Aegean Airlines to Wet Lease 2 Airbus A320s from Cyprus Airways

Radhika Bansal

29 Dec 2023

Aegean Airlines will wet-lease two A320-200s from Cyprus Airways under a long-term ACMI deal covering all of 2024. The first aircraft began operating for the Greek airline on December 19, 2023.

5B-DDQ (msn 4055) was ferried from Larnaca to Thessaloniki on December 18 and operated its first flight for Aegean Airlines to Prague Václav Havel the next day, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. The second aircraft, 5B-DDR (MSN 3933), will begin operating for the Greek airline in March 2024.

Besides the two A320-200s, Cyprus Airways also operates two A220-300s. The airline is planning to add more A220, considering the type as the foundation of its future fleet. The airline operates in a highly seasonal market that has been heavily affected by the drop in demand from/to Israel due to the war in Gaza, as Israel is a key international market for Cyprus.

Under the terms of the wet lease agreement, Cyprus Airways will also provide pilots and cabin crews to operate the leased aircraft, the first of which is due to be delivered to Aegean in December 2023.  The second aircraft will follow in March 2024, before the busy summer season gets underway for the Athens-based carrier. The agreement was facilitated by aviation and ACMI specialists, Zela Aviation. 

Aegean has also recently been struggling to offset a capacity shortfall caused by the need to ground several of its Airbus A320neo aircraft over the next few months as a result of unscheduled checks that are required on Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines. This is an ongoing issue that has affected a large number of airlines worldwide in recent months. 

"We are very happy and proud to take the next step in our strategic cooperation with Aegean. We already have an extensive codeshare agreement in place where we work closely to offer and optimise our joint products and services," Cyprus Airways' Chief Executive Paul Sies said.

Sies highlighted that Cyprus Airways routes to Dubai International Airport (DXB), Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG), and Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) performed better, helping the airline compensate for the loss of traffic to/from Israel.

In turn, Aegean Airlines operates twenty-eight A320-200s, sixteen A320-200Ns, five A321-200s, twelve A321-200NX, nine ATR72-600s, and a single DHC-8-100. The turboprops are placed on the AOC of Olympic Air. Besides its jet fleet, the carrier also operates a turboprop fleet of nine ATR72-600s. The turboprops are operated under the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Olympic Air. This wet-lease agreement signifies a significant development in Aegean Airlines’ operational capabilities, offering expanded service and efficiency.

Cyprus Airways is the latest incarnation of an airline using that name and has been operating as such since July 2016. The carrier operates an all-Airbus fleet comprising of two A220-300s delivered in 2023, plus two A320-200s registered 5B-DDQ and 5B-DDR. Cyprus Airways serves a highly seasonal market, which has recently faced challenges due to decreased demand from and to Israel, a crucial international market for Cyprus, primarily affected by the conflict in Gaza.

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Brazil' Azul and Gol Secure Financing for Engine Maintenance

Abhishek Nayar

29 Dec 2023

Brazilian carriers Azul and Gol have successfully secured access to substantial financing, approximately $200 million each, to address engine maintenance needs amid ongoing global challenges in the aviation industry. The financing comes as airlines grapple with supply issues affecting engines, resulting in maintenance backlogs, increased costs, and limitations on capacity growth.


Planemakers and airlines worldwide are currently facing significant hurdles in engine supply, causing delays in aircraft deliveries and hindering capacity expansion. The situation has put pressure on maintenance teams and led to rising costs for carriers globally.

Azul's Approval & Gol's Green Light for Financing

Azul announced on Tuesday that it had received approval to access a $200 million government-backed credit facility aimed at financing engine maintenance for its Embraer and Airbus fleet. The maintenance services will be provided by GE Celma. Azul's Chief Financial Officer, Alex Malfitani, emphasized that the new credit facility would help optimize liquidity and streamline the fleet engine maintenance process.

Gol, a competitor of Azul, also revealed that it had received approval to access a government credit insurance policy for lines of up to $209 million. This financing will be utilized to fund engine maintenance carried out by GE. Gol, which operates Boeing 737 aircraft, specified that the maintenance efforts would focus on its CFM56-7B engines.

