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Monday, November 15th, 2021

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US$33 billion boost for Airbus as Indigo Partners order further 255 Airbus A321 in Dubai

Phoenix, Arizona-based Indigo Partners has placed an order for 255 new Airbus A321 jets which, at list price, is valued at US$33 billion (£24.6 billion). The agreement was signed on Sunday, November 14, at the Dubi Airshow 2021. The private equity firm, which has controlling interests in America’s Frontier Airlines, JetSmart, Volaris and European low-cost carrier Wizz Air, has now placed orders for 1,145 Airbus A320-family aircraft. This latest order includes 102 aircraft for Wizz Air, 91 for Frontier Airlines and 39 aircraft for Volaris. In addition, Volaris and JetSmart will be up-converting previous orders for 38 A320neos to the A321 variant.

“This order reaffirms our portfolio airlines’ commitment to consistent growth through the next decade. The Airbus A321neo and A321XLR have industry-leading efficiency, low-unit costs and a substantially reduced carbon footprint relative to prior models. With these aircraft, Wizz, Frontier, Volaris and JetSmart will continue to offer low fares, stimulate the markets they serve and improve their industry-leading sustainability profile,” said Bill Franke, Managing Partner of Indigo Partners.

“We are happy to further expand our relationship with our great Indigo Partners’ airlines Wizz, Frontier, Volaris and JetSmart, who have acted fast and decisively over the last few months to position themselves for this landmark order as the effect of the pandemic recedes and the world wants more sustainable flying,” said Christian Scherer, Airbus CEO and Head of Airbus International. Since its launch in 2010, Airbus has received orders for 7,550 A320neo-family aircraft from 122 customers.

flyadeal signs CFM56-5B services agreement with GE

Low-cost carrier flyadeal, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, has signed a seven-year TrueChoice™ overhaul agreement during the Dubai Airshow to cover CFM56-5B engines that power its 11 A320-200 aircraft fleet.

As part of the agreement, GE Aviation provided flyadeal an end-to-end engine management solution, combining engine overhaul services along with logistics for engine removals, changes and leases. Previously, the cost and logistics of engine removal, delivery and collection was the responsibility of the airline or lessor. The company’s turnkey approach means these logistics will be handled by GE and its suppliers.

GE Aviation is providing flyadeal integrated overhaul and engine change services through Caerdav, an independent aviation MRO provider that is a GE vendor in this agreement.

Royal Jordanian entrusts Lufthansa Technik with component maintenance

Royal Jordanian, the national airline of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Lufthansa Technik have signed an agreement regarding comprehensive component maintenance for the airline´s entire Airbus A320-family fleet. Over a period of five years, Lufthansa Technik will provide its Total Component Support (TCS) including spares support, parts pooling and homebase support services for a total of five A319s, six A320s and two A321s.

In line with TCS, Lufthansa Technik’s experts will take care of all aspects of supplying Royal Jordanian’s fleet with components, from initial provisioning studies and home base allocation at Amman’s Queen Alia International Airport to repair and overhaul, troubleshooting, documentation and engineering services. This comprehensive spectrum of services will ensure Royal Jordanian highest aircraft availability while avoiding a big capital investment for their own dedicated spare-parts inventory. As a customized service package, TCS is exactly tailored to the airline's specific requirements.


Jan Toschka becomes President of Shell Aviation

Jan Toschka has been appointed President of Shell Aviation, taking over from Anna Mascolo, who is moving into a senior leadership position in Shell’s Downstream business.

Toschka brings to Aviation broad leadership experience in energy transition, global marine, mobility as well as wholesale energy businesses. Since joining Shell in 1998, he has amassed over 20 years’ experience in customer-facing roles across Downstream, Gas and Power and Marine. 

He takes over from Anna Mascolo who moves to Shell Downstream as SVP Acquisitions, Divestments and New Business Development.

SAUDIA selects Inmarsat's GX Aviation connectivity solution and OneFi platform for upcoming fleet

SAUDIA, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, has revealed that its upcoming fleet of 35 Airbus A321neo and Airbus A321XLR aircraft will offer the GX Aviation high-speed inflight broadband solution by Inmarsat. The aircraft will connect to GX Aviation using an ultra-high-performance terminal by GDC Advanced Technologymodifications and electronic systems.

As the first major inflight connectivity agreement in the Middle East since the COVID-19 pandemic began, SAUDIA will be GX Aviation’s launch customer in Saudi Arabia. In addition, it has become the first airline in the Middle East to select Inmarsat’s new OneFi customer experience platform and the first in the world to select GX Aviation’s next-generation terminal, developed with GDC Advanced Technology. The terminal provides enhanced customer flexibility and is future proofed to meet the demands of planned and new constellations.

The selection enables SAUDIA to provide a world-class digital experience for passengers onboard 20 Airbus A321neo and 15 Airbus A321XLR. The airline’s first installation of GX Aviation is expected in late 2022 and once the service is live, passengers will be able to seamlessly browse the internet, stream videos, check social media, shop online and more during flights using their own personal devices.

