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Tuesday, December 09, 2014

AviTrader Daily Aviation News Alert

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Emirates reject Delta’s apology regarding Anderson’s 9/11 comments

February 20, 2015 · 556 Views

The bitter dispute between US- and Gulf-based airlines has reached a new level after Emirates flatly rejected an open apology made concerning what was seen as incredibly tactless and insensitive remarks made by Delta’s Chief Executive, Richard Anderson. The unfortunate incident relates back to comments made by a group of American airlines that a number of the larger Gulf carriers had benefited from state subsidies amounting to a figure in excess of US$40bn. As a consequence the American airlines either wanted to renegotiate or scrap the current Open Skies agreement.
Offended by such claims, the Gulf carriers retaliated by questioning whether or not US airlines had received government subsidies totaling US$5bn in the wake of 9/11. Unfortunately Delta’s Anderson, responding to this claim on CNN, said: “It’s a great irony to have the United Arab Emirates from the Arabian Peninsula talk about that, given the fact that our industry was really shocked by the terrorism of 9/11, which came from terrorists from the Arabian Peninsula.” While the UAE and Qatar, two of the States’ allies who have offered either military or logistical support for international operations were particularly upset by these comments, Delta simply made it clear that Anderson had been responding to claims regarding post 9/11 subsidies. “He didn’t mean to suggest the Gulf carriers or their governments are linked to the 9/11 terrorists. We apologize if anyone was offended.”
Unfortunately the largest of the three main Gulf carriers did not see this as acceptable. “We believe that the statements made this week by Mr. Anderson were deliberately crafted and delivered for specific effect,” it confirmed in a statement. However US airlines continue to complain that they have lost significant numbers of bookings since 2008 as a result of Gulf competition and cited documents they indicate demonstrate aid which has allowed their competitors to offer cheap fares. In retaliation, Gulf officials say that most US carriers do not fly the same routes and are losing business only because they offer an inferior service.
This is not a dissimilar situation to the one between Gulf airlines and European carriers, including Lufthansa, and coincidentally has come at the same time as US airlines are trying to have US Exlm Bank closed down. They believe Gulf carriers are benefitting to a greater degree from the export credit agency. The tit-for-tat dialog continues with Western airlines showing concern for the safety of thousands of service industry jobs, a complaint to which Gulf carriers have responded by making it very clear they support at least as many jobs in the aerospace sector with their huge orders for aircraft.

Snecma and HAL to create joint venture and build a new production facility in India

February 20, 2015 · 655 Views

Snecma (Safran), a leading manufacturer of aircraft engines, and Hindustan Aeronautics  (HAL), a leading aerospace manufacturer, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on January 28th, 2015 in Bangalore to explore establishing a joint venture in India for the production of aero-engine parts.  The proposed joint venture will initially focus on the manufacture of high-tech parts for the Dassault Rafale’s Snecma M88 engine, then subsequently contribute to other major aerospace projects of HAL & Snecma, in India and worldwide. Spanning over 30,000 m², the proposed joint venture’s new plant is expected to benefit from substantial investment by the two partners, providing it with state-of-the-art machinery and equipment. This agreement marks a major step forward in the long-standing collaboration between Snecma and HAL. The proposed joint venture will further broaden the scope of the excellent relations established over the past 60 years between Safran affiliates and the Indian aerospace industry. For example, Snecma manufactures the M53 engines powering the Mirage 2000H “Vajra” fighters operated by the Indian Air Force.

