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Tuesday, September 28th, 2021

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Qatar Airways annual losses double on pandemic, impairments

In publishing its Annual Report for 2020/21, covering a challenging year with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic causing extensive loss of traffic and revenue, Qatar Airways Group has reported a net loss of US$4.1 billion, of which U.S.$2.3 billion was due to a one-time impairment charge related to the grounding of the airline's Airbus A380 and A330 fleets.

However, the Group reported an operational loss of US$288.3 million, 7% lower compared to 2019/20. Furthermore, the Group achieved a significant improvement in EBITDA, which stood at US$1.6 billion compared to US$1.4 billion the previous year. A combination of our Qatar Airways Cargo division and the Group’s commercial adaptability have been at the core of this recovery. The Group’s freight division, Qatar Airways Cargo, maintained its position as one of the world’s largest cargo carrier and grew its market share during 2020/21. Cargo has also overseen a 4.6% rise in freight tons handled over the previous fiscal year (2019/20), with 2,727,986 tons (chargeable weight) handled in 2020/21. This increase in freight handled, as well as a significant increase in cargo yield, also saw the carrier’s cargo revenues more than double. 

Reflecting on the previous 12 months, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: "Whilst our competitors grounded their aircraft and closed their routes, we adapted our entire commercial operation to respond to ever-evolving travel restrictions and never stopped flying, operating a network our passengers and customers could rely on. With the support of our varied fleet of modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, we were able to ensure that more of our scheduled flights operated than any other carrier and fulfilled our mission of taking stranded passengers home, whilst maintaining global supply chains to transport medical aid and supplies essential to the fight against COVID-19.”

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Boeing to add 767-300BCF conversion lines at GAMECO

Boeing and Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company (GAMECO) have announced plans to create additional capacity for the 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) to help meet continued strong market demand.

The agreement, revealed by the two companies during a signing ceremony at the China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, will expand freighter conversion capacity at GAMECO, opening two new 767-300BCF conversion lines next year.

GAMECO will be the first MRO in China to convert the 767-300BCF and the only MRO converting both the 767-300BCF and the 737-800BCF. Earlier this year, GAMECO announced plans to open a third 737-800BCF conversion line.

Boeing forecasts 1,720 freighter conversions will be needed over the next 20 years. Of those, 520 will be wide-body conversions with Asia carriers accounting for more than 40% of that demand. The 767-300BCF has more than 95 orders and commitments.

Alaska Airlines takes delivery of first of 13 new Boeing 737 aircraft from ALC

Air Lease Corporation has delivered one new Boeing 737-9 aircraft on long-term lease to Alaska Airlines. Featuring CFM International LEAP -1B engines, this is the first of 13 new 737-9 aircraft confirmed to deliver to the airline as announced in November 2020 from ALC’s orderbook with Boeing. This new 737-9 from ALC joins six 737-9s currently flying in Alaska Airlines’ fleet.

“Alaska Airlines is excited to take delivery of our seventh 737-9 from Boeing today, extending our partnership with Air Lease Corporation,” said Nat Pieper, Alaska’s Senior Vice President of Fleet, Finance and Alliances. “Our 737-9 experience has been terrific to date. The aircraft is fuel efficient, environmentally friendly, and our guests and teammates love flying it.”

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Rolls-Royce signs agreement to sell ITP Aero for €1.7 billion

Rolls-Royce has signed a definitive agreement to sell 100% of ITP Aero to Bain Capital Private Equity, which is leading a consortium of investors, for approximately €1.7 billion. The consortium includes interests to be held by Spanish co-investors SAPA and JB Capital.

The proposed sale is a key element of Rolls-Royce’s disposal program, announced on August 27, 2020, to raise proceeds of at least £2.0 billion, and is consistent with the company’s strategy of reducing capital intensity while maintaining a key long-term strategic supply relationship. Rolls-Royce will receive total cash proceeds (excluding any cash retained by Rolls-Royce) of approximately €1.7 billion, which will be used to help rebuild the Rolls-Royce balance sheet, in support of the company’s medium-term ambition to return to an investment grade credit profile. The proposed sale values ITP Aero at an enterprise value of approximately €1.8 billion. The transaction has been approved by the Board of Rolls-Royce and the consortium members and is subject to certain closing conditions, including customary regulatory clearances. It is expected to close in the first half of 2022.

The consortium’s vision for an independent ITP Aero is to invest in growing the company’s products, regions and customers and further enhance its status as a Spanish national champion. ITP Aero’s partnership with Bain Capital and the consortium will allow it to further drive its strategy to be a pioneer of new technologies and world class manufacturing enabled by a highly skilled workforce. This strategy will see ITP Aero maintain and grow its position as a leading supplier of critical engine components to key civil aviation and defense aircraft platforms, further diversifying its customer base and supporting the next generation of aircraft, including in sustainable and low carbon technologies. The consortium fully recognizes the importance of ITP Aero to Spain, the Basque Country, and the Spanish Government.

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Meggitt PLC signs agreement with China Southern Airlines Group to support Leap 1C customers in China

Meggitt PLC, a leading international company specializing in high-performance components for the aerospace, defense and selected energy markets, has signed a three-year warehousing and logistics agreement with China Southern Airlines Group Import & Export Trading Co., to support Aircraft on Ground (AOG) activities on the Leap 1C engine in the China region.

