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Wednesday 20th June 2018

FedEx Express orders 24 freighters
FedEx Express has ordered 12 767 Freighters and 12 777 Freighters, valued at $6.6 billion at list prices.

“We are taking another positive step in our fleet modernization program as we add more efficient, lower emission aircraft to our global fleet,” said David L. Cunningham, President and CEO of FedEx Express. “The Boeing 767 and 777 Freighters have brought greater efficiency and reliability to our air operations. The 777, with its tremendous range characteristics, has allowed us to provide faster transit times around the globe. We are excited to add more of these aircraft to our fleet.”

This order comes as the air cargo industry continues to gather strength. A year after demand grew by nearly 10%, FedEx Express anticipates global air freight to increase by another four to five percent in 2018.

Air cargo carriers are adding capacity to keep up with demand, either by converting passenger airplanes into freighters or ordering new production cargo jets. With the latest order from FedEx Express, Boeing has sold more than 50 widebody freighters so far in 2018.

“We are honored that FedEx has again placed its trust on the wings of the Boeing 767 and 777. This repeat order is a big vote of confidence in Boeing’s market-leading freighter family and the long-term outlook for air freight,” said Kevin McAllister, president and chief executive officer, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

FedEx Express and Boeing have a long-standing partnership. The express carrier is a major operator of the Boeing 757 Freighter and the largest operator of the 767 Freighter and 777 Freighter. FedEx is also a customer of Boeing’s Global Services business.

Global Aviation Aftermarket State of the Industry Survey 2018
Airline Economics is researching the current state of the aviation aftermarket. Comments are sought from airlines, lessors, OEMs, MROs and suppliers to determine current market trends. The results will be aggregated by region – Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA), Americas and Asia-Pacific – and will be delivered in a series of reports to be published throughout 2018, with a global report released at the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Hong Kong conference in early November.

All participants, who provide their contact details, will be sent a PDF copy of the reports and entered into a prize draw to win one food hamper worth £150 or one of five annual subscriptions to Airline Economics (worth £265 each). [See below for the prize draw terms and conditions].

Winners shall be drawn at random from all participants who have finished the survey. All responses will be aggregated and comments will remain anonymous.

Click here for our data privacy policy.
Prize Draw Terms & Conditions: Only participants who answer all of the survey questions are eligible for the prize draw. No cash prize alternative is offered. Prize subscriptions may not be redeemed against existing subscriptions and are non-transferable. The prize draw will take place once the survey has closed. The winners will be drawn at random.

Philip Tozer-Pennington

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Airline News
Kjos to support a sale of Norwegian
Speaking at the Airports Council International annual conference, Norwegian Air chief executive Bjorn Kjos, who owns 25% of the carrier, confirmed that the airline was now reaching a size where it can begin to generate profit, and added that he would not block a sale if other shareholders supported it.

Kjos stated that Norwegian had not sought a buyer but the fact that airlines are interested is a good thing and a demonstration that the airline is “doing something right”.

KLM to launch new Economy Class service
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines will offer a new Economy Class service concept aboard its intercontinental flights. At the start of an intercontinental flight, Economy Class passengers will receive a bottle of water, a towel and earphones. After this welcome service, passengers will be offered an extended choice of meals on flights out of Amsterdam.

The new service will be introduced on the following nine destinations on 1 July 2018: Bonaire (via Aruba), Entebbe (via Kigali), Fortaleza, Osaka, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro and Houston.

From the start of the winter schedule on 28 October, the service will be available on all intercontinental flights.

The new collective labour agreement for KLM cabin crew includes a clause that one less crewmember will be assigned on many intercontinental flights. Consequently, a more efficient Economy Class service is required, said the airline in a press release. By better utilising the space on meal trays, trolleys can be stocked with more trays, ensuring that passengers are served more quickly. The new service is also more in line with passengers’ wishes, in that the amount of food and drinks served remains the same, while the quality of the service improves.

Pegasus launches flights to two Gulf destinations
Pegasus Airlines is adding Oman’s capital Muscat and Saudi Arabia’s business hub Dammam to its flight network.

Three times weekly flights will be launching on July 3, 2018 between London Stansted and Muscat International Airport from London Airport and Muscat International Airport (via Istanbul). Flights will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from London Stansted to Muscat; with flights from Muscat available on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. From July 15, 2018, the frequency of the London to Muscat flights will be increased to four times weekly.

Since June 6, Pegasus has also been running daily flights between London Stansted and Dammam (via Istanbul).

With the new routes to Dammam and Muscat, Pegasus now flies to a total of 110 destinations in 43 countries.

Brussels Airlines introduces new Economy Light fare on North American routes
From today, Brussels Airlines is offering a so-called Economy Light fare option on North American routes. The new offer is the cheapest choice for passengers who are travelling with hand luggage only and do not require ticket flexibility.

“The new Economy Light Fare is a further development of our efforts to offer individualized solutions to cater to the needs of our different types of guests,” said Dirk Janzen, VP Pricing & Revenue Management, Distribution and Commercial Steering. “It is a logical step after having introduced a similar hand luggage-only fare on our European routes in 2014. From now on, guests on our North American destinations will be able to only pay for the product they actually use.”

Economy Light passengers have the option of individually booking a piece of luggage or reserving a particular seat against a fee, and adding services that best meet their needs. Meals and drinks continue to be free of charge for all passengers on board.

Brussels Airlines is introducing the new Economy Light fare on its North American destinations (New York, Washington D.C. and Toronto) together with Austrian, Lufthansa and Swiss as well as with its A++ joint venture partners United and Air Canada.

Maintenance News
Tarmac Aerosave supports the MRO ramp-up on Leap engines
Following a successful partnership signature in June 2017 with Safran Aircraft Engines and its Part 145 approval extension (rating A) on A320neo aircraft, TARMAC Aerosave demonstrates with the delivery of its 7th LEAP-1A powered aircraft its capability in offering customized services and fast industrialization of MRO solutions on the latest commercial platforms.

This agreement with Safran Aircraft Engines is positioning TARMAC Aerosave as the MRO support for the EMEA region, either on site or at the customer base. The scope of services can cover a restrained perimeter (borescope, engine wash, LRU swap) or a complete one (full engine change). The challenges related to the steep ramp-up of the LEAP program are not only centred on production but also on maintenance services.

“TARMAC Aerosave was clearly ahead of competition and demonstrated a strong involvement during the call for tenders’ process,” says David Pineau, MRO Buyer at Safran Aircraft Engines. “We were also interested in their ability to send out their team and tooling kit at the operators’ facilities as well as hosting the aircraft on TARMAC Aerosave’s sites.”

“Safran Aircraft Engines saw in TARMAC Aerosave a swift and responsive company, benefiting from a qualified workforce and the appropriate installations. We were able to back up their engine manufacturer’s expertise with our aircraft MRO capability,” says Pierre Bonnichon, Business Development Manager at TARMAC Aerosave.

Shortly after the contract launch and the first aircraft delivered it appeared to the company that there was a requirement for additional services such as end-of-lease tasks. TARMAC Aerosave has therefore extended its rating B on LEAP engines and also makes the necessary investments to carry out specific tasks in its engine workshop. In parallel the first toolings arrived preparing TARMAC Aerosave’s approval extension on B737Max aircraft.

Philippe Fournadet, President of TARMAC Aerosave, adds: “We have built with Safran Aircraft Engines a strong and faithful relationship enabling us to offer innovative solutions. We are combining our respective area of expertise to find the most suitable options for the operators during maintenance events. And TARMAC Aerosave will keep investing in both infrastructures and manpower to guarantee the necessary quality and the appropriate satisfaction level to LEAP customers.”

FAI grows its fleet with the addition of fifth Global Express
German Special Mission Operator FAI rent-a-jet AG has expanded its fleet of managed aircraft with the addition of a fifth Global Express (S/N 9084). This brings FAI’s total fleet to 25, including its 10 managed aircraft.

In addition to the five Bombardier Global Express jets, FAI currently operates five Challenger 604s, 12 Learjet 60s, one Learjet 55, one Premier 1A and a King Air 350. All Bombardier aircraft are maintained by FAI Technik.

The new Global Express will be German registered and operated on behalf of a corporate client. It will be based at FAI’s corporate headquarters in Nuremberg following a full cabin refurbishment and new exterior paint undertaken by FAI’s growing MRO subsidiary, FAI Technik GmbH. This project marks FAI Technik’s third Global Express full cabin refurbishment in just six months. It is anticipated that the project will be complete by mid-November when the aircraft will be available for charter.

Siegfried Axtmann, FAI Aviation Group Chairman, comments: “We are very pleased to welcome a fifth Global Express to our managed fleet. Through our management contracts we provide value for aircraft owners and offer charter clients a diverse fleet from which to choose. We are delighted to be undertaking another full cabin Global refurbishment marking yet another major project for FAI Technik this year. We are seeing growing demand in our MRO business which is proving to be increasingly successful following an outstanding 2017.”

Atitech completes A319 check
Atitech and 31st wing command team have completed the 12 year check on A319CJ, MM 62243. The check was on time and with no snags after 5 hours test flight.

TAP takes off with Recaro
TAP Portugal has revealed its future brand new Airbus long-haul A330-900neo aircraft, with a cabin that is exclusively equipped with seats from Recaro. The flagship Portuguese airline presented its new Recaro CL6710 business class seats and CL3710 economy class seats during its first flight with selected guests on June 19.

The order from Portugal’s leading carrier includes more than 6,200 economy and business class seats. Recaro is going to equip all of TAP’s 21 new A330-900neo aircrafts.

TAP is the launch operator for the new Airbus A330-900neo long-haul aircraft and will be equipping the cabin entirely with two different seat models from Recaro: the CL3710 economy class seat, as well as the CL6710 business class seat.

“The CL6710 offers our passengers an outstanding living space while being highly efficient. We are very proud to fly our new aircrafts enabling our passengers to experience Recaro´s excellence and comfort,” says Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer, TAP Portugal.

Also Franҫois Caudron, Senior Vice President Marketing at Airbus is convinced: “It is great, that TAP Portugal has decided to support our latest Airspace Cabin experience. It offers passengers increased well being and enhanced operational performance of airlines.

“TAP Portugal has been a Recaro customer for many years and has expressed its confidence in the outstanding quality and design of Recaro seats with repeated orders.

“We are very proud to deliver the seats for the first A330neo and to once again cooperate successfully with TAP. It clearly reflects the strength of a successful collaboration between two powerful brands in the industry,” says Dr. Mark Hiller, Chief Executive Officer and Shareholder of Recaro Aircraft Seating.

Regulatory News
EU updates airline blacklist 120 airlines
The European Commission has updated its blacklist of airlines banned from operating in the European Union (EU), which has fallen from 178 to 120.

Previously, the EU blacklist featured 178 carriers, of which 172 were banned due to a lack of safety oversight by their local aviation authorities, and the remaining six were banned due to safety concerns with regard to the airlines themselves.

Today, the European Commission has updated its list to include a total of 120 carriers from 21 different countries. Many are based in African countries, such as Angola, DRC, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Suriname and Zimbabwe. Six other airlines, including Air Koryo, Iran Air and Air Service Comores, must operate under certain restrictions, mainly relating to the types of aircraft they can use.

People News
REN Legal further enhances its aviation finance and leasing capability
REN Legal has appointed Guy Espitalier-Noel as Of Counsel, further increasing the strength and depth of the firm’s core asset finance team. Guy’s arrival follows the recent appointment by REN of Sulagna Roy to Of Counsel.

Guy Espitalier-Noel joins from Stephenson Harwood, having previously worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer after qualifying at Slaughter and May. He acts for aviation finance banks, lessors and operators on complex cross-border aviation finance and leasing transactions including operating lease financings (including subordinated debt and Shariah-compliant financings), finance leases, sale and leaseback transactions, aircraft and engine purchases and disposals and PDP financings.

Norman Fraser, Partner, REN Legal commented: “We are delighted to have Guy join the Firm. His extensive aviation and asset finance experience compliments and enhances the existing offering at REN Legal.”

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Airline news
Ethiopian mulls further aircraft orders
Tewolde Gebremariam, chairman of Ethiopian Airlines, has indicated that the airline may decide on possible orders for the 787, CSeries or Embraer E2 jets at the Farnborough air show.

Ethiopian is considering a smaller order of 10-20 aircraft.

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Airline News
American Airlines consider headcount reduction
A leaked memo to staff from CEO Doug Parker and American Airlines’ president, Robert Isom, has informed the company to prepare for some management level redundancies following its merger with US Airways, reports CNBC.

“As a result of the integration work required, American has more director and above leaders than we require for the long term,” said a note seen by CNBC.

“While much of this restructuring will happen at the director and above level, we will also take the opportunity to look at our non-frontline facing management structure,” the note said. “The majority of improving efficiency at those levels will happen through the elimination of open positions and attrition. However, as leaders take the time to look at their organization, there is the potential for some involuntary departures as well.”

American has not confirmed the news.

Alaska Airlines to fly nonstop between Sacramento and Kona, Hawaii
Alaska Airlines has added a new nonstop service between Sacramento, California, and Kona on Hawaii’s Big Island. The new service, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 20, will be the only nonstop flight offered between the two destinations with a flight frequency of three times a week. Alaska currently offers nonstop service from Sacramento to Maui, Hawaii.

“We know our customers love Hawaii, even in sunny California. That’s a big reason we’re excited to add this new connection between Northern California and the Big Island,” said John Kirby, vice president of capacity planning and alliances at Alaska Airlines. “This new route shows Alaska’s ongoing commitment to continued growth and investment throughout the West coast.”

Frontier Airlines expands service at Raleigh/Durham
Frontier Airlines is expanding services between Raleigh-Durham International Airport and six new cities, starting this winter.

The new cities from Raleigh/Durham include: Cancun, Montego Bay, and Punta Cana. Frontier is also adding domestic service to Fort Myers, West Palm Beach, and Phoenix. Frontier will be the only airline offering non-stop service on four of these six routes. The carrier will operate these new routes with the Airbus A320 family of aircraft.

Finance News
Wells Fargo sues American Airlines for returning aircraft late
Wells Fargo has filed a lawsuit in New York that accuses American Airlines of returning three Boeing aircraft late by two, 45 and 49 days, reported Dallas Morning News. In the suit, the bank is claiming additional costs for technical experts that had been dispatched to the return location.

Wells Fargo said that American requested and was granted a lease extension for the two aircraft it was 49 and two days late in returning, and rental fees were paid. However, Wells Fargo alleges that American miscalculated how long it would take them to prepare the aircraft for their return and retained possession of the beyond the revised lease terms without providing any compensation.

The airline said that it was reviewing the complaint.

Surf Air defaults on payments & breaches contract with Encompass Aviation
Private aviation operator Encompass Aviation has filed a lawsuit against financially distressed membership-based charter broker Surf Air for whom Encompass has been acting as primary California operator since May 2017.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, asks the court to enforce the charter service’s obligations to Encompass as specified in several operating agreements signed by the two companies last year, and also to enforce subsequent payment agreements stipulated to in the interim. As of June 14, 2018, Surf Air owed Encompass more than $3,100,000, while engaging other operators in an attempt to keep flying while defaulting on their agreements with Encompass.

“We have been happy to serve as Surf’s primary carrier in the state of California. But we’ve come to the breaking point. Surf has repeatedly allocated its revenue on things other than paying in full for flight operations and aircraft maintenance,” said Steve Harfst, President and CEO of Encompass Aviation. “Surf has failed to honour its obligations under its agreements with Encompass and we have been significantly damaged as a result, both by Surf’s repeated failure to pay for services rendered and by its blatantly improper attempt to walk away from our service in favour of another operator.”

Because of pending federal government investigations concerning Surf’s possible illegal activities in 2016, Surf and its board decided that selling its airline assets to a US entity would significantly broaden their opportunity to expand and to make its product offering more attractive to its membership base. Resulting negotiations led to an agreement in May of 2017 for Encompass, at the time a fully FAA-certificated air operator, to acquire Surf’s airline assets and operate for Surf in California. Within a short time, Surf failed to make its agreed-upon payments to Encompass. Just four short months into the contract, Surf’s payment deficit had ballooned to more than $3.7 million. Despite non-payment, Encompass continued in good faith to operate flights and maintain the operating integrity and safety of the aircraft used to transport Surf’s customers.

Throughout the term of the agreement, Surf continued to demand performance by Encompass in exchange for little to no payment. Despite collecting revenue from its members, Surf failed to pay the contracted costs for flight operations and related maintenance responsibilities undertaken by Encompass.

On June 15, 2018, without any prior notice, Surf sent a termination letter to Encompass after it granted another operator the right to operate all Surf Air flights in California. This is in violation of the right of first refusal clause of the contract between Surf and Encompass. In addition to today’s legal action, on Monday, attorneys for Encompass sent a cease and desist letter to Surf Air’s board of directors and management, seeking payment owed and to prevent them from taking further action against Encompass.

ARC finds May ticket fares rise 6%
Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) has found that the consolidated dollar value of airline tickets sold by US-based travel agencies increased nearly 6% in May as compared to May 2017, totalling $8.8 billion compared to $8.3 billion. The average US roundtrip ticket price for May 2018 was $496, down $10 from the same time in 2017.

The total number of passenger trips settled by ARC for US travel agencies increased 3% to 25,007,890 compared to 24,210,177 in May 2017. US domestic trips increased nearly 3% while international passenger trips increased 4%.

