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Transat stock soars after winning $700 million in government aid




From the Financial Post – link to source story

Will use a portion of the funds to reimburse customers whose travel plans had to be cancelled

Bloomberg News, Sandrine Rastello  •  Apr 29, 2021

Air Transat aircraft sit on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Air Transat aircraft sit on the tarmac at Toronto Pearson International Airport. PHOTO BY COLE BURSTON/BLOOMBERG FILES

Transat AT Inc., the Montreal-based vacation operator that Air Canada gave up trying to buy earlier this month, obtained $700 million (US$570 million) in emergency aid from the Canadian government to stay afloat during the pandemic.

The company took loan facilities of $390 million for operations and another $310 million to finance customer refunds for flights canceled during the pandemic. Transat will also issue 13 million warrants to the government to buy shares at $4.50 each.

Transat shares jumped on the news, rising as much as 13 per cent in Toronto, before paring some of the gains. They were up 4.4 per cent to $4.73 as of 12:59 p.m.

The deal follows a $5.9-billion rescue package for Air Canada two weeks ago, reflecting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s case-by-case approach in supporting the industry. It helps Transat, which announced the suspension of all regular flights on Jan. 29, buy some time in the hope that COVID-19 vaccinations can salvage the summer travel season.

“With this support, we now look forward to resuming operations as soon as safe travel is possible and travel restrictions can be lifted,” Chief Executive Officer Jean-Marc Eustache said in a statement. “We will then be able to implement our plan to make Transat a solid and profitable company once again, one that will continue to symbolize leisure travel for its many customers in Quebec and elsewhere.”

Unlike the Air Canada bailout, the government isn’t buying shares right away. Transat Chief Financial Officer Denis Petrin told journalists that wasn’t on the table during negotiations. But the warrants may still mean dilution of as much as 25 per cent for existing shareholders.

The government doesn’t get all the warrants immediately. They’ll vest as the company draws down the loans. If Transat can repay the money in full in the first year, half of the warrants will be cancelled.

Still, Transat would like to improve its borrowing costs and is planning to seek help from the Quebec government, which wanted to see federal aid come first before intervening, executives said.

Peladeau offer

Canada has barred most foreign travellers from entering the country since last March and has quarantine rules for non-essential workers. Transat, which sells vacation packages to Canadians visiting sun spot destinations in winter and European cities in summer, was hit particularly hard in January when Trudeau asked carriers to halt travel to Mexico and the Caribbean to slow the spread of new variants of the virus.

The plan includes restrictions on dividends, stock repurchases and executive compensation and a pledge to keep active employment at current levels. It comes in addition to $120 million in existing credit facilities.

As of April 22, government financing for the airline industry globally, including loans and equity stakes in exchange for cash, has totalled more than $189 billion, according to Ishka Ltd., a London-based aviation finance and investment consultancy.

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How Much Fuel Does A Jet Aircraft Use During A Typical Flight?





Most of us take for granted the fact that airplanes just fly when we get on them. We often completely overlook the technicalities involved in achieving flight. And one of the key areas that few of us consider is the amount of fuel that is used by jet aircraft.

Air France-KLM launches SAF cargo initiative
How much fuel does an aircraft use? Photo KLM

Amazing numbers

When you start to examine the numbers associated with this issue, they start to get pretty big, pretty quick. In fact, a jet aircraft uses a phenomenal, almost incomprehensible, amount of fuel. For example, a Boeing 747 burns up to one gallon of fuel every second. Yes, every second! That means that during a five-hour flight, a Boeing 747 will burn 18,000 gallons of fuel.

Compare that to the average motor vehicle. The average level of consumption for a new car is approximately 55 miles to the gallon, which means that in order to burn 18,000 gallons of fuel, which would be used in a single flight between New York and Europe, a car would have to travel almost exactly a million miles.

