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Thursday, September 9th, 2021

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U.S. court rules Boeing board to face shareholder lawsuit over two fatal 737 MAX crashes

A Delaware, U.S. judge has ruled that certain shareholder claims against Boeing can be pursued, while dismissing others, in relation to the two 737 MAX crashes which killed 346 passengers and crew. In the ruling in the Court of Chancery, Vice Chancellor Morgan Zurn said that the first of the two crashes was a “red flag” concerning the MCAS safety system "that the board should have heeded but instead ignored." Commenting on the court’s decision, Boeing said it was: "disappointed in the court's decision to allow the plaintiffs' case to proceed past this preliminary stage of litigation. We will review the opinion closely over the coming days as we consider next steps."

Back in January this year the U.S. Justice Department charged Boeing with 737 MAX fraud conspiracy and agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement along with a settlement in excess of US$2.5 billion. Zurn’s ruling included the following in response to shareholder allegations: "That the board knowingly fell short is also evident in the board's public crowing about taking specific actions to monitor safety that it did not actually perform." Zurn also stated that the board "publicly lied about if and how it monitored the 737 MAX's safety."

The ruling referred to two particular comments made by Dave Calhoun, who took over from Denis Muilenburg in January 2020 as Boeing’s CEO. First, that "the board had been 'notified immediately, as a board broadly,' after the Lion Air crash and met 'very, very quickly' thereafter." Second, when referring to the second 737 MAX crash, this time involving an Ethiopian Airlines in March 2019, the ruling highlighted that Calhoun had represented that the board met within 24 hours of the crash to discuss potentially grounding the 737 MAX, "Each of Calhoun's representations was false," Zurn's ruling said. So far, the two crashes are estimated to have cost Boeing in the region of US$20 billion.

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AJW Group extends MRO services in Europe

AJW Group has launched its European MRO facility, AJW Technique Europe, located near Gatwick Airport.

The MRO begins with a specialisation in battery repair, including deep cycle, top charge, cleaning, re-blocking, regular service, overhaul, test and recertification for all commercial aircraft main, auxiliary, and emergency power supplies.

The battery capability is delivered via the acquisition of Avia Component Services, whose skilled and certified Technicians will continue to provide a seamless, full service immediately. ​

The MRO has been strategically positioned to meet AJW Group’s flagship customers’ needs. AJW Technique Europe will deliver the same outstanding customer service and quality that customers of AJW Group’s state-of-the-art, MRO facility, AJW Technique, in Montreal have enjoyed for almost 10 years.

​Despite the pandemic, AJW Group has continued to transform, grow and deliver to get closer to its customers and to provide an unrivalled expertise and experience. 

Sajedah Rustom, CEO of AJW Technique, comments:  “We are immensely proud and excited to expand in Europe, where we look forward to delivering our highly-regarded, innovative repair services and solutions, on the doorstep of all the European airlines.”

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ALC and Spirit Airlines sign lease agreements for 15 Airbus aircraft

Air Lease Corporation has announced a long-term lease placement for ten new Airbus A321-200neo aircraft and sale and lease-backs of five new Airbus A320-200neo aircraft with Spirit Airlines. The five A320neos are scheduled to deliver to Spirit Airlines in 2021 and 2022 and will be owned by one of ALC’s managed aircraft ventures through funds managed by Waterfall Asset Management. The ten A321neos are scheduled to deliver to Spirit Airlines from ALC’s orderbook with Airbus beginning in 2023 through 2024.

“We appreciate our partnership with ALC on the financing of 15 new aircraft delivering now through 2024. This partnership helps us to achieve our previously announced capacity plans for 2022 and 2023, and our targeted growth in 2024, as we Invest in the Guest and deliver exciting new destinations,” said Scott Haralson, Chief Financial Officer of Spirit Airlines.

Jet Aviation gains EASA approval for the G500/600 Series in Vienna

Jet Aviation has announced that it has received authorization from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to provide line maintenance support to Gulfstream G500/G600 series aircraft in Vienna.

"As a factory authorized service facility for Gulfstream GV-SP series aircraft, this latest approval attests our high standards and ongoing commitment to remain partner of choice for Gulfstream owners and operators in the region,” says Hakan Tin, managing director and accountable manager at Jet Aviation’s MRO and FBO facility in Vienna.

Operating from a 4,000m² hangar facility recently, Jet Aviation Vienna redelivered its first base maintenance check on a Gulfstream G550 earlier this month. The 48-month inspection was delivered on time, with a new windshield.