Under the agreement the China Southern Airlines Group will house a pool of Meggitt engine sensors and heat exchangers to dispatch to customers directly in case of an AOG incident, enabling a faster return to service for local Chinese airline customers. CFM International’s Leap-1C engine powers Comac’s new generation single-aisle jet, the C919. The engine uses Meggitt technology and is designed to deliver up to a 15% reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Finnair finalizes sale-and-leaseback agreement for four A350 aircraft

In conjunction with Finnair’s efforts to emerge from the CORONA-crisis, the company is proceeding with its refinancing plan and has finalized a sale-and-leaseback arrangement for four of its Airbus A350 aircraft. In the arrangement, Finnair sold these aircraft – delivered between June 2017 and February 2019 – and has leased them back for its own operation. The operating lease period is, on average, 12 years and the counterparties are GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) as the lessors; GECAS is the lease servicer.

The arrangement will not have a significant impact on Finnair’s operating result for the third quarter of 2021; however, the immediate positive cash effect for Finnair is in excess of US$400 million. Finnair will use the cash to refinance existing debt and retire its undrawn revolving credit facility of €175 million.

“This is the biggest single aircraft financing transaction in the history of our company”, says Finnair’s CFO Mika Stirkkinen. “It is a significant part of our refinancing plan, which we have executed diligently during the pandemic, and it helps us to further improve our capital structure.”

Finnair has ordered a total of 19 new A350-900 XWB aircraft from Airbus, of which 16 have been delivered. The remaining three A350 aircraft are expected to be delivered in the second quarter of 2022, the fourth quarter of 2024 and the first quarter of 2025.

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Satair and GAMECO extend long-term Airbus managed inventory agreement

GAMECO (Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co.), a leading MRO in the Chinese aviation aftermarket, has signed a contract with Satair extending its long-term agreement for the Airbus Managed Inventory (AMI) service. The new agreement extends the contract for a multi-year period to secure long-term flexibility and reliability to GAMECO’s inventory management.

Five years ago, GAMECO became the first customer in China for Satair’s AMI solution which supports aviation customers in reducing their inventory holding costs for high-usage and non-repairable Airbus proprietary parts.

AMI is a fee-based service offering that automatically replenishes customers' frequently consumed inventories of low-value, non-repairable parts at their facilities. This is done through monitoring of consumption through messages which generate orders for replacement parts electronically and refill the stock according to agreed inventory levels. The bigger the turnover of parts, the lower the service fee, and the scope of part numbers managed can be in the hundreds or thousands.

With AMI, GAMECO supports more than 350 Airbus aircraft operating in China consisting primarily of the Airbus A320-family, A330 and A380 for which all the part numbers scoped in the AMI solution are exclusively procured and managed by Satair.

Flying Colours Corp. ramps up special mission expertise

Flying Colours Corp., the maintenance, refurbishment, and completion specialist, continues solidifying its reputation for complex special mission expertise across a range of aircraft types having completed two significant projects in the last quarter.

Having undergone interior completions work at Flying Colours Corp. Peterborough headquarters in Ontario, a fifth Saab GlobalEye platform was delivered from Bombardier’s Toronto manufacturing site in August. As a Bombardier special mission completion partner for Saab’s GlobalEye program, a dedicated Flying Colours Corp. team is responsible for the design, manufacturing, installation, and completion of the highly specified interior, which is based on the Bombardier Global 6000/6500 type. Each monument shipset is individually produced to leverage the Global airframe as Flying Colours Corp. supports Saab through the introduction of a practical, functional interior for the mission system operators.

Flying Colours Corp. has noted an increased interest in special missions' requests in the last six months for multi-purpose interiors, and the modification of regional jets into corporate shuttle interiors. In addition, it is expanding its capabilities to further support aerial firefighting in response to the growing crisis related to the spread of wildfires, and its presence globally.

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Embraer’s new China market outlook predicts regional aircraft to lead the way in post-pandemic era

Embraer will reveal its latest outlook for the Chinese commercial aviation market at the Zhuhai Airshow today, September 28, the 13th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition. The report predicts new aircraft deliveries over the next 20 years based on passenger demand for air travel in the post-pandemic era. Embraer forecasts that 1,445 new aircraft in the up to 150-seat category will be needed in the region through 2040. Among those deliveries 77% will fulfill market growth, and 23% will replace ageing aircraft.

“During the pandemic, small and medium-sized aircraft and regional flights were instrumental in the quick recovery of connectivity in China. Our E-Jets were among the first aircraft types to restore flight frequencies across airline networks,” said Guo Qing, Managing Director and Vice President of Commercial Aviation, Embraer China. “In the post pandemic era, building a more efficient air transport system is of vital importance. The market calls for a more balanced fleet profile and route network structure to serve more secondary markets. That’s why we believe for the next 20 years, aircraft with up to 150 seats will fully release its potential.”

The Chinese government recently announced a series of infrastructure developments that includes around 200 new airports to encourage and promote industrial relocation. The importance of regional aircraft continues to increase after COVID-19, playing a key role in launching new services to these airports and developing demand.

Currently, there are 91 E-Jets in operation in China, flying across 550 routes, connecting 150 cities at home and abroad. They transport some 20 million passengers annually, connecting regional and trunk routes in east, north, northwest, and southwest of China.
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