Thursday, March 15th, 2018



Leonardo to Take Lead Role in €3bn Qatar Helicopter Deal

It was announced on March 14, at the DIMDEX Exhibition in Doha that Leonardo, a state-controlled, global high-tech company headquartered in Italy and a key player in Aerospace, Defence, and Security is to take the lead role in a €3 billion (US$3.7 billion) 28-helicopter deal with the Qatar Ministry of Defence.

The deal is for 16 of the twin-engine medium-size military helicopter NH90 TTH variant (Tactical Transport Helicopter) for land operations, and 12 of the NH90 NFH variant (Nato Frigate Helicopter).
It is understood that a further 12 aircraft may be added to the deal, which should see deliveries take place from June 2022 through to 2025. According to Leonardo, the helicopters will be used for land and naval missions, and for support, maintenance and training services.

The contract for the production of the aircraft is with NHIndustries, a consortium established in 1992 by Eurocopter of France and Germany (now Airbus Helicopters), Agusta of Italy (now AgustaWestland and a wholly owned subsidiary of Leonardo) and Stork Fokker Aerospace of the Netherlands (now Fokker Aerostructures), who respectively hold a 62.5%, 32% and 5.5% stake.

Leonardo has not revealed what proceeds it will get from the Qatar deal, though according to Reuters, a source close to the matter said the returns from the contract would not be divided according to the three companies’ holdings in the NHI consortium. However, the deal is likely to help Leonardo with its bid to return to double-digit profitability by 2020, half-way through its five-year plan.

The contract is the biggest deal state-controlled Leonardo has signed since May last year when Chief Executive Alessandro Profumo took charge, embarking on ambitious expansion plans. This deal is a boost for Leonardo’s helicopter business, which weighed on the Leonardo group’s results, forcing it to cut 2017 revenue and profit guidance in November.

JetBlue Airways reports February load factor of 82.6%

JetBlue Airways has reported its preliminary traffic results for February 2018. Traffic in February increased 6.8% from February 2017, on a capacity increase of 6.8%. Load factor for February 2018 was 82.6%, unchanged from February 2017.

Cathay Pacific Airways widens loss

The Cathay Pacific Group reported an attributable profit of HK$792m in the second half of 2017, compared to an attributable loss of HK$2,051m in the first half of 2017 and an attributable loss of HK$928m in the second half of 2016. Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon reported an attributable loss of HK$1,538m in the second half of 2017, compared to an attributable loss of HK$2,765m in the first half of 2017 and an attributable loss of HK$2,580m in the second half of 2016.

For 2017, the Cathay Pacific Group reported an attributable loss of HK$1,259m for 2017. This compares to a loss of HK$575m in 2016. The loss per share was HK32.0 cents in 2017 compared to a loss per share of HK14.6 cents in 2016.

Passenger revenue in 2017 was HK$66,408m, a decrease of 0.8% compared to 2016. Capacity increased by 2.8%, reflecting the introduction of new routes and increased frequencies on other routes. The load factor decreased by 0.1 point, to 84.4%. Yield, which was under pressure for most of the year, fell by 3.3% to HK52.3 cents, albeit improving by 3.1% in the second half of the year compared to the first half.

Alaska Air Group reports February traffic increase of 9%

Alaska Air Group reported February operational results on a consolidated basis, for its mainline operations operated by subsidiaries Alaska Airlines and Virgin America and for its regional flying operated by subsidiary Horizon Air and third-party regional carriers SkyWest Airlines and Peninsula Airlines.

On a combined basis for all operations, Air Group reported a 7.9% increase in traffic on a 9% increase in capacity compared to February 2017. Load factor decreased 0.8 points to 79.4%.

SONIC Tools and Aviation Institute of Maintenance announce partnership

SONIC Tools and Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) have announced a partnership that provides AIM students with professional, precision-crafted hand tools and provides SONIC an outlet to positively influence rising aviation technicians.

The focus of the partnership will be providing practical solutions for the best aspiring aviation technicians in the country, while reducing student debt. With the partnership, SONIC Tools becomes the exclusive Tool Supplier for all 11 AIM campuses nationwide.

In addition to supplying equipment and being fully integrated into the AIM programs, SONIC has designed and manufactured an aviation-specific toolbox and tools for students and professional aviation technicians alike. The SONIC Aviation A&P Kit is the centerpiece of the partnership and will be available at all AIM campuses throughout the country.

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant.

Air Astana launches new service between Atyrau and Frankfurt

Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, will launch a new direct flight between Atyrau and Frankfurt on March 26, 2018.

The new service will be operated twice a week on Mondays and Fridays using Airbus A321 aircraft in a two-class layout with 28 Business Class and 151 Economy Class seats. The flight time from Atyrau to Frankfurt (KC947) is 5h 05min, with the return flight (KC948) time being marginally shorter at 4h 45min.

