Icelandic startup PLAY to acquire its first Airbus A320neo soon

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Icelandic startup airline PLAY will receive its first aircraft – Airbus A320neo – at the beginning of June. Two more aircraft will follow in July.

In the meantime, PLAY pilots are completing simulator training in the UK in preparation for the first passenger flight, which is planned for 24. The airline that intends to position itself as a low-cost carrier has already confirmed its initial destinations, including Paris, London, Copenhagen, Tenerife, and Alicante.

All three aircraft joining PLAY are designed to carry 220 passengers, but the planes in PLAY’s fleet will transport less than 200 passengers to provide extra comfort to its passengers.

ABL Aviation secures JOLCO financing of two A350s for Luthansa

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ABL Aviation, the global independent aircraft investment management firm, has closed another Japanese operating lease with call option (JOLCO) arranging the equity portion of two Airbus A350-900s aircraft for Lufthansa.

This transaction, the first that ABL Aviation has completed with Lufthansa, was efficiently managed and closed in a short timeframe, with the financing secured for both A350 aircraft by the end of April, less than three weeks after being mandated. This deal represents the tenth transaction arranged by ABL Aviation since the beginning of the pandemic.

The deal reflects the growing airline demand for new technology aircraft that are more fuel-efficient for use on international routes. Also, it reflects Lufthansa’s interest in the JOLCO market is mutual, given the strong preference for first-tier credits by Japanese equity investors.

Ali Ben Lmadani, CEO of ABL Aviation commented: “We are delighted to work on this transaction with Lufthansa, one of the world’s leading airlines, offering competitive financing in record time. The deal reflects both ABL Aviation’s innovative approach to finance and resilience with high levels of activity and successful transactions at the beginning of this year, despite ongoing economic uncertainty. It is encouraging to see new capital being deployed in the new aircraft space. We hope it is the first of many deals we deliver with Lufthansa.”

Menzies Aviation expands partnership with Flair Airlines across Canada

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Menzies Aviation, the global aviation logistics specialist, today announces that it has been awarded full-service ground handling agreements by Flair Airlines, Canada’s only independent ultra low-cost carrier, which will further expand Menzies’ partnership with the airline to  encompass nine of the 19 stations in its domestic network.

Menzies will provide passenger and ramp services to Flair Airlines at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, Ottawa International Airport and Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport from May; at the airports of Saint John, Charlottetown and Victoria from July; and at Abbotsford International Airport from August.

This will build on the existing partnership between Menzies and Flair at two key Canadian stations, with Menzies having supported the carrier at Toronto Pearson International Airport since February, and at Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport since August 2020, where the Menzies team is currently preparing for flights to restart in May.

Menzies already has a strong presence in the Canadian market across the ground services, cargo services and fuelling sectors and will now be operating at 21 airports in total.

John Redmond, Executive Vice President – Americas, commented: “It is with great pride that we announce the expansion of our partnership with Flair Airlines across Canada. These new contracts demonstrate Flair’s trust in Menzies to support their growth ambitions, and are testament to the excellent standards of service that have been provided on the ground by Menzies professionals at Toronto and Saskatoon.”

Kristal Jodoin, Director – Airport Operations, Flair Airlines, said: “Flair is excited to grow our partnership with Menzies. Flair and Menzies’ shared commitment to safety and service align well as together we share the vision of connecting Canadians with affordable travel.”

 

The Gulf Air agreement with AFI KLM E&M for full component support for its Airbus A320 family fleet

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AFI KLM E&M and Gulf Air, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier, have announced the signing of a support contract for the airline’s all-Airbus A320neo/ceo and A321neo/ceo fleet. This long-term agreement includes pool access, repair, advanced pool and transportation support.

In 2016, Gulf Air ordered A320neo and A321neo aircraft to progressively replace the older A320ceo models. In order to be efficiently supported, these recent and higher standard aircraft will require investment in “neo” specific components to guarantee the availability of necessary spare parts from AFI KLM E&M, its incumbent and now confirmed supplier.

Under the agreement, AFI KLM E&M will provide comprehensive component maintenance-By-the-Hour support covering component exchange, repair, overhaul, modification, reliability monitoring and logistics services for Gulf Air’s new fleet of A320neo family aircraft and the older A320ceo fleet until they are phased out. This agreement is a renewal of an earlier contract for similar support services for a term of 6 years.

