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Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

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London Heathrow gets all-clear for massive passenger charge hike

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given the green light to London Heathrow Airport to raise charges levied on carriers for individual passengers by up to a further £13.00 (US$18.00) from a current £22.00. For now, the increase has been capped at £25 to £35 over the next five years, though chiefs at Heathrow wanted the charge to be increased to £43 commencing January 2022. Instead, a £30.00 fee has been agreed for January, though this will become part of a separate November consultation. That £8 increase means an additional cost of £32 for a family of four, on top of any increase in costs from carriers, as it is anticipated the increase in the levy will be directly passed on to passengers through the cost of their flight.

Keen to increase revenue after a difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic – last year it reported a £2 billion loss – Heathrow is looking at multiple options to generate additional revenue and has just introduced a £5.00 drop-off charge for passengers who are dropped off outside terminals. Willie Walsh, IATA’s chief has joined BA and Virgin Atlantic in lobbying the CAA to block the price hikes, having accused Heathrow of acting like “a greedy monopoly.”

Heathrow already has the highest fees charged for passengers of any U.K. airport. It is also possible for carriers to object to the levy by going to the Competitions and Markets Authority. A Heathrow spokesman commented that: “While it is right the CAA protect consumers against excessive profits and waste, the settlement is not designed to shield airlines from legitimate cost increases or the impacts of fewer people travelling. We look forward to discussing the CAA's proposals in detail with the regulator and our airline partners as we work towards a new settlement.” (£1.00 = US$1.38 at time of publication.)

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GA Telesis MRO Services Group and Honeywell expand partnership

GA Telesis MRO Services Group has extended its current agreement with Honeywell through the end of 2028. Additionally, a new portfolio of part numbers was added to the existing contract. The initial agreement was entered into December 2017 and was set to expire at the end of 2022.

This new contract recognizes GA Telesis as one of Honeywell’s channel customers. Through this agreement, the company can deliver components using genuine OEM material at PMA equivalent cost. Further, the new part numbers added to the agreement will benefit the company's customers who operate newer fleets. In addition, the part numbers cover a greater range of new aircraft types.

“This extension and expansion of the MRO portfolio is a testament of the value GA Telesis has delivered to Honeywell and our customers,” said Pastor Lopez, President, MRO Services Group. "We are constantly striving to find ways to increase the value content we deliver with each unit via our OEM alignment strategy."

IAG Engine Center U.S.A. appoints Joe Ujczo Vice President of Operations

IAG Engine Center U.S.A. has appointed Joe Ujczo as the new Vice President of Operations, effective October 2021. Ujczo will be responsible for all production activities including engineering, material procurement and logistics.

Ujczo brings more than 25 years of aerospace engineering, MRO turbine engines and component repair experience to IAG Engine Center U.S.A. He has served as Operations Manager, Component Repair of Rolls-Royce Engine Services Oakland, Commercial Business Unit Manager of Pratt & Whitney San Antonio along with other key positions in industry leading aerospace companies.

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EmbraerX signs services agreement with Republic Airways for use of Beacon

EmbraerX has signed a multi-year agreement with Republic Airways for the use of Beacon’s maintenance coordination platform, which will support the airline’s digital transformation. Beacon will support all maintenance operations and accelerate aircraft’s return-to-service time by integrating the platform into Republic’s stations and will include each of its on-call maintenance providers. Republic Airways is currently one of the largest regional commercial operators in the U.S. with a fleet of 223 aircraft, operating regional flights for the three largest U.S. carriers.

Over the first six months of 2021, Republic saw an average delay decrease as it adopted Beacon at its base stations. As traveling takes off and Republic's flight volume increases, its overall out-of-service delay time has held steady, making a case for Beacon’s technology in managing interruptions and accelerating return-to-service time.

The relationship with Republic started in January 2020, when the company partnered with Beacon as its launch customer for the commercial aviation segment in the U.S. By implementing Beacon, Republic and its whole suite of maintenance service partners gained a competitive advantage thanks to the platform’s efficiencies in resolving maintenance cases. As an early adopter of Beacon, Republic has been validating and testing Beacon’s product features with its users in the large regional independent operators’ segment.

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Boeing forecasts 20-year Middle East commercial jet and services market valued at more than US$1.4 trillion

Boeing is projecting that airlines in the Middle East will require 3,000 new airplanes valued at US$700 billion and aftermarket services such as maintenance and repair worth US$740 billion, with the region positioned to capitalize on the recovery of regional and international travel and cargo demand. Boeing provided the estimate in its 2021 Commercial Market Outlook (CMO), a forecast of 20-year demand for commercial airplanes and services.

Middle East passenger traffic and the region’s commercial fleet are projected to more than double over the 20-year forecast period, according to the CMO. More than two-thirds of airplane deliveries to the Middle East will accommodate growth, while one-third of deliveries will replace older airplanes with more fuel-efficient models such as the 737 MAX, 787 Dreamliner and 777X.

