House aviation subcommittee chairman Rick Larsen (D-Washington) and Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kansas) jointly introduced a bill in the U.S. House on Monday to establish a cost-share program that would help preserve aviation manufacturing jobs at risk of furloughs during the pandemic.
The Coronavirus impact on the aviation Industry
Hong Kong-based Metrojet’s MRO station has been keeping busy with engine changes and aircraft disinfections in the first half of the year, the company said. Specifically, from January to July its certified Rolls-Royce MRO has performed multiple engine changes on various types of Gulfstream twinjets equipped with BR725/710 and Tay 611-8C engines, in addition to scheduled maintenance inspections.
The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) kicked off a “General Aviation Advancing America” campaign that will involve a series of meetings throughout the country with small focus groups to discuss the importance of rural airports to economic development, job recovery, and emergency response. Involving groups of 10 or fewer essential community leaders and aviation stakeholders, the initiative is designed to encourage open dialog about the value of general aviation to the community.
North American business aviation activity continued to rebound on a monthly basis from the Covid-19 pandemic-related downturn, but last month’s tally was still down 19.6 percent from July 2019, according to Argus’s latest TraqPak report. Flights in the U.S., Caribbean, and Canada were up 9.4 percent from June with all categories of aircraft and operations showing improvement. Turboprops involved in fractional operations showed the largest month-over-month gain, up 25.2 percent in July.
Lufthansa Group, for now, is sticking to plans to keep 300 aircraft grounded in 2021 and 200 in 2022, but these numbers may be on “the low side” because the company’s outlook on the recovery of air travel demand is somewhat less positive than it was a couple of months ago when it drafted the fleet restructuring plan, the group’s CEO, Carsten Spohr, conceded on Thursday. Speaking during a second-half results call with analysts, he said customer demand is only improving at a low rate.
Bombardier’s business jet deliveries dropped by 15 units for a total of 20 in the second quarter and associated revenues plummeted 28 percent as the company continues to recover from Covid-19 pandemic-related factory shutdowns, albeit at a lower production rate. In the second quarter, Bombardier delivered nine Globals, including five 7500s, along with nine Challengers and two Learjets. This compares with 16 Globals, 17 Challengers, and two Learjets handed over in second-quarter 2019.
Business aviation flight activity has seen a welcome resurgence in recent weeks, with positive trends being most evident in areas where demand for trips has been bolstered by the Northern Hemisphere summer season, according to the latest Global Market Tracker produced by aviation data specialist WingX. Throughout July and into the first few days of August, activity levels were just 18 percent below where they had been during the same period of 2019, with more than 23,000 business aircraft operating some 500,000 flight hours.
Four aviation groups are appealing to the U.S. Treasury Department to provide more flexibility in the eligibility of a direct loan program established for air carriers, saying major segments of the industry are facing challenges accessing the program. Section 4003 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act set aside $25 billion in loans and loan guarantees for air carriers, including Part 135 operators, as well as associated Part 145 repair stations and other support entities.
With Covid-19 cases on the rise in many parts of the U.S., including Arizona, and with that state facing chronic testing issues such as lab backlogs that can delay results by as much as two weeks, Phoenix-based Swift Aviation has taken the step to provide free, on-site Covid testing to its employees. It has partnered with Covid Testing to You to offer rapid response viral and antibody tests to quickly identify positive cases, even those who are asymptomatic, so they may self-quarantine and reduce the spread of the disease, protecting their co-workers and customers.
Airline spending on maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services could be less than half the $90 billion that had been projected by aviation data and advisory group IBA before the Covid-19 pandemic. Reduced aircraft utilization, early lease returns, and accelerated fleet retirement are all driving down MRO demand, the company said at the Changing Landscape of the Aftermarket Industry webinar on August 4.