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Aircraft Finance & Leasing News.

Sep 17, 2007

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand has hit a novel bit of turbulence in its plans to update and expand its ageing fleet of Boeing aircraft. The company is having to go direct to its shareholders to gain support to buy just over $4.5 billion worth of new wide-body long-haul jets, as the size of the deal is much bigger than those that would normally require just boardroom approval. The new order would double the assets owned by Air New Zealand, which at the end of June this year were worth $4.9 billion - mainly its existing fleet. Under New Zealand company law, any deal that adds assets or liabilities more than half a company's value needs support from 75 per cent of shareholders. Air New Zealand is keen to go ahead with an arrangement to directly acquire 10 aircraft, a mixture of Boeing 789 and 773 aircraft, worth $2.2 billion, and exercise options on a further 11 that will add an extra $2.3 billion to the final bill. Sep 11, 2007


A power battle at the top of Airbus would undermine efforts to turn round the planemaker, weeks after politicians intervened to restore order at Franco-German parent EADS, analysts say. The statement made by Airbus chief Tom Enders appeared to be an olive branch to Bregier, whose departure would overshadow his own efforts to settle into Airbus, but could also be seen as an attempt to corner the Frenchman into staying by pre-empting the higher EADS decision. Airbus said Bregier would stay in charge of Power8 and run operations, engineering, procurement and the A350 program. Sep 13, 2007


Airbus secured 713 gross orders in the first eight months of 2007, although cancellations reduced the net number to 656, according to the manufacturer's cumulative order data. This compares to Boeing's eight-month gross of 773 with a net figure of 763. However, since Aug. 31 Boeing, which posts its orders weekly, has lifted its tally to 851 gross and 841 net. Those numbers are certain to change significantly before year end with large orders expected from British Airways and Emirates. Sep 13, 2007


All bidders for the Airbus factories at Meaulte and St Nazaire-Ville in France must also apply for risk-sharing contracts on the future A350 jet, meaning they will need to invest in the A350 on top of the factory purchase price in return for a share of profits in the EUR10 billion aircraft program. Sep 13, 2007


European planemaker Airbus Tom Enders re-appointed his number two with broad control of operations on Wednesday, but it remained unclear whether the move had defused another potential row over top management jobs. Airbus has been unsettled by fears that Chief Operating Officer Fabrice Bregier might quit following attempts by Enders to unseat him from the powerful executive committee at parent EADS, according to industry sources who asked not to be named. Enders, who took over Airbus after French and German leaders stepped in to reorganize EADS and end chronic in-fighting in July, proposed he should be the sole representative of Airbus on the EADS executive committee under the simpler new structure. Sep 13, 2007


The new Airbus executive team will comprise nine instead of the previous 12 members, the planemaker said. Also confirmed in their jobs are top salesman John Leahy, and Tom Williams, who heads Airbus programs. Hans Peter Ring continues to run finances at both Airbus and EADS. The management changes are the first of a trio of big decisions awaiting Airbus as it tries to bounce back against a resurgent Boeing, which took back leadership of global aircraft orders with its 787 Dreamliner last year. Airbus chief Tom Enders' management team in place, Airbus will be under pressure to push forward negotiations with French and German unions over 10,000 job cuts in its Power8 restructuring plans. It also aims to choose buyers by October for five of the six factories it has put up for sale in a further effort to cut costs and share the burden of investing in composite materials. Sep 13, 2007

Airbus, EADS

Backed by Airbus parent EADS chief executive Louis Gallois, Bregier insisted on keeping the committee post he had held since running EADS helicopter unit Eurocopter and called for a clear division of his and Enders' roles, the industry sources said. An Airbus statement set out broad responsibilities for Bregier effectively handing him control of the planemaker's operations including its next major project, the A350, regarded as crucial for Airbus's future rivalry with Boeing. But it left a question mark over whether it had been decided to leave Bregier in place on the EADS executive committee. Sep 13, 2007

American Airlines

VGS Aircraft Holding (Ireland), through its wholly owned subsidiary VGS Investments One, acquired two MD-82s from GECAS. Aircraft are leased to American Airlines until February 2013 and February 2014 respectively and are financed by Nord LB in Germany. Sep 11, 2007

American Airlines, United Airlines

Sept. 11 Hijacked Airliners Cockpit Tapes will Heard. Tapes of the final moments before one of the hijacked airliners in the September 11 attacks crashed into the ground in Pennsylvania may be played at the first case over damages from the attacks to go to trial, a judge has ruled. The last four minutes of the recording of United Airlines Flight 93 with sounds of passengers trying to force entry into the cockpit and to retake the plane in 2001, was ruled admissible by US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. The first of 41 cases left filed by September 11 victims who sued airlines and their security contractors for wrongful death is set to begin September 24. That case was filed by the wife of Patrick Driscoll, 70, who died aboard United Flight 93. The recordings have not been released publicly but were played in court at the trial of convicted September 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui in 2006. Sep 13, 2007

American Airlines, United Airlines

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, in a bid to encourage further settlements for the September 11 victims, the judge ruled in July that the first trials would only address damages and a second separate trial would address liability. The plaintiff's lawyer, Donald Migliori, said the recordings that will be played, which will also include the voice of one or two of the hijackers saying they have a bomb on board, was the most important evidence at the trial. He said most of the plaintiffs were "glad the process is starting" but frustrated the issue of damages will be decided before liability, which decides who is responsible. Sep 13, 2007

Arik Air, Boeing

Arik Air is Nigeria's fastest-growing privately owned airline and serves over 11 domestic routes with a fleet of 16 airplanes. The airline also is playing a pivotal role in the improvement of Nigeria's aviation infrastructure. Arik Air is the second African airline to select both the Boeing 787 and 777 twin-aisle jetliners. The airplanes' design and operational commonality allows airlines more choices and less risk in structuring the most economic, efficient and profitable route planning. Boeing is also working with the airline to help Nigeria achieve U.S. FAA Category 1 status, which would allow Arik Air to fly directly to and from the U.S. Sep 13, 2007

Arik Air, Boeing

Boeing and Arik Air, Nigeria's newest commercial carrier, announced an order for 10 787-9s and one 777-300ER (Extended Range). The order is valued at approximately $1.8 billion at list prices. The 777-300ER was previously booked as unidentified on Boeing's Orders & Deliveries website. Arik's 10 737-800s and four 787-9s will be added at the next scheduled website update. In April, Arik Air took delivery of two 737-700s and announced an order for two 777-200LRs (Longer Range), two 777-300ERs and three 787-9s to initiate the largest and most aggressive fleet modernization program in Nigeria's aviation history. Sep 13, 2007

Aviation Capital Group, Airbus

Aviation Capital Group signed a firm contract with Airbus for six A319s, 15 A320s and four A321s collectively valued at $1.8 billion. The lessor already had 96 A320 family aircraft in its portfolio or on firm order. MD and CEO Stephen Hannahs said the decision to order more was based on "high customer demand." No delivery dates or engine choices for the new orders were announced. Sep 11, 2007


Boeing booked orders for 75 commercial planes in August, compared to 25 for Airbus, propelling the US planemaker ahead of its main rival in the annual race for orders. Boeing, which is dominating the market for widebody planes with its carbon composite 787 Dreamliner, had 841 orders as at September 5, adjusted for cancellations. Airbus, which does not adjust for cancellations until the end of the year, had 713 orders at the end of August. The figures are from the companies' web sites. Airbus, which in the past week announced new orders from Czech Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines and US lessor Aviation Capital Group, rival Boeing seems set to clinch the title of biggest-selling plane maker for the second year running. Strong orders for the two companies combined, which may yet break 2005's record of more than 2,000, indicate that demand remains strong, and so far unaffected by problems in the credit markets, according to analysts. Sep 14, 2007


Bombardier does not expect a large impact on earnings from problems with its DHC-8-Q400 turboprop that have affected airlines globally, a company official said on Friday. "The impact on our results -- we believe this won't have a large impact," Bert Cruickshank, a director of industry and airline communications at Bombardier, told reporters in Tokyo. "We are responding very quickly to the situation." Bombardier, which is also the world's top train maker, reported a quarterly loss last month as it booked a big write-off on the value of its investment in troubled Metronet. Sep 14, 2007


