Compiled by Willie Bodenstein
THIS WEEK IN AIRLINES, AIRPORTS AND AIRLINERS
Enhanced navigation on the horizon as Egnos V3 initial service performance receives nod from stakeholders.
Boeing reports increased stability and growth for aircraft finance sector
-for second consecutive year.
War in Ukraine and Omicron weighs on air cargo.
SAA'S interim CEO to leave the airline.
DFW airport cargo achieves 1m ton milestone.
Qantas confirms future Airbus fleet.
MIA ranked America's busiest international airport.
Delta TechOps, Asiana Airlines enter engine maintenance agreement.
Frontier Airlines launches new nonstop routes from Chicago Midway.
ENHANCED NAVIGATION ON THE HORIZON AS EGNOS V3 INITIAL SERVICE PERFORMANCE RECEIVES NOD FROM STAKEHOLDERS
Airbus Defence and Space as EGNOS V3 system provider and a panel of space and civil aviation experts have recently passed a major milestone during which initial service performance was successfully reviewed.
Used to improve the performance of navigation satellite systems for the most safety-critical applications such as aircraft navigation and landing, the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) is Europe's regional Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS). This new V3 generation of EGNOS, currently under development by Airbus, will introduce new services based on multiple frequencies of multiple constellations (GPS, Galileo) and will embed sophisticated security protection against cyber-attacks.
The assessment of the system performance for initial services highlighted the high level of maturity of the design and its adequacy to flawlessly continue the provision of critical navigation services, such as precision approach and landing everywhere in Europe, irrespective of whether the airports are equipped with expensive instrument landing systems (which is often not the case for smaller ones). The review confirmed EGNOS V3 will deliver the accuracy, continuity, integrity and availability required for Safety-of-Life operations up to Cat.I - with margins.
"At this stage of the development, this performance review has demonstrated the increase in benefits which EGNOS V3 should bring to Europe," said Didier Flament, Head of EGNOS & SBAS Division at ESA. "As the full power of this new EGNOS generation has still to be qualified in the following phase of the project, this first important milestone of the Detailed Design phase has met our expectations on all legacy aspects assessed. We look forward to the next steps, as we are confident that EGNOS V3 will deliver as required."
In addition, using both Galileo and GPS signals to monitor ionosphere-induced position errors increases the availability of the service in the western and southwestern periphery of Europe. This expands the area in which satellite navigation landing becomes possible without requiring dedicated ground systems.
"The consolidation of EGNOS' service area will be beneficial to our customers, as it will support their satellite navigation-guided operations to even more destinations," commented Hugues de Beco, head of ATM Programs within Airbus Commercial Aircraft. "Airbus is very pleased to support the growth of EGNOS users in commercial aviation in Europe with the recent certification of the SBAS Landing Systems on Airbus A320 and A330 families. We continue to support the development of any system which will contribute to a safer and more sustainable air traffic."
EGNOS is a component of the European Union Space Programme designed to improve positioning service of the Global Positioning System and of Galileo for Safety of Life users. It is managed in the frame of the partnership agreement established between the European Commission's Directorate-General for Defence, Industry and Space (DG-DEFIS), the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
BOEING REPORTS INCREASED STABILITY AND GROWTH FOR AIRCRAFT FINANCE SECTOR
- FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR
Boeing Capital Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Boeing [NYSE: BA], has released the 2022 Commercial Aircraft Financing Market Outlook (CAFMO) showing improving financing stability as the industry recovers from the impacts of the global pandemic.
100% of Boeing deliveries were financed by third parties with the top sources of delivery funding coming from cash, capital markets and sale leasebacks.
"Financiers and investors remain committed to the long-term fundamentals that continue to make aircraft a valuable asset class," said Tim Myers, president of Boeing Capital Corporation. "Despite the changing landscape since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry remains resilient and there continues to be sufficient liquidity in the market for our customers with increasing opportunities as traffic recovers."
