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Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

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Delta gives another boost to Airbus with its continued fleet renewal – orders 30 more A320neos

Delta Air Lines (Delta) has placed a firm order for 30 state-of-the-art Airbus A320neos, the European plane manufacturer’s cutting-edge, fuel-efficient, large-gauge, narrow-body aircraft. The order is part of Delta’s continued refreshing and upgrading of its existing fleet with the multiple objectives of supporting the American carrier’s commitment to carbon neutrality, while also boosting operational simplification, achieve economies of scale, and drive productivity.

Delta is converting purchase rights for the aircraft into firm orders under its existing A321neo purchase agreement with Airbus. It follows a similar transaction in April, when Delta and Airbus converted 25 A321neo purchase rights into firm orders and added 25 incremental A321neo options. Delta operates 121 of the larger-gauge A321ceo family, and including this latest order, has purchase commitments of 155 firm A321neos, as well as six remaining A321ceo deliveries.  Delta has purchase rights for a further 70 A321neos. These purchase commitments will meet Delta’s future needs with its replacement of older, less fuel-efficient narrowbody aircraft. In total, Delta now has 288 aircraft purchase commitments, including wide-body and narrow-body jets.

Delta anticipates taking delivery of its first A321neo in the first half of 2022, continuing through 2027. Many of Delta’s A321neos will be delivered from the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama. The airline has taken delivery of 87 U.S.-manufactured Airbus aircraft since 2016.

“Adding these aircraft strengthens Delta’s commitment to replacing older fleets with more sustainable, fuel-efficient jets, and offers the best customer experience in the industry,” said Mahendra Nair, Delta’s S.V.P. – Fleet and TechOps Supply Chain. “Delta appreciates the extensive partnership with the Airbus team in support of our strategic growth plans, and we look forward to continuing to work together throughout the recovery and in the years ahead.”

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SWISS introduces mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for crews

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is making vaccination against COVID-19 mandatory for all its flying personnel from November 15, onwards. The action has been taken in response to national entry restrictions worldwide, which are seeing an increasing insistence on proof of such vaccination for air crews, too. Hong Kong recently became the first SWISS destination to demand – with immediate effect – proof of COVID-19 vaccination for crews arriving from certain countries, Switzerland included.

A separate organizational management of vaccinated and unvaccinated crew members and the resulting increased complexity of the rostering involved would make it impossible to ensure continued robust and reliable flight operations in the longer term. Some destinations and regions could no longer be served, and this in turn would seriously diminish the effectiveness of the SWISS hub system. The separate handling of the two crew categories would also entail their unequal treatment in rostering terms. In addition, as a globally operating airline, and given the sufficient availability of effective COVID vaccines, SWISS also wishes to perform to the full its duty of care towards its cockpit and cabin personnel.

IAI to establish passenger-to-freighter conversion site for Boeing 777-300ER in Abu Dhabi

Israel Aerospace Industries’ (IAI) Aviation Group has signed an agreement with Etihad Engineering to establish a passenger-to-freighter conversion site for Boeing 777-3000ER aircraft. The new conversion center, which will operate as the company’s maintenance center in Abu Dhabi, will supply a solution for the global rise in demand for cargo jets of this model. The conversion center in Abu Dhabi is an addition to other global cargo conversion sites that IAI operates, besides its existing conversion lines at the company’s campus at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Etihad Engineering is one of the largest commercial aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services provider in the Middle East, and the center in Abu Dhabi will be certified by the UAE Civil Aviation Authority, the U.S.’s Federal Aviation Administration, and the European Aviation Safety Agency. At the conversion center, passenger planes will be converted to cargo configuration, and maintenance, renovation and overhaul services will be supplied.

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Lockheed Martin to support Indian Air Force’s C-130J Super Hercules airlifter fleet

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a US$328.8 million, five-year contract from the Indian Air Force (IAF), to provide dedicated and comprehensive support for the IAF’s fleet of 12 C-130J-30 Super Hercules Aircraft. Lockheed Martin is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of the C-130Js, which is the tactical airlifter of choice for 26 operators in 22 nations.           