“The Middle East region’s role as a global connecting hub continues to be important for developing markets to and from Southeast Asia, China and Africa,” said Randy Heisey, Boeing managing director of Commercial Marketing for the Middle East. “The region has been a leader in restoring confident passenger travel through multi-faceted initiatives that aid international travel recovery.”

Air freight represents an ongoing area of opportunity for Middle East airlines, with the freighter fleet projected to nearly double from 80 airplanes in 2019 to 150 by 2040. Notably, air cargo traffic flown by Middle East carriers has increased since 2020 by nearly 20%, with two of the world’s top-five cargo carriers based in the region.

To accommodate increased passenger and cargo traffic Boeing's CMO predicts that airlines will grow their fleets to 3,530 jets. The region will continue to see robust wide-body demand, with 1,570 deliveries supporting a growing network of international routes. The current single-aisle fleet of 660 airplanes is forecast to nearly triple to 1,750 jets. Commercial services opportunities include fleet renewal, maintenance, repair and parts supply, and operations optimization. Boeing’s 2021 Pilot and Technician Outlook forecasts that the region is estimated to require 223,000 new aviation personnel by 2040, including 54,000 pilots, 51,000 technicians and 91,000 cabin crew members.

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United Airlines confident to meet 2022 targets

United Airlines (UAL) has reported third-quarter 2021 financial results. Despite the impact of the COVID-19 Delta variant in the third quarter, the company remains confidently on track to achieve the range of longer-term financial targets laid out as part of its United Next plan earlier this summer, and to reduce CASM-ex below 2019 levels next year.

Third-quarter 2021 capacity was down 28% compared to the third quarter of 2019. Third-quarter 2021 net income was US$0.5 billion, adjusted net loss was US$0.3 billion. Total operating revenue was US$7.8 billion, down 31.9% compared to the third quarter 2019 while third quarter 2021 Total Revenue Per Available Seat Mile (TRASM) was down 5.1% compared to the third quarter 2019. Operating expenses was down 32.2%, down 20.9% excluding special charges (credits), compared to the third quarter 2019.

Citing the rebound in premium leisure travel, re-opening of European borders next month, continued recovery of business travel and early indications of loosening travel restrictions in key Pacific markets, United also announced plans to increase international capacity by 10% in 2022 - while keeping domestic capacity flat to 2019. The plan will capitalize on already improving international margins and United's ideally situated coastal hubs that have powered the airline's recent success in launching new routes to Africa and India. Expected flying at record levels to Europe, Latin America, India, Africa and the Middle East in summer 2022, will be enabled by the anticipated return of United's Pratt & Whitney-powered Boeing 777s to the fleet in 2022, which - when combined with already announced approximately US$2.2 billion in structural cost reduction and planned gauge growth - will allow United to keep CASM-ex in check as it continues on the path to recovery.

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Vallair introduces comprehensive wide-body maintenance capabilities to new Châteauroux hangar from 2022

Vallair, the multi-faceted aviation business dedicated to the support of both aircraft operators and lessors, will be extending its full maintenance capabilities with the addition of a state-of-the-art hangar at Marcel Dassault Airport in Châteauroux, France. Operational from 2022, the facility will be dedicated to the support of wide-body Airbus and Boeing aircraft and accommodate up to five A321-size aircraft simultaneously, or a combination of A330/A340 and A321s.

This unique, A380-capable, 8,500 m² facility has already begun to positively impact employment with the creation of nearly 200 jobs over the coming years which will be divided between Vallair employees and subcontractors.

“This is a natural expansion for us, “says Malcolm Chandler, Head of Commercial & Marketing at Vallair. “Our initial focus will be the Airbus A330 maintenance capabilities with a view to adding A340/A350, and possibly B777, at a later stage. Vallair will then be able to offer the full range of maintenance capabilities including NDT, lease transitions, LOPA change and cabin refurbishment, which will be offered alongside our current aerostructure services. Our existing composite facility in Châteauroux already offers repairs for critical parts such as nacelles, fan cowls, thrust reversers and flying control surfaces enabling our customers to benefit from cost effective solutions with quick turn-around-times.”

Sabena technics and Liebherr-Aerospace sign ATR42/72-600 maintenance agreement

Sabena technics and Liebherr-Aerospace have signed a ten-year Pay-by-the-Hour maintenance agreement covering the new air management system (NAMS) component repairs for all ATR42/72-600 aircraft fleets supported by the European MRO.

The new air management system developed and manufactured by Liebherr-Aerospace, has entered into service at the end of 2020 on ATR’s 42/72 aircraft family. The regional aircraft program will benefit from this highly reliable system as it generates and enhances on-board comfort for passengers and crew while substantially reducing operations’ costs.

Through this ten-year agreement, Liebherr-Aerospace will be handling the comprehensive product support and services for Sabena technics’ operators through a back-to-back contract. The support services will be performed by Liebherr-Aerospace’s service stations in Toulouse (France), center of excellence for air management systems, and Liebherr-Aerospace’s service stations in Singapore and Saline, Michigan (U.S.A.).
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