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Logistical challenge

So we can see straight away from these figures that fuelling jet airplanes is a serious logistical challenge. But the comparison is not as simple as it might seem initially. Every airliner is carrying considerably more people than the average car; in the case of the Boeing 747, it’s 568 in total. But even if the flight isn’t fully occupied, and only around 500 seats are sold, it becomes clear that air travel isn’t as uneconomical as it first appears.

When this is taken into consideration, a Boeing 747 is, in fact, burning only 0.01 gallons per person onboard for every mile that it travels. This means that the aircraft is actually achieving 100 miles to the gallon for every passenger. That means the jetliner is ultimately nearly twice as fuel-efficient as a car carrying one person. Of course, the figures change as more people travel in a car, which is why carpooling and other ecologically friendly forms of commuting are often advocated.


Fuel is a significant operating cost for any airline. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Strict guidelines

When it comes to fuelling aircraft, there are strict guidelines in place because of the vast amounts involved. Airlines have to comply with regulatory procedures, which are broadly similar across the world. But under FAA and EASA regulations, the Captain of an aircraft is responsible for ensuring that it has enough fuel before taking off.

This fuel store comprises:


  • Trip fuel
  • Diversion fuel
  • Reserve fuel
  • Contingency fuel
  • Taxi fuel
  • Additional fuel
Aircraft refueling
The fuel required is carefully calculated before each trip. Photo: Airbus

There are strict stipulations in place for each of these; for example, contingency fuel is required to be at least 5% on top of the total fuel required for the trip.

Most aircraft have vast reserves for storing fuel, with the 747 capable of carrying over 52,000 gallons. Fuel costs for carriers can be pretty staggering, with one flight from London to New York costing around $25,000 in fuel. However, when averaged across the presumed 500 passengers, this only works out at $50 per person – hence the fact that air travel is affordable.

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JetBlue Expands Airbus A220 Services Out Of Boston





JetBlue is growing its Airbus A220 presence out of Boston. The airline will be scheduling more routes with the jet starting later this year. Currently, the airline is flying its Airbus A220-300 primarily down to Florida out of Boston. Now, the airline will be growing that footprint to include Texas, Tennessee, and New York.

JetBlue Airbus A220
JetBlue is bringing the Airbus A220-300 on more routes this fall. Photo: Airbus

JetBlue plans additional Airbus A220-300 routes

JetBlue will add the Airbus A220 to four routes out of Boston Logan International Airport (BOS):

The four new routes will complement the following airports where JetBlue is already flying, or will fly, with the Airbus A220:

A220 Routes
The routes the Airbus A220 will serve. Rendering created at Great Circle Mapper

As such, three of the four new routes will expand the A220’s route profile out of Florida. This comes as JetBlue will take on more Airbus A220s. According to The Points Guy, the four new routes will start with service from September 8th.

Analyzing the A220 routes

JetBlue will be replacing a mix of jets on these routes. Most of the aircraft currently operating those routes are Airbus A320 aircraft. Come September, the airline will replace those routes with A220 operations.

There are some exceptions. The Embraer E190, which the A220 is largely slated to replace, does have a history of operating some of these routes. This includes Fort Myers, Nashville, and New York-LaGuardia.


However, some of these routes, such as Austin, are historically legacy Airbus A320 routes. In those instances, JetBlue is using the Airbus A220 during lower demand periods. September and October are typically slower months in the US. As such, replacing the A320 with an A220 will allow JetBlue to cut capacity slightly and have a better shot at filling up its planes.

JetBlue Airbus A220
JetBlue will be using the A220 to replace Embraer E190s and, in some cases, Airbus A320s during off-peak seasons. Photo: JetBlue

The Airbus A220-300 is also being deployed in competitive markets. Austin is turning into an American Airlines focus city. Nashville is a strong Southwest market. Florida is a very competitive market, with many airlines significantly boosting services to and from the states.


The Airbus A220 will allow JetBlue to offer a competitive product in competitive marketplaces with competitive operating economics. Essentially, it is the perfect airplane for these JetBlue routes – especially during off-season travel times.