Challenges in Engine Supply

Both Azul and Gol had previously expressed concerns about engine supply issues earlier in the month. Azul CEO John Rodgerson referred to it as a "major issue for every manufacturer," while Gol's head, Celso Ferrer, highlighted the maintenance backlog pressure caused by delayed Boeing deliveries.

Government Deal and Industry Impact

In an effort to address challenges faced by the aviation sector, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's administration recently negotiated a deal with airlines. Under this agreement, Azul and Gol committed to capping the prices of millions of domestic tickets. In return, the government provided measures including a federal guarantee for credit operations. Analysts from Genial Investimentos noted that the deal with the government is proving beneficial, asserting that the credit lines would optimize liquidity, enhance operational efficiency, and support the local economy.


The securing of significant financing by Azul and Gol underscores the critical nature of addressing engine maintenance challenges in the aviation industry. As global supply issues persist, such financial arrangements become crucial for maintaining capacity and meeting the robust demand for air travel. The government's involvement in facilitating credit operations reflects a collaborative effort to navigate the complexities faced by airlines, ultimately benefiting both the carriers and the broader economy.

With Inputs from Reuters

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FedEx Express Unveils Tricolor Fleet Redesign to Enhance Efficiency and Profitability

Abhishek Nayar

29 Dec 2023

In a strategic move aimed at optimizing its global parcel delivery operations, FedEx Express has announced a groundbreaking redesign of its fleet structure. The tricolor network, comprising purple, orange, and white tails, is set to cater to diverse parcel priority needs, volumes, and margins. This redesign is a pivotal aspect of the FedEx DRIVE program, which aims to achieve significant cost reductions totaling USD 4 billion by the fiscal year 2025.

Setting the Foundation: Purple Tail Fleet

During earnings call on December 19, 2023, President and CEO Raj Subramaniam emphasized the need to reconfigure the network to prioritize both speed and density. The cornerstone of this effort is the deployment of the purple tail fleet, representing FedEx-owned assets. This fleet will be dedicated to delivering high-priority, high-margin volumes utilizing the existing hub and spoke model, forming the backbone of FedEx's international priority parcel business.

Off-Cycle Operations: The Orange Network

A significant component of the redesign involves re-timing a portion of the purple tail flights to establish the orange network. Operating off-cycle, this network is strategically designed to build density, alleviate congestion at hubs, and integrate seamlessly with surplus networks, including international road networks, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight in the United States. This innovative approach is poised to provide FedEx with a distinctive capability to drive profitable, less capital-intensive growth in the expansive global non-priority and air freight markets.

Leveraging Global Partnerships: The White Network

Continuing its commitment to global collaboration, FedEx Express will leverage its extensive global partner network as an adaptive capacity layer, particularly focusing on imbalanced trade lanes. This white network is a crucial element that enhances the overall efficiency of the redesigned fleet structure. By tapping into strategic partnerships, FedEx aims to optimize asset utilization, boost margins, and enhance return on investment and capital.

Tricolor Network Strategy & Positioning for Profitable International Growth

Raj Subramaniam underlined the significance of the tricolor network as the appropriate strategy for FedEx in the evolving air freight market, including the dynamic e-commerce sector. This innovative model allows the company to tailor its services to different markets and customers, ensuring the right network for the right kind of traffic. Moreover, it provides the necessary network agility to adapt proactively as the market continues to evolve.

In summarizing the tricolor network strategy, Subramaniam emphasized that it positions FedEx Express for profitable growth in the international space. By aligning its operations with the changing dynamics of the air freight market and e-commerce trends, the company aims to serve diverse markets efficiently and sustainably.


In summary, FedEx Express's tricolor fleet redesign represents a pivotal moment in its history, reflecting a commitment to innovation and efficiency. As the company adapts to the evolving landscape of air freight and e-commerce, this strategic overhaul is poised to enhance its competitiveness and profitability on a global scale.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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KLM Welcomes Conditional Increase in Amsterdam Schiphol Airport Movements for 2024

Abhishek Nayar

29 Dec 2023

In a recent announcement, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport revealed plans to allow 483,000 aircraft movements during 2024, drawing a positive response from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. While this decision is seen as a significant step towards recovery for the Dutch flag carrier after the challenges posed by the pandemic, it comes with the condition that peak times must be relieved for stable operations.

KLM's Response to the Announcement & Schiphol's Plan for 2024

KLM expressed its satisfaction with Schiphol's decision, emphasizing the importance of stable and predictable operations for both customers and employees. The airline views this development as an opportunity to continue its recovery, recognizing the responsibility to efficiently operate the allocated number of flights within a condensed timeframe of three months.

According to Schiphol's statement, the airport is planning to provide capacity for 293,000 flights during the summer season (March 31 to October 26, 2024). This increased capacity is contingent upon the effective relief of peak times, a condition aimed at ensuring safe and stable operations. The decision follows five weeks of efforts to reestablish capacity after the suspension of an "experimental scheme" to cut flight movements.

Government's Involvement and Airline Cooperation

The Dutch government, having initially proposed a reduction in flight movements, announced that the first phase of the plan would not proceed on March 31, 2024. However, it maintained the intention to insist on a reduction beyond the second phase. KLM and other airlines, along with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), had previously taken legal action against the government's decision to cap flights.

Schiphol has collaborated with airlines, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the slot coordinator to reach a consensus on the need for a limited reduction in flights during peak times. The airport acknowledged that cooperation from the entire aviation sector is essential to meet this goal, with airlines committing to assisting in reducing peak traffic.

Flight Numbers and Operational Considerations

The revised plan for 2024 allows for 293,000 flights, surpassing the initially announced 280,000. Schiphol clarified that the earlier number was based on the annual total of 460,000 as determined in the experimental scheme. For comparison, the airport expects approximately 433,000 flights in 2023. Patricia Vitalis, the airport's executive director of operations, emphasized that the increased number of flights is contingent on reducing pressure during specific peak hours.

Future Steps and Safety Measures

The independent slot coordinator will engage in discussions with airlines to explore ways to reduce flight numbers during peak hours. Compliance with these agreements is deemed crucial to ensuring a safe and pleasant journey for all passengers at Schiphol. The airport's executive director stressed the collective effort required from the aviation sector and government partners to effectively manage peak traffic and maintain safety standards.


As Amsterdam Schiphol Airport prepares for an increased number of flights in 2024, the collaboration between the airport, airlines, and government entities remains vital. KLM's positive response reflects the significance of stable operations for the aviation industry's recovery. The coming months will see ongoing discussions and coordinated efforts to ensure that the conditional increase in aircraft movements aligns with safety and operational standards at one of Europe's major aviation hubs.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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PIA Denies Default Rumors Amidst Privatization Efforts

Abhishek Nayar

29 Dec 2023

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has strongly refuted recent media reports suggesting a default on a PKR17 billion-rupee (USD60.8 million) debt repayment. The airline contends that the information is a misrepresentation of ongoing balance sheet restructuring negotiations, which have not received approval from Pakistan's Ministry of Finance.

Debunking Default Claims & Overview

Contrary to reports by Pakistan's NetMag portal, PIA asserts that it has not defaulted on its debt obligations to seven commercial banks, including the National Bank of Pakistan, JS Bank Limited, Al Baraka Bank, Bank of Punjab, and Habib Bank Limited. The airline emphasizes that the events reported are part of a broader balance sheet restructuring proposal and not indicative of a default.

PIA, a state-owned airline, is grappling with a significant debt burden totaling approximately PKR263 billion (USD931 million). Traditionally, the government has stepped in with last-minute financial bailouts, but recent fiscal policies have curtailed such interventions. Consequently, PIA has increasingly turned to commercial banks for financial support.

Government's Role and Privatization Plans

In an effort to address PIA's financial woes, the government is pursuing a more fiscally disciplined approach. The proposed solution involves the partial privatization of the airline, with the aim of using the proceeds to settle outstanding debts. PIA is currently in the process of being privatized, and the government is actively involved in restructuring the airline's balance sheet to attract potential investors.

Balance Sheet Restructuring Proposal

A spokesperson for PIA clarified that the reported default is, in fact, linked to a balance sheet restructuring proposal. One aspect of this proposal was the merger of government-guaranteed loans into public debt. However, this particular solution has not been approved by the caretaker government in Pakistan. The spokesperson emphasized that the events reported do not signify a default but rather reflect an ongoing effort to restructure PIA's balance sheet.

Lender Exposure and Government Support

The headline debt figure is owed to 12 banks, with the Bank of Punjab having the largest exposure. Other banks holding PIA loans include Askari Bank, Faysal Bank, Bank Islami Pakistan, Al Baraka Bank Pakistan, and Soneri Bank. The Finance Ministry, overseeing the partial privatization, reportedly plans to allocate three-quarters of the funds raised towards settling PIA's debts. However, the government has yet to disclose the targeted capital-raising figure.


As PIA navigates financial challenges and debt restructuring, the airline continues to refute claims of default. The government's focus on privatization as a means to address PIA's financial obligations underscores a shift in approach, emphasizing fiscal responsibility. As these developments unfold, stakeholders await further details on the targeted capital-raising efforts and the government's commitment to resolving PIA's financial issues through privatization.

With Inputs from ch-aviation

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Jet Airways' B777-300ERs to be Sold After NCLAT Dismisses Consortium's Appeal

Abhishek Nayar

29 Dec 2023

In a significant development in the ongoing saga of Jet Airways' bankruptcy proceedings, the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has rejected an appeal by the consortium seeking to acquire the airline. As a result, three Boeing 777-300ERs owned by Jet Airways are set to be sold to special purpose vehicles (SPVs) controlled by the Challenge Group.

Background & NCLT's Previous Decision

Jet Airways, once a prominent player in the Indian aviation industry, collapsed in April 2019, leading to bankruptcy proceedings. The Consortium of Murari Lal Jalan & Florian Fritsch (JKC) emerged as the preferred bidder to acquire the airline. However, the process faced complications, with disagreements arising over the fate of three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft - VT-JEV, VT-JES, and VT-JEM.

The NCLT had earlier ordered Jet Airways' monitoring committee to honor a 2022 agreement for Ace Aviation to purchase the three aircraft. However, the JKC consortium appealed this decision, leading to the recent ruling by the NCLAT on December 22, 2023.

Consortium's Appeal Dismissed & Employee Union's Bid Unsuccessful

The NCLAT dismissed the appeal by the Consortium of Murari Lal Jalan & Florian Fritsch against Ace Aviation VII Ltd. & Ors. The consortium had initially expressed no interest in retaining the B777-300ERs but later shifted its stance. The NCLAT's decision paves the way for the sale of the aircraft to Ace Aviation, controlled by the Challenge Group.

The All India Jet Airways Officers and Staff Association had attempted to thwart the sale, arguing that it would not be in the best interest of Jet Airways to part with the grounded aircraft. However, the NCLAT rejected this bid, emphasizing the need to avoid further deterioration of the aircraft's condition.

Escrow Account for Sale Proceeds

Despite concerns raised by the employees' union regarding pending dues, the NCLAT stated that the sale proceeds would be deposited into an escrow account. The funds will be distributed according to the approved resolution plan, a move aimed at ensuring transparency in the resolution process.

Challenge Group's Perspective

Challenge Group CEO Eshel Heffetz expressed satisfaction with the NCLAT's decision, highlighting the importance of completing the sale promptly. Heffetz emphasized the potential impact on asset value and the commercial viability of the deal if the sale process were prolonged.


The NCLAT's decision to uphold the NCLT's order marks a significant step in the resolution process of Jet Airways' bankruptcy case. The fate of the three Boeing 777-300ERs appears to be sealed, with Ace Aviation poised to acquire them. The resolution's impact on Jet Airways' employees and the airline industry's broader implications remain topics of keen interest as stakeholders navigate the complex bankruptcy proceedings.

With Inputs from ch-aviation