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Friday, November 5th, 2021

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Bleak outlook as predicted slew of cancelled flights likely to play havoc with US holiday flights

A very dark shadow has been cast over the forthcoming holiday period in America with major airlines across the country struggling to recruit staff as post pandemic-restricted travel demand surges. Even back in the summer flight cancellations owing to staff shortages were occurring, and the problem has been exacerbated by virtually all major airlines scrambling to boost staffing levels at the same time.

According to REUTERS news agency, Both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines have been adding multiple flights, consequently severely stretching resources. Last weekend American Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights as a consequence of both bad weather and staffing shortages. Last month, the number of flights cancelled by Southwest Airlines stretched into the thousands, costing the carrier over US$75 million, while in August Spirit Airlines was forced to cancel over 2,800 flights. With Thanksgiving looming, Southwest Airlines advised last month that flight bookings for the holiday period stood at pre-COVID-19 levels.

Currently American Airlines is hoping to onboard 4,000 new employees while also recalling 1,800 flight attendants who are currently on long-term leave. Southwest Airlines has indicated it is aiming to increase staffing levels by 5,000 by the end of December. Ticket prices are likely to become victim to the staff shortages as well as a hike in fuel prices, though despite a minimum wage increase to $15.00 an hour and hiring referral bonuses, applicant numbers conversely remain lower than pre-pandemic levels. Meanwhile unions have been quick to blame carriers for poor planning which has led to pilots experiencing fatigue and difficulty in finding accommodation.

"We're very concerned that management is stuffing the holiday turkey with uncertainty for the upcoming holiday travel period," said Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents pilots at American Airlines. Meanwhile, carriers such as United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have not suffered a similar fate as they have been able to mitigate a surge for national demand for air travel with a still relatively low demand for international air travel.

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Spirit AeroSystems posts revenue of US$980 million in Q3 2021 up 22%

Spirit AeroSystems' (Spirit) third quarter of 2021 revenue was US$980.0 million, up 22% from the same period of 2020, primarily due to higher production deliveries on the Boeing 737 and increased revenue from the recently acquired A220 wing and Bombardier programmes. These increases were partially offset by the lower wide-body production rates due to reduced international air traffic resulting from the impacts of COVID-19. Deliveries increased to 250 shipsets during the third quarter of 2021 compared to 206 shipsets in the same period of 2020, including Boeing 737 deliveries of 47 shipsets compared to 15 shipsets in the same period of the prior year.

Spirit’s backlog at the end of the third quarter of 2021 was approximately US$33 billion, with work packages on all commercial platforms in the Boeing and Airbus backlog.

Operating loss for the third quarter of 2021 was US$156.6 million, as compared to operating loss of US$176.9 million in the same period of 2020. The decreased loss was primarily driven by lower forward loss charges and lower excess capacity costs in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2020.

Third quarter 2021 earnings included US$57.1 million of excess capacity costs and net forward loss charges of US$70.4 million, primarily driven by schedule changes on the Airbus A350 programme and reduced production demand on the Boeing 787 programme. In comparison, during the third quarter of 2020, Spirit recorded excess capacity costs of US$72.6 million and US$128.4 million of net forward loss charges. Additionally, during the third quarter of 2020, Spirit recognised restructuring expenses of US$19.5 million for cost-alignment and headcount reductions.

MTU Maintenance Lease Services B.V. now a full MTU subsidiary

MTU Aero Engines (MTU) has purchased a 20% share of MTU Maintenance Lease Services B.V. (MLS) from Sumitomo Corporation, making the Amsterdam-based company a 100% subsidiary of MTU. MTU has also sold its 10% share in SMBC Aero Engine Lease B.V. to Sumitomo Corporation. Both companies will continue to maintain their close collaboration.

The move will unlock the full potential of synergies within the MTU group and more focussed support of MTU’s engine maintenance, repair and overhaul customers with their spare engine and material needs. It will also ensure continued used serviceable material supply for MTU’s network of maintenance facilities. Further, MLS is specialised in leasing, asset management and technical consulting and will continue to develop its portfolio according to market and customer needs.  

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IAG Cargo reports strong third-quarter revenues of €405 million

IAG Cargo reported that third quarter 2021 (Q3) revenues represent an increase of 34.4% at constant currency versus the same period last year. Overall yield for Q3 was down 2.0% at constant currency versus 2020. Sold tonnes were up 42.6%. The results come on top of IAG Cargo’s half year revenue of €769 million, delivering total revenue to date of €1,174 million in 2021, up 28.0% on the same time last year.

The quarter’s success has been achieved through a sustained resurgence in the volume of flights offered by IAG Cargo. Overall, IAG Cargo has seen a 24% increase in capacity on the previous quarter and a 62.2% increase compared to Q3 last year. The increased activity reflects growing levels of global trade, as many economies experience recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. New routes during the quarter included Nairobi, Istanbul, Male, Chennai, Vienna, Denver and Phoenix whilst many other lanes saw increased frequencies.

During the quarter, IAG Cargo’s ability to provide a fast, efficient and global service, connecting East to West, has been in high demand. IAG Cargo’s hubs in Heathrow, Madrid and Dublin have been pivotal, with a significant increase in interline activity. IAG Cargo also increasingly saw conversions from sea freight as shippers turned to air freight to minimise the impact of the well-publicised supply chain disruption.

Willis Lease Finance Corporation reports third-quarter pre-tax profit of US$6.1 million

Willis Lease Finance Corporation has reported third-quarter total revenues of US$70.8 million and pre-tax profit of US$6.1 million. For the three months ended September 30, 2021, aggregate lease rent and maintenance reserve revenues were US$56.6 million and spare parts and equipment sales were US$5.1 million. The company reported increased total revenues in the third quarter when compared to the prior year period, primarily due to an increase in lease rent revenue and gain on sale of leased equipment partially offset by a reduction in long-term maintenance revenue.

