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>> Lufthansa, not Qatar, to be Airbus A320neo launch operator

NewspictureAirbus is making a last-minute swap and now plans to deliver the first Airbus A320neo to Lufthansa, not to Qatar Airways.

According to industry sources, the change was made because of operational restrictions that are still in place for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine, pending some hardware and software changes. Pratt is working on hardware changes to the bearing of the engine shaft and a software update. Until those changes are made, the engine has to run in idle for 3 min. following startup. The aircraft cannot taxi under its own power until the 3 min. have elapsed.

According to the sources, Qatar Airways has told Airbus that it is not prepared to take the aircraft under these circumstances, and will not do so until the restrictions are lifted. Changes are expected to be implemented within a matter of weeks.

Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr confirmed to ATW’s sister publication Aviation Daily that his airline has agreed, in principle, to take the first A320neo. Some regulatory issues have to be sorted out and the airline expects to be financially compensated for the operational restrictions that are in place for now. The negotiations could, therefore, still fail. However, if the two sides come to an agreement, the first A320neo is now expected to be delivered to Lufthansa from Hamburg-Finkenwerder on Dec. 22, which would enable Airbus to stick to its target of delivering the first aircraft before the end of the year.

Lufthansa plans to introduce the first A320neo into revenue service on Jan. 6. Because of the limitations to the engine it plans to deploy it on the Frankfurt-Hamburg route initially—it has large maintenance bases on both ends of it. The airline plans to take five A320neos in 2016.

Qatar Airways is now planned to become the second A320neo operator, followed by Indian low-cost carrier Indigo.

Lufthansa has ordered 101 A320neo-family aircraft. Qatar Airways has ordered a combined 50 A320neos and A321neos. Indigo is the largest single customer for the aircraft, with orders for 430 aircraft.

While Pratt & Whitney did not address the specific engine issues directly, it says both it and Airbus “are working very closely with Qatar Airways. We are excited that Qatar selected the Geared Turbofan engine to power their A320neo aircraft and we appreciate their business. Along with Airbus, we are continuing to work with early customers on the first delivery of the aircraft. The team is on track to deliver the first A320neo this year.”

The engine-maker adds that “our engines and the aircraft are certified and are ready for delivery to customers this year. Our GTF engine’s technology is meeting or exceeding performance requirements on fuel burn, noise and emissions and is ready to enter service at this time.” The three PW1100G-powered A320neo flight-test aircraft accumulated over 1,070 flight hours in more than 350 flights prior to aircraft certification.

The PW1100G-powered A320neo was certified close to schedule at the end of November, despite a number of engine-related issues during the flight-test program. Following the start of flight tests in September 2014, the first known issue developed in April 2015, following a bird strike on the first aircraft, MSN6101. Post-incident inspections unearthed a problem with a seal-retaining snap ring component buried so deep in the core that it required engine removal and replacement. The aircraft was subsequently grounded for four months, and only resumed flights in September.

The second test-aircraft, MSN6286, meanwhile joined the program in March 2015 but was also grounded through May, June and the majority of July while the same engine issue was corrected. Despite the recent certification, the second aircraft continues to fly, most recently conducting test and training missions around northern and western France. A third test aircraft—which was largely dedicated to building up hours on simulated airline-type operations—is also continuing to fly. Through early December, it has been flying medium-range flights from France to Spain and Finland.

Additional issues hit the PW1100G in October, when the first Pratt & Whitney-powered aircraft was completing hot-weather tests in Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates. Although the aircraft performed well during the tests, Pratt made the decision to remove one of the engines as a precautionary move, after borescope inspections showed evidence of minor rubbing between the blades of the high-pressure compressor and the compressor wall. The aircraft diverted to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, and remained there for 11 days while a new engine was fitted. This aircraft also continues in test and is currently conducting high altitude takeoff and landing performance work in El Alto, Bolivia.



>> Boeing Completes Detailed Design for the 787-10 Dreamliner

NewspictureEVERETT, Wash., Dec. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed detailed design for the 787–10 Dreamliner, achieving another major milestone in the development of the newest and longest member of the 787 family. Boeing engineers reached the key milestone nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.

The milestone is critical to every development program because it means the information needed to build parts and tools for assembly has been completed and released for fabrication or procurement. Major assembly of the 787–10 will begin in 2016, followed by first flight in 2017 and first delivery in 2018.

“With the 787–10, we are building upon our experience and the 787–9 design itself to create this newest member of the super-efficient 787 family,” said Ken Sanger, vice president of 787 Airplane Development. “Through our dedicated team and our disciplined processes, we have optimized the design for the needs of the market and are excited as we look forward to production.”

As a straightforward stretch of the 787–9, which entered service in 2014, Boeing designed the 787–10 for superior efficiency as well as maximum commonality. Ninety-five percent of the design and build of the 787–10 and 787–9 will be identical, reducing complexity, cost and risk across the production system and providing operational benefits to customers.

The 787–10 is the third and longest member of the 787 family. With a range of 6,430 nautical miles (11,910 km), the 787–10 will cover more than 90 percent of the world’s twin-aisle routes at a whole new level of fuel efficiency: 25 percent more fuel efficient than the airplanes it will replace and at least 10 percent better than anything offered by the competition for the future.

To date, the 787–10 has logged 164 orders from nine customers around the world, accounting for 14 percent of all 787 orders.


Julie O’Donnell
787 Airplane Development Communications


© Boeing


>> Bombardier CS100 Completes Certification Flight Test Program

NewspictureBombardier has confirmed today that the CSeries (CS100) aircraft has completed the program’s overall testing, marking the end of a turbulent 26-month phase of flight trials. Concurrently, the manufacturer is readying the submission of the remaining Type Certificate documentation for Transport Canada approval, prior to start the deliveries to its customers.

“We are executing to plan and are in the final stage before obtaining the CS100 Type Certificate from Transport Canada,” said Fred Cromer, President, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “I heartily congratulate the many employees, suppliers and customers that have worked together to bring us all to this important milestone.”

Much hard work lies ahead though. Bombardier has the challenge to prove that it can build the CSeries without the missteps that derailed its development program, which caused massive delays and cost overruns.

Completing the testing campaign of the CS100, the first version to enter into service with Swiss International Air Lines, is a major milestone for Bombardier, as it is looking for to level the competitive regional jet aircraft market, dominated by Embraer, and with new incomers such as SuperJet International and Mitsubishi Aircraft.

After reaching parity with Embraer in the 70 – 100 seat market with its CRJ product line, Bombardier placed a major bet on the CSeries to do the same in the 110–130 seat segment. So far, booking orders stands at 243 for both CS100 (53 aircraft) and the larger CS300 variant (190 units).



>> Dubai Airshow: Rolls-Royce sets sights on providing fuel-efficient engine for Airbus A380

NewspictureRolls-Royce sees an opportunity to provide a more fuel-efficient engine for the Airbus A380, the world’s largest airplane, once its manufacturer and its biggest operator, Emirates, move forward on the aircraft’s future.

The British engine maker in April won a US$9.2 billion (Dh33.8bn) contract with Emirates to build engines for 50 A380s. The delivery of the first aircraft is scheduled for late next year.

Emirates presently operates a fleet of 65 superjumbos, with more than 70 more on order. But Tim Clark, the airline’s president, is pushing for an even more fuel-efficient model of the A380. He had signalled that he was ready to buy a further 200 planes if a more fuel-efficient model is introduced.

Fuel is the largest component of an airline’s cost and makes up 28 per cent of Emirates’s operating cost, according to its latest financial statement.

Talks regarding a more fuel-efficient version of the Airbus A380 come as Airbus is facing a lack of new customers for its flagship aircraft. Last year, it signalled the possibility of discontinuing the A380 programme beyond 2020 without fresh orders.

“If Emirates and Airbus come to a decision regarding the Neo [the more fuel-efficient version], we have a number of engine options that could be available,” said John Gay, Rolls-Royce’s regional director for the Middle East, at the Dubai Airshow. “We invest billion pounds a year on research and development. This is all about staying ahead of competition and having products available for the air framers and the airlines to stay competitive,” he said.

Fabrice Bregier, the chief executive of Airbus, said this week that he was in talks with Emirates regarding a Neo version of the A380, but the manufacturer first had to find more customers for the aircraft. Mr Bregier also said there was “no urgency” about introducing the Neo for the double-decker plane because fuel prices are currently low.

Mr Gay said there was another opportunity for Rolls-Royce following Emirates’s decision to either order the Airbus A350-900 or the Boeing 787-10 aircraft. Emirates had said it was looking to place an order for about 100 long-range planes but it was still deciding between the Airbus and Boeing models.

“If it is the Airbus A350, we are exclusive on the A350 engine, if it is the Boeing 787, we will offer the Trent 1000 engine,” said Mr Gay.

According to Rolls-Royce, it has a 52 per cent share of the new engines for all wide-body aircraft on order from the Middle East.

Yesterday, the company said its earnings next year would be hit by a £650 million (Dh3.6bn) “headwind” as demand weakens for business-jet engines and maintenance services for older wide-body models.

© | Shereen El Gazzar


>> Boeing’s Muilenburg Rebuts Talk of Widebody Bubble

NewspictureIn an apparent effort to ease investor anxiety about the potential for a so-called widebody “bubble,” Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg insisted that 777 production rates would not drop below seven per month during the transition from the current model to the new 777X. Speaking Wednesday during his company’s third-quarter earnings call with securities analysts, Muilenburg cited factors such as “pulling ahead” automation to help build a bridge from the current 777 to first delivery of the 777X-9 in 2020. Now building 777s at a rate of 8.3 per month, Boeing estimates it will need to sell between 40 and 60 of the big twinjets a year to ensure the smooth transition it says it expects to execute. So far this year collecting firm orders for 44 of the current widebodies, the company reported that it has sold out its complement of 2016 delivery slots and roughly half of its slots for 2017.

“There’s been a lot of conversation about what the shape of that transition might be,” said Muilenburg. “We’re factoring in market demand [and] some uncertainty around cargo recovery…frankly, some uncertainty around Ex-Im Bank reauthorization. Those are some factors that can cause some customers to delay decisions on widebodies. So we’re mindful of that…We don’t see any scenarios where we would come down below a seven a month production rate during the transition.”

Muilenburg rebutted a recent assertion by Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson that widebody prices will fall precipitously due to an oversupply not unlike that experienced in the real estate market starting some nine years ago, potentially resulting in ten-year-old 777s selling for as little as $10 million. “I’ll say that just based on our understanding of the marketplace and what we understand from our customers, that number is on the wrong order of magnitude,” said Muilenburg. “Frankly, the value of the 777 is holding up very well in the marketplace. It is a unique airplane, and in that 365-seat category there is no competing airplane out there; it’s a unique value proposition.”

The Boeing CEO did acknowledge that the company would likely “fire blanks” down the 777 line during its so-called Lean implementation, and that it would need to commit some of the airplanes on the line in 2018 and 2019 to flight testing. However, he insisted the numbers of airplanes not immediately assigned to customer delivery wouldn’t account for an inordinate or unusual portion of the overall number.

Muilenburg’s confidence in a smooth transition appears largely grounded in the company’s ability to apply automation into the 777’s fuselage build. In fact, he reported that Boeing concluded final testing and began implementing the 777’s Fuselage Automated Upright Build (FAUB) process during the third quarter. The new machinery employs automated guided robots designed by KUKA Robotics to drill and fill some 60,000 fasteners that attach the panels that comprise the 777’s forward and aft body sections.

The new process will use automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to move the components of FAUB into position, including work stands, fuselages and the robotic arms that drill and insert fasteners. The robots, positioned inside and outside the fuselage, not only drill the holes, but also act as a bucking bar and perform dynamic riveting.

© | by Gregory Polek


>> Airbus delivers Finnair's first A350

NewspictureAirbus has formally handed over a first A350 to the widebody twinjet type's first European operator, Finnair.

The Helsinki-based Oneworld carrier has ordered a total of 19 baseline A350-900s. Three more are to be delivered by year-end, seven in 2016-17, and the other eight by 2023, Finnair says.

Regular passenger flights are to begin on 9 October, with the aircraft being used initially on European routes, to Amsterdam and Oslo, for crew familiarisation.

On 21 November, Finnair will deploy the type for its first long-haul service to Shanghai. The A350 will be the "backbone" of the carrier's network expansion strategy to Asian destinations, says Finnair.

"With the A350, we get the fleet that our strategy requires, and we can start building our growth," says chief executive Pekka Vauramo.

Finnair aims for its Asian traffic in 2020 to be double that of 2010.

The twinjet's introduction is also set to double the airline's cargo capacity by 2020, which the carrier says is central to its network expansion.

Today, its long-haul fleet comprises eight A330-300s and seven A340-300s, Flightglobal's Fleets Analyzer database shows. Its short-haul fleet consists of 30 A320-family aircraft.

Finnair has configured the A350 to accommodate 297 passengers: 46 in business class, 43 in premium economy and 208 in economy. The business-class seats were manufactured by Zodiac Seats France and those in the economy sections by Zodiac Seats US, Fleets Analyzer shows.

Cabin features include wi-fi internet access, LED cabin lighting that can create a range of effects – including one mimicking the Northern Lights – and a dedicated lavatory for females travelling in business class. The interior has been designed by Finnish agency Dsign Vertti Kivi & Co.

Finnair commercial chief Juha Jarvinen says the interior and cabin service, plus a new "revolutionary" Panasonic IFE system, will provide passengers with a "unique Nordic experience".

© | Michael Gubisch


>> Boeing Announces “India’s Time to Fly” Aerospace Innovation Summit

NewspictureNew Delhi, Sept. 18, 2015 – Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay will convene a summit on aerospace innovation in New Delhi on Oct. 16, 2015.

Bringing together thought leaders and stakeholders from government, industry, academia and research institutions, the summit will focus on India’s role in the second century of aerospace by exploring ideas that are redefining the future of aerospace and examining the transformative nature of new technologies in space and aviation.

The event is part of a special series of forums and celebrations Boeing is organizing around the world as it approaches its centennial in 2016. The Boeing story began in 1916 after Bill Boeing flew in a barnstormer’s floatplane over Lake Washington, later remarking, “I think we can build a better one.”

“As we look to our second century in business, it is clear that India has the talent, technology and entrepreneurial resources to play a pivotal role in the evolution of the aerospace industry,” said Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney, who will participate in the summit. “Boeing is working with local companies to help strengthen all aspects of the Indian aerospace industry, including manufacturing, sourcing, engineering, and research and development.”

Government, industry and academia, added McNerney, play a central role in spurring innovation while helping to shape economic and business environments around the world.

Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India, said that with India’s aerospace sector ready to take off, New Delhi provides the perfect place to exchange ideas such as India’s disruptive technological innovation; how to create an aerospace environment to realize the full potential of “Make in India;” how space exploration will continue to change life on Earth; and, finally, what it takes to create a highly skilled aerospace manufacturing workforce.

“We are thrilled to convene this summit in India to accelerate the development of the aerospace sector, which is critical for meeting objectives of the ‘Make in India’ program and harnessing India’s full potential for aerospace and defense,” said Kumar.

Additional details, including speakers, topics and logistics, will be announced next month.

About The Boeing Company

Boeing is the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners, military aircraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, satellites, launch vehicles and advanced information and communication systems. Boeing has a 100-year tradition of aerospace leadership and innovation, and continues to expand its product line and services to meet emerging customer needs. A committed partner – contributing to India’s commercial air connectivity and defense modernization – Boeing is accelerating its engagement with India and catalyzing the development of its aerospace ecosystem. Further collaboration in manufacturing, innovation and skill-development will ensure solid growth in India, as Boeing accomplishes its century in aerospace innovation. For more information, visit



>> Airbus starts production of the first A330neo

NewspictureAirbus’ first A330neo is coming to life one year after the programme was launched, with the first 'cutting of metal' underway at its production facilities in Toulouse and Nantes. Machining of the first engine pylon started during the summer at Airbus’ facility in Saint-Eloi (Toulouse), while Airbus’ Plant in Nantes began production of the first A330neo centre wing box.

The first A330neo Centre Wing Box rib 1 produced in Nantes uses an innovative Isogrid design with 330 triangular pockets which enables the part to meet all our rigidity, strength and low weight requirements.

The all-new pylon produced in Saint-Eloi is a key element in the A330neo’s innovative design, attaching the latest generation, fuel-efficient Trent 7000 engines to the wings. Made out of light weight titanium, the A330neo pylon uses cutting-edge aerodynamics, materials and design technologies derived from the A350 XWB. The A330neo pylon will be fitted with a new A350 XWB inspired fairing made from composite materials and titanium for ensuring optimised aerodynamics.

The A330-800neo and the A330-900neo are two new members of the Airbus Widebody Family with first deliveries scheduled to start in Q4 2017. The A330neo incorporates latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the unbeatable economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will also benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and of course all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family.



>> IndiGo Firms Up 250 A320neo Aircraft Airbus’ Largest Order By Number

NewspictureIndia’s largest domestic airline by market share, IndiGo celebrated their 9th birthday by firming up their last year’s commitment and ordering 250 Airbus A320neo Family aircraft. This historic aircraft purchase agreement was signed on the 69th Independence Day of India on August 15th.

Aditya Ghosh, President of IndiGo said, “This new order further reaffirms IndiGo’s commitment to the long-term development of affordable air transportation in India and overseas. The additional fuel efficient A320neo aircraft will enable us to continue to bring our low fares and courteous, hassle free service to more customers and markets and will create more job opportunities and growth. The IndiGo team is even more energized and excited than ever before to herald this new phase of our growth for many years to come.”

IndiGo placed an order in 2005 for 100 A320s which have all now been delivered. In 2011 IndiGo became the first Indian operator to commit to the A320neo bringing their total to 280 Airbus aircraft. With this announcement, IndiGo has ordered 530 A320 Family aircraft with Airbus.

“It fills us with pride that IndiGo, India’s largest airline and one of the early launch customers for the A320neo, is coming back for more of our benchmark aircraft. This order confirms the A320 Family as the airliner of choice in the most dynamic aviation growth markets. We thank IndiGo and its Co-Founders, Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia for their tremendous vote of confidence,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers.

The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings from day one and 20 per cent by 2020. This is equivalent to a reduction of 5,000 tons of CO2 per aircraft per year.

The A320 Family is single aisle aircraft line with over 11,800 orders to date and more than 6,600 aircraft delivered to 400 customers and operators worldwide. With this order the A320neo order backlog is catapulted to over 4100 aircraft, clearly underpinning its market leading position.



>> IAG orders 31 widebody & single aisle aircraft

NewspictureEight A350 XWBs, three A330s, 20 A320neos for the group

International Airlines Group (IAG) has signed a firm order for 31 Airbus aircraft, which includes 11 wide-body aircraft (eight A350-900s, three A330-200s) and 20 A320neos. The A350s and A330s are slated for Iberia’s fleet modernisation and to open new long-haul routes, and the A320neos will be allocated to the group’s airlines for fleet replacement.

With this latest order for 31 aircraft IAG and its airlines have ordered a total of nearly 450 aircraft from Airbus. IAG’s airlines British Airways, Iberia and Vueling, between them operate nearly every aircraft in Airbus’ product range from the smallest single aisle A318 to the world’s largest wide-body A380.

“IAG’s additional order for A350s and A330s is very significant for us and highlights the appeal of our leading wide-body Family. It always fills us with great pride when one of our biggest and most influential customers recognises the superior operating economics and passenger experience of our aircraft”, said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers. “The repeat selection of the A320neo is also a great endorsement of the world’s preferred single aisle Family among the world’s most prestigious carriers.”

The A350 XWB is the world’s most modern and efficient aircraft family. Over 780 aircraft have been ordered and five delivered. Since entering into service in January 2015, the fleet of five A350 XWBs have demonstrated high operational reliability and passenger appeal. The A330 is one of the most popular and versatile widebody aircraft ever and has to date won over 1,500 orders, with over 1,200 delivered to some 110 operators worldwide.

The A330, the A350 XWB and A380 make up the Airbus widebody aircraft Family, which uniquely spans the 250 to over-500 seats segment.

The A320neo Family aircraft offers the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft delivering 15% fuel burn reduction at entry into service, and 20% by 2020, achieved through cabin innovations, latest engine technologies, and overall efficiency improvements. To date, the A320 Family has won more than 11,800 orders and over 6,600 aircraft delivered to more than 300 operators worldwide.



>> ROPS certified for Airbus A330 family

NewspictureAirbus has achieved EASA certification of its innovative Runway Overrun Prevention System (ROPS) technology on A330 Family aircraft. This on-board cockpit technology, which Airbus has pioneered over several years, is now certified and available on all Airbus Families.

ROPS is an alerting system which reduces exposure to runway overrun risk, and if necessary, provides active protection.

Korean Air will become the first A330 operator to implement ROPS on its A330s in service in the coming months.

This EASA certification of ROPS on the A330 marks a key milestone in making ROPS available for line-fit and retrofit to all Airbus models. ROPS was first approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the A380 in October 2009 and to date is currently in service or ordered on most of the A380 fleet. ROPS is also part of the A350 XWB’s basic configuration, and in August 2013 was also certified for the A320 Family.

Runway excursion – meaning either an aircraft veering off the side of the runway, or overrunning at the very end – remains the primary cause of civil airliner hull losses, particularly as other formerly prevalent categories of aircraft accidents have now largely been eliminated. Furthermore, various industry bodies including the EASA, NTSB, Eurocontrol and FAA recognize this and are fully behind the introduction of effective measures by commercial aviation stakeholders to eliminate the risk of runway excursions.

The Airbus-patented ROPS, certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), computes minimum realistic in-flight landing and on-ground stopping distances while comparing them to available landing distances in real time. The analyses take into account factors such as runway topography, runway condition, aircraft weight and configuration, wind and temperature.

The resulting outcome produces audio callouts and alerts for pilots, making ROPS an alerting system which assists the crew to take ‎go around decision or apply retardation means in a timely manner, reducing the risk of overrun. Notably, the benefits of ROPS are reflected favourably by insurance companies in terms of reduced premiums.

The A330 is one of the most popular widebody aircraft and has won over 1,500 orders, with over 1,200 delivered to some 110 operators worldwide, with an average operational reliability of 99.4 percent.



>> First A350 XWB for Cathay Pacific is taking shape

NewspictureAssembly of the first A350-900 for Cathay Pacific Airways is progressing well at Airbus’ A350 XWB Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse, France. Following the fuselage section joining phase, the wings, the horizontal and vertical tailplane as well as tail cone have been joined to the fuselage. Following this, the aircraft will move to the next assembly station for structural completion, ground testing and start of cabin installation.

The aircraft is scheduled for delivery early next year and will be the first of 48 A350 XWBs acquired by Cathay Pacific. Cathay Pacific’s A350 XWB fleet will include 22 A350-900s and 26 of the larger A350-1000s, for operation on long- and medium-haul services.

The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range aircraft and the latest member of the manufacturer’s leading widebody family. It is the world’s most modern and efficient aircraft in its size category and is setting new standards in terms of inflight experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness for airlines.

The A350 XWB has been especially successful in the Asia-Pacific region, where 11 major airlines have ordered a total of 244 aircraft out of the 781 total ordered so far. Cathay Pacific represents one fifth of the A350 XWB total orders from Asia-Pacific.



>> Vietnam Airlines receives first A350

NewspictureVietnam Airlines took delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 on 30 June, becoming the second operator of the type.

The carrier plans to first deploy the aircraft on the key Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City route, before moving to international services such as Hanoi-Paris, says Airbus.

The aircraft is configured with 305 seats across three classes, with 29 business, 45 premium-economy and 231 economy seats.

“Arrival of the A350 XWB marks the start of a major upgrade of our long haul fleet,” adds the airline’s executive vice-president commercial Trinh Ngoc Thanh.

“Combining the latest technologies, a wider cabin and the highest levels of comfort, the A350 XWB will enable us to fly our passengers in style whichever class of travel they choose. We are proud to be the second airline in the world to receive the A350 XWB aircraft which is a step forward that helps us to fulfil our commitment to ‘reach further’.”

Flightglobal’s Ascend Fleets database shows that the aircraft, which will be leased from AerCap, bears the registration VN-A886. Vietnam Airlines holds orders for 10 A350-900s with another four being taken from leasing companies.



>> Bombardier to display CSeries aircraft at Paris Air Show

NewspictureCS300 aircraft will participate in the flying display, and join the static display alongside the CS100 aircraft, Q400 NextGen turboprop, and CRJ1000 NextGen regional jet.

Montreal – Bombardier Commercial Aircraft will be present at the 51st International Paris Air Show by displaying in-flight and on the ground its entire family of commercial aircraft. The line-up will be led by CS100 and CS300 airliners, both models in the all-new CSeries family of aircraft.

“Bombardier arrives at the Paris Air Show at a very exciting time as we debut our CSeries family of aircraft,” said Fred Cromer, president, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “Bombardier’s ingenuity and investment in both our business and customer relationships will be available for everyone to witness at this air show.”

The CS300 aircraft will visit Bombardier’s Belfast facility in Northern Ireland on June 19, 2015, where Bombardier’s employees and partners eagerly await the arrival of the first CS300 aircraft – it will be the first time the CSeries aircraft and its Belfast-produced wing will fly on site. Following its appearance at the show, Bombardier will demonstrate the CS100 aircraft in Zurich to launch customer, SWISS, with whom it is working very closely to ensure a successful entry into service.

The four aircraft from Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s portfolio being featured on static display include the Q400 NextGen turboprop and the CRJ1000 NextGen jet regional aircraft, in addition to the CS100 and CS300 commercial aircraft. All four aircraft will be co-located on static display and the CS300 aircraft will be the highlight of the Paris Air Show flight display.

The International Paris Air Show runs from Monday, June 15, to Thursday, June 18, for trade visitors and Friday, June 19, to Sunday, June 21, for public visitors. The Bombardier chalet, adjacent to the aircraft static display and pavilion is located at #284.

© Bombardier


>> Transatlantic Expansion - Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are to expand their co-operation

NewspictureDELTA AIR LINES and Virgin Atlantic are to expand their co-operation after announcing they will fly a combined 39 return transatlantic flights a day to 15 US destinations this summer. The joint schedule includes ten daily services between London Heathrow and New York (eight to John F Kennedy and two to Newark Liberty), and three daily flights to Los Angeles, two of which will be flown by Virgin. The group is expecting to carry almost 400,000 passengers a year on the route to California, while the British carrier will open its first Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Los Angeles International Airport during May.

Joe Thompson, Director of Network and Alliances at Virgin Atlantic said: “We’re very excited to offer this range of new services and frequencies which are a further demonstration of how our joint venture partnership is benefitting customers. Both Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines put our customers at the heart of what we do. We are passionate about giving them the best flying experience possible and we look forward to welcoming passengers on board.”

The new schedule will also see a transfer of operations between the two airlines, with Virgin taking over Delta’s Manchester to Atlanta service and Delta flying a former Virgin link from Heathrow to Newark.

© | Craig West


>> Avolon sees Airbus ‘keen’ on order for longer-range A321neo

NewspictureAvolon believes Airbus is "keen" on the Irish lessor ordering the longer-range A321neo model.

The European manufacturer launched the 97t version in January and unveiled Air Lease as the first customer, the US lessor have signed a tentative agreement to take 30.

Seating 206 passengers, the aircraft will have up to three auxiliary fuel tanks, giving a potential range of 4,000nm.

Avolon has 20 A320neos on order, along with 10 Boeing 737 Max 8 and 10 Max 9 narrowbodies.

Asked if Avolon had conversion rights for the A321LR model, commercial chief John Higgins replied: “We don’t comment on the specifics, but when we did our order, the A321LR was not a specific variant that was operable. But I will share with you that Airbus are very keen for us to order that airplane.”

Higgins says Avolon has a dialogue with Airbus and Boeing on a 757 replacement.

“It is actually a broader aircraft discussion that that,” he adds, recalling that there was about 1,000 757s produced during that type’s lifecycle.

Higgins says the discussion is not about “operators out there” but is concerned instead with market size.

"What we’re focused on is what is the scale of that market, how big a market is that, and does it sustain or would it sustain the production of a specific airplane type to support that?

“Would that, for example, be a single-aisle airplane such as the A321LR or could it be perhaps what’s referred to as a light twin? We are in deep dialogue with both of the manufacturers in relation to that. But I wouldn’t expect there to be an action out of that over the next, really, 12 to 24 months.”



>> Airbus Selects Korean Air Aerospace to manufacture Sharklet wingtips for the A330neo Family

NewspictureKorean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD), the aerospace manufacturing division of the Korean Air Group, has been selected by Airbus to supply new Sharklet wingtip devices including a wingspan extension for the A330neo – the new variant of the best-selling A330 Family of widebody aircraft.

Under the terms of the agreement, KAL-ASD will manufacture the new composite wingtip devices at its Busan facility in South Korea, and supply them to the A330 Family final assembly line in Toulouse. Inspired by the curved wingtips on the A350 XWB, the A330neo’s devices will increase overall wingspan from 60.3m of today’s A330ceo to 64m while conferring increased lift with reduced drag.

Along with the A330neo’s latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, these new wingtips plus other aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features will enable the aircraft to achieve an overall 14% reduction in fuel burn per seat compared with A330ceos in service today. The application of these incremental innovations will not only make the A330neo the most cost-efficient widebody in its size category, but will also allow operators to benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles while giving operators all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family. Deliveries of the A330neo will start in Q4 2017.

KAL-ASD is a long-term industrial partner of Airbus, with a relationship dating back more than 25 years. Today KAL-ASD manufactures and supplies parts for various Airbus programmes including the Sharklets for the best-selling A320 Family, fuselage skin panels and floor assemblies for the A330 Family and the composite cargo doors for the A350 XWB.

The A330 Family, which has now attracted more than 1,500 orders, is serving over 100 operators worldwide who continue to benefit from numerous on-going product enhancements. This family is part of the world’s most modern and comprehensive widebody product line, which also includes the larger A350 XWB and double deck A380. Together, the various family members and type variants efficiently cover all airline widebody requirements for regional, medium and long-haul operations, seating from 250 to over 500 passengers and sharing unique levels of operational commonality.



>> FedEx Seeks To Acquire TNT, Enlarge its European Presence

NewspictureFedEx said that it has reached a conditional agreement to acquire package delivery company TNT Express of The Netherlands for $4.8 billion, a purchase that would give the U.S. company a much stronger presence in Europe. The proposed transaction calls for a divestment in TNT’s air carrier operations.

The deal comes as Europe’s air cargo market continues to stagnate even as the world’s air freight segment continues on an upward trajectory since early 2013. This past February Europe saw a year-over-year increase in freight ton miles of only 1.1 percent, compared with 11.7 percent increase in global traffic. Although the International Air Transport Association attributed much of the global improvement to demand associated with the Lunar New Year, the effects of Russian sanctions and the European recession continued to weigh on the region’s performance while markets such as North America and the Middle East enjoy a healthy rebound.

In a joint press release on April 7, FedEx and TNT Express said the transaction will promote competition in Europe to the benefit of customers, adding a third major player to the express delivery marketplace with UPS and DHL. TNT currently holds the largest share (about 17 percent) of the €20 billion ($22 billion) intra-Europe business-to-business express market, according to Morningstar analyst Matthew Young.

Previously, UPS sought to purchase TNT but withdrew its offer in January 2013 after the European Commission issued a decision prohibiting the acquisition over competition concerns. At a press conference in Amsterdam, executives said they are confident that European regulatory officials will approve the FedEx acquisition, which they expect will close in the first half of 2016.

“This offer comes at a time of important transformations within TNT Express, and we were fully geared to executing our stand-alone strategy,” stated Tex Gunning, TNT Express CEO. “But while we did not solicit an acquisition, we truly believe that FedEx’s proposal, both from a financial and a non-financial view, is good news for all stakeholders.”

The transaction will require FedEx to divest TNT’s aircraft fleet, consisting of long-haul Boeing 777, 747–400, 757-PCF and 737 cargo planes and short-haul BAe 146–200 and –300 jets. The Dutch company reports operating 54 total aircraft. “The law is very clear. We are not allowed to own the airline,” a FedEx executive told reporters in Amsterdam. “We have identified some candidates and we’re going to start talking to them shortly.” Where permitted, however, FedEx said that it intends to transition TNT’s intercontinental air operations to its own.

The European regional headquarters of the combined companies would remain in Hoofddorp, outside of Amsterdam, and TNT’s hub in Liege, Belgium, would be maintained as a significant operation. The companies said they will “cooperate to avoid any significant redundancies in the global or Dutch work forces.” TNT has 58,000 employees.

