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Monday, November 8th, 2021

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Boeing directors propose US$237.5 shareholder settlement for 737 MAX safety oversight

Former and current Boeing directors have stood by their actions in relation to overseeing safety aspects of the design and construction of the ill-fated 737 MAX twin-engine jet involved in two catastrophic and fatal crashes over a five-month period which killed a combined total of 346 passengers and crew. Despite this, they have agreed to pay shareholders US$237.5 million in settlement of their lawsuit against them relating to their oversight of the jet programme.

Subsequent to the two crashes, Boeing implemented significant improvements to both software and pilot training. In addition to the financial settlement, within a year the Board will be required to elect an additional director to the Board who has aviation/aerospace, engineering or product safety oversight expertise.

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is one of the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit and commented that the Boeing Board: "failed in their fiduciary responsibility to monitor safety and protect the company, its shareholders and its customers from unsafe business practices and admitted illegal conduct. It is our hope, moving forward, that the reforms agreed to in this settlement will help safeguard Boeing and the flying public against future tragedy and begin to restore the company’s reputation."

Additionally, the Board will be required to include three directors with comprehensive safety-related experience, while the planemaker would be required to amend its bylaws to require the separation of the CEO and Board Chair positions, and create an ombudsman programme for the next five years for Boeing employees who carry out certification work for the  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to be able to raise any concerns they may have over work being carried out on aircraft. The settlement would also require Boeing to provide annual public reports on safety related enhancements implemented by the planemaker since the 737 MAX air disasters.

In the settlement, Board members have steadfastly maintained that they were acting in the best interests of Boeing and the company’s stockholders at all times. The settlement, less US$29.7 in legal fees, will be paid by Boeing’s insurers. Boeing has already agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice including US$2.5 billion in fines and compensation directly related to the two fatal crashes. (£1.00 = US$1.37 at time of publication).

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IAG posts operating loss of €2,487 million for nine months to September 30, 2021

International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) has released Group consolidated results for the nine months to September 30, 2021.

The Group reported operating loss for the third quarter of €452 million (2020 restated: operating loss of €1,923 million) and operating loss before exceptional items of €485 million (2020 restated: operating loss before exceptional items of €1,305 million).
For the nine months the Group reported operating loss of €2,487 million (2020 restated: operating loss of€5,975 million) and operating loss before exceptional items of €2,665 million (2020 restated: operating loss before exceptional items of €3,220 million)
IAG reported exceptional credit before tax in the nine months of €178 million on discontinuance of fuel and foreign exchange hedge accounting and the reversal of the impairment of certain fleet assets (2020: exceptional charge before tax of €2,755 million on discontinuance of fuel and foreign exchange hedge accounting and impairment of fleet assets)

Loss after tax and exceptional items for the nine months was €2,622 million (2020 restated: loss of €5,576 million) and
loss after tax before exceptional items of €2,775 million (2020 restated: loss of€3,185 million).

At current fuel prices and exchange rates, IAG expects its 2021 operating loss before exceptional items to be approximately €3.0 billion. Fourth-quarter capacity, measured in ASKs, is expected to be approximately 60% of 2019, resulting in 2021 capacity of 37% of the 2019 level.

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China Eastern chooses Safran for MRO operations on landing gear of Airbus A330 fleet

Safran Landing Systems has signed a five-year contract with Chinese airline China Eastern to carry out maintenance operations on the landing gear of 31 Airbus A330 aircraft. These operations will take place at its Singapore workshop.

The Singapore workshop is a joint venture with SIAec (Singapore Airlines Engineering Company), which has over 300 employees specialising in landing gear revision. Over 9,000 landing gears have been revised there, to date.

The contract is part of the Landing LifeTM support and services offer, which covers all Safran Landing Systems' after-sales business and aims to provide a responsive, reliable and good-value service.

Austrian Airlines and Vienna Airport implement contactless travel

Austrian Airlines and Vienna International Airport will jointly introduce the biometric recognition system for contactless travel on November 9. Star Alliance Biometrics facilitates boarding without presenting the boarding pass and passing through security access quickly and contactless. This feature is exclusive for Miles & More members. After a one-time registration via the Miles & More app and accepting the terms of use, frequent flyers can access boarding pass control and selected quick-boarding-gates contactless. A special infrastructure has been set up at the Vienna hub in Terminal 3.

The biometric recognition system not only allows for more travel comfort for frequent flyers, in times of increased hygiene standards, it also provides an important contribution to health protection. Since the facial recognition technology is not affected, passengers can keep their FFP2-mask on, which is mandatory inside the terminal.

“The optimisation of travel processes is a top priority for us. With biometric technology, we can offer our frequent flyers more travel comfort and a contactless passenger journey. Once registered, the free service can now be used for Austrian, Lufthansa and SWISS flights at our Vienna hub in addition to Munich and Frankfurt airports," says Austrian Airlines CCO Michael Trestl.

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Qatar Airways brings Airbus A380 aircraft back into operation

A Qatar Airways Airbus A380 took to the skies for the first time in more than 18 months last week, positioning the aircraft from Doha International Airport (DIA) to Hamad International Airport (HIA) after the airline reluctantly took the decision to welcome the fleet back into operation due to ongoing capacity shortage.

It is anticipated that at least five of the airline’s ten A380 aircraft will be brought back into service on a temporary basis over the coming weeks to support fleet capacity on key winter routes, including London Heathrow (LHR) and Paris (CDG), from December 15, 2021.

The national carrier for the State of Qatar is currently facing significant limitations to its fleet capacity as a result of the recent grounding of 19 of its Airbus A350 fleet due to an accelerated surface degradation condition impacting the surface of the aircraft below the paint, as mandated by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).

The airline also recently re-introduced a number of its A330 fleet following a continued increase in capacity requirements due to the easing of travel restrictions and the upcoming peak winter holiday period, which are anticipated to see a return to pre-COVID levels.

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Embraer reports earnings results for the third quarter 2021

Embraer has delivered nine commercial jets and 21 executive jets (14 light / seven large) in the third quarter of 2021, bringing the year-to-date deliveries to 32 commercial jets and 54 executive jets (36 light /18 large). Following solid sales activity in the period across businesses, total company firm order backlog at the end of the third quarter was US$ 16.8 billion, revenues reached US$ 958.1 million, representing year-over-year growth of 26.3% compared to the third quarter of 2020, with double digit growth in all segments. Excluding special items, adjusted EBIT and EBITDA were US$ 35.7 million and US$ 79.2 million, respectively, yielding adjusted EBIT margin of 3.7% and adjusted EBITDA margin of 8.3%. In the first nine months of 2021, adjusted EBIT margin was 3.8% and adjusted EBITDA margin was 8.9%;

Adjusted net loss (excluding special items and deferred income tax and social contribution) in the third quarter of 2021 was US$ (33.9) million, with adjusted loss per ADS of US$ (0.18). Embraer generated free cash flow of US$ 21.3 million during the third quarter and in the first nine months of 2021 free cash usage was US$ (160.2) million. The positive free cash flow in the third quarter represented the first time in more than ten years the company generated cash in the usually seasonally weak third quarter. The free cash flow in both periods represented a significant improvement compared to the prior year periods on better profitability and working capital efficiencies, particularly with respect to inventory management.

The company finished the quarter with total cash of US$ 2.5 billion and net debt of US$ 1.8 billion.
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Tamar