The 2022 CAFMO reflects Boeing's near-term view of market dynamics and assesses financing sources for new commercial airplane deliveries.
"Industry fundamentals continue to show varying degrees of strength in different markets that reflect the regional trends of the global pandemic," Myers said.
- For the second consecutive year, 100% of Boeing deliveries were financed by third parties with the top sources of delivery funding in cash, capital markets and sale leasebacks.
- The capital markets continued to play a key role in shoring up liquidity for the sector, with the market close to pre-pandemic levels for most issuers as spreads tightened throughout the year.
- Secured debt for lessors also made a return to pre-pandemic levels with the ABS market making a comeback with volumes at around $8.7 billion, as lessors took advantage of the favourable rate environment.
- Although risk tolerance and activity levels were below pre-pandemic levels, pockets around the world are increasingly looking for business through bank debt.
- Institutional investors and funds continued to seek aviation exposure, filling in where traditional sources of capital retrenched.
- Export credit supported financing for Boeing aircraft contributed about 5% of total funding last year, primarily by the Export-Import Bank of the United States and with one deal supported by UK Export Finance.
The Boeing 2021 Commercial Market Outlook, a separate annual 20-year forecast addressing the market for commercial airplanes and services, projects that through 2040 there will be demand more than 43,500 new airplanes valued at $7.2 trillion.
Boeing Capital Corporation is a global provider of financing solutions. A wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, Boeing Capital offers asset-backed lending and leasing, concentrating on assets that are critical to the core operations of Boeing customers. Boeing Capital's primary mission is to support the other Boeing business units by ensuring customers have the financing they need to buy and take delivery of their Boeing products.
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WAR IN UKRAINE AND OMICRON WEIGHS ON AIR CARGO
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released March 2022 data for global air cargo markets showing a drop in demand. The effects of Omicron in Asia, the Russia - Ukraine war and a challenging operating backdrop contributed to the decline.
Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs*), fell 5.2% compared to March 2021 (-5.4% for international operations).
Capacity was 1.2% above March 2021 (+2.6% for international operations). While this is in positive territory, it is a significant decline from the 11.2% year-on-year increase in February. Asia and Europe experienced the largest falls in capacity.
Several factors in the operating environment should be noted:
The war in Ukraine led to a fall in cargo capacity used to serve Europe as several airlines based in Russia and Ukraine were key cargo players. Sanctions against Russia led to disruptions in manufacturing. And rising oil prices are having a negative economic impact, including raising costs for shipping.
New export orders, a leading indicator of cargo demand, are now shrinking in all markets except the US. The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) indicator tracking global new export orders fell to 48.2 in March. This was the lowest since July 2020.
Global goods trade has continued to decline in 2022, with China's economy growing more slowly because of COVID-19 related lockdowns (among other factors); and supply chain disruptions amplified by the war in Ukraine.
General consumer price inflation for the G7 countries was at 6.3% year-on-year in February 2022, the highest since 1982.
"Air cargo markets mirror global economic developments. In March, the trading environment took a turn for the worse. The combination of war in Ukraine and the spread of the Omicron variant in Asia have led to rising energy costs, exacerbated supply chain disruptions and fed inflationary pressure. As a result, compared to a year ago, there are fewer goods being shipped-including by air. Peace in Ukraine and a shift in China's COVID-19 policy would do much to ease the industry's headwinds. As neither appears likely in the short-term, we can expect growing challenges for air cargo just as passenger markets are accelerating their recovery," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.
March Regional Performance
Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 5.1% in March 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. Available capacity in the region fell 6.4% compared to March 2021, the largest drop of all regions. The zero-COVID policy in mainland China and Hong Kong is impacting performance.
North American carriers posted a 0.7% decrease in cargo volumes in March 2022 compared to March 2021. Demand in the Asia-North America market declined significantly, with seasonally adjusted volumes falling by 9.2% in March. Capacity was up 6.7% compared to March 2021.