Design flaws led to 787 battery fire

December 2, 2014 · 197 Views

On the 7th January 2013 a fire was reported on board a Boeing 787 Dreamliner while parked at Boston’s airport in the USA. The fire was put down to a problem with one of the plane’s lithium-ion batteries. A week later an All Nippon Airways 787 Dreamliner had to make an emergency landing after smoke was discovered inside the plane which was subsequently traced back to another lithium-ion battery. As a consequence of this incident, all 787 Dreamliners were grounded until April of that year until further acceptable testing and improvements were carried out to the battery system on board the plane. The battery itself was manufactured by GS Yuasa and comprised eight individual cells making up a combined weight of 63lbs.
Nearly two years later and the results of the investigation into the first incident have concluded that the lithium-ion battery installed in the plane should not have received certification by the FAA. The National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) were also critical of Boeing who they believed had erroneously ruled out the chances of thermal runaway in its assessment of the battery’s safety. Boeing’s battery tests to obtain original certification included crushing battery cells, driving nails through them and deliberately introducing short circuits to cause failure. Boeing found “nothing adverse happened” while these tests were carried out, and so deemed the battery’s box and internal protection to be of an acceptable standard. Boeing stated that it had followed the certification process set out by the FAA. It would seem that while the cause of the fire has been clearly identified, responsibility for its occurrence has not been accepted in full by anyone.

Rolls-Royce forced to axe 2,600 jobs after second profit warning this year

November 5, 2014 · 164 Views

Back in February this year, Rolls-Royce, the FTSE-100 engine maker, lost over £3bn of its value after shocking the market with its first profits warning in a decade. To announce a second one this October has created considerable concern and Rolls-Royce has decided that over the next 18 months they need to reduce costs by up to £80m a year by axing 2,600 jobs, the majority of which will be in the aerospace sector in Britain and the United States. The focus is on Rolls-Royce’s key Trent engines as they move from the development to the production phase, which consequently requires fewer engineers.
Back in February John Rishton, Rolls-Royce group’s Chief Executive, had admitted that the future was “bumpier than I had expected”, while blaming the current problems on deteriorating economic conditions and a tit-for-tat trade war between the EU and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis which had affected its nuclear and energy business as well as its power-systems unit. This week Rishton has had to admit that “We are taking determined management action and accelerating our progress on cost. The measures announced today will not be the last; however they will contribute towards Rolls-Royce becoming a stronger and more profitable company.”
Another consequence of the situation is the unexpected departure of Finance Director, Mark Morris, leaving the company after 27 year without any explanation. He will be replaced by David Smith, who is being promoted from Finance Director of the Rolls-Royce Aerospace division. This second profit warning saw share value fall 11% to 832p, wiping a further £2bn off the company’s value. However, news of the redundancies was well received by investors and the share price rallied by 2%, currently standing at 832p. This is clear confirmation of comments made by Espirito Santo’s analyst, Ed Stacey, who indicated that investors would be expecting a clear message from the new Finance Director and tight control on all finances.

Air France-KLM selects GEnx engines for Boeing 787 fleet

March 25, 2014 · 113 Views

Air France-KLM selected the GEnx-1B engine to power its 25 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 12 leased 787 aircraft. The total engine order is valued at more than $1.7bn. Air France-KLM and GE Aviation have also signed an agreement that will allow Air France-KLM to offer maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the GEnx-1B engine. Under this agreement, Air France-KLM will be licensed to perform maintenance and overhaul work on the GEnx-1B engine and GE will provide technical support and assistance on overhaul workscoping and component repair licenses, comprehensive material support and training.

ILFC closes $1.5bn senior secured term loan

March 7, 2014 · 80 Views

International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has closed a new senior secured term loan of $1.5 billion. The loan will bear interest at LIBOR plus 275 basis points with a 0.75% LIBOR floor, is priced at 99.5% of par value, and will mature in 2021. The collateral used to support the transaction has an initial weighted average age of 9.1 years. It will be secured primarily by a first priority-perfected lien on the equity of certain of ILFC’s subsidiaries, which directly or indirectly own a pool of aircraft and related leases. ILFC plans to use the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including purchasing aircraft and supporting the company’s liquidity cushion.

Airbus Commercial reports another year of financial improvement

February 26, 2014 · 80 Views

In 2013, Airbus achieved a new industry record of 1,619 gross commercial orders (FY 2012: 914 gross orders) with net orders of 1,503 aircraft (FY 2012: 833 net orders), excluding ATR. Gross orders comprised 1,253 A320 Family aircraft, 77 A330s, 239 A350 XWBs and 50 A380s. Fourth-quarter orders included Emirates Airline’s agreement for 50 A380s and Etihad Airways’ order for 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neos and one A330-200F. Airbus Military (now part of Airbus Defence and Space) received 17 net orders (FY 2012: 32 net orders). Airbus’ net order intake increased sharply to €202.3bn (FY 2012: €88.9bn). At the end of 2013, Airbus’ consolidated order book was valued at €647.4bn (year-end 2012: €525.5bn). The Airbus Commercial backlog was worth €627.1bn (year-end 2012: €505.3bn), comprising 5,559 Airbus aircraft (year-end 2012: 4,682 units) and representing over eight years of production. Airbus Military’s order book was worth €20.8bn (year-end 2012: €21.1bn). Airbus series aircraft deliveries increased to 626 aircraft (FY 2012: 588 aircraft, including three A330s without revenue recognition). Airbus Military delivered 31 aircraft (FY 2012: 29 aircraft). Airbus’ consolidated revenues increased seven percent to €42,012m (FY 2012: €39,273m), reflecting higher commercial and military aircraft deliveries. The Division’s consolidated EBIT rose to €1,710m (FY 2012: €1,252m). Airbus Commercial’s revenues rose to €39,889m (FY 2012: €37,624m). The Airbus Commercial reported EBIT was €1,595m (FY 2012: €1,147m) with the EBIT before one-off at €2,216m (FY 2012: €1,669m). Airbus Commercial’s EBIT before one-off benefitted from the improved operational performance, including favourable volume, some better pricing and an improvement in A380 losses. It also included higher A350 XWB programme support costs. Revenues at Airbus Military rose to €2,893m (FY 2012: €2,131m), driven by the A400M ramp-up and higher volumes from both light and medium transport planes and tankers. The EBIT at Airbus Military was €166m (FY 2012: €93m).

Boeing Commercial Airplanes reports full year revenue of $53bn

January 29, 2014 · 76 Views

Boeing Commercial Airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increased to $14.7bn and full-year revenue increased to a record $53bn on higher delivery volume. Fourth-quarter operating margin improved to 10.3% and full-year operating margin grew to 10.9% on the higher volume, favorable delivery mix and continued strong operating performance. During the quarter, the company launched the 777X with 259 orders and commitments. During the year, the 787 program completed first flight of the 787-9, successfully launched the 787-10 and began operating at a 10 per month production rate in final assembly. The 737 program delivered at a record production rate of 38 per month and has won nearly 1,800 firm orders for the 737 MAX since launch. In 2013, a record 648 commercial aircraft were delivered. In January 2014, the company reached an eight-year contract extension through 2024 with the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers District 751 (IAM). Commercial Airplanes booked 465 net orders during the quarter and 1,355 during the year. Backlog remains strong with 5,080 airplanes valued at a record $374 billion.

A350 XWB in Bolivia for high altitude testing

January 9, 2014 · 67 Views

The A350 XWB development aircraft, MSN3, is in Bolivia where it will perform a series of tests at the high altitude airfields of Cochabamba and La Paz. Cochabamba is around 8,300 feet above sea level, and La Paz is one of the world’s highest airports at 13,300 feet. Operations at such high altitude airfields are particularly demanding on aircraft engines, Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and systems. The aim of these trials is to demonstrate and validate the full functionality of engines, systems, materials as well as to assess the overall aircraft behaviour under these extreme conditions. A number of take-offs with all engines operating and with simulated engine failures are being performed at each of the airfields to collect data on engine operating characteristics and validate the aircraft take-off performance. The autopilot behaviour will also be evaluated during automatic landings and go-arounds. Since the A350 XWB’s first flight with MSN1 on June 14th 2013, over 800 flight test hours have been performed in close to 200 test flights by both MSN1 and MSN3. In total the A350 XWB flight test campaign will accumulate around 2,500 flight hours with the fleet of five aircraft. The rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities, prior to entry into service in Q4 2014.

Firefly welcomes first ATR 72-600

July 5, 2013 · 66 Views

Firefly, Malaysia Airlines’ subsidiary carrier has taken ownership of its first brand-new ATR 72-600. The aircraft is the first of 20 latest generation firm ATRs, plus 16 options, ordered by Malaysia Airlines in December 2012. Firefly currently operates 12 ATR 72-500s, and with the arrival of the new ATR 72-600s will almost triple its exclusively ATR 72 aircraft fleet, taking the total to over 30 aircraft.

GE’s Passport engine begins first full engine test

June 26, 2013 · 42 Views

Certification testing is underway on the first Passport development engine at GE Aviation’s Peebles Testing Operation in Ohio. The engine began ground testing on June 24th and ran for more than three hours, reaching more than 18,000 lbs. of standard day sea-level takeoff thrust. Eight Passport engines and one core will be involved in the engine certification program. Flight testing on GE’s flying testbed is scheduled for 2014. Engine certification is expected in 2015. The Passport engine certification program follows three years of validation testing. GE Aviation has conducted validation tests on the fan blisk design, including two fan blade-out rig tests, ingestion tests and a fan aero rig test to demonstrate fan efficiency. Testing is complete on the third eCore demonstrator, and GE has accumulated more than 300 hours of testing on eCore demonstrators to date.

Rolls-Royce wins order from CIT to power 23 aircraft

May 22, 2013 · 55 Views

Rolls-Royce has won an order from US leasing company CIT Aerospace for Trent XWB engines, to power ten Airbus A350 XWB aircraft and Trent 700 engines to power 13 Airbus A330 aircraft. The Trent XWB engines will power ten CIT A350 aircraft that were announced in January 2013 which were in addition to five A350 XWB aircraft already on order. The Trent XWB, specifically designed for the Airbus A350, is the fastest selling Trent engine ever, with more than 1,200 already sold. The engine variant that will power the A350-800 and -900 was awarded European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) type certification in February. The engine will power the first flight of the Airbus A350 XWB this year and the aircraft’s first in-service flight in 2014.

Comlux orders two BBJ MAX 8s

December 8, 2014 · 89 Views

Boeing Business Jets announced an order for two BBJ MAX 8s to Comlux, a Swiss-based VIP charter operator. This marks Comlux’s first BBJ order. “The two BBJ MAX 8s are a great addition to the Comlux fleet because they give our customers the flexibility to fly farther and more comfortably thanks to the lower cabin altitude,” said Richard Gaona, President and CEO, Comlux, The Aviation Group. “The long-range capability of the BBJ MAX 8 is critical to all of our customers, but especially our Middle East customers who often use Comlux aircraft for long-haul flights.” The two BBJ MAX 8s will be outfitted with custom interiors at Comlux America, a certified BBJ completion center.

SAS acquirers Cimber

December 8, 2014 · 473 Views

Since 2004, SAS has had a wet lease agreement (aircraft and crew) with Cimber A/S that has a cost efficient production platform for regional jet operation. The acquisition provides SAS with an opportunity to transfer production with smaller aircraft to Cimber, consisting of 12 CRJ900 with base in Copenhagen. As a result, a more focused and flexible production can be achieved. The acquisition of Cimber, will give SAS access to a specialist within regional flights with a very competitive production platform that complements SAS’ production of larger Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Due to expected synergies, the acquisition of Cimber can also provide opportunities for SAS to maintain and develop regional routes within the network for the benefit of SAS customers, says Rickard Gustafson, SAS President & CEO. The acquisition, includes Cimber’s option to receive CO2emission rights for the years 2015-2020. The nominal value of these rights currently amount to approximately MDKK 35 subject to the EU Commission’s approval of the Danish allocation plan for European Aviation Allowances (EUAA) for 2015-2020. The discontinuation of Cimber’s current fleet of CRJ200 and ATR72 will be implemented as already communicated and decided by Cimber. The value of the transaction is MDKK 20 with final payment in April 2015. The transaction must be approved by relevant Competition Authorities, and is subject to other customary conditions.

Gama Aviation looks to continue growth at Sharjah International Airport

December 8, 2014 · 90 Views

Gama Aviation FZE plans to widen its presence at Sharjah International Airport from the New Year with heightened engineering capability and a commitment to build a new hangar to serve the increasing range of based and visiting aircraft at its new Sharjah FBO. Gama Aviation took over the responsibility for all business aviation handling at Sharjah International Airport in early 2012 in a partnership with Sharjah Airport Authority, but the company has been present in Sharjah as a charter operator since 2006. The FBO facility, which is the region’s newest full service private aviation hub serving Sharjah, Dubai and the Northern Emirates, was formally inaugurated by H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani on July 1st 2014. It represents the latest stage of development by Gama Aviation and its investors including Crescent Enterprises and Growthgate Capital.

Airbus Helicopters delivers three TH-135 training helicopters to Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force

December 8, 2014 · 110 Views

Airbus Helicopters Japan has successfully handed over three TH-135 training helicopters to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF). The three aircraft delivered between October and December are the JMSDF’s 11th, 12th and 13th units. The TH-135 is a variant of Airbus Helicopters’ light twin-engine EC135 T2+ which has been customized for JMSDF. Meant to replace their single-engine training helicopter fleet, deliveries of the TH-135 began in 2009 and have been in operation since 2011.  “The on-time delivery of all 13 TH-135 helicopters so far has been a great achievement,” said Stephane Ginoux, Managing Director of Airbus Helicopters Japan. “We are also providing our full support for the maintenance and operation of the fleet, including prompt delivery of spare parts and technical support, to ensure the safe and efficient training of JMSDF pilots.”

Bombardier expands worldwide service and maintenance network for business aircraft customers in India

December 8, 2014 · 236 Views

Bombardier Business Aircraft continues to find more places to serve its customers with the appointment of Indamer Aviation Private Limited as an Authorized Service Facility (ASF) for business aircraft customers based in or flying to India. The new ASF in Ahmedabad, India, will be capable of performing line maintenance for Global business aircraft. Providing maintenance on business aircraft for 67 years, Indamer Aviation Private Limited has various service facilities around India. The facility in Ahmedabad, India is located at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport and supported by a team of more than 42 technicians. The 3,220 m² (approximately 34,660 ft²) maintenance facility offers a variety of on-site services with capabilities to perform minor scheduled maintenance, re-work and modifications for business aircraft customers. The appointment of Indamer Aviation Private Limited to Bombardier’s service and maintenance network brings the number of ASFs catering to Bombardier’s business aircraft customers to more than 50 facilities worldwide. These are supported by seven Bombardier-owned service centres in North America, Europe and Singapore.

American Airlines Group reports November traffic results

December 8, 2014 · 94 Views

American Airlines Group’s traffic for the month was down 0.5% versus November 2013. Total capacity up 0.9% versus November 2013. Total passenger load factor was 77.7% for the month of November, down 1.1 points versus November 2013.

Wesco Aircraft announces retirement of Randy J. Snyder as President and CEO

December 8, 2014 · 580 Views

Wesco Aircraft, a leading provider of comprehensive supply chain management services to the global aerospace industry, reported that Randy J. Snyder is retiring from his role as president and chief executive officer. The board of directors has appointed Hal Weinstein as interim chief executive officer, effective immediately. Mr. Snyder will continue to serve as chairman of the board. The board has begun its search for a permanent chief executive officer with assistance from a nationally recognized executive search agency. In addition, Wesco Aircraft’s board of directors announced the formation of a new executive committee under the direction of board member Adam J. Palmer. The committee will work closely with Mr. Weinstein and other members of senior management to steer the company’s strategic direction and operations during the transition.

AMAC Aerospace commits to building fourth hangar at Basel, Switzerland HQ

December 8, 2014 · 278 Views

AMAC Aerospace AG, a leading provider of VIP and corporate aviation maintenance and completion services confirmed at the Middle East Business Aviation Show MEBA in Dubai, that it has recently broken ground on a fourth new hangar at its Basel Mulhouse Freiburg, Switzerland facilities. Representing a significant investment, the new hangar, which on completion will be similar in size to the two existing wide-bodied aircraft facilities and provide AMAC with a total of 38,100 m² of hangar floor space, will meet the demands for widebody maintenance of the company’s client base. Bernd Schramm, Group Chief Operating Officer for AMAC, anticipates that when the fourth hangar is completed in the fourth quarter of 2015 it will be utilised for predominantly wide-bodied maintenance work. “We expect to see the ratio of Refurbishment/Completion and MRO projects shift from a 70:30 split, to 60:40, as the new building will increase our capacity for maintenance. We see a lot of opportunity in the narrow and wide-body maintenance sector and as this has rapidly become an area of expertise for AMAC we will be focusing more on this segment.” AMAC Aerospace AG has to date delivered 10 major VVIP completion, refurbishment and modification projects. These include an Airbus A320; four Airbus ACJ319s, a Boeing 777-200LR and a Boeing 777-300ER, a Boeing BBJ2, an Airbus A340 and a Global Express. Currently in the hangar for VVIP completions are a Boeing 747-8i scheduled for delivery to a Middle East customer in the first quarter of 2015 and an Airbus ACJ319 for its first Asian customer, to be delivered in the second quarter of the New Year. Another green B777-200 VVIP completion project for a Head of State client is scheduled to arrive on 12 December 2014.

Southwest Airlines reports November load factor of 80%

December 8, 2014 · 205 Views

Southwest Airlines’ traffic in November 2014 increased 6.0% from November 2013, while capacity increased 4.0%. The November 2014 load factor was 80.1%, compared to 78.6% in November 2013.

Philippe Petitcolin next Safran CEO, Ross McInnes will be Chairman of the Board

December 8, 2014 · 158 Views

Safran’s Board of Directors met on December 5th, 2014, following a months-long selection process led by its Nomination and Remuneration Committee, approving in principle the appointment of Philippe Petitcolin to succeed Jean-Paul Herteman as Chief Executive Officer of Safran after the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders on April 23rd, 2015. The Board also approved in principle the appointment of Ross McInnes as Chairman of the Board during the Board meeting which will follow the same Annual General Meeting.

VIP configuration of Sukhoi Superjet 100 certified

December 8, 2014 · 168 Views

The Aviation Register of the Interstate Aviation Committee confirmed the possibility to equip the Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft with the enhanced comfort passenger cabin interior. This major change approval to the baseline Sukhoi Superjet 100 Type Design, issued by IAC AR In late November 2014, confirms the safe operation of this aircraft type in the VIP configuration submitted for certification. The aircraft, which is based on the baseline RRJ-95B platform certificate, is characterized by the more comfortable passenger cabin achieved by fitting the newly-developed VIP-interior, the provision of higher level of service and the provision of on-board multimedia systems. Together, this makes it possible to both work and relax during flights. The SSJ100 VIP interior is designed for 19 passengers, hosted in a passenger cabin divided into several sections. As a business jet, the Sukhoi Superjet 100 VIP is firmly placed in the Ultra Large category, characterized by long range and spacious cabins, while also offering very competitive acquisition and ownership costs.

Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce proved right as airline returns to profitability

December 8, 2014 · 157 Views

It may leave you scratching your head as to how an airline can go from making a loss of AU$2.8bn one year to making a first-half profit of AU$300m the following year. Curiously the announcement of the Qantas loss saw shares rise by 4% (7 cents) at one point, while this latest announcement has seen shares rise nearly 14%, closing at AU$2.39. However here is at least a three-fold explanation for this situation.
Firstly, a loss on paper is not the same as a trading loss. In the 2013 tax year Qantas wrote down the value of assets of its international fleet by AU$2.6bn. The actual underlying loss of the business was still bad at AU$646m, but the share rise came about as a result of this figure not being as bad as the previous profits warning had intimated. Secondly, Qantas needed to reorganize and strategize more clearly. As a consequence they withdrew from the costly commercial fight with Virgin Australia for a shrinking domestic market and began their 5000 target reduction in staffing numbers by 2017. Finally fuel costs dropped considerably while the airline chose to continue to levy its fuel surcharge on international flights. Alan Joyce said it was too early to consider any changes to present fuel surcharges on international flights, despite the fact they had not changed since March 2012, in spite of the fact oil prices had been at record levels.
Historically the airline has always proven to be more profitable in the first half of the year, but with no sign of rising fuel prices, optimism reigns for an equally profitable second half of the year. Joyce would not provide full-year profit forecasts, citing oil price fluctuations, however he is reported as saying that “We are seeing a more stable operating environment in most markets. This turnaround shows our strategy is working.” Qantas’ Chief Financial Officer, Gareth Evans, indicated savings in the second half of the year should be at least AU$300m.