“We are encouraged to see some of the early stages of a recovery reflected in our improved quarterly performance,” said Charles F. Willis, Chairman and CEO. “While we are still a long way from a pre-COVID environment and many hurdles still exist on that path, we are pleased to see our customers beginning to use the equipment they have more and increasingly requesting additional support. The aviation industry is important to the global recovery, and we are proud to be part of it.”

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Embraer delivers first Phenom 300E to Ecuador

Embraer has delivered a new Phenom 300E to an undisclosed customer in Quito, Ecuador, marking the first delivery of the aircraft type in the country.

The Phenom 300E’s technology, performance, and comfort are key for the missions in which the aircraft will fly. With a range of 2,010 nautical miles (3,724 km), the aircraft also features unique take-off performance, which allows it to depart from Quito International (SEQM) at its maximum structural take-off weight (MTOW) in temperatures up to ISA+26 on dry or wet runways and fly non-stop to Miami, for instance.

In addition to the Phenom 300E’s range, the aircraft was selected by the customer for its ability to operate from challenging airports with outstanding performance when facing short runways, high elevations and surrounding mountains. With superb runway and climb capabilities, the Phenom 300E demonstrates unmatched performance with technologies such as Synthetic Vision System (SVS) to provide enhanced situational awareness and runway overrun awareness and alerting system (ROAAS)―the first technology of its kind to be developed and certified in business aviation.

GA Telesis signs new agreement with Didsbury Engineering

GA Telesis (GAT) continues to elevate its tooling and GSE sector growth, signing a new agreement with UK-based Didsbury Engineering to become a global distributor of its extensive inventory of hoist kits and other ground service equipment (GSE).

The hoists are an integral tool in the safe installation and removal of heavy, hard-to-reach aircraft components. This agreement further solidifies GA Telesis' Tarmac Solutions team commitment to offering critical, specialised tooling to support airlines and MRO operations.

“Didsbury Engineering is proud to work with GA Telesis on this new partnership, which will help increase the exposure of Didsbury Engineering's OEM-approved aircraft tooling and fuel tank entry equipment in the worldwide aviation market,” said Matthew Lockett, Civil Aviation Account Manager. “By partnering with GA Telesis, we are confident we can add real value to our customer network and look forward to creating cost-effective engineering solutions for the end-user community,” added Lockett.

Viva Air selects IFS for aviation maintenance and fleet planning

IFS, the global cloud enterprise applications company, has announced that Viva Air has selected IFS to support its Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and fleet planning operations. As one of Latin America’s leading low-cost carriers with ambitious expansion plans across South and North America, Viva Air will deploy IFS software to support maintenance planning and execution across its growing fleet of aircraft.

Over the last decade Viva Air has grown rapidly across Latin America and now serves 20+ routes within Colombia and Peru, as well as international routes to Mexico and a growing number of daily flights to the US. The company has a vision to establish itself as the leading low-cost airline in Latin America, with planned international expansion into Brazil, Argentina, Chile and more countries in the region. The airline currently operates 21 Airbus A320-200 and A320neo aircraft, with fleet size expected to more than double over the next five years.

Advanced maintenance software was required to match these aggressive expansion plans. Following an extensive evaluation, the decision was made to move to a cloud-based maintenance management system provided by IFS. IFS MRO and fleet planning software will provide visibility across the entire Viva Air network, bringing multiple disparate systems to a single view in order to more effectively scale the organisation.

The cloud solution will be implemented and hosted by IFS partner Tsunami Tsolutions. Viva Air is the latest commercial airline customer to select IFS, joining other airline operators across the Americas including LATAM, Copa Airlines, Cape Air, PSA Airlines and more.

Finnair traffic performance in October 2021

In October, Finnair carried 433,300 passengers, which was 330.0% more than in October 2020. The number of passengers in October 2021 was 45.3% more than in September 2021.

The COVID-19 impact, including the strict travel restrictions imposed by several countries, still affected all passenger traffic figures. It was particularly visible in the North Atlantic and Asian figures.

The overall capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), increased in October by 252.8% year-on-year and by 31.6% month-on-month. Finnair operated, on average, 173 daily flights (cargo-only included), which was 130.7% more than in October 2020 and 20.1% more than in September 2021. The differences between capacity figures compared to October 2020 are explained by the longer average stage length of flights operated and by the larger gauge of aircraft operated. Finnair's traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), increased by 419.3% year-on-year and by 51.3% month-on-month. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) increased by 14.9 points to 46.6% year-on-year and by 6.1% points month-on-month.

The ASK increase in Asian traffic was 87.6% year-on-year. In European traffic, the ASKs were up by 367.4%. The ASKs in domestic traffic increased by 33.5%.

RPKs increased in Asian traffic by 70.3%, in European traffic by 726.6% and in domestic traffic by 61.2% year-on-year.

The PLF was 17.4% in Asian traffic and 15.1% in North Atlantic traffic, but both were supported by the very strong cargo operations and a high cargo load factor. The PLF was 79.5% in European traffic, which is already close to the pre-pandemic figures. The PLF in domestic traffic was 72.0%.

Passenger numbers increased in Asian traffic by 67.9%, in European traffic by 545.7% and in domestic traffic by 71.6% year-on-year.

In North Atlantic traffic, ASK, RPK and passenger number growth rates year-on-year cannot be calculated as there were no passenger flights in October 2020.

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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
Phone: +1 (788) 213 8543
Tamar