In direct response to customer demand, Jet Aviation also recently expanded its support for Gulfstream aircraft at its maintenance facility in Geneva, now providing line and base maintenance to TC-registered G450 series, G550 series and G650 series aircraft.

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JetBlue names Ursula Hurley Chief Financial Officer

JetBlue has announced the appointment of Ursula Hurley to Chief Financial Officer, effective immediately. Hurley, a 17-year veteran of the airline, has served as acting CFO since June 2021.

As CFO, Hurley will be responsible for JetBlue’s overall financial strategy including accounting, audit, aircraft and engine transactions, cash management, corporate finance, fuel, and tax. She will also oversee the company’s real estate and strategic sourcing units and will continue reporting to Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive.

“Ursula has done an incredible job leading us through the pandemic,” said Hayes. “With a steady hand, she’s raised capital to allow us to weather the challenges and proven to be focused on helping us manage our cost structure. As we emerge from the pandemic, her continued leadership in managing costs will be fundamental to her role.”

Prior to being appointed acting CFO, Ursula was head of treasury and investor relations for JetBlue, managing the company’s $USD 13 billion balance sheet, comprising corporate and aircraft finance; cash management and investments; fleet management; fuel purchasing and hedging; fleet strategy and programs, strategic sourcing and managing JetBlue’s relationships with the investor community.

CAE and Air Canada sign exclusive maintenance training agreement

CAE and Air Canada have announced the signing of an exclusive five-year aircraft maintenance training partnership agreement. As a result, CAE is now Air Canada’s embedded Transport Canada Approved Training Organization for Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering.

The agreement includes the development, management and delivery of all of Air Canada’s maintenance and engineering training, including all regulatory approved training. CAE will implement many of its state-of-the-art digital training technologies, including training and qualifications management, virtual 360 aircraft environments and a new digital solution that will enable Air Canada to explore modern training environments such as evidence-based training.

“Throughout the years, several manufacturers have entrusted CAE with its excellent training and technology,” said Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President Civil Aviation Training Solutions. “This first of its kind training agreement between two Canadian companies will provide a training experience true to the aircraft platforms with high level of instruction, service, courseware and technology. I’m confident that this partnership will allow us to work closely by developing and fine-tuning specific training programs for Air Canada.”

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Safran’s first helicopter engine runs using 100% sustainable fuel

Safran Helicopter Engines has performed a world first at its Bordes facility (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France); a helicopter engine run on 100 percent sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). During the test, a Makila 2 ran on a biofuel produced by TotalEnergies from residues and waste from the circular economy, specifically used cooking oil.

A test campaign will now evaluate the operational impact of using only SAF on a helicopter engine. To do this, the engine manufacturer will utilize a Safran Tech special facility known as "Bearcat" (Banc d’Essai Avancé pour la Recherche en Combustion et Aérothermique des Turbomachines), an advanced test bench for turbomachinery combustion and aerothermal.

Franck Saudo, CEO of Safran Helicopter Engines says, "after the first flight of a rescue helicopter using 40% SAF in June, and the fuel’s gradual introduction for engine tests at our sites, we are now taking a new step toward using fuel made entirely from renewable sources. These tests are a key step in the realization of future test flights with our helicopter partners. By expanding the use of sustainable fuels among helicopter operators and at our sites, we will significantly reduce CO2 emissions over the entire life cycle of our products".

Safran engines are already certified to operate with up to 50% SAF. With 100% incorporation, the lower carbon footprint of these fuels will reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80%.

Frontier Airlines retires final Airbus A319 aircraft

Frontier Airlines has marked a significant fleet milestone with the retirement of its last Airbus A319 aircraft – tail N949FR - delivered to the company in 2006. Frontier passengers, crew and executives commemorated the occasion during flight 391 from Nashville (BNA) to Denver (DEN). The phase-out of the A319 is part of a fleet modernization plan by Frontier Airlines that includes a strong focus on operating newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft.

“The retirement of Frontier’s last Airbus A319 aircraft is a proud and symbolic moment for our team as we look ahead towards a greener future,” said Daniel Shurz, senior vice president of commercial, Frontier Airlines. “Our ultra-modern fleet is already the most fuel-efficient in the U.S. skies and, as we continue the transition to A320neo (New Engine Option) and A321neo aircraft, our fuel savings and operational efficiencies continue to evolve.”

The final A319 tail featuring Erma the Ermine flew with Frontier for more than 15 years. The A319 model aircraft, which the company first began flying in 2001, played a vital role in Frontier’s success for more than 20 years, providing efficient, safe and reliable service, including during the airline’s transition to an ultra-low-cost carrier.
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