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Aeropolitics, Airline Management, Commercial Airliners, Major Airlines, Regional Airlines, State Owned Airlines, UPDATES

UPDATE: The national airline of Slovenia, Adria Airways has been sold for a mere $US 1.2 million, the buyer is an unknown German/Luxembourg company, 4K Invest that has a nice web page but absolutely no information about the company, it’s executives or past deals. It’s one of many recent “funny” deals going on in Europe’s airline industry. We had a Sukhoi “agent” invest into airBaltic looking to sell SSJ-100 regional jets, we have Ireland’s City Jet buying up to 25 x SSJ-100’s the first in Western Europe and very risky for any airline these days, and yet as quickly as the ink was dry on the Sukhoi deal, the owner of City Jet, Germany based Intro Aviation (aka “turnaround specialist”) is negotiating to sell the airline and bail out before any SSJ-100 operations begins ? does that seem odd ? To go through all the “trouble” of putting in a new Russian airliner that no one has bought in Western Europe. They praise the SSJ “game changer” as if they found the holy grail, and then sell the airline once a SSJ deal is done ? It shows that they do NOT have confidence in the long term success of the SSJ’s and City Jet. Who is the new buyer ? well apparently they are new to the airline business but not aviation. I wonder if they realize what they are getting into ? or is it the Russians coming through the back door ? it is all possible these days. Intro Aviation once was known for turning around troubled airlines, now it has lost it’s touch as on top of City Jet’s loses it could not turn around it’s own InterSky (Austria) DHC8/ATR-72 operation either, and tried to sell it in September, but no takers, so it shut it down in November due to a debt of EUR 5.0 million ?, while it also sold money losing VLM Airline in 2014 in a MBO (management buy out) and surprise and behold, it wanted to buy/lease 12 x SSJ0100’s right away (makes one wonder who funded the MBO ?) , seems SSJ’s orders follow the company. Intro Aviation was also one of the 3 German companies in the running to buy Adria Airways, which is a perfect target for SSJ-100 sales as it operates 7 x CRJ700/900’s today, and surely had it won, SSJ’s would be flying in Adria Airways livery in 2016, and maybe still will given that so little was paid and so little is known about K4 Invest. Russia’s President recently declared NATO as major security threat, and therefore Western European airlines should NOT be buying Russian airliners or leasing them, as they are built by the Russian military complex, Sukhoi is a big Russian arms manufacturer and is currently on the EU/US economic sanctions list, time to put the SS-100 SuperJet on that list as well. We cannot support the Russian arms industry and Europeans should not buying, leasing or flying on Russian airliners (basically that was the Latvian Government’s addition to airBaltic’s shareholders agreement in November, to stop a “undesirable” new investor form making a SSJ-100 deal going forward).When Putin thinks we are the enemy and talks of the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons in a limited engagement we have no choice but to say NYET to Russian aircraft. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15), as the Russians are doing everything and anything possible to sell the poor selling SSJ100 (40+/- current sitting “white tails”) to the West, if it fails, then the Irkut MC-21 will fail as well, and for Airbus, Boeing, Comac and Bombardier and the West, that is a good thing.

The Slovenian Government approved a capital injection plan of $US 3.3 million for national flag carrier, Adria Airways and simultaneously sold the airline to German investment group, 4K Invest (www.4k.ag), which is to inject only $1.1 million for the 91.58% owned by the government and pay Adria Airways another $US 100,000 ?

The Slovenian Government approved a capital injection plan of $US 3.3 million for national flag carrier, Adria Airways and simultaneously sold the airline to German investment group, 4K Invest (http://www.4k.ag), which is to inject only $1.1 million for the 91.58% owned by the government and pay Adria Airways another $US 100,000 ?

READ PAST BLOG ARTICLES ON Sukhoi SSJ-100 SuperJet, airBaltic, airline privatization

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What can you buy today for $US 1.2 million today ? a very old Cessna Citation SII, a good used King Air 200 or a brand new Piper Seneca V, sad no ? but who would ever figure you can buy a European national flag carrier for that little. The airline has potential, just like ALL Eastern European Airlines, it was not managed properly (e.g. LOT, Malev, CSA Czech Airlines, JAT, Bulgarian, Albanian, Tarom, etc.), government interference and un-qualified CEO/Presidents, VP’s.