© | Bill Carey


>> A321 for fast-growing Vietnamese carrier VietJetAir

NewspictureAirbus has celebrated the delivery of its 9000th aircraft at a ceremony in Hamburg, Germany on 20th March 2015. The aircraft is the first A321 to be delivered to Vietnamese carrier VietJetAir and will join the carrier’s all-Airbus A320 Family fleet flying on its fast-growing Asia-Pacific network.

“The delivery of our 9000th aircraft comes as we enjoy ongoing strong demand for aircraft across our product line,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The range of aircraft we offer today is unrivalled, meeting every airline requirement from 100 to over 500 seats with maximum efficiency, uncompromised comfort and broad customer appeal.”

“We are especially pleased to be delivering today’s aircraft to VietJetAir, which is a rising star in the fast-growing Asian region. With the A321, VietJetAir will be able to increase capacity on its most popular routes while benefiting from the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft.”

“We are excited to be adding the A321 to our fleet today as we continue to develop our innovative value-based model in Asia-Pacific,” said Mr. Luu Duc Khanh, Managing Director of VietJetAir. “Based on our proven experience, we are confident that our decision to operate an all Airbus fleet will bring us unbeatable economies of scale while offering our passengers a comfortable travel experience. It will be a great honour for us to welcome the 9000th Airbus aircraft to its new home in sunny Vietnam.”

VietJetAir first took to the skies at the end of 2011 and now operates a fleet of 22 A320 Family aircraft on a network covering Vietnam and a growing number of destinations across Asia. The A321 delivered today is the first of seven ordered by the airline as part of a major aircraft acquisition plan for up to 100 A320 Family aircraft announced in early 2014.

Since delivering its first A300 in 1974, Airbus has developed the world’s most modern and comprehensive product line. Today this includes the market-leading single aisle A320 Family and the industry’s most extensive Widebody Family, comprising the super-efficient A330, the all-new A350 XWB and the world’s largest aircraft, the flagship double deck A380.

The 9000th delivery comes less than two years after Airbus reached its last milestone of 8000 aircraft-delivered in August 2013. Over the last 10 years, Airbus has doubled its deliveries to reach over 600 aircraft a year today – a figure that is set to rise further as the demand grows.



>> Airbus unveils first higher-weight A330-300

NewspictureAirbus has released photographs of its first higher-weight variant of its A330-300 in the colours of Delta Air Lines.

The airframer says it has rolled the aircraft out of its Toulouse paint shop about four months after the airframe entered final assembly and less than two months after making its first flight.

The higher-weight A330-300, which shares the same platform as Airbus’ in-development A330neo, has a maximum take-off weight of 242t and is powered by General Electric CF6-80E1 powerplants.

The aircraft which can fly an additional 500nm (926km) and is up to 2% more fuel efficient, can operate flights as long as 15h, Airbus says.

Delta has orders for 10 A330-300s, 25 A330-900neos and 25 A350-900s, according to Airbus.

© | Jon Hemmerdinger


>> Alaska Airlines Announces Order for Six Boeing Next-Generation 737-900ERs

NewspictureAlaska Airlines' fleet of fuel-efficient Boeing airplanes is growing with the purchase of six Boeing 737-900 Extended Range aircraft, valued at $594 million, Boeing's current list price. The new planes, four scheduled for delivery in 2016 and two in 2017, bring Alaska's total jets on order to 79.

"Alaska's confidence in the 737-900ER is something that everyone at Boeing takes great pride in," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. "As hometown partners, Alaska and Boeing have a shared vision to put the most innovative and fuel-efficient airplanes in the skies. The 737-900ER is a testament to that vision."

Alaska is transitioning to Boeing's most modern and efficient Next-Generation 737s. Over the next few years, Alaska's remaining 737-400s will be replaced with 737-900ERs, which transport 25 percent more passengers on the same amount of fuel.

"We're delighted Boeing is able to expedite delivery of four of these new 737-900ERs, increasing the number of planes we'll receive next year to 19," said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines executive vice president and chief revenue officer. "These comfortable and highly efficient jets will expand and strengthen our already leading Pacific Northwest network."

© |


>> American Airlines announces its first Boeing 787 routes

NewspictureAmerican Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) has announced it will begin domestic service with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in May and international service in June.

The 787 initially will be deployed between Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) beginning on May 7, before launching internationally between DFW and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) beginning June 2. The new aircraft will also operate between DFW and Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires beginning on June 4. American will deploy the 787 to additional markets in 2015 as it takes delivery of new aircraft.

Arranged in a two-class cabin configuration, American’s 787–8 features 28 fully lie-flat Business Class seats arranged in a 1–2–1 configuration. The custom-designed forward-and rear-facing seats provide direct-aisle access for every Business Class customer for more mobility throughout the cabin. The aircraft is equipped with satellite Wi-Fi capability to keep customers connected while traveling internationally. The premium cabin also features inflight entertainment selections on a 15.4-inch HD Panasonic touchscreen monitor positioned in each seat. Business Class customers will also be offered Bose® QuietComfort® Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones and ear buds. Each seat is equipped with universal AC power outlets and a USB jack.

The Main Cabin will be outfitted with 48 Main Cabin Extra seats in a 3–3–3 configuration, offering customers up to six inches of additional legroom, and 150 Main Cabin seats also arranged in a 3–3–3 configuration. Every seat offers a 9-inch HD Panasonic touchscreen monitor with an assortment of movies, TV programs, games and audio selections. Each Main Cabin seat is also equipped with universal AC power outlets and a USB jack.

Other advanced features on the Dreamliner include larger dimmable windows, improved cabin humidity and improved sound quality. American’s 787–8s will also feature a walk-up bar stocked with snacks and refreshments for customers traveling in the premium cabin.

American has placed firm orders for 42 Boeing 787 aircraft, with the right to acquire an additional 58. American already has the youngest fleet of the U.S. global network carriers, with an average aircraft age of 12.3 years. In 2015, American plans to take delivery of an average of two new aircraft per week. These new deliveries will make American’s fleet even younger, more modern and more efficient and will provide a solid foundation for continued improvements in technology, products and services.

© | By Bruce Drum


>> MRJ Starts Full-Scale Tests toward First Flight. The first engine run performed on first flight test aircraft. The wing up-bending test also carried out on static strength test aircraft

NewspictureNAGOYA - Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation started full-scale testing of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) toward its first flight scheduled in the second quarter this year.

Mitsubishi Aircraft performed the first engine run for the starboard side engine of MRJ’s first flight test aircraft at the apron of the Nagoya Airport (Nishikasugai-gun, Aichi Prefecture) on January 13th, 2015. The first engine run verified the total operations of the aircraft’s various systems including hydraulic, fuel, air conditioning, electric systems and power system such as engines.

The company also performed the wing up-bending test on the static strength test aircraft at the strength test station adjacent to Komaki South Plant of MHI's Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works (Nishikasugai-gun, Aichi Prefecture) on December 25th, 2014. The static strength test is one of the airframe tests to inspect that the aircraft meets safety standards in strength. During the testing, the maximum load that the aircraft is expected to experience while flying was applied to the wing of the static strength test aircraft, which was calculated from simulation of all flight conditions. The wing up-bending test produced anticipated results.

Mitsubishi Aircraft remains firmly committed to the success of the first flight with an on-track progress of the upcoming tests, such as functional tests and engineering tests.



>> First 242 tonne take-off weight A330 successfully completes first flight

NewspictureThe first 242 tonne Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) variant of the A330 has successfully completed its maiden flight, landing back in Toulouse-Blagnac Airport following a 3 hours and 30 minutes flight.

Didier Evrard, Airbus Executive Vice President Head of Programmes said: “I congratulate the whole team in charge of the A330 242 tonnes weight variant for making this day happen ahead of schedule. We are on track to deliver this new higher weight variant in 2015 to launch customer Delta Air Lines, who will also be the launch customer for the A330neo.”

The A330 242 tonne MTOW is the platform for the future A330neo and is concrete example of Airbus’ incremental innovation strategy. The newest enhancement offers more capability at lower operating cost with a range extended by up to 500 nautical miles and up to two percent reduced fuel consumption while also benefiting from operational reliability of above 99 percent. The 242 tonne MTOW is capable of flying missions up to 15 hours.



>> Boeing reveals 777-9X dimensions in airport brief

NewspictureBoeing has revealed a preliminary set of external dimensions for the 777-9X aircraft as part of its campaign to prepare airports far in advance of a scheduled entry into service in 2020.

A presentation delivered to the Airports Council International (ACI) annual symposium last September gives the length of the 777-9X fuselage as 76.7m (251ft 9in), or about 0.2m longer than previously reported and 2.8m longer than the 777-300ER.

The same slide, delivered by Boeing lead engineer for airport compatibility Karen Dix-Colony, also lists the estimated tail height of the 777–9X as 19.7m.

The closely-guarded dimensions were revealed at the ACI event as Boeing officials lobby airports and international regulators to prepare for increasingly longer and wider commercial aircraft.

The Airbus A380 still holds the record for longest aircraft wingspan at 80m, but the fully extended wingspan of the 777–9X will come second at 71.8m. That would make the A380 and 777–9X among the very large aircraft only allowed to operate from Class F-standard airports.

Boeing, however, is introducing a folding wingtip on the 777–9X that reduces the wingspan on taxiways and at gates to 64.8m. At that length, the 777–9X will qualify for taxiways and gates with clearances designed for narrower, Class E aircraft.

But that change will not address all of the regulatory issues. On take-off roll, the 777–9X wingspan will be fully extended to Class F dimensions. ICAO regulations require that Class F runways be at least 60ft wide, versus only 45ft wide for Class E aircraft. For Boeing to introduce the 777–9X to airports with only Class E-compatible runway widths, the 777–9X will require an exemption. Boeing notes that ICAO approved a similar exemption request to allow the 747–8 to operate on Class E-rated runways.

Boeing officials are in the midst of a worldwide airport marketing campaign, visiting 30 airports alone in 2014. The company plans to visit not only airports where the 777–9X is likely to serve. The aircraft also needs compatible airports at alternate sites to qualify for extended operations (ETOPS) routes, Boeing says.

© | Stephen Trimble


>> American’s first 787 delivery delayed to 2015

NewspictureAmerican Airlines plans to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-8 in the first quarter of 2015, an at least two month delay from previous expectations of a November delivery.

“As with any first delivery of a new fleet type, there are a number of things that have to be coordinated before it is introduced to ensure we deliver a state-of-the-art product for our employees and customers,” the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier says. “We’re working with our partners at Boeing to make it happen.”

These “things” include the certification and installation of new premium seats that American had developed specifically for the 787, the Dallas Morning News reports.

American had expected the delivery of two 787-8s before the end of the year and another 11 in 2015, the Ascend Fleets database shows. It is unclear how the delay will impact the delivery schedule.

The carrier has firm orders for 16 787-8s and 26 787-9s, Ascend shows.

The 787 is now expected to enter service with American on domestic routes in the second quarter of 2015 before shifting to international routes a few weeks later, the airline says.

© | Edward Russell


>> Boeing South Carolina Begins Final Assembly of its First 787-9 Dreamliner

NewspictureNORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has started final assembly of the 787-9 Dreamliner at its South Carolina facility. The team began joining large fuselage sections of the newest 787 Nov. 22 on schedule, a proud milestone for the South Carolina team and another sign of stability for the program.

The North Charleston, S.C., site joins Boeing's Everett, Wash., final assembly, which began 787-9 production in May 2013. United Airlines will take delivery of the first South Carolina-built 787-9.

"Our team is well prepared and eager to assemble the 787-9 Dreamliner," said Jack Jones, vice president and general manager of Boeing South Carolina. "Achieving this significant milestone in our final assembly operations demonstrates that we're performing well here at Boeing South Carolina. We're looking forward to delivering our first South Carolina-built 787-9 to United Airlines, and delivering 787-9s as well as 787-8s to all our customers."

The 787-9 complements and extends the 787 family, offering airlines the ability to grow routes opened with the 787-8. With the fuselage stretched by 20 feet (6 meters), the 787-9 can fly up to 40 more passengers an additional 450 nautical miles (830 kilometers) with the same exceptional environmental performance – 20 percent less fuel use and 20 percent fewer emissions than the airplanes it replaces. The 787-9 leverages the visionary design of the 787-8, offering passenger-pleasing features such as large, dimmable windows, large stow bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity, a lower cabin altitude, cleaner air and a smoother ride.



>> Boeing Presents Original Flight Test 787 Dreamliner to Museum of Flight

NewspictureBoeing (NYSE: BA) and its employees joined the Puget Sound community today in celebrating the donation of one of the original 787-8 Dreamliner flight test airplanes to the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

“Boeing is committed to supporting and giving back to the communities where our employees work and live,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “By placing this airplane in the Puget Sound area, members of the Boeing team and their families will see it displayed locally, and it will hopefully inspire a new generation of aviation enthusiasts here in Washington state.”

The Dreamliner Boeing donated to the museum is known as ZA003, the third 787–8 produced. The airplane has a unique past, first as part of the 787 flight test and certification program and later circumnavigating the globe several times in 2011 and 2012 during the Dream Tour, which introduced the 787 to more than 68,000 visitors in 23 countries.

“This revolutionary airplane caps the museum’s collection of historic commercial airplanes, beginning with our 1932 Boeing 247, which was the first all-metal, modern airliner,” said Doug King, president and CEO, Museum of Flight. “It was followed by our 1969 prototype 747, the first jumbo jet, and now with the first composite airliner, the 787. It’s an incredible addition to our comprehensive display.”

The celebration at the Museum of Flight included several Boeing employees whose work over the years played a role in the design, build and test of the 787 Dreamliner. Each person disembarked the airplane and presented a special artifact tied to the history of the airplane to museum docents and students from local high schools.

The artifacts given by employees ranged from a commemorative cachet carried aboard the 787’s first flight, to early artist renderings of the 7E7. Those artifacts will now be housed at the Museum of Flight.

ZA003 is the first of three flight test 787–8s Boeing plans to share with museums around the world, the aviation community and future generations of employees and airplane enthusiasts.

About The Museum of Flight

The independent, non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, attracting more than 500,000 visitors annually. The Museum’s collection includes more than 160 historically significant air- and spacecraft, the original manufacturing facility of The Boeing Company, and the world’s only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer. The Museum’s aviation and space library and archives are the largest on the West Coast. More than 130,000 individuals are served annually by the Museum’s on-site and outreach educational programs. The Museum of Flight is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.

The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field halfway between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.



>> ProtoSpace and rapid architecture lab opened in Hamburg

NewspictureAirbus has recently opened two centres for innovation in Hamburg: ProtoSpace and the Rapid Architecture Lab. The 400m² ProtoSpace facility is a creativity arena where concepts can be developed, solidified and rapidly translated into prototypes using techniques like 3D-printing. Inside this former machining workshop, Airbus employees from all functions can work on refining their innovative ideas determining in minimum time to what extent an idea would be worth pursuing. The new Hamburg site is part of a global ProtoSpace initiative launched in Airbus; it joins the existing ProtoSpace network of facilities in Toulouse, Bangalore, and Filton.

Located opposite ProtoSpace, the new Rapid Architecture Lab (RAL) -- large enough to house several project groups working in parallel – is the only facility of its kind anywhere at Airbus. Its objective is to accelerate the development and testing of product innovations and design concepts for the cabin. Here the technical feasibility of innovations can be demonstrated within 100 days. Products can be developed, tested in a virtual reality and integrated into physical mock-ups. Employees can quickly verify parameters together with airline customers or suppliers, promoting faster decision-making. One example is the 'Space-Flex' cabin space-saving project, for which Airbus saved two to three months' development time.



>> Boeing: air cargo traffic to double by 2033

NewspictureAfter several years of stagnation air cargo traffic is now picking up across the globe and Boeing projects it will double from current levels by 2033.

The US planemaker said this year’s freight traffic levels are on pace to be at their highest since 2010, thanks to signs of economic recovery.

Since the financial crisis in 2008 annual world air cargo traffic has grown by an average of just 1.7 per cent through 2013. But traffic rose 4.4 per cent in first seven months of 2014 and Boeing sees this as the start of a sustainable rebound. It projects an annual growth rate of 4.7 per cent for the next two decades - enough for traffic to double by 2033.

“The air cargo market is now growing at nearly the long-term rates,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The new forecasts says Asia-North America and Europe-Asia will “continue to be the dominant world air cargo markets with the most traffic volume,” while intra-Asia, domestic China and Asia-North America markets will have “the fastest rates of growth over the next 20 years.”

