Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

Delta, Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM JV gets green light from U.S. DOT

An expanded joint-venture involving transatlantic flights between Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM has received the go-ahead from the U.S. Department of Transportation which the partnership claims will provide “the most comprehensive route network, convenient flight schedules, competitive fares and reciprocal frequent flyer benefits.”

Covering all services between the USA and Europe, this new and expanded partnership will replace other existing agreements between the carriers, but will now exclude Alitalia, which had previously been involved. A statement issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation said: “The new joint venture will offer consumers the same benefits from the prior joint ventures, such as increased capacity and frequent flyer cooperation, as well as new benefits such as more options on European flights.” However, the approval given by the DOT also includes conditions aimed at protecting competition, promoting public benefits and increase seat availability. The joint venture was first announced in July 2017, at the same time as Delta took a 10 percent stake in Air France-KLM and Air France KLM agreed to acquire a 31 percent stake in Virgin Atlantic, a deal which was completed earlier this year. Delta Air Lines had previously completed its acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic in June 2013.

The only major objection to the JV came from U.S. low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corporation, which has plans to commence transatlantic flights in 2021. It argued that the JV would create an oligopoly and lead to a restriction of available slots at London Heathrow Airport, a criticism the JV felt was “unjustified”, making it clear in a statement that it would not have any: “material impact on slot concentration at any U.K. or European airport”. The statement added that: “The record clearly establishes that there is no material competitive overlap – and zero nonstop overlaps – between Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM in the transatlantic market.”


Airbus Helicopters boosting support for French Cougar and Caracal fleets

Airbus Helicopters and its partner Heli-Union have signed a global support contract for the Cougar and Caracal helicopters in service in the French Army and Air Force. This agreement signed with the DMAé, the defence agency in charge of improving the availability of military aircraft in France, is the first contract that Airbus Helicopters has signed as part of the new approach initiated by the French
Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly.

This long-term contract aims at increasing the availability of the Caracal and Cougar fleets by making Airbus Helicopters responsible for the entire scope of the aircraft’s support. Airbus Helicopters has committed to limiting the number of aircraft in heavy maintenance by reducing the duration of the maintenance cycles for each helicopter type by up to 20%. Additionally, the commitments taken on logistics and technical assistance will reduce the downtime linked to these activities.

Airbus Helicopters will also propose, in cooperation with its partner Heli Union, a maintenance centre close to one of its customer’s sites in Pau, and will also involve a significant number of French SMEs in the equipment repair activities.

The French armed forces operate 18 H225Ms, also known as Caracal in French service, missions, as well as 26 Cougars, some of which are currently performing troop transport, special forces and search and rescue missions in demanding theatres of operation worldwide.

TP Aerospace

Astronics and China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation agree on collaboration

Astronics Corporation has signed a new cooperation agreement with China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC). The collaboration between Astronics and CMC will create a channel for Astronics to provide Chinese airlines, OEMs and service providers with state-of-the-art inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) hardware and certification services for compliance in China and the United States.

“This agreement enables Astronics to serve Chinese aircraft enterprises with the world’s most advanced IFEC hardware technology and certification services, and strongly positions us in the fastest growing aerospace market in the world,” says Michael Kuehn President of Astronics Connectivity Systems.

Gulfstream delivers G500 to Europe

Gulfstream Aerospace has delivered the Gulfstream G500™ to its first European customer. An undisclosed Western-Europe-based charter operator took delivery of the aircraft in Savannah.

The G500 earned certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency on Oct. 11 and is in service in North America, Brazil, the Middle East and Europe.

“We are excited about making G500 deliveries to Europe,” said Mark Burns, president, Gulfstream. “Since the introduction of the jet in 2014, customers around the world remain impressed and enthusiastic about the innovative cabin, next-generation technology, including the award-winning Symmetry Flight Deck, and high performance, speed and range capability of the aircraft. As the G500 fleet continues to grow in Europe, and around the world, its advanced technology raises the bar for business aviation.”

