Friday, December 21st, 2018



London Gatwick Airport paralyzed by drones in “deliberate act” of disruption

London Gatwick Airport has had all flight operations to and from the airport put on hold since 21:00GMT Wednesday, December 20, after what has been described as a “deliberate act” of disruption.

In all, up to 100,000 passengers are likely to be affected. The disruption began after two drones were spotted flying inside the airport’s perimeter fence and “into where the runway operates from.” There was a 45 minute respite at 3.01GMT, but “a further sighting of drones” saw the airport shut down again.

The shutdown remains in operation subsequent to the sighting of a drone at approximately 07:00GMT and additional sightings at approximately 11:00GMT. According to the airport, over 10,000 passengers were directly affected last night, while 100,000 passengers and 760 aircraft were expected to land at or take off from the airport this Thursday alone.

The drones are suspected of being “of an industrial size” owing to their seeming ability to remain airborne for considerable periods of time. Sussex Police have confirmed that this is not being looked upon as a terrorist attack. As of 13:00GMT the search was still continuing for the operator or operators of the drones.

Gatwick chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe said: "The police are looking for the operator and that is the way to disable the drone," adding that the police had not wanted to shoot the devices down because of the risk from stray bullets.

Incoming planes were diverted to other airports including London Heathrow, Luton, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow, Paris and Amsterdam.


Qatar Airways touches down for the first time in Da Nang, Vietnam

The first Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Da Nang, Vietnam touched down on December 19, at Da Nang International Airport, where it was welcomed with a celebratory water cannon salute.

H.E. Mr. Al Baker said: “Qatar Airways is very pleased to extend its reach into Vietnam by launching our third gateway into this beautiful country. The addition of Da Nang to our global network further demonstrates our commitment to the Far East region, a highly important market for Qatar Airways. And we are excited for passengers travelling to and from central Vietnam to experience our award-winning service and product for themselves. With 56 weekly passenger flights to and from Vietnam, we take great pride in in our role in bringing passengers to and from this beautiful county and also being a trade enabler and connector for Vietnamese and international businesses.”

Qatar Airways will operate its Da Nang service four-times weekly with a Boeing B787-8 aircraft, featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

SmartLynx selects NYCO’s turbine oil for its fleet of Airbus A320

SmartLynx Airlines, based in Riga, Latvia, has selected NYCO Turbonycoil® 600, a synthetic standard turbine oil, for use on its fleet of Airbus A320 powered by CFM56-5B and V2500. The ACMI provider and charter company is in full growth with annual passengers carried increasing from 1.6 million in 2015 to 2.5 million in 2017.

SmartLynx provides ACMI operations to its customers in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia and plans to start holiday charter operations in the Russian market from Q2 2019 with its sister company trading as WeGo Air.


Airbus Helicopters VSR700 demonstrator flies unmanned

The Airbus Helicopters VSR700 demonstrator took off for a fully unmanned autonomous flight at the military airbase in Istres in the south of France. The purpose of the flight was to establish compliance with the demanding regulatory and safety systems necessary for future unmanned flight in France.

During the exercise the demonstrator performed a 30 minute flight successfully executing a variety of flight patterns before landing in an autonomous mode. The unmanned air vehicle was piloted and monitored from the ground station located at the base.

The VSR700 demonstrator has been flying autonomously since May 2017 with a safety pilot as part of its development programme. The diesel engine installed to meet naval and military requirements has been fine tuned during this period and the automatic flight control systems have been developed to meet the new regulatory standards. This new critical operational capability is pursuing its development plan and 2019 will see the rollout of the prototype.

The VSR700 is a light military tactical unmanned aerial system able to carry multiple payloads, with an endurance of around 8 hours at 100 NM. The system will initially offer extended surveillance capabilities for navies, allowing them to preserve manned helicopter flights for critical missions. Users will benefit from the system’s low operational cost thanks to its proven civil certified Cabri G2 platform and its low consumption diesel engine.

LCI bolsters Asia operation with appointment of Chris Lloyd as VP Marketing

Lease Corporation International (LCI), the aviation division of the Libra Group, has appointed Chris Lloyd as Vice President Marketing. He will be based at LCI’s Singapore office, with responsibility for the South East and North East Asian markets.

Lloyd, who joined LCI in early December, has 25 years’ experience in the international helicopter market, with a proven track record in aircraft sales and leasing, working with contacts across the globe and particularly in the Asia Pacific region.

He was previously Managing Director of Lloyd Aviation Ptd – a helicopter and fixed-wing sale and brokerage company, based in Singapore and offering consultancy and valuation services across the Asian and Oceania regions.


ATSG to acquire fleet of 20 Boeing 767-300ER through 2021

Air Transport Services Group has signed an agreement with Jetran to acquire twenty Boeing 767-300 extended-range passenger aircraft from Jetran over the next three years.

The aircraft covered by this agreement are currently operated by American Airlines. They were manufactured between 1993 and 2003, and are powered by General Electric CF6-series engines. ATSG currently expects to begin freighter modification of six of the twenty 767-300s during 2019, up to nine during 2020, and no fewer than five in 2021.

