Delta consortium to take control of Wheels Up
A consortium led by Delta Air Lines and investment firms Certares and Knighthead last week announced a tentative deal to take over 95 percent of financially troubled Wheels Up for $500 million. The plan provides Wheels Up with a $400 million term loan plus a $100 million “liquidity facility” from Delta. In exchange, the lenders will receive newly issued Wheels Up Class A common stock resulting in owning approximately 95% of the pro forma equity of the company.
Wheels Up also announced that Delta Chief Financial Officer Dan Janki will join the Board of Directors as Chairman. Ravi Thakran will transition back to Director from his role as Executive Chairman. Wheels Up, which offers membership-based and on-demand private jet services, is a part of Delta's broad portfolio of premium partners. The relationship dates to 2020, when Delta Private Jets combined with Wheels Up. www.wheelsup.com
EASA safety review published
The EASA 2023 Annual Safety Review (ASR) is now online. The 2023 edition looks at the safety performance of the European aviation system in 2022. This, and other analyses carried out by EASA in collaboration with the National Aviation Authorities (NAAs) and industry is used to support the decision-making that is reflected in the European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS). Patrick Ky, Executive Director of the EASA noted: “As we publish this year’s safety review in the summer of 2023, traffic levels are at around 93% of the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019. It brings me immense satisfaction to recognise that there have been no major accidents involving European CAT large aeroplane operators for many years, and the safety record of aviation continues to be exemplary.” On a global level, despite the stabilisation in the number of accidents, the number of fatalities in 2022 has increased compared to 2021 and one fatal accident (a runway incursion of a motorcycle) involving an EASA member state operator led to two fatalities in Guinea this year after an accident-free period of 5 years for European operators. The accident of a Boeing 737-800 near Wuzhou in China has contributed in 2022 to three-quarters of the total number of fatalities in large aeroplane passenger and cargo operations worldwide. “We were fortunate that last summer’s difficult operating situation did not lead to safety issues. On the global scale, we are regrettably still seeing around 12-13 fatal commercial air accidents per year,” Patrick Ky added. www.easa.europa.eu
GKN, Marshall and Parker join forces to explore hydrogen fuel system
GKN Aerospace, Marshall, and Parker Aerospace are leveraging their capabilities to collaborate under a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at exploring liquid hydrogen fuel system solutions for the next generation of zero emission aircraft.
Hydrogen propulsion, whether through fuel cells or combustion, is considered a critical pathway for the aviation industry to achieve its ambitious goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The liquid hydrogen fuel system to be developed jointly by Marshall, GKN Aerospace and Parker under this MoU will be capable of supporting both hydrogen electric and combustion applications. The proposed liquid hydrogen fuel system collaboration will benefit significantly from the ongoing UK Aerospace Technology Institute funded, GKN Aerospace led, H2GEARprogramme, which will ground test a scalable hydrogen electric fuel cell propulsion system in 2025.The intent is to bring the complete scalable fuel system and propulsion system together in a single flight test bed environment before the end of the decade. Initial studies suggest that such a system could support a wide range of aircraft, including commuter planes (under 19 passengers), business jets and regional aircraft (up to 100 passengers). Scalability of the system for larger narrow-body aircraft is currently being studied. www.gknaerospace.com
People: Embraer appoints Carlos Naufel as Vice President of Services & Support
Embraer recently announced that Carlos Naufel, current Technical Director of Azul Linhas Aéreas, will be the new Vice President of Services & Support, effective on September 1, 2023. The current VP of the area, Johann Bordais, will assume the role of CEO at Eve Air Mobility, as announced at the end of July.
With 27 years of experience in the aviation sector, Naufel graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and earned a Master’s in Business from FAAP University, in São Paulo, among other specializations. At Azul for almost five years, Naufel now leads Azul's Technical Department, which has more than 2,000 employees and covers the areas of engineering and maintenance (line and heavy maintenance), quality, and logistics. Starting this year, he also became responsible for Azul TecOps, a new business unit created to sell services. Prior to joining Azul, Naufel worked at Embraer for more than 18 years, holding various roles in the service and support area. Between 2017 and 2019, he was Vice President of Technical Solutions, being responsible for maintenance engineering, fleet performance and technical support for Commercial, Executive and Defense Aviation customers. www.embraer.com