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Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

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Western sanctions force Russian airlines to use 'Christmas trees' to keep aircraft in the skies

Russian carriers, including Aeroflot, are having to cannibalise certain aircraft to provide sufficient spare parts to keep other aircraft in the skies. Western sanctions have seen an embargo on the supply of aircraft spare parts to Russia since its invasion of Ukraine. Not only has the sanction had an effect on Airbus and Boeing aircraft, but the Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100, which is assembled in Russia relies heavily on foreign spare parts. It is understood that countries which have not imposed sanctions on Russia are reluctant to provide any parts from their own airlines' inventory for fear of secondary sanctions being imposed against them by Western countries.

According to a Reuters news agency source, “Each single part has its own (unique) number and if the documents will have a Russian airline as the final buyer, then no one would agree to supply, neither China nor Dubai,” adding that all parts have to be made known to Boeing and Airbus before they are supplied to the end-user.

The practice of using spare parts from a disused aircraft to keep another one operational sees the term 'Christmas tree' used to describe the plane that is being cannibalised.  At least one Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet 100 and an Airbus A350, both operated by Aeroflot, are currently grounded and being disassembled, another Reuters' source familiar with the matter said. They added that equipment was being taken from a couple of Aeroflot’s Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s, as the carrier needs more spare parts from those models for its other Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.

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CargoAir places order for 4th AEI B737-800SF freighter conversion

Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) is pleased to has released that Bulgaria-based CargoAir has ordered its 4th AEI B737-800SF freighter conversion. The aircraft, (MSN 30883) is slated to commence modification at the end of October 2022. All conversion related touch labour will be performed by the authorised AEI conversion centre, Commercial Jet in Miami, Florida.

“The AEI B737-800SFs are part of our overall fleet revitalisation programme and will be used to incrementally replace our existing fleet of B737-300SF/-400SF freighters,” remarked CargoAir Purchase and Fleet Acquisitions Director, Angel Petrov. “AEI has the best B737-800SF conversion on the market with features and reliability that support real life conditions. Additionally, AEI provides flexible slots which substantially assists our overall fleet planning requirements.”

CargoAir is an important, long-term customer for AEI. Upon completion of this order, CargoAir will operate a total of 15 AEI freighters, including a mix of B737-300SF, B737-400SF, and B737-800SF freighters.

Bombardier sells one Challenger 3500 jet

Bombardier has announced the sale of one Challenger 3500 business jet to Italian-based operator, Air Corporate SRL. This will be the first company to offer the aircraft for charter in Europe.

Introduced in 2021, the new Challenger 3500 aircraft offers a unique blend of performance, advantageous operating costs, ultimate cabin experience and smooth ride, making it an ideal choice for the European charter market. With its re-designed interior with intelligent and sustainably minded cabin features, the Challenger 3500 aircraft is elegantly crafted to combine comfort with function, fully elevating the passenger experience.

“We’re thrilled to be adding the new Challenger 3500 aircraft to our fleet,” said Roano Grandi, President, Air Corporate SRL, alongside Jacopo Foroni, CFO and Paolo Serini, COO. “This exceptional aircraft provides us with an outstanding option to further enhance our charter business and provide our discerning customers with an exceptional private aircraft experience at every level.”

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Frontier Airlines and Denver International Airport break ground on 14-gate facility

Frontier Airlines and Denver International Airport (DEN) celebrated a ceremonial ground-breaking for the new 120,000-ft² ground boarding facility on the east-end of Concourse A at Denver International Airport. The project includes the re-modelling of 83,000 ft² of space, along with a 37,000 ft² expansion area. The facility will feature 14 gates and an adjacent 8,000 ft² maintenance facility.

“We’re thrilled to join with our partners at Denver International Airport and the City of Denver to break ground on this new facility, which will provide a beautiful, convenient, customer-centric experience for departing and arriving Frontier passengers,” said Barry Biffle, CEO of Frontier Airlines. “The use of ground boarding will cut boarding and deplaning times in half by allowing customers access to aircraft from the front and rear and will help support our expansion at DEN. As Colorado’s hometown airline, we are excited to further grow our commitment to the Denver community and beyond and offer an exceptional customer experience at DEN.”

The entire facility will be complete and operational by mid-2024.

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Boeing to represent aviation sector in global alliance to help cut aviation emissions faster

Boeing will represent the aviation sector in a global alliance, jointly established by the U.S. Government and World Economic Forum to accelerate clean technologies and reduce carbon emissions.

The First Movers Coalition (FMC) was created in late 2021 to leverage the purchasing power of major companies to speed up the pace of decarbonising industrial sectors such as shipping, chemicals and trucking. Boeing, a founding member of the coalition, will serve as the ‘champion’ for the aviation sector.

As part of its new role, Boeing commits to supporting greater commercialisation of sustainable aviation fuels and advancing other low-carbon technologies. Scaling up sustainable solutions is critical to the aviation sector’s target of net-zero emissions by 2050 and the broader goal of holding global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the so-called ‘1.5°C pathway’.

“We can only maintain the critical climate pathway of 1.5ºC if we jumpstart the market for disruptive zero-carbon technologies and make them as economically competitive as existing carbon-intensive solutions,” said Nancy Gillis, Head of the First Movers Coalition. “I congratulate Boeing for its new championship role and look forward to working together on driving the need for and accelerating the use of these emerging technologies.”

Boeing said it will leverage current technologies and increase industry partnerships in expanding sustainable aviation fuel supplies, while shaping strategies for developing new solutions.

Boeing has recruited one of the leading experts in sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) to work with the more than 50 companies in the First Movers Coalition and other industry partners. Robert Boyd will join Boeing from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), where he led de-carbonisation efforts, including advancing the commercial deployment of SAF and addressing policy, economic, sustainability and logistic challenges. Boyd also served as a member of the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) fuels task group. Additionally, he served for four years on the Board of Directors for the Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB).

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Mesa Air Group reports third-quarter fiscal 2022 results

Mesa Air Group has reported that total operating revenues in Q3 2022 were US$134.4 million, an increase of US$9.2 million (7.4%) from US$125.2 million in Q3 2021. Contract revenue increased US$9.2 million, or 8.4%. This was due to the return to normal rates from its partners, which were temporarily reduced last year related to the PSP programme. These were partially offset by a reduction in block hours. Mesa’s Q3 2022 results include, per GAAP, the recognition of US$6.8 million of previously deferred revenue, versus the deferral of US$1.9 million of revenue in Q3 2021. The remaining deferred revenue balance of US$22.7 million will be recognised as flights are completed over the remaining terms of the contracts.

Mesa’s adjusted EBITDA for Q3 2022 was US$20.1 million, compared to US$35.3 million in Q3 2021, and adjusted EBITDAR was US$29.4 million for Q3 2022, compared to US$44.9 million in Q3 2021.

Mesa’s Q3 FY22 results reflect a net loss of US$10.0 million, compared to net income of US$4.3 million for Q3 FY21. Mesa’s Q3 FY22 adjusted pre-tax loss was US$8.7 million versus an adjusted pre-tax income of US$5.8 million in Q3 FY21. The year over year decrease in adjusted pre-tax income of $14.5 million was primarily due to lower block hours, the net impact of the PSP programme and the change in deferred revenue.
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