A week after securing new ownership and a much needed capital infusion, the UK's Monarch Airlines finalized an order for 30 Boeing 737 Max 8s worth more than $3.2 billion at current list prices, Boeing announced Friday. The order, originally announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in July, includes options for 15 additional 737 MAX 8s and marks the beginning of the British carrier's transition to an all-Boeing single-aisle fleet.
On October 24, Monarch Airlines and other parts of UK leisure travel group Monarch Holdings completed a restructuring program and sale of 90 percent of the group to Greybull Capital under which it secured £125 million ($200 million) of permanent capital and liquidity facilities.
Immediately after the deal closed, the UK Civil Aviation Authority renewed the group's operating license.
Greybull assumes control of Monarch from the Mantegazza family after the former owners agreed to pay £30 million ($48 million) towards reducing the company's substantial pension plan deficit. Other concessions came from employees, including an agreement to accept pay reductions of up to 30 percent. The company also announced 700 "redundancies," two-thirds of which it said were voluntary.
Monarch now plans to "optimize" its fleet from 42 to 34 aircraft and end all long-haul and charter flying by April, leaving a network of short-haul leisure routes structured to increase average frequencies, aircraft use, productivity and profitability. Plans call for the closure of Monarch's base at East Midlands Airport next summer, resulting in a five-base network concentrated at London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, London Luton and Leeds-Bradford.
Monarch expects to take delivery of its thirty 737 Max 8s over two years starting in 2018, giving it a uniform fleet of Boeing narrowbodies by the end of 2020.
A Beechcraft-owned King Air 200 crashed onto the roof of FlightSafety International's Cessna Citation Training Center on the north side at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (KICT) this morning just before 10 a.m. CDT. Authorities reported that the sole-occupant pilot–Mark Goldstein, a contract pilot–reported an engine failure on takeoff and was trying to return to the airport. Goldstein was attempting to ferry the twin turboprop to Mena, Ark., Ryan Aviation president Ron Ryan told Wichita NBC affiliate KSNW.
So far, Goldstein and three occupants of the building are confirmed dead. Five other victims from inside the building were transported to a local hospital, one in serious condition (downgraded from an initial assessment of "critical") and one in fair condition; the other three have been released. As many as 100 employees and visitors could have been in the building at the time, according to authorities, and five remained unaccounted for at press time.
The King Air, N52SZ, was registered to Raytheon Aircraft on October 2. FlightAware.com shows the most recent flight as September 16, from Altoona, Pa., to Wichita. The previous registered owner was Sheetz Aviation, a Delaware-registered corporation.
Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell described the fire as "horrific." News video showed flames and smoke billowing from the building. Airport firefighters were the first to arrive on the scene, and up to 60 firefighters ultimately responded, bringing the fire under control within an hour of the crash. After 30 minutes, firefighters were withdrawn from the building, which was determined to be unstable. Air traffic resumed after the fire was brought under control.
The NTSB is expected to be on site later today.
Business aircraft deliveries showed a healthy 8.7-percent year-over-year jump during the first nine months of this year, according to third-quarter data released today by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Billings also rose about 4 percent during this period, to $16.02 billion.
"The optimism about the general aviation market on display at NBAA's convention last week is reflected in the continued recovery of the business jet and piston-engine segments this quarter," said GAMA president and CEO Pete Bunce. "New products are helping to fuel our industry's continued growth as we continue to emerge from the recession."
Through the first three quarters of the year, OEMs handed over 460 business jets, an increase of 9.3 percent over the 421 delivered through the same period last year. Leading the way was Bombardier, which showed increases at both ends of its range with 15 Learjet 70/75 deliveries through the first nine months and 55 Global 5000/6000s (10 more than in the same time frame last year). Gulfstream also handed over eight more midsize G150s and super-midsize G280s than it did in the first three quarters of last year.
On the pressurized turboprop side, deliveries tallied 178 for the first nine months of the year, a rise of 7.3 percent on the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, piston shipments during the first three quarters rose by 19.5 percent year-over-year. GAMA also reported 583 helicopter deliveries in the first nine months; it did not track this segment in previous years.
Bombardier Aerospace delivered 45 business jets (seven Learjet 70/75s, one Learjet 60XR, 12 Challenger 300/350s, six Challenger 605s and 19 Global 5000/6000s) in the third quarter, compared with 36 (two 60XRs, 12 Challenger 300s, eight 605s and 14 Globals) in the same period a year ago. Year-to-date as of September 30, it shipped 126 business jets (16 Learjets, 55 Challengers and 55 Globals) versus 120 (nine Learjets, 66 Challengers and 45 Globals).
Net Bombardier business jet orders during the third quarter dipped slightly from 23 aircraft last year to 21 this year, though net orders in the first nine months are on par with last year at 97 jets. Order backlog in months of production is 17 months for Learjets, above the company's six- to nine-month target; 33 months for Challengers, well above the 15- to 18-month target; and 21 months for Globals, below the 24- to 30-month target.
Bombardier's total aerospace backlog, which includes airliners and business jets, was $37.9 billion on September 30, compared with $37.3 billion at the end of last year. The company's book-to-bill ratio for business jets stood at 0.5:1 in the third quarter and 0.8:1 for the first nine months.