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Thursday, June 9th, 2022

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Wizz Air and Airbus sign MoU to explore hydrogen-powered aircraft opportunities

Wizz air has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Airbus whereby the two will now explore the potential for the operation of highly efficient, ultra-low-cost hydrogen-powered aircraft. The intention is for Wizz Air to gain a more profound knowledge of how zero-emission hydrogen-powered aircraft would impact the company’s current business model.

Operating one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets of aircraft, Wizz Air operates at the lowest CO2 passenger emissions per kilometre and if all airlines in Europe operated to the same standards, CO2 emissions from aviation would immediately be reduced by 34%.

Johan Eidhagen, Chief People & ESG Officer, Wizz Air said: “This momentous agreement with Airbus will advance sustainable aviation across the globe through development of ultra-efficient operations and business models of the future. We are absolutely thrilled and look forward to beginning our co-operation.”

Glenn Llewellyn, Vice President Zero Emission Aircraft, Airbus said: “Working with our customers is paramount to developing a climate-neutral, zero-emission aircraft by 2035. We are very pleased to have Wizz Air on board to collaborate on the ongoing research and development into the requirements for hydrogen aircraft operations within a hydrogen powered aviation ecosystem.”

In November 2021, Wizz Air signed an agreement with Airbus for the purchase of a further 102 A321 aircraft, comprising 75 A321neo and 27 Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The order received overwhelming approval by the shareholders in an extraordinary shareholder meeting held on 22 February 2022.

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IATA: fall in air cargo demand in line with expectations

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released April 2022 data for global air cargo markets showing a drop in demand and contraction in capacity. The effects of Omicron in Asia and the Russia–Ukraine war continue to create a challenging operating backdrop that is driving the decline.

Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs), fell 11.2% compared to April 2021(-10.6% for international operations). Global demand is down 1% compared to April 2019.

Capacity was 2% below 2021 (+1.2% for international operations). Both global capacity and international capacity decreased slightly in April compared to March. Asia experienced the largest falls in capacity.

The war in Ukraine led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. And the zero-COVID policy in China led to capacity challenges due to flight cancellations because of labor shortages.

New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand and world trade are now shrinking in all markets except the U.S. Global goods trade has continued to decline in 2022, with China’s economy growing more slowly because of COVID-19 related lockdowns (among other factors). The lockdowns have brought much of the world’s largest port, Shanghai, to a standstill. Supply chain disruptions due to the Ukraine-Russia conflict are also adding to the downward pressure on trade.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 15.8% in April 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. This was the weakest performance of all regions and significantly slower than the previous month (-5.1%). Airlines in the region have been heavily impacted by lower trade and manufacturing activity due to Omicron-related lockdowns in China. Because of this, available capacity in the region fell 19.4% compared to April 2021, the largest drop of all regions.

North American carriers posted a 6.6% decrease in cargo volumes in April 2022 compared to April 2021. Demand in the Asia-North America market declined significantly, however, other key routes such as Europe – North America remain strong. Capacity was up 5.2% compared to April 2021. Several carriers in the region are set to receive delivery of freighters in 2022, which should help address pent-up demand on routes where it is needed.

European carriers saw a 14.4% decrease in cargo volumes in April 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. The Within Europe market fell significantly, down 24.6% month on month. This is attributable to the war in Ukraine. Labor shortages and lower manufacturing activity in Asia due to Omicron also affected volumes. Capacity fell 0.2% in April 2022 compared to April 2021.

Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 11.9% year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in April. Significant benefits from traffic being redirected to avoid flying over Russia failed to materialize. This is likely due to persisting supply chain issues in Asia. Capacity was up 6% compared to April 2021.

Latin American carriers reported an increase of 40.9% in cargo volumes in April 2022 compared to the 2021 period. This was the strongest performance of all regions. Airlines in this region have shown optimism by introducing new services and capacity, and in some cases investing in additional aircraft for air cargo in the coming months. Capacity in April was up 67.8% compared to the same month in 2021.

African airlines saw cargo volumes decrease by 6.3% in April 2022 compared to April 2021. This was significantly slower than the growth recorded the previous month (3.1%). Capacity was 1.5% below April 2021 levels.

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ST Engineering and Safran Aircraft Engines sign agreement for aircraft engine maintenance offload

ST Engineering has released that its Commercial Aerospace business has signed a five-year agreement with Safran Aircraft Engines for ST Engineering to provide engine maintenance (shop visit) offload for the CFM56-5B and -7B engines1. This multi-year agreement will allow ST Engineering and Safran Aircraft Engines to meet the forecasted rise of engine MRO activities as air travel gradually recovers from the pandemic.

Tay Eng Guan, VP/GM of Engine Services at ST Engineering, said, “As a licensed service centre for CFM56-5B and -7B engines, ST Engineering has built a longstanding and strong relationship with Safran. We are delighted to build on that partnership with this latest engine offload agreement. With flying activities picking up strongly, we look forward to leveraging our engine MRO expertise and facilities in Asia to support CFM customers and the recovery in global air travel.”