The new Atyrau–Frankfurt route will be operated under a codeshare agreement with Lufthansa, marking an extension of the cooperation between Air Astana and the German flag carrier.

Atyrau–Frankfurt is the third direct service offered by Air Astana between Frankfurt and Kazakhstan, complementing the existing daily services from Astana and weekly service from Uralsk. The carrier offers an additional seven connections between Almaty and Frankfurt through its codeshare agreement on Lufthansa operated services.


Honeywell Aerospace signs up Heliconia Group as approved avionics dealer for North Africa

Honeywell Aerospace continues its expansion into high growth regions like Africa to support local operators, improving reliability and safety of fleets.

Heliconia Group has now been approved by Honeywell as an approved avionics dealership in North Africa. Owners of Leonardo Helicopters AW139 equipped with Honeywell technologies can get their platforms services locally, with the region now able to provide spares, and RMU services, which means customers can lessen turnaround times and reduce costs and spares, and inventory holdings.

BOC Aviation reports record profits

BOC Aviation has announced its audited financial results for the full year ended December 31, 2017.

Total revenues and other income rose 17% year-on-year, to US$1,401m. Net profit after tax was US$587m, an increase of 40% over 2016. Total assets increased 19% year-on-year, to US$16bn at December 31, 2017.

BOC Aviation raised US$2.9bn in total debt, including a first ever US$1bn dual-tranche bond offering. The company maintained strong liquidity with US$305m in total cash and fixed deposits and US$3.7bn in undrawn committed credit facilities at December 31, 2017.

BOC Aviation reported portfolio utilisation of 99.8% and cash collection from airline customers of 99.9%. The Board recommended a final dividend for 2017 of US$0.192 per Share, pending approval at the AGM to be held on May 30, 2018.

AEI receives order for two MD-83SF conversions from Everts Air Cargo

Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) has signed a contract to provide Fairbanks, Alaska-based Everts Air Cargo with two MD-83SF series freighter conversions.

The first MD-83 (MSN 53471) will commence modification on April 4th, 2018 and will be re-delivered in the beginning of August 2018. Immediately following, the second MD-83 (MSN TBD) modification will commence, and is scheduled for re-delivery to Everts in December 2018. Both modifications will be performed by Commercial Jet’s Dothan, Alabama facility.

Everts will use the AEI MD-83SF freighters to replace and augment their existing fleet of DC-9 aircraft.


Melrose’s New £8bn Hostile Bid for GKN Rejected as Merger Deal with Dana Continues

Melrose has declared a “final” offer of £8.1 billion for UK engineering giant GKN as a culmination of its efforts to acquire the company which started back in January. GKN has strongly urged its shareholders to reject the offer from Melrose, with the backing of Unite, Britain’s largest trade union. Melrose is seen by its critics as an asset-stripper.
The new bid from Melrose is an increase from its initial offer of £7.4bn, worth 442p and 424p per share respectively. The new bid, in actual terms for current investors, means they will receive 81p in cash for every share held, plus 1.69 new Melrose shares.
Melrose’s interest in GKN peaked after GKN issued profit warnings in October and November last year, created by problems in its aerospace division.
GKN’s aerospace interests include supplying parts for the F-35 fighter jet, the Airbus A400M military turboprop plane, the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Black Hawk military helicopter.
According to Steve Turner, the assistant general secretary of Unite, which has been campaigning against Melrose: “Melrose’s self-professed short-term approach of breaking companies up and selling parts quickly on, raises major concerns for UK defence interests and works against the long-term projects that GKN Aerospace is involved in.”
In an attempt to strengthen the company, GKN announced last Friday that it had agreed a US$6.1bn merger of its automotive Driveline division with the American, Ohio-based Dana, which produces axels and driveshafts. In addition, the intention would be to sell off GKN’s powder metallurgy business so that it could concentrate on aerospace.
If the deal is successful, Dana would become a UK public limited company, but remain headquartered in Ohio with its shares traded on the New York stock exchange.

Boeing's 10,000th 737 comes off the production line

Boeing employees gathered at the company's Renton, Wash. factory to celebrate the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line.

With this airplane, a 737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, the 737 has broken the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model. The 737 previously held this GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title in 2006 for the 5,000th airplane to come out of the Renton factory, a mark that took almost four decades to reach. Due to growing market demand and higher production rates, the 737 program reached the 10,000th airplane milestone only 12 years later.

Boeing will increase 737 production from the current rate of 47 airplanes per month to 52 airplanes per month later this year. The 737 program has more than 4,600 airplanes still on order fueled by sales of the newest version of the 737, the 737 MAX.



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Operating Lease Seminar 2018
March 20, 2018 – Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Dallas

Aircraft Records & Total Asset Management Seminar 2018
April 18, 2018 – Gibson Hotel, Dublin, Ireland

Technical Aspects of a Leased Asset 2018
June 5, 2018 – Jury’s Inn Hotel, Prague

Maintenance Reserves Seminar 2018
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