expanding ancillary sales.

Moreover, this announcement will also allow Pakistan International Airlines to further strengthen its presence in new markets, such as the United States, as well as locally and across the globe. With over 9 million of Pakistan’s workforce living abroad, there is a marked demand for travel into the country coming from Europe and the Middle East. Now that Pakistan International Airlines is joining Sabre, content from the carrier will be accessible to over 425,000 Sabre-connected agents around the world.

Continued Boeing 737 MAX delays sees Ryanair growth likely to stall

Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, Dublin-based Ryanair, has posted only a 2.6% growth in passenger numbers for the financial year, its lowest growth figure since 2014. In addition, the carrier believes that if Boeing’s 737 MAX remains grounded for much longer, overall growth for the 2019 financial year will be wiped out, compared to an average 10% annual growth over the last four years.

Despite the setback, Neil Sorahan, Ryanair CFO, believes there is zero risk that the carrier will fail to meet its projected target of flying 200 million passengers per annum by 2024. With 210 737 MAX jets on order, Ryanair is one of Boeing’s larges customers, but CEO Michael O’Leary commented on Monday, November 4, that while the company had lowered its delivery estimate of jets by June from 30 to 20, there was “a  real risk of none” being delivered in that time. While American carriers have only penciled in a return to service of the 737 MAX for early next year, European carriers will have to wait even longer in order to obtain approval for the stricken aircraft from the European Aviation Safety  Agency (EASA), while Ryanair will also have to obtain specific approval for its 737 MAX200s.

The airline reported post-tax profit of €1.15 billion for the six months to September 30, its most profitable sector of the year, and is now predicting a full-year profit of between €800 million and €900 million. Ryanair has also warned of higher than expected losses at its Austrian subsidiary Laudamotion because of overcapacity in Austria and Germany. (€1.00 = US$1.10 at time of publication.)


Delta's October traffic up 5.2%

Delta Air Lines has reported operating performance for October 2019. The company carried 17.5 million customers across its broad global network. System traffic for the month was up 5.2%, while capacity increased 5.1% compared to the previous year. The load factor for October was 85.6%, up 0.1 points.


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November 17 - 21, 2019 – DWC, Dubai, UAE

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