Through this Follow On Support II (FOS) contract, Lockheed Martin teams manage the program, logistics and engineering support elements necessary to sustain the IAF’s C-130J fleet. The contract spans a five-year-period, is a Direct Commercial Sale, and is a continuation of a prior five-year FOS I contract where Lockheed Martin provided similar support for the IAF’s C-130J fleet.

The FOS II contract includes Lockheed Martin’s sustainment efforts for the IAF’s entire Super Hercules fleet, as well as extended options including Lockheed Martin support for the C-130J airframe, Contractor Furnished Equipment (CFE), peculiar and common spareable items, engines, propellers, software, publication services, ground handling equipment (GHE), ground support equipment (GSE) and test equipment.

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Ampaire brings hybrid-electric flight to South West England

Ampaire, a pioneer in hybrid-electric aircraft technology, will launch demonstration flights between Exeter Airport and Cornwall Airport Newquay this week, to advance the use of sustainable aviation, driving down costs and emissions on short regional routes. The flights are part of a series of government-backed trials aimed at moving the U.K. towards green aviation.

Demonstration flights will be flown by its Electric EEL technology aircraft. The EEL, a modified U.S.-built six-seat Cessna 337 Skymaster, features a battery-powered electric motor at the front and conventional combustion engine at the rear, enabling a reduction in emissions and operating costs by as much as 30%.  The aircraft will fly between these two regional airports, 85 miles apart, on a combination of battery and piston power, collecting valuable data to monitor fuel savings, efficiency and noise.

Ampaire uses the EEL as an important research and development platform.  It is currently developing hybrid-electric power train upgrades for 9- to 19-seat regional aircraft, including the Cessna Grand Caravan and Twin Otter.  It views the near-term opportunity to transform existing turboprop aircraft as the first step to fully electric aircraft, which will become feasible as battery technology advances.  

Ampaire heads a U.K.-based consortium created to explore regional electric aviation transport solutions.  Last year the team received £2.4 million from the U.K. Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) £30 million Future Flight Challenge towards the consortium’s £5 million 2ZERO program.

2ZERO (Towards Zero Emissions in Regional Aircraft Operations) involves the operation of hybrid-electric aircraft on regional routes in South West U.K., together with a study of the ecosystem required to enable the future of electric aircraft within existing airport and airline operations.

The 2ZERO bid was submitted by Ampaire and partners including Exeter Airport, Rolls-Royce Electrical, University of Nottingham, Loganair, Cornwall Airport, Heart of the Southwest Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP), and U.K. Power Networks Services.

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Goshawk extends US$500 million secured warehouse facility to 2023

Goshawk, the Dublin-based global aircraft lessor, has extended US$500 million secured warehouse facility. This facility, originally put in place in 2015, is now extended to July 2023 and provides flexible capital that can be used to finance Goshawk’s target asset types of primarily young, new technology, narrow-body aircraft.

Goshawk entered the extension agreement with HSBC as lead arranger and lender, and Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking as lender. The terms of the extension will assist Goshawk in maintaining its healthy liquidity position while retaining the flexibility to grow its fleet in line with its commercial strategy.

Commenting on the transaction, Colin Golden, CFO Goshawk said: “We are delighted to work with a number of our key lenders on this deal, which represents an important validation of our platform and business model. The successful completion of this facility will support our aircraft acquisition program through to mid-2023. It will also allow us to continue to build our portfolio and further strengthen our market position in accordance with our long-term strategy."

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HAECO signs long-term component maintenance agreement with Aeroflot

HAECO Hong Kong, a member of the HAECO Group, has signed a long-term agreement to provide component maintenance support for Aeroflot-Russian Airlines (Aeroflot). The scope of the new agreement covers component repair and overhaul, as well as loan and exchange services for Aeroflot’s civil commercial aircraft fleet, including its Airbus A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A350s; Boeing 737s and 777s; and Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft.

The agreement will run until 2032 and the support will be jointly provided by various entities and facilities across the Group, including HAECO Hong Kong, HAECO Component Overhaul in Hong Kong and Xiamen, HAECO Composite Services and HAECO ITM.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar