Norwegian appoints new EVP Network, Pricing & Optimisation

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Norwegian has announced Mr Magnus Thome Maursund will take up the position of EVP Network, Pricing & Optimisation on 1 October. He has held several managerial positions in Norwegian for more than a decade.

“I am pleased to welcome Magnus Thome Maursund into the management team of Norwegian. His analytical skills, extensive aviation experience and personal style will be highly valued in the entire organisation,” said Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian.

Magnus Thome Maursund joined Norwegian in 2007 as a revenue analyst. He has since held several positions within revenue management, short-haul route planning, charter and airline partnerships. He comes from the position as SVP Commercial Short-Haul.

“I appreciate this opportunity, and I look forward to working with the team in my new capacity. The challenges ahead are truly exciting, in a time where the entire aviation industry will continuously change and develop following the pandemic,” said Magnus Thome Maursund, newly appointed EVP Network, Pricing & Optimisation.

Mr Maursund, a Norwegian national, was born in 1981. He holds a MSc in Business, specialising in strategy from BI Norwegian Business School. Maursund will continue to be based at the Norwegian headquarters outside Oslo.

Airbus to deliver US-completed commercial aircraft with SAF

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Airbus will start delivering all aircraft from its US Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) on board later this year. The initiative is a further step toward fulfilling Airbus’ commitment to carbon-neutral growth in the aviation sector.

Airbus has reached an agreement with Signature Flight Support to supply SAF to its Mobile facility. No later than November 2021, all aircraft delivered to customers will be powered by a blend of SAF and conventional jet fuel. Signature Flight Support is working in partnership with World Energy to provide the US-sourced SAF to Airbus.

“Delivering our Mobile-produced aircraft with SAF is an important, iterative step toward solving the carbon challenge,” said Jeff Knittel, Chairman and CEO of Airbus Americas, Inc. “SAF is a positive contributor to enhanced sustainability in aviation since it enables up to an 80% reduction of CO2 across the fuel lifecycle.  We are committed to making sustainable fuels an everyday reality with use on an increasingly larger scale, and this announcement is further evidence of that.”

From its US Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, Airbus delivers both A220 and A320 Family aircraft to US-based customers. Since 2016, the company has delivered more than 260 Airbus aircraft from Mobile — 54 of which have been turned over to airlines in 2021 alone.

Investec provides growth finance facility to APOC Aviation for engines and landing gear portfolio

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Utilising an initial tranche of funds, APOC has secured an on-going finance facility with Investec for multiple lease assets. APOC’s majority shareholder Egeria have worked with Investec across several of their portfolio businesses and have provided instrumental support throughout.

“Investec offered us a facility that would start relatively small, but which could grow over time” says Barry Lemmers, CFO – APOC Aviation. “Currently, it represents a limited part of our outstanding financing, but this is expected to increase over the next months and years. Multiple financiers were interested to provide APOC with financing to grow the engine and landing gear leasing portfolio. Investec stood out because of their flexibility in the structuring and timing of the deployment of the financing. Our priority is to find suitable landing gears and engines that meet our stringent criteria and fit within the expanding lease portfolio.

“APOC is able to offer customers flexible short- and long-term leasing solutions, so we need a range of assets to meet these varying needs. The Investec facility will be used selectively as we finance each asset based on condition, credit counterparty and lease terms.”

APOC’s reputation as a young dynamic company with a robust track record of financial performance through recent years and its dynamic growth trajectory attracted Investec.  APOC is also backed by a strong majority private equity shareholder, Egeria, that is able and willing to provide sustained growth capital.

Both Investec and APOC feel that the two organisations are a very good fit. In these turbulent times for the aviation industry, both parties showed flexibility and pragmatism. Lemmers continues, “Investec is willing to think out of the box and come up with innovative solutions. This approach is greatly appreciated by APOC and we anticipate this will be a long-lasting relationship. Apart from their expertise in financial structuring, the Investec aviation team showed extensive knowledge on the asset types.”

From their perspective Investec likes APOC because they do thing differently.

Lukasz Laski, representing Investec summarised the relationship: “APOC has an engine, landing gear and component team that know their assets and the intricacies of the aviation market. In the relatively short period since their incorporation in 2014 APOC has become a strong and reliable partner for their customers in the aviation industry. They always deliver what they promise, and Investec is pleased to support their asset acquisition programme.  We’re impressed by APOC’s professional approach and their proprietary software ‘Alicanto’ which sets the benchmark for fair market values and pricing strategies. We’re confident that we will expand the finance facility in the near future.”

ATR and Braathens Regional Airlines partner with Neste to accelerate 100% SAF certification

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As part of their commitment to meet the challenges of decarbonisation of the aviation industry, Swedish airline Braathens Regional Airlines (BRA), turboprop manufacturer ATR, and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) producer Neste will partner to achieve the collective aim of accelerating the certification of 100% SAF of ATR aircraft to fly with 100% Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ – a key pillar of the industry’s decarbonisation strategy, which has an immediate impact in reducing CO2 emissions.

The companies aim to show a demonstration flight in 2022, with one of Braathens Regional Airlines’ ATR aircraft flying with 100% SAF in one engine and 50% SAF in the other, for an anticipated emissions reduction of 64%. It is expected that an ATR flying with 100% sustainable aviation fuel in both engines would reduce CO2 emissions by 82% if it were flying one of Braathens Regional Airlines’ typical routes. This collaboration follows the successful Perfect Flight venture in 2019 in which every aspect of a BRA ATR flight was optimised, including the use of a 50% SAF blend. This led to a saving of 46% of CO2 emissions, compared to a standard flight.

ATR, as the most sustainable on the market, burning up to 40% less fuel and emitting up to 40% less CO2 than a similarly sized regional jet, is the ideal aircraft on which to deploy 100% SAF. Today, with no SAF on board, if ATR aircraft replaced every regional jet departing from Sweden, nearly 32,000 tonnes of CO2 could be saved, for a reduction in CO2 emissions of 42%.These eco-credentials were validated when the aircraft became the first-ever to become eligible for Green Financing in 2019, when Braathens Regional Airlines modernised their fleet with ATR aircraft replacing older, regional jets.

Per G. Braathen, Chairman of Braathens Regional Airlines said: “It is absolutely vital that aviation goes even further to decarbonise. It is what we want, and what our passengers and the general public expect. However, we must be realistic and accept that it is today impossible to achieve this aim with one concrete action only. This is a process with many steps and, in the short-term, the most efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions is to increase the use of SAF. Partnering with ATR to achieve 100% SAF certification will enable us to reach our goal of 100% SAF in our planes in 2030. This is in line with our strategy to become the world’s first net-zero airline ten years ahead of any other airline.”

Jonathan Wood, Vice President Europe, Renewable Aviation at Neste said: “We are continuously supporting the aviation industry in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are pleased to be part of this 100% SAF project, which is an important step towards securing certification of flights that are 100% powered by Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel.”

Commenting on the agreement, ATR’s Chief Executive Officer, Stefano Bortoli, remarked: “Braathens Regional Airlines is the ideal partner with whom to embark on this project. This is an airline that is clearly committed to sustainable aviation and is dedicated to pushing the limits of what is achievable. Braathens Regional Airlines has a history of being consistently among the first to adopt solutions to minimise their emissions. As well as being part of the first-ever deal for a Green Financed aircraft, it was also the first airline to offer their passengers the option to choose a biofuel flight and is currently the only airline in the Swedish government’s Fossil Free Sweden initiative, actively striving for a domestic fossil-free flight. We are proud to partner them on the next step of their journey and we are sure that with BRA as the pioneer, this will prove to be an important step for sustainable aviation.”

Rolls-Royce’s all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ takes to the skies for the first time

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We are pleased to announce the completion of the first flight of our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft. At 14:56 (BST) the plane took to the skies propelled by its powerful 400kW (500+hp) electric powertrain with the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft. This is another step towards the plane’s world-record attempt and another milestone on the aviation industry’s journey towards decarbonisation.

Warren East, CEO, Rolls-Royce, said: “The first flight of the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is a great achievement for the ACCEL team and Rolls-Royce. We are focused on producing the technology breakthroughs society needs to decarbonise transport across air, land, and sea, and capture the economic opportunity of the transition to net-zero. This is not only about breaking a world record; the advanced battery and propulsion technology developed for this programme has exciting applications for the Urban Air Mobility market and can help make ‘jet zero’ a reality.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “The first flight of Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary Spirit of Innovation aircraft signals a huge step forward in the global transition to cleaner forms of flight. This achievement, and the records we hope will follow, shows the UK remains right at the forefront of aerospace innovation.

“By backing projects like this one, the Government is helping to drive forward the boundary-pushing technologies that will leverage investment and unlock the cleaner, greener aircraft required to end our contribution to climate change.”

The aircraft took off from the UK Ministry of Defence’s Boscombe Down site, which is managed by QinetiQ, and flew for approximately 15 minutes. The site has a long heritage of experimental flights and the first flight marks the beginning of an intense flight-testing phase in which we will be collecting valuable performance data on the aircraft’s electrical power and propulsion system. The ACCEL programme, short for ‘Accelerating the Electrification of Flight’ includes key partners YASA, the electric motor and controller manufacturer, and aviation start-up Electroflight. The ACCEL team has continued to innovate while adhering to the UK Government’s social distancing and other health guidelines.

Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and Innovate UK. In the run-up to COP26, the ACCEL programme is further evidence of the UK’s position at the forefront of the zero-emission aircraft revolution.

“The first flight of the Spirit of Innovation demonstrates how innovative technology can provide solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges,” said Gary Elliott, CEO, Aerospace Technology Institute. “The ATI is funding projects like ACCEL to help UK develop new capabilities and secure a lead in the technologies that will decarbonise aviation. We congratulate everyone who has worked on the ACCEL project to make the first flight a reality and look forward to the world speed record attempt which will capture the imagination of the public in the year that the UK hosts COP26.

Rolls-Royce is offering our customers a complete electric propulsion system for their platform, whether that is an electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) or commuter aircraft. We will be using the technology from the ACCEL project and applying it to products for these exciting new markets. The characteristics that ‘air-taxis’ require from batteries are very similar to what is being developed for the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ so that it can reach speeds of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH) – which we are targeting in our world record attempt. In addition, Rolls-Royce and airframer Tecnam are currently working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia, to deliver an all-electric passenger aircraft for the commuter market, which is planned to be ready for revenue service in 2026.

In June, we announced our pathway to net-zero carbon emissions – a year on from joining the UN Race to Zero campaign – and the ‘Spirit of Innovation’ is one way in which we are helping decarbonise the critical parts of the global economy in which we operate. We are committed to ensuring our new products will be compatible with net-zero operation by 2030 and all our products will be compatible with net-zero by 2050.

TrueNoord leases new ATR72-600s to SKY express

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TrueNoord, the specialist regional aircraft lessor, has signed a strategic agreement with the fastest growing Greek operator SKY express for new ATR-600s that are on a phased fleet induction programme with operating leases. Funding for the aircraft was provided by TrueNoord’s revolving warehouse facility underwritten by Citibank, Société Générale and Royal Bank of Canada.  CMS acted as legal counsel for TrueNoord on the acquisition. Milbank represented TrueNoord on the financing with Clifford Chance advising the lenders.