Bombardier's aerospace business strengthened. The unit, which manufactures Learjets, CRJ regional jets that seat up to 145 passengers and turboprop aircraft, shrugged off the subprime debt problems that have roiled US markets. Since the start of the fiscal year, Bombardier's aerospace division boosted its order backlog 77 percent, to a record USD$18.2 billion, and orders more than doubled from the first half of last year to 187 aircraft from 77, with much of the growth coming in the business jet market, where orders rose by half from the year-earlier quarter to 103. Sep 14, 2007

CIT Aerospace, Etihad Airways, Airbus

CIT Group a provider of commercial and consumer finance solutions, announced that CIT Aerospace and Etihad Airways have entered into contracts to lease two new Airbus A330-200 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 772B engines. Deliveries are scheduled to take place in January and March 2009. CIT Aerospace owns or finances a fleet of more than 300 aircraft around the world, with approximately seven percent of its fleet located in the Middle East. With the completion of this order, Etihad becomes CIT Aerospace's largest customer in the Middle East. Sep 12, 2007

CSA Czech Airlines, Airbus, Boeing

CSA Czech Airlines announced the conversion of eight Airbus A319 options stemming from its 2004 order for delivery in 2011-12. CSA, which is replacing its Boeing 737s, already has taken delivery of six A320s and two A319s. Four more A319s will arrive in 2008. Sep 13, 2007

CSA Czech Airlines, Airbus, Boeing

CSA Czech Airlines said it had decided to retain a long-haul fleet, and may add the twin-aisle Boeing 767 or Airbus A330 planes to its portfolio if it finds affordable ones with the desired configuration on the market. CSA, a member of the Sky Team alliance which also includes Air France-KLM , Delta Air Lines and Alitalia, operates a fleet of 50 mostly medium-haul aircraft. Sep 13, 2007

Eastern Airways, Saab

Eastern Airways took delivery of a fifth Saab 2000 and will add a sixth next week, supporting expansion of its scheduled route network further into continental Europe. Aircraft also will be used on private charter services. Sep 13, 2007

Etihad Airways, Airbus, CIT Aerospace

Etihad Airways will lease two Trent 772B-powered Airbus A330-200s from CIT Aerospace, with delivery scheduled in January and March 2009. Etihad CEO James Hogan said the aircraft will have a "major impact" on both its short- and long-haul networks. Sep 11, 2007


EVA Air took delivery of its seventh 316-seat Boeing 777-300ER and will operate it on Taipei-Los Angeles service. An eighth 777-300ER will be serving LAX by year end. EVA flies the route 17-times-weekly. Sep 11, 2007

EVA Air, Boeing

EVA Air sold an MD-11 freighter to Wells Fargo Bank for $55 million, booking a gain of TWD50 million ($1.5 million) on the deal, Dow Jones reported. EVA now operates nine MD-11Fs, but will continue to sell the aircraft as it converts nine Boeing 747-400 Combis into freighters, an EVA spokesperson told the news service. Sep 11, 2007

Hong Kong Airlines

Hong Kong Airlines finalized its order for 30 Airbus A320 family aircraft, 20 A330s and one A319CJ Corporate Jet initially announced at the Paris Air Show. Engine choice has not been finalized, Airbus said. Sep 13, 2007

Jetstar, Boeing

Jetstar airs concerns about Boeing 787 maitenance costs Boeing 787 launch customer Jetstar is concerned that operating costs for its new fleet will be significantly higher than expected. Sep 10, 2007

Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways board offered its resignation in the wake of the government's cancellation of its 19-aircraft deal with ALAFCO, according to widespread press reports. The airline had planned to purchase 12 Boeing 787s and seven Airbus A320s from the lessor rather than OEMs in order to ensure earlier delivery Sep 11, 2007

Kuwait Airways, Boeing

Kuwait Airways late last month cancelled an initial order for 19 aircraft from Kuwait's Aviation Lease and Finance Co (Alafco), saying parliament had refused to approve funding for the deal, worth about USD$3 billion. The airline said a law that would allow it to borrow to finance its fleet renewal had yet to be approved. The loss-making airline was ordering the new aircraft from a lessor rather than direct from the manufacturers because it wanted delivery between 2009 and 2014. Alafco had already ordered the Boeing 787s that Kuwait Airways wanted and would have been able to deliver sooner than the makers. Sep 11, 2007

