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May 25, 2024
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Here is our rolling report with short aviation news for the month of June 2022:

30 – KLM has repaid the final €277 million of the state-backed credit facility that it received as Covid aid in 2020. Since May, the Dutch carrier repaid the €927 million drawn from the €3.4 billion facility. KLM still has a €2.4 billion credit facility at its disposal, of which €723 million is secured by the state.

30 – International Airlines Group (IAG) has converted options on eleven Airbus A320neo and three A321neo aircraft. The aircraft, which are part of a 2013 agreement, will be delivered in 2024 and 2025. IAG doesn’t say which carriers will get them. In March, IAG already converted six A320neo’s and two A321neo’s for Iberia and Vueling.

28 – Freight carrier Silk Way West Airlines has ordered two Airbus A350Fs. The aircraft are for growth and fleet renewal of the airline from Azerbaijan, which currently consists of seven Boeing 747-400Fs and five -8Fs. CEO Wolfgang Meier says in a media statement that the A350Fs will help to strengthen the airline’s leading position in the global freight market. Since the launch of the A350F in November last year, Airbus has won 31 orders and commitments for the type from six customers, including Air Lease Corporation, CMA CGM, Air France, Singapore Airlines, and Etihad.

28 – The Norwegian government is prepared to swap NOK 1.5 billion in debt in SAS into equity, but has no intention to retain any shareholding from the swap and won’t participate either in a new rights issue that the airline has planned. Norway takes the same position as Sweden, which said earlier that it will only do a debt-for-equity swap. Only the Danish government has indicated that it is prepared to invest further in the Scandinavian airline, which is seeking SEK 20 billion in debt restructuring as part of its SAS FORWARD plan. The success of the plan not only depends on the participation of the three governments but also on an agreement with the pilot unions. Unions have called for a strike from June 29 if no agreement is reached until then.

27 – General Electric Group Chairman and CEO Larry Culp has taken the role of President and CEO of GE Aviation with immediate effect. He takes over from John Slattery, who continues as Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “The Board and I decided it’s the right time for me to take on this expanded role and work even more closely with the team to support our customers, meet the unprecedented demand ramp, and prepare for GE Aviation future as independent public company.”

27 – Spirit AeroSystems has officially opened a new production facility in Casablanca (Morocco). Spirit acquired the site together with the one in Belfast (Northern Ireland) from Bombardier in 2020. The Casablanca facility, which produced parts for Bombardier business jets, will produce aft and forward fuselage sections and the keel beam of the Airbus A220. “The Kingdom (Morocco) already builds parts for all of Airbus’ commercial aircraft, including the A220. This aircraft is the latest addition to our product line and consequently to our industrial footprint in Morocco. With this achievement, A220 parts manufacturing is now well integrated in the Moroccan aerospace ecosystem and can proudly be described as ‘Made in Morocco’,” said Mikail Houari, President of Airbus Africa and The Middle East. 

17 – Airports across Europe are reducing the number of flights during the busy summer holiday period to cope with staff shortages. Amsterdam Schiphol said on June 16 that it will cap capacity by 13.500 seats per day in July and August, which will result in the cancelation of dozens of flights per day. In July, the airport will be able to handle 67.500 passengers a day, in August 72.500. The decision on which flights will be canceled will be made by the Dutch slot coordinator. Travel agencies have announced they will go to court to prevent the capacity cap while airlines have said they will seek compensation from Schiphol.
In the UK, London Gatwick said that it will cap capacity at 825 daily flights in July and 850 in August. The airport found that many companies operate with a severe lack of staffing during the holiday period. To prevent more chaos, Gatwick says it has no other option than to reduce airport capacity. The airport stresses that the vast majority of the flights will operate as normal. 

16 – Icelandair has signed a Letter of Intent with Boeing to purchase four MAX 8s. Once completed, the aircraft should be delivered this autumn and bring the MAX fleet of -8s and -9s to eighteen aircraft. The aircraft have been built in 2018 and are in Boeing’s inventory since then, having most likely been canceled by another customer. Icelandair is able to source the aircraft “on favorable terms.”

10 – Air New Zealand has revised its guidance for the current financial year 2022. The carrier expects a pre-tax full-year loss of less than $750 million, compared to less than $800 million it mentioned on March 30. In May, the airline was optimistic that the result could be better than anticipated. Since the re-opening of the country from the strict Covid-rules, Air New Zealand is seeing strong bookings on short-haul and international flights. Domestic travel is strong and business travel has recovered to ninety percent of pre-Covid levels. ANZ says it is “mindful” of disruptions that could be caused by the impact of Covid variants.

09 – SWISS has terminated a €1.3 billion loan facility that was 85-percent backed by the government and also repaid the last €204 million in loans. The airline says it will meet its future financing needs via the capital markets. The facility was terminated at the end of May. It was already announced by Lufthansa CEO Remco Steenbergen during the Q1 earnings presentation. SWISS never drew more than half of the facility, which the government offered in response to the first wave of the Covid-crisis in 2020. The carrier entered a restructuring that resulted in the loss of 1.700 jobs and a reduction of the fleet by fifteen percent. SWISS says it has now returned to financial stability.

09 – Indian start-up airline Akasa Air has concluded a sale and leaseback agreement with lessor Griffin Global Asset Management for five Boeing MAX 8s. They are the first MAX aircraft that Akasa expects to receive from this month to launch services in India in July. Akasa announced an order for 72 MAX 8s and 8-200s at last November’s Dubai Airshow. Griffin and Bain Capital Credit Partner jointly manage an aircraft leasing platform since the beginning of 2020.

08 – United Airlines will launch a new service between San Francisco and Brisbane. The carrier says this is the first transpacific route to be opened by a US airline since the start of the pandemic and took longer as Australia remained closed longer for international travel. The route is part of the partnership between United and Virgin Australia. The SFO-Brisbane service will operate three times a week by Boeing 787-9.

03 – KLM repaid another €354 million on a government-backed credit facility. This follows on 311 million already repaid in May, which means that the full €655 million that had been drawn of the €1.0 billion facilities has now been repaid. This leaves the Dutch airline with only €277 million in direct state aid to be repaid.

03  American Airlines and Qatar Airways have signed a new codeshare agreement that offers AA customers destinations in sixteen countries out of Doha. These include countries in Africa like Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Uganda, and Tanzania, but also in Asia and the sub-Indian continent like Indonesia, The Maldives, Seychelles, Thailand, and Singapore. Also offered are services to Oman. On June 4, American starts direct flights between New York JFK and Doha, becoming the only US carrier to serve the Gulf region via Qatar. The agreement is an extension of a previous codeshare partnership.

02 – Cargo airline Atlas Air has taken delivery of the first of four Boeing 747-8Fs. The other three aircraft are the final three 747s on the Boeing production line. The port wing of the last ever 747 entered the Everett assembly line in the past week. Atlas Air has placed the freshly delivered 747-8F on a long-term lease with Cainiao, which is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group. It will predominantly operate between China and the US. 

01 – Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has placed three Airbus A321neo’s in its portfolio with LATAM Airlines Group. The aircraft will be delivered between the summer and fall of 2023. They are the first A321neo’s in the airline group, which includes 49 of the older A321ceo versions. LATAM has thirteen A320neo’s. 

author avatar
Richard Schuurman
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016. Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.

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