SITA to trace and repatriate lost items at this year’s Passenger Terminal Expo

SITA has signed an exclusive agreement with UKi Media & Events to trace and repatriate lost items at this year’s Passenger Terminal Expo, the world’s biggest airport exhibition being held in Paris from June 15-17.  

Using SITA WorldTracer® Lost and Found Property, attendees will be able to use their mobile device to register any missing items, which are automatically matched with found items, dramatically reducing the time and cost of repatriating lost items. Every year more than 10,000 people from 130 countries visit the exhibition, with hundreds of personal items being left behind or lost.

SITA WorldTracer Lost and Found Property was launched in 2021 to solve a million-dollar headache for airlines: how to quickly return items left behind on aircraft or in airports to their owners. Every year passengers leave millions of items – including phones, wallets and bags – on planes and in airports, costing the industry millions of dollars in repatriation costs.

The benefits of the solution have now been recognized by security companies, airports and event organisers who face a similar challenge. It can cost up to US$95 to manage and repatriate a lost item, including registration, handling inquiries and customer calls, storage and postage. Leveraging SITA’s WorldTracer solution, Lost and Found Property cuts the cost of repatriating lost items by 75%. The solution also dramatically speeds up the time taken to find, and return found items, with 60% of these items returned within the first 48 hours.

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Engine Lease Finance Corporation rebranding

Engine Lease Finance Corporation has announced that it is rebranding as elfc with a completely new look, including its logo, corporate colours and website.

The company logo and brand identity has undergone a significant transformation and while this is a major change, its core values and commitment to all its stakeholders remains absolutely the same. Its values and integrity are the foundation of everything they do at elfc.

Since its foundation in 1989 elfc has undergone continuous growth and development and the company is a trusted partner in the aircraft engine leasing industry. elfc is continuing this evolution and growth with its new brand identity.

Astronics to provide Southwest Airlines with latest-generation of In-Seat Power

Astronics Corporation has signed an agreement with Southwest Airlines to provide its EMPOWER® Passenger In-Seat Power System for installation on 475 Boeing 737 MAX-7 and MAX-8 aircraft. This award is part of Southwest’s recently announced significant cabin upgrade initiative to enhance the customer experience.

The system configuration selected by Southwest Airlines will provide 60W Type-C and 10.5W Type-A USB charging ports at every passenger seat. This will allow passengers to power and charge two devices simultaneously, including smart phones, tablets, laptops and other Portable Electronic Devices (PED).

Astronics will begin delivering in the fourth quarter of 2022 for retrofit installations on Southwest Airlines’ existing MAX-8 fleet. The Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification group has been selected to provide the installation design, STC certification and installation kits for the retrofit. Deliveries to Boeing for installation on new aircraft on the production line will begin in 2023.

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Lufthansa Technik and Premium AEROTEC reach milestone in additive manufacturing

In their joint effort to use additive manufacturing methods for a more cost-efficient aircraft spare parts production, Lufthansa Technik and Premium AEROTEC have reached an important milestone:

A metal component developed at Lufthansa Technik's Additive Manufacturing (AM) centre for the IAE-V2500 engine's anti-icing system has now received its official aviation certification from EASA. On this basis, Premium AEROTEC will produce the so-called "A-Link" for Lufthansa Technik at its Varel (Germany) site using a 3-D printer.

As part of this certification process, Lufthansa Technik has now extended the expertise of its EASA Part 21/J development facility to include additively manufactured metal components. For Premium AEROTEC, the cooperation with Lufthansa Technik is a significant milestone in the field of additive manufacturing, as it is the first time the company has supplied a customer outside the Airbus Group with printed series components. The first A-Links from the cooperation will be used in the Lufthansa fleet, where long-term experience with the new components is to be gained beyond certification.

Spirit Airlines postpones special meeting of stockholders until June 30

Spirit Airlines has announced that it postponed its Special Meeting of Stockholders from June 10, relating to the proposed merger agreement with Frontier Group Holdings, until June 30, 2022 at 9 AM ET.

The Special Meeting was postponed to allow the Spirit Board of Directors to continue discussions with Spirit stockholders, Frontier and JetBlue Airways Corporation after the latter has made a counter-offer and now offers to pay Spirit's stockholders US$350 million as a reverse break-up fee should its takeover be blocked on antitrust grounds by U.S. regulators.

Spirit remains bound by the terms of the merger agreement with Frontier and Spirit's Board has not determined that either JetBlue's unsolicited tender offer or its updated proposal received on June 6 constitutes a superior proposal as defined in the merger agreement with Frontier and has made no change to its recommendation that Spirit stockholders adopt the merger agreement with Frontier.
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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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Tamar