Boeing announced (19-Jun-2013) it has acclerated the first delivery of the 737 MAX 8 to launch customer Southwest Airlines from 4Q2017 to 3Q2017. Final configuration for the 737 MAX programme is set for Jul-2013. Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP and general manager, airplane development, Scott Fancher said the company has "retired key technology risks" thorough Boeing's "disciplined development on the 737 MAX programme" and the work done by Boeing has enabled the programme to accelerate the 737 MAX schedule. Since launch in Aug-2011, the 737 MAX team has worked to define the final configuration of the airplane including new LEAP-1B engines from CFM International, a redesigned tail cone and the 'Advanced Technology' winglet. Testing in the wind tunnel and data analysis show that the 737 MAX configuration will provide a 13% fuel-burn improvement over existing narrowbody aircraft. After firm configuration is achieved, the 737 MAX team will begin detailed design of the aircraft, scheduled for completion in 2014. [more - original PR]
Boeing accelerates first delivery of 737 MAX by one quarter
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Iran CAPA Aviation Summit – hope turns to frustration, but optimism remains as growth abounds
When CAPA – Centre for Aviation held its first conference in Iran at the end of Jan-2016 the atmosphere was primarily one of optimism. Immediately preceding the conference the expectation was that Iran and the West would move to rapidly reverse decades of estrangement. The first round of sanctions against Iran had come down – in line with the historic 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the ‘5+1’ powers – and major airlines and aircraft manufacturers were coming to the table.
While it was acknowledged that progress on major deals was not going to happen overnight, the hope was that as layers of sanctions came down, Iran would be embraced by the rest of the world. In return, Iran was expected to open itself up progressively to foreign trade and investment, and to travel.
The road ahead was perceived to be one that was both a very different, and far easier, one than the one Iran had already travelled. Aviation in particular was a sector that was expected to shine and lead the way for a new era for the country.
Air Canada Part 2: Financial progress makes investment grade metrics more tangible
A decade ago it would have been unheard of for Air Canada to contemplate reaching an investment grade credit rating. The airline had emerged from bankruptcy protection, but was still struggling financially. It would teeter on the verge of another formal restructuring before setting out on a course to restructure its financial foundation – a process that has allowed the airline to improve its balance sheet and leverage.
Air Canada’s leverage targets for YE2018 will not meet the general proxy for an investment grade rating; however, its lower capital commitments and debt refinancing could create an opportunity for achieving that status beyond 2018.
Attaining an investment grade credit rating likely remains a longer term goal for Air Canada as its major financial goals in the short term remain paying down debt that is creeping up due to a fleet renewal, as well as funding growth to drive long-term shareholder value. More meaningful shareholder returns will likely occur once the company reaches what it deems as acceptable progress in debt management, and reaches a certain maturity level in growing its international network.
This is Part 2 in a two part series on Air Canada. Part 1 dealt with long haul LCC subsidiary, rouge.