Etihad raises $500m with minority-owned airlines

Etihad Airways | May 25, 2016

Etihad Airways said on Wednesday it has raised $500 million in funds for the airline and four of its minority-owned carriers. The announcement follows the airline’s successful efforts last year to raise $700 million using its Etihad Airways Partners platform, a group of airlines minority owned by Etihad. Etihad along with its airport services unit and minority owned Air Berlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Alitalia raised the $500 million, according to an Etihad statement.

Spotlight

ACCORDING TO INDUSTRY forecasts, in the next 10 Years, MRO growth globally will account for USD 86.8 billion. Line maintenance is predicted to account for 20% of that with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.1% (Ref Fig 1 below). It is expected that, a significant proportion of this 20% will be outsourced to line maintenance MRO service providers, allowing carriers (airlines and aircraft operators) to focus on their core activities. As carriers continue to reduce the cost of maintenance, are there opportunities for a ‘line maintenance’ MRO to still increase profitability by reducing levels of or eliminating revenue leakage?


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AIR TRANSPORT

Guitar Center Partners with Southwest Airlines to Surprise Passengers with Ukuleles and In-Flight Lessons

Southwest Airlines | September 19, 2022

Guitar Center, the world's largest musical instrument retailer, surprised passengers on Southwest Airlines® from Long Beach to Honolulu, with the first-ever in-flight ukulele class by Guitar Center on Friday, September 16. Above the clouds, passengers onboard the Boeing 737-800 aircraft all received a Mitchell MU40 Soprano ukulele, a Road Runner carrying case and a unique lesson in the sky. Best-in-class Guitar Center Lessons instructors taught passengers how easy it is to learn to play the ukulele, one of Hawaii's happiest and most familiar instruments – so easy, passengers were able to learn to play the song "Hello, Aloha. How are you?" during the flight. Passengers on board kicked off their weekend travels flying across the Pacific Ocean, unified, one chord at a time, with a sweet-sounding surprise, and an unforgettable travel day to Honolulu. Alexandra Windsor, educational affairs specialist for Guitar Center Lessons, and Ryan Miyashiro and Ryan Imata, Guitar Center instructors at Guitar Center's Pearl City store, led passengers in a group lesson to kick off their travel to the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. "I've taught students through Guitar Center Lessons since 2014, but never in an airplane. It was inspiring to see how quickly passengers of all ages picked up the ukulele – many with no musical background. The ukulele is the perfect instrument for beginners, and it shows just how fun and easy learning something new can be," said Windsor. "Our Customers anticipate warm Southwest Hospitality throughout their journeys with us, and these Surprise and Delight events are a unique way to create memorable experiences ,Today's celebration of Hawaiian culture and Southwest Hospitality underscore our everyday commitment to serve and celebrate the spirit of Aloha." Brandy King, Senior Director of Public Relations at Southwest Airlines. To celebrate the partnership beyond the in-flight entertainment, Southwest Airlines customers and Guitar Center fans can visit Southwest.fm/ukuleleflight to enter the Ukuleles Take Flight sweepstakes for a chance to win round trip air travel on Southwest for a winner and a guest, and two Mitchel MU40 Soprano ukuleles*. "Playing music is our passion at Guitar Center. Learning an instrument like the ukulele is an enriching and rewarding experience that creates lifelong benefits and memories. We offer Guitar Center lessons in almost any instrument online and in our stores across the country and for this one-time special flight, above the clouds! Not many people can say they learned to play a song on a Southwest flight to Hawaii!" said Donny Gruendler, Guitar Center VP of music education. ABOUT GUITAR CENTER Guitar Center is a leading retailer of musical instruments, lessons, repairs and rentals in the United States. With nearly 300 stores across the United States and one of the top direct sales websites in the industry, Guitar Center has helped people make music for more than 50 years. Guitar Center also provides customers with various musician-based services, including Guitar Center Lessons, where musicians of all ages and skill levels can learn to play a variety of instruments in many music genres; GC Repairs, an on-site maintenance and repairs service; and GC Rentals, a program offering easy rentals of instruments and other sound reinforcement gear. Additionally, Guitar Center's sister brands include Music & Arts, which operates more than 200 stores specializing in band & orchestral instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students, and Musician's Friend, a leading direct marketer of musical instruments in the United States. For more information about Guitar Center, please visit www.guitarcenter.com. ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. Southwest Airlines Co. operates one of the world's most admired and awarded airlines, offering its one-of-a-kind value and Hospitality at 121 airports across 11 countries. Having celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2021, Southwest took flight in 1971 to democratize the sky through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel and now carries more air travelers flying nonstop within the United States than any other airline1. Based in Dallas and famous for an Employee-first corporate Culture, Southwest maintains an unprecedented record of no involuntary furloughs or layoffs in its history. By empowering its more than 62,0002 People to deliver unparalleled Hospitality, the maverick airline cherishes a passionate loyalty among as many as 130 million Customers carried a year. That formula for success brought industry-leading prosperity and 47 consecutive years3 of profitability for Southwest Shareholders ( NYSE: LUV). Southwest leverages a unique legacy and mission to serve communities around the world including harnessing the power of its People and Purpose to put communities at the Heart of its success. Learn more by visiting Southwest.com/citizenship. Southwest is also continuing to develop tangible steps toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, including offering Customers an opportunity to help the airline offset its carbon emissions.