AFI KLM E&M programme, renowned for its flexibility and high level of customisation, is well established and popular among its global customers. For a fixed rate per hour, the airlines select a range of support services and pay a corresponding flight per hour rate, which is pre-determined. In this way, operators are able to keep operating costs low and also minimise fixed asset inventory holdings in terms of spares or maintenance equipment.

Commenting on the agreement Gulf Air Acting Chief Executive Officer, Captain Waleed AlAlawi, said: “AFI KLM E&M has demonstrated, during our relationship spanning over more than 10 years, that they are the right partner for Gulf Air as we drive forward with our fleet renewal programme in preparation to welcome more new aircraft to replace and modernise our fleet.”

“AFI KLM E&M was able to adapt its components offer to our renewed fleet. Throughout a long and positive relationship, we were able to appreciate the quality of service and the reliability that AFI KLM E&M brings.  Their expertise and their Airline-MRO profile, which gives them a perfect understanding of our operations, convinced us to extend our partnership” declared Captain Waleed AlAlawi, Gulf Air acting Chief Executive Officer.

AFI KLM E&M SVP Commercial, Fabrice Defrance added: “Gulf Air’s renewed confidence in us is undoubtedly an asset for our development in a region where MRO needs are growing rapidly. Our leading position in component maintenance, repair and adaptive solutions ensures that AFI KLM E&M delivers unmatched reliability and experience to our customers.”

AFI KLM E&M can rely on a strong global network to maintain its presence in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region and already has a large number of customers in these geographical areas, enabling it to respond quickly to demand in an appropriate manner.

Menzies Aviation’s MASIL joint venture launches cargo operations at Baghdad International Airport

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Menzies Aviation announces that MASIL, its joint venture with Iraqi Airways, has commenced cargo operations at Baghdad International Airport, with the launch of its ‘Cargo Go Live’ initiative and manifesto for creating a world-class cargo terminal at the airport.

MASIL, which is listed as The United Iraqi Company for Airports and Ground Handling Services Limited and is a joint venture between Menzies Aviation, Iraqi Airways, Air BP Limited, and Al Burhan Group, began operations at Baghdad International Airport in January after being awarded an exclusive contract by the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority (ICAA) for the delivery of a full suite of ground handling, cargo and fuelling services at the airport. This was the first license of its kind to be awarded by the ICAA to a foreign aviation services company.

A team of 65 MASIL employees will provide cargo services at Iraq’s largest airport to customers including Emirates, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airlines, DHL, MNG Airlines, Silk Way Airlines, Royal Jordanian, Egypt Air, flydubai and Middle East Airlines.

Under the Cargo Go Live initiative, and in line with MASIL joint venture partners’ plans to enhance customer experience and safety standards at the airport, employees will be undertaking a range of Menzies Aviation cargo training modules, including dangerous goods, safety management, security and specialised handling techniques.

As part of MASIL’s long-term strategy for developing a cargo centre of excellence at Baghdad International Airport, MASIL will look to enhance the safety and sustainability of operations as well as compliance and accountability. The JV partners will also implement advanced and bespoke technological systems that will streamline the cargo handling process.

Charles Wyley, EVP Middle East, Asia and Africa at Menzies Aviation, comments: “We are delighted that our cargo operations have now gone live at Baghdad International Airport, following a lot of hard work and dedication from the MASIL team. As we begin to support our cargo customers at Baghdad, we are also delivering against our objective of developing the airport’s operating procedures and training schemes. Our cargo manifesto, which sets out our strategy for developing a world-class air cargo facility, will see us sharing our deep experience and knowledge to build a safe, compliant and sustainable cargo operation at Baghdad.”

Air Manas enters service with first Airbus A220 powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines

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Pratt & Whitney, and Air Manas have celebrated the delivery of the airline’s first Airbus A220-300 aircraft today, leased through GTLK Middle East, and powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines.

“We are delighted to welcome the first GTF-powered A220 aircraft to fleet,” said Talgat Nurbaev, General Director of Air Manas. “These new, state-of-the-art engines will allow us to better serve our customers with the economic benefits of lower fuel burn.”

