Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

Ongoing 737 grounding forces Ryanair to reconsider expansion program

Ryanair has been forced to rethink the timeline for its current expansion program. The Irish airline had hoped to be carrying up to 200 million passengers on an annual basis by 2024, but this depended on the arrival of the first deliveries of 210 Boeing 737 MAX jets which are on order. With the 737 MAX still grounded and unlikely to receive its new FAA certification of airworthiness for upgrades to the software and internal wiring before the middle of the year, Ryanair has had to have a serious rethink about its expansion strategy.

Ryanair chief executive, Michael O’Leary, said Boeing’s problems could ultimately delay the plane’s entry into service for the airline by two years: “What is likely is they will push out that delivery profile with Boeing by at least 12 months. At best that means we will have to roll forward our plans to fly 200 million passengers per year ... by at least 12 months, possibly 24.” That would result in Ryanair reaching its 200 million passenger target in March 2026 rather than March 2024.

Ryanair now expects to start taking delivery of up to eight planes a month from September this year. However, it is now currently re-examining its orders with Boeing with a view to upgrading to the larger 737 MAX 10 which has more seats and a leaner fuel burn than the 737 MAX 200.

The airline reported a profit after tax of €88m (US$97.7m) for the three months to the end of December, the third quarter of its financial year, as average fares rose by 9% and ancillary revenues – from extras such as pre-booked seating – rose by 21%.


ANA and SIA sign joint venture agreement

All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan's largest airline and Singapore Airlines (SIA) have signed a joint venture framework agreement that would deepen the partnership between the two Star Alliance carriers.

This joint venture, which is subject to regulatory approvals, aims to provide customers with more seamless flight connectivity between the two carriers and access to a wider network. It would allow ANA and SIA to further strengthen their cooperation on services between Singapore and Japan, as well as in key markets including Australia, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Both airline groups would also be able to jointly offer customers more seamless access to flights in their respective route networks, a broad range of joint fare products, tie-ups between frequent flyer programs and aligned corporate programs to strengthen their proposition to corporate clients.

This joint venture goes beyond the existing partnership between the two airlines that focuses on codeshare flights, mileage programs, lounge access, and coordination on check-in baggage and connecting flights.

If authorized, Singapore Airlines will become the third airline joint venture partner for ANA and the first Asian airline. ANA began joint venture partnerships with United Airlines in 2011 and Lufthansa Group in 2012. Today, Singapore Airlines has joint ventures with Air New Zealand, Lufthansa Group, and SAS. In addition, SIA has also applied to form a joint venture with Malaysia Airlines Berhad.

Airbus C295 successfully performs wet contacts as a tanker

The Airbus C295 tactical airlifter has successfully achieved its first wet contacts during an air-to-air (AAR) tanker flight test campaign. First dry contacts of this flight test took place in December 2019 and were achieved using a closed ramp configuration, 100ft hose and remote vision system.

The wet contacts, conducted out of Seville, Spain, took place in January 2020, between one Airbus C295 aircraft in tanker configuration and a Spanish Air Force C295 acting as receiver at flight peeds between 100-130 knots.

In total, the aircraft fitted with the removable AAR kit, performed five wet contacts transferring a total 1.5 tons of fuel. Tests were conducted in day-light conditions.


Pattonair’s Zero Lead-Time Agile Vending solution deployed for UMW Aerospace

Aerospace and defence supply chain provider, Pattonair, has successfully deployed its Zero-Lead-Time Agile Vending solution for UMW Aerospace at the Malaysian aerospace engine component manufacturer’s site at Serendah, Selangor, which produces fan cases for the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine.

Agile Vending is an innovative Zero-Lead Time product developed by Pattonair, building on its expertise in supplying C class parts, to optimise efficiency and reduce operational disruption and downtime.

Pattonair has a strategic relationship with UMW Aerospace under a five-year agreement signed in 2016 for supply chain services. The introduction of Agile Vending is part of a key service development focussing on innovation and technology for site-based inventory.

Agile Vending can be customised to each user’s requirement with optional levels of automation.
The UMW system is connected via an Intelligent Inventory Management System to provide real time inventory allocation and replenishment.