More cargo means more planes, of course. Over 20 years Boeing projects it will grow its world freighter fleet by 840 new factory-built air-planes and 1,330 passenger-to-freighter conversion air-planes.

© | 8.10.2014


>> Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. to rollout first MRJ in October

NewspictureMitsubishi Aircraft Corp. has informed media that it will hold a “rollout ceremony” for the first completed Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) on Oct. 18.

The ceremony will take place at manufacturing facilities in Nagoya, Japan. Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. said in July it had mounted the Pratt & Whitney PW1200G geared turbofan (GTF) engine onto the first MRJ.

The company last year postponed the MRJ’s first flight to the second quarter of 2015. First delivery is being targeted for the second quarter of 2017. Flight testing is expected to take place in both Japan and the US.

© | Aaron Karp | Sep 22, 2014


>> United Airlines welcomes first Boeing 787-9 to North America

NewspictureUnited Airlines has become the first North American carrier to take delivery of the Boeing 787-9, a stretched version of the Dreamliner that will allow the airline to accommodate more customers and further capitalise on its worldwide route network.

The aircraft is the first of 26 of the newest member of the Dreamliner family United has on order.

“The 787–9 builds on the Dreamliner’s fuel efficiency and customer comfort while giving us even more flexibility and range,” said United vice president of fleet Ron Baur.

“Last year our customers gave the 787 the highest customer satisfaction scores of any aircraft in our fleet, and we know they’ll enjoy what the 787–9 has to offer.”

The airline’s technicians will now perform United-specific software installations and hardware upgrades.

United pilots will then fly the aircraft to the airline’s Houston hub for additional flights before it is expected to enter domestic service in late September.

The 787–9’s extended range – 8,550 miles compared to the 787–8’s 8,200 – will enable United to launch its Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia, service on October 26, the airline’s first regularly scheduled international deployment of the aircraft.

It will be the longest Dreamliner route in the world to date.

In advance of the Melbourne route launch, United will primarily fly the aircraft between Houston and Los Angeles.

United’s 787–9 will be configured with 252 seats – 48 in United BusinessFirst and 204 in United Economy, including 88 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.

United’s 787–9 fleet comes with factory-installed Wi-Fi connectivity.

Starting with this aircraft delivery, all of the airline’s subsequent Dreamliners, including the –8 and –10 variants, will be delivered with Wi-Fi. United currently has Wi-Fi on more than 300 aircraft, including all of its Airbus and Boeing 747 aircraft, and plans to equip the vast majority of its mainline fleet with Wi-Fi by mid–2015.



>> Airbus Has Had 'Best Ever Farnborough Air Show'

NewspictureAirbus signed firm orders for a total of 358 aircraft and memoranda of understanding for a further 138 at the Farnborough Air Show. As the last deal of the show, Russian carrier Transaero signed up for a total of 20 Airbus A330s. Among the aircraft are twelve A330neos. Together with an order for 50 A330neos from Air Asia X and lessors including Air Lease Corp. (ALC), Avolon and CIT, Airbus managed to secure orders and commitments for 121 A330neos. The aircraft was formally launched last Monday and is planned to enter service at the end of 2017. Chief Operating Officer Customers John Leahy downplayed the significance of only having one engine supplier on the A330neo –- Rolls-Royce and the Trent 7000. He says the only reason airlines want two suppliers is so they can get a better deal on the engine. “But we have taken the liberty to negotiate a good engine price with Rolls-Royce for all customers in advance,” Leahy said. “This was the best Farnborough Air Show in Airbus history,” Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said at the company’s show end press conference. Given the strong market, Bregier said Airbus may raise single aisle production rates further once the A320neo family is introduced. “We will probably go higher,” he said. Airbus plans to raise the narrowbody rate from 42 to 46 aircraft per month ahead of the transition to the neo.

© | Jens Flottau | AWIN First


>> Bombardier looks to China, structures for growth

NewspictureWith its star commercial aircraft still grounded and once-promising partnerships with Russian industry less certain, Bombardier will shift attention to its neglected aerostructures business to drive revenue growth while continuing to attempt to unlock the Chinese market and return the CSeries to flight.

Second quarter earnings announced by Bombardier’s aerospace division paint a mixed picture. Revenues have increased year-over-year from $2.3 to $2.5 billion. Operating earnings also have improved by 0.9 percentage points compared to last year, but remain below expectations at $141 million, or 5.6% of revenues.

Bombardier chief executive Pierre Beaudoin was so dissatisfied with the sluggish performance – and, not least, the embarrassment of the CSeries grounding and Learjet 85 development delays – that he announced last week breaking the aerospace division into three businesses and accepting the resignation of its former chief, Guy Hachey.

Along with Hachey, Bombardier is laying off 1,800 of about 12,000 non-union employees by the end of the year, in an effort to boost operating margins amidst three concurrent aircraft development pogrammes.

In the new corporate structure, the heads of Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, Bombardier Business Aircraft and Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services will report directly to Beaudoin. Aftermarket sales and distribution will be divided, but sometimes share common infrastructure, such as warehouses. More problematic is how to divide engineering resources between the three groups, but those complexities will be decided over the next two months.

In addition to giving Beaudoin more visibility over the aerospace development programmes, the restructuring also should improve the performance of the aerostructures business, he says. With 6,000 employees alone in Belfast and others in Canada, the aerostructures business plays a major role in Bombardier programmes and the wider aerospace supply chain.

With commercial aircraft backlogs at Airbus and Boeing rising to unprecedented heights, Bombardier senses that its own aerostructures division can play a larger role on other aircraft programmes. Buried inside the larger aerospace company, the aerostructures unit struggled to attract investment from within the company, Beaudoin says.

“When the aerospace group had to make decisions between capital allocation between airplanes and structures, the airplanes seemed to win all the time,” Beaudoin says.

The new organisation will ensure that Bombardier will invest the “proper amount of money to go and be competitive in this market”, he says.

Hachey’s departure and the lay-offs echo previous moves by Bombardier earlier this year, with the departure of former chief commercial aircraft salesman Chet Fuller and a staff reduction of 1,700 employees.

Bombardier’s moves have not impressed some analysts. “Bombardier’s executive leadership and organisation resembles the weather in Seattle—if you don’t like it, wait an hour and it will change,” says Richard Aboulafia, vice-president of analysis at the Teal Group.

“The reorganisation is either a way of bolstering profitability, or permitting unit divestitures, or possibly both,” Aboulafia says. “Given the risks associated with their structures business, the only unit that might realistically be sold is commercial aircraft. And there, it’s very hard to imagine a buyer. China probably wouldn’t be willing to pay, even if the Canadian Government allowed the sale.”

For his part, Beaudoin denies that possible spin-offs played any role in the restructuring and lay-offs announced last week. “No, this restructuring is not to get rid of any one division,” he says.

Bombardier is, however, ramping up discussions with China’s aerospace industry. Comac officials met with Bombardier executives in Belfast in early July. The two companies are discussing Comac’s role in the CSeries programme, Beaudoin says. Comac could perhaps provide aftermarket support for the CSeries in China, he adds.

Another promising opportunity in China are sales of the Dash 8 Q400 turboprop, but this would require finding a partner to assemble the aircraft locally, Beaudoin says. The company is in talks with Chinese authorities about such a proposal.

At the same time, Bombardier also is discussing a similar proposal for local assembly of the Q400 in Russia. Ilyushin Finance Corp agreed to buy up to 100 Q400s last August, but only if Bombardier agrees to transfer final assembly to Russian industry. Those discussions have continued despite new sanctions imposed by Western governments on Russia over fighting in Ukraine, Beaudoin says.

“For us, yes, we are concerned about what’s going on with Russia, and we are looking at the effect on our business,” Beaudoin says. “But, in the end, it’s the government that will decide on sanctions.”



>> ANA takes delivery of first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

NewspictureANA is now the first airline to take the reins of both Dreamliner variants – the Boeing 787–8 and 787–9.

With the new acquisition, ANA has a total of 29 Boeing 787s in its fleet: more than any other Dreamliner operator in the world

The Boeing 787–9 leverages the original design of the 787–8 – offering passenger-pleasing features such as large windows, large overhead bins, modern LED lighting, higher humidity and a lower cabin altitude.

ANA has 29 more Boeing 787–9s on order, with the option to accept 14 more.

© | David Flynn


>> Airbus’ first A320neo reaches completion

NewspictureThe assembly of Airbus’ first A320neo has been completed following painting of the aircraft and the mounting of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. MSN6101, which will be the first A320neo to fly, will soon start its ground tests to prepare for first flight.

The flight test campaign for the A320neo will kick-off in September 2014, paving the way for Entry Into Service in Q4 2015.

The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of nearly 2,700 orders received from more than 50 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership.



>> Virgin Atlantic identifies first routes for 787-9

NewspictureVirgin Atlantic is to deploy its first Boeing 787-9 on the Boston route from London Heathrow, operating the service six times per week from 28 October.

The airline operates Airbus A330s and A340s on the route, which it serves in partnership with shareholder Delta Air Lines.

Its first 787–9, which will be delivered in September, will be configured in three classes, including premium economy, with 264 seats.

As its 787–9 fleet increases over the following five months, Virgin says it will place the aircraft on flights to Washington DC, Newark and New York JFK.

“The aircraft will also benefit passengers on longer-haul routes where the on-board experience and fuel efficiency benefits are even further amplified,” the carrier states.

Chief executive Craig Kreeger says the type will account for over half the Virgin Atlantic fleet by 2018. While the smaller 787–8 is already in service with airlines including Norwegian, Thomson Airways and LOT, Virgin will be the first carrier in Europe to use the larger –9 variant.

© David Kaminski-Morrow | | 23.06.2014


>> Airbus and Emirates Airline agree to cancel A350 XWB order

NewspictureAirbus confirms that Emirates Airline has decided to cancel its order of 70 A350 XWB aircraft. The decision follows on-going discussions with the airline in light of their fleet requirement review, as demonstrated by their order of 50 additional A380 at the last Dubai Airshow and their continuous interest in the program.

Airbus and Emirates Airline benefit from a long-standing relationship and the airline recently reiterated its confidence in Airbus products particularly by praising the A380 and the benefits the aircraft brings to their operations.

The order of 50 A350–900 and 20 A350–1000 was originally placed by Emirates Airline in 2007 with first delivery slots scheduled from 2019.

Airbus is very confident in its A350 XWB programme. Half a year before entry into service, the A350 XWB order book stands at a healthy 742 firm orders. The A350 flight test campaign is progressing well and is on track for Type Certification in the coming months.

Interest in the game changing A350 has always been very high with customers. Airbus expects the A350 order book to continue growing in 2014.



>> ILA Berlin Air Show: A must-see for aviation fans

NewspictureBerlin's ILA is one of the three most important aerospace trade fairs in the world. It's again showcasing everything from airliners to drones, bringing together civilian and defense aviation technologies.

About 125,000 trade visitors are expected at the five-day air show starting Tuesday on the outskirts of Berlin. Around 4,000 journalists from 70 countries will be there as well. The first three days are closed to the public, with only accredited industry professionals allowed in.

Berlin’s ILA is once again an opportunity for aircraft and aerospace suppliers, buyers, pilots, and the public to get a first-hand look at an enormous range of aviation and aerospace technologies on offer from suppliers around the world. More than 1,200 exhibitors from 40 countries are taking part this year. It would be hard to think of some aspect of aviation not covered by the ILA.

Something for every taste

On display at the show are civilian and military aircraft, airliners and helicopters, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones), fighter jets, and space satellites. Visitors can also see business jets, ultralights, sailplanes and every other type of recreational aircraft plus old-timer aircraft and cutting-edge prototypes.

But many of these these machines will not merely be sitting around. Some of them will be roaring past. ILA includes a variety of air show fly-bys, including stunt planes, old-timers, and a variety of civilian and military aircraft.

A highlight this year will be the presentation of Airbus’s new A350, the European aircraft maker’s flagship long-haul airliner.

ILA also hosts various industry conferences related to aviation and aerospace, 60 in all this year. It even hosts career fairs for young people, and a kids program.



>> Airbus Group Reports First Quarter 2014 Results

NewspictureAirbus Group (stock exchange symbol: AIR) reported first quarter 2014 results reflecting the company’s continued focus on programme execution and achieving its operational milestones.

Group order intake(2) was € 21.1 billion (Q1 2013: € 49.5 billion), with the order book(2) value amounting to € 683.2 billion on 31 March, 2014 (year-end 2013: € 680.6 billion). Airbus received 103 net commercial aircraft orders (Q1 2013: 410 net orders), including 20 A380s for Amedeo. Order intake at Airbus Helicopters rose 50 percent and was broadly stable at Airbus Defence and Space, with good momentum seen in the Space Systems business.

“The Group made further progress in the opening quarter of 2014, with improved revenues and earnings per share,” said Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders. “We confirm our guidance, however there are still many challenges ahead for the rest of the year. A strong focus remains on programme execution and the implementation of our various improvement and restructuring plans.”

Revenues increased five percent to € 12.6 billion (Q1 2013: € 12.1 billion), with all three Divisions contributing positively and Airbus Helicopters showing a double-digit increase as deliveries rose to 74 units (Q1 2013: 58 units). Airbus revenues increased as a more favourable delivery mix, including two additional A380s compared to a year earlier, offset the overall reduction in volume to 141 commercial aircraft deliveries (Q1 2013: 144 deliveries). Airbus Defence and Space revenues rose three percent, driven by good programme execution in Space Systems. Two Ariane 5 launches were conducted in the quarter.

Group EBIT* before one-off – an indicator capturing the underlying business margin by excluding material non-recurring charges or profits caused by movements in provisions related to programmes and restructurings or foreign exchange impacts – was € 700 million (Q1 2013: € 734 million) and € 527 million for Airbus (Q1 2013: € 608 million). The EBIT* before one-off at Airbus reflected operational improvement but was weighed down by a more front-loaded research and development (R&D) expense profile and A350 XWB support costs. EBIT* before one-off at Airbus Helicopters rose to € 58 million (Q1 2013: € 20 million), driven by increased deliveries and was stable at Airbus Defence and Space at € 85 million (Q1 2013: € 84 million). The Group EBIT* before one-off margin was 5.5 percent.

The A350 XWB programme is progressing towards certification, with four of the five development aircraft now flying and over 1,600 flight test hours accumulated. The first two customer aircraft are now in the assembly line with certification targeted for the third quarter and entry-into-service by the end of 2014. On the maturing A380 programme, as six year maintenance checks have started Airbus is acting on the lessons learnt from tests and in-service experience. At the same time, progress is being made towards achieving the 2015 breakeven objective. Within Airbus Helicopters, the industrial ramp-up preparation is underway on the EC175 programme with entry-into-service targeted in the fourth quarter of 2014. At Airbus Defence and Space, the A400M production ramp-up is ongoing with the Turkish Air Force having taken delivery of its first aircraft in early April. Progressive enhancement of military capability will follow with subsequent upgrades to be agreed and concluded with customers.

As the basis for its 2014 guidance, Airbus Group expects the world economy and air traffic to grow in line with prevailing independent forecasts and assumes no major disruptions. In 2014, Airbus deliveries should be about the same level as in 2013, including the first A350 XWB delivery. Gross commercial aircraft orders should be above the level of deliveries. Assuming an exchange rate of € 1 = $ 1.35, Airbus Group revenues should be stable compared to 2013.

Using EBIT* before one-off, Airbus Group expects moderate return on sales growth in 2014 and confirms its 2015 return on sales target of 7–8 percent(5). The EBIT* and EPS* performance of Airbus Group will depend on the Group’s ability to limit “one-off” charges. Going forward, from today’s point of view, the one-offs should be limited to potential charges on the A350 XWB programme and foreign exchange effects linked to the pre-delivery payment mismatch and balance sheet revaluation. The A350 XWB programme remains challenging. Any change to the schedule and cost assumptions could lead to an increasingly higher impact on provisions.

Airbus Group is targeting breakeven free cash flow before acquisitions in 2014.



>> Boeing claims Q1 setbacks on 787 nearly overcome

NewspictureBoeing is close to overcoming two fresh setbacks discovered within the 787 production system during the first quarter as the manufacturer strives to stay on track with an ambitious set of production and delivery goals this year.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries notified Boeing in early March that a change in the Japanese supplier’s manufacturing process may have produced hairline cracks in a wing spar on 40 787s then on the assembly line.

Boeing has inspected and fixed 37 of the aircraft covered by the MHI notice, says chief financial officer Greg Smith, speaking to analysts on a first quarter earnings conference call on 23 April.