Air Manas was founded in 2006 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

“We’d like to welcome Air Manas to the Pratt & Whitney family,” said Rick Deurloo, chief commercial officer and senior vice president, at Pratt & Whitney. “We’re excited that they will be the first A220 operator in the CIS region, and we look forward to supporting them for years to come.”

The A220, powered exclusively by GTF engines, offers significantly lower operating costs compared to previous generation aircraft. The engines deliver double-digit improvements in fuel and carbon emissions. They also provide a 75% reduction in noise footprint, based on a 75 dB noise contour, and produce NOx emissions 50% below the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) CAEP/6 regulation.

Air bp’s sustainable aviation fuel takes off at France’s Clermont Ferrand Airport

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Air bp, the international aviation fuel products and service supplier, has supplied sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to Clermont Ferrand Auvergne Airport (CFE) in France, marking its first ongoing supply of the fuel in the country. The first fuelling took place on 19 April when Air bp customer, the airline company Michelin Air Services, uplifted the SAF. Michelin will be supplied according to agreed commitments for ongoing supply at the airport with all its volume supplied as the SAF blend. This demand from Michelin means that approximately 30% of the airport’s total volume will be supplied as this SAF blend.

This latest supply agreement reinforces the importance of collaboration between fuel supplier, airport and customer in driving demand for SAF and ultimately helps to meet the industry’s lower carbon goals.

Air bp can supply SAF to other customers at this location and encourages interested parties to come forward and work together to establish an agreement for the supply of SAF.

The SAF supplied by Air bp is made from waste based sustainable feedstocks such as used cooking oil which is blended with traditional jet fuel. The SAF blend supplied is around 35% SAF and the SAF component provides a lifecycle carbon reduction of around 80% compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces.

Corine Brunet, CEO, Michelin Air Services, said: “Michelin Air Services is committed to decarbonizing its flights with the use of the SAF supplied by Air bp, thereby illustrating the Michelin Group’s “All Sustainable” strategy. With Air bp, Michelin Air Services has found a partner that listens, makes proposals and is efficient in its implementation of this shared approach to seeking lower carbon options in the aviation sector.”

Andreea Moyes, sustainability director, Air bp, said: “We are excited to see our first ongoing SAF supply in France. Air bp is a strong facilitator in the supply of SAF and recently announced a number of agreements in the UK. This underlines bp’s commitment to working with stakeholders to explore its viable sale and purchase, which we believe is one of the aviation industry’s key routes to reducing carbon emissions and supports bp’s net zero ambition.”

Air bp was involved in fuelling the first SAF flight by an airline in February 2008 and since then has been enabling ground-breaking test flights and investing in sustainable alternative fuels.

 

KLM introduces Wi-Fi on European flights

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KLM has begun installing Wi-Fi technology on a number of aircraft of its Boeing 737 fleet. The first Boeing 737-800 is now equipped to offer this service.

To achieve this, KLM has partnered with the communications company Viasat, which will supply and maintain the necessary technology. Viasat’s Wi-Fi equipment will be installed on a total of eighteen Boeing 737-800s. The schedule calls for this installation to be completed by the end of this year.

Boet Kreiken, EVP Customer Experience “KLM continues to invest in the on-board product, so that we can continue to meet our customers’ expectations and emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. On-board Wi-Fi is an important service that customers want to enjoy for the entire duration of their journey. KLM’s internet service is already being used extensively on our intercontinental flights. Through this partnership with Viasat, we are ensuring that our customers can be online on European flights as well.”

Free messaging

Internet connections are made possible by connecting passenger devices directly to Viasat’s European satellite. During the flight, KLM offers a choice of three internet packages: Messaging, Surf and Stream.

Messaging allows passengers to send and receive messages via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, etc., free of charge. Those who want to use more data can pay a fee and select either Surf or Stream. Customers can choose the package that best suits their needs. Those who want to watch movies should choose Stream, while Surf offers enough data for those who just want to shop online or read news articles.

Passengers can purchase the Internet packages via the KLM Portal during their flight.

KLM Portal: greater flexibility and control over the journey

The KLM Portal provides access not only to the Internet, but also to upgrades for connecting and return flights; service in the event of delays and cancellations; and services offered by our travel partners, such as booking excursions. This offers the customer greater flexibility and control over their journey.

