CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. aviation contractors laid off thousands of workers due to delays in payroll aid from the U.S. Treasury that was meant to protect jobs, an investigation by a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee found.

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), companies in the aviation sector were granted funds to cover six months of their payroll as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a precipitous decline in air travel.

The legislation banned any job cuts through September, and requires the U.S. Department of the Treasury to begin distributing funds to eligible companies within 10 days of the law’s approval on March 27.

But an investigation by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis found that top contractors did not receive the money until months later, resulting in more than 16,500 layoffs and furloughs at 15 companies, more than 15% of the aviation contractor workforce.

“Had Treasury met the deadline set by Congress, many of these jobs would have been preserved,” the report said.

Treasury did not immediately comment.

Among the top seven contractors, Swissport waited 99 days before its payroll support agreement with Treasury was finalized, Gate Gourmet 78 days and Flying Food Fare 74 days, leading to nearly 12,000 layoffs and furloughs at those three companies alone.

The companies still received the full amount of federal aid based on their pre-pandemic workforce, even though they had laid off many of those workers, the report said.

Swissport, Gate Gourmet and Flying Food Fare did not immediately comment.

Aviation contractors were awarded $3 billion under the first CARES Act and could see those funds extended for another six months if Congress passes a second stimulus package.

The report recommends another round of aid but said layoffs should be prohibited until a company uses all of

Kenn Ricci, the principal of Directional Aviation says, he is looking to make some deals in excess of $100 million. His focus is electric aviation, sustainable aviation, and other emerging technologies.

Directional’s OneSky Flight unit houses Flexjet, the number two seller of fractional private jet shares, Sentient Jet, the company that invented jet cards, and PrivateFly, an on-demand charter broker focused on Europe and international markets. All three came via acquisitions over the past decade. More recently, OneSky launched a premium on-demand brokerage, FXAIR.

Ricci has created a special purpose acquisition company as his vehicle and is targeting larger acquisitions than in the past, according to an interview with Corporate Jet Investor. A spokesperson confirmed the contents of the report.

“We typically have around $30 million to invest in equity in each new company. With leverage we can make that up to around $100 million or $150 million…There are private equity companies interested in several billion-dollar companies, but there is a gap between what we do and what the large funds are doing. That is why we have filed for a SPAC,” he told the U.K.-based aviation journal.

Directional’s holdings also include Nextant Aerospace, which remanufactures private aircraft, Constant Aviation, a MRO, Sojourn Aviation, an aircraft sales and brokerage company, and Simcom, which provides pilot training, among others.

MORE FROM FORBESMeet The Jetsons: Why You Soon Might Be Flying To The Office

The website of the Security and Exchange Commission shows a filing registering Zanite Acquisition Corporation was made on Sept. 4, 2020.

It’s the third SPAC related to private aviation filed in the last 45 days. In August, Surf Air said it intended to go

By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) – Honeywell Aerospace <HON.N> on Tuesday cut its outlook for business jet deliveries, but held out hope that most future orders would escape the punishing effect of the COVID-19 crisis that has battered the aviation sector.

Honeywell’s 2020 business aviation outlook forecasts up to 7,300 new business jet deliveries worth $235 billion from 2021 to 2030, down 4% from the same 10-year forecast a year ago.

Yet 80% of business jet operators surveyed in the outlook say their aircraft purchase plans have not been affected by COVID-19, it said.

Corporate planemakers like Canada’s Bombardier Inc <BBDb.TO>, U.S.-based General Dynamics Corp’s <GD.N> Gulfstream Aerospace, and France’s Dassault Aviation SA <AVMD.PA> are closely watching to see if a summer rebound in corporate flights will last and generate demand for new aircraft.

“We are seeing corporate customers expressing interest in growing their fleets so they can fly more executives and others privately, to safeguard employees’ health and prevent disruptions to their business,” Scott Neal, Gulfstream’s senior vice president of worldwide sales, said by email.

Private flights, which carry smaller groups and promise wealthy passengers less risk of exposure to the coronavirus, have generally fared better than those of commercial airlines, with operators like NetJets and VistaJet reporting improved demand this summer.

Still, many forecasters remain cautious about the business jet market with deliveries expected to decline by 25% to 30% in 2020 due to the pandemic. The industry, which delivered 809 business jets in 2019, has still not recovered since its peak of 1,317 deliveries in 2008, analyst Brian Foley said.

Honeywell’s outlook expects new aircraft deliveries to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by the middle of the decade.

Honeywell, a supplier to the aviation industry, expects business jet usage to recover to 2019 levels by the second half

On Thursday, Bombardier announced the dismissal of Aviation unit President David Coleal and the elimination of the position, saying that it simplifies the corporate leadership structure. While the move caught many off guard, it’s not surprising for a company dealing with a plethora of simultaneous challenges.

The announcement comes on the heels of Spirit AeroSystems’
SPR
warning last week that it was uncertain about closing on its $500 million acquisition of Bombardier’s aerospace structures plants in Northern Ireland and Morocco. The sale of Bombardier’s rail division is still expected to close in the first quarter of next year, but not before buyer Alstom used Bombardier’s position of weakness to write itself a nearly billion dollar discount from its original offer. Fortunately, the sale of its CRJ Series aircraft program to Mitsubishi closed in June.

Through divestitures, Bombardier has now whittled itself down to a pure-play business jet manufacturer, the timing of which could not be worse. Business jet deliveries fell 26.7% in the first half this year compared to the same period in 2019, driven by Covid-19 factory and supplier disruptions. It’s anticipated that by year-end, 2020 will be below the previous year by a similar percentage due to soft jet sales.

Bombardier has historically been the most undisciplined manufacturer when it comes to heavily discounting newly built unsold airplanes known as white tails. Cash flow and holding cost avoidance trump profit margins. This now predictable reaction causes consternation for its competitors — General Dynamic’s
GD
Gulfstream, Dassault, Textron’s
TXT
Cessna, and Embraer — who tend to exercise more fiscal restraint. Bombardier’s actions erodes the industry’s pricing power, which can take years to recover to previous levels.

This cycle has already begun, with its latest, top-of-the line, brand-new Global 6500 and Global 7500 business jets available for immediate delivery. The

Starr Insurance Companies today announced the appointment of Andy Trundle as head of global aviation. Mr. Trundle is responsible for shaping the strategies to drive profitable growth for the division across all aspects of Starr’s aviation portfolio, including airlines, general aviation, light aviation and aerospace.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200929005039/en/

Andy Trundle, Head of Global Aviation (Photo: Business Wire)

Mr. Trundle joined Starr in 2017 as global head of airlines. With more than 35 years of aviation experience, he began his career as an airline underwriter and throughout his professional career held a range of underwriting leadership roles. Since joining Starr, Andy has been a driving force behind the company’s efforts to be seen as the world’s premier provider of aviation insurance not only as measured by volume, but also service levels, innovation and customer satisfaction.

“Having someone with Andy’s experience and expertise keeps Starr on track to expand the aviation division and strengthen our relationships with clients and brokers,” said Maurice R. Greenberg, Starr Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “His success in running our airline business has been an important factor in establishing Starr as a global leader in the aviation insurance market.”

Mr. Trundle will report to Steve Blakey, President, Starr Insurance Companies.

About Starr Insurance Companies

Starr Insurance Companies (or Starr) is a marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C. V. Starr & Co., Inc. and its subsidiaries. Starr is a leading insurance and investment organization with a presence on six continents; through its operating insurance companies, Starr provides property, casualty, and accident and health insurance products as well as a range of specialty coverages including aviation, marine, energy and excess casualty insurance. Starr’s