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Friday, September 24th, 2021

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South African Airways takes to the sky again after a one-year hiatus

It was last September when flag carrying airline South African Airways (SAA) ceased operations after it had been under a form of bankruptcy protection since December 2019, and since then all planes had remained grounded. The carrier had been struggling against the dual problems of lack of profitability and the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which had forced it into administration after it ran out of funds.

In April this year, SAA came out of administration but chose not to resume operations until there was sufficient demand for air travel. September 23, saw the first SAA plane take to the skies this year as a slimmed-down carrier began a reduced schedule. A limited number of flights will be operated between its headquarters in Johannesburg and Cape Town, and major African cities including Accra, Kinshasa, Harare, Lusaka and Maputo.

The South African government has already made it clear it wishes to sell off a 51% stake in the carrier as public funds are currently stretched and it cannot continue to bail out the struggling carrier. Currently the Tshepo Consortium is in talks with the South African government and is going through the due diligence process, which is nearly complete. According to the South African public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan, the consortium will comprise pan-African investor group Harith Global Partners and aviation group Global Aviation, which aims to provide a US$221.6 million injection. The South African government will retain a 49% stake in the carrier.

In a statement issued at the time of the consortium’s announcement of its interest in SAA its co-founder and consortium chair Tshepo Mahloele said the Tshepo Consortium had the experience, expertise and capital to transform SAA into a substantial operating business.

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Wencor and PMA Aeroparts announce exclusive global distribution agreement and strategic partnership

PMA Aeroparts has selected Wencor as its exclusive global distribution partner for its Part Manufacturer Approval (PMA) product line, approved by the FAA under AP part number references, effective immediately. The global agreement includes filtration, sensors, switches, controls and hardware products, which will boost Wencor’s material solution offerings.

Mark Hansson, President & CEO of PMA Aeroparts, noted: “Partnering with Wencor makes perfect sense given Wencor’s proven track record of PMA development and acceptance and Wencor’s close relationships with the world’s leading airlines and MROs”.

SIA Engineering Company signs maintenance agreement with Hawaiian Airlines

SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) has signed an agreement with Hawaiian Airlines to expand airframe maintenance services for its Airbus A330-200 fleet.

SIAEC currently has existing airframe maintenance services agreements with Hawaiian Airlines for its A330 aircraft, covering heavy checks and painting. Under the new agreement, SIAEC will be performing 12-year checks commencing in March 2022. The maintenance services will be undertaken by SIAEC at its facility in Singapore.

Hawaiian Airlines is Hawaii's biggest and longest-serving airline. It currently offers approximately 130 flights within the Hawaiian Islands, and services between Hawaii and 16 U.S. gateway cities as well as Tahiti, American Samoa, Japan, and South Korea.

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easyJet bolsters investment in seasonal bases with five new aircraft across Malaga, Palma and Faro bases in 2022

As the European aviation market continues to recover, easyJet will be expanding its network of seasonal bases by adding five more aircraft across bases Malaga, Palma de Mallorca and Faro from May 2022. The investment will create around 120 direct jobs in Spain where the airline currently employs more than 400 people, all under local contracts along with 30 jobs in the Faro base.  

As a result, next summer easyJet will have five based aircraft in Malaga where it is the second largest airline, and seven in Palma, bringing the Spanish fleet to 16 aircraft, including four in its base in Barcelona. It will also add an additional aircraft into Portugal at the Faro base. This means the airline will have increased its fleet based in Portugal and Spain by 70% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Adding more capacity to the airline’s bases in Málaga and Palma builds on its successful destination bases in Southern Europe. These new based aircraft will allow easyJet to reinforce existing markets, as well as explore new flows in the future that were previously inaccessible for easyJet providing the airline long term growth in these destinations.

EVE and Bristow enter partnership to develop UAM capabilities with order for up to 100 eVTOLs

Eve Urban Air Mobility (EVE) an Embraer company, and Bristow Group, a global leader in vertical flight solutions, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to develop an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for Eve’s electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The partnership will develop an Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operating model using Bristow’s experience in safely transporting passengers and cargo worldwide. In addition, Bristow has placed an order for up to 100 eVTOLs with deliveries expected to start in 2026.

