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Wednesday, June 8th, 2022

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SAS struggles continue as government refuses to provide cash injection

The Swedish government, a major stakeholder in Scandinavian Airlines (SAS), has refused a request by the carrier for an injection of much-needed cash as part of a major restructuring deal announced in February. Both the Swedish and Danish governments have a 21.8% equity stake in SAS and  Swedish industry minister Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson told a news conference that: “We want to be clear that we will not inject new capital into SAS in the future.” However, he did indicate that he would put to the Swedish parliament that SAS be allowed to convert debt into equity. Currently the Swedish government wants to extract itself completely from the ailing carrier. The Danish government is reviewing the whole situation before making any further decision.

The actions of the Swedish government may have a very beneficial knock-on effect as this should put considerable pressure on creditors and employees to enter into agreements. The restructuring plan announced in February included 9.5 billion Swedish crowns (£773 million) in cash and converting 20 billion crowns of debt to equity. SAS also warned at the time that liquidity problems could well arise if the restructuring fell short of targeted sums. During the pandemic Sweden injected 8.2 billion crowns to keep SAS afloat, but the carrier was already struggling to compete with the likes of Norwegian Air and Ryanair prior to the outbreak. CEO Anko van der Werff said last week that to attract new investors, SAS must cut costs for leased planes that stand idle because of closed Russian airspace and slow recovery in Asia.

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Volocopter’s four-seater aircraft takes first flight

On June 7, 2022, at the UP.Summit, an annual gathering of leaders in transportation innovation hosted by investment firm UP.Partners, urban air mobility (UAM) pioneer Volocopter announced that it has achieved another milestone to bring UAM to life: its fixed-wing passenger aircraft, the VoloConnect, completed its first flight in May 2022. This accomplishment makes Volocopter the only eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) developer worldwide to have an entire fleet of distinct aircraft configurations undergoing flight tests.

Volocopter’s third product solution, the VoloConnect, offers further and faster journeys than any other Volocopter aircraft to date, with a range of over 60 mi and flight speeds above 155 mph. The passenger plane’s extended range and higher payload will bring business travellers and commuters beyond the city centre on routes like Burbank to Huntington Beach in Los Angeles, CA. With the VoloCity and VoloConnect air taxi designs fulfilling demands for metropolitan flights and suburban connections in densely populated regions respectively, Volocopter is ready to serve a broader range of passengers’ flight needs. Moreover, the VoloConnect is targeting a 2026 entry into service, while the VoloCity is targeting commercial launch in 2024.

“Having a whole family of electric aircraft in the test flight phase is a pioneering feat. Volocopter’s leadership in the industry stems from announcing plans and then delivering on them visibly with public test flights. Our technology platform is the foundation for our family of aircraft approach and has proven to deliver results at an astounding speed. Volocopter is bringing these innovative designs off the ground, into the air and then to cities worldwide!” said Volocopter CEO Florian Reuter.

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Jetglow and Aerospace Engineering Solutions to manufacture scratch panes for Boeing 737

Offering a wealth of experience repairing and refurbishing commercial aircraft interiors has led Jetglow Aircraft Refurbishments to identify several high-volume replacement parts and make significant savings on OEM costs to airline operators.

Alongside its carefully chosen Part 21J design partner - Aerospace Engineering Solutions - both companies have developed from concept to delivery Boeing 737 aftermarket scratch panes for cabin sidewall panels available for release on a Form 1 under Jetglow’s Part 21G approval. By bringing manufacturing capabilities to the UK, both companies can build on opportunities for the local market as well as saving airline’s significant costs.

The product – a protective screen used to eliminate airline passengers from touching the pressurised window, not only adds a layer of protection against contaminants but prevents passengers from touching sensitive areas of the aircraft.

Rob van de Graaf appointed Commercial Director of EPCOR

As per June 1, 2022, Rob van de Graaf has been appointed Commercial Director of EPCOR, the 100% subsidiary of AFI KLM E&M based in Amsterdam, specialised in APU and component support. Van de Graaf builds upon an impressive career in various regions in Europe, the United States and Asia

He started his 30-year aviation career in 1988 at Fokker Aircraft working in the customer support organisation. He gained experience at AAR in various commercial roles and was involved in various customer support, business development and sales roles. Van de Graaf was involved in the development for a component maintenance facility in China where he was based in Shanghai. In the Asia Pacific region, he worked for HEICO and MTU where he was successful in engine contracts with various carriers in South-Korea, Indonesia and Australia. After a short adventure in Turbine Aero, he was asked to lead the commercial department of EPCOR. It fitted his desire to return to his roots in The Netherlands.

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New air traffic control technology to cut delays and emissions at Toronto Pearson -Intelligent Approach

NAV CANADA has become the first Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) in North America to deploy the time-based separation tool - Intelligent Approach.

Deployed at Toronto Pearson International Airport, this new technology adds additional tactical capacity across the airport’s five runways and will help reduce delays, fuel burn and CO2 emissions, particularly in high wind conditions. NAV CANADA worked closely with its UK counterpart, NATS and science and technology leader Leidos, to successfully transition to the Intelligent Approach system on May 28, 2022.

Intelligent Approach is a tool that helps deliver better on-time performance by optimising the spacing between arriving aircraft. Jointly developed by NATS and Leidos, the system dynamically calculates the optimum time interval between arrivals based on live weather data and the aircraft type rather than relying on set distances. It then translates that into a graphical marker on a controller’s radar screen, helping to improve spacing consistency and maintain the landing rate even in strong headwinds.

Intelligent Approach was first introduced at Heathrow Airport in 2015, where the use of time-based separation, as a way of maintaining the landing rate, has cut headwind related delays by 62%.

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C&L Aviation Group completes construction of state-of-the-art aircraft interior refurbishment facility

C&L Aviation Group has completed the construction of a state-of-the-art 12,000-ft² aircraft refurbishment facility at its Bangor, ME campus, next to the company’s aircraft paint hangar. The facility will be utilised to address the increased volume in both regional and corporate aircraft interior refurbishment projects the company has been receiving for the past several years.

“We’ve made substantial investments in space, equipment and manpower for the aircraft operators we serve,” said Chris Kilgour, CEO of C&L Aviation Group. “The new facility, along with increased in-house capabilities, provide us with robust options for customers looking for anything from a basic replacement of soft goods to complete interior upgrades and modifications.”

The new facility is equipped with a Gerber leather cutting machine, laser engraving machine, paint booth, seatbelt manufacturing centre, separate assembly and disassembly areas and more.

The new facility is one of five building projects C&L has completed since the start of the pandemic. In 2020 the company purchased a local events centre near the Bangor airport and converted it into a component shop, where they work on smaller aircraft components. The company also constructed a new 27,000-ft² aircraft parts warehouse, a 5,000-ft² add-on to one of their hangars for storage, and a complete renovation of its corporate aircraft maintenance hangar which includes new floors, walls, customer offices and a state-of-the-art interior showcase and design centre.

CemAir leases two CRJ900s from TrueNoord

Specialist regional aircraft lessor TrueNoord has successfully remarketed two YoM 2016 Bombardier CRJ900 ER NextGen aircraft (MSN15398 and MSN 15400) to South African operatorCemAir (Pty) which has signed long-term operating leases for both regional jets. Following transition from its previous lessee, the first aircraft in CemAir’s livery was integrated into the fleet in April, the second has been delivered in May. The aircraft remain funded by TrueNoord’s term loan warehouse facility with NORD/LB, Morgan Stanley, ABSA and Barclays. The lessor worked closely with dedicated regional aircraft remarketing agent, Airstream International, to finalise the lease agreements with CemAir.

The aircraft will be based in Johannesburg at OR Tambo International Airport and will complement CemAir’s existing fleet of 22 regional jets and turboprops deployed on domestic and regional routes that service popular tourist destinations and important commercial centres. “These are our first aircraft for CemAir and TrueNoord’s first aircraft leased into South Africa,” says Maarten Grift, Sales Manager for Africa, Middle East and CIS. “We are very pleased to engage with a regional airline that is expanding its domestic and regional route network. We look fworward to sharing their journey in the years ahead and sharing their successful growth strategy.”
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