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Thursday, May 19th, 2022

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China Eastern Airlines 737-800 crash may not have been an accident

America’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has suggested that the black box data recorders onboard the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 which crashed on March 21 this year killing all 132 passengers and crew on board indicates that the plane crashed as a consequence of deliberate manual input which forced the jet into a catastrophic dive.

The WSJ quotes an unnamed source as saying that “The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit.” The jet had been cruising at an altitude of 20,000 feet when it began a dive which lasted approximately one minute before the plane ploughed into a mountainside near Wuzhou in Guangxi province. While Chinese investigators have been leading the enquiry into the crash, U.S. officials have been heavily involved as the plane was built in the U.S.

Comparisons have been made with events surrounding the crash of a Germanwings Airbus A320 jet in 2015 which was deliberately crashed by one of the pilots as it crossed the French alps, killing all 150 people onboard. In this instance the flight pattern shown on tracking sites together with the lack of a mayday call or loss of data signals were reminiscent of what happened in 2015. According to the WSJ Chinese authorities have not indicated to their U.S. counterparts that there was any mechanical or flight-control problems with the plane and have confirmed that the pilot and co-pilot had both been in good health, with no known financial or family issues. Chinese authorities also stated that no emergency code had been sent from the plane, implying that no intruder could have reached the cockpit. China’s air regulator has not commented beyond saying last month that investigators were continuing their inquiries.


United applies to launch historic nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and Cape Town

United Airlines has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for three weekly nonstop flights between Washington, D.C. and Cape Town, South Africa. If approved, United's flights will become the first nonstop service ever between Washington D.C. and South Africa's legislative capital, Cape Town.

This long-overdue route will benefit important government-to-government connections and increase communication and commerce with a region that has strong cultural ties to South Africa. United's proposed service would begin Nov. 17, 2022, and operate on Boeing 787-9 aircraft, maximised to meet consumer demand and benefit both U.S. and South African travellers. If approved, the flights between Dulles and Cape Town will connect 55 cities across the United States to Cape Town, representing more than 90% of the entire U.S. travel demand to Cape Town. United's Washington Dulles hub is a gateway to the nation's capital and elsewhere, operating more than 230 daily flights to nearly 100 destinations around the world – including more than ten world capitals and new service to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria.

Ryanair opens first heavy maintenance facility at Shannon Airport

Ryanair has opened its first aircraft heavy maintenance facility in Ireland at Shannon Airport on May 18, delivering an investment of €10 million and creating 200 high-skill jobs in the locality, including licensed engineers, mechanics and support staff.

The state-of-the-art three-bay facility, leased from Shannon Group, (5,220 m2) will support the maintenance of Ryanair’s fleet as it grows to 600 aircraft by 2026. This investment resounds Ryanair’s commitment to the mid-west region and Ireland as a whole as it further drives post-pandemic recovery through connectivity, inbound tourism and employment. Ryanair has operated from Shannon Airport since 1986, opening its base at the south-western airport in 2005 and carrying over 17 million customers to/from the airport to date.


U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin complete ARRW hypersonic boosted test flight

The U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin have successfully conducted a hypersonic-boosted flight test of the AGM-183A Air-launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW) from the service’s B-52H Stratofortress.

The successful flight demonstrates the weapon’s ability to reach and withstand operational hypersonic speeds, collect crucial data for use in further flight tests and validate safe separation from the aircraft to deliver the glide body and warhead to designated targets from significant standoff distances. Additional booster and all-up-round test flights will continue throughout 2022, before reaching Early Operational Capability (EOC) in 2023. Hypersonic weapons provide a rapid response, time critical capability to overcome distance in contested environments using high speed, altitude and manoeuvrability. Hypersonic technology has continued to present several complex engineering challenges. Going Mach 5, sometimes even faster, generates extreme levels of heat, driving the need for innovative materials, sensors and electronics to withstand such speeds throughout its journey. In addition to heat, these systems must be able to maintain consistent communication connections, as well as considerable intelligence to perform precise manoeuvrability techniques to overcome a wide range of advanced defence systems and extreme contested environments.


Air France-KLM and CMA CGM sign major long-term strategic partnership in global air cargo

Air France-KLM Group and the CMA CGM Group have signed a long-term strategic partnership in the air cargo market. This exclusive partnership will see both parties combine their complementary cargo networks, full freighter capacity and dedicated services in order to build an even more competitive offer thanks to the unrivalled know-how and global footprint of Air France-KLM and CMA CGM. CMA CGM and Air France-KLM share a strong ambition to invest and grow sustainably in the air freight business. The agreement will have an initial duration of ten years. Air France-KLM and CMA CGM will join and exclusively operate the full-freighter aircraft capacity of the respective airlines consisting initially of a fleet of ten full-freighter aircraft and an additional combined 12 aircraft on order:

Four full-freighter aircraft at CMA CGM Air Cargo (with outstanding orders for an additional eight aircraft, two of which may be operated by Air France-KLM in the future).

Six full-freighter aircraft at Air France-KLM Group based at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (with outstanding orders for an additional four aircraft).

This new commercial partnership also covers Air France-KLM’s belly aircraft capacity, including over 160 long-haul aircraft. The partnership will leverage both partners’ respective global sales teams, presenting one voice to the customer.


SIA Group posts second half operating profit as travel demand returns

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group carried 3.9 million passengers in FY2021/22, up six-fold from a year before, with international air travel recovering in the last six months as global border restrictions eased.

The Group ramped up passenger capacity (measured in available seat-kilometres) in a calibrated manner, growing from 24% of pre-Covid levels in April 2021 to 51% by the end of FY2021/22 in March 2022. As a result, passenger flown revenue grew by SG$2,121 million (+309.6%) year-on-year to SG$2,806 million. This was on the back of a 614.9% growth in traffic (revenue-passenger kilometres), which outpaced the capacity expansion of 215.7% and resulted in the passenger load factor rising 16.8 percentage points to 30.1%.

Cargo flown revenue reached a record SG$4,339 million (+SG$1,630 million or +60.2%), driven by strong demand amid continued capacity constraints for both sea freight and air freight. This led to a 44.5% increase in loads carried, and 10.8% rise in yields. Consequently, Group revenue rose SG$3,799 million (+99.6%) year-on-year to SG$7,615 million.

The SIA Group recorded an operating loss of SG$610 million, an improvement of SG$1,903 million (+75.7%) from the SG$2,513 million loss a year before. The Group recorded an operating profit of SG$10 million for the six months to March 31, 2022, compared to a SG$620 million operating loss in the first half (+SG$630 million). This came as borders reopened in almost all key markets, and as the rapid expansion of VTLs during the six months supported the demand for air travel.

AerCap reports financial results for the first-quarter 2022

AerCap Holdings has reported financial results for the first quarter of 2022 ended March 31, 2022.

The company posted a net loss for the first quarter, including net charges related to the Ukraine conflict, of US$2.0 billion. Net income for the first quarter was US$540 million after adjustments for net charges related to the Ukraine conflict and other items.

AerCap executed 157 transactions in the first quarter of 2022, including 102 lease agreements, 25 purchases and 30 sales. First quarter cash flow from operating activities was US$1.3 billion, more than three-times higher than the first quarter of 2021. The company continued to see significant improvements in cash collections, trade receivables and deferral requests.

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and other countries, the company terminated the leasing of all its aircraft and engines with Russian airlines. Prior to the Russian invasion, it had 135 aircraft and 14 engines on lease with Russian airlines, which represented approximately 5% of AerCap’s fleet by net book value as of December 31, 2021.

AerCap removed 22 aircraft and three engines outside of Russia and 113 aircraft and 11 engines remain in Russia. During the first quarter of 2022, the company recognized a pre-tax charge of US$2.7 billion (US$2.4 billion aftertax) to our earnings, comprised of flight equipment write-offs and impairments, which were partially offset by the derecognition of lease-related assets and liabilities. The company recognised a total loss on its assets that remain in Russia and Ukraine and impairment losses on the assets it has recovered from Russian and Ukrainian airlines.

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Tamar Jorssen
Vice President Sales & Business Development
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1 (788) 213 8543