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Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

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Lilium announces US$1 billion 220 jet aircraft sale and strategic alliance with Brazil’s Azul

Munich, Germany-headquartered Lilium has announced it is entering into a strategic alliance with Brazilian airline Azul to create an exclusive eVTOL network in Brazil. Azul will buy 220 of the 7-seater Lilium electrical vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jets for up to US$1 billion.

It is anticipated that the network will become operational in 2025. Currently, Brazil has a 100 million domestic air passenger market as well as substantial civilian helicopter and business aviation markets. Azul will operate and maintain the Lilium Jet fleet, while Lilium will provide an aircraft health monitoring platform, replacement batteries, and other custom spare parts. Azul will also support Lilium with the necessary regulatory approval processes in Brazil for certification of the Lilium Jet and any other required regulatory approvals.

Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO of Lilium said: “Azul has brought convenient and affordable air travel to underserved markets across the Americas and this makes them an ideal partner for Lilium. We’re excited to work with Azul’s seasoned team to deploy a co-branded eVTOL network in Brazil. We’re also thrilled to welcome Gabrielle Toledano and Henri Courpron to the future Board of Directors of Lilium N.V., where they’ll strengthen our Board with their operational and financial experience.”

John Rodgerson, CEO of Azul, said: “Azul is the largest domestic airline in Brazil in terms of cities served and daily departures. Our brand presence, our unique route network, and our powerful loyalty program give us the tools to create the markets and demand for the Lilium Jet network in Brazil. As we did in the Brazilian domestic market over the last 13 years, we look forward to again, now with the Lilium Jet, working to create a whole new market in the years to come.”

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GE’s H-Series to power new LMS-901 utility aircraft

Following the first-time display at MAKS Air Show in Moscow and looking at the second engine delivery in support of the certification program, the Russian aircraft manufacturer Baikal-Engineering has chosen GE Aviation’s H80 engine with Electronic Engine and Propeller Control (EEPC) to power its brand-new single engine multi-purpose utility aircraft.

The H80 turboprop engine, built and developed by GE Aviation at its turboprop business headquarters in the Czech Republic, has been selected because of its robust design requiring minimal maintenance and demonstrating outstanding reliability. The LMS-901 is a 9-seater airplane conceived for civil uses, including passenger transfer, cargo, and skydiving.

The LMS-901 aircraft’s range can reach 3000 km and 1500 km with 2000 kg payload, bearing a 4800 kg max take-off weight, while its average cruise speed is 300 km/h. The aircraft entry into service is expected in 2023. The new project was announced at the end of 2019, and in 2021, the first test vehicles were displayed at MAKS Air Show and coupled with the H80 engine. The LMS-901 first flight is scheduled for this year end, and Baikal plans to build at least 150 units until 2030, while the market capacity by 2030 could arrive to 300 units.

Richard Clark becomes new Chief Executive Officer of Air Europa

The Board of Directors of Air Europa has approved the appointment of Richard Clark, until now Deputy General Manager of the company, as the new General Manager of Air Europa, replacing María José Hidalgo.

His appointment, at the proposal of María José Hidalgo, who remains as CEO of the tourism group Globalia, was ratified by the members of the Board and comes at a time when the procedure for the authorization by the European Commission of the sale of the company to IAG is at a very advanced stage.

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Qantas Group stands down 2,500 crew

Around 2,500 frontline Qantas and Jetstar employees will be stood down for an estimated two months in response to ongoing COVID outbreaks.

The stand down is a temporary measure to deal with a significant drop in flying caused by COVID restrictions in Greater Sydney in particular and the knock-on border closures in all other states and territories. No job losses are expected.

The decision will directly impact domestic pilots, cabin crew and airport workers, mostly in New South Wales but also in other states given the nature of airline networks. Employees will be given two weeks’ notice before the stand down takes effect, with pay continuing until mid-August.

Income support in the form of government disaster payments will be key to helping eligible employees get through this challenging period and the Qantas Group welcomes the targeted Federal Government support offered for those stood down outside of declared hotspots and to retain domestic aviation capability.

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the difficult decision to trigger stand downs reflected the reality confronting many businesses operating in New South Wales.

Qantas and Jetstar have gone from operating almost 100% of their usual domestic flying in May (based on FY19 capacity levels) to less than 40% in July because of lockdowns in three states.

Carlyle Aviation completes acquisition of Fly Leasing

Global investment firm Carlyle and Fly Leasing (FLY) have announced that an affiliate of Carlyle Aviation Partners (Carlyle Aviation) completed its previously announced acquisition of FLY. Carlyle Aviation is the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm within Carlyle’s US$61 billion Global Credit platform. The closing of the transaction follows the receipt of regulatory approval from all government authorities required by the merger agreement and approval by FLY’s shareholders. Carlyle Aviation used funds from its fifth aviation fund, SASOF V, for this acquisition.

