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Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

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Australian regulator bans Qantas and JAL from coordinating flights and fares

Australia’s competition regulator has denied Qantas and Japan Airlines (JAL) from coordinating flights between Australia and Japan over concerns about restricting competition, fearing that the public would not benefit from the joint agreement. "Preserving competition between airlines is the key to the long-term recovery of the aviation and tourism sectors, once international travel restrictions are eased," Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.

The agreement, which would have enabled both Qantas and JAL to coordinate fares and schedules, would make it especially difficult for any other airline to compete on routes between the two countries. Currently Qantas and JAL are the only two airlines to offer non-stop flights on Japan-Australia routes. According to the regulator: "Virgin Australia told the ACCC that it would be more difficult to enter the Australia-Japan route if it is required to compete with Qantas and Japan Airlines acting jointly rather than as individual competing airlines."

Having been advised back in May of the likely negative outcome, Qantas had offered to start up a new route, one between Cairns and Tokyo, though with this confirmed restriction, that idea has now been shelved. In the meantime, while Ross Leggett, JAL Senior Vice President has made it clear the joint venture with Qantas would have accelerated the recovery of leisure and business traffic between Japan and Australia, the two airlines will continue with their codeshare arrangements and oneworld Alliance partnership.

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Lufthansa Group airlines and Travelport sign new distribution agreement

The Lufthansa Group airlines and Travelport have announced a new distribution agreement that enables modern airline retailing as well as technology innovation. Under the agreement, which covers the carriers Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, SWISS and Air Dolomiti, Travelport will distribute Lufthansa Group airlines’ NDC content through the next-generation content distribution and travel retailing platform, Travelport+. This agreement builds on the ongoing distribution of Lufthansa Group airlines’ content through traditional EDIFACT channels.

Both companies are already in the process of implementing end-to-end NDC functionality. The launch, expected in the first half of 2022, also lays the foundation for a diversified NDC program giving Travelport-connected travel agencies the ability to access Lufthansa Group airlines’ content through Travelport+ by signing up to one of the two available commercial NDC models, the NDC Public model or NDC Bilateral model.

ACC Aviation successfully remarkets two Dash 8-100s

ACC Aviation, the global aviation services group, has successfully disposed of two de Havilland Dash 8-100 combi-configured aircraft (MSN 258 and 324). ACC Aviation’s Asset Management Division was exclusively mandated by Canadian North, a Canadian based regional airline.

Working in close association with Canadian North and utilizing its long-standing industry relationships and expertise, ACC Aviation carried out full due diligence processes on the sale and provided full transaction oversight. In addition, ACC Aviation undertook desktop valuations on both aircraft to set and manage internal pricing expectations for Canadian North.

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Rolls-Royce agrees to sell stake in AirTanker Holdings to Equitix Investment Management

Rolls-Royce has announced the agreed sale of its 23.1% shareholding in AirTanker Holdings to Equitix Investment Management for cash proceeds of £189m, including the repayment of shareholder loans and accrued and deferred interest of approximately £47m, subject to any routine closing adjustments and before transaction costs. The transaction is expected to complete by the end of the first quarter of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals. There is no merger control condition. Proceeds will be used to reduce net debt. Remaining AirTanker shareholders have pre-emption rights over the Rolls-Royce shares and loan notes.

AirTanker Holdings Limited, a joint venture with Airbus, Babcock, and Thales, owns 14 A330-200 Voyager aircraft which are powered by Trent 772B engines, a derivative of the Trent 700 engine. The Voyager aircraft support air-to-air refuelling, air transport and ancillary services for the UK Ministry of Defence. This fleet is operated by AirTanker Services Limited, in which we will continue to be a 23.5% shareholder. We will also continue to provide servicing and maintenance for the fleet of Rolls-Royce engines that power the Voyager aircraft to support the Royal Air Force.

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Mammoth Freighters launches Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER freighter conversion programs

Mammoth Freighters (Mammoth) has announced the launch of its Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER passenger-to-freighter conversion programs. Mammoth was founded in December 2020 by two aviation industry executives, Bill Wagner and Bill Tarpley, both serving as the company’s Co-CEOs. The Company is backed by private investment funds managed by Fortress Investment Group LLC and its affiliates (Fortress). The combination of management expertise and strong financial support has enabled Mammoth to launch its Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) development program with the plan to achieve FAA approval in the second half of 2023.

Mammoth brings a flexible business model to market that provides air cargo operators and asset owners dynamic new options including the ability to provide their own assets for conversion or acquire or lease ready-to-fly converted freighters from Mammoth’s existing feedstock of ten 777-200LR GE90-110B1 equipped aircraft. These assets were acquired from Delta Air Lines and are the largest fleet of -200LR sister aircraft in the world.

The Company, which possesses a Boeing data license to execute 777 passenger-to-freighter conversions, has already made significant progress since it began operations in late 2020. Design and engineering for the 777-200LRMF program is well underway with tooling and parts already in fabrication. The conformity 777-200LR recently completed a comprehensive series of pre-modification flight tests and will commence modification in the second quarter of 2022. Upon certification of the 777-200LRMF, Mammoth expects approval of the 777-300ERMF STC to follow shortly afterwards.

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Breeze Airways reveals new A220 livery, confirms order for 20 additional A220-300 aircraft

Breeze Airways has revealed its new A220-300 livery, while confirming that it has reached a purchase agreement with Airbus for 20 more of the aircraft. This previously undisclosed order for 20 brings Breeze’s total order book to 80 A220-300s, the first of which will be delivered in Q4 2021.

The aircraft’s fresh paint job was completed at Airbus’ facility in Mobile, Alabama, which will deliver approximately one A220 per month to Breeze over the next six-and-a-half years. The airline plans to begin flights with the Airbus fleet in the second quarter of 2022. 

The A220 superior efficiency will support the new airline’s business objectives to offer a great travel experience, with low fares and high flexibility. Breeze is expected to provide nonstop service between underserved routes across the U.S. at affordable fares.

Breeze started airline operations in May 2021. This first A220 is the first new aircraft that will be operated by the airline.

IATA appoints Philip Goh to Regional Vice President Asia-Pacific

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has appointed Philip Goh as its Regional Vice President for Asia-Pacific. Goh succeeds Conrad Clifford, who has been IATA’s Deputy Director General since 1 July 2021.

Goh is a 34-year veteran of the airline industry. He has held various senior management roles at Singapore Airlines in Singapore and overseas, at Virgin Atlantic Airways in London, and has extensive experience working throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Most recently, he was Regional Vice President for the South West Pacific for Singapore Airlines, based in Sydney.

Reporting to the IATA Deputy Director General, Goh will lead IATA’s activities across Asia-Pacific, a region covering 37 countries and territories and home to 45 IATA member airlines. He is based in Singapore, where IATA’s Regional Office is located.

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Zela Aviation and Precision Air sign strategic agreement

Zela Aviation is adding another significant deal to its portfolio, announcing its strategic partnership with Precision Air, one of Tanzania-based most dynamic airlines.

The agreement, signed on August 25, 2021, at Precision Air’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam, provides for the mediation of Zela Aviation, which will act as the General Representative for leasing Precision Air's aircraft, crews, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) to other airlines.

"Precision Air's partnership with Zela Aviation will enable the optimum utilization of their aircraft, as they are currently not fully utilized due to decreased demand in travel. The cooperation will most importantly provide a source of ancillary revenues during the low season." stated Mr Mwanri, Precision Air's Managing Director and CEO.
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar