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Thursday, September 16th, 2021

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China’s first COMAC C919 enters final assembly

China’s aviation regulators have confirmed that the country’s first narrow-body jet, the COMAC C919 which is scheduled for delivery to launch customer China Eastern Airlines by the year’s end is now entering final assembly. The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) hopes to obtain type certification for the jet by the end of 2021.

According to Reuters news agency, The C919 program's certification board met in Shanghai on September 10 and reviewed COMAC reports on batch production of the jet. The board also approved proposals to adjust the current plans for obtaining the aircraft's production certificate, which is required for mass production, the regulator said, without giving further details. The jet is currently in the more limited batch production phase.

The C919 narrow-body 158-168-seat single-aisle jet will be in direct competition with Boeing’s B737 series of aircraft, and Airbus’ A320 series.

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Air New Zealand and Airbus to research future of hydrogen-powered aircraft in Aotearoa

Air New Zealand and aircraft manufacturer Airbus have announced a joint initiative to research how hydrogen-powered aircraft could assist the airline with reaching its goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

Under the MoU, Air New Zealand will analyse the impact hydrogen aircraft may have on its network, operations and infrastructure, while Airbus will provide hydrogen aircraft performance requirements and ground operations characteristics to support Air New Zealand to develop its decarbonisation roadmap.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Greg Foran says the MoU is an exciting step towards understanding how hydrogen-powered aircraft could become a reality in New Zealand. "This agreement brings us a step closer to our net zero emissions by 2050 commitment, and to realising our aspiration to put low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade. New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in the adoption of zero emissions aircraft, given the country's commitment to renewable energy which can be used to generate green hydrogen and our highly connected regional air network.

LCI and SMFL expand helicoptor leasing joint venture with US$120 million fleet growth

LCI, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL) have acquired and committed to an additional twelve next generation helicopters within their helicopter leasing joint venture.

The helicopters, which are worth in excess of US$120 million, represent a more than 50% expansion of the joint venture’s fleet less than a year after it was launched.

The new aircraft comprise of four Airbus Helicopters H145, three Leonardo AW139 and five Leonardo AW169 helicopters. They join the nineteen helicopters already owned by the vehicle which are leased across the globe on missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), and transportation to offshore wind farms.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Executive Officer of LCI, says: “The LCI and SMFL joint venture was purposefully created to offer a wide range of leasing and financing options to the helicopter industry on efficient and flexible terms. These latest acquisitions, so soon after the vehicle’s launch, further validate our efforts and represent a wider vote of continuing investor confidence in the helicopter leasing marketplace.”

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Chapman Freeborn appoints Zori Marshall as Chief Legal Officer

Chapman Freeborn, a global air charter specialist and part of Avia Solutions Group, has appointed Zori Marshall, with over a decade of experience in corporate and commercial law, as new Chief Legal Officer (CLO).

Born in Bulgaria, growing up in Angola, Zori Marshall has a passion for languages, international travel and corporate/commercial law. With a strong educational background, Zori graduated from the University of Toulouse, France with a Bachelor’s Degree in International, European and Comparative Law, followed by a Master’s in International Business Law and, more recently, she completed her Master’s Degree at The University of Liverpool - Master of Science, International Management specialising in Energy.

“My career has always been in the oil & gas, energy and renewable sectors, so the aviation industry is new and exciting for me! I speak five languages fluently: Bulgarian, English, Spanish, French and Portuguese - joining Chapman Freeborn in a global role will give me the opportunity to use my languages more, which is one of the things that attracted me to the role. Chapman Freeborn has a strong history and global presence, there is diversity and the opportunity to work with a multicultural, and multinational workforce – this is all really important to me.”

TrueNoord leases new ATR72-600s to SKY express

TrueNoord has signed a strategic agreement with Greek operator SKY express for new ATR-600s that are on a phased fleet induction programme with operating leases. Funding for the aircraft was provided by TrueNoord’s revolving warehouse facility underwritten by Citibank, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Canada. CMS acted as legal counsel for TrueNoord on the acquisition. Milbank represented TrueNoord on the financing with Clifford Chance advising the lenders.

This current deal concerns the new ATR72-600s that SKY express is introducing from ATR to replace the existing fleet of ATR72-500s that are currently in operation. The acquisition fits perfectly with SKY express’ strategy to operate the youngest and greenest fleet in Greece. It will ensure ongoing and sustainable regional operations and connectivity across its expanding network including all popular Greek islands. Based in Athens, SKY express operates the largest network in Greece (35 destinations), as well as 13 international destinations (London Heathrow, Larnaca, Brussels, Paris CDG, Rome, Lyons, Nantes, Lille, Hamburg, Dortmund, Amsterdam, Gratz, Klagenfurt) launched during 2021. It has brokered interline agreements with worldwide carriers such as KLM, Air France, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Air Serbia and Cyprus Airways.

“With these new acquisitions and our partnership with TrueNoord we continue SKY express’ steadily upward course and deliver on our promise to operate one of the greenest and youngest fleets in Europe. With sustainable investments, strong long-term partnerships forged during challenging times, and an innovative customer-centric approach, we will build a dynamic future.” states Vasiliki Christidi, IOGR Group General Manager.

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SR Technics Malta and Aerospheres U.K. sign a chemical consignment agreement

SR Technics has announced the signing of a Chemical Consignment agreement by its affiliate in Malta.

The partnership, which starts in September 2021, covers the storage and supply of Aerospheres’ own paints, adhesives, sealants, cleaners and lubricants required for aircraft maintenance. All materials will be stored at the SR Technics Malta facility.

As there is an average ten-day period from the purchase of hazardous materials in the United Kingdom to incoming goods inspection and delivery in Malta, the ability to have inventory on- site will allow Aerospheres to provide almost same-day delivery while saving on inventory holding costs.

“This new partnership will help render our supply chain more efficient and effective. It allows us to continue reducing our supplier base while driving down operational costs. We are happy to have Aerospheres onboard with us as a key supplier,” comments Mike Sigley, Head of Supply Chain, Aircraft Services at SR Technics Malta Ltd.

Volocopter partners with Urban Movement Labs of Los Angeles

Volocopter, of urban air mobility (UAM), has partnered with Los Angeles-based Urban Movement Labs (UML) to explore the application of Volocopter’s UAM solutions in the Los Angeles area. As part of Volocopter’s US market campaign, the company will also be present at CoMotion LA from 16-18 November 2021 for the public to learn more about this new mode of urban transportation.

UAM is a subcategory of advanced air mobility (AAM) that focuses on how advanced aircraft operate in and around cities. Today, Volocopter is developing its electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to provide commercial transportation services for passengers and goods – 100% electric and emission-free in flight. Furthermore, this mobility service will be positioned to support existing transport options, introduce new local employment opportunities, and provide point-to-point connections at costs similar to current taxi fares.

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American Airlines and GOL form an exclusive partnership

American Airlines has entered into a letter of intent to further solidify its partnership with GOL, Brazil’s largest airline. Building on the two carriers’ initial codeshare offering in 2020, the expanded partnership includes an exclusive codeshare agreement, a larger and more lucrative joint SMILES and AAdvantage® loyalty program partnership. It also expects to increase commercial cooperation with GOL to accelerate growth and create a more seamless experience for all customers.

GOL will become American’s sole codeshare partner in Brazil and American will become GOL’s sole codeshare partner in the U.S. On their combined networks, customers can travel to more than 30 destinations served by American in the U.S. and more than 20 new destinations in South America served by GOL.

American will invest US$200 million in 22.2 million newly issued preferred shares of GOL in a capital increase, for a 5.2% participation in the Company’s economic interest. The completion of the agreements described in this press release, including the proposed equity investment are subject to conditions, including the negotiation, execution and delivery of definitive documentation, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

S7 Technics presents Russia’s first shop for engine and APU overhaul

S7 Technics is setting up a new shop for overhaul of CFM56 engines and Honeywell auxiliary power units (APU). This one of its kind facility in Russia and the CIS will be located at the premises of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport. It will specialize on overhaul of the most popular engines operated by Russian airlines – CFM International’s CFM56 and Honeywell APUs.

S7 Technics’ Sheremetyevo facility will perform overhaul of CFM56-5B and -7B engines, which power the world’s most popular aircraft families – Airbus A320ceo and Boeing 737NG. S7 Technics’ specialists will carry out complete disassembly of the engines, clean parts and units, and inspect them for further repairs or replacement. After reassembling, engine performance will be checked on a test bench.

As a partner to Honeywell, S7 Technics will initially perform authorized repairs of APUs type 131-9А/B, installed on the same aircraft types. The new facility with the total floor area of 14,000 square meters will consist of two blocks – for engine and APU overhaul, wash lines, inspections, component repairs, parts warehouse and a test bench for testing APUs after repairs.
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Tamar