Beach Aviation Group

Air BP signs technical services agreement with Sonangol

Air BP, the international aviation fuel products and services supplier, has signed a technical services agreement with Sonangol, the state-owned oil company in Angola. This marks Air BP’s entry into the country and expands its footprint in Africa, one of the fastest-growing aviation regions over the next 20 years according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

As part of the technical services agreement, Air BP will support Sonangol in assuring its operations to international standards, providing advice on product quality, operations, HSSE and engineering. Training programs will be delivered in Portuguese to build knowledge and competence locally, as well as bringing Air BP’s internationally-renowned expertise to Sonangol’s airport operations and related engineering projects.

Air BP’s technical services offer comprises a complete aviation fuel consultancy service tailored to customers’ individual requirements. It includes a range of innovative technical services for airports including the design, build and operation of fuelling facilities to help customers comply with international standards, protect their operations and manage risk.


MTU Maintenance inks exclusive CFM56-7B contract with Malaysia Airlines Berhad

MTU Maintenance and Malaysia Airlines Berhad have signed an exclusive 10-year contract for the airline’s over 100 CFM56-7B engines. The contract covers maintenance, repair and overhaul for the engine fleet until phase-out and includes lease engines and LLP management.

The service offering incorporates MTU Maintenance’s PERFORMPlus solution for newer engines, ensuring longer on-wing times through optimized fleet management, engine trend monitoring, on-site services and lease support. Further, it also draws on numerous elements of the company’s SAVEPlus solution for more mature engines, using smart strategies to minimize cost at end of life. MTU Maintenance Zhuhai will be carrying out these services on behalf of Malaysia Airlines.

Malaysia Airlines is the national carrier of Malaysia and transports 40,000 guests on more than 300 flights daily to 59 destinations around the world.

Fly Leasing reprices and extends 2012 term loan

Fly Leasing has repriced its US$385 million term loan. The interest rate on the amended loan is LIBOR plus 1.75%, a 0.25% margin reduction. Additionally, the maturity has been extended by more than two years from February 2023 to August 2025. In conjunction with the extension, FLY paid a one-time fee of 0.25% OID to the lenders.

“FLY’s strong upward trajectory, combined with its significant deleveraging and recent Standard & Poor’s rating upgrade, created the momentum for the successful repricing of FLY’s largest debt facility. We anticipate annual cash interest savings of nearly US$1 million,” said Colm Barrington, CEO of FLY.  “We remain committed to reducing our borrowing costs while opportunistically extending debt maturities. FLY will continue to explore other opportunities to optimize its balance sheet and create value.”


Air Astana announces new service from Paris to Almaty

Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan, has announced a new service from Paris to Almaty, that will launch in June 2020. The flights will operate three times a week using the carrier’s new Airbus A321LR, which entered revenue service on the Air Astana network last month.

Air Astana made its debut on Paris-Astana (now Nur-Sultan) in Spring 2015, using a B757. The service between the French Capital and Almaty, Kazakhstan’s commercial centre and second city, will operate on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.  Flight times are 7 hours, 45 minutes and 7 hours and 15 minutes, respectively.


Etihad Engineering and Satair sign supply agreement

Etihad Engineering, the commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East, signed a supply agreement with Satair, one of the largest aviation spares and solution providers. The signing ceremony took place at Dubai Airshow 2019.

The agreement covers supply chain solutions that will ensure worldwide availability for selected aircraft parts. While this signing marks the official agreement between Satair and Etihad Engineering, the business relationship between the two dates back more than 25 years.

Boeing presents 737 MAX 10

Boeing has presented the first 737 MAX 10 at the company’s Renton, Washington factory on November 22. The 737 MAX 10 is the largest variant of the MAX family and can seat up to 230 passengers. The airplane will now undergo system checks and engine runs prior to first flight next year.

The 737 MAX 10 currently has more than 550 orders and commitments from more than 20 customers around the globe. 

Magellan Group

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