This current deal concerns the new ATR72-600s that SKY express is introducing from ATR to replace the existing fleet of ATR72-500s that are currently in operation. The acquisition fits perfectly with SKY express’ strategy to operate the youngest and greenest fleet in Greece. It will ensure ongoing and sustainable regional operations and connectivity across its expanding network including all popular Greek islands. Based in Athens, SKY express operates the largest network in Greece (35 destinations), as well as 13 international destinations (London Heathrow, Larnaca, Brussels, Paris CDG, Rome, Lyons, Nantes, Lille, Hamburg, Dortmund, Amsterdam, Gratz, Klagenfurt) launched during 2021. It has brokered interline agreements with worldwide carriers such as KLM, Air France, Qatar Airways, American Airlines, Middle East Airlines, Air Serbia, and Cyprus Airways.

Vasiliki Christidi, IOGR Group General Manager, says the airline is proud to bring the new generation of ATR 72-600 aircraft to Greece and reinforce the coverage of its fast-growing network. “With these new acquisitions and our partnership with TrueNoord, we continue SKY express’ steadily upward course and deliver on our promise to operate one of the greenest and youngest fleets in Europe. With sustainable investments, strong long-term partnerships forged during challenging times, and an innovative customer-centric approach, we will build a dynamic future.”

Michael Adams, Sales Director–Europe at TrueNoord comments, “We are looking forward to supporting SKY express’ continued growth with the new ATR 72-600s. The turboprop’s environmentally friendly characteristics, low fuel consumption, and significantly lower CO² emissions are powerful evidence that operators are not only seeking economic solutions but are also committed to a sustainable future for regional aviation. Fleet replacement is vital or essential connections may fail.

“This is a significant moment for TrueNoord as we develop our footprint across Europe” continues Adams. “We are pleased to be part of a recovering market and we welcome SKY express to our regional airline lessee family as they fully transition their fleet to the latest ATRs. TrueNoord is geared up to support airlines who need to factor in short frequent flights, inhospitable terrain, and environmental considerations.”

ACC Aviation successfully remarkets two Dash 8-100s

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ACC Aviation, the global aviation services group, has successfully disposed of two de Havilland Dash 8-100 combi-configured aircraft (MSN 258 and 324).  ACC Aviation’s Asset Management Division was exclusively mandated by Canadian North, a Canadian based regional airline.

Working in close association with Canadian North and utilizing its long-standing industry relationships and expertise, ACC Aviation carried out full due diligence processes on the sale and provided full transaction oversight. In addition, ACC Aviation undertook desktop valuations on both aircraft to set and manage internal pricing expectations for Canadian North.

Guiding and leading the commercial negotiations, ACC Aviation ensured that all terms were fair and in line with industry standards between the two parties and that Canadian North’s interests were well represented throughout the process.  ACC Aviation also managed, reviewed, and advised on all transaction-related documentation.

“We are very pleased to have concluded the disposal of these two, niche aircraft in a short period of time, maximizing resources within ACC Aviation’s global offices.  Working between our US and Middle East offices, we were able to transact the deal efficiently and seamlessly,” said Robert Sitta, VP Asset Management at ACC Aviation.

Ryanair invests €50m in a new Dublin training and simulator centre

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Ryanair, has announced a new agreement with Airline Flight Academy (AFA) at the opening of a brand new €50m Aviation Training Centre in Santry, close to Dublin Airport. This new Training and Simulator Centre contains three full-motion simulators, one 737 MAX and two Airbus A320, together with two fixed-base simulators (one Boeing 737 and one Airbus A320). Additionally, this new AFA Centre contains a state of the art cabin crew training and emergency evacuation device, as well as a specialist cabin fire training centre. The AFA Centre contains over 15 large classroom training centres and 5 individual pilot briefing/debriefing rooms. Access to these new facilities will enable Ryanair to recruit and train over 5,000 new pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground operations professionals over the next five years – jobs that will be necessary for the crew to operate Ryanair’s 210 new Boeing 737 Gamechanger aircraft, which will enable Ryanair to grow annual traffic to 200m p.a. by 2025.