Kuwait Airways, Boeing

Kuwait's government accepted on Sept. 10 the resignation of the board of state-run Kuwait Airways, embroiled in a dispute with parliament over a USD$3 billion plane order. The state news agency KUNA said the Gulf Arab state's cabinet also asked acting transport minister Abdulwahed al-Awadhi to submit a report on the problems the airline faced. Kuwait is in talks with Boeing and Airbus about buying aircraft after the deal was scrapped, Kuwaiti newspapers said late last month. Sep 11, 2007


Aerospace firm Latecoere is shielded from takeover by a core shareholder group holding 25 percent of its shares, buttressed by double voting rights for long-term investors staying over four years. Its balance sheet is currently split between EUR259.4 million in equity belonging to shareholders and an equal amount of debt, giving it a higher than average gearing of 100 percent.Latecoere's net profit fell 20 percent in the first half partially under the weight of increased debt charges. Its offer assumes the Airbus plants will come with neither debt nor cash. Latecoere said it expected the factory auction to be completed at the end of this year or early next. Sep 13, 2007


Aerospace firm Latecoere will seek fresh equity investment worth around EUR300 million if it succeeds in the bid, which it says will propel it into the top rank of Airbus suppliers and forge a "national champion" in one of France's prized sectors. The 90-year-old firm once built boatplanes and pioneered air-mail. Its name is synonymous in France with aviation history. Latecoere Chief Executive Francois Bertrand said the company was in talks with potential investors including state bank Caisse des Depots to take up a reserved part of the share offer which he declined to quantify. Sep 13, 2007


French aerospace firm Latecoere announced plans to double its equity capital to help buy Airbus factories in France, and said a French state bank could inject part of the EUR300 million euros (USD$417 million) it hopes to raise. Latecoere is competing with Spirit Aerosystems of the United States, a company more than 18 times its size, to buy Airbus factories at Meaulte and St Nazaire-Ville in France as the planemaker sheds both factories and jobs to cut costs. Spirit is also competing for plants in Germany and Britain. Sources close to the auction have said the government would prefer to keep the 1,300 jobs at the French plants under French control. But doubts have been raised over Latecoere's ability to finance the deal without a significant cash boost. Its expansion mirrors efforts by German firms such as OHB's MT Aerospace and privately owned Voith to create a national supplier of parts and structures to Airbus, a unit of EADS whose activities are dotted across four countries. Sep 13, 2007

Mesa Air Group, Bombardier

Mesa Air Group announced an agreement with United Airlines to replace eight 50-seat Bombardier CRJ-200 aircraft with two 66 -seat Bombardier CRJ-700s. The aircraft will enter service with the Phoenix-based airline in spring 2008 and have a 10-year term. With the new planes, Mesa will operate 22 CRJ-700 aircraft for United Express. Mesa currently operates 185 aircraft with more than 1,100 daily system departures to 184 cities, 45 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico. Mesa also operates as Delta Connection, US Airways Express, and independently as Mesa Airlines and go! in Hawaii. Sep 12, 2007

Northwest Airlines, Boeing

Northwest Airlines retires its last Boeing 747-200 from regular service. Northwest Airlines said on Sept. 12 it has retired its last 747-200 plane from regular service. The airline still operates Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The plane's last flight was from Tokyo to Seattle. It will be replaced by a smaller type Airbus A330, which is more fuel efficient and quieter. The airline's two remaining 747-200 planes will be used on charter flights for the next 18 months. Sep 13, 2007

Spirit AeroSystems, Boeing

Market for planes expected to stay strong. Spirit AeroSystems' chairman and chief executive Jeff Turner said Tuesday that demand for airliners continues to climb, and any downturn would likely be minor. Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney agrees that the case for a continued positive cycle is strong. The two executives pointed out that airplanes are flying at capacity, and orders for planes are coming in faster than deliveries can go out. Sep 12, 2007

Superjet International, Sukhoi Aircraft, Alenia Aeronautica

Alenia Aeronautica and Sukhoi unveiled their new Superjet International joint venture, which will concentrate on after-sales support and marketing and sales of the Superjet 100 regional aircraft family in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Oceania and Japan. Alenia holds a 51% share of the new company, with 49% held by Sukhoi. Amedeo Caporaletti was named chairman and Alessandro Franzoni is CEO. The venture will be headquartered in Venice. Sep 11, 2007


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Publication:Airguide Online
Article Type:Company overview
Date:Sep 17, 2007
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