AAR names Jessica Garascia General Counsel

AAR, a provider of aviation services to airlines and governments worldwide, has announced that Jessica A. Garascia has joined as General Counsel, effective February 3. Garascia succeeds Robert Regan and will report to John Holmes, President and Chief Executive Officer. She will oversee AAR’s internal legal team, as well as outside counsel, and will have responsibility for all legal affairs.

Garascia joins AAR from USG Corporation where she served as Deputy General Counsel responsible for overseeing all M&A activity, compliance, corporate governance, securities law and NYSE compliance.


TP Aerospace Technics moves into new facility in Orlando

During the end of 2019, TP Aerospace moved into a brand-new facility of MRO services and warehousing in Orlando, Florida. The new 60,000 ft² facility is conveniently located only 6 miles from Orlando International Airport and like all TP Aerospace MRO workshops, it has been installed with new machinery specific to repairing and overhauling airlines wheels and brakes. The facility is modern with an open layout for easy configurability to meet ever-changing customer demands.

The facility received approval from the city of Orlando to operate in December 2019 while finalizing the driveway construction and landscaping are still underway. After receiving final approvals from the FAA, the facility is now officially open for business.

IAI wins contract to manufacture wings for US Air Force’s T-38 jet trainers

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has won a US$240 million IDIQ contract to manufacture the wings for the T-38 jet trainers used by the US Air Force.  IAI has been producing high quality T-38 wings since 2011 which contributed to the large award.

In service with the US Air Force since the 1960s, the T-38 jet trainers required the replacement of the wings to remain operational for the next several years.  IAI met the significant technological challenge seamlessly while keeping the fleet operational.

IAI is a center of excellence in the manufacturing of wings for the F-16, F-35, and T-38.


Astronics reports fourth quarter revenue and 2020 guidance

Astronics Corporation, a provider of advanced technologies for global aerospace, defense, and other mission critical industries, has provided an update on various projects and events impacting 2019 results and expectations for 2020.

The Company ended 2019 with un-audited preliminary revenue of approximately US$198 million in the fourth quarter, slightly exceeding the high end of guidance that was issued on November 5, 2019. Preliminary bookings were US$156 million in the fourth quarter and preliminary backlog at year-end was US$359 million. Bookings were negatively impacted by uncertainty in the market, which the Company believes is related to the ongoing 737 MAX grounding. In addition, the Company cancelled orders of approximately US$7 million related to the restructuring and refocusing of its antenna business. Un-audited preliminary revenue for the full year totaled approximately US$773 million.

Given the uncertain 2020 production schedule for the 737 MAX and timing of its return to service, along with the related impact on aftermarket spending by commercial airlines, the Company is rescinding its initial 2020 revenue guidance issued in November 2019. Astronics expects to issue revised revenue guidance as the outlook becomes clearer.

Peter Gundermann, Astronics Chairman and CEO, said, “The ongoing 737 MAX grounding affects our business both because of the production pause and because it leaves many of our airline customers short of capacity. This makes them reluctant to take planes out of service to install the types of products they buy from us. The situation is likely to persist until the 737 MAX returns to service. We will publish revenue expectations when we have more insight on the situation. In the meantime, we have taken actions to align our cost structure, anticipating a lower level of production and an extended disruption in the market.”

Astronics has line fit content of approximately US$95 thousand on each 737 MAX as well as buyer furnished equipment, such as passenger power and connectivity hardware, that varies depending on aircraft configuration.


GKN Aerospace signs EWIS contract for Boeing 777X wiring

GKN Fokker Elmo  has signed a  contract to supply  electrical wiring interconnection systems (EWIS) for the new Boeing 777X family. Production will start at the end of the first quarter 2020. The 777X EWIS will be delivered out of a number of strategic global locations, such as China, the Netherlands, and the new state-of-the-art wiring facility in Pune, India. 

GKN Fokker Elmo has supplied EWIS to Boeing for more than a decade for the 777, 737 and P-8A. The new contract re-affirms GKN Fokker Elmo’s position as a strategic EWIS supplier to Boeing.


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