Using each other’s respective strengths, Bristow will lend its 70 plus years of transport expertise in global operations to Eve’s unique value proposition to offer a comprehensive suite of UAM products and services for various regions and missions. The UAM operating environment will focus on areas such as vehicle design, vertiport design, regulatory development for the operating environment, eVTOL certification and autonomous operation.

The companies plan to develop services-based capabilities to support and optimize the performance and utilization of eVTOLs in operation and integrate with both existing and next-generation air traffic management systems.

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Direct Maintenance to open new line maintenance stations in Frankfurt and Munich

Direct Maintenance, a certified line maintenance service provider, part of Magnetic MRO, has announced the recent expansion within Germany with scheduled opening of two new line maintenance stations in Frankfurt and Munich airports.

Two new stations in Germany are the latest developments since the company began operating at Cologne-Bonn airport in July 1, 2021. Line maintenance stations will be providing line maintenance services for a variety of narrow- and wide-body aircraft types, including B787, A350, B777, A330 and A320 aircraft. 

“This year, we have been and are still busy working out our future strategic plans on developing and growing Direct Maintenance in Germany and beyond. We are confident because of the ongoing customer service success our team delivers to our clients, staged re-emerging post-pandemic flights and changes in the German market, thus we are proactively expanding within the region. Also, we will continue to support our ongoing investments in our existing stations, extending our capabilities to serve more aircraft types and airlines across a network of stations. Next to Germany, we do have more and other plans across Europe and Africa, too – and we are looking forward to announcing further expansion in the following months,” shared Jacco Klerk, CEO & Managing Director at Direct Maintenance.

Nordic Aviation Capital appoints Norman C.T. Liu as incoming President

Regional aircraft lessor Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has appointed Norman C.T. Liu as its new President, effective immediately. Liu is a highly accomplished global aviation executive, having been President of GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) between 2009 and 2016, and its Chairman in 2016.

The company has also made substantial progress in its restructuring with agreement reached on the outline terms of a framework with its largest creditor groups. The framework envisages a comprehensive restructuring of the company’s debt obligations (including the conversion of a substantial amount of the group’s debt to equity) and the provision of US$500 million of additional capital to best position NAC for future growth and success as global economic and industry conditions continue to improve.

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EirTrade undertakes sale of Stobart Air inventories on behalf of Deloitte Ireland

EirTrade Aviation, the aviation technical asset services and trading company, has been appointed as an agent to act on behalf of joint liquidators Ken Fennell and Mark Degnan of Deloitte Ireland to broker the sale of Stobart Air inventories following the collapse of the company.

“This is a new undertaking for EirTrade and we are delighted to have been given this opportunity by the liquidators to assist with the disposal of the Stobart Air inventories,” comments Lee Carey, VP Asset Management at EirTrade. “It is our intention to package the inventories into several large lots which we will then offer to the market. The inventories comprise ground support equipment, expendables, consumables and tooling for regional aircraft such as the ATR42, ATR72, and Embraer E190 and E195. This opportunity will give us the ability to participate in new markets and further expand our service offering to the market”.

Investec provides growth finance facility to APOC Aviation for engines and landing gear portfolio

Utilizing an initial tranche of funds, APOC has secured an ongoing finance facility with Investec for multiple lease assets. APOC’s majority shareholder, Egeria, has worked with Investec across several of its portfolio businesses and has provided instrumental support throughout.

“Investec offered us a facility that would start relatively small, but which could grow over time” says Barry Lemmers, CFO – APOC Aviation. “Currently, it represents a limited part of our outstanding financing, but this is expected to increase over the next months and years. Multiple financiers were interested to provide APOC with financing to grow the engine and landing gear leasing portfolio. Investec stood out because of their flexibility in the structuring and timing of the deployment of the financing. Our priority is to find suitable landing gears and engines that meet our stringent criteria and fit within the expanding lease portfolio.

“APOC is able to offer customers flexible short- and long-term leasing solutions, so we need a range of assets to meet these varying needs. The Investec facility will be used selectively as we finance each asset based on condition, credit counterparty and lease terms.”

APOC’s reputation as a young dynamic company with a robust track record of financial performance through recent years and its dynamic growth trajectory attracted Investec. APOC is also backed by a strong majority private equity shareholder, Egeria, that is able and willing to provide sustained growth capital.
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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar