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Friday, July 8th, 2022

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BA flight cancellations approach 30,000 as UK government amnesty looms

British Airways (BA) has joined the growing list of carriers who have had to cancel flights in their thousands as it has also failed to cope with the resume in demand for air travel. The latest round of cancellations from BA is approximately 10,500 in number, all of which is understood are short-haul flights, ensuring that long-haul flights remain relatively unaffected by staff shortages, while also enabling the carrier to also concentrate on holiday flights.

This latest flurry of flight cancellations has been prompted by the UK governments amnesty over the ‘use them or lose them’ airport slots policy that had been in place. Carriers have been anxious not to cancel flights for fear that they would lose their highly prized take-off and landing slots. So, in an attempt to stop the last-minute cancellation of flights and eliminate the disruption and disappointment caused by such actions, this Friday the government is putting this slots policy on hold for the summer season, providing carriers stop last minute cancellations and instead cancel flights well in advance so passengers can make alternative arrangements.

Unsurprisingly, Ryanair has complained about the government’s policy change regarding airport slots, saying that the problems were all of the carriers’ making. "We do not support this latest slot waiver regulation from the UK government, which has been handed out for the benefit of airlines who failed to adequately prepare for the return of air travel post Covid," the statement said. "These slot waivers will lead to fewer flights and reduced connectivity, which will ultimately harm competition and lead to higher fares for hard-pressed UK consumers," it said. Ryanair has announced it intends to offer a full flight schedule this summer, with no disruptions.

BA said the new flexibility offered by the amnesty meant it could "further reduce our schedule and consolidate some of our quieter services so that we can protect as many of our holiday flights as possible,” adding that "While most of our flights are unaffected and the majority of customers will get away as planned, we don't underestimate the impact this will have and we're doing everything we can to get their travel plans back on track."

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Daher begins TBM 960 deliveries to U.S. customers

The commencement of deliveries of the TBM 960 to customer to the United States sees this latest TBM version introduced to North America, which is the largest single-market region for Daher’s family of very fast turboprop aircraft. The TBM 960 – provides the benefits of digital power for enhanced sustainability, a superior piloting experience and increased cabin comfort.

The commencement of deliveries followed certification of the TBM 960 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness authority, joining the previous certification approval by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The initial two TBM 960s for U.S. customers left the Tarbes, France headquarters of Daher’s aircraft division on their ferry flights, arriving at separate TBM-authorised distributors in the Midwest and U.S. West Coast for the handover to their owners. One of the aircraft landed at Elliott Jets in Minneapolis, Minnesota, while the other was welcomed at California’s Camarillo Airport by AVEX.

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Aurora to build two new motherships for Virgin Galactic

Virgin Galactic, an aerospace and space travel company, has announced an agreement with Aurora Flight Sciences (Aurora), a Boeing company, to partner in the design and manufacture of the company’s next-generation motherships. The mothership is the air launch carrier aircraft in Virgin Galactic’s space flight system that carries the spaceship to its release altitude of approximately 50,000 feet.

Headquartered in Virginia, Aurora brings more than 30 years of experience building cutting-edge aircraft from concept to delivery and specialises in novel aircraft configurations and complex composites. Virgin Galactic has been working with Aurora for the past several months to develop design specifications as well as workforce and resource requirements in preparation for this long-term project. The two-vehicle contract will enable Aurora to immediately begin development.

Virgin Galactic Chief Executive Officer Michael Colglazier said: “Our next-generation motherships are integral to scaling our operations. They will be faster to produce, easier to maintain and will allow us to fly substantially more missions each year. Supported by the scale and strength of Boeing, Aurora is the ideal manufacturing partner for us as we build our fleet to support 400 flights per year at Spaceport America.”

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SITA signs sustainability-linked syndicated credit facility

SITA, a global IT provider for the aviation industry, has signed a US$400 million (£320 million) inaugural sustainability-linked revolving credit facility over a minimum three-year term. The backup facility will support the company’s general business needs, such as developing new solutions and strategies to alleviate the air transport industry’s challenges of today and in the future.

The syndication was oversubscribed. As part of the arrangement, four new banks have signed up to support SITA in addition to the company’s five existing banking partners, underlining investor confidence in the technology provider. SITA’s robust cost control, effective cash management, and strengthening green credentials are factors contributing to investor interest.

This new backup syndicated facility will supersede the company’s previous bilateral committed lines and is now directly linked to pre-agreed environmental KPIs and yearly targets, with a bonus or a malus on the interest margin depending on SITA’s performance.

In recent years, SITA has ramped up its emission reduction efforts, achieving CarbonNeutral® status under The CarbonNeutral Protocol in 2021. More recently, the company announced its commitment to setting science-based targets via the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to join other leading companies to combat climate change aligned to net-zero and the 1.5oC scenario of the Paris Agreement.

The syndicated credit facility linked to environmental performance is an innovative step forward in the company’s ongoing sustainability efforts. It includes significant reduction targets relating to Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions to align with SBTi frameworks. SITA’s performance against these targets will be externally audited.

EIT_12

Boeing delivers 150th P-8 Maritime Patrol aircraft

The newest Boeing P-8 maritime patrol, reconnaissance aircraft has taken to the skies over Puget Sound bringing the total number of P-8s delivered to 150. The 150th multi-mission P-8 will be operated by Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) One, based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

Amassing more than 450,000 mishap-free flight hours, the global P-8 fleet includes 112 aircraft delivered to the U.S. Navy, 12 to Australia, 12 to India, nine to the United Kingdom and five to Norway. The aircraft are designed for anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and search and rescue.

The 150 P-8s in service do not include six test aircraft provided to the U.S. Navy during the initial stages of the programme. Boeing tested those aircraft during development to assess capabilities and performance. As development of system enhancements and new technology continues, the test aircraft perform a critical role in ensuring Boeing provides state-of-the-art capabilities to global P-8 customers.

NAC signs lease agreements with Olympic Airways and LOT Polish Airlines

Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has executed a lease agreement for seven E175/E190 aircraft with LOT Polish Airlines, which is the flag carrier of Poland, based in Warsaw. These deliveries were in conjunction with a fleet roll-over of leased Q400 aircraft.

Furthermore, NAC has confirmed that it has executed a lease agreement for four ATR72-600’s with Olympic Airways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aegean Airlines, which is the flag carrier of Greece, based in Athens. These deliveries were in conjunction with a fleet roll-over of leased Q400 aircraft.

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Tamar Jorssen
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Email: tamar.jorssen@avitrader.com
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