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Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

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LCI and SMFL commit to an additional five next-generation helicopters

LCI, a leading helicopter and commercial aircraft leasing company with offices in Dublin, London and Singapore, together with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company (SMFL), have acquired an additional five next-generation helicopters, comprising two Airbus H145 D3s, two Airbus H145 T2s and one Leonardo AW139. These aircraft will be deployed in mission-critical roles in both Asia and Europe.

The joint venture between LCI and SMFL will now have a portfolio of 38 aircraft valued at in excess of US$420 million, doubling its size in just under two years. Over 75% of the total fleet is now deployed on ESG-focused missions including emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue (SAR) and serving offshore wind farm operations.

The fleet is operational in numerous countries including the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Norway and Australia. Jaspal Jandu, Chief Executive Officer at LCI, said: “Our continued expansion is a clear demonstration of the initial success and long-term potential of LCI’s partnership with SMFL. Using our collective expertise, I am confident that we can achieve further growth with an increasing focus on socially aware helicopter missions across the globe.” (£1.00 = US$1.31 at time of publication)

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Finnair sees improvement in passenger traffic figures despite Russian airspace closure

In March, Finnair carried 614,500 passengers, which was 611.7% more than in March 2021. The number of passengers in March 2022 was 38.7% more than in February 2022 (month-on-month figures are not fully comparable as there were three fewer days in February).

The COVID-19 impact, including the strict travel restrictions imposed by several countries due to the Omicron variant, still affected passenger traffic figures. It was particularly visible in the Asian figures. The Russian airspace was closed at the end of February due to the counter sanctions related to the war in Ukraine, which resulted in route and frequency cancellations in Asian traffic in March. Thanks to robust demand for cargo, Finnair was, however, able to continue operating to most of its Asian destinations despite the longer routings. Thus, the negative impact of the airspace closure on Asian passenger traffic figures, which were already affected by the pandemic, was moderate in March. The reported traffic figures do not take into account longer routings.

The overall capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASK), increased in March by 454.7% year-on-year and by 10.0% month-on-month. Finnair operated, on average, 213 daily flights (cargo-only included), which was 187.8% more than in March 2021 and 8.7% more than in February 2022. The differences between capacity figures compared to March 2021 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 1,085.1% year-on-year and by 31.8% month-on-month. The Passenger Load Factor (PLF) increased by 28.0% points year-on-year and by 8.7% points month-on-month to 52.6%.

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Pratt & Whitney Canada introduces new PT6E-66XT engine for Daher’s TBM 960 airplane

Pratt & Whitney Canada has announced a new engine model for its PT6 E-Series™ engine family. The PT6E-66XT engine is purpose built for Daher’s latest very fast single-engine turboprop airplane, the TBM 960. The PT6 E-Series™ is the first engine family with a dual-channel integrated electronic propeller and engine control system in the General Aviation turboprop market.

“We have worked closely with Pratt & Whitney Canada for more than 30 years in integrating PT6 turboprop engines on our TBM and Kodiak aircraft families,” said Nicolas Chabbert, Senior Vice President of Daher’s Aircraft Division. “With its PT6E-66XT version, the Pratt & Whitney Canada team has taken innovation to a new level, providing digital power to our TBM 960 flagship single-engine turboprop aircraft, making it even easier to operate.”

The PT6E-66XT engine embodies the DNA of the iconic PT6 engine. This family has accumulated over 430 million flying hours and has a pedigree of reliability that is second-to-none. Its versatility and proven performance have made it the engine of choice for missions and applications of all kinds. The PT6 is also the only turboprop engine family to have achieved Single Engine Instrumental Flight Rules status for passenger revenue activity. The latest addition to the PT6 E-Series™ family builds on this legacy of success.

Spirit Airlines receives proposal from JetBlue Airways

Spirit Airlinesit has released that it received an unsolicited proposal from JetBlue Airways to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Spirit's common stock in an all-cash transaction for US$33.00 per share.