About JetBlue’s Airbus A220s

JetBlue currently only plans to fly the Airbus A220-300. The first A220 entered revenue service just a couple of weeks ago between Boston and Tampa.

JetBlue’s Airbus A220s are outfitted in a 2-3 configuration, meaning fewer middle seats on the aircraft than an Airbus A320 or A321. However, the Embraer E190s it will replace features a 2-2 configuration.

JetBlue A220
JetBlue’s Airbus A220s feature complimentary inflight entertainment and power. Photo: JetBlue

Nevertheless, the Airbus A220-300 will be a huge upgrade for passengers. The plane has bigger windows, larger overhead bins, and power available at all seats.

JetBlue also offers its passengers on-demand inflight entertainment through seatback screens. The Airbus A220 also offers WiFi, so passengers can choose whether they want to work on the flight or indulge in complimentary inflight entertainment.

Are you going to fly any of these JetBlue Airbus A220 routes? Let us know in the comments!

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What Happened To Embraer’s CBA 123 Vector Aircraft?





Earlier this week, we reported on why Embraer is no longer a state-run company. While researching these events, it was evident that the CBA 123 Vector program contributed heavily to the transition of the Brazilian manufacturer. So what was this aircraft? Let’s take a look.

Embraer-FMA CBA 123 Vector
Only two prototypes of the aircraft were built. Photo: Johnson Barros via Flickr

Joining forces

CBA 123 Vector was a project that brought the aircraft manufacturing industries of two South American powerhouses together. At the turn of, 1986 the Argentine Air Force recommended collaborating with Brazil’s industry to launch a turboprop that could perform like a jet. Thus, the leadership of both nations signed an agreement for Embraer and Argentina’s FMA/FAMA to manufacture the ambitious plane.

“The aircraft was originally called “Paraná” by the Argentinians and “Tapajós” by the Brazilians, but as the target was the international market, a globally pronounceable name was necessary,” Embraer shares on its website.

“Therefore, an international competition was launched, receiving more than six thousand suggestions. The name Vector was chosen.”

High safety standards were going to be brought with the plane. Photo: Pedro Aragão via Wikimedia Commons

High hopes

The CBA 123 Vector had a length of 18.09 m (59 ft 4 in), a wingspan of 17.72 m (58 ft 2 in), and a height of 5.97 m (19 ft 7 in). With its small stature, the plane could fit just 19 passengers with two flight deck crew members.

Two Garrett TPF351-20A turboprops would help the aircraft reach a maximum cruising speed of Mach 0.50 (612 km/h). Meanwhile, it would have reached a range of up to 1,872 km (1,010 NM).


The CBA 123 performed its first flight on July 18th, 1990. Embraer was so proud that it even presented the plane at the United Kingdom’s Farnborough International Air Show later on that year.

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A different direction

Even though there was progress in the development of the plane, the price of introducing such an aircraft was too high at the time. With the systems needed to maintain the plane being in their infancy, the fees were notably too much. Each finished production would cost $5 million ($10m today), which was significant for the market during this period.

Embraer also notes the oil crisis adding to the pains of the industry. It adds that regional airlines were adopting new trends that focused on higher capacity models.

It wasn’t only too costly for the end purchaser. Embraer needed funds to keep the program going. However, it couldn’t expect any immediate cash injections from authorities as Brazilian president Collor de Mello was up against an impeachment saga. Subsequently, Embraer had little choice but to scrap the $300 million project in 1991.

PT-ZVB in Rio de Janeiro’s Museu Aeroespacial (MUSAL) in 2006. PT-ZVE (Parana) has recently been sitting in Sao Jose Dos Campos. Photo: Marcio Sette via Wikimedia Commons

The project’s failure even led to Embraer steering further into a financial crisis, which ended up with the privatization of the company a few years later. Overall, despite the struggles during the early 1990s, Embraer managed to hold on and produce several successful regional jets that are loved by airlines across the globe.

What are your thoughts about the CBA 123 Vector program? Would you have liked to fly on the aircraft? Let us know what you think of the plane in the comment section.

