Tuesday, May 14th, 2019

Onex agrees friendly takeover of WestJet for CA$5 billion

Onex Partners, the private equity platform of Toronto-based Onex Corporation, will lead the investment buyout of Canada’s second-largest commercial carrier WestJet for an agreed figure of CA$3.5 billion, plus a further CA$1.5 billion in assumed debt. The announcement today comes two months after Onex first approached the board of WestJet in March. Onex will pay CA$31.00 per share, a 67% premium on Friday’s closing price of CA$18.52 in Toronto. The carrier’s share price had fallen 17% in the past 12 months amid rising fuel costs and soft revenues. In the same period, WestJet’s rival Air Canada had posted a 58% increase in share value.

“Onex’ aerospace experience, history of positive employee relations and long-term orientation makes it an ideal partner for WestJetters, and I am excited about our future," Clive Beddoe, WestJet’s founder and chairman, said in the statement. The deal comes the week after WestJet posted a 33% increase in first-quarter profit of CA$45-million, despite having 13 Boeing 737 Max planes grounded as a result of safety concerns about the new Boeing jets.

This is not Onex’ first venture into the aerospace industry, having tried to by Air Canada in 1999, only to be thwarted by then existing ownership regulations. More recently Onex acquired Spirit Aerosystems from Boeing Co in 2005, exiting its investment in 2014, having made US$3.2 billion. This current deal will be put to the shareholders with a recommendation of acceptance by the Board of Directors at WestJet and the deal is expected to finalize towards the end of 2019 or into 2020.

Founded in 1996, WestJet employs 14,000 people and has a fleet of about 180 planes that fly to more than 1,000 destinations. Founded in 1984, Onex Corp manages CA$31 billion of assets. (US$1.00 = CA$1.35 at time of publication.)

TP Aerospace

StandardAero expands Romania facility, surpasses 200,000th gate valve processed

StandardAero Component Services facility, located in Prahova, Romania, has expanded its manufacturing capacity from 32,000 ft² to 43,000 ft² and also recently exceeded over 200,000 gate valves processed with High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) coatings.

The company has also invested in a new clean line, new fluoride penetrant inspection and additional milling and turning capacity at its Romania facility, that supports customers in the oil & gas industry by manufacturing gates, seats and stems for valves and pipelines. The facility also
manufactures landing gear bushings for the aerospace industry.

Gate valves are commonly used in the oil & gas industry to completely shut off or provide full fluid flow in a pipeline. The interior mating surfaces require reliable & durable coatings with flatness specifications measured in nanometers.

Various additional site capabilities include CNC machining, grit blast, grinding, lapping, cladding, HVOF, Xylan, CMM, MPI and NDT.

Beach Aviation Group

Deputy President Lars Sandahl Sørensen leaves SAS

Lars Sandahl Sørensen has decided to leave SAS to pursue an exciting opportunity outside the company, as CEO of Dansk Industri. Lars Sandahl Sørensen will start his new position mid-August. The dates for final day at SAS and first at Dansk Industri are yet to be confirmed.

Norwegian reports April load factor of 86%

Norwegian has carried more than 3.1 million passengers in April, an increase of three percent compared to the same month previous year.

A total of 3,137,608 passengers chose to fly with Norwegian in April; 88,359 more than the same period last year. The total traffic increased by 11%, while the capacity growth was 7%. The load factor was 86.1%, up 3.1 points compared to April 2018.


Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter renews fleet from Dash 8 – Q400 to Embraer E190-jets

Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW) will renew its fleet. From December 2019, the regional airline will phase in the first Embraer E190 aircraft. The new Embraer aircrafts will replace the existing Dash 8-Q400 fleet. This will take about two years, until autumn 2021.

The replacement will harmonise the aircrafts within the group. WDL Aviation, the time-freight subsidiary based at Cologne/Bonn Airport, is currently also being equipped with aircraft from the low maintenance Embraer E190 series. This will create synergies within the group.

Dominik Wiehage, Managing Director of LGW, is pleased about the modernization: “With the change to the Embraer E190 jets we will be able to fly even more economically in the future. This will enable us to meet the highest quality requirements of our customers in the wet lease

With the replacement, the management of Zeitfracht Group is focusing on modernising and increasing the efficiency of the company’s aviation division. LGW will continue flying as a wet lease provider for Eurowings in the longer term. Zeitfracht Group took over LGW from the Lufthansa
Group only at the beginning of April.

