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Monday, July 4th, 2022

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Boeing woes as Airbus secures 300-plane Chinese state airlines’ order

Airbus, the European planemaker, has confirmed that it has secured orders for 300 of its jets from the top-three Chinese state airlines, Air China, China Southern Airlines and China Eastern Airlines. Boeing was quick to point to Airbus’ success as a consequence of “constructive dialogue” between Beijing and European governments, while pushing for Chinese and US governments to recommence productive discussions. Airbus, however, chose not to place any credit on political diplomacy, instead crediting the successful order as being down to “strong confidence in Airbus”.

Announcing the news almost simultaneously, Air China and China Southern Airlines, said each had agreed to purchase 96 A320neo-family jets, while China Eastern has placed an order for 100 of the same family of jets. The whole order has a book value of approximately US$37.2 billion (£30.7 billion), though heavy discounts are usually offered for substantial orders and China Eastern Airlines has confirmed that the discount it had secured was larger than usual.

The purchase will be subject to approval from the Chinese government, with deliveries from 2023 through to 2027 and the bulk of the delivery in 2024. While China Eastern is still suffering from the fall-out following the crash of a Boeing 737-800 back in March this year, the 737 MAX has not yet recommenced commercial flights in China, despite the grounding order on the jet having been lifted at the end of last year.

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Vallair and UUDS Group announce Airbus A330-300 E-Class cargo conversion

Vallair, the mature asset specialist, has unveiled the first ever E-Class wide-body freighter conversion capability at its brand new state-of-the-art mega hangar in Châteauroux, France. Designed to bridge the gap while operators currently wait five years or more for full freighter conversion slots, this innovative solution is the result of a joint investment between France-based companies Vallair and UUDS, which is Part 21 certified.

Grégoire Lebigot, Founder, President & CEO of Vallair, explains the importance of the programme and what it means for operators, particularly those involved with e-commerce. “Innovation is and has always been integral to Vallair’s DNA. Turning the Airbus A330-300 upper deck into a cargo area without installing the large cargo door means that the conversion cost will be just a quarter of the cost compared to a conversion with one. Turnaround time will be just around one month instead of six – so the benefits are clear to see. Also, it is the very first “made in France” cargo conversion programme for a wide-body aircraft and Vallair is proud to spearhead this efficient, industry-leading process as part of its re-industrialisation of aviation in the region.”

Vallair’s E-Class solution means that loading is not done on pallets or containers but uses a conveyor that fits inside the cargo hold to efficiently load and distribute individual parcels instead. This proven concept expedites the process and reduces turnaround times considerably.

“This solution addresses current market needs and increases the value of the asset because it is completely reversible should the market change” adds Lebigot. “The aircraft can easily be converted back to PAX-configuration, or transformed into a freighter with a large cargo door in future. It is a complementary alternative solution to the traditional freighter conversion, not a replacement.”

Vallair believes that the industry will view this as a sustainable option that will keep the assets flying for longer. EASA approval using a Supplemental Type Certificate is expected within the next two months.

PZL-Świdnik awarded contract for 32 AW149 multirole helicopters for the Polish Armed Forces

PZL-Świdnik, the Polish company fully owned by Leonardo, has been awarded a contract by the Polish Ministry of Defence (MoD) worth PLN 8.25 billion (approximately €1.76 billion) for the supply of 32 AW149 multirole helicopters. The contract was announced during an official ceremony held at PZL-Świdnik’s facility on July 1, in the presence of representatives of the Polish Government. 

In addition, the contract includes logistics, training and simulator packages. The logistics package includes a stock of spares and consumable parts, as well as equipment for the ground handling of the helicopters. The training and simulator package includes comprehensive training of pilots and technical personnel and the delivery of a set of advanced simulators and training equipment. The new helicopters will carry out missions including troop transport and air support. The equipment of the helicopters will also allow them to be used for casualty evacuation, search and rescue in combat operations and for the transport of goods and supplies. Deliveries of the helicopters will be made in the 2023-2029 period.

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Turkish Technic and Oman Air sign component pool and advance exchange services agreement

Turkish Technic and the national airline of Oman, Oman Air, have signed a comprehensive ten-year component pool and advance exchange contract for the airline's fleet of Boeing B737 Next Generation and Boeing 737 MAX family.

In accordance with the contract, Istanbul-based maintenance, repair and overhaul provider, Turkish Technic, will provide component pool, component maintenance and advance exchange services for Oman Air’s Boeing B737 Next Generation and Boeing B737 MAX family fleet. This multi-year contract will enable Oman Air to benefit from Turkish Technic’s decades of experience in component maintenance.

Daher completes acquisition of Stuart, Florida aerostructures production facility

Daher has marked a major expansion of its U.S. industrial presence by acquiring the metallic and composite aerostructures assembly facility in Stuart, Florida, reinforcing the company’s position as a Tier 1 supplier for aircraft manufacturers in North America and beyond.

The completion of this acquisition from TRIUMPH is bringing Stuart’s approximately 400 employees into Daher’s industry division – which already is a major supplier of complex aerostructures for leading airframers.

“With the Stuart facility, Daher has reached a critical size that is essential in the aerostructures business, while also marking an important expansion of our overall industrial footprint in North America,” explained Didier Kayat, Chief Executive Officer of Daher. “This represents a crucial element in Daher’s long-term strategic plan and further strengthens our ability to meet supply chain demands as the aviation sector continues its rebound.”

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Large enterprises, forced to innovate by supply chain disruption, see costs and complexity ramp up

Two-thirds (66%) of large enterprises globally say they are keeping more stock on hand now compared to the pre-pandemic period, with nearly one in five in total (18%) retaining "significantly more" stock. This growing focus on taking innovative measures to address supply chain disruption is highlighted in new research commissioned by IFS, polling over 1,450 senior decision-makers at large enterprises across France, Germany, Nordics, U.S.A., the UK and the UAE.

Further highlighting the impact of supply chain disruption, seven out of ten respondents polled for the survey (70%) said they had increased the number of suppliers of materials/products they use in response to recent supply chain issues. Moreover, nearly three-quarters (72%) of the survey sample claimed to have grown the proportion of materials/products they source from domestic suppliers as a result of these issues.
Together, these innovative measures are also likely to add more complexity and waste into the supply chain, at a time when increased regulatory burdens (highlighted by 15% as a primary contributor to their current business disruption) and the need to tap into the many benefits of the circular economy is making supply chain management more complex. In line with this, it is positive that 93% of respondents said their organisation was either embracing the circular economy today or planning to in the future.

However, many are facing challenges in terms of delivering on their goals, with around 60% of those saying they are in the process, still developing objectives, yet to plan programmes, or have their objectives on hold. Even among those respondents already embracing the circular economy, 23% felt their customers’ circularity expectations were either having no impact on the customer experience or were detrimental to it, although over time the benefits of circularity in delivering a better customer experience are likely to become ever clearer.

So far, as the survey indicates, many large enterprises have re-engineered their supply chain in innovative ways to reduce the risk of this disruption. These include, onshoring to improve security of supply; keeping more stock on hand to make certain they can always meet demand and increasing the number of suppliers they use to eliminate any chance of disappointing customers.

Maggie Slowik, Global Industry Director for Manufacturing at IFS, said: “Large businesses are likely to incur much higher costs and other negative financial impacts because of the measures they are taking to mitigate disruption. Onshoring the supply chain will often lead to having to invest in more expensive raw materials or product components, especially as inflation ramps up, while keeping stock on hand will tie up significant sums that could otherwise be ‘working’ for the business.”

Despite the far-reaching benefits of the circular economy, the need to embrace it is nevertheless a source of disruption for many large enterprises—especially if their equipment and processes are not set up to deal with waste reduction and the re-use and recycling of materials. That’s particularly the case when you factor in the other macro-economic disruption that businesses are continuing to face, from COVID-19 to the war in Ukraine.

At the same time, the survey reveals many large businesses are suffering from talent shortages. 65% of respondents say their organisations are finding it challenging to fill open roles, (with a lack of qualified applicants and skilled talent being the most prevalent reasons why), and 39% think disruption relating to skills shortages within their organisation will last beyond the end of 2022.

According to Slowik: “Businesses urgently need to find a solution that can help them to manage this disruption, which with price volatility is escalating ever further, transition to a circular economy and address the supply chain complexities we are dealing with today. To do this, especially when skills are in short supply, they will ultimately need to invest in technology that delivers the agility and fast time to insight that they need to better forecast demand. By addressing it now, efficiently and cost-effectively, they will put themselves in a great position to not only survive but also thrive long into the future.”

Sören Stark takes over as Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik

Harald Gloy completes the three-member Executive Board as new COO and Labor Director, Sören Stark has taken over as Chairman of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Technik from Dr Johannes Bussmann who leaves the Lufthansa Group at his own request after 23 years. At the same time, Gloy has succeeded Stark as the company's Chief Operations Officer. Gloy thus bears responsibility as "Accountable Manager" in accordance with EASA Part 145 and is the contact person for aviation authorities with regard to Lufthansa Technik's MRO operations. Dr William Willms continues to serve as Chief Financial Officer in the three-member Executive Board team.

Stark joined Lufthansa Technik's Executive Board in 2019. Previously, he was responsible in the Executive Board for Operations at Lufthansa Cargo for three years. He began his career at Lufthansa Technik in 2004 as Managing Director of Lufthansa Technik Logistik in Hamburg. From 2011 to 2016, the industrial engineer was in charge of Lufthansa Technik's aircraft overhaul division.

With immediate effect, Gloy will also head the Executive Board department Human Resources as Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and Labor Director, which was previously part of the area of responsibility of Bussmann. Gloy was most recently Labor Director and a member of the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo being responsible for operations. Prior to that, the engineering graduate held various management positions at Lufthansa Technik.

Stratos opens office in Japan

Stratos, a leading aircraft investment specialist and asset manager with a substantial portfolio of leased aircraft, has expanded its presence in Japan with a dedicated office in Toranomon, Tokyo staffed by two industry veterans. Masayuki Kamada has been appointed as Head of Japan and joins from FPG where he spent the past seven years as branch manager/senior sales executive covering various key territories around Japan. In addition, Yukari Tokuda (Business Manager) has spent the past five years as Senior Director at JP Lease. Both, Masayuki and Yukari, have built extensive careers at leading international banks in Japan.

David Goring Thomas, Chairman of Stratos, commented: “We are excited to welcome our new team members into Stratos and are keen that this expansion into Japan keeps us physically closer to our customers and business partners. This will enable Stratos to be more responsive to the needs of this incredibly important market for us and our team is looking forward to continuing to serve and develop our customer base across the spectrum of our aircraft leasing and funding activities”.
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