Based on that anticipated schedule, and apart from any other transactions involving 767-300s, ATSG projects that it would own at least fifty-nine 767-300 freighter aircraft by the end of 2021, compared with thirty-nine at the end of 2018. ATSG also owns six other passenger 767-300s, all currently operated by its recently acquired passenger airline subsidiary, Omni Air International, and owns other Boeing 737, 757, 767 and 777 aircraft.

Embraer and Republic Airways firm up order for 100 E175s

Embraer and Republic Airways have signed a contract for a firm order of 100 E175 jets. This agreement was announced as a Letter of Intent (LoI) at the Farnborough Airshow, in July. The firm order has a value of US$4.69 billion, based on current list prices, and will be included in Embraer’s 2018 fourth-quarter backlog. Deliveries will start in 2020.

The contract also includes purchase rights for an additional 100 E175s, with conversion rights to the E175-E2, bringing the total potential order up to 200 E-Jets. With all purchase rights being exercised, the deal has a list price of US$9.38 billion.

“What a great way to finish this very hectic year for us at Embraer,” said John Slattery, President & CEO, Embraer Commercial Aviation. “As we promised in Farnborough, we are now closing a very important contract with Republic for these additional E175’s, continuously growing our long-standing partnership.”

Including this new contract, Embraer has sold more than 535 E175s to airlines in North America since January 2013, earning more than 80% of all orders in this 76-seat jet segment.


Mika Stirkkinen to head Finnair’s commercial unit on an interim basis

As Finnair communicated earlier this year, Juha Järvinen, Finnair’s Chief Commercial Officer will leave Finnair as of December 31, 2018.

Finnair has appointed Mika Stirkkinen (MSc. Econ) as the interim head of Finnair’s commercial unit. He will also be a member of Finnair’s Executive Board during this interim period. Finnair has already started the recruitment process for a new Chief Commercial Officer and will communicate the results of this process in due course.

Mika Stirkkinen’s current role at Finnair is Vice President, Revenue Management and Pricing.

Air Madagascar selects ADSoftware MRO IT solution

ADSoftware has announced its collaboration with Air Madagascar and its subsidiary, Tsaradia. The contract covers the complete fleet of 10 aircraft (Airbus A340-300, Boeing 737-800 NG, ATR72-500, ATR72-600 and TWIN OTTER). Maintenance and procurement personnel will be using the software on a daily basis to manage all aspects of maintenance operations. Air Madagascar joins ADSoftware’s growing customer base in the region.

The move is part of a complete redesign of Air Madagascar’s IT systems and a significant step towards operations optimization. The combination of Airpack’s technology and Air Madagascar’s MRO know-how will improve time saving and cost efficiency while giving Air Madagascar’s management valuable insight into maintenance activities. With Customer including Air Austral (Air Madagascar’s partner) and Corail Helicopter, ADSoftware increases its presence in the region.

ADSoftware’s expertise in handling data migration was a key factor in Air Madagascar’s decision. Years of maintenance activities will be transferred to the new system via exclusive processing tools developed locally. As part of the startup service, ADSoftware’s maintenance data experts visited on-site to elaborate a tailored and efficient implementation plan.


SkyWorks grows global platform with aircraft equity vehicle

Building on the success of its global platform, in 2018 SkyWorks Holdings (SkyWorks) significantly expanded its investment and asset management businesses while simultaneously increasing its commitment to the advisory business.

SkyWorks has established a dedicated aircraft servicing platform, SkyWorks Leasing (Ireland) Limited, in its Dublin Ireland offices. In addition, SkyWorks created a new equity vehicle, Sierra Echo Aircraft Leasing Limited (Sierra Echo), for whom SkyWorks Leasing (Ireland) Limited will act as origination agent, servicer and asset manager. The launch of this aircraft vehicle further reinforces SkyWorks’ commitment to its global aviation clients by expanding the suite of services that SkyWorks now offers.

SkyWorks launched Sierra Echo during 2H 2018, acquiring through four transactions a total of eight Airbus and Boeing commercial jet aircraft on lease to five different operators in North America, Europe and Asia. Sierra Echo’s anchor investor is a large institutional investor aiming to conservatively grow its investment in commercial aviation with the benefit of SkyWorks’ origination, servicing, and analytical capabilities.

To leverage Sierra Echo’s investments, SkyWorks also closed a US$300 million debt facility. The facility was led by Bank of America, N.A. (as Structuring Agent and Joint Lead Arranger), with BNP Paribas and Royal Bank of Canada acting as Joint Lead Arrangers.

SkyWorks’ portfolio of assets under management is now over 60 aircraft, after having sold more than 180 aircraft on behalf of clients in the past five years.


click here to download the latest PDF edition


click here to download the latest PDF edition

click here to subscribe to our other free publications


click here to view in PDF aircraft and engines available for sale and lease


Inventory Optimization & Supply Chain Management Seminar
February 19 - 20, 2019 – Palma de Majorca, Spain

IATP Conference 2019
March 9 - 13, 2019 – Athens, Greece

Saudi International Airshow 2019
March 12 - 14, 2019 – Thumamah Airport, Riyadh, KSA

Analytics and AI in Travel North America
March 14 - 15, 2019 – Hilton Parc 55, San Francisco, CA, USA

Aviation Festival Americas 2019
May 13 - 15, 2019 – JW Marriott Marquis, Miami, FL, USA
twitter linkedin