“As of last night, there were three airplanes left to go,” Smith says. “That’s behind us at this point.”

The 787 production line also was slowed during the quarter by a new problem inside the centre fuselage assembly line in Charleston, South Carolina.

Boeing introduced a new mid-body join production process with the 787–9 at the same time that it increased the production rate to 10 aircraft per month. The combination of the new design and the rate increase created a bottleneck at the mid-body join position, which is the section most affected by the stretched 787–9 airframe.

The Charleston workforce has “burned a significant amount of jobs” to clear the bottleneck, Smith says, but he acknowledges there is “still some work to do”.

The wing rib cracks and the mid-body joint assembly problems are still not expected to change Boeing’s plans to deliver 110 787s in 2014.

Meeting that delivery goal, however, is also challenged by the growing mismatch between the 787 production rate and the delivery rate, as the production rate climbed to 10 per month in January.

Although Boeing was producing 787s at the 10-per- month for nearly the entire quarter, the company delivered only 18 of the roughly 30 aircraft it produced to customers.

Smith attributed the variation in the delivery rate to monthly fluctuations, which are driven partly by Boeing’s plans to deliver 787s to 18 new customers in 2014, as each new operator requires extensive preparations before launching service.

Although the cadence of deliveries will vary from month to month, Boeing is “comfortable” with reaching the goal of delivering 110 787s over the year.

Keeping the delivery rate on track is critical to Boeing’s goal of reaching profitability on each unit delivered in early 2015.

Another piece of Boeing profitability strategy involves delivering the 787–9 in mid-year to Air New Zealand, then ramping up deliveries of the more profitable variant in the 787 family.

Smith declined to directly compare the 787–9’s record on production cost to the smaller 787–8 variant.

“We’re seeing the improvements we’d certainly expect,” Smith says.

One metric Smith shared is the rate of improvement in unit cost and flow times on the 787–9 line. The rate improved by 30% from Line Number 1 to 6, he says. By comparison, Boeing revealed last year that the 787–8 line achieved a cost reduction of 60% – but over a span of 92 aircraft (Line Numbers 8 to 100).

Meanwhile, Boeing is working to placate a set of nervous investors. Although the company’s share price has more than doubled in value over the last five years, Boeing shareholders still seem wary of any surprises. It was only three months ago that Boeing share values plummeted 6% in only a few hours, following the company’s announcement forecasting core earnings per share of up to $7.20 in 2014 instead of $7.50 as the market consensus anticipated.

Perhaps to woo back the shareholders’ confidence, Boeing returned $3 billion to investors during the first quarter, including $2.5 billion as part of a share repurchase programme and $500 million in enhanced dividends. Boeing also raised its full-year guidance at the end of the first quarter to $7.35, citing the benefit from a tax settlement. So far, investors appear to have adopted a wait-and-see approach to Boeing’s promises, with the share price hardly budging over the last three months.



>> Lufthansa orders CFM for 40 A320neo aircraft

NewspictureFRANKFURT (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa said on Monday it had ordered engines worth more than 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) at list prices from CFM International.

The LEAP-1A engines will be used on 40 new Airbus A320neo aircraft, part of a total order for 100 new aircraft of that model, Lufthansa said in a statement.

It previously already announced that it had picked PW1199G engines made by Pratt & Whitney for the remaining 60 planes of the order.



>> Airbus to offer 11-abreast economy seats on A380

NewspictureAirbus is to offer A380 customers the option of an 11-abreast economy-class layout using 18in-wide (46cm) seats made possible by raising the floor 2in on the main deck of the superjumbo.

The airframer will show a mock-up of the new configuration at the Aircraft Interiors show in Hamburg in early April. However, the type’s only leasing customer Amedeo has already expressed an interest in becoming launch customer for the layout.

Speaking at the ISTAT Americas conference in San Diego, Amedeo chief executive Mark Lapidus said: “We pushed Airbus very hard to get 11-abreast introduced, [adding] 35 to 40 extra seats.”

Lapidus said the new layout would be made possible through “raising the floor by two inches in the wider part of the aircraft”.

The lessor has yet to secure a customer for any of the 20 A380s it has on firm order, but says it would be “very excited” to have the 11-abreast configuration in all its aircraft. However, it acknowledges that this would be driven by airline demands.

Based on a three-class layout with business and premium-economy cabins on the upper deck, Amedeo says an overall density of around 630–650 passengers could be achieved through use of the new 11-abreast seating.

Lapidus has previously been critical of Airbus’s former marketing strategy for the superjumbo, arguing that too much emphasis was placed on selling it as a “luxury” aircraft, ignoring the type’s potential seat-mile economics.

Deliveries of the lessor’s A380s from its $8.3 billion order are scheduled to begin in 2016.



>> REFILE-SpiceJet to announce order for 42 Boeing 737 MAX planes-source

NewspictureIndian budget airline SpiceJet Ltd will on Wednesday announce an order for 42 Boeing 737 MAX jets, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

SpiceJet has agreed to buy about 40 Boeing jets worth over $4 billion at list prices, industry sources had said in January, a move that could help the loss-making carrier as it seeks new investors.

The airline, controlled by billionaire Kalanithi Maran's Sun Group, is seen as a target for foreign investors after India loosened restrictions on investment by foreign airlines.



>> Boeing Tests Water For Long-Term Successor

NewspictureBoeing's new-product portfolio is for all intents and purposes full through the rest of the decade with the development of the 737 MAX, 747-8, 777X and the 787 family. But deep within the organization's product development group, the company continues to explore new concepts for the 2020s.

While development priorities and concept details are at the embryonic stage, there is no disguising the obvious gap in Boeing’s lineup in the 200-plus-seat sector that was once occupied by the out-of-production 757. Discussions over how, and perhaps even whether, to plug this gap emerged at the recent Singapore Airshow where Boeing acknowledged it is seeing “a lot of interest” for a potential new aircraft larger than the 737 but with less range than the 787.

However, although Boeing concedes there is a market, it cautions that much work is needed before the true size and overall viability of the sector can be established. The one certainty is that while theoretically occupying the seat-capacity market niche once dominated by the 757, the study aircraft would not be a direct successor to the company’s single-aisle twinjet, says John Wojick, Boeing Commercial Airplanes global sales senior vice president.

“The market today is not like when the 757 went into service. The 737 Next Generation and 737 MAX will cover the current lower end of that demand, so the question is what is the size of the market and when is it needed?” Wojick says. To find the answers, Boeing is flying “a lot of trial balloons with customers.” Wojick accepts that “there is a niche there,” but says the key is figuring out just how big it is.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes Marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth says: “We think there is maybe a marketplace and we have a lot of interest from a lot of customers in an aircraft that seats between 200 and 300, but which does not need the range capacity of the 787. [There are ongoing discussions] with customers to figure out the market size of what that might become.”

Unlike an earlier Light Twin concept study, which was evaluated in the 2000s as a potential stablemate to the now abandoned short-to-medium range 787–3 version, the newer studies are focusing on range requirements in the 4,000–5,000 nm sectors. The Light Twin, as outlined in early 2009, was provisionally sized around the capacity of the stretched 757–300, but based on a twin-aisle configuration close in scale to the 787–3 (AW&ST Jan. 19, 2009, p. 39). The high-density, medium-range 787–3 variant was shelved in late 2010 after All Nippon Airways—by then the only remaining customer for the type—converted its order for 28 to 787–8s. Although leveraging many elements of the 787 design, the Light Twin was expected to be less dependent on more electric systems and would, for instance, have retained a standard pneumatic system.

The Light Twin concept was aimed at the 2,500–3,200-nm-range market, with seating capacity for 250–260 in a two-class cabin layout and 290–300 in single-class. This would have sized it to replace 757s on classic transcontinental North American routes for which it was originally designed in the late 1970s. However, for some carriers the 757 has since evolved into a longer-range, transatlantic and low-cost operator aircraft as Boeing 737–900ERs and Airbus A321s assumed a greater proportion of the mid- and long-range routes across the U.S. The aircraft now being considered is therefore aimed predominantly at medium routes within markets such as to and within Asia-Pacific, Tinseth adds.



>> A350 XWB makes debut at Doha

NewspictureAn A350 XWB flight test aircraft (MSN3) has made its premiere appearance at Doha’s new Hamad international airport, on its way to the Singapore Airshow. The visit is part of the Entry-into-Service preparations between Airbus and Qatar Airways, the A350 XWB launch customer, who will take delivery of its first A350 XWB in Q4 this year.

During the visit, the aircraft was welcomed by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker as well as government officials, eager to see the aircraft performing in Qatar’s skies.

The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions. The new Family, whose fuselage cross-section is optimized for full long-range passenger comfort in all classes, will bring a 25 percent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category. To date, the A350 XWB has won 812 orders from 39 customers worldwide.



>> Boeing begins 777X high-speed wind tunnel tests

NewspictureEVERETT, Wash., Jan. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE:BA) announced today that high-speed wind tunnel tests have started for the Boeing 777X. Testing began last week at Boeing's Transonic Wind Tunnel in Seattle.

Last month, engineers started wind tunnel tests at QinetiQ’s facility in Farnborough, U.K., where testing of the low-speed performance of the airplane continues.

“This is another important step forward in the development of the 777X,” said Terry Beezhold, vice president and chief project engineer of the 777X program. “Data from these tests will allow us to validate our airplane cruise performance models in support of our ongoing design efforts.”

The data will help engineers with the configuration development of the airplane, validate computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions and support preliminary loads cycle development.

Subsequent rounds of low-speed and high-speed testing will provide further design refinement and validation of overall airplane performance predictions. Also, wind tunnel tests for noise, icing and propulsion are scheduled in the coming years.

Boeing continues to make progress on the 777X program and is on track to reach firm configuration in 2015. The 777X program has 280 orders and commitments from five customers worldwide.

Mike Tull
Airplane Development Communications
+1 206 304 7164

Photo and caption are available here:


© 2014 PR Newswire


>> Boeing Breaks Delivery Record For 2013

NewspictureBuoyed by the highest production rates ever achieved on the 737, 777 and 787 lines, Boeing delivered a record-breaking 648 commercial aircraft in 2013.

The 737 made up the bulk of the year’s deliveries with 440 units produced, while the 777 program, which reached a new rate of 8.3 aircraft per month in January 2013, notched up 98 deliveries. The 787 also made a late run with 65 deliveries for the year.

The number matches expectations which were revised downward from the late 2012 estimates of around 74 787 deliveries for the year following the battery problems that hit the aircraft early in 2013.

The uptick in deliveries marks the second successive push into 600-plus territory for the company this century. In 2012 Boeing delivered 601 which was the most in a single year since 1999. In comparison the manufacturer delivered 477 in 2011 and 460 in 2010.

Boosted by a late flurry of business last year net orders for 2013 also climbed to 1,355, compared with 1,203 in 2012 and 805 in 2011. The 737 program received 1,046 orders and now has an unfilled backlog of 3,680, while the 777 was bolstered by 113 net new orders to take the backlog to 380. This latter figure is expected to grow in 2014 as commitments and options for the newly-launched 777X are converted into firm contracts. The aircraft was launched at the Dubai Airshow in November 2013 on the back of agreements for 259, not all of which are reflected in the firm order book for 2013.

The 787 backlog also climbed to 916, largely due to the launch last year of the 787–10 double stretch version. Overall orders for the 787 also passed the 1,000 mark in 2013 with an agreement from Etihad Airways for 30 787–10s that was also announced at Dubai.

Boeing’s undelivered commercial backlog currently stands at a record 5,080. The number eclipses 2012’s backlog of 4,373 which was itself a record number at the time, and reflects primarily the growth in high volume business for the 737 MAX program as well as the hefty undelivered order backlog of the 787 family. The growth in backlog is also highlighted by comparisons with the same figures for 2011 and 2010 which were 3,771 and 3,443 respectively.



>> Asiana Airlines’ first Airbus A380 performs its maiden flight

NewspictureAsiana Airlines’ first A380 has successfully completed its maiden flight. The A380 flew on Friday from Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse, France to the aircraft manufacturer’s site in Hamburg, Germany, where it will undergo painting and cabin furnishing.

Asiana Airlines will become the twelfth operator of the A380 when it takes delivery of its first aircraft in the second quarter of 2014. The airline has firm orders for six A380s and will operate the aircraft on its primary routes from Seoul to the US.



>> Dassault Unveils Falcon 5X

NewspictureBigger is better in the booming large-cabin business aircraft segment. Just look at the 200+ orders Gulfstream has for its G650 uber-jet, an aircraft with the largest cabin cross-section of any purpose-built jet in current production.

Dassault Aviation, though, set an even larger cabin size standard when it introduced its $45 million, 5,200-nm range Falcon 5X at the 2013 NBAA Convention. Compared to the G650, the Falcon 5X has 1 in. more headroom, 2 in. more floor width and equal maximum internal width. Those measurements allow Dassault to claim it will offer the most generous cabin cross-section in a purpose-built business jet when the Falcon 5X enters service in 2017.

The 5X will be the first clean-sheet Falcon Jet in a decade. The airframe shares little in common with the Falcon 7X that entered service in 2007, having a new fuselage, new wing, new engines and new digital flight control system functionality.

The G650's cabin is longer than that of the Falcon 5X, so the big Gulfstream offers 21% more overall interior volume. That's an essential design provision because Gulfstream's flagship has 3 hr. more endurance than the new Falcon Jet, virtually necessitating a forward crew rest area nestled ahead of the front galley. The Falcon 5X will have 1,770 cu. ft. of net cabin volume available for use by passengers, a little less than the G650 with a crew rest compartment but 220 cu. ft. more than the Falcon 7X trijet, currently Dassault's largest aircraft.

But the Falcon 5X isn't intended to compete against the Gulfstream G650 or replace the Falcon 7X. Instead, the French are taking aim at Gulfstream's aging 4,250-nm range G450 and Bombardier's fuel thirsty 5,500-nm range Global 5000. The Falcon 5X will have a considerably larger cabin than either of those heavy-iron competitors, yet it will weigh less and its wing will have better lift-to-drag characteristics. It also will be fitted with new technology Snecma engines than are 10-15% more fuel efficient than current engines having similar thrust output.

The Falcon 5X's more fuel-efficient engines, combined with its lower weight and advanced wing lift-to-drag characteristics should slash fuel consumption by one-third on average compared to competitive aircraft. Dassault also claims the Falcon 5X will have a direct operating cost 30% lower than the G450's and 35% less than that of the Global 5000.

The new Falcon wasn't always to be as large or as long-legged as the final iteration. When Dassault launched initial Falcon SMS (for “super midsize”) design studies in 2006, it was intended to compete against the then hot-selling Bombardier Challenger 300, as well as the Gulfstream G250 (now G280) and Embraer Legacy 600 in the super-midsize segment.



>> FAA formalises warning on GEnx icing problem for 747, 787

NewspictureThe US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered operators of GE Aviation-powered Boeing 747-8s and 787s to avoid flying into ice crystal icing conditions.

The move formalises a warning previously issued by Boeing on the GEnx-1B engine that powers the 787 and the GEnx-2B engine onboard the 747-8.

Japan Airlines withdrew the 787 from a pair of routes to Vietnam and India as a result of the warning last week.

GEnx engine operators have reported nine instances of thrust loss at high altitude due to ice crystals forming inside the engines. In two cases, the engines recovered only to idle speed, and could not produce more power, according to the FAA rulemaking.

In other cases, the engines decelerated for about 20s, but recovered to provide normal thrust, the FAA says.

The ice crystals form inside the engines during convective thunderstorms at high altitude, which occur rarely but almost always at tropical latitudes. They can damage the interior of the engine, which can reduce thrust and “can lead to a forced landing”, according to the FAA.

FAA also orders GEnx engine operators to inspect any engines in case the pilots inadvertently fly through ice crystal icing conditions. Such convective weather patterns are not detectable on aircraft radar, the agency says in the rulemaking.

GE Aviation, meanwhile, plans to introduce software changes to the engine’s full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system in the first quarter of next year. The new software should detect the ice crystals as they move towards the core of the engine.

At the entrance to the high pressure compressor, the FADEC will order variable bleed valve doors to open, which should divert the ice into the airflow that bypasses the engine core.



>> Vote on 777X assembly "still on"

NewspictureA vote to decide the future of Boeing’s widebody production system remains scheduled for 13 November despite reports that union leaders may cancel the balloting and reject the company’s proposal.

