Struggling Scandinavian flag carrier SAS has signed an agreement to sell its regional subsidiary Widerøe as part of an ongoing restructuring program to achieve financial stability. SAS will sell 80 percent of Widerøe to Norwegian companies Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune. The sales will include seven Bombardier Q400 turboprops that SAS currently leases to the regional carrier. The transaction must be approved by Norwegian authorities, and is expected to close in September.
European Regions Airline Association
Irish carrier Aer Arann took delivery of its first ATR 72-600 aircraft last Friday. The May 3 delivery marked the first of eight of the new -600 model that the airline has ordered to replace its existing fleet of ATR72-200s and smaller ATR42-300s.
Bombardier Aerospace announced last month that Nordic Aviation Capital of Billund, Denmark, has signed a firm purchase agreement to acquire four Q400 turboprops. Bombardier places the value of the contact, based on list prices, at $134.77 million.
Bombardier displayed its determination to cement the credibility of the new CSeries narrowbody last Thursday during a formal unveiling of the program’s first flight-test vehicle (FTV1) at its factory in Mirabel, Quebec. In the process, it issued a bold challenge to Boeing and Airbus with the launch of a higher-capacity CS300, capable of carrying as many as 160 passengers.
SAS’s conciliation with the last of its eight main labor unions in late November allows the Scandinavian carrier to move ahead with the sale of its Wideroe regional subsidiary as part of its “4Excellence Next Generation” restructuring.
Ailing Scandinavian carrier SAS will reduce its workforce by 6,000 employees, sell off its Widerøe regional subsidiary and centralize administrative functions in Sweden in return for an increased credit line from major shareholders and banks of 3.5 billion Swedish kronor ($525 million) through March 2015. The new revolving credit facility has yet to be approved by the parliaments of Sweden and Norway.
Austria’s Farnair Training began operating a new Axis full-flight simulator for the ATR 42-300 and ATR 72-500 last month at its facility in Neusiedl am See, near the Hungarian border. Situated 25 nm from Vienna and 16 nm from Bratislava, the facility offers easy access to both those cities’ airports.
Warsaw-based Eurolot has converted options on six Bombardier Q400 turboprops to a firm order worth $190 million based on list prices, the Canadian manufacturer announced last month. Once delivered, the new airplanes will increase the size of Eurolot’s Q400 fleet to 14 while replacing aging ATR 42s and 72s. Eurolot placed a firm order for eight Q400s with options on another 12 in early March and took delivery of the first in mid-May.
Kazan International Airport (Russia)-based Tulpar Technic has been named a Bombardier-authorized service facility for the CRJ100 and CRJ200 regional jets. “Tulpar Technic is emerging as a leader in the region and will provide Bombardier operators with much needed access to quality maintenance services,” said Éric Martel, president of Bombardier Customer Services & Specialized and Amphibious Aircraft. “The Russian market is extremely important to Bombardier, and our team continues to accelerate the expansion of our international services offering, here and around the world.”
Two years after entering bankruptcy protection, restructured Irish regional operator Aer Arann has embarked on a fleet-replacement program. Last month it neared a resolution to negotiations to acquire eight ATR 72-600s, reflecting expectations for rejuvenation of a business that has fought valiantly to escape the ravages of the Irish economic collapse.