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Friday, February 4th, 2022

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El Al to acquire smaller Israeli rival airline Arkia

Israeli flag-carrying airline El Al has announced it has entered into a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) to purchase its smaller competitor, Arkia. The move comes after El Al was forced to cut down its operations, including trimming its workforce by one-third, cancelling routes and reducing its all-Boeing fleet to 29 from 45 planes as part of a pandemic-related government bailout.

While Arkia will become a fully owned subsidiary of El Al, the latter’s shareholders will receive between a 10% and 14% stake in El Al through both shares and options. Part of the agreement reached between the two carriers is that Arkia will continue to operate as an independent brand. According to REUTERS news agency, prior to any deal taking place, regulatory approval of the deal would be required from the Israeli government, the two companies’ labour unions and Israel’s competition regulator. In 2018 the competition regulator vetoed El Al’s attempt to buy Israir.

After a month of due diligence, the two carriers hope to reach a fully binding agreement and completion of the transaction within 150 days thereafter. "We still have a long way to go before the deal to acquire Arkia is completed, which is part of El Al's strategy to expand into additional areas of activity," said El Al chairman Amikam Ben Zvi. Arkia has seven aircraft used mainly on domestic routes and those to Europe using Embraer and Airbus aircraft. This includes flying to the Red Sea resort city of Eilat in southern Israel – a route that El Al has long coveted as, up until now, it had been controlled by Arkia and Israir.

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Boeing designed and manufactured fully-composite, linerless cryogenic fuel tank passes critical tests

A new type of large, fully-composite, linerless cryogenic fuel tank, designed and manufactured by Boeing, has passed a critical series of tests at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center at the end of 2021. The successful test campaign proves the new technology is mature, safe and ready for use in aerospace vehicles.

The 4.3-meter (14 foot) diameter composite tank is similar in size to the fuel tanks intended for use in the upper stage of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, which is the foundational capability in NASA’s Artemis lunar and deep space human exploration programme. If the new composite technology were implemented in evolved versions of the SLS’s Exploration Upper Stage, the weight savings technology could increase payload masses by up to 30%.

During the testing, which was funded by DARPA and Boeing, engineers from Boeing and NASA filled the vessel with cryogenic fluid in multiple test cycles, pressurizing the tank to expected operational loads and beyond. In the final test, which intended to push the tank to failure, pressures reached 3.75 times the design requirements without any major structural failure.

Applications for the technology expand past spaceflight. The test which builds upon Boeing’s extensive experience with the safe use of hydrogen in aerospace applications will inform Boeing’s ongoing studies of hydrogen as a potential future energy pathway for commercial aviation. In addition to use in space programmes, Boeing has completed five flight demonstration programmes with hydrogen.

TAM delivers 25th Saab 340 cargo conversion

On January 29, TAM, Täby Air Maintenance, has delivered its 25th Saab 340 cargo conversion, a Saab 340B with msn 336. The aircraft, finished but not yet painted in its new livery, was delivered to Jetstream Aviation Capital of Miami, FL, which also is the launch customer for TAM’s recently revealed new exciting Saab 2000 cargo conversion programme.

Saab 340 cargo conversions have come to be an ever-increasing business for TAM, where the current milestone of 25 conversions, including kits supplied, will be followed by additional kits and conversions in 2022. Further development of the Saab 340 cargo conversion, as well as in-house parts production for the next generation cargo converted Saab 340s is being prepared by TAM’s design organisation. With the successful Saab 340 cargo conversion programme complemented by the roll-out of the first new Saab 2000 cargo during the spring, TAM has a firm position as the leading Saab 340/2000 conversion specialist.

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Spirit AeroSystems reports fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results

Spirit AeroSystems revenue in the fourth quarter of 2021 was US$1.1 billion, 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 and Bombardier programmes. These increases were partially offset by lower wide-body production rates due to reduced international air traffic resulting from the impacts of COVID-19 and the pause in Boeing 787 deliveries. Overall deliveries increased to 281 shipsets during the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to 231 shipsets in the same period of 2020. This includes Boeing 737 deliveries of 51 shipsets compared to 19 shipsets in the same period of the prior year and Boeing 787 deliveries of six shipsets compared to 20 shipsets in the same period of the prior year.

Spirit’s full-year 2021 revenue was US$4.0 billion, up 16% from 2020. Spirit’s backlog at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021 was approximately US$35 billion, with work packages on all commercial platforms in the Airbus and Boeing backlog.  

Operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2021 was US$79.0 million, as compared to operating loss of US$101.4 million in the same period of 2020. Fourth quarter 2021 earnings included US$45.3 million of excess capacity costs and net forward loss charges of US$46.5 million, US$32.3 million of which were from Boeing 787 schedule changes. In comparison, during the fourth quarter of 2020, Spirit recorded excess capacity costs of US$50.1 million and US$28.1 million of net forward loss charges. Spirit reported a net loss of US$120 million compared to a net loss of US$296 million in 2020.

Operating loss for the full year of 2021 was US$459.2 million, as compared to operating loss of US$812.8 million in 2020. Full-year 2021 earnings included excess capacity costs of US$217.5 million, abnormal costs related to COVID-19 of US$12.0 million, net forward loss charges of US$241.5 million, US$153.5 million of which were from the Boeing 787 programme and unfavorable cumulative catch-up adjustments of US$5.0 million. Full-year net loss was US$541 million compared to a net loss of US$870 million in 2020.

Other income for the full-year 2021 was US$146.6 million, compared to a net expense of US$77.8 million in the prior year. The increase was primarily driven by a curtailment gain of US$61 million recognised in the third quarter of 2021, resulting from the closure of the defined benefit plans acquired as part of the Bombardier acquisition, as well as non-cash expenses of US$86.5 million as a result of the voluntary retirement programme offered during 2020.

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Airbus Helicopters and Kongsberg of Norway to support Norwegian Armed Forces

Airbus and Kongsberg of Norway have signed a long-term strategic agreement to collaborate over support and services for the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding between Airbus Helicopters, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, and Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services, the companies will work to strengthen the deployment of local maintenance capabilities with the objective to optimise the availability of the NH90 helicopter.

As an initial activity, Airbus is developing and qualifying Kongsberg’s facilities to provide deep maintenance of the NH90 tail gearboxes for the Norwegian fleet and to bring business opportunities for the Nordics where a total of 52 NH90s are operated by Norway, Sweden and Finland. The move will position Kongsberg as prime contractor for this support contract and the first entity outside Airbus to be qualified for the work.

In subsequent steps, Airbus and Kongsberg have identified further paths to exploit a range of additional cooperation opportunities with the objective of enhancing Norway’s support provision.

SCHROTH Safety Products opens new Americas headquarters facility and corporate office

SCHROTH Safety Products, a manufacturer of innovative occupant protection and restraint systems for customised applications in aerospace, defense and motorsport, has opened its new Americas headquarters corporate office and manufacturing facility.

The nearly 35,000 ft² Americas headquarters, located at 5320 NW 35th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, employs more than 60 individuals that service clients throughout North, Central and South America and Southeast Asia. Previously, SCHROTH was located in a smaller, 29,000 ft² facility, in Pompano Beach, Florida. SCHROTH’s European headquarters are based in Arnsberg, Germany and the company also maintains a corporate office in China.

The new Fort Lauderdale facility enhances SCHROTH’s capacity and capabilities of its US-based engineering, manufacturing and customer service teams to deliver best in class customised passenger safety solutions for current aerospace and defense industries, as well as additional capacity to support exciting new industries such as Advanced Air Mobility.

Aero Capital Solutions announces 2021 year-end summary

Aero Capital Solutions (ACS), a leading mid-life aircraft leasing platform, has released a summary of its results for the 2021 calendar year.

ACS experienced significant asset growth in 2021, despite the continued headwinds in the market stemming from the pandemic. With its unique mix of mid-life aircraft and engine leasing solutions, ACS was well situated to support its airline partners with their fleet initiatives. By mid-year, ACS saw a significant uptick in engine leasing activity as airlines reactivated stored aircraft and sought cash-friendly “greentime” engine support.

In 2021, ACS concluded 63 aircraft transactions including 28 aircraft purchases, 20 airframe sales and 15 lease placements or extensions. Notably, ACS delivered the first five B737-800SF aircraft in its robust programme of 34 passenger-to-freighter conversions. In addition to aircraft transactions, ACS concluded 51 engine lease agreements in 2021. The lessor also purchased three engines and sold 17 engines, illustrating the depth and breadth of its industry partnerships
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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
Phone: +1 (788) 213 8543
Tamar