This is a ‘desperate’ give away of an airline by the Republic of Slovenia’s SHD (Slovenia Sovereign Holding – privatization agency) that finally made money in 2014 ($US 990,000 on revenues of $US 165.0 million, 0.6% margin), but a 2015 loss will be $US 5.0 to $US 7.0 million but with great potential to turn that away. and today has a fleet of 11 jet airliners :

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3 x A319’s, 1 x CRJ-700, 1 x CRJ-100 and 6 x CRJ-900’s with 1 x CRJ700 and 1 x CRJ900 on order.

While this is good news for Adria Airways as it badly needed a capital increase as it has been a prolific money loser for years. There were 3 companies lined up for the privatization, all German, Callisto, 4K Invest and Intro Aviation.

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Intro Aviation owns City Jet and has recently order up to 25 x Sukhoi SSJ-100’s the 1st for Western Europe in a very risky and controversial deal, and now Intro Aviation plans to sell CityJet which and bail out on the Sukhoi operation before its even starts, suspicious you bet ? Someone from the aviation industry, but not an airline is looking to buy CityJet, look for Russian money behind that deal, as I have said, the Russians are ALL out to place Sukhoi’s into the West, as they have 35+ sitting in Russia waiting for customers.

This comes after Intro Aviation in early November, 2015 filed for insolvency for its loss making InterSky operation in Austria due to a small debt of EUR 5.0 million and in 2014, sold money losing VLM Airlines in a MBO (management buyout), and yet they wanted to buy Adria Airways ? when all it’s recent airlines are money losers (City Jet, InterSky, VLM) ? they have lost their touch I guess, only City Jet is left and they want to sell it after leasing 25 SSJ100’s ??? that is very suspicious.

Would they not want to turn the airline around with the “game changing” Sukhoi SSj100’s regional jets ? or is all BS and they make money on helping Russian sell/lease SSJ100’s like fellow German Ralf Dieter Montag-Girmes tried at airBaltic in November, 2015 ? right away air Baltic was ready to bring on board 5 x SSJ’s there, this all smells wrong, and you can bet the Russians are involved somehow with Sukhoi/United Aircraft’s SS-100 program.

The SSJ-100 program struggles very badly, unit production was planned at 45 for 2015, 56 for 2016, 60 there after. They only manufactured 12 in 2012, 25 in 2015 and 37 in 2014, Well, in 2015 there were only 17 SSJ-100’s manufactured, as the manufacturer struggles with sales as it delivered 27 units in 2015 (more delivered than produced is due to “white tails” standing around with nowhere to go), of these Aeroflot took 6, Red Wings took 5, Gazprom 3 and Comlux is waiting on a customized unit.

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC) has revised its forecast to 2031 for the SJJ in face of reality, from 830 to 595 units (-28.3%), which comprises of 82 basic version (the one few want and “white tail” early units, inc. ex-Aeroflot units), 331 LR (long range units), 42 SBJ’s (Sukhoi Business Jets) and 140 SV “stretched” versions (110-125 seats).  Anyway, 103 units have so far been built and flown (as of December 1, 2015), the last unit being 95103 a SSJ-100-95B , and most recent numbers suggest at most 63 are in service today (56 as of October 13, 2015), so I get 40+/- SSJ-100 sitting and waiting for buyers.

But in 2015, City Jet of Ireland confirmed it will lease/but 15 SSJ-100’s and took 10 options, which are being taken up as it seeks to replace it’s 18 x BAe RJ85’s, while it spools up for operations for SAS on March 26, 2016 with 8 x CRJ900’s, in what is suppose to be a new business, “white tails”, which City Jet says will make up 60-70% of future revenue, with CRJ’s yes, but not with SSJ-100’s, what big airline wants to put its passengers on a Sukhoi ? Lufthansa-no, SAS-no, Finnair-no, BA-no, AF/KLM-no, Alitalia-no, Iberia-no, so who does CEO of City Jet, Pat Byrne think will want SSJ operating for it ?

A Russian passenger Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft sits on an airstrip outside Moscow on April 1, 2009 just after landing. The plane, seen as a potential saviour of the country's struggling aeronautics sector, made its first medium-length test flight, from Novosibirsk in southwest Siberia a distance of more than 3,000 kilometers. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)

By the way City Jet CEO Mr. Byrne is the biggest public supporter of the SSJ100, calling the 8 year old aircraft a “game changer” (seriously ?) he’s SCAC’s biggest propagandist, but anyone can tell you the SSJ-100 is outdated today with the likes of Embraer’s E190/195-E2’s ordered and coming, Mitsubishi’s MRJ-95 ordered and coming, buy a SSJ-100 and its obsolete in 3 years, and then you are stuck with an aircraft that is not competitive, no re-marketing potential and low resale value, and if tougher sanctions come into force against Russia, it will just take up ramp space at airports, sitting and waiting for parts and support.

Here is what CEO Pat Byrne says about the Sukhoi SSJ-100:

We are very excited to be the very first airline in Europe to order this ‘’game-changing’’ aircraft that delivers a level of comfort, plush interior design and cabin capacity that is far superior to all of its competitors. This is a very versatile new generation jet which will fulfil our requirements with a capability to operate at smaller airports such as our hub at London City Airport and offer significant advantages in fuel efficiency, emissions ratings and noise reduction”.

IF it is such a great game changer why is it not selling ? 63+/- aircraft are in service out of 103 built ? if it is so good, then you should not have 40+/- “white tails’ waiting and sitting on an airport ramp waiting for  customers, the truth is it’s NOT that interesting when you look at life cycle costs and revenues.

I have pointed out many times, that the aircraft is NOT selling in my blog, there is a reason aircraft sell well and their is a reason why they do not sell well, airlines are not stupid, they weigh all factors, not just the very low price offered today on SSJ-100’s, life cycle costs ad life time revenue all have to be added up, and the winner is not the SSJ-100, just look at the numbers, don’t believe me, I am just the messenger of reality.

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Now back to City Jet, which has been losing money for years, and even Intro Aviation, which advertises itself as an airline turnaround specialist could not stop the bleeding, and in 2014 lost EUR 30.5 million ($US 33.5 million) and this year lost money again. While it sold money losing VLM Airlines in 2014 and in 2015 it could not sell its money losing InterSky (Austria) and it ceased operations (2 x ATR-72’s and 3 x DHC-8-300’s) and filed for insolvency in November, due to EUR 5.0 million debt ? I do note that its web page (http://www.introaviation.com) has changed recently, and in their “What We Did” there is no longer any mention of VLM Airlines and InterSky.

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This 4K Invest is pretty much unknown, one only has to look at their web page (http://www.4k.ag), there are no names of any executives, nothing under Team Members and they have completed 150 transactions since they were founded in March 2013 (34 months ago, that’s 4.4 transactions per month) ? The company’s moto is “We Fix It”, so what have you fixed ? why don’t they show what they have done ? any airline experience, how about Russian connections, have the Slovenian secret service checked them out ?

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With the scandal at AirBaltic in November, when Ralf Dieter Montag Girmes of ARQ Holdings (Germany) showed up to buy 20% of the airline, but wanted to put in Sukhoi SSJ-100’s into the airline as the airline’s exclusive aircraft agent, it almost worked and CEO Martin Gauss was surely very aware of what was happening, he also has connections to Intro Aviation as he used to run dBA for Intro Aviation, all the dots are connected eventually.

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The Latvian Government stepped in and changed the Shareholder’s Agreement and stopped it, never mind that the investor was flagged as a person with “potential security risks” and a “undesirable” investor, apparently he was too close to Yeltsin and the privatizations of the 1990’s and the Western bailout of Russia, all which made many instant billionaires, and rumors that tie Montag Girmes to the East German Secret Police (aka STASI). His arrival marked a change to the “Horizon 2021” business plan, and included all of a sudden 5 x SSJ100’s, the airline is the launch customer for the CS300 and it wants to bring in another new type of aircraft at the same time ? some funny stuff there for sure, I can smell BS from miles away.

