American Joins The Club With Preflight COVID Testing Plan

American Airlines is joining the club and setting up the groundwork for a major COVID-19 preflight testing program. The airline has taken the first step with initial testing programs aimed to be in place as soon as next month and plans to grow based on those results. Here’s what you need to know.

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Aviation Technology

Joby Subsidiary H2FLY Completes World’s First Piloted Flight of Liquid Hydrogen Powered Electric Aircraft

Business Wire | September 14, 2023

H2FLY, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Joby Aviation, today announced the successful completion of the world’s first piloted flight of a liquid hydrogen-powered electric aircraft. H2FLY, acquired by Joby in 2021, continues to lead the industry on the development and testing of hydrogen aviation propulsion systems. The company completed a series of piloted flights with its HY4 demonstrator aircraft, including one that lasted more than three hours, fitted with a hydrogen-electric fuel cell propulsion system and liquid hydrogen that powered it for the entire flight. The flights demonstrate the viability of using cryogenically-stored liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen, which enables significantly lower tank weights and volume, leading to longer range. The successful installation and demonstration of flight with liquid hydrogen is believed to increase the range of H2FLY’s HY4 demonstrator aircraft from 466 mi (750 km) to 932 mi (1500 km), marking a critical step towards the long-term decarbonization of mid- to long-range aviation. “H2FLY are pioneers in their field, and we’re proud of them achieving this watershed moment in the use of liquid hydrogen to power aircraft,” said JoeBen Bevirt, Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation. “In the years to come, battery-electric and hydrogen-electric propulsion systems will enable us to build aircraft that are quieter and make mid- to long-range air travel possible with zero emissions. It’s critical we take action now and invest aggressively in these technologies for the health of our planet and future generations to come.” The successful flights are the culmination of Project HEAVEN, a European-government-supported consortium assembled to demonstrate the feasibility of using liquid hydrogen in aircraft. The consortium is led by H2FLY and includes the partners Air Liquide, Pipistrel Vertical Solutions, the German Aerospace Center (DLR), EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, and Fundación Ayesa. Following this test flight milestone, H2FLY will increasingly focus on its path to commercialization. In June, H2FLY announced the development of its new fuel cell systems, which will be capable of providing their full power range at altitudes high enough to enable commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft, demonstrating real-world commercial aircraft applications. About Joby Joby Aviation, Inc. is a California-based transportation company developing an all-electric, vertical take-off and landing air taxi which it intends to operate as part of a fast, quiet, and convenient service in cities around the world.

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Aviation Technology

Wheels Up Finalizes New Investment with Delta, Certares, Knighthead and Cox

Wheels Up | September 26, 2023

Wheels Up Experience (NYSE: UP) today announced that it has closed the previously announced investment by Delta Air Lines, Certares Management LLC, Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Cox Enterprises. The new investment structure combines the experience of Delta, the No. 1 premium airline, with the travel and tourism focus of Certares and turnaround and restructuring experience of Knighthead. It includes an agreement for a $500 million credit facility to Wheels Up, with funds contributed by Delta and CK Wheels LLC, which is co-managed by affiliates of Certares and Knighthead, and Cox. The announcement follows last week's selection of George Mattson as the company's new CEO. "This investment represents both an important source of capital for Wheels Up to support our strategy for financial stability, future profitability and long-term growth on behalf of our members and customers, as well as a vote of confidence in our path forward from a group of investors with deep experience in the premium travel space," Mattson said. "We look forward to working closely with Delta and our other investors to deliver best-in-class operating performance and an exceptional customer experience which, as we deepen our commercial partnership, will also enable us to provide a one-of-a-kind seamless connection between private and premium commercial travel." "Wheels Up is an integral part of Delta's portfolio of premium partners, and this deep relationship offers a significant opportunity to deliver compelling benefits to our customers that are unique in the travel space," said Dan Janki, Wheels Up Chairman and Delta's Chief Financial Officer. "This investment and new leadership puts Wheels Up on a strong path to future success." The credit facility is comprised of a $350 million term loan funded at closing from Delta, CK Wheels LLC and Cox and a $100 million revolving credit facility from Delta. The terms of the credit agreement permit a new lender to provide a $50 million term loan after the closing date, as approved by Delta, Certares, Knighthead and Cox, and it is anticipated this additional funding will close in the near term. In connection with the closing of the credit facility, the lenders will initially receive newly issued Wheels Up common stock representing 80% of the company's outstanding equity as of the closing of the credit facility, on a fully diluted basis. After approval by Wheels Up's stockholders of an amendment to its certificate of incorporation, the company will issue to the lenders additional new shares such that the lenders will own 95% of the company's outstanding equity as of the closing of the credit facility, on a fully diluted basis. Wheels Up also announced a new structure for its Board of Directors. Under the new structure, Delta Air Lines will appoint four directors, Certares and Knighthead each will appoint two directors, and Cox will appoint one director. In addition, one company executive will join the Board and two independent directors are expected to remain from the previous Board. The parties were assisted in the transaction by a number of strategic advisors, including: Davis Polk, Jefferies LLC, Kirkland & Ellis and PJT Partners. About Wheels Up Wheels Up is a leading provider of on-demand private aviation in the U.S. and one of the largest private aviation companies in the world. Wheels Up offers a complete global aviation solution with a large, modern, and diverse fleet, backed by an uncompromising commitment to safety and service. Customers can access membership programs, charter, aircraft management services and whole aircraft sales, as well as unique commercial travel benefits through a strategic partnership with Delta Air Lines. Wheels Up also offers freight, safety and security solutions and managed services to individuals, industry, government, and civil organizations. Wheels Up is guided by the mission to connect private flyers to aircraft, and one another, through an open platform that seamlessly enables life's most important experiences. Powered by a global private aviation marketplace connecting its base of approximately 12,000 members and customers to a network of approximately 1,500 safety-vetted and verified private aircraft, Wheels Up is widening the aperture of private travel for millions of consumers globally. With the Wheels Up mobile app and website, members and customers have the digital convenience to search, book and fly.