Ryanair has chosen Airline Flight Academy to be its exclusive cadet training partner. Under this agreement, Airline Flight Academy will operate and run this new €50m Training Centre and will play a central role in recruiting the next generation of aviation professionals, including pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground operations professionals for Ryanair’s next phase of post-Covid growth and expansion.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “After what has been an incredibly difficult 18months, today’s announcement is a real vote of confidence in the airline industry as it rebuilds after the pandemic. This €50m investment in a new training centre and the creation of 5,000 jobs across Europe, will mean fantastic opportunities for pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground ops professionals over the next 5 years. It’s incredible growth and makes me really optimistic for the future. Congratulations to the team involved.”

Ryanair’s CEO Eddie Wilson said: “We are honoured to welcome Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to the opening of the Airline Flight Academy Training Centre here in Santry. We have invested over €50m in this state-of-the-art Training Centre, and our agreement with AFA will deliver over 5,000 highly trained pilots, cabin crew, engineers and ground operations professionals over the next five years. Ryanair will create over 5,000 new jobs thanks to the expansion of our Boeing 737 fleet, with 210 MAX Gamechangers to be delivered over the next five years which will enable Ryanair to grow to carry 200m passengers p.a. by 2025.

The AFA team have been a recruitment and training partner of Ryanair for many years, and we look forward to continuing to invest in this agreement, which has to date, enabled Ryanair to recruit and train over 18,000 highly qualified aviation professionals.”

 IAA Aviation Regulator / CEO Designate, Diarmuid Ó Conghaile said: “We welcome the expansion of Ryanair’s training operations. It is another positive sign for the future of aviation in Ireland and the support services required. The investment in a training and simulation centre will create jobs for highly skilled workers, which will benefit the broader Irish aviation sector as it re-bounds from the crisis of the past 18 months.”

 Director AFA, Francis Farrell said: “Airline Flight Academy is honoured to have been selected as Ryanair’s exclusive cadet training partner here in Ireland. We are excited to be chosen to operate and run this new €50m Aviation Training Centre in Santry and have committed to delivering Ryanair over 5,000 highly trained pilots, cabin crew, engineers, and ground ops professionals using these state of art facilities in Santry. Ireland has always been a centre for high-quality aviation professionals and AFA’s agreement with Ryanair will create 5,000 new jobs, both here in Ireland and across Europe, as Ryanair continues to recover and grow post-Covid.”


Airbus announces August delivery figures

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Airbus delivered 40 aircraft in August to bring a figure of 384 since January. Compared to the last three months, the number has thinned out – it delivered 47 in July, 77 in June, and 50 in May.

The A320neo family of aircraft accounted for 80 percent of all deliveries last month:

  • 16 A320neo
  • 16 A323neo
  • 1 A321ceo
  • 5 A220-300
  • 2 A350-900

A LCC giant IndiGo received the maximum number of aircraft: two A320neo and two A321neo. Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific were the only carriers that took the widebody A350-900, at one each.

While deliveries in August may have decreased a little, the orders have shown a more positive trend. The planemaker bagged an impressive order of 102 jets – its best so far this year. The neos were the top choice for airlines, with most orders coming from British LCC Jet2 for 36 A321neos.

Ireland’s newest carrier – Emerald Airlines

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Emerald Airlines is Ireland’s newest airline that has been given its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) on 6 September after completing a proving flight three days earlier.

Emerald recently secured a deal to operate the Aer Lingus regional franchise for ten years, formerly held by Stobart Air. However, the contract is not due to commence until 1 January 2023.

Conor McCarthy, founder, and CEO of Emerald Airlines said, “Being granted the first AOC in Ireland since the pandemic is not only a major milestone in our journey as an airline but a significant one for the Irish Aviation industry as it begins its recovery following the worst crisis in its history.”

“We are now able to progress towards the launch of scheduled services, which will be rolled out progressively as our aircraft are delivered and market conditions allow.

“We will be working very closely with Aer Lingus on this now that we have our AOC in place.”