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DEFENSE AND SPACE, COMMERCIAL AVIATION

Starburst Ventures Launches New Pre-Seed & Seed Fund Focusing on Aerospace & Defense Innovation

Starburst Ventures | September 22, 2022

Starburst Ventures, the first venture capital fund dedicated to investing across aviation, space, and defense, today announced the launch of its new early-stage fund. Focusing on aerospace, defense, security, as well as enabling sciences and technologies, Starburst Ventures is investing in the next generation of industrial, software and hardware companies.The fund's team will be led by Starburst Ventures' Founder and General Partner, François Chopard. A widely respected industry veteran, Francois founded Starburst in 2012, before A&D became the venture investment category it is today. François is joined by Benjamin Zeitoun as Investor. Together they hold a significant track record of securing investment and building startups from the early stage to IPO. Joining them in an advisory capacity is Jacqueline Tame, startup founder and former Deputy Director of the United States Department of Defense Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, and Natalya Bailey, Head of Strategy at Bloom Energy and former founder of Accion Systems, who was named top 15 most influential women in Space per Business Insider. Both will serve as hands-on advisors to provide unrivaled support in selecting investments and developing Starburst Ventures' portfolio companies. "The Starburst Ventures fund will be an imperative resource in developing the next generation of aerospace & defense companies,Having the opportunity to lead and oversee something so impactful is a true honor. I look forward to working with some of the brightest minds across aerospace innovation and business development." François Chopard, General Partner at Starburst Ventures Starburst Ventures' existing investments include participation in a recent $7.1 million seed round for Outpost, a sustainable satellite & Earth return company founded by Jason Dunn and Mike Vergalla, and backed by Moonshot Ventures & Draper Associates, as well as Strong Compute, a startup that recently completed its $7.8 million seed round and helps developers speed up machine learning training pipelines. Strong Compute is led by Ben Sand and backed by prolific investors including Sequoia Capital India, Folklore, Blackbird; and Skip Capital (led by Principal Kim Jackson). Other investments include companies wishing to stay under the radar, working on mapping the 27,000+ objects jamming Earth orbit to pave the way for space infrastructure, Open Source Intelligence platforms, and a revolutionary optical sensing payload. All five of these companies are at the cutting edge of aerospace innovation. We're excited that our thesis drives our investment in both deeptech and tech companies that have the potential to make a real impact in our sector and beyond,said Benjamin Zeitoun, Investor, Starburst Ventures. The Starburst Ventures fund's portfolio is a reflection of its leadership's unique ability to imagine the next wave of innovation in space, aviation, and defense systems. Starburst Ventures is an independent US venture capital firm owned by its General Partners with a deep commitment to building the future of aerospace and defense. About Starburst Ventures Starburst Ventures is the first venture capital fund exclusively dedicated to investing across aviation, space, and defense to build the future of Aerospace & Defense. The team is made up of Aerospace & Defense specialists, former founders, and accelerator operators who are on a mission to help early-stage founders accelerate their business development efforts across government & industry. About Starburst Starburst is an innovation catalyst in the aerospace industry. They are the first and only global aerospace accelerator, connecting startups with corporates, investors and government, while providing strategic growth and investment consulting services for all. With offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Madrid, the team has built an ecosystem of key players with 15000+ of startups in its network. Starburst's accelerator program helps startups scale their business in aviation, space, and defense with access to the largest group of corporate stakeholders to help startups win their first contracts.