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Aviation Technology

Supernal, Hyundai WIA and Mecaer Aviation Group Partner to Accelerate eVTOL Landing Gear Development

PR Newswire | October 19, 2023

Supernal, Hyundai Motor Group's (HMG) Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) company, Hyundai WIA, a global automotive and aerospace parts manufacturer and Mecaer Aviation Group, an Italy-based global aeronautical company, announced today a partnership to design and manufacture landing gear systems for electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles. Hyundai WIA specializes in mass manufacturing and precision machine tools, while Mecaer is experienced in designing and building aerospace-grade landing gear systems. The three partners are collaborating to improve the safety and overall performance of eVTOL vehicles by addressing weight, structural efficiency, energy absorption and electronic system integration in the landing gear design and manufacturing process. "Our collaboration with Hyundai WIA and Mecaer is a testament to Supernal's commitment to innovation and the highest standards of safety, design and manufacturing for Advanced Air Mobility," said Jaiwon Shin, president of Hyundai Motor Group and CEO of Supernal. "This partnership unites our collective strengths and expertise to deliver aerospace-grade eVTOL landing gear in record time and ensure their scalability and sustainability. These types of automotive and aerospace strategic alliances are key to the growth and success of our emerging industry." The partnership is critical to Supernal's efforts to pioneer high-scale production processes that will meet future demands of the AAM industry. The collaboration will support the business model—and streamline manufacturing—by incorporating state-of-the-art materials and efficient assembly technologies. "Hyundai WIA looks forward to leveraging our expertise from the automotive industry in large-scale parts manufacturing for the benefit of Supernal's upcoming eVTOL aircraft," said Jae-Wook Jung, president and CEO of Hyundai WIA. "We foresee significant potential to help demonstrate how cross-industry efficiencies can address enduring supply chain challenges, as well as the potential created by a new category of civil aviation." "We are especially proud to announce our participation in this industry-leading strategic partnership and to have teamed with Supernal and Hyundai WIA to design, develop and manufacture a fully integrated wheeled landing gear for the Advanced Air Mobility company's eVTOL vehicle," said Bruno Spagnolini, CEO, Mecaer. "We are extremely appreciative of the trust Supernal has shown in the ability of the Mecaer and Hyundai WIA team to produce and innovate its landing gear system." Supernal, Hyundai WIA and Mecaer held a signing ceremony for the partnership at the Seoul Air Show on October 18.

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Allegiant secures financing for airbus a320 ceo and boeing 737 max aircraft

PR Newswire | October 05, 2023

Allegiant Travel Company announced financing commitments for seven Airbus A320 and four Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from BNP Paribas, Europe's leading bank, and Jackson Square Aviation (JSA), a leading global commercial aircraft lessor. The innovative $412M deal combines banking and lessor capital to secure Allegiant's aircraft financing needs into the second quarter 2024, while providing the airline with healthy liquidity at an attractive cost in today's market. "We are delighted with BNP Paribas and Jackson Square's creativity in providing what we believe is an efficient framework that affords us robust liquidity to support foundational investments in our fleet. This transaction taps into young A320 CEO aircraft and will also serve as the inaugural financing for our Boeing 737 MAX equipment," said Robert Neal, Allegiant's senior vice president and chief financial officer. Allegiant has drawn down $196 million on September 29, and the remainder will be drawn commensurate with its initial 737 MAX deliveries. "Our relationship with BNP Paribas, spanning more than a decade, has been instrumental in our growth as an ultra-low-cost leader. We are thrilled to welcome Jackson Square Aviation as a new partner as we make air travel more affordable and accessible to leisure travelers," added Neal. "We are delighted to provide Allegiant, a long-standing client of the bank, an innovative and first-of-its-kind financing solution which combines bank and lessor capital into one transaction. This transaction allows the airline to maximize value while having more structural flexibility to manage its aircraft fleet versus the more traditional aircraft financing alternatives," said Ankush Chowdhury, managing director & head of transportation banking and capital markets at BNP Paribas. "BNP Paribas is honored to partner with Jackson Square Aviation as we continue to innovate in the world of aviation finance with the goal of providing efficient and thoughtful financing solutions to our aviation clients," added Chowdhury. "It's a great pleasure to have Allegiant as a new airline customer for Jackson Square Aviation and we're pleased to be working together with a long-standing banking partner, BNP Paribas," said Chris Dailey, president & chief commercial officer of JSA. "Combining the strengths of JSA and BNP Paribas, we're able to provide an efficient financing solution for Allegiant's fleet of in-service Airbus A320s and next generation Boeing 737-8-200s, which we're also excited to introduce as a first into our portfolio," said Dailey. Allegiant currently operates an all-Airbus fleet comprised of 127 Airbus A319s and A320s. Allegiant has agreed to purchase up to 130 Boeing 737-7 and 737-8-200 models in a multi-year deal, Boeing's first with an ultra-low-cost carrier in the United States. The new 737 MAX additions will afford the airline flexibility, environmental benefits, and new customer features. AboutAllegiant – Together We Fly Las Vegas-based Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) is an integrated travel company with an airline at its heart, focused on connecting customers with the people, places and experiences that matter most. Since 1999, Allegiant Air has linked travelers in small-to-medium cities to world-class vacation destinations with all-nonstop flights and industry-low average fares. Today, Allegiant serves communities across the nation, with base airfares less than half the cost of the average domestic roundtrip ticket.

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