“The vote is still on,” says Jonathan Battaglia, a spokesman for the headquarters of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

The roughly 30,000 members of IAM District Lodge 751 are invited to vote on 13 November on whether to accept Boeing’s controversial terms for keeping assembly of the 777X in Everett, Washington, Battaglia says.

However, Battaglia also used the caveat that the vote remains scheduled “as of now”, implying the status of the vote could still change over the next five days.

The timing of the vote appeared set until the SeattleTimes reported late on 7 November about a meeting of District Lodge 751 leaders and stewards. After participants loudly denounced Boeing’s proposal, union leader Tom Wroblewski ripped Boeing’s paper proposal in half and said he may seek to call off the vote, according to the Seattle Times report.

Wroblewski had three days ago said Boeing’s proposal “merits consideration” in a communication to all of District Lodge 751’s members.

The turn-around at the 7 November union meeting prompted a defiant response from Boeing. Only “full acceptance” on 13 November of the proposed terms could prevent opening site selection for 777X assembly to competition, Boeing says.

Boeing’s proposal forces the union to agree to convert a company-funded pension to a defined contribution plan, among other concessions. In exchange, Boeing is offering to pay the employees a $10,000 signing bonus.



>> Boeing cuts 747-8 production to 1.5 per month

NewspictureBoeing will again reduce the pace of production of the 747-8 to 1.5 per month, but the company says that it remains committed to the programme over the long-term.

The move comes six months after Boeing cut production from two per month to 1.75.

The 747-8 Intercontinental has failed to attract new orders from airlines, and the 747-8 Freighter variant has endured a prolonged slump for air cargo traffic.

Although Boeing previously voiced confidence that sales could rebound, suppliers such as LMI Aerospace said they were preparing for further production rate cutbacks beyond the reduction to 1.75 last April.

Plummeting demand for cargo over the summer forced Boeing to deliver several 747-8Fs straight into long-term storage in the Arizona desert, as customer Nippon Cargo Airlines was unable to take delivery.

"Although we are making a small adjustment to our production rate, it doesn't change our confidence in the 747-8 or our commitment to the program," Eric Lindblad, Boeing's vice-president and general manager of the 747-8 programme.

As of 30 September, Boeing's order backlog for the 747-8 stood at 28 freighters and 23 passenger aircraft.



>> Japan Airlines orders 31 A350s

Japan Airlines orders 31 A350sJapan Airlines (JAL) has signed a purchase agreement for 31 Airbus A350s with an option for a further 25 aircraft, marking its first ever Airbus order.

The 31 aircraft includes 18 A350-900s and 13 of the larger -1000 variant.

Airbus says the target is for the A350s to enter JAL's fleet from 2019, and gradually replace the Japanese carrier's ageing fleet over a six-year period.

The A350s will be fitted with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines, the only powerplant currently available for the type. This is also Airbus's first sale of the A350 in Japan.


"We will utilise the A350 XWB to maximum, which offers high level of operational efficiency and product competitiveness, while positively catering to new business opportunities after slots at airports in Tokyo are increased," says JAL president Yoshiharu Ueki.

Flightglobal Pro data shows that JAL has a fleet of 117 Boeing aircraft, including 777s and 787s.



>> CSeries takes off on maiden flight

CSeries takes off on maiden flightAfter months of delays and build-up, Bombardier’s first CSeries flight test vehicle has finally lifted off, departing runway 06 around 09:55 on a cool morning at Montreal's Mirabel airport.

A crowd of hundreds of mostly Bombardier employees gathered along the runway cheered as the aircraft became airborne – its Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan engines nearly inaudible from a few hundred feet away.

“It’s exciting for everybody because now they can see the product and they can see the growth coming in terms of employment for all of us,” says Pierre Beaudoin, Bombardier chief executive.

The maiden flight of the 110-seat CS100 variant, commanded by Bombardier chief test pilot Chuck Ellis, opens a year-long test programme that will be heavily scrutinized to answer crucial questions on which the success of CSeries will depend.

These include whether the CS100’s performance in flight tests will match Bombardier’s promises on reducing fuel consumption by 20% and directing operating cost by 15% and achieving a 3,000nm range.

Even if the aircraft performs as promised, the airframer has yet to discover whether this will coax more airlines to order the CS100 and its 130-seat larger sister, the CS300 – despite heavy competition from the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737 Max and re-engined Embraer E-Jet E2.

The most pressing issue for Bombardier is timing the delivery of the first CS100 to launch operator and Swedish regional carrier Malmo Aviation. Bombardier began assembling the first production aircraft in late August.

Bombardier had pegged the CS100’s entry into service to 12 months after the first flight. But nearly two months ago, the airframer said it would re-assess the delivery schedule after the first flight milestone was completed. Several market analysts covering Bombardier already expect the delivery schedule to slide into early 2015.

CSeries was originally scheduled to enter service in late 2013. But Bombardier disclosed a six-month delay last November, attributing the setback to the readiness of certain suppliers.

Transport Canada certificated the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G geared turbofan engine in February.

CSeries remained on schedule to achieve first flight through mid-June and Bombardier executives touted the imminent timing of the maiden sortie during the Paris air show. But installation of software upgrades generated a further delay and, in July, Bombardier loosened its language on the timing of the first flight, simply saying it would occur within “weeks”.

Already in development for five years, the CSeries represents a major gamble for the Canadian manufacturer. It is the first clean-sheet design to enter the traditional narrowbody sector – the seat category above such types as the Sukhoi Superjet 100 and Embraer 190 – since the debut of the A320 in 1988.

CSeries is also the first Bombardier aircraft featuring a new fuselage cross-section and a new wing since the Canadair Challenger 600 appeared in 1978.

Perhaps more ambitiously, the CSeries marks Bombardier’s first attempt to compete against the Airbus and Boeing duopoly.

As a result, the CSeries is loaded with new technology. In addition to the debut of the P&W geared turbofan, it features the first all-composite wing and aluminium-lithium fuselage to be applied in the narrowbody sector. It has a full fly-by-wire flight control system, supplied by Parker Aerospace and integrated into the cockpit by Rockwell Collins.

Bombardier had previously only used fly-by-wire on the rudder of the CRJ1000.

The first CSeries flight occurred within sight of Bombardier’s Mirabel plant, which is being heavily renovated to accommodate CSeries production. Although the CSeries fits within Bombardier’s existing hangars, the company is building a larger and taller factory complex adjacent to the CRJ final assembly plant. At full rate production, the company expects to build up to 120 CSeries jets a year.

Achieving that rate will depend on how fast the company can sell new aircraft. So far, the record has been slow, with only 177 firm orders signed over five years. Bombardier executives remain confident that they can achieve their goal to sign 300 firm orders by the entry into service date.

“We’re in line with our target,” Beaudoin says.



>> Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier gets first-hand experience of A350 XWB

Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier gets first-hand experience of A350 XWBAirbus President & CEO, Fabrice Brégier has enjoyed his first experience on-board the A350 XWB MSN1 during a routine test flight which lasted close to three hours and took place over the south-western part of France.

“I am immensely proud to have flown on board the A350 XWB, our latest technology marvel,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President & CEO. “The aircraft is a very smooth ride and I was particularly impressed by the maturity of the aircraft at such an early stage in its life. The new cockpit layout with the large screens and head-up display are amazing and I am confident that pilots are going to love being behind the controls of this machine.”

To date, the A350 XWB MSN1 has completed more than 150 flight test hours out of the campaign’s total 2,500 hours which are to be achieved by five flight test A350’s over the next 12 months.



>> Mitsubishi Delays Delivery of MRJ on Certification Issue

Mitsubishi Delays Delivery of MRJ on Certification IssueMitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (7011)’s aircraft unit, which is making Japan’s first regional passenger jet, pushed back the delivery of its first plane by more than a year after delays in certification.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. will hand over its first plane in the second quarter of 2017, instead of an earlier plan to deliver by March 2016, the company said in a statement in Tokyo today. The aircraft’s initial test flight has been delayed to the second quarter of 2015 as against in the last three months of this year.

This is at least the second postponement after the company said in April 2012 that the first flight was delayed to confirm fabrication processes and complete technical studies. The Japanese company’s decision would follow Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China pushing back the maiden test flight of the country’s first large passenger plane to 2015 from an earlier plan for next year.

“The development of an aircraft is not easy and one will obviously face some difficulty to make and deliver the planes,” said Yukihiro Kumagai, an analyst at Jefferies Japan Ltd. in Tokyo. “I am also concerned about the impact on Mitsubishi from this delay.”

Design and certification have taken “greater resources” than anticipated, Mitsubishi Aircraft said in the statement.



>> Etihad In Advanced Talks Over LOT Stake

Etihad In Advanced Talks Over LOT StakeEtihad Airways is in negotiations with the Polish treasury about an equity investment in LOT Polish Airlines, sources close to the talks tell Aviation Week. The negotiations are already at an advanced stage, they say, but it could still take several months for the process to be finalized.

Poland has unsuccessfully tried to dispose of LOT in several privatization campaigns over many years. Last year’s unexpected €38 million loss (against a profit forecast) triggered the latest initiative, which could finally prove successful. LOT would be the fourth European airline in which Etihad holds an equity stake after Aer Lingus, Air Berlin and Air Serbia.

LOT did not comment, An Etihad spokesman said that “we never comment on rumors and speculation.” The Polish treasury stated that “seeking an investor for LOT is in progress.” The ministry points out that a change in the Polish law now allows the government to sell a majority stake in the airline and that “is a new aspect and an opportunity for effective completion of the process.” The treasury also hints that “the involvement of a non-EU investor in LOT is also possible in the current legal status. Parties to the transaction, however, are bound to develop legal mechanisms to ensure that LOT preserves the status as a community (European Union) carrier.”

It is unlikely that Etihad would go for a majority stake in LOT, complicating the matter further. According to industry sources, the Abu Dhabi based airline is rather looking at acquiring a large minority stake in the airline. Currently, the treasury holds 68% of the shares, the government-owned TFS Silesia Regional Economic Fund has 25% and employees control 7%. In the case of Air Serbia, Etihad went for 49%. It has 29% of Air Berlin to avoid foreign ownership in the airline exceeding 50% together with other non-EU investors.

Last year, Turkish Airlines was close to buying the LOT stake, but backed off the plans at the last minute.

Etihad has been following a strategy of growing fast through acquisitions in an effort to catch up quickly with its older and larger rival Emirates. In addition to its European partners, it has stakes in Virgin Australia—which it plans to raise further—and Air Seychelles. Etihad is also waiting for regulatory approval to complete the purchase of a 25% stake in India’s Jet Airways.

The strategy raises eyebrows in industry because a lot of the additions to the Etihad portfolio need deep restructuring, and network benefits seem limited. Etihad argues it can realize significant synergies on the cost side, through joint purchasing and in other areas. Aer Lingus says its code-sharing agreement with Etihad has been more successful than anticipated.

People with knowledge of the initiative say Etihad has no plans to merge its European affiliates into one entity, but is looking at central overall network planning and a harmonized strategy. Air Berlin, which would be at the center of such a move, won’t comment. With Air Serbia, Etihad signed a five-year management contract, but Etihad does not have such an arrangement with Air Berlin. Even so, senior Etihad-backed executives have been added to the German carrier’s management.

Recent government support for LOT complicates the issue. The airline got a €100 million short-term bail-out package from the Polish treasury late last year to avoid bankruptcy, which has since been approved by the European Commission. The airline has asked for another €88 million in June with the conditional support of Poland’s new Finance Minister Wlodzimierz Karpinski, but he also said that “this is the last attempt to rescue LOT.” Approval of the second bail-out is still pending.

An Etihad investment in the airline could actually make that approval easier because the Polish government could argue they needed the investment to prepare LOT for the sale and they acted as a private investor under normal market economy conditions. The European Commission generally does not consider such an investment to represent state aid. In other recent cases such as Air Berlin and Air Serbia, Etihad has provided financing to its new subsidiaries as part of the equity investment arrangements. If Etihad did the same for LOT, it would justify funding by its existing owner even more.

A tie-up with Etihad is raising serious concerns at Lufthansa and Star Alliance, however. A senior Lufthansa delegation is understood to be meeting with LOT CEO Sebastian Mikosz soon to discuss the situation. Etihad’s entry would not necessarily mean LOT will leave Star Alliance—Air Berlin is still a member of Oneworld—but priorities are shifting towards network synergies with its new shareholder.

Separately, industry sources claim Air Berlin is looking at selling its MRO division Air Berlin Technik. This would be another and one of the last remaining sources of financing for the cash-strapped carrier. The airline has done multiple sale and lease back deals for aircraft and sold a majority stake in its frequent flyer program to Etihad. Etihad and Air Berlin have said they are looking at synergies including at MRO and want to pool resources for the combined Boeing 787 fleet.

Air Berlin denies it plans to sell the division, but maintenance is one area that needs urgent attention. In the first quarter of 2013, technical costs increased by 16.4% at a time when the airline cut capacity further. Air Berlin is presenting its first half results on August 15.



>> A350 XWB achieves 92 flight test hours since first flight

A350 XWB achieves 92 flight test hours since first flightFlight envelope opened and key systems tests successfully performed.

The A350 XWB MSN1 has performed well during the first 92 flight test hours already achieved since its maiden flight on June 14th 2013. The A350 XWB flight test campaign will total around 2,500 flight hours with a fleet of five development aircraft.

During the first four weeks of the flight test campaign, ten Airbus experimental test pilots have flown MSN1 and have collectively put the aircraft through its paces to get to know its handling qualities and behaviour. This early phase of test flights has resulted in the clearance of the entire flight envelope and initial testing of all key systems. These include: engines, electrics, Ram Air Turbine (RAT), landing gear and braking, fuel and cabin pressurization as well as a preliminary assessment of the autopilot and auto-land functions. The A350 MSN1 will now undergo routine maintenance and upgrades of its flight test installation to ready it for the second phase of the flight test campaign which will start in August, while the design office will analyse the results of these initial flight tests.

Entry into commercial service of the first customer aircraft is scheduled for the second half of 2014. To date, Airbus has recorded 678 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 34 customers worldwide.



>> British Airways To Take Delivery Of First A380

British Airways To Take Delivery Of First A380British Airways plans to take delivery of its first Airbus A380 on July 4. The world’s largest commercial aircraft is therefore now operated by all three of the big European airlines, BA, Air France and Lufthansa.

BA has placed an order for a total of 12 A380s, the same number as Air France and five fewer than Lufthansa. And while the airline has options to buy seven more of the type, Willie Walsh, CEO of the airline’s parent, International Airlines Group, told Aviation Week earlier this year that it is “unlikely” BA would take on additional A380s, saying “we think 12 is a good [fleet] size.”

With entry into service imminent, a series of short-haul proving routes will be undertaken before the first scheduled long-haul routes—from London to Los Angeles and Hong Kong—are introduced in October of this year.

The British Airways long-haul fleet strategy gives Airbus reason to worry, because the airline has opted to buy only 12 of the jets when it actually needs to replace more than 50 Boeing 747-400s, the market that Airbus has been targeting when it launched the A380 in 2000. What was once a homogeneous 747-400 fleet is being split up between the A380 and the A350-1000 as well as—very likely—the new Boeing 777X. British Airways also is a launch customer for the 787-10, and might place the aircraft on some former 747 routes.

Air France also appears to be focusing on medium-size and large twins instead of ordering a larger fleet of A380s. Lufthansa is the notable exception; it is the biggest European customer, with 17 A380s currently on firm order, 10 of which have been delivered. The German carrier also has bought 19 Boeing 747-8s. These and the A380s are replacing a 747 fleet of 30 aircraft, which has already shrunk as a result of retirements as A380s and 747-8s were added.

The size of the order is also an indication of the airline’s plans to grow capacity on trunk routes. Lufthansa plans to make a decision about a large widebody twin order for either the Airbus A350-900/1000, or what could be a mix of Boeing 787-10s and 777X versions.

BA, which has always steered clear of being a launch customer for any new aircraft type, is a late entrant to the wide jumbo market, since 104 A380s are already in service with other carriers. In spite of the relatively small number of A380s on order by BA and the strategic implications, the deal is important to Airbus partly because the airline has never bought Airbus widebodies, instead relying on an all-Boeing 747, 777 and 767 fleet for decades.

The future BA long-haul fleet will consist of models made by both manufacturers. That fleet division was well illustrated by the fact that the first A380 arrived at Heathrow just a week after the first Boeing 787. BA also has firm orders with Boeing for 34 787-9s and the airline was announced as a launch customer of the double-stretch 787-10 at the Paris air show last month.

