Alaska Airlines announces nearly $1.2bn in debt financing

US carrier Alaska Airlines announced that it raised approximately $1.2bn in debt financing amid the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The carrier will use the funding to strengthen its financial position and balance liquidity amount.

Alaska Airlines chief financial officer and finance EVP Shane Tackett said: “We are proud of what our people have built at Alaska.”

Airline El Al secures $400m in bailout deal from Israel Government

Israeli airline EI Al secured $400m in a bailout deal from the Israeli Government.

The carrier had been struggling to deal with the financial troubles.

EI Al stopped operations and suspended passenger flights in response to the outbreak. It grounded 45 aircraft with 95% of the workforce on unpaid leave.

European Commission approves €3.4bn Dutch aid measure to KLM

The European Commission granted a €3.4bn Dutch aid measure to Netherlands network airline KLM.

The aid consists of a subordinated loan by the Dutch State and a state guarantee on loans from a consortium of banks.

It was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework adopted by EC on 19 March.

UAE successfully launches first mission to Mars

The UAE successfully launched the country’s first interplanetary spacecraft called Hope.

The Mars orbiter took off on a Mitsubishi H-IIA booster from the Tanegashima Space Centre in Japan.

The Emirates Mars Mission was initially set for launch on 14 July but was rescheduled due to bad weather.

EAG unveils design for hybrid electric regional aircraft

UK-based engineering and development company Electric Aviation Group (EAG) unveiled the design for a hybrid electric regional aircraft (HERA).

The design is expected to serve as a blueprint for sustainable mass air transport.

With more than 70 seats, the HERA aircraft is expected to enter commercial service by 2028.

HKATG deploys Lobster Eye X-ray Explorer through Long March-4B rocket

The Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group (HKATG) successfully deployed space exploration satellite into orbit.

The Lobster Eye X-ray Explorer satellite was launched on board the Long March-4B carrier rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre.

Considered to be the world’s first space exploration satellite to leverage X-ray technology with lobster-eye optics, the Lobster Eye X-ray Explorer marks the first cooperation between mainland China and Hong Kong in the space exploration realm through a commercial approach.

Hughes agrees in principle to invest in OneWeb consortium

Broadband satellite networks and services provider Hughes Network Systems (Hughes) announced its participation in the UK Government-led consortium and Bharti Enterprises, which will acquire bankrupt satellite operator OneWeb.

Hughes agreed in principle to invest $50m in the consortium.

The company will continue to serve as a technology and distribution partner to OneWeb, which is a low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite operator.

Indian carrier SpiceJet to operate first long-haul flight to Amsterdam

Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet is set to operate its maiden long haul flight to Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 1 August.

The carrier will operate the flight between Amsterdam, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in India to repatriate Indians.

Last week, SpiceJet was selected to operate charter flight services to the UK and US from India.

Nasa set to launch next-generation robotic rover to Mars

US space agency Nasa was all set to launch the next-generation Perseverance rover from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, US, on its ambitious mission to Mars.

Built to deploy a mini helicopter, the six-wheeled robot will be launched on board the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

The Perseverance rover is expected to land at the base of a 250m crater called Jezero next February.

Amazon plans to invest more than $10bn on LEO satellite constellation

E-commerce retail company Amazon revealed plans to invest more than $10bn for the development of the LEO satellite constellation.

The announcement came as the company secured approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with a 5-0 vote to deploy and operate the constellation of 3,236 satellites.

The Project Kuiper initiative will deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband to areas that cannot be reached by traditional fibre or wireless networks.