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Lufthansa Technik Group welcomes 126 apprentices

Lufthansa Technik is starting a new year of training the future's skilled workers: 126 young people will begin their training in 2021 in an aviation-technology, industrial- or logistics-oriented profession. Even in these difficult times, Lufthansa Technik plans to meet its future needs for highly trained specialists.

Despite the aviation crisis and structural changes in the company, Lufthansa Technik continues to rely on the training of highly qualified workers, and has done so for more than six decades. Especially now, the company wants to attract young employees who want to work in a fascinating and demanding industry.

"We see training as a long-term instrument, one that needs continuity," says Barbara Koerner, Head of Training and Dual-study Students at Lufthansa Technik. "Only then can all the interfaces involved, such as trainers, specialized departments, operational deployment areas and vocational schools, provide optimal training quality. Against this background, Lufthansa Technik made a conscious decision to maintain its training activities. Only the number of places has been adjusted in response to the crisis."

This month 109 young people will start their apprenticeships in Hamburg, 16 in Frankfurt and one at the Munich location. 109 of the new apprenticeships are directly attributable to Lufthansa Technik, the rest to Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services and LEOS. This means that there is now a total of about 650 young people in training or in a dual course of study at the Lufthansa Technik Group in Germany.

As in the previous year, the proportion of women is a good fourteen percent. Lufthansa Technik will continue to expand its activities in order to inform female students in a targeted manner about the many possibilities in pursuing technical professions. Originally, a higher number of new trainees was planned for this year. However, the massive downturn in global aviation caused by COVID-19 and the reduced workload in many parts of the company made it necessary to adjust requirements accordingly.

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Skyworld Aviation arranges sale of two Avro RJ85's to Executive Jet Support

Skyworld Aviation has arranged the sale of two Avro RJ85’s to spares and components specialist Executive Jet Support (EJS) in the U.K. The two RJs were part of a ten Avro RJ fleet previously operated by Braathens Regional.  SE-DJO (serial number E2226) and SE-DJN (serial number E2231) are currently located at Norwich Airport in the U.K. where they will remain under a care and maintenance program for the time being. Executive Jet Support is a leader in providing commercial aircraft, engines, and airframe components on sale, exchange or loan basis across all major commercial and executive aircraft manufacturers.

Skyworld Aviation has already completed the sale of two Avro RJ100’s for EJS last year, as well as multiple previous ERJ and ATR aircraft / components transactions.

IBA sees positive trends in narrow-body aircraft values, but wide-bodies remain depressed

Aviation data and advisory consultancy IBA, has outlined a divergence in value trends between narrow-body and wide-body aircraft driven by a surge in domestic travel in certain markets, but continuing low levels of international travel globally.

In a recent aircraft values webinar, IBA illustrated how a surge in domestic passenger flights, driven largely by rapidly returning demand in North America, is driving a recovery in market values of newer-generation narrow-body aircraft.

The gap between the base and market values of the Boeing 737 MAX, now re-certified for operation in most global markets, with China being the notable exception, has narrowed significantly since the start of 2021. Values of the Airbus A320neo have stabilized and remain ahead of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft of an equivalent age, according to data from IBA’s InsightIQ intelligence platform. IBA forecasts that market values of both the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX will each trend back towards base over the next two years, and will align with base values by 2024.

Values of the older A320ceo and Boeing 737-800 narrow-body models are performing less strongly. Market values of both types built between 2008 and 2018 are continuing their divergence from base values, although the Boeing 737-800 continues to perform more strongly with a price range for a ten year old model of US$19.35m compared to US$16.43m for the A320ceo. This is driven by the former’s stronger demand for freighter conversions and less fleet dispersion due to ongoing replacements by the Boeing 737 MAX. Once the MAX is certified in all global markets, IBA forecasts the value gap between the A320ceo and 737-800 to narrow. IBA believes that this softening of market values is not yet severe enough to signal a reduction in base value for those types.

The continuing low level in international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting wide-body aircraft values. The Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330, the current generation wide-bodies that are the twin-engined mainstays of many airline fleets, are both seeing a continuing drop in values and an accelerating divergence between market and base values. The market values of a 10 year old Boeing 777-300ER fell 25% from US$46.3m to US$34.85m in the first six months of 2021. An Airbus A330-300ceo of the same age fell over 30% from US$27.39m to US$18.41m over the same period.

Phil Seymour, IBA’s President, says: “The divergence in traveller demand across the globe is driving a divergence in aircraft values, and this is a trend we believe will endure as the continuing growth in domestic flights boosts next generation narrowbody values. When international travel demand returns, we believe a similar trend will develop, with the newest wide-body aircraft types seeing the quickest recovery in values.”

Aircraft utilization has grown in all global regions between June and July 2021, with Europe & CIS continuing the steepest recovery with flight levels at 63% of the same month in 2019. This compares to 58% for the Middle East, 63% for Asia Pacific and Africa, 72% for Latin America and 78% for North America.
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