Loft Orbital signs an agreement with Airbus for the acquisition of more than 15 satellite platforms – 01/14/2022 at 11:52

(AOF) – Airbus has been selected to provide the space start-up Loft Orbital with more than fifteen satellite platforms derived from the Arrow platform, the founding platform of the OneWeb satellite constellation, developed by Airbus. 394 Airbus Arrow platforms are in orbit within this constellation and 254 others are in production to complete the 648 satellites required by OneWeb. Loft Orbital confirms with this acquisition its intention to make the Airbus Arrow platform a real workhorse to offer its business model of services.


=/ Key points /=

-Aeronautical manufacturer co-world leader with Boeing, born in 1949 under the name Aérospatiale, diversified into satellites;

– Turnover of €49.9 billion, drawn from civil aircraft at 67%, defense & space activities at 21% and helicopters at 12%;

– Order book of €373 billion, 29% from Asia-Pacific, 30% from Europe, 21% from North America, 9% from the Middle East and 5% from Latin America;

– Business model of offering safe and environmentally friendly aeronautical and space solutions, with a strong commitment to society and public services;

– Open capital with strong positions from the French, German (11% each) and Spanish (4%) States, the 9-member Board of Directors being chaired by René Obermann, Guillaume Faury being Chief Executive Officer;

– Financial situation supported by public finances, cash at the end of June amounting to nearly €34 billion.

=/ Issues /=

– “Next chapter” initiative based on 3 pillars -simplify, strengthen and grow- and aim to create a more profitable, more resilient and leading company in the decarbonization of the industry;

– Innovation strategy integrated into the business model and supported by €2.9 billion in R&D:

– “Fast-Track” roadmap prioritizing electrification, industrial systems, connectivity, autonomy, hardware and artificial intelligence,

– “CRT” organization focused on disruptive technologies, associated with external partnerships,

– structuring: E-Fan Family, ATTOL Fello’Fly, ACIC, TELEO, .ACUBED, BIZ Lab…;

– Environmental strategy with the ambition to become No. 1 in carbon-free aviation:

– design of a “ZEROe” aircraft with hybrid-hydrogen fuel,

– integration into the reporting of emissions emitted by customers,

– launch of 2 hydrogen engine development centers in France and Germany,

– High5+ initiative to reduce emissions and waste during the production process;

– Ramp-up of A320 Family and A350 freighters.

=/ Challenges /=

– Expectation for 2023, or even 2025, of the resumption of air traffic at 2019 levels;

– Market sensitivity to order intake, type A321 by Delta Airlines;

– Evolution of the legal file opposing the group to the German OHB;

– Impact of the pandemic: 30% increase in turnover at the end of June and return to net profitability -€2.2 billion-, boosted by the rebound in sales in civil aeronautics;

– 2021 objectives, statements: delivery of 600 civil aircraft, operating profit of €4.5 billion and free cash flow of €2.5 billion;

– Abolition of the 2020 dividend

The long road to the aircraft of the future

European Commissioner Thierry Breton wants to launch an alliance for “zero emission aviation”, in order to prepare the necessary investments, identify possible obstacles and promote public-private partnerships. This alliance would be part of the European “Destination 2050” roadmap, with in particular the commitment to reduce CO2 emissions from air transport by 50%. The launch by Airbus of a first “zero emission” airliner from 2035 will be one of the flagship projects. A clear framework for the use of commercial aircraft operating with 100% fuels derived from biomass, known as biofuel, or hydrogen must be established. According to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the aircraft are currently only certified to fly with 50% biofuel.

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