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COMMERCIAL AVIATION

Avelo Airlines Expands Michigan Service with Second Popular Florida Destination

Avelo Airlines | August 26, 2022

Avelo Airlines announced today it is expanding service from Lansing and Kalamazoo with the addition of a second nonstop Florida destination – Fort Myers. Avelo is the only airline offering the Southwest and Mid-Michigan regions affordable, convenient and nonstop access to The Sunshine State. "Michigan – we're at it again! The addition of Fort Myers to our LAN and AZO schedules makes traveling to Florida even more affordable and convenient. Southwest and Mid-Michigan residents can now choose from two sun-soaked nonstop destinations — Orlando and Florida's majestic Gulf Coast. Say hello to quick, easy and cost-friendly hometown airport access to The Sunshine State and say goodbye to long, expensive and gas-guzzling drives to those other distant Michigan airports." Avelo Airlines Chairman and CEO Andrew Levy Avelo is the only airline offering nonstop service from the Southwest and Mid-Michigan regions to Florida. With today's addition of Fort Myers, Avelo now serves two Florida destinations nonstop from LAN and AZO. Last month, Avelo announced its Michigan arrival at LAN and AZO with exclusive nonstop service to Orlando International Airport (MCO) beginning October 26. Capital Region Airport Authority (CRAA) President and CEO Nicole Noll-Williams said, "We are beyond thrilled that Avelo Airlines is already expanding its nonstop service from LAN and will be offering nonstop flights to Fort Myers later this fall. With Avelo offering service to both Orlando and Fort Myers, combined with low fares, Mid-Michigan residents have even more travel options to enjoy – all with the ease, convenience and stress-free travel experience of flying Lansing." CRAA Board Chairman John Shaski said, "We were excited to welcome Avelo Airlines to LAN last month, and we're even more excited to share that they are bringing nonstop service from LAN to Fort Myers later this fall. Having nonstop service with low-cost fares is a big win for travelers both in the Mid-Michigan community and the entire state, and adding this new destination gives travelers even more options, right from LAN. It is never too early to book your warm weather escape!" Avelo will operate American-made Boeing Next-Generation 737s at both airports. Avelo is the only airline utilizing large mainline jetliners at AZO and LAN in contrast to the much smaller regional aircraft operated by the other carriers serving these airports. Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport Director Craig Williams, A.A.E. said, "We are excited to be part of Avelo Airlines' expansion in Michigan. Kalamazoo's response to Avelo has been overwhelming and we are happy to add Fort Myers to our map." Avelo's seasonal service to RSW will operate twice weekly from both LAN and AZO beginning November 11. Fort Myers – Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Florida's Gulf Coas Nestled along Southwest Florida's clear turquoise Gulf waters is the town of Fort Myers. Good days come naturally here with Fort Myers' secluded white sand beaches and relaxing waterfront resorts that nurture a sense of casual sophistication. Visitors can sway from shopping Fort Myers' charming boutiques, to indulging in world-class dining, to enjoying a barefoot sunset stroll on the beach. It's been well over a century since Thomas Edison put down roots in "The City of Palms" — yet the community still generates an exciting energy that attracts visitors from around the world. Fort Myers promises endless ways to enjoy a romantic getaway or an activity-packed fun-in-the-sun family retreat. Lee County Port Authority Executive Director Ben Siegel, CPA, C.M. said, "We are excited that Avelo Airlines plans to expand service from Southwest Florida International Airport this November. We look forward to having service to Lansing and Kalamazoo – two popular travel destinations that have not been served recently from Fort Myers. We are extremely pleased to see Avelo expanding their network in Southwest Florida and giving more travel options to our community." America's Affordable and Convenient Airline Avelo was founded with a vision to help its Customers save money and time. Since taking flight April 28, 2021, Avelo has flown more than one million Customers on more than 8,500 flights.In addition to offering Customers everyday low fares on every route, Avelo Customers can always change or cancel their itineraries with no extra fees. Avelo also offers several unbundled travel-enhancing options that give Customers the flexibility to pay for what they value, including priority boarding, checked bags, carry-on overhead bags, and bringing a pet in the cabin. Additionally, the American-made Boeing 737 jets Avelo flies offer a more spacious and comfortable experience than the small regional aircraft historically operating at many of the small hometown airports Avelo serves. Customers who value an advance seat assignment can choose from several modestly priced seating options, including seats with extra leg room, as well as pre-reserved window and aisle seating. One third of seats on Avelo aircraft are available for Customers who appreciate the comfort of extra legroom. Avelo now serves 30 destinations across the U.S. The airline has unlocked a new era of convenience, choice and competition in air travel by flying unserved routes to primarily underserved communities across the country. At least one airport on every Avelo flight is a small hometown airport – making every Avelo journey easier and more enjoyable. At Avelo, every flight is also nonstop. This connection-free travel experience not only provides Avelo Customers with a faster and simpler travel experience, but also minimizes delays, cancellations and lost bags. In fact, Avelo has established itself as one of America's most reliable airlines with a year-to-date flight cancellation rate of 1% and a year-to-date checked bag handling performance rate of .09 mishandled bags per 100 bags. Avelo is distinguished by its Soul of Service culture. The culture is grounded in Avelo's "One Crew" value which promotes a welcoming and caring experience. By caring for one another and owning their commitments, Avelo Crewmembers focus on anticipating and understanding Customer needs on the ground and in the air. About Avelo Airlines Avelo Airlines was founded with a simple purpose — to Inspire Travel. The airline offers Customers time and money-saving convenience, low everyday fares, and a refreshingly smooth and caring experience through its Soul of Service culture. Operating a fleet of Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, Avelo serves 30 popular destinations across the U.S., including its three bases at Los Angeles' Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR), Southern Connecticut's Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN) and Orlando International Airport (MCO). Avelo Airlines is also home to "Free Ticket Tuesdays" – to learn more, follow Avelo on Instagram at @AveloAir. For more information visit AveloAir.com or the Avelo Newsroom at AveloAir.com/Newsroom. About Capital Region Airport Authority The Capital Region Airport Authority owns and operates the Capital Region International Airport (LAN), Mason Jewett Field Airport (TEW) and Port Lansing – a global logistics center and mid-Michigan's only U.S. Port of Entry. The Capital Region International Airport is an important asset in the mid-Michigan community, driving $1 billion annually in economic impact with 700 people employed at the airport. The airport welcomes more than 352,000 visitors each year to connect throughout the country and the world. In addition to providing corporate and general aviation, LAN moves 63.5 million pounds of cargo annually and is one of two airports in the state with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station. Port Lansing, mid-Michigan's only U.S. Port of Entry and home to Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) #275 covering eight counties, also features a 48,000-square-foot cargo facility and container freight station, and 425 acres of ready-to-develop land.

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AIR TRANSPORT

Electric Flight Moves a Step Closer as Vertical Aerospace and CAE Partner on Pilot Training

Vertical Aerospace | July 19, 2022

Vertical Aerospace a global aerospace and technology company that is pioneering zero-emissions aviation and CAE a market leader in flight simulation and training, today announced that CAE will be the pilot training partner for Vertical’s launch eVTOL aircraft, the VX4. CAE will design and develop a world-class training program and be the exclusive training device provider, tailoring the high-fidelity, next-generation flight simulation training device for the VX4 aircraft. The innovative pilot training program will leverage advanced technologies including Mixed Reality and Artificial Intelligence to enhance the learning experience and will help shift the training paradigm toward cost-effectiveness and scalability, while ensuring safety is paramount for Vertical and its operators. Advanced Air Mobility is expected to drive unprecedented demand for qualified, professionally trained pilots for inner-city and regional electric flights. Additionally, because CAE currently provides training products and services to many of Vertical’s industry-leading customer base, a smoother integration of new AAM pilot training programmes into their training portfolios is anticipated. Upon the signing of a definitive agreement, Vertical and CAE will start working together three years ahead of the VX4’s targeted entry into service in 2025, a critical step towards making safe eVTOL flights a reality. “Vertical has built its commercial ecosystem with customers, regulators, and infrastructure partners to enable AAM and ensure we have partnerships in place to introduce safer, cleaner and quieter mobility for everyone. Bringing CAE into our unrivalled ecosystem is a key enabler to solve the training requirement for our customers, as we prepare for the VX4’s entry into service.” Harry Holt, Deputy CEO of Vertical Nick Leontidis, CAE’s Group President, Civil Aviation, said “CAE’s longstanding training relationships with top-tier airlines and operators is a key differentiator for us as they expand into eVTOL operations with Vertical. They know they can count on CAE for advanced training as they venture into this new market. We are excited to join Vertical’s ecosystem and work hand in hand to build the aviation workforce of the future.” This partnership announcement comes following Vertical’s recent announcement of progress in its certification process for the VX4, with the European Union Aviation Standards Agency agreeing to concurrently validate the UK Civil Aviation Authority’s certification of the VX4 and the adoption of SC-VTOL as the certification basis for the aircraft. Vertical expects to reach several critical certification milestones in the coming months, as the VX4’s test flight programme begins in Summer 2022. About Vertical Aerospace Vertical Aerospace is pioneering electric aviation. The company was founded in 2016 by Stephen Fitzpatrick, an established entrepreneur best known as the founder of the Ovo Group, a leading energy and technology group and Europe’s largest independent energy retailer. Over the past five years, Vertical has focused on building the most experienced and senior team in the eVTOL industry, who have over 1,700 combined years of engineering experience, and have certified and supported over 30 different civil and military aircraft and propulsion systems. Vertical’s top-tier partner ecosystem is expected to de-risk operational execution and its pathway to certification allows for a lean cost structure and enables production at scale. Vertical has a market-leading pre-order book by value for more than 1,400 aircraft from global customers creating multiple potential near term and actionable routes to market. Customers include American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Avolon, Bristow, Marubeni, Iberojet and FLYINGGROUP, as well as Japan Airlines Gol, Air Greenland, Gozen Holding and AirAsia, through Avolon’s VX4 placements. About the VX4 eVTOL Aircraft The piloted zero operating emissions four-passenger VX4, is projected to be capable of travelling distances over 100 miles, achieving top speeds of up to 200mph, while producing minimal noise and has a low cost per passenger mile. The VX4 is expected to open up advanced air mobility to a whole new range of passengers and transform how we travel. About CAE At CAE, we equip people in critical roles with the expertise and solutions to create a safer world. As a technology company, we digitalize the physical world, deploying simulation training and critical operations support solutions. Above all else, we empower pilots, airlines, defence and security forces, and healthcare practitioners to perform at their best every day and when the stakes are the highest. Around the globe, we’re everywhere customers need us to be with more than 13,000 employees in more than 200 sites and training locations in over 40 countries. CAE represents 75 years of industry firsts—the highest-fidelity flight and mission simulators, surgical manikins, and personalized training programs powered by artificial intelligence. We’re investing our time and resources into building the next generation of cutting-edge, digitally immersive training and critical operations solutions while keeping positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) impact at the core of our mission.

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Spotlight

ACCORDING TO INDUSTRY forecasts, in the next 10 Years, MRO growth globally will account for USD 86.8 billion. Line maintenance is predicted to account for 20% of that with a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.1% (Ref Fig 1 below). It is expected that, a significant proportion of this 20% will be outsourced to line maintenance MRO service providers, allowing carriers (airlines and aircraft operators) to focus on their core activities. As carriers continue to reduce the cost of maintenance, are there opportunities for a ‘line maintenance’ MRO to still increase profitability by reducing levels of or eliminating revenue leakage?

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