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What Happened To South African Airways’ Airbus A300s?





Earlier this week, we took a look at where South African Airways’ various examples of the Boeing 747 ended up. The 747 was a game-changing jetliner when it first flew in the 1970s, and European manufacturer Airbus launched a similarly ground-breaking plane during this decade: the A300. SAA also operated this type, which was the world’s first-ever twin-engine widebody jet. But what became of the nine examples that SAA operated?

South African Airbus A300
SAA operated nine A300s between 1976 and 2001. Photo: Bob Adams via Flickr

Why did SAA operate the A300?

South African Airways began operating the Airbus A300 in 1976, two years after it entered service with Air France. With the aircraft being a world first in terms of being a widebody design with just two engines, the A300 firmly placed Airbus on the map.

As well as being a game-changing passenger and freight aircraft, Airbus later used the type as a testbed for its fly-by-wire technology. This was pioneered by the late Bernard Ziegler, whose life and achievements Simple Flying explored yesterday. Airbus introduced the fly-by-wire system on its A320, which Air France launched in April 1988.

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South African A300
SAA used its A300s to replace the four-engine, single-aisle Boeing 707. Photo: Bob Adams via Flickr

In terms of SAA, the South African flag carrier opted to take on the A300 as a means of replacing its Boeing 707s. There was a four-year overlap between these aircraft and the A300s that replaced them, with SAA’s last 707 service flying on December 26th, 1980.

The A300B2

According to, South African Airways’ first four A300s belonged to the ‘B2’ variant. Two of these aircraft joined the airline in 1976 (ZS-SDA and ZS-SDB), with the other pair (ZS-SDC and ZS-SDD) coming onboard in the following year.


In terms of the fates of these aircraft, three of the four spent their entire careers with the South African flag carrier. After 25 years of service, these aircraft were eventually withdrawn and retired in 2000 and 2001. Two were broken up in Bournemouth in April and September 2002, with the other meeting its fate in Daytona Beach in November 2000.

Onur Air Airbus A300
ZS-SDB later flew for Turkish carrier Onur Air. Photo: Paul Spijkers via Wikimedia Commons

ZS-SDB was the only one of SAA’s A300s not to spend its entire working life at the airline. Rather than being scrapped when 2001 came around, it was instead transferred to Turkish carrier Onur Air. After flying there for five years with an all-economy, 316-seat configuration, it was withdrawn in April 2006. Three years later, it was broken up in Istanbul.


The A300B4

SAA’s remaining five A300s were variants of the ‘B4’ series. This version of the A300 had an additional fuel tank at the center of the aircraft, providing extra capacity. One of these (ZS-SDG) was a convertible-freighter version designated as the C4.

SAA was the first recipient of this version, and it joined the airline in 1982. Apart from a year-long lease to much-loved Canadian carrier Wardair between August 1986 and August 1987, it stayed with the airline until October 2000. It remains active today at Kyrgyzstan’s Moalem Aviation, still carrying cargo at the ripe old age of nearly 39 years!

Singapore Airlines A300
SAA also flew two ex-Singapore Airlines A300s. Photo: Doug Green via Wikimedia Commons

Of SAA’s standard B4s, ZS-SDE and ZS-SDF also enjoyed leases to Wardair. These aircraft have since been scrapped, having most recently flown for the aforementioned Onur Air in 2008 and 2009. This just leaves ZS-SDH and ZS-SDI, both of which were second hand upon their arrival at SAA. They had entered service with Singapore Airlines in 1982 and 1983.

ZS-SDH came straight to SAA from the Singaporean flag carrier in 1987, while ZS-SDI had spent an interim period at Luxair. They eventually left SAA in the 1990s, and their final operator in both cases was Turkish carrier MNG Airlines. This operator eventually withdrew them in 2005 and 2005, before breaking them up in Istanbul (ZS-SDH) and Karachi (ZS-SDI).

Did you ever fly on one of SAA’s one A300s? What did you make of the experience? Let us know your thoughts and memories in the comments.

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