Consistent with its fiduciary duties, the Spirit Board of Directors will work with its financial and legal advisors to evaluate JetBlue's proposal and pursue the course of action it determines to be in the best interests of Spirit and its stockholders. The Board will conduct this evaluation in accordance with the terms of the Company's merger agreement with Frontier and respond in due course.

As announced on February 7, 2022, Spirit entered into a merger agreement with Frontier Group Holdings, parent company of Frontier Airlines, under which Spirit and Frontier would combine in a stock and cash transaction. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Spirit equity holders would receive 1.9126 shares of Frontier plus US$2.13 in cash for each existing Spirit share they own. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including completion of the regulatory review process and approval by Spirit stockholders.

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SIA Engineering Company signs MOU for hangar facility in Subang, Malaysia

SIA Engineering Company Limited (SIAEC) has signed a non-binding Memorandum Of Understanding with Impeccable Vintage Properties Sdn Bhd (IVP), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah), to potentially lease two hangars located at Complex A, Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, Selangor, Malaysia (Subang).

Through this MOU, the parties will now work on the next phase of hangar technical assessment to ensure that the refurbished hangars will be future-ready to support the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of current and next generation aircraft.

Ng Chin Hwee, SIAEC Chief Executive Officer, said: “These hangars will strengthen our network of base maintenance facilities in the region, enabling us to cater to the varying needs and capabilities required by our customers. Along with our recently announced plans to acquire SR Technics Malaysia and POS Aviation Engineering Services, our growth in Malaysia will complement the capabilities of our Singapore hub.”

Greg Watson joins King Aerospace as Chief Operating Officer

Greg Watson has joined King Aerospace as Chief Operating Officer. The company is experiencing dynamic, but-controlled growth with the expansion of its modification services. It announced the addition of two hangars at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport in addition to robust maintenance, repair and overhaul business at its facility at the Ardmore (Oklahoma) Industrial Airpark.

As COO of King Aerospace Companies, Watson oversees the operations of King Aerospace, Inc. (KAI), a global operation that serves the US Military and Government; and King Aerospace Commercial Corporation (KACC), a leading provider of VVIP and corporate aircraft services with facilities in Ardmore, OK, and Rogers, AR.

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IBA releases latest Aviation Industry Barometer for February 2022

Aviation industry consultant IBA has published its latest Aviation Industry Barometer for February 2022. Data from IBA’s InsightIQ intelligence platform indicates that the recovery of global passenger flights has been static from December 2021 to February 2022, with flight capacity remaining at 74% relative to pre-pandemic levels.

IBA’s Aviation Industry Barometer for February 2022 indicates that:
  • Africa continues to show strong capacity recovery this year, with monthly flights for February within 10% variance of pre-pandemic levels. North America and Latin America follow closely, with monthly flight capacity for both regions at 86% relative to 2019 levels.
  • Europe and Asia Pacific traffic capacity recovery to pre-pandemic levels continues to lag behind with tighter COVID-based restrictions and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict set to hamper capacity growth in the near-term.
  • Overall, there were approximately 1.85 million commercial passenger flights in February 2022, down 8% from 2.00 million flights in January.
  • There were 72 commercial aircraft deliveries in February 2022, representing a month-on-month increase of 16% compared to January 2022 and a year-on-year increase of 26% compared to February 2021.
  • Deliveries in the narrow-body category were led by the A320neo family – predominantly from the A321 variants, while wide-body deliveries were dominated by the A350 family.

DAE closes US$1 billion revolving credit facility

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has successfully closed a new four-year US$1 billion revolving credit facility with a one-year extension option. The facility replaces other facilities with near-term maturity dates and represents DAE’s first facility that is priced with reference to SOFR. The facility attracted the appetite from a broad group of banks and was oversubscribed.

Firoz Tarapore, Chief Executive Officer of DAE said, “The successful closing of this facility is testament to the continuous support and confidence that banks have shown in DAE and its future outlook. This facility will enable us to continue to optimise our liquidity planning and grow our business. We look forward to deepening our relationship with these banks in the upcoming years.”
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