Inmarsat’s OneFi platform will serve as a catalyst for SAUDIA to monetise its inflight connectivity by bringing a host of onboard services together within a single portal interface. The solution, which launched two months ago in September 2021, allows passengers to order food, beverages and duty-free items, enjoy e-books, newspapers and magazines, receive the latest information for their flight and destination, and sign into SAUDIA’s AlFursan frequent flyer programme, all in real-time from the comfort of their seat.

SR Technics signs multiple new MRO contracts at the first day of the Dubai Airshow

MRO service provider SR Technics, has signed multiple new MRO contracts on the first day of this year's Dubai Airshow, including an engine services agreement with Constellation Aviation Services to provide engine MRO services for its CFM56-5B engines powering the luxurious A318-112 Elite aircraft.

MNG Airlines has again selected SR Technics as its preferred PW4000 MRO provider. Since March 2020, MNG Airlines, a fast-growing Turkish cargo operator, based at Atatürk International Airport, Istanbul, has been sending its PW4000 engines to the Zurich facility.

Furthermore, SR Technics has signed an engine services contract with Somon Air, a private airline based at Dushanbe International Airport, Tajikistan, for its CMF56-7B engines repair. SR Technics will provide two Somon Air B737NG engines shop visits in its facility at the Zurich Airport, Switzerland, in November 2021.

SR Technics has also been awarded a four-year extension of an existing contract to maintain, repair and overhaul private aviation company RoyalJet’s CFM56-7B engine fleet, installed on the Boeing 737BBJs. 


IAI to convert B777-300ER passenger aircraft to cargo configuration for Emirates

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has signed an agreement to convert four B777-300ER passenger aircraft to cargo configuration for Emirates. The aircraft will be converted at the new site established in Etihad Engineering’s MRO centre in Abu Dhabi and the first conversion of the Emirates plane is expected to begin in early 2023. The agreement has potential to provide passenger-to-freighter conversion services to more aircraft.

Dubai-based Emirates is one of the largest operators of B777-300ER aircraft and Emirates SkyCargo is a leading player in the global air cargo industry. This agreement between IAI and the cargo division of Emirates is a testament to the strong ties between IAI and the UAE.

Turkish Technic to perform C-check for flydubai’s Boeing aircraft

Turkish Technic, a leading provider of technical services and solutions and Dubai-based carrier, flydubai, have signed a commemorative certificate following their partnership on the C-check operations of Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Since 2019, flydubai has contracted with Turkish Technic for maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. Over the years, Turkish Technic has also provided landing gear overhaul for the airline. Currently, the company is supporting heavy maintenance operations of the Dubai-based carrier.

Boeing to open three new freighter conversion lines; takes order for eleven 737-800BCFs

As global demand for freighters continues to soar, Boeing has announced plans to add three conversion lines for the 737-800BCF across North America and Europe. The company also signed a firm order with Icelease for eleven of the freighters as the launch customer for one of the new conversion lines.

In 2022, the company will open one conversion line at Boeing's London Gatwick MRO facility, its state-of-the-art hangar in the United Kingdom and two conversion lines in 2023 at KF Aerospace MRO in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. 

"Building a diverse and global network of conversion facilities is critical to supporting our customers' growth and meeting regional demand," said Jens Steinhagen, director of Boeing Converted Freighters. "KF Aerospace and our Boeing teammates at London Gatwick have the infrastructure, capabilities and expertise required to deliver market-leading Boeing Converted Freighters to our customers."

For Icelease, which recently expanded its cooperation with Corrum Capital through a joint venture called Carolus Cargo Leasing, the order for eleven 737-800BCFs will be its first converted freighter order with Boeing. The lessor will be the launch customer for conversions at Boeing's London Gatwick MRO facility.


MTU Maintenance launches engine fleet management software CORTEX

MTU Maintenance has launched engine fleet management software CORTEX with LATAM Airlines as its launch customer. MTU’s new engine fleet management service combines the MRO specialist’s technical expertise with data, for example from engine trend monitoring, shop workscoping history and market understanding, with algorithms and artificial intelligence.

“There’s no way to achieve the optimum long-term planning strategy and in turn, large cost savings, without a complex and highly flexible instrument like CORTEX,” states Paulo Rimbano, Director of Engineering at LATAM. The tool CORTEX, the basis of this new service, is a revolutionary and intelligent maintenance costing and planning tool. It accommodates multiple financial, technical, operational, environmental and market considerations and generates accurate engine planning scenarios, including work scopes down to modular level across engine lifetime, at the click of a mouse. These scenarios are then reviewed by MTU’s engine experts and discussed with the customer to decide the best course of action for their fleet.

“Our new service reduces maintenance and operating cost and increases dispatch reliability for airlines. It is completely customisable, immediate and proactive. Such a tool is not currently available on the market today,” adds Martin Friis-Petersen, Senior Vice President MRO Programs. Furthermore, due to the recent pandemic, engine fleet planning is even more fluid than usual and variables are changing on a daily basis. “Airlines need a tool like CORTEX. Combined with MTU’s expert recommendations, they can then assess various scenarios and maximize the use of existing assets, for instance in a restart scenario, but also avoid unnecessary spend.”