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Anyway, I am glad that Adria Airways has new life, it’s operations out of Tirana, Albania and promising as that country has no national carrier, and its recent work with Estonia’s Nordic Aviation Group, which is the new national airline of Estonia after the EU forced Estonian Air to shut down in early November for illegal state aid. Adria Airways is letting Nordic Aviation use its AOC and is wet leasing (ACMI) some aircraft to the new carrier until it gets it’s own AOC.

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Though the EUR 40 million the Estonian state put into Nordic Aviation will be investigated by the EU as it is also illegal state aid in my opinion and Finnair, airBaltic and all EU carriers flying to Tallinn need to file complaints with the EU Commission asap.

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I am glad that Intro Aviation was kept out of Adria Airways, I believe it is agent of Sukhoi, as witnessed at City Jet, and I am sure they would have put Sukhoi SSJ-100’s into Adria Airways and replaced the CRJ-700/900’s, this how things are being done today. Let no one question that, just look at VLM and it’s interest in 12 x SSJ-100’s and CityJet’s interest in SSJ-100’s all roads point to Intro Aviation.

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I hope someone did some serious investigation of who the hell 4K Invest is, who owns it, who funds it, because it smells funny, and when it stinks it’s not funny anymore for the employees of Adria Airways, and airBaltic was lucky to have done it’s homework, before it got burned by it’s “undesirable” investor.

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More on Intro Aviation and its acquisition of 25 Sukhoi SSJ-100’s for Irish City Jet and its plan to sell the airline now, before it even receives the very first SSJ-100, the poor batard that buys the airline has no idea of the risks involved in operating Sukhoi’s at a time when Russia declares NATO a major threat to its security and tensions are high.

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We in time will see consumers and hopefully major airline stake a stand on flying on Russian aircraft built by Sukhoi, a major Russian military industrial complex partner, that is currently under EU/US economic sanctions, and they will get tougher in 2016.

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City Jet quest to seek more “white” tail flying contracts, like the SAS contract it now has for 8 x CRJ900’s, and they are looking for work for their Russian Sukhoi SSJ-100’s “BEWARE of sheep in wolves clothing” , say NYET to buying and flying on the SuperJet, it is a business risk that is NOT needed and it supports the Russian military industrial complex, we don’t buy Russian cars, trains, ships, really anything, so why buy a Russian airliner ? With 35+ sitting in Russia, it says it all, at a time airlines can’t get aircraft fast enough, there are SSJ-100’s ready go tomorrow !


Thanks again for reading my blog, till next time cheers.

 

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About Aviation Doctor - Helping aviation companies to transform the present into a more profitable tomorrow

I am a Canadian and EU national with an MBA and 33+ years experience in aviation business development with 20 years overseas and work in 25+ countries. A former investment/merchant banker (mergers and acquisitions to corporate turnarounds). airline and OEM senior executive and past owner of 6 successful aviation companies in 3 countries (executive jet charter/management companies, aircraft sales, aircraft broker, airline/aerospace consulting to aircraft insurance). I have a very diverse aviation background with 75+ aviation companies (45+ airlines of all sizes, OEM's, airports, lessors, MRO to service providers) as consultant, executive management, business analyst and business development adviser. Excellent success track record in International Business Development. Most work with airlines is with new start-ups and restructuring of troubled carriers. I sold new business jets, turboprops and helicopters for Cessna, Raytheon, Gulfstream to Eurocopter as an ASR as well as undertaking sales and marketing of commercial aircraft for Boeing, de Havilland, Dornier, Saab and Beechcraft. Brokered everything from LET-410's to B747's and from piston PA31 to G550 business jets. I look beyond the headlines of the aviation news and analyze what the meaning and consequences of the new information really means. There is a story behind each headline that few go beyond. Picked the name Aviation Doctor, as much of my work has been with troubled companies or those that want and need to grow profitably. I fix problems be in the business, and help with restructuring for a better tomorrow. You can reach me with comments or suggestions at: Tomas.Aviation@gmail.com and I comment a lot on Google+, my Facebook and LinkedIN.

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