But the arrival of two different new long-haul aircraft types within days is also a serious challenge for the airline’s operations and engineering departments. BA Engineering has been preparing for the A380’s arrival since early 2010.

Much infrastructure change was required to accommodate the type. Conversion of the first hangars at its London Heathrow Airport base commenced in January 2010, and preparation for the second hangar started as the first was completed in March 2012.

More than 138 tons of steelwork were added to the roof of each hangar to create an eyebrow to accommodate the 24-meter-high (79-ft.-high) tail fin of the aircraft. Along with the hangars, two engine ground-run pens were established for the A380s. Engineers started B1 and B2 license training in May 2012 and there are now a total of 80 engineers trained to work on the A380.

As well as infrastructure and training, BA Engineering started to prepare data for maintenance, tools and inventory for the entry of the two new types into its fleet.

Steve Frewin, new aircraft readiness manager at BA Engineering, says that recommendations for tooling and spares from Airbus and Boeing were checked against BA’s own minimum equipment list before any purchasing decisions were made.

BA Engineering now holds a large number of A380 components at its Heathrow facility, rather than storing the entire inventory with Airbus Flight Hour Services. Inventory decisions will be important for BA Engineering as it plans to take on third-party A380 work, including heavy checks. Frewin says the MRO has “the capacity to carry out heavy checks and we do plan on offering this service to the MRO market.”

BA Engineering wants to grow its third-party work to 20% from today’s 10-12% by 2015.



>> 2013 Paris Air Show ends with fat orders

2013 Paris Air Show ends with fat ordersPARIS, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The Paris Air Show had a happy ending Sunday after global aviation industry players harvested a slew of contracts worth 100 billion U.S. dollars.

Fierce competition among world leading planemakers was felt from the very beginning of the week-long show at Le Bourget airport.

The world's two giant aircraft manufacturers, Airbus and Boeing, continued their games to vie for the spotlight and woo customers.

Results showed that European aerospace heavyweight Airbus slightly outperformed Boeing, the U.S. aviation giant, in sales ahead of the closure of the first four days of the show dedicated to potential customers.

Airbus claimed to have pocketed orders worth 68.7 billion dollars. It received commitments for 466 aircraft, 241 of which were in firm purchase orders.

By comparison, Boeing announced orders worth 66 billion dollars with orders and commitments for 442 aircraft.

The battle between Boeing and Airbus in the lucrative market for long-haul planes has dominated this year's event as these models offer planemakers the biggest profit margin.

Airbus used its new fuel-efficient A350s to compete with Boeing 787s and 777s.

All of the new plane models are made of lighter composite materials which help reduce fuel consumption and pollution.

The A350 XWB has successfully completed its second test flight on Wednesday at the show, which brought the company 21.4 billion dollars' worth of orders and commitments from four customers.

Meanwhile, Boeing launched its latest model, the 787-10 Dreamliner this year with orders and commitments for 102 aircraft from five customers from Europe, Asia and North America at a cost of 34.3 billion dollars.

Boeing considers its new orders a pick-up for its 787 Dreamliner which was grounded for several months this year due to battery problems.

"Our ongoing investment in the 787 family is well-founded," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner.

Analysts said the booming orders for long-haul aircraft came as the global economy shows signs of recovery, while the demand by some airlines are growing as they look to renew their fleets.

At this year's show, small aviation competitors also performed well.

ATR, a European joint venture, won orders of 55 planes in a deal worth 2.1 billion dollars. Brazil's Embraer, which makes smaller-capacity commercial planes, successfully launched its new generation of regional jets at the show, gaining an order of 215 new planes and commitments of 165. Canadian Bombardier also announced dozens of orders in two separate deals worth 1.3 billion dollars.



>> A350 first flight delay expected

A350 first flight delay expectedThe first Airbus A350 yesterday performed some low speed taxi tests, but has not yet gone through the full program of ground tests needed to clear the aircraft for first flight.

MSN001 still has to perform high speed taxi trials, likely tomorrow, and could fly later this week if no last minute flaws are found.

The aircraft was still undergoing extensive flight test wiring installation late last week after the engines had been powered up for the first time on June 2. Taxi trials were originally planned for June 7, but that shifted somewhat.

It now appears doubtful that Airbus will be able to stick to a preliminary plan to fly on June 13, partly because disruptions by a French air traffic control strike are likely to still be felt, but those issues should be resolved on June 14.

Airbus is keen to fly the aircraft during the Paris air show, which is being held June 17-23, but that is subject to post-first flight analysis and clearance.

First flight will be followed by a 2,500-hr. test campaign involving five aircraft. Assembly of MSN002, the third test aircraft, started earlier this month.



>> Boeing Tackles 787 APU Overheating Issue

Boeing Tackles 787 APU Overheating IssueAs Boeing 787s reenter service on routes around the world following the aircraft's prolonged grounding to resolve battery problems, the company is already working to address other issues that were emerging before flying ceased in mid-January.

Most of these problems, such as a string of failures concerning power panels in the electrical system unrelated to the later lithium-ion battery dilemma, fell into the “teething trouble” category that Boeing uses to describe early service life. These issues impacted the early dispatch reliability of the aircraft, giving it a percentage level in the high 90s, roughly similar to the initial performance of the 777-200 shortly after its entry into service in mid-1995.

Although the challenge of addressing many of these issues pales by comparison with the engineering resources involved with solving the battery problem, at least one concern with the operation of the auxiliary power unit (APU) has prompted Boeing and the unit's manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney Aero Power, to undertake a design revision. Operators have discovered that after the APS5000 APU is shut down with the inlet door closed after landing, heat continues to build up in the tail compartment. After 20 min., this causes the rotor shaft to bow, and the shaft takes up to 2 hr. to straighten again.

As many 787 operators, including All Nippon Airways (ANA), have flown the aircraft on shorter routes with reduced turnaround times, this has resulted in restrictions on when the APU can be restarted. An advisory bulletin from United Airlines says if an APU restart is attempted 20-120 min. after shutdown with the inlet door closed, the “bowed rotor shaft can cause turbine rub and significant damage.” If this occurs, an advisory message on the engine-indicating and crew-alerting system shows the APU failed to start and requires the unit to be inspected with a borescope.

Boeing acknowledges that “heat conditions have been found to sometimes influence 787 APU starting performance. As a result, operators have been provided with a revised operating procedure that has eliminated this finding. An improvement to the APU is being introduced in the next few months to remove the operating procedure.”

The revised operating procedure calls for the APU selector switch to be put in the “on” position during a shutdown, which will allow the inlet door to open and the the unit to cool down. The door must remain open for 40 min. before being closed, to enable the APU to be restarted. The notice indicates that the APU could be restarted without causing damage if reactivated within 20 min. of shutdown, or after 120 min. have elapsed.

The revised procedure also has connections with the operation of one of the 787's two lithium-ion batteries. The notice includes a precautionary note that advises against using the APU battery power to keep the door open as this will “only have about 15 minutes before being discharged.” It adds that ground power must be used to keep the APU door open for 40 min. and warns that, if this is disconnected, the door will close even with the APU switch on the flight deck remaining in the “open” position. Boeing declines to specify the design changes that will be made to improve cooling and ventilation of the APU compartment.

In the meantime, Boeing continues to modify the battery system on the last of the original 50 aircraft delivered up to the grounding in January. As of May 21, the company had completed work on 45, of which 40 had flown. It has also delivered the first two new 787s with the revised battery systems installed while still at the Everett, Wash., production site.

United resumed 787 flights on May 20 with a service between Houston and Chicago. The airline, which has six 787s, expects to bring its complete fleet back into service within days and launch international flights with the aircraft on June 10 with a service from Denver to Tokyo. Other long-haul flights, from Los Angeles to Shanghai and Houston to London, will be added in the summer months.

ANA will begin to resume services with its 18-strong 787 fleet on June 1, and plans to introduce the type on additional international routes later this summer including Tokyo Narita to Beijing and Shanghai, and Tokyo Haneda to Taipei. The increase will bring the number of overseas destinations served by ANA's 787s to five. Japan Airlines, which operates seven 787s, is also expected to resume flights on June 1, while Ethiopian Airlines became the first to operate the 787 on a commercial service since the grounding when it flew between Addis Ababa and Nairobi, Kenya, on April 27. Polish flag carrier LOT is scheduled to return its aircraft to service on June 5 with a flight from Warsaw to Chicago, while Qatar Airways resumed 787 services with a flight from Doha to Dubai on May 2.



>> Airbus’s Automated Future Features Robotics

Airbus’s Automated Future Features RoboticsAirbus has frequently played the technology card in its battle for market share and now, having achieved parity with Boeing, the company is turning to advanced manufacturing technology to ensure it can deliver the fruits of its success.

The focus on development of automated processes for a “future factory” concept comes as Airbus continues to accelerate delivery rates to record levels. Airbus currently delivers almost 55 aircraft every month, equal to the total A300 deliveries over the first five years of the company's existence. Since 2000, commercial deliveries have grown by 60% and, with a doubling of the order backlog over the past decade to around 4,950, the company has eight years worth of production already on the books.

Jens Gralfs, Airbus operations vice president of overall physical design, says that as the rate continues to grow across multiple models “we are facing strong challenges in how to keep the aircraft productionized.” Each of the models represents a different set of issues, whether it is accelerating deliveries of the single-aisle A320 family as it transitions to the New Engine Option (NEO), ramping up the new A350 or improving the sophisticated double-deck A380 assembly process.

“The single-aisle is at a rate of 42 aircraft per month, which is effectively one every seven hours,” says Gralfs. He adds that production capacity for the A320 family will be increased by another four per month with the addition of the Mobile, Ala., assembly line. Production of the first aircraft is due to begin there in February 2015, with deliveries set to begin in January 2016. The A380 rate is due to increase from 2.5 to 3 per month and “in terms of complexity, it is in another dimension.”

At the same time, Airbus continues to accelerate the A330, which reached an all-time-high rate of 10 per month earlier this year. The target is 11 per month, says Gralfs, who adds that the A330's successor, the A350, is eventually expected to be produced at up to 13 per month. Overall, Airbus delivered 588 aircraft in 2012, which equates to a rate of 49 per month.

All this contrasts dramatically with the rates achieved early in the history of Airbus when it used conventional methods to produce the A300 at a maximum rate of four per month in the 1970s and 1980s. “At that time, no one thought it was possible to make more than four per month. There was zero automation, lots of fixed tooling and no flexibility. The design was 100% focused on the performance of the aircraft and not at all on manufacturing considerations. Frankly, the attitude then was 'who cares about manufacturing?'”

Even in the case of the A320, which entered production in 1988, design considerations for assembly and industrialization “was a secondary topic,” noted Gralfs, who was speaking at the recent Society of Mechanical Engineers AeroDef manufacturing conference in California. The A380, on the other hand, was “from Day One designed for performance and industrialization. It was the first Airbus aircraft designed with thoughts of both considerations at the same level. It also incorporated lean manufacturing principles from the start. This is important because what is not designed for lean is hard to make lean afterward.”

© Aviation Week & Space Technology


>> Boeing Expects 787 Battery Fix To Be Completed Mid-May

Boeing Expects 787 Battery Fix To Be Completed Mid-MayBoeing’s engineering team of more than 300 personnel already has started to install battery kits in 10 of the 50 grounded 787s and nine of the 25 787-8s produced since the FAA ordered a halt to flights mid-January, says Chairman and CEO James McNerney.

During the company’s April 24 first quarter earnings conference call, McNerney said the company has a “high degree of confidence that we’ll get through it by mid-May.” Deliveries are expected to begin early next month.

Meanwhile, the race is on to determine which carrier first resumes 787 services, although Ethiopian Airlines expects to gain that honor with an April 27 flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Also reporting return-to-service goals are Qatar Airways, which has scheduled a May 15 flight from Doha International Airport to London Heathrow Airport, and United Airlines, which expects to return some of its 787s to domestic service May 31. United also expects to launch service between Denver International Airport and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport June 10, although a spokeswoman tells Aviation Week, “that will depend on successful completion of planned modifications ahead of that date.”

It is unclear when the industry’s two largest 787 fleets at All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines will resume service, but Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau is not expected to approve flights until June.

Despite losing more than a quarter of the year’s delivery schedule, McNerney says Boeing still expects to deliver more than 60 787s this year. The 25 awaiting delivery include 20 at its Everett, Wash., factory and five in North Charleston, S.C.

CFO Greg Smith says Boeing has spent only a “minor” amount of its research and development fund to devise the 787 battery fix, but he declined to state the amount.

Separately, after months reporting the high level of customer acceptance for the 787-10X, Boeing’s second stretched version of the twin-aisle jet, the company still is hesitant about confirming a launch date. “I anticipate that sooner rather than later we’re going to be making a call” for launch this year, McNerney says.

Boeing is still evaluating its supply chain and factory readiness to take on the new model as its two 787 assembly lines climb toward 10 aircraft per month by year end. It needs to “get through what we are going through now,” McNerney adds.



>> Boeing completes certification testing for new 787 battery system

Boeing completes certification testing for new 787 battery systemBoeing completed a 787 certification demonstration flight today on Line number 86, a Boeing-owned production airplane built for LOT Polish Airlines. Today's flight marks the final certification test for the new battery system, completing the testing required by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Today's flight departed from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. at 10:39 a.m. Pacific with a crew of 11 onboard, including two representatives from the FAA. The airplane flew for 1 hour and 49 minutes, landing back at Paine Field at 12:28 p.m. Pacific.

The crew reported that the certification demonstration plan was straightforward and the flight was uneventful. The purpose of the flight was to demonstrate that the new battery system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions.

Boeing will now gather and analyze the data and submit the required materials to the FAA. Once we deliver the materials we stand ready to reply to additional requests and continue in dialog with the FAA to ensure we have met all of their expectations.



>> airberlin group takes delivery of its first Airbus A320 equipped with sharklets

airberlin group takes delivery of its first Airbus A320 equipped with sharkletsGermany's airberlin group took delivery of its first Airbus A320 equipped with fuel saving wing tip devices, called Sharklets. The aircraft will join the fleet of the Austrian based airline NIKI, which is owned by the airberlin group. Between now and 2015 the airberlin group, Germany’s second biggest airline, will receive 13 more A320-Family aircraft with Sharklets.

Sharklets are newly designed wing-tip devices, measuring 2,4 metres and replacing the A320’s current wing tip fence. They improve the aircraft’s aerodynamics and significantly cut the airline’s fuel burn and emissions by up to four per cent. Sharklets are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft, and standard on all members of the NEO Family. They offer the flexibility to A320 Family operators of either adding around 100 nautical miles more range or allowing an increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.

As of today, over 9,150 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold worldwide and over 5,450 aircraft delivered to more than 385 customers and operators, making it the world’s best-selling commercial jetliner ever.



>> Boeing Nears Authority To Offer 777X

Boeing Nears Authority To Offer 777XBoeing’s board of directors is expected to decide as early as its next meeting in April whether to give the Commercial Airplanes division authority to offer the proposed 777X derivative to airlines.

The milestone move, if confirmed, puts Boeing at the start of a six-year development track culminating with the entry into service of the first of two new 777 family members in 2019. The extended twinjet series will include a 777-8X, sized to succeed today’s 777-300ER, and a larger 777-9X which opens up new territory in the 400-plus seat, long range market.

Before the 777X proposal goes before the board, however, Boeing needs to finalize one of the most crucial decisions it has faced over the new development: whether to offer the larger twin with a choice of engines. The longer range 777-200LR/300ER versions, which now account for all but a handful of 777 orders, are powered by General Electric.

GE90-115 engines provided under a sole-source deal agreed in 1999.

According to airline sources, Boeing is believed to be on the verge of selecting General Electric’s GE9X under a similar agreement for the follow-on 777X. Boeing had been considering offering Rolls-Royce’s proposed RB3025 as an alternate to the GE9X, mostly under pressure from the airlines which wanted the competitive benefit of an engine choice. However, having eliminated late last year a study version of a higher thrust variant of Pratt & Whitney’s geared turbofan, it now seems Boeing is once again set to continue along the sole-source path with GE.

Boeing declines to comment on whether the 777X program is about to be proposed to the board for authority to offer (ATO). It says only that “customers are happy with the airplane design and we are pleased with where we are in the process. We are aggressively moving forward per our plan and working with our customers on the requirements. While we haven’t set a firm timeline or launched the program, we’ve consistently talked about a potential EIS around the end of the decade.”