Romanian carrier TAROM continues to choose ATR for fleet modernisation

TAROM has signed a firm order to acquire three ATR 72-600 aircraft as part of a continuation of its fleet modernisation which began in 2019. The deal will also see the airline upscale its ATR 42-500 fleet to the larger 72-seat ATR 72-600 aircraft, offering more capacity and welcoming passengers into the comfort of the latest generation ATR Armonia cabin.

TAROM Chief Executive Officer Catalin Prunariu said: “Having been an ATR pilot, I have witnessed first-hand, the importance of the connectivity that they provide. They are an essential link to communities all over Romania. As a CEO, I also see the value of their efficiency and flexibility. When we began to modernise our fleet, it made perfect sense to choose the ATR and as this mission continues while the world looks to recover from the challenging backdrop of the global pandemic, airlines need to have the most efficient aircraft possible. We are sure that ATR is the right choice; now and for the future.

ELF announces purchase and lease back of 25 Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines

Engine Lease Finance Corporation (ELF) has reported the purchase and lease back of 25 Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines. The agreement, completed in October 2021, includes engines for both the Airbus A220 and Airbus A320neo aircraft families. Included in the transaction is also an EngineWise® long-term maintenance agreement, in which the engines will join Pratt & Whitney’s global MRO network.

The acquisition represents a substantial investment by ELF in the latest technology aircraft engines, valued at more than US$400 million for the engines and associated maintenance and further advances ELF’s transition to the most modern fuel-efficient aircraft engines in the industry.


Aeroter and Savback sign five-year sales agreement for VRT500 helicopter at Dubai Airshow 2021

Singapore-based Aeroter has signed an exclusive five-year agreement with Swedish company Savback Helicopters AB to distribute and sell its innovative VRT500 light, single-engine helicopter. From its headquarters in Sweden, Savback will also cover sales representation of the aircraft in Norway, Denmark and Finland.

The co-axial format VRT500 helicopter is on display at the Dubai Airshow, which is being held during November 14-18, at Dubai World Central Airport.  

The co-axial rotor format of Aeroter's VRT500 has long been favoured in a number of successful aircraft designs and its two sets of counter-rotating blades on a single mast removes the requirement for a tail rotor. It also provides opportunities to land in a smaller area, owing to the lack of tail and tail boom.

Test flying of the VRT500 prototype will begin in 2022 in Italy in conjunction with Vertex Aero srl. The location of the final production line is to be determined from a shortlist currently under consideration. 

Powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW207V engine, the aircraft has been designed to reach speeds of up to 250 km (155 mph) with a range of up to 900 km (559 miles) and a payload of up to 800 kg (1,763 lb). 

The VRT500 will feature new-generation avionics from Thales.

United Arab Emirates orders two additional Airbus A330 MRTT

The United Arab Emirates Air Force & Air Defence has formally ordered two additional Airbus A330 Multirole Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft increasing the country’s MRTT fleet up to five aircraft.

With deliveries starting in 2024, this agreement will also cover the upgrade of the country’s current A330MRTT fleet to the latest enhanced version.

‘Since its entry into service in 2013 with the UAE Air Force, the A330 MRTT has delivered much more than initially expected, meeting our customer’s operational needs. This repeat order, added to the growing MRTT customer base, confirms the suitability of our platform as the world’s tanker of reference’, said Bernhard Brenner, Executive Vice President Marketing and Sales at Airbus Defence and Space.

The A330 MRTT combines the advanced technology of a new generation tanker with the operational experience established over more than 250,000 in-service flight hours. The A330 MRTT is interoperable with receivers worldwide and delivers true multi-role capabilities, proven most recently during the recent MEDEVAC and strategic transport missions during the COVID-19 crisis.

Kuwait Airways partners with LHT for base maintenance

Kuwait Airways has signed a contract with Lufthansa Technik regarding comprehensive base maintenance layovers for Airbus A330ceo aircraft. The agreement covers a total of four six-year-checks for Airbus A330-200s, the first two of which have already been successfully completed at Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) in Manila.

The first and second of Kuwait Airways' aircraft arrived at LTP in October and could already be handed back to the customer on-time and on-budget. With the third A330 being serviced in Manila right now, the fourth aircraft will follow directly behind and is set to complete the layover sequence at the beginning of December. Six-year-checks - the first in the life of Kuwait Airways' comparably young A330 fleet - usually comprise comprehensive structural and mechanical inspections.

Over the last decades, Lufthansa Technik has had various business relationships with Kuwait Airways, with services for both commercial and VIP aircraft. For LTP, however, the recent contract marks the first opportunity to welcome Kuwait Airways aircraft on its premises. In Lufthansa Technik's global network, LTP is the competence centre for wide-body base maintenance in East Asia, offering overhauls for almost any Airbus aircraft up to the A380 and also for selected Boeing types.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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