Electronic Miscellaneous Document (EMD) sales in May 2018 comprised more than $8.8 million, a 19% increase compared to May 2017. EMD transactions decreased 11% to 114,420 in May 2018 compared to 128,221 in May 2017.

Maintenance News
SafeRack launches AeroStep, a mobile stair and platform system for aviation and aerospace assembly and maintenance
SafeRack, which manufactures truck and railcar loading platforms and safety equipment, has launched AeroStep, a specialised line of rolling stairs and access platforms for aerospace and aviation industries.

AeroStep’s mobile stairs have the stability of a fixed platform, but are highly mobile and can be precisely positioned against even the most delicate vehicles or equipment. AeroStep’s units can be customised to the unique requirements that are common to aerospace vehicles, giving workers safe access with strict tolerances to such things as intricate space capsules to large, multi-million dollar commercial airliners during assembly or ground support maintenance.

Rob Honeycutt, CEO, says, “Building on our early successes, we will now have a focused group who specializes in AeroSpace solutions, benefitting our customers directly, with a streamlined design process and faster response times.

AeroStep has three primary mobile units that are versatile and have features such as a large work platform, cantilevered and adjustable stairs, sturdy aluminum construction and powder coated surfaces that can be configured for nearly any application.

AeroStep is currently in use at Boeing, GulfStream, SpaceX, Bombardier, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

MAG Aerospace acquires North American Surveillance Systems
MAG Aerospace (MAG) has acquired North American Surveillance Systems (NASS) and related entities. This acquisition adds over 75 aircraft integration, modification, and MRO professionals to MAG, increasing MAG’s technical services and integration capabilities with in-house resources designed to deliver integration solutions.

NASS, founded in 2007, is a Titusville, Florida-based aerospace company that is a provides cost effective ISR Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) integration of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft, systems engineering, manufacturing, testing, certification, training, and logistics support. NASS has more than a decade of experience in manufacturing, installation and support of state-of-the-art electronic communications, navigation, and surveillance systems. NASS holds an FAA Part 145 Repair Station Certificate and has over 35 FAA STC’s for fixed and rotary wing platforms.

“NASS has a tremendous reputation in the aerospace industry for its highly technical integration services,” said Joe Fluet, MAG CEO. “Adding NASS to the MAG family allows us to continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers around the world. We are proud to have the NASS team join the other experienced professionals at MAG who set the standard for excellence in special mission aviation services.”

Technology News
Delta Air Lines becomes launch operator of ATMOSPHÈRE Cabin with new 20 CRJ900 order
Delta Air Lines has signed a firm purchase agreement for 20 CRJ900 aircraft – becoming the launch operator of the new ATMOSPHÈRE cabin for CRJ Series regional jets.

Based on the list price for the CRJ900 aircraft, the firm order is valued at approximately US$961 million.

“We are thrilled that Delta continues to select the CRJ Series as the airline looks into the future growth of its regional operations,” said Fred Cromer, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “Together with Delta, we have driven the development of regional aviation in the U.S., and we are looking forward to further enhancing regional air travel with the launch of the new ATMOSPHÈRE cabin with our long-standing and esteemed customer.”

The new CRJ900 aircraft with ATMOSPHÈRE cabin will fly under the Delta Connection brand in a two-class regional jet configuration with 70 seats.

Delta Air Lines will take delivery of the world’s first ATMOSPHÈRE cabin CRJ900 aircraft in late 2018.

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Airline News
Air India sale abandoned
The Indian government has abandoned plans to sell Air India after it received no bids for the company.

Suresh Prabhu, the aviation minister, said: “The aviation sector globally is going through a difficult time due to high oil prices. So it is not the right time to sell [a] stake in Air India.”

He added: “We will review the proposal when the situation improves.”

Maintenance News
IndiGo aircraft suffers bird strike
An IndiGo aircraft, performing a flight from Ahmedabad to Kolkata had to return soon after takeoff from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport after a bird-hit in mid-air. A few hours later, the passengers were accommodated in another aircraft while the damaged aircraft was sent for repairs.

The airline in a statement said, “The aircraft is undergoing maintenance inspection. To minimise customers’ inconvenience and consequential delays, another aircraft operated the Ahmedabad–Kolkata flight with all 175 customers on board.”

Confirming the bird-hit, airport director Manoj Gangal said, “The bird hit the aircraft at 13,000 feet height, 55km away from Ahmedabad airport.”