Virgin Australia Seeks To Stop Aircraft Repossession

Virgin Australia has filed petitions in the United States this week to prevent aircraft being repossessed.  The filing,…

Virgin Australia Seeks To Stop Aircraft Repossession

Virgin Australia has filed petitions in the United States this week to prevent aircraft being repossessed.  The filing, on Wednesday, sought recognition in the United States of Virgin Australia’s voluntary administration. The petitions were filed under chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Virgin Australia and its administrators have sought Chapter 15 protection in the United States. Photo: Brisbane Airport Corporation.

Virgin Australia wants its insolvency recognized in the United States

The filing seeks to have Virgin Australia’s insolvency legally recognized in the United States. Unless that happens, U.S. creditors can launch recovery proceedings against Virgin Australia. The airline and its administrators, Deloitte, argue this would undermine the restructuring and successful sale of Virgin Australia.

According to a report in The Guardian, U.S. creditors hold some USD$775 million in high-interest debt. There are also many U.S. creditors amongst the banks and financiers owed almost USD$1.5 billion.

Virgin-Australia-Aircraft-Reposession
Virgin Australia has four aircraft in Nashville vulnerable to seizure from U.S. creditors. Photo: Bahnfrend via Wikimedia Commons.

In a statement, Virgin Australia’s administrators, Deloitte said;

“Virgin Australia filed the Chapter 15 Cases to protect ongoing global operations, and to ensure fairness to all creditors and stakeholders, wherever located, by preventing commencement of competing proceedings in other jurisdictions.”

A strategic move to protect its aircraft from seizure

Two Australian airports have already moved to seize 11 Virgin Australia aircraft as collateral against outstanding debts. The court filing on Wednesday appears targeted. There are four Virgin Australia aircraft undergoing maintenance in Nashville, Tennessee. The fear is U.S. creditors could seize these aircraft.

If the United States Bankruptcy Court recognizes Virgin Australia’s insolvency, the airline’s assets would be protected from seizure.

Virgin Australia’s aircraft are prime targets for hungry creditors. The airline has 69 leased aircraft. Virgin Australia owes its many aircraft lessors around USD$1.22 billion. Many of those lessors are already circling.

Virgin-Australia-Aircraft-Reposession
Virgin Australia is vulnerable to creditors seizing its aircraft. Photo: Getty Images.

This week, many of the lessors agreed to a 28-day grace period before the administrator, Deloitte, becomes liable for the costs of the leases.

But lawyers for the lessors are reserving their right to begin taking back aircraft in 60 days if outstanding payments are not resolved.

Some lessors are getting antsy because Virgin Australia is continuing to use leased aircraft to operate flights. This has the effect of incurring further wear and tear costs, which may ultimately not be paid for.

The administrator needs to hold onto aircraft

The problem for Deloitte is that they need to keep the fleet intact to sell Virgin Australia at the best price. Their filing this week in the United States is a strategic move to protect that advantage and forestall any action by U.S. creditors.

Because there is a glut of leased aircraft on the market around the world, the prevailing view is that Virgin Australia’s new owners would have the upper hand when it comes time to re-negotiating leases.

Virgin-Australia-Aircraft-Reposession
All of Virgin Australia’s ATRs are leased. Photo: HutheMeow via Wikimedia Commons.

That the vast bulk of the fleet was already sitting idle at airports around Australia wouldn’t hurt either.

Deloitte is counting on this factor coming into play. Last week, the administrator sent potential buyers a bullet point list that highlighted why Virgin Australia was a smart buy. At number five on the list was vital infrastructure and assets, including aircraft.

Like any administrator restructuring a business, Deloitte needs to wrap Virgin Australia up into a nice package – tasty and profitable. It needs to hold on to aircraft, and it needs to put a lid on legal action. Wednesday’s filing in New York was a proactive move to do just that.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Which Passenger Planes Have The Biggest Windows?

For those that like looking out of the window during a flight, surely bigger is better? But which…

Which Passenger Planes Have The Biggest Windows?

For those that like looking out of the window during a flight, surely bigger is better? But which aircraft offer the largest windows? While the size differences in most cases are minimal, there are a few aircraft that stand out.

The Boeing 787 has the largest windows of any airliner to date. Photo: Getty Images

Boeing 787 – the largest windows in passenger service

One of the facts often quoted about the Boeing 787 is its large and innovative windows. This is not just marketing from Boeing; it does indeed have the largest windows ever seen in a jet aircraft. The 787’s windows are 10.7 x 18.4 inches in size (according to specifications on Wikipedia).

How has Boeing managed to increase the window size? The main reason is that the 787 has a composite construction instead of aluminum. This is more resistant to fatigue, and therefore allows larger windows to be installed.

Fatigue is the main reason windows have been kept smaller in the past. The aircraft fuselage is continuously expanding and contracting with changing pressures, and, over time, this can lead to defects. Larger windows would increase this risk but less so with a more fatigue-resistant fuselage.

Boeing 787 windows
Boeing 787 windows. Photo: Getty Images

As anyone who has flown on the 787 will know, the windows also feature smart glass shades. These allow the passenger or the cabin crew to control shading and visibility, offering many more options for changing light than open or closed plastic shades. This is hopefully something we will see more of in the future.

Boeing 777 – bigger windows than the 747

The next largest windows belong to the Boeing 777. These measure 10 by 15 inches. These same windows are also used on the Boeing 767-400 and the main deck windows of the 747-800.

These are much larger than the windows on the 747-400 (and earlier). These were based on designs and fuselage layout seen on the Boeing 707 (and also the 727 and 737). The standard size of these is 9 by 12.5 inches (as reported in a discussion on airliners.net).

Boeing 777, British Airways, Retirement
The 777 has the largest windows in the Boeing fleet, after the 787. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

Airbus – generally smaller windows than Boeing

On most of its aircraft, Airbus windows are generally smaller than those offered by Boeing. The exception is the Airbus A220. It offers extra-large windows measuring 11 by 16 inches (according to Airbus).

This aircraft, of course, was designed by Bombardier Aerospace as the Bombardier C Series, before being sold to Airbus.

SWISS A220
The A220 (formerly Bombardier C series) has the largest windows of all Airbus aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Of the other Airbus aircraft, the A350 has the largest windows at 13.5 by 9.5 inches, followed by the A330 and A340 sharing the same window design of 12.3 by 9 inches.

Interestingly, the windows on the A380 seem larger than they are. This is due to the thickness of the cabin walls and the large frame that surrounds a smaller window – a subtle effect, but it doesn’t make the window any larger!

A380 windows
A380 windows seem bigger with their frame design. Photo: Caholguin109 via Wikimedia

Boeing Business Jets – larger windows coming for corporate aircraft

The prize for the largest windows in the air goes to Boeing and the Skyview Panoramic window. This is a massive panoramic window, measuring 4.5 feet by 1.5 feet, developed by aerospace firm Fokker Technologies.

Boeing will make these available on corporate aircraft only, however, through their Boeing Business Jet offering. These are modified aircraft for the corporate jet market, based on the Boeing 737 family, and will include Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) based on the 737-700, BBJ2 (based on the 737-800) and BBJ MAX (based on the 737 MAX 8 and MAX 9) aircraft.

Boeing Skyview window
Design for the Boeing Skyview Panoramic window. Image: Boeing

Designing such a window has taken some time, and according to reporting in The Telegraph, has taken many years to get FAA and EASA approval. The window can be installed in several specified locations aft of the wings. It was only launched in 2018, and it remains to be seen what the uptake will be.

Will we ever see no windows on a passenger aircraft?

Whilst passengers like, and are used to, windows on aircraft, they remain a point of weakness in fuselage construction. Removing them would save money, both in maintenance and aircraft operation. But would passengers be able to cope with it?

We are likely some time away from seeing this in practice, but Emirates at least has started to experiment with the possibility of a windowless cabin. It has developed a first class suite with virtual windows, and have begun to look at expanding this concept.

Emirates first class suite
Emirates’ first class suite, using virtual windows on the Boeing 777, brings a window to the middle suites. Photo: Emirates

In reporting by the BBC, Emirates president Sir Tim Clark explained:

“Imagine now a fuselage as you’re boarding with no windows, but when you get inside, there are windows. Now you have one fuselage which has no structural weaknesses because of windows. The aircraft are lighter; the aircraft could fly faster, they’ll burn far less fuel and fly higher.”

There are many things to overcome before this is made a reality. Safety is one (having vision outside the aircraft is vital in emergencies or evacuations). Passenger anxiety and claustrophobia are others. But it is nevertheless an exciting development, alongside the push to make windows bigger!

And if you just find aircraft windows too dull and repetitive, take a look at this article we wrote covering a company that offers stained glass conversions for the many aircraft windows.

It’s hard to find accurate sizes and details of all aircraft windows, so do let us know in the comments if you know of any other aircraft with larger sized windows – especially older or less conventional models.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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