The manufacturer also declines to comment on whether the engine selection has been made, saying that its “decision regarding engine options will be based on the right technical solutions available at the right time under the right business arrangements to meet our customers’ requirements.” Neither Rolls-Royce nor GE are willing to comment on the status of their 777X proposals.

GE has made no secret of its long-term plan to maintain its dominance on the 777 by going ahead with development and testing of the GE9X it is readying for the 777X. The engine-maker is running several technology demonstration efforts to support FAR33 engine certification in 2018, and entry-into-service in 2019.

Commenting late last year on GE’s decision to plow on with tests despite Boeing’s apparent indecision in 2012, GE90 general manager William Millhaem said “even though Boeing is still figuring out what they want to do we’re doing the technology. It’s the right thing to do for the industry.”

According to already published schedules, GE is expected to run the first version of a new core for the GE9X as early as 2014. A final decision – known as Toll Gate 6 – on freezing the design will likely take place around 2015 with first engine going to test in the 2016 timeframe.

Given this timing, the engine would be tested on GE’s 747-400 flying testbed in 2017 with certification the following year.

Rolls, by comparison, has been less bullish about the RB3025 proposal which focused on a 100,000 lb class, three-shaft design with an overall pressure ratio of 62 to 1, and a bypass ratio of 12 to 1.

Although close in thrust to the Trent XWB-97 in development for the A350-1000, Aviation Week understands part of Boeing’s reluctance to encourage the development of a new, more powerful Rolls engine was that a variant could later be adapted to suit the needs of Airbus should it subsequently develop a growth variant of the A350-1000 dubbed the A350-1200.

Pressure on Boeing to act has been growing from some airlines, mostly notably Emirates Airlines, Japan Airlines and British Airways. All Nippon Airways has also been closely involved in the airline group review process for the bigger twin. Commenting last month in Dubai, Emirates President Tim Clark said he expected a launch in “six to nine months,” which would fit the standard Boeing schedule assuming ATO in April. The 787, for example, was approved for offering to airlines by the board in December 2003 and officially launched the following April.

Indications that Boeing is gearing up for next month’s proposal to the board follows a leadership reshuffle which last week saw former 737 MAX general manager Bob Feldmann appointed as the vice president and general manager for 777X. Feldmann is another of the former Boeing military program leaders who were brought in to bolster the commercial arm under the leadership of former BCA President Jim Albaugh. Before the 737 MAX, Feldmann led the Surveillance and Engagement division within Boeing Military Aircraft, and previously managed the U.S. Navy’s EA-18G Growler electronic warfare aircraft program.



>> Boeing, FAA meet on proposed fixes for 787 batteries

Boeing, FAA meet on proposed fixes for 787 batteriesOfficials with the Boeing Co. and the Federal Aviation Administration met on Friday to discuss Boeing's proposal to fix problems with the lithium-ion battery system on the company's 787 Dreamliner aircraft and get the fleet of jets back in the air.

The Wall Street Journal reported that FAA officials emphasized no decision would be made Friday and that the agency needed time to analyze Boeing's proposal. The fleet of Dreamliners has been grounded since mid-January after incidents in which a battery caught fire on one aircraft and produced smoke on another.

FAA officials have said they would not allow the planes back in the air until they are convinced of the plane's safety.

Investigators have been unable to pinpoint an exact cause of the problem, but earlier this past week reports came out that Boeing (NYSE: BA) would propose steps including changes to the guts of the battery system and a fireproof enclosure for the battery.

The Dreamliner is an important aircraft for Boeing's future and it hopes to get the planes back in the air by April. Fort Worth-based American Airlines (OTC: AAMRQ) has ordered 42 of the Dreamliners and announced in January that it was moving up delivery of its first aircraft to November 2014.



>> Boeing 737 program starts building at higher production rate

Boeing 737 program starts building at higher production rateRENTON, Wash., Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] has begun assembly of the first Next-Generation 737 to be built at the rate of 38 airplanes per month. Over the past two years, production of the 737 has risen more than 20 percent, from 31.5 to 38 airplanes a month. In 2014, the rate will go up again to 42 airplanes a month.

Today mechanics completed loading initial parts of the spars - internal support structures in the wings – into an automated spar-assembly machine. The spar is the first step in building the wings and marks the start of major manufacturing for an airplane.

"The first spar load serves as the defining moment for our latest rate break, and the 737 team did it as planned, on schedule," said Beverly Wyse, vice president and general manager of the 737 program. "We have more hard work ahead of us, but we are well on our way to another successful production rate increase."

Employee teams have been instrumental in reducing 737 production flow by developing and implementing innovative efficiency improvements.

The first Next-Generation 737 built at the new rate is scheduled to be delivered in the second quarter of this year.



>> Dreamliner: Boeing 787 planes grounded on safety fears

Dreamliner: Boeing 787 planes grounded on safety fearsAll of Boeing's 50 flagship 787 Dreamliners have been temporarily taken out of service amid safety concerns.

The US and European aviation agencies said planes should be grounded while safety checks are carried out on their lithium ion batteries. They are worried that the batteries could leak, corroding vital equipment and potentially causing fires. Boeing said it stood by the integrity of the Dreamliner, which has been in service since October 2011. Grounding aircraft on this scale over safety concerns is rare. The last time the FAA ordered a general grounding of an aircraft model was in 1979, when McDonnell Douglas DC-10s were grounded following a fatal crash.

A string of issues in recent weeks have raised questions about the 787. Dreamliners have suffered incidents including fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window, brake problems and an electrical fire. However, it is the battery problems that have caused the most concern. On Wednesday, an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight made an emergency landing because of a battery fault and fire smoke in one of the electrical compartments. ANA said the battery in the forward cargo hold was the same type as the one involved in a fire on a Japan Airlines Dreamliner at a US airport last week.

Airlines complying

Later on Wednesday, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said that airlines must demonstrate battery safety before flights can resume. The authority added that it had alerted the international aviation community of its airworthiness directive, so that other authorities could take parallel action to cover the fleets operating in their countries. The European Aviation Safety Agency endorsed the directive early on Thursday.

All eight airlines currently flying Boeing 787s have grounded the planes:

'Every necessary step'

Leithen Francis, from Aviation Week, said airlines had little choice but to take the aircraft out of service temporarily. "When the FAA issues an airworthiness directive, civil aviation and airlines around the world have to follow [it], particularly in regards to the 787, because it is a US-designed and developed aircraft," he told the BBC. Boeing said it supported the FAA but added it was confident the 787 was safe. Chief executive Jim McNerney said: "We will be taking every necessary step in the coming days to assure our customers and the travelling public of the 787's safety and to return the airplanes to service. "Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and the inconvenience to them and their passengers." Mr Francis said the safety concerns could have an effect on airlines currently considering ordering 787s, causing them to choose rival Airbus' A330 instead, which is a comparable aircraft and a proven product.

Companies on the order books include UK holiday firm Thomson, which was due to take delivery of Dreamliners next month, followed by British Airways and Virgin. Thomson said Boeing had reassured the airline that it was doing everything possible to get the planes back into service. "We will await the outcome of the FAA investigation into the 787 Dreamliner. At this time we are still working to our original delivery dates," it said in a statement. The FAA said it would work with the manufacturer and carriers on an action plan to allow the US 787 fleet to resume operations as quickly and safely as possible. "The in-flight Japanese battery incident followed an earlier 787 battery incident that occurred on the ground in Boston on January 7, 2013," the regulator said. "The AD (airworthiness directive) is prompted by this second incident involving a lithium ion battery." It said the battery failures resulted in the release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage, and smoke, and the cause of the failures was under investigation. "These conditions, if not corrected, could result in damage to critical systems and structures, and the potential for fire in the electrical compartment," the FAA said. Boeing is investing heavily in the 787 Dreamliner, and needs to sell 1,100 over the next decade to break even. Together with European rival Airbus it dominates the global airliner market.



>> ILA 2012 – an unqualified success

ILA 2012 – an unqualified successThe debut event of the International Air Show ILA 2012 on the new exhibition grounds at Berlin ExpoCenter Airport was an unqualified success. Exhibitor numbers were the highest in the ILA’s 100-year history, with 1,243 exhibitors from 46 countries (2010: 1,153 / 47) providing an outstanding display of high-tech products from all parts of the aerospace industry. As at the last ILA, around 230,000 trade visitors and members of the public came to find out about the products and services being exhibited. Over the course of the show they were able to enjoy a programme that featured a total of 36 hours of flying displays. At 125,000, trade visitor numbers remained high. 3,600 members of the media from 65 countries provided written and broadcast coverage of events at the Berlin Air Show, ensuring it received worldwide attention.
New concepts at the ILA spelled the inclusion of new sections and topics such as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and eco-efficient flight, which met with keen interest. The UAS section exhibited a wide range of products, ranging from small unmanned systems to large unmanned aircraft for use in civil and military environments. The industrial innovations and research projects on display included aircraft seats, cabin concepts of the future, increasingly efficient low-emission engines, new materials and alternative aviation fuels, all of which underlined the industry’s ability to develop environmentally friendly aircraft technology that protects our climate.
Under the heading of “Space for Earth“ the Space Pavilion focused on the benefits and innovative capabilities of the aerospace industry. The International Suppliers Center (ISC), Europe’s marketplace for the supply industry, and the ILA CareerCenter, Europe’s largest aerospace job exchange, registered significant growth. The ILA HeliCenter and roger Airfield, where the General Aviation section was located, provided trade visitors with an overview of the latest aircraft and industry products.
During the fair 282 aircraft were exhibited on the ground and in the air. They included the world’s two largest airliners, an Airbus A-380 and a Boeing 747-8, as well as a Beluga from Airbus, the world’s most voluminous transport aircraft. An A-400M, the world’s most advanced military transporter, was on show in the air. World trade fair debuts included presentations of a Eurocopter Hybrid Demonstrator X3 and a solar-powered Elektra One Solar. The national aerobatics teams of Turkey and Poland put on flying displays for the first time at the ILA. The programme of flying shows spanned every era and included a 1936 De Havilland as well as a Eurofighter, MiG-29 and F-18.
The next ILA will take place at Berlin ExpoCenter Airport from 20 to 25 May 2014.
Source: ILA Berlin,


>> Boeing facility marks 100 helicopters

Boeing facility marks 100 helicoptersThe 100th CH-47F to enter the work line at the Boeing Company helicopter modification center here now is ready for its first assignment with the U.S. Army, although no one was saying where that might be.
Boeing held a rare public event at its municipal airport facility Friday morning to mark the moment. The facility has been open only since February 2010. Its opening gave a badly needed lift to the economic outlook for the city and for the city’s airport operator, Delaware River Bay Authority.
The center employs 50 people and leases a major industrial space at a facility that still mourns the loss of Dallas Airmotive’s plant. The twin-rotor cargo and troop transport helicopter is in heavy demand worldwide, with multiple nations, and particularly in Afghanistan. The Chinooks passing through Millville, though, are only for United States Army use. “We’re here today to recognize the results of an outstanding partnership,” said Peri Widener, a vice president in Boeings Rotorcraft Support Programs. Besides praise for the bus-sized helicopter, Widener repeatedly thanked U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo for supporting the center. Boeing competes on a yearly basis for contracts to continue doing the “war mod” work here.
“But what this is all about is protecting our nation,” he added. “What this is all about is fulfilling our promise to those heroes who put on the United States military uniform and put their lives in harm’s way to defend this country, and our promise to give them the very best equipment that we can, so that they can keep out nation safe.”
Millville was in contention with Atlanta, Ga., for this kind of facility. The Army at the time was taking delivery of new Chinooks from Boeing’s Ridley Park, Pa. factory and modifying them at bases all over the country.


>> Boeing celebrates its Dreamliner for Air India

Boeing celebrates its Dreamliner for Air IndiaToday marked another 787 milestone as the first Dreamliner built in South Carolina completed its first flight. Piloted by Tim Berg and Randy Neville, the airplane successfully conducted a five-hour test flight. More than 5,000 Boeing South Carolina employees watched a live broadcast of the airplane as it took off from Charleston International Airport.
"This is a proud moment for our Boeing South Carolina team and for Boeing," said Jack Jones, vice president/general manager, Boeing South Carolina. "In April, we gathered on the flightline to watch this airplane roll out of final assembly. Today, we watched as this airplane successfully completed its first production flight - one step closer to delivering our first South Carolina-built 787 Dreamliner to our customer."
Today‘s production flight test profile tested the airplane‘s controls and systems in a series of scenarios designed to verify the airplane operates as designed. They also checked backup and critical safety elements including cabin pressurization, avionics, and navigation and communications systems. The tests occurred in all stages of flight beginning prior to taxi, through final landing and taxi.
"The first flight of this South Carolina-built airplane is a significant achievement and our teammates did a great job working together to make this happen," said Berg. "The airplane performed exactly as we expected."
The airplane will be flown to Ft. Worth, Texas to be painted with Air India‘s livery before returning to Boeing South Carolina for a mid-2012 delivery.


>> Boeing and Airbus suffer from canceled orders

Boeing and Airbus suffer from canceled ordersBoeing and Airbus suffered major order cancellations last month, with airlines dropping 25 787 Dreamliners and seven A350s, according to data released by the aircraft manufacturers on Monday.
With 25 cancellations of 787 Dreamliners, against 19 orders so far this year, Boeing is in negative territory for its flagship aircraft built with composite materials that it says will use 20 percent less fuel than similarly sized aircraft.
A Boeing spokeswoman spokeswoman said China Eastern Airlines had Shanghai Airlines had switched orders of 24 787 Dreamliners for 45 737-88 aircraft. The switch means $800 million less for Boeing at list prices. A VIP client also canceled an order for a 787 Dreamliner, said Boeing spokeswoman Jennifer Cram, leaving total orders for the aircraft at 854.
For its European counterpart, the cancellation of seven A350-1000 aircraft by Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways represented a loss of $2.2 billion at catalogue prices. The Emirati airline canceled six other A350-1000 aircraft late last year. Airbus said the airline was going through with 12 of the 25 planes it ordered in 2008.
Airbus also declined to comment on the order figures for the A350-1000, a new aircraft it began assembling last month which also includes many composite materials.
The first A350s are due to be delivered in 2014.
Boeing retained a large advance over Airbus in terms of orders received this year. Boeing‘s orders stood at 415 on May 1 against 95 for Airbus on April 31.


>> Qantas and the final repair bill

Qantas and the final repair billQantas' final repair bill for the Airbus A380 damaged in Singapore in 2010 will be A$139 million ($143.3 million), more than one-third the list price for a new aircraft.
The aircraft—VH-OQA—is set to fly from Singapore to Sydney on April 21, with revenue service resuming later in the month, says the Australian operator. The repaired aircraft currently is undergoing final tests. VH-OQA suffered an uncontained engine failure after takeoff from Singapore on Nov. 4, 2010, resulting in major damage. The A380 made an emergency landing and has been grounded for repair service. Investigators discovered cracks in faulty oil pipes in the failed Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engine, which caused oil leaks and an engine fire. Following inspections of Trent 900s operated by Qantas and other airlines, some engines were repaired or replaced.
The entire repair cost, which a Qantas spokesman says is covered by insurance, is more than a third of the current $389.9 million list price of an A380, although as an early A380 buyer Qantas would have paid a lot less for its Airbus widebodies. The final cost is slightly more than the A$135 million Qantas previously estimated.


>> Airbus starts A330P2F with ST Aerospace

Airbus starts A330P2F with ST AerospaceAirbus is bringing to market the A330 passenger to freighter program with ST Aerospace, with the aircraft to enter service in 2016. Both the A330-300 and -200 (a year later) will be part of the P2F program which also includes EADS EFW unit. ST Aerospace will have the development lead, with EFW performing the modification and marketing.
The arrangement has been under work for three years. Airbus turned to ST Aerospace in part because of "the scarcity of our engineering resources," says Airbus CEO Tom Enders. The aircraft will receive a European Aviation Safety Agency certification and from the FAA. First flight of the -300P2F is due in 2015, with certification later the same year. The -300P2F is being targeted at integrators, with the -200P2F aimed at higher-density freight and long-range performance. The -300P2F is expected to be the larger program.
Today's agreement marks the authorization to order, with commitments due later this year, says Andreas Sperl, president and CEO of EADS EFW. Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker has already signalled interest in such a program. The specification is set, but is first being briefed to potential clients. The aircraft will likely feature a powered cargo loading system, adds Chang Cheow Teck, president of ST Aