COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

20 October 2020 | Business

American Airlines to return Boeing 737 Max

American Airlines Group plans to return Boeing 737 Max jets to service for passenger flights by the end of this year depending on certification of the aircraft from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), it said on Sunday.

The airline said it will operate a daily 737 Max flight between Miami and New York from Dec. 29 to Jan. 4, with flights available for booking from Oct. 24.

"We remain in contact with the FAA and Boeing on the certification process and we'll continue to update our plans based on when the aircraft is certified," the company said in a statement.

The FAA in a statement reiterated it has no timeline for approving the plane's return to service and said it "will lift the grounding order only after FAA safety experts are satisfied that the aircraft meets certification standards."

The Boeing 737 MAX has been grounded since March 2019 after two fatal crashes killed 346 people. The FAA expected to lift its grounding order around mid-November, sources briefed on the matter previously told Reuters, but that date could still slip. - Nampa/Reuters

Deloitte to shut four UK offices

Global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte will close four of its 50 British offices as it reviews its real estate portfolio in the coronavirus pandemic, but will retain the staff on work-from-home contracts, it said on Saturday.

Covid-19 has changed working life for millions of people around the world, many of whom have switched from offices to working from home - reducing demand for office space and prompting companies to opt out of renewing leases.

Deloitte said it would shut its offices in Gatwick, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton, where about 500 people work.

"Covid-19 has fast-tracked our future of work programme, leading us to review our real estate portfolio," Stephen Griggs, Deloitte's UK managing partner, said in an emailed statement.

He said all staff based at the four locations slated for closure would continue to be employed by Deloitte under permanent work-from-home contracts. – Nampa/Reuters

Atlantia agrees US$1.2 billion stake sale

Atlantia, the Italian infrastructure group, said on Saturday it has agreed to sell a minority stake in Telepass to transform the toll-road payment unit into a pan-European multi-service platform for consumers and businesses.

The 49% holding is being sold to Partners Group for 1.06 billion euros (US$1.24 billion), Atlantia said in a statement.

The two companies will work together to develop the business with a focus on the consolidation of the Electronic Tolling Collection market, Atlantia added.

With 7 million customers and over 12 million devices, Telepass manages transactions worth 7 billion euros a year across 14 European countries, covering over 105 000 kilometres of motorway networks.

Atlantia, which owns 88% of motorway company Autostrade per l'Italia, entered exclusive talks with Partners Group in August. The deal requires regulatory approval which is expected in the first half of 2021, the company said. – Nampa/Reuters

Jet Airways creditors agree to new owners

India's Jet Airways would be acquired by an investor consortium under a multi-million-dollar resolution plan approved by the carrier's creditors on Saturday.

The plan submitted by a consortium of London-based Kalrock Capital and UAE-based businessman Murari Lal Jalan comes after months of talks over the airline's future and was confirmed in a regulatory filing, which gave no details of the deal.

A source close to the situation said the new owners had agreed to pump in 10 billion rupees (US$136 million) as working capital for the revival of the airline. Another 10 billion rupees will be given to creditors over a period of five years.

Financial creditors of the airline will also get 10% stake in the company, the source said, though the plan remains subject to approvals from the bankruptcy court and the country's airline regulator.

Jet which operated a fleet of more than 120 planes serving dozens of domestic destinations and international hubs such as Singapore, London and Dubai were forced in April 2019 to ground all flights, crippled by mounting losses as it attempted to compete with low-cost rivals. – Nampa/Reuters

Malaysia Airlines restructuring talks

Malaysia Airlines' parent company is still holding negotiations with lessors and creditors over a restructuring plan to keep the carrier alive, but the talks are taking longer than planned, according to a staff memo seen by Reuters.

"The negotiations are still ongoing and taking longer than the planned timeline, but we are gaining encouraging traction from the lessors and creditors thus far," Izham Ismail, chief executive of Malaysia Airlines and group CEO of parent Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG), said in a memo to staff on Oct. 16.

In response to a Reuters query, MAG said in an email on Saturday it is "continuing discussions with creditors on its ongoing restructuring exercise".

MAG, owned by state fund Khazanah, said Izham's memo to staff was to address concerns among employees. Malaysia's national airline is seeking to restructure after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to slash operations.

The carrier had restructured after two deadly crashes in 2014 but unlike at that time the government is unwilling to bail it out this time. Reuters reported last week that a group of lessors had rejected a restructuring plan that involved steep discounts, bringing the carrier closer to a showdown over its future. – Nampa/Reuters

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