Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018



Primera Air files for bankruptcy

The Danish-Latvian low-cost carrier (LCC) Primera Air Scandinavia, flying as Primera Air (Primera) and its subsidiary Primera Air Nordic, has ceased all operations with immediate effect, as of midnight October 1 leaving up to 5,000 passengers stranded at various destinations in Europe and North America. The reasons given in a statement issued were “several unforeseen misfortunate events severely affecting the financial standing of Primera Air.”

It had been known over the last few days that the carrier had been looking for financial support after excessive spending on wet leases which were entered into as a result of continued delays with the delivery of Airbus A321s, both the A321LR and A321neo, with Primera the intended launch customer of the A321LR. As a result of these delays, the carrier had to invest an unexpected €20 million (US$23 million) on wet leases, and a further €10 million (US$11.5 million) on refurbishment of an existing jet.

In recent years, Primera had commenced an aggressive expansion program, opening a new base in Latvia along with the associated creation of Primera Air Nordic in 2014. In 2017 the carrier tackled competition head-on with the growing presence of other LCCs including WOW and Norwegian by opening of three new European bases at London-Stansted and Birmingham in the U.K. and Paris-Charles de Gaulle in France. From there Primera flew to Boston and Newark in the U.S. Shortly afterwards routes were added from London and Birmingham to New York, Washington DC and Boston in the U.S., and Toronto in Canada. To meet with this expansion, 20 Boeing 737 MAX9s and three A321s were ordered, with the first being delivered in April 2018 on a lease agreement with GECAS.

It was in May this year that major cracks began to appear in Primera’s operations after it was forced to cancel all flights to Toronto, followed in June by the cancelation of all planned summer transatlantic flights from Birmingham to New York as a result of, according to Primera, delays in the delivery of brand-new A321s from Airbus.
In August the carrier announced that: “Primera Air is ceasing operations from Birmingham Airport to Alicante, Tenerife, Las Palma, Reykjavik, and Malaga due to capacity reduction.”


EASA and FAA certify long-range capability for A321neo

Paving the way for the A321neo customers to start “Long Range” (LR) operations, the A321LR has moved a significant step closer with recent joint EASA and FAA approval of the aircraft to operate with up to three underfloor Additional Centre Tanks (ACTs), including for ETOPS operation.

This latest milestone is one of various A321neo capability options which when combined, allow the A321LR version to fly up to 4,000nm with 206 passengers with extra fuel stored in three ACTs, including on ETOPS routes. Moreover, the ETOPS authorisation enables up to 180 minutes single-engine diversion time, which is sufficient for performing any transatlantic route.

The A321LR’s certification includes: (a) approval of the “major change” to install up to three optional ACTs in the A321neo – with their associated new fuel management systems and lower-fuselage structural reinforcements; and (b) the approval of the A321neo’s “Airbus Cabin Flex” (ACF) option which incorporates a modified fuselage structure with new door arrangements together with a higher Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) capability of up to 97 metric tonnes. It should be noted that only A321neos which have the new ACF structure can offer the 97t MTOW and the ability to install three ACTs. Previously, the A321 Family could accommodate up to two ACTs.

While the ACF configuration will become standard for all new delivered A321neos from around 2020, the 97t MTOW capability and the ability to carry up to three ACTs will be options. For the ACTs, customers would specify prior to aircraft manufacture whether the aircraft is to be equipped with an expanded fuel management system as well as the necessary structural reinforcements to secure the underfloor ACTs.

The ability to add or remove ACTs, combined with the Airbus Cabin Flex, the 97t MTOW capability and the EASA/FAA approval to use the ACTs with ETOPS, together confer unprecedented airline flexibility for cabin layouts, seating density, cargo payload, fuel-capacity and mission routing.

Air Transport Services Group to acquire Omni Air International

Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) has agreed to acquire Omni Air International, a passenger ACMI and charter services provider with significant experience serving U.S. and allied foreign governments and commercial customers, for US$845 million, subject to customary adjustments. The company did not assume any debt in connection with the acquisition.

Omni Air is a leading provider of passenger airlift services to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) via the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) program, and a worldwide provider of full-service passenger charter and ACMI services. Omni Air also carries passengers worldwide for a variety of private sector customers and government services firms. Omni Air, founded in 1993, is an FAR Part 121 certificated and IATA Operational Safety Audit registered airline.

The combination with Omni Air is anticipated to add over US$430 million in annualized revenues to ATSG. It also exceeds ATSG’s investment hurdle and is expected to be immediately accretive to ATSG’s adjusted earnings per share in 2019, with Adjusted EBITDA in line with ATSG’s margin profile. After adjusting for the present value of tax benefits, which are estimated to be approximately US$85 million, the implied acquisition multiple is 5.8x Omni Air’s adjusted EBITDA for the trailing 12 months ending August 2018.


United Airlines expands 787 Dreamliner fleet with new order for nine Boeing 787-9 airplanes

United Airlines is expanding its 787 Dreamliner fleet again with a new order for nine Boeing 787-9 airplanes, the longest-range member of the super-efficient Dreamliner family. The deal is valued at US$2.53 billion according to list prices.

United Airlines says the order reflects its fleet strategy of replacing older widebody jets with new, advanced airplanes such as the 787-9, which can fly farther and use 20% less fuel with 20% fewer emissions. The U.S. carrier, which announced a purchase of four 787-9s in July, has now ordered a total of 64 Dreamliners.

The latest deal continues the strong momentum for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner family, with net orders now above 100 for the year and just one shy of 1,400 since the start of the program.

AeroCentury completes acquisition of JetFleet Holding

AeroCentury, an independent aircraft leasing company, has completed the acquisition of JetFleet Holding Corp. (JHC).

JHC is the parent of JetFleet Management Corp., which has managed the Company’s operations and aircraft portfolio since the Company’s founding in 1997. ACY paid approximately US$2.8 million in cash and 129,286 shares of ACY common stock to JHC shareholders.

“We believe this acquisition will be a positive development for AeroCentury and appreciate the strong support we have received by both ACY and JHC shareholders. To our customers, the merger represents business as usual, since the same management team that has run AeroCentury remains in place and fully intact,” said Michael Magnusson, CEO of AeroCentury.


Eirtech secures B737 STC for Honeywell PM-CPDLC ACARS Mark II+ CMU upgrade

Eirtech Aviation Services have been granted an STC (Supplemental Type Certificate) on B737NG aircraft to install the Honeywell ACARS Mark II+ CMU with all associated wiring changes. This allows aircraft fitted with these units to comply with the EASA Link 2000+ CPDLC mandate which is due in February 2020.

This STC is applicable to the B737 series, specifically models: 737-600/-700, 737-8/-800, 737-900/-900. This solution will be of interest to airlines and aircraft leasing companies who have B737NG aircraft which are not yet compliant with the upcoming CPDLC mandate.

Eirtech can supply a turnkey solution to include, engineering, STC with right to use letter, installation wiring kit with EASA Form 1 and supply of Honeywell CMU units.

AeroParts & Supply Southwest completes facility upgrade and move at Dallas Executive Airport

AeroParts & Supply Southwest (APSS) has completed a facility move to an upgraded hangar and shop space located at Dallas Executive Airport (RBD) and is now fully operational. The well-established General Aviation parts, supply and repair company celebrated their grand opening of the facility in early September.

The 3,808 ft² facility consists of larger shop space that includes an enclosed dedicated battery shop. The facility also consists of an expanded wheel and brake shop, warehouse and office space. In addition, the facility has a redesigned retail space for GA parts that makes it easier than ever for customers to select common parts.

The move aligns with APSS's efforts to make online part buying easier with a revamped website featuring more robust parts search and online purchasing options, which launched earlier this year.

Aero Controls

Seabury Solutions delivers Alkym to Zimbabwe Airways

Seabury Solutions, a subsidiary of New York-based Seabury Capital Group, providing Information Technology solutions for the aviation industry, has added the Republic of Zimbabwe’s new start-up airline, Zimbabwe Airways, to its growing customer base in Africa’s rapidly developing aviation market.

The airline will begin the certification process with the aircraft, under control of Alkym® Management and Control System for Aircraft Maintenance, with Its first of the four new Boeing 777 aircraft landing in Herrera already having its data loaded into Alkym.

Zimbabwe Airways have selected to use the full Alkym suite and will phase it into the operation as it grows and matures. With the new Mobile platform, Alkym brings its current module list to eighteen.

BOC Aviation places three new Airbus A320ceo aircraft with Saudi Arabian Airlines

BOC Aviation has placed three new Airbus A320ceo aircraft to Saudi Arabian carrier Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), all of which are scheduled for delivery in 2018. The aircraft will be operated by Saudia’s low cost subsidiary, flyadeal.

“We are pleased to add Saudia as a new customer and to work with its exciting low-cost unit, flyadeal, as it continues its rapid expansion,” said Robert Martin, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of BOC Aviation. “Demand for low cost travel is expanding rapidly in the Middle East and flyadeal is well-placed to capitalise on this trend.”

Mr. Con Korfiatis, CEO of flyadeal said, “flyadeal commenced flying a year ago with the focus of providing low airfares in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The strong and positive response we have seen is key to our fleet growth and network expansion. We are pleased to be working with BOC Aviation to add three new Airbus A320CEOs to our fleet. This brings our total commitment to 11 new Airbus A320 CEO aircraft – a great achievement for our first year of operation.”

C&L Aviation

C&L Aerospace signs distributor agreement with Essex Industries

C&L Aerospace, a C&L Aviation Group Company, has signed an agreement with Essex Industries to serve as a distributor for their smoke hoods, designed to go on all aircraft types. This new offering provides C&L customers with a smoke-hood option that is light weight, versatile, and runs on compressed oxygen which is easier to transport.

The FAA and EASA-approved Essex smoke hoods have a 10.5-year shelf life and come with an end-of-service indicator light in every unit. They can be shipped overnight air freight and contain oxygen cylinders as opposed to chemical oxygen generators. The Essex smoke hoods come with multiple stowage options making them practical for all aircraft types.

ARGUS International welcomes new Vice President of Sales and Marketing

ARGUS International, a worldwide leader in specialized aviation services, has released that Charles Cunningham has joined the company as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Cunningham is responsible for leading and managing the sales and marketing team and reports to CEO, Joe Moeggenberg.

Cunningham brings over 10 years of experience in marketing and sales, a depth of industry knowledge and a wealth of experience in sales management, marketing and business development.

Prior to joining ARGUS, Cunningham provided marketing strategy and implementation as Marketing Manager for Flatirons Solutions, an XML focused software and service provider for airline and OEMs. He earned his Bachelors in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and went on to earn his Master of Business Administration Aviation from Embry-Riddle.


Boeing teams with Robotic Skies

Boeing and its subsidiaries Jeppesen and Aviall have joined with Robotic Skies, a leading commercial unmanned aircraft system (UAS) support services provider, to develop and deliver industry-leading supply chain management and optimization, analytics, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services for the commercial and civil UAS markets.

“Teaming with Boeing will allow both companies to elevate the commercial UAS customer experience and deliver operations solutions that would be difficult to achieve individually,” said Brad Hayden, Robotic Skies, CEO. “This agreement represents a foundational step for the advancement of commercial UAS operations that will meet the requirements of today and help shape the future of unmanned flight.”

Boeing and Robotic Skies will jointly pursue opportunities to best leverage their extensive combined experience and solutions in manned aviation programs and extend them into the UAS market, including providing services for commercially-focused regulatory compliance, ground support, training, MRO, parts distribution, field upgrades and vehicle retrofit capabilities.

As their relationship continues to expand, the companies will provide unified operations services for both existing commercial UAS operators and for companies seeking to enter the UAS field for the first time.


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