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Exclusive: Wheels Up in talks with SPAC to go public: sources

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(Reuters) – Wheels Up Partners LLC is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-check acquisition company Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp. in a deal which could value the private jet charter company at more than $2 billion, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle has engaged with potential investors to buy into a private investment in public equity, or PIPE, transaction to raise additional funding for the deal to invest in Wheels Up, the sources said.

The sources, who requested anonymity to discuss the transaction, cautioned that it is possible talks could still collapse. Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle and Wheels Up did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle is a so-called special purpose acquisition company led by LVMH executive and veteran private equity investor Ravi Thakran. The SPAC raised around $225 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange in September. U.S. private equity firm L Catterton, where Thakran is chairman-emeritus of its Asia business, is a minority investor in Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle.

Wheels Up would be the latest company in the aviation sector to seek to merge with a SPAC in order to list its shares on the stock market.

Air taxi company Blade Urban Air Mobility agreed to merge last month with Experience Investment Corp. Reuters reported last week that electric passenger aircraft developer Joby Aero Inc is exploring a deal to go public through a SPAC merger.

A SPAC is a shell company that raises funds in an initial public offering (IPO) with the aim of acquiring a private company, which then becomes public as result of the merger. For the company being acquired, the merger is an alternative way to go public over a traditional IPO.

SPACs emerged last year as one of the most popular investment vehicles on Wall Street.

New York-based Wheels Up was founded in 2013. The company offers a three-tier membership program with sign-on fees ranging from $2,995 to $29,500 that allows members to rent private planes. It also operates aircraft sales and management businesses.

The company was valued at $1.1 billion in its most recent private fundraising in 2019, and its investors include Delta Air Lines Inc and venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA).

Source: Reuters – Exclusive: Wheels Up in talks with SPAC to go public: sources

Source: https://spacfeed.com/exclusive-wheels-up-in-talks-with-spac-to-go-public-sources?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=exclusive-wheels-up-in-talks-with-spac-to-go-public-sources

Aviation

Ryanair Pledges To Support Sustainable Aviation Fuels

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Irish low-cost giant Ryanair today pledged to support the development of sustainable aviation fuels to promote a carbon-neutral future. The airline joined the Fueling Flight Initiative as part of its pledge to turn the blue airline green.

Ryanair, Sustainable Fuel, Environment
Ryanair today pledged to support the development of sustainable fuel. Photo: Ryanair

Understandably right now, sustainability is the airlines’ number two priority, with public health having been unexpectedly made the top priority. However, while airlines have had to shift their focus slightly to ensure the health of those flying, that doesn’t mean sustainability has been placed on the backburner. Indeed, last month we saw British Airways invest in bringing forward its use of Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

Ryanair takes notice of SAFs

Ryanair today pledged to become part of the movement for sustainable aviation fuels. The airline joined the Fueling Flight Initiative in an attempt to help pave the road to carbon neutrality. The airline’s Director of Sustainability, Tom Fowler, said,

“A transparent and future-proof regulatory framework for SAFs can support and equip airlines in their fight against climate change, and we are proud to be part of this initiative… With this new initiative, we take a further step to the achievement of our decarbonisation targets and the broader UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

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What are Sustainable Aviation Fuels?

Sustainable Aviation Fuels are like fossil fuels but are considered to be a greener alternative. The fuels can be made from a range of sources. British Airways, for instance, is targeting SAFs made from household waste in addition to ethanol made from the leftovers of processing wheat straw.

Fuel tankering
Sustainable Aviation Fuels are considered greener than fossil fuels. Photo: Tom Boon/Simple Flying

The problem with Sustainable Aviation Fuels is that they are currently costly. They are being produced in low quantities meaning that they cost a lot to create, and thus cheaper conventional fuel is preferred from a cost standpoint. For a low-cost carrier such as Ryanair, this could be a turn-off. However, the industry hopes that more widespread production would ultimately bring the cost of such fuels down.

What else is Ryanair doing?

While it may not be apparent to the everyday flyer, Ryanair has been pushing for airlines across the industry to do their bit to bring down CO2 emissions. In June 2019, the airline began to publish its monthly CO2 statistics, encouraging other airlines to follow suit.

Ryanair, Q3, Results
Ryanair was the first in Europe to start reporting monthly CO2 statistics. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

With the current situation excluded, the airline argued that by operating with a higher load factor, its CO2 emissions per passenger were lower. With the introduction of the 737 MAX, its CO2 emissions should drop further. Firstly the brand new aircraft are more efficient than their older counterparts. However, they will also carry more passengers, further lowering the proportion of CO2 emitted per passenger. You can read more about the airline’s environmental policy in our previous reporting.

What do you make of Ryanair’s commitment to Sustainable Aviation Fuels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/ryanair-sustainable-aviation-fuels/

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Aeroforma expands sheetmetal aerospace parts production

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The addition of a new hydroform deep draw press from Quintus Technologies brings increased capacity, flexibility, and production efficiencies to aerospace parts manufacturer Aeroforma Technologies.

Installed in the Aeroforma Technologies facility in Cheltenham, the Quintus model QFM 1.1-800 Deep Draw Press uses hydraulic pressure up to 11,600 psi to form parts in a variety of shapes, thicknesses, and tough materials, achieving tight tolerances with minimal thinning.

Proprietary flexible forming technology enables the press to perform four forming operations in a single machine. In addition to block tool forming, cavity tool forming, and expansion forming, the very versatile Quintus press is also equipped with a movable punch forming system for deep drawing of intricate shapes.

The press is a good fit for Aeroforma Technologies, which over several decades has earned an enviable reputation as a supplier of high-quality fabricated metal components to the aerospace industry. Installation of the QFM 1.1-800 represents Aeroforma Technologies’ commitment to benefit its customers by bringing core processes under one roof to reduce lead times, streamline logistics, and increase competitiveness.

