Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Interview: David Arendt, Cargolux CFO

Cargolux finances three more 747-8Fs, sells one 747-400F

Cargolux has arranged Ex-Im backed funding for three of the four Boeing 747-8Fs due to be delivered in 2012, and the carrier will consider an operating lease structure for the remaining freighter, CFO David Arendt has told Aviation Exchange. The airline is the launch partner for the 747-8F and will sell one of its older 747-400Fs to Silk Way Airways later this month after receiving two of the three Dash-8s being delivered this year, he added.

The fourth aircraft, which arrives in February 2012, will be financed by PEFCO under an Ex-Im guarantee, Arendt confirmed. The fifth aircraft, delivering in April 2012, will be acquired by a joint venture comprising Cargolux and three equity co-investors – Crédit Agricole, DVB Bank and KfW-IPEX Bank – and will draw from Ex-Im backed debt provided by JP Morgan. The sixth, arriving in July 2012, looks set to be funded by an Ex-Im bond on the capital market, with Goldman Sachs and Crédit Agricole signing preliminary agreements.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Interview: John Plueger, Air Lease Corporation President

ALC gives muted reaction to 737MAX amid renewed focus on order book

Air Lease Corporation this week conducted a major product review of the re-engined 737MAX with Boeing, ALC president John Plueger has told Aviation Exchange, with the lessor making no secret of its preference for a brand new single-aisle model. Plueger said ALC will remain "very engaged" with Boeing over the development of the 737MAX, but he acknowledged the manufacturer's need to plan for the "totality of their single and twin-aisle product line," including possible upgrades to the Boeing 777-300ER as well as the planned Boeing 787-10.

ALC was founded last year after industry veteran Steven Udvar-Házy retired as CEO of market leader ILFC to set up a competing lessor. Plueger came on board shortly afterwards, having served as acting CEO at ILFC following Udvar-Házy's departure, and under their joint stewardship ALC has rapidly grown its portfolio to a fleet of 65 aircraft, with forward orders for a further 234 jets by 2020.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kuwait Airways flies the nest

Full article in JPG format

After 18 years of political wrangling, the Kuwaiti parliament passed a privatisation law in May 2010 which proponents said would reinvigorate the country's bureaucratic, public-sector dominated economy. Cabinet ministers forced the legislation through after 28 of the emirate's 50 parliamentarians opposed it, with some arguing that the changes were tantamount to "the robbery of the wealth of Kuwait and a plan to destroy the country".

Top of the agenda was the long-awaited move to privatise Kuwait Airways, which has itself done little to preserve the emirate's wealth in recent times. The flag carrier posted losses in 20 of the last 21 years, haemorrhaging more than $3 billion including $556 million last year alone – a time when most airlines were rebounding from the global recession...

UAE aviation: taking off

Full article in JPG format: page 40/41 & page 42/43

Speaking at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney, James Hogan, chief executive of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, last month described aviation as "the absolute lifeblood of the United Arab Emirates’ future economic prospects". The growing geopolitical significance of Asia places the Gulf states at a "crossroads between the Old World and the New", he said, making diversification of their oil-centric economies key to continued prosperity.

For a country of just eight million, the UAE’s aviation footprint has already reached astounding proportions. Dubai International Airport became the third busiest international air traffic hub in the world during the first quarter of 2011, handling more than 12 million passengers, lagging behind only London Heathrow and Hong Kong...