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Monday, February 7th, 2022

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Quebec invests further US$300 million into Airbus A220 programme

In an effort to avoid its current stake in the former Bombardier C Series programme being diluted by a next round of financing, Quebec has agreed to contribute US$300 million to a combined total of US$1.2 billion in new investment. According to REUTERS news agency Quebec will maintain its 25% minority stake in the A220 Series while Airbus, which will invest US$900 million, will maintain its 75% majority stake.

The move will extend the time scale by which Airbus will have to buy back the Quebec government’s shares originally set as 2026 but which will now be 2030, while also helping to secure approximately 2,500 jobs. "At that time, we're going to have a fair market value assessment and I'm very hopeful we're going to make money and recuperate the original investment," Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon commented.

The move is seen as strategically beneficial for the government as currently the programme has yet to show a profit. As of March 31, 2021, Investissement Québec estimated the value of Quebec’s investment to be nil. However, 2025 has been targeted as the year when Airbus anticipates the programme will finally become profitable.

At the commencement of the European planemaker’s acquisition of the then Bombardier C Series for 110- and 130-seater jet aircraft, it was hoped that Airbus’ higher purchasing power and global network of suppliers would help reduce the cost of components, driving the programme into the black by now. Though sales for the A220 Series jet have grown to the point where it has a backlog of approaching 500 aircraft, Airbus has failed to win the hoped-for concessions from its suppliers. The A220 is built both at an Airbus plant in the Montreal area and at the Mobile facility in Alabama.

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Textron Aviation rolls out first production Cessna SkyCourier large-utility turboprop

Textron Aviation has rolled out the first production unit of the twin-engine, large-utility turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier, at the company’s manufacturing facility in Wichita. The new, clean-sheet design has allowed for the incorporation of the latest state-of-the-art assembly and fabrication processes and techniques into the manufacturing of the aircraft.

From the SkyCourier’s inception, launch customer FedEx Express and other members of Textron Aviation’s Customer Advisory Board were instrumental in shaping the aircraft’s design, from manufacturing methods and materials, to product features and serviceability. Textron Aviation’s highly skilled employees incorporated this feedback and found opportunities to maximize quality and precision, while meeting and exceeding customer expectations.

The SkyCourier celebrated its inaugural flight in May 2020, and the flight test programme’s three aircraft have accumulated more than 2,100 hours. Following certification, which is anticipated in the first half of 2022, this first production unit will be delivered to launch customer, FedEx Express, which has agreed to purchase up to 100 aircraft, with an initial fleet order of 50 cargo aircraft and options for 50 more.

Allegiant Air orders CFM LEAP-1B engines for Boeing 737 MAX fleet

Allegiant Air has announced the purchase of advanced CFM International LEAP-1B engines to power up to 100 Boeing 737 MAX 7 and 737 MAX 8 aircraft scheduled to begin delivery in 2023. The engine order also includes a service agreement.

Allegiant has been a CFM customer since 2013 and its current fleet of 110 CFM56-powered aircraft. CFM and Allegiant continue to collaborate to enhance operational capability of Allegiant’s current fleet.

CFM’s advanced LEAP engine continues to set new industry standards for fuel efficiency and asset utilization, logging more than 14 million engine flight hours in commercial operation. The fleet is providing better fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions, as well as a significant improvement in noise in this thrust class.

The LEAP-1B engine entered into service on the Boeing 737 MAX in 2017. More than 1,460 LEAP-1B engines have been delivered to some 60 operators worldwide and the fleet has logged approximately three million engine flight hours.

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Soeren Stark to become new Chairman of Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik

The Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik, Dr. Johannes Bussmann, will leave the Lufthansa Group at his own request later this year. After more than seven years in his current role and ten-years on the Executive Board, he will hand over leadership of the company to COO Soeren Stark.

Stark has been a member of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik since 2019. He previously held a number of other executive functions at Lufthansa Cargo and Lufthansa Technik. Subject to the approval of the Supervisory Board, he will assume his new role on July 1, 2022.

Bussmann assumed leadership in 2015 after overseeing human resources on the Executive Board for three years. After leaving Lufthansa Technik, he will become CEO of a major German technology company.

Milestone Aviation Group completes Aramco’s helicopter fleet renewal programme

The Milestone Aviation Group (Milestone), a global leader in helicopter leasing, has successfully completed the final delivery of the medium helicopter fleet renewal programme for Aramco Overseas Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Aramco (Aramco), a fully integrated, global petroleum and chemicals enterprise.

Milestone delivered the last unit of the 21 factory-new, highly-specified Leonardo AW139 helicopters, which were first announced in July 2018. The deal also included five brand new Airbus H145 helicopters, delivered in 2019. In addition, Aramco has also extended leases of two more AW139 helicopters, truly demonstrating the success of the leasing concept, as well as the strong relationship between the two companies.

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Rex Airlines expansion paves way for 2,500 jobs in NSW, Australia

The New South Wales (NSW) Government has helped generate more than 2,500 new jobs, providing support that has secured Sydney as the national hub for Rex Airlines.

The package is part of the US$250 million "Jobs Plus" programme, offering companies support to establish and expand their footprint in NSW, including payroll tax relief, streamlined planning approvals and rebates enabling infrastructure construction.

Rex Airlines has announced it will build a Boeing Flight Simulator Centre at Rex’s Sydney headquarters, construct a new aircraft hangar and boost the capacity of its call centre in Orange.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said securing Sydney as the airline’s national hub was part of the Government’s economic recovery strategy. “A strong domestic aviation sector is critical to our recovery from the pandemic and it’s important there is healthy competition in the industry,” Perrottet said. “By supporting Rex Airlines to expand its Sydney headquarters we are not only creating thousands of new jobs, but signalling to the world that NSW is open and ready to welcome travellers.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said this investment would lead to 1,300 direct and 1,200 indirect jobs by June 2024.

ORIX Aviation opens new office in Dubai

ORIX Aviation has established a new office in Dubai, situated in the DIFC. The opening of the Dubai office is in response to the continued growth and success of ORIX Aviation’s business.” Chief Commercial Officer of ORIX Aviation Paul O’Dwyer, has relocated from Dublin to Dubai and will play a key role in the development of the new office. The Dubai office will be staffed by a number of ORIX Aviation Group employees relocating from Dublin and Hong Kong. In response to a changing business environment, ORIX Aviation will be closing its office in Hong Kong on March 31, 2022.

Furthermore, in January 2022 Kiyoshi Fushitani Senior Managing Executive Officer in ORIX Corporation retired from the Group. A valued member of the ORIX Aviation and Avolon Boards, Fushitani held a number of roles within the ORIX Group, including, Head of East Asia Business Headquarters and Head of Global Transportation Services. In response to these changes, Ryujiro Tokuma, who has succeeded Fushitani in the role of Head of Global Transportation Services Headquarters for ORIX Corporation has joined the ORIX Aviation board and James Meyler CEO of ORIX Aviation Group has joined the Avolon board. The changes to the ORIX Aviation and Avolon boards became effective on the January 11, 2022.
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