European carriers saw a 11.1% decrease in cargo volumes in March 2022 compared to the same month in 2021. This was the weakest of all regions. The Within Europe market fell significantly, down 19.7% month on month. This is attributable to the war in Ukraine. Labour shortages and lower manufacturing activity in Asia due to Omicron also affected demand. Capacity fell 4.9% in March 2022 compared to March 2021.
Middle Eastern carriers experienced a 9.7% year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in March. Significant benefits from traffic being redirected to avoid flying over Russia failed to materialize. This is likely due to subdued demand overall. Capacity was up 5.3% compared to March 2021.
Latin American carriers reported an increase of 22.1% in cargo volumes in March 2022 compared to the 2021 period. This was the strongest performance of all regions. Some of the largest airlines in the region are benefitting from the end of bankruptcy protection. Capacity in March was up 34.9% compared to the same month in 2021.
African airlines saw cargo volumes increase by 3.1% in March 2022 compared to March 2021. Capacity was 8.7% above March 2021 levels.
SAA'S INTERIM CEO TO LEAVE THE AIRLINE
SAA's Interim CEO Thomas Kgokolo left the airline at the end of April 2022 after a successful year at the helm while John Lamola has assumed the role of the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer with effect from 1st May 2022.
Since exiting business rescue in April 2021, SAA has made significant strides in improving revenue and reopening services both locally and regionally and is now fully focused on its transition to control by its envisaged majority shareholder, Takatso Consortium, which will take a 51% stake in SAA later in the year.
SAA Lead Independent Non-Executive director, Ms Bembe Zwane says, "Thomas took the job of CEO as leader of a cohort of a Transition Management Team. He was generous enough to offer his professional services under a short-term contract which we have eagerly extended on numerous occasions. Thomas has requested that his contract not be renewed. We appreciate the time he has given to SAA and look forward to the leadership of the executive team by John Lamola"
Professor Lamola was appointed non-executive chairman of the SAA Interim Board in July 2021. He is an Associate Professor at the Institute for Intelligent Systems of the University of Johannesburg. In addition to a PhD degree in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh, he holds an MBA from a premier tertiary institution of education in aviation and aerospace studies in the United States, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He was the CEO of Denel Aviation between 1996 and 2001. He served on the Board of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) from 2012 until 2017. Lamola has managed a proprietary portfolio of private equity investments through a number of privately held companies, including an aviation consulting firm, Baji Aviation Service.
Lamola added that the business strategy of SAA remains intact and on course as the Board and the Ministry of Public Enterprises are steadfastly pursing their goal of a sustainable SAA for the good of the entire South African economy.
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DFW AIRPORT CARGO ACHIEVES 1M TON MILESTONE
Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) announced at the 2022 TIACA Executive Summit in San Francisco that the airport achieved a major milestone of moving one million U.S. tons of cargo in calendar year 2021. This milestone is significant because of its impact on the local economy as well as being an indicator of growth for the Airport and the North Texas region.
This feat was driven by ongoing shifts in the global supply chain, including a modal shift from ocean to air freight. The airport has also worked to streamline processes and gain efficiencies, avoiding the congestion seen at other major air cargo gateways. A key component in DFW's strategy is to invest in systems that accelerate digitization of the cargo ecosystem, including the DFW Cargo Cloud. The DFW Cloud is an open-architecture digital data-sharing platform that allows cargo community members to seamlessly and securely exchange data, reduce paperwork and facilitate efficient transactions and handoffs between partners.
DFW is focused on future investments in air cargo facilities and infrastructure to meet growing demand stimulated by e-commerce, perishables and pharmaceutical/ life sciences products. The addition of the DFW Cargo Cloud and the slot booking application to expedite drop-offs and pick-ups for truckers will facilitate continued growth for DFW Airport while minimizing congestion that results in costly delays. Later this year, the airport will begin construction of two new state-of-the-art air cargo buildings, with an additional eight category six aircraft parking positions, creating capacity for the fastest-growing cargo
"This milestone along with strategic investments in our cargo business elevates DFW's position as an innovative leader in air cargo and a key logistics hub in the global supply chain," said John Ackerman, Executive Vice President of Global Strategies. "With the development of new airside cargo facilities and infrastructure, and with an ideal, mid-continent geographic location that allows our customers to reduce transit times and increase speed and efficiency, DFW is poised for future growth."
Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport is the most connected airport in the world. Centred between owner cities Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, DFW Airport also serves as a major job generator for the North Texas region by connecting people through business and leisure travel.
QANTAS CONFIRMS FUTURE AIRBUS FLEET
Australia's Qantas Group has confirmed that it will order 12 A350-1000s, 20 A220s and 20 A321XLRs. The news was announced at a ceremony in Sydney attended by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce and Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International, Christian Scherer.
The A350-1000 was selected by Qantas following an evaluation known as Project Sunrise and will enable the carrier to operate the world's longest commercial flights. These will include linking Sydney and Melbourne with destinations such as London and New York non-stop for the first time ever. Featuring a premium layout, the A350 fleet will also be used by Qantas on other international services. The A350-1000 is powered by the latest generation Trent XWB engines from Rolls-Royce.
In the single aisle category, the A220 and A321XLR were chosen under an evaluation called Project Winton. The aircraft will be used by the Qantas Group on domestic services across the country, which can extend to over five hours. In addition, the A321XLR offers the range capability for flights from Australia to South East Asia, enabling the Qantas Group to open up new direct routes. The A220 and A321XLR fleets will both be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF engines.
This agreement is in addition to the existing order for 109 A320neo Family aircraft, which includes the A321XLR for the Qantas Group low-cost subsidiary Jetstar.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said: "New types of aircraft make new things possible. That's what makes the announcement so significant for the national carrier and for a country like Australia where air travel is crucial. The A350 and Project Sunrise will make any city just one flight away from Australia. It's the last frontier and the final fix for the tyranny of distance."
"The A320s and A220s will become the backbone of our domestic fleet for the next 20 years, helping to keep this country moving. Their range and economics will make new direct routes possible. "The board's decision to green light what is the largest aircraft order in Australian aviation is a clear vote of confidence in the future of Qantas."
Christian Scherer, Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International said: "Qantas is one of the world's iconic airlines, with a visionary spirit from its inception over 100 years ago. We are honoured by the confidence that Qantas is placing in Airbus and look forward to delivering to the group one of the world's most modern, efficient and sustainable fleets. This decision by Qantas underscores the position of the A350 as the reference long range widebody aircraft."
The A220, A321XLR and A350 are the market leaders in their respective size categories. In addition to offering the highest levels of passenger comfort, the aircraft bring a step change in efficiency, using up to 25% less fuel, a similar reduction in carbon emissions and a noise footprint 50% lower than previous generation aircraft.
All in-production Airbus aircraft are certified to fly with a 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) blend, with a target to increase this to 100% by 2030.
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MIA RANKED AMERICA'S BUSIEST INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Gateway served the most international passengers and freight in the U.S. Miami International Airport became the busiest U.S. gateway for international passengers while retaining its position as the busiest for international freight in 2021, according to preliminary 2021 airport rankings published this week by Airports Council International (ACI). MIA welcomed more than 13 million international passengers in 2021, moving it from 2nd place in 2020 to the top ranking in the U.S. and 11th place in the world. MIA remained the busiest airport in the U.S. and the ninth busiest in the world for international tonnage handled, at more than two million metric tons.
The global gateway is also now home to the ninth-busiest airport in the world, with a total of 387,973 take-offs and landings by passenger and cargo aircraft in 2021, for a 54-percent increase over 2020 - the largest increase among the 10 busiest airports worldwide. MIA's ninth-place finish is its highest global ranking in aircraft operations in decades and a giant leap from 24th in 2020 and 30th in 2019.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava:
"MIA finished 2021 with a total of 37.2 million passengers, which was twice its total of 18.6 million in 2020. The global gateway also handled 2.7 million tons of freight in 2021, shattering its previous record of 2.3 million tons in 2020 by 17 percent, for its second consecutive year of growth. Our improved rankings in international passenger traffic and flight operations are more examples of MIA's successful rebound from the pandemic. MIA continues to attract new and returning airline partners that are expanding our passenger and cargo route networks."