A passenger at risk of missing their connection due to a delay, for example, can rebook their next flight to one with a later departure time via the KLM Portal. And an Economy Class passenger who wants to fly Economy Comfort on the return trip can arrange this for themselves in the Portal on the way to their destination (if availability permits).

After connecting to the Wi-Fi network on board, a passenger will not only be able to access all functionalities of the KLM Portal, but will be able to use the KLM app and KLM.com at no charge as well. The Portal is the same on every aircraft, meaning customers will have a consistent user experience no matter where they are.

Turkish LCC Pegasus to trial the IATA Travel Pass

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Leading low-cost carrier, Pegasus Airlines, has signed an agreement for the IATA Travel Pass, a mobile application developed by The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and which allows guests to digitally store and manage their health-related certifications required for international travel, such as their COVID-19 test results. Pegasus Airlines is one of the first airlines in the world, and the first carrier in Turkey, to pilot the IATA Travel Pass. Pegasus aims to help guests to have a faster and secure travel experience in terms of the country entry requirements for international travel that have been frequently changing during the pandemic. Information on test centres, test results and flight information can be managed digitally through the app.

The IATA Travel pass combines the verification of health information in a single digital app, whilst allowing guests to securely and easily verify that they meet the COVID-19 related country entry requirements that have been changing throughout the pandemic. Within the scope of the application, that has been designed to protect the privacy of its users due to the sensitive nature of health-related data, the data is stored on the mobile phones of the guests instead of any central database. Thus, guests have full control over the sharing of their personal information.

How does the system work?

The IATA Travel Pass app enables guests to create a secure digital version of their passport on their mobile phones and then enter their flight information to find the health requirements of the country they are travelling to. Guests who are required to take a test before they travel can access information on authorised test centres, and securely receive their results via the app. When guests upload their COVID-19 test results to the app and match this information with the digital passport they have created, the app verifies that the result meets the regulations of the destination country.  If the necessary criteria are met, a digital verification certificate is sent to the guest’s phone. Thus, guests can securely continue their travels by presenting this verification certificate at the airport or by sharing it with the airline digitally prior to travelling.

The next implementations are on the way

As the first implementer of the IATA Travel Pass in Turkey, Pegasus Airlines is working with Hitit, one of the world’s leading global providers of airline applications, to realise the integration. Pegasus Airlines is aiming to enable guests to travel in the most safe and healthy way possible by simplifying the health-related barriers for international flights with new implementations that are being planned for the upcoming period.

Lufthansa Technik to auction large amount of surplus aircraft components

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During MRO Americas 2021, Lufthansa Technik AG will put up large amounts of surplus aircraft parts for auction using the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) new MRO SmartHub e-Auction platform, for which the MRO (Maintenance, Repair, Overhaul) giant will act as the launching customer. In the global auction, Lufthansa Technik will offer a broad variety of aircraft parts for almost all current commercial aircraft types.

All auctioned components have been part of the company’s surplus inventory for less than three years and are made available in various sub-packages to perfectly fit the needs of specific fleet operators or MROs. Commercial assets include: Airbus A320, A320neo, A330, A340, A380, MD-11, Boeing 737 NG, 737 MAX, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. Regional assets include: Bombardier CRJ, Embraer ERJ and De Havilland DHC-8-400. The material will come with dual or triple release certification (FAA/EASA/CAAC) mainly from Lufthansa Technik and with a 12-month warranty.

After registering via https://go.updates.iata.org/auction, all current customers of Lufthansa Technik will be automatically accredited for the bidding process. New customers can also accredit for the auction via the company’s https://go.updates.iata.org/auction. The auction will start on 26 April, 2021.

“In this auction, we offer high quality and well-maintained aircraft components from our extensive surplus portfolio that we are permanently adjusting to the changing demand of our valued customers from all over the world,” said Dr. Georg Fanta, Head of Commercials – Aircraft Component Services at Lufthansa Technik. “We are proud to be the first to partner with IATA`s new MRO SmartHub e-Auction platform in order to find new homes for these attractive assets.”

“The IATA MRO SmartHub was created in response to the industry’s need for greater transparency and efficiency in the aircraft components and surplus parts market. By now adding the e-Auction functionality, we can provide an additional trading channel for buyers and sellers alike. We are honored to have such a renowned industry player as Lufthansa Technik as our launch customer and wish them a successful first auction,” said Tim Schaaf, Director Business Development at IATA.