“Our strategy of providing a vertically integrated sourcing solution—from raw material procurement through to forming, welding, surface treating, and assembly—is one which our customer base is finding increasingly attractive,” said Antoni Kwiatkowski, group managing director, Aeroforma Technologies. “Key to that strategy is ensuring state-of-the-art machinery along with extensive industry knowledge and experience. With its class-leading hydroform envelope and depth of draw, the Quintus press helps ensure that we remain ahead of the pack.”

The Quintus Flexform process utilises a combination of a single rigid tool half, operating in conjunction with a flexible rubber diaphragm subjected to high hydraulic pressure, to form sheetmetal parts with great accuracy and repeatability. This process produces high-quality parts, in complex shapes and tough alloys, and at tight tolerances. It also generates significant tool and process cost savings, especially of great value where intricately shaped components are required in low to moderate volumes.

The QFM 1.1-800 is equipped with two forming stations, one of which is the deep draw, offering a maximum blank diameter of 43.1 inches (1095 mm) and maximum draw depth of 10 inches (254 mm). The second forming station is tailor made to accommodate block tool, cavity tool, and expansion tool forming.

“Our Flexform technology is ideal for aerospace engine components, including deep drawn parts, in high-strength, heat-resistant materials,” said Jan Söderström, CEO of Quintus Technologies.

www.quintustechnologies.com

The post Aeroforma expands sheetmetal aerospace parts production appeared first on Aerospace Manufacturing.

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Source: https://www.aero-mag.com/aeroforma-expands-sheetmetal-aerospace-parts-production/

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Aviation

Electric Aircraft Are Coming, Just Not as Soon As You Think

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Jean-Marie Liot / Eviation Aircraft

Eviation’s Alice aims to be one of the first electric planes certified by regulators. Jean-Marie Liot / Eviation Aircraft

Skift Take: Electric aircraft are an inevitable step for commercial aviation with the heightened focus on carbon emissions. Numerous companies are vying to develop this new technology but, with engines still in the works and a lengthy certification runway ahead, when is everyones' guess.

— Edward Russell

Read the Complete Story On Skift

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Source: https://skift.com/2021/03/03/electric-aircraft-are-coming-just-not-as-soon-as-you-think/

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Singapore Airlines Opens Training Facilities To Local Business

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Singapore Airlines has opened up its training facilities to local businesses outside the aviation industry. The Singapore Airlines Academy now offers a range of courses to external clients, including ‘service excellence’ and ‘organizational innovation,’ with classes run by the airline’s award-winning staff trainers.

Boeing 787-10, Operators, Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is sharing its expertise with other businesses in Singapore. Photo: Getty Images

Singapore Airlines shares its secrets to success

Singapore Airlines has a reputation for excellent service, notably winning “World’s Best Cabin Crew” at Skytrax’s 2019 World Airline Awards. Now the airline is offering masterclasses on customer service to businesses across Singapore. The classes are aimed at training customer-facing and support staff, drawing upon the airline’s expertise.

Juat Fang Foo, cabin crew training manager at Singapore Airlines, said the ‘training programs include presentations, role-play exercises and question-and-answer sessions.’ Course titles include “Effective Communication” and “Handling Challenging Customers,” along with customized classes tailored to each client.

Singapore Airlines Crew
Singapore Airlines crew are known for their impeccable service globally. Photo: Singapore Airlines

The airline’s customer service training is offered under its ‘Service Excellence’ program. Other programs available at the academy include ‘Innovation & Digital’ and ‘Operational Excellence.’ These programs offer courses across various subjects, including ‘Error Management,’ ‘Innovation for Leaders’ and ‘Resilience Training.’

The state-of-the-art training center, which Simple Flying took an exclusive look at last year, first took on external clients in September. The first client was Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), which placed its patient care officers on a three-day course, with several other organizations, including financial and retail firms, since completing training programs.

One of many initiatives from Singapore Airlines

Like many other airlines, Singapore Airlines has been looking at alternative revenue streams to navigate the pandemic. It has been one of the most proactive in this regard, coming up with initiatives such as an A380 restaurant and home deliveries of its premium in-flight menu.

Singapore Airlines famously opened a restaurant onboard one of its grounded Airbus A380 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Singapore Airlines Academy courses are available in both virtual or in-person formats, with ‘programs easily adaptable to nearly any organization, regardless of sector.’ Josephine Lim, senior manager of cabin crew learning and development, explained the thinking behind the initiative, saying,

“Singapore Airlines was able to devise and host its own training programs last year after multiple travel bans and border closures meant there was minimal demand for new crew member training.”

As the airline has little need to recruit new cabin crew at this time, it is putting its world-class training facilities and knowledge to good use. According to Wall Street Journal, ‘the company plans to work with businesses in its home country for the time being, but hopes to expand internationally when pandemic restrictions are lifted.’

The airline is learning a little itself

One of the unexpected upsides of working with a diverse range of clientele is that trainers are themselves picking up new insights from other industries. With all sorts of companies and organizations participating, veteran Singapore Airlines trainers have added to their knowledge. As staff trainer Ms. Foo put it,

“We’ve realized we are learning from our learners,”

singapore airlines getty
Businesses from a range of sectors have taken part in Singapore Airlines’ training programs. Photo: Getty Images

The airline is also hoping to do good for the economy of Singapore itself, as its training initiative will “contribute to Singapore’s national goal of reskilling and upskilling the country’s workforce.” Singapore Airlines has remained tight-lipped about its training programs’ pricing, but did add that its courses represent a potential new source of revenue in the coming years.

Do you think Singapore Airlines has a lot to offer to other businesses? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/singapore-airlines-opens-training-facilities/

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