Ralph Cutiť, MIA Director and CEO: "ACI's world airport rankings are based on the preliminary compilation of 2021 data from airports around the world. Due to ACI's reach as the trade association of the world's airports, the rankings reflect the most updated airport data used by the industry and include passenger traffic, cargo volumes as well as aircraft movements."
ACI was founded in 1991 with the objective of fostering cooperation among its member airports and other partners in world aviation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the International Air Transport Association and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization.
DELTA TECHOPS, ASIANA AIRLINES ENTER ENGINE MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT
The multi-year agreement covers the repair and overhaul of CF6-80C2 engines by Delta TechOps, the largest maintenance provider in North America with over 150 customers globally.
Delta TechOps will be a maintenance, repair and overhaul provider of Asiana Airlines' CF6-80C2 engines over the next five years, bringing the engines powering the South Korean carrier's Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft under its extensive global portfolio.
Delta TechOps people will expertly carry out scheduled engine overhaul shop visits during the five-year period. Additionally, Delta TechOps will support any unscheduled or AOG engine work.
"We are so pleased to have a new agreement with a prominent CF6 MRO, Delta TechOps," said Hoon Bae, General Manager of Aircraft & Supplies Purchasing, Asiana Airlines. "With this new business, we are confident that Asiana Airlines and Delta TechOps will build up our long-term partnership into the future."
"We are looking forward to getting started on this significant new work with Asiana that is all possible thanks to the well-established track record of safety, excellence and quality by Delta TechOps people," said Don Mitacek - S.V.P. - Delta Technical Operations and President - Delta TechOps Services Group. "We look forward to expanding our portfolio of more than 150 MRO customers around the world with Asiana in the years ahead."
As the maintenance division of Delta Air Lines, Delta TechOps has over 35 years of experience operating and maintaining CF6-80C2 engines. The work will be conducted by Delta TechOps Aviation Maintenance Technicians primarily at its Atlanta Technical Operations Center.
Delta TechOps is the largest airline maintenance, repair and overhaul provider in North America. In addition to supplying maintenance and engineering support for Delta's large fleet of aircraft, Delta TechOps provides high-quality service to more than 150 other aviation and airline customers around the world and has developed strategic partnerships for next-generation engines with Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce. The organization specializes in high-skill work such as engines, components, hangar and line maintenance. Delta TechOps employs thousands of aviation maintenance professionals and is one of the world's most-experienced providers with more than 90 years of aviation experience. For more information visit deltatechops.com.
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FRONTIER AIRLINES LAUNCHES NEW NONSTOP ROUTES FROM CHICAGO MIDWAY
Low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines (NASDAQ: ULCC) has launched a new service from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW). Eight of the airline's 11 new routes begin this week as MDW becomes Frontier's primary airport in Chicago. Additionally, the airline will continue to serve Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD).
"We're excited to launch the service from Chicago Midway, serving a wide variety of popular destinations spanning the U.S. from coast to coast," said Joshua Rashkin, director of marketing, Frontier Airlines. "With this inaugural service, MDW becomes our primary Chicago Airport. We continue to offer a service from O'Hare, as well, providing Chicago-area consumers an abundance of choice to enjoy Frontier's ultra-low fares and friendly service."
"On behalf of Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the entire Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), I am thrilled to welcome Frontier Airlines back to Midway International Airport," said City of Chicago Commissioner of Aviation Jamie L. Rhee. "Travellers now have two airport options - O'Hare and Midway - to fly Frontier to visit the 'Windy City,' voted Best Big City in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveller for the fifth year in a row."
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