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Monday, May 9th, 2022

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Staffing problems force IAG to scale back summer short-haul schedule

IAG, parent company to BA, Vueling, Iberia and Aer Lingus, has decided to cut back on an anticipated summer ramp-up in short-haul flights owing to staffing problems. As a result of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus which has led to flight crew shortages, together with a general lack of ground staff, plus IT problems, multiple flights had already been cancelled during the first quarter of the year. This resulted in a first-quarter operating loss of €754 million, substantially missing average analyst forecasts of a €510 million loss, though the Group does expect to be operating profitably throughout the second quarter.

The International Air Transport Association said that airports were currently suffering from staffing shortages to meet the demand of growing passenger numbers as travel restrictions are being lifted. As a consequence of the current situation, IAG has chosen to amend its full-year group capacity guidance to 80% of 2019 levels from its February forecast of 85% which the Group’s CEO Luis Gallego feels would “give more stability for the summer”. He also pointed out that IAG was struggling to take on staff for what he referred to as “below the wing” roles, i.e., those involved in ground handling, etc., and that it was currently taking about 20% longer for new staff to get security clearance.

Beyond this, BA, the Group’s biggest source of revenue, has had to cut back on the number of short-haul flights in order to protect its successful long-haul routes. “Demand is recovering strongly in line with our previous expectations,” Gallego said, adding that business travel was coming back, led by Britain and the United States.

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Goshawk inaugurates Lufthansa relationship with delivery of A350-900

Goshawk, the Dublin-based global aircraft lessor, has delivered its first aircraft to Lufthansa. The A350-900 will complement Lufthansa’s existing order book and is an exciting milestone for Goshawk as it opens a partnership with the German flag-carrier.

Stephen Murphy, Head of Airline Marketing at Goshawk welcomed the news saying, “Lufthansa represents an instantly recognisable brand in global aviation. As an airline synonymous with marketleading customer experience, Goshawk is delighted to embark on this relationship with its first aircraft lease. This initial transaction with Lufthansa demonstrates Goshawk’s continued confidence in the global travel sector’s ability to navigate challenges.”

Rex signs LOI for additional Boeing 737-800NG

Rex has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with a lessor for the lease of one Boeing 737-800NG. The aircraft is expected to be available for service after its major check.

Rex’s Deputy Chairman, the Hon John Sharp AM, said, “With the full reopening of borders, Rex will continue to expand its domestic fleet and will look at introducing new aircraft whenever these become available for lease at favourable terms”.

Rex is an Australian independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 60 Saab 340 and six Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft to 62 destinations throughout all states in Australia.

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Embraer partners with Fokker Services to provide E-Jets components maintenance

Embraer has chosen Netherlands-based Fokker Services to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services, covering a series of engine line replaceable units (LRUs) enrolled in Embraer’s Pool Programme, supporting Embraer’s first-generation E-Jets aircraft, including the E170, E175, E190 and E195. The multi-year agreement includes more than 60-part numbers of engine LRUs.

The engine LRUs will be repaired in-house at Fokker Services’ repair facilities. To ensure outstanding reliability of these critical components, the team will utilise state-of-the-art equipment, such as twin wire electric arc spray and an eddy current dynamometer test stand. Fokker Services will now provide its specialist knowledge to support these CF34 engine LRUs based on existing knowledge and experience with CFM56 and CFM LEAP LRUs. Fokker Services combines this with more than 30 years of experience in managing integrated programmes and drives continuous improvement by expanding its in-house repair capability portfolio.

APOC and SmartLynx collaborate to purchase four A321 airframes for freighter conversions

APOC Aviation and SmartLynx Airlines have worked together to purchase a package of four Airbus A321 airframes. The frames, MSNs 941, 961, 1185 and 1241, were acquired in passenger configuration and will be converted into freighters which will join the SmartLynx fleet early next year.

Jasper van den Boogaard, VP Airframe Acquisition & Trading at APOC, who is an ISTAT Certified Appraiser, observes the fluctuations in aircraft asset valuations closely. He said: “The A321 is an interesting asset because it can be converted to a freighter and there is significant activity in this sector of the market right now. It can also be used for low-cost/long-haul operations (because of its efficiency and range) and it is attractive for part out. The flexibility to utilise any one of these three options made this an exceptional opportunity for the business.”

Zygimantas Surintas, Smartlynx Airlines CEO, also emphasised that efficient partnerships like this are crucial for successful carrier’s involvement in the A321 conversion programme.

The four additional cargo aircraft will bring the airline’s A321F fleet up to fifteen active aircraft of the type by mid-2023.

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Astronics expands and enhances CorePower® product offering for emerging electric aircraft industry

Astronics Corporation, a leading provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defence, and other mission critical industries, has expanded its CorePower® product portfolio and capabilities to address the needs of the emerging electric aircraft industry.

The company’s CorePower product line offers advanced flight-critical electrical power generation, conversion, distribution and control, primarily for smaller rotary and fixed wing aircraft in both commercial and military markets. Astronics has over 50 years of experience designing and manufacturing highly efficient and reliable aircraft electrical power solutions.

The aerospace industry today is making significant investments in More Electric Aircraft (MEA) architectures, including specifically electric propulsion and electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. These new aircraft aim to reduce the carbon footprint and noise pollution associated with today’s aircraft, as well as enable new business models like urban air mobility (UAM) and cargo delivery. Significant investments are being made both by newcomers to the aerospace industry and established airframe OEMs.

Astronics has expanded its CorePower product offerings to include a new line of high voltage power conversion products (950VDC to 28VDC) and high voltage/high current solid state switching devices, for both uni- and bi-directional power distribution, along with required load protection. These products are designed to meet stringent regulatory certification requirements, including dissimilar topologies to minimise common-cause failure modes. The new products complete a flexible, modular line of high-voltage DC power conversion and distribution capabilities required by the new aircraft, and do so with increased efficiency and lower weight, leading to aircraft benefits such as increased run time, longer ranges, and higher passenger or cargo loads. The Company has added intelligence to every element of the power system to meet industry demands for higher reliability, increased safety, and extended periods of sustained, no-maintenance operation.

Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 achieves FAA certification

Textron Aviation has achieved Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification for the Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 business jet and has delivered the first customer aircraft to a longtime Citation operator in the Midwest.

The Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 is the latest model of the Citation 560XL midsize business jet series, which began with the introduction of the Citation Excel in 1998. More than 1,000 560XLs have been delivered throughout the past 25 years.

Textron Aviation first unveiled plans for the Citation XLS Gen2 during the October 2021 National Business Aviation Association - Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, representing a significant commitment from Textron Aviation to enhance and redesign aircraft around customer needs. Shaped by extensive customer feedback, the upgrades focus on technology and design.

The Cessna Citation XLS Gen2 is designed and produced by Textron Aviation, a Textron Inc. company.

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Iberia Maintenance to maintain Volotea's fleet of A320 aircraft until 2028

Volotea, the airline for small- and medium-sized European cities, has signed a contract with Iberia Maintenance to perform C-check overhauls on Airbus A320 aircraft at its facilities in Madrid and Barcelona for the next five and a half years.

Volotea will send its A320 aircraft to Iberia MRO for a comprehensive maintenance service to be carried out during the winter seasons. This agreement, which will come into force in January 2023, will run until 2028.

The airline selected Iberia Maintenance after an exhaustive bidding process in which the Spanish provider was the winner due to the excellent quality of its services.

Chorus Aviation posts CA$22.9 million net income for first-quarter 2022

Canadian aircraft lessor Chorus Aviation has posted net income of CA$ 22.9 million for the first quarter of 2022, a quarter-over-quarter increase of CA$61.0 million primarily due to a decrease in one-time restructuring costs of CA$81.8 million related to the 2021 Capacity Purchase Agreement (CPA) amendments and lower expected credit loss provisions of CA$2.5 million partially offset by an increase in income tax expense.

Adjusted net income was CA$17.7 million, an increase of CA$2.0 million quarter-over-quarter primarily due to lower interest expense from repayment of long-term debt in 2021 and lower depreciation expense partially offset by increased adjusted income tax expense.

Adjusted EBITDA was CA$83.3 million, a decrease of CA$0.8 million over first-quarter 2021. The company collected approximately 92% (67% in Q2’21, 77% in Q3’21, 83% in Q4’21) of the Regional Aircraft Leasing (RAL) segment’s lease revenue recognized in the first quarter.

At the end of the first quarter the company had liquidity of US$199.7 million.

On May 3, 2022, Chorus completed the Falko acquisition. This transformative transaction creates new opportunities for growth through increased access to growth capital and a differentiated business model to maximise returns on aircraft assets.

Taking into account the draws under Chorus' credit facilities and the payment of consideration for the Falko acquisition, Chorus anticipates having total liquidity in excess of $100.0 million for the remainder of 2022 with approximately half of such liquidity consisting of cash and the remainder consisting of available credit under its operating credit facility and the new US$30.0 million unsecured revolving operating credit facility. Chorus anticipates having sufficient liquidity to fund ongoing operations, planned capital expenditures and principal and interest payments related to long-term borrowings.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Tamar