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North America Newsletter 14 April

North America Newsletter 14 April

AEI’s Alpine Air Express buys Great Lakes Airlines’ assets

Alpine Air Express has purchased all the assets of US operator Great Lakes Airlines. As part of this deal, Alpine has acquired Great Lakes Airlines’ 27 airplanes and related engines, propellers, spare parts and ground support equipment. The two sides have not disclosed any financial details of the transaction. Great Lakes Airlines ceased its scheduled passenger flight operations in March 2019. It owns a fleet of 28 Beechcraft 1900Ds and six Embraer 120 Brasilias aircraft. Alpine CEO Michael Dancy said: “This acquisition is highly strategic for our company, significantly expanding our market presence and ability to serve our customers. “We are excited to grow our fleet, maintenance support and spare parts availability while also utilising our proprietary supplemental type certificate (STC) to convert these acquired Beech 1900D aircraft into our expanding cargo operations.”

Authorized AEI Conversion Center KF Aerospace adds 2nd line

Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) announced that KF Aerospace is adding a second modification line to support AEI freighter conversion programs. KF Aerospace began converting freighters for AEI in February 2017 and is currently the sole Canadian-based authorized AEI Conversion Center. The current and foreseeable market demand for AEI freighters is driving the need for additional production line capacity.

Boeing to Institute Partial Reopening in Washington State

Boeing plans to begin what it calls a safe and orderly restart of limited operations in the Puget Sound region and Moses Lake, Washington. The resumption of operations will center on defense programs, including P-8 and KC-46, and Moses Lake site operations in support of 737 Max storage. Other essential labs and teams will also resume supporting “critical” customer needs. The limited reopening involves about 2,500 employees. The federal government considers Boeing’s work supporting the Department of Defense as a part of the defense industrial base a matter of national security and has deemed it critical. Meanwhile, the company’s commercial work supports critical global transportation, said Boeing. The company said its phased approach to reopening ensures a reliable supply base, ready availability of personal protective equipment, and the full establishment of all other safety measures needed to return to regular business.

Fitch Takes Rating Actions on North American Airlines

Fitch Ratings has taken negative rating actions across the North American airline sector after completing a portfolio review of most of the airlines in the region. The review resulted in eight rating downgrades and one rating affirmation, which are listed below and discussed in the Key Ratings Driver Section. Eight of the ratings have Negative Outlooks and one is on Rating Watch Negative. This is the second portfolio review Fitch has conducted since the coronavirus pandemic accelerated in North America and EMEA. The review included an analysis of monthly estimated liquidity and an analysis of projected credit profiles at the end of 2021, consistent with the firm’s “through-the-cycle” rating approach. Fitch believes the pandemic will undo some of the credit improvement seen over the past decade at North American airlines. Most airlines will exit the worst of the crisis with higher debt levels and lower liquidity, leaving the sector more exposed to additional exogenous shocks.

JetBlue Temporarily Consolidates Service in Five Domestic Metro Areas to Reduce Excess Flying For Eight Weeks

JetBlue Airways will consolidate operations at five major metropolitan areas in the U.S. for eight weeks starting April 15 while maintaining a “critical” level of service throughout its network to maintain essential connectivity, the company announced Wednesday. JetBlue said it would slash services in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., under the terms of Department of Transportation rules that exempt airlines from certain minimum service requirements to cities they serve without losing their rights to government aid set aside for Covid-19 relief. As part of the exercise, the airline plans to suspend service at seven secondary airports that serve those cities and surrounding areas. For example, in the Boston market, JetBlue will suspend operations at T.F. Green International Airport in Warwick, Rhode Island, while cutting the number of combined daily departures at T.F. Green and Boston Logan Airport from 180 to 28.

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