Air France slashes hundreds of jobs as it struggles to compete in short-haul market

Air France has announced that it is to trim its short-haul network by approximately 15% by 2021 and as a consequence, is looking to shed 465 jobs, in a bid to stem losses resulting from competition both from other airlines and France’s high-speed TGV trains. Ben Smith, the Group’s relatively new chief executive, has been working hard to keep the powerful French unions onside, having successfully ended a crippling spate of strikes by agreeing new labor deals. As a consequence, it is currently being indicated that there will be “no forced departures.”

The cuts will eliminate a number of positions on French domestic routes over the coming year, a statement from the company made clear. Since 2013 the French carrier has lost €717 million (US$805 million) in domestic losses. This month Air France posted a 303 million-euro first-quarter loss after staff expenses jumped 6.4%. Uncertainty now surrounds the fate of Air France’s low-cost subsidiary Hop! As it is also struggling to compete with Europe’s two no-frills carriers Ryanair and easyJet. It may well transpire that the Group’s own low-cost carrier Transavia may take over the bulk of Hop!’s services.

According to The World News, Jerome Beaurain, a representative of the Sud Aerien union, said by phone before the job cuts were confirmed that Air France has been undermining its domestic
business for years and that it’s already “insufficiently staffed.”


Honeywell and Lufthansa Technik to expand collaboration on Airbus A350 MRO-services in Asia Pacific region

Honeywell and Lufthansa Technik will heighten their collaboration on Airbus A350 maintenance, repair and overhaul services in the Asia Pacific region. Lufthansa Technik will act as a licensed component repair center and exclusive global asset service provider in Asia Pacific for more than 200 Honeywell shipped components onboard the Airbus A350.

Greater accessibility to services, parts and best-in-class engineering support will help A350 operators in the region maximize operation of their aircraft through improved fleet availability and readiness.

"Maintenance is a costly and complex process, but we see our work with Honeywell as an opportunity to help A350 operators in Asia Pacific simplify their maintenance experience," said Gerald Steinhoff, Senior Vice President, Corporate Sales, Asia Pacific, Lufthansa Technik.
"Honeywell provides top-of-line technologies that are crucial to the A350. By integrating our world-class asset management and in-region repair centers, we can provide operators in Asia Pacific with better access to support all of Honeywell's key components on the A350. Over the next one and a half years we will significantly expand our local capacities in this area."

Aviation Week

Airport Strategy & Marketing names Chris Warren Director of Air Service Development

Aviation Week Network’s Airport Strategy & Marketing (ASM), a global consulting firm dedicated to supporting airports, airlines, tourism authorities and governments with the development of new air routes, has named Chris Warren as Director of Air Service Development.

Warren’s U.S.-based role marks the expansion of ASM’s footprint in North America. In this new position, he will consult with clients on air service and economic development, providing the strategic guidance and representation to expand their route networks and increase passenger numbers.

Warren brings to ASM extensive aviation industry experience across both airline and consulting platforms. Previously, he held management positions in finance, revenue management and planning at American Airlines, TWA and ExpressJet Airlines. In addition, Warren brings approximately a decade of aviation consulting experience, including management of air service development engagements for U.S. airports, tourism boards and communities.

Azul receives first Airbus A330neo in the Americas

The first A330neo of the Americas has been delivered to Azul Linhas Aéreas on lease from Avolon, becoming the first airline from the Americas to fly the A330-900. The aircraft is the first of 15 A330neo ordered by Avolon.

The A330neo, Airbus’ new generation A330 aircraft, will be used by the airline to expand its international route network between Brazil and Europe and the United States. Fitted with a three-class cabin accommodating 34 business class, 96 economy Xtra and 168 economy class seats, the A330neo offers passengers greater comfort along with the newest and the most advanced in-flight experience while the airline will benefit from the aircraft’s unrivalled operating economics.


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

ap&m Europe 2019 - The Global MRO Procurement Expo
June 4 - 6, 2019 – Maritim Hotel Frankfurt and Messe Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany

Managing Technical Aspects of a Leased Asset & Maintenance Reserves Seminar Training Seminar
June 11 - 12, 2019 – Novotel Barcelona City Hotel, Barcelona, Spain

Paris Air Show 2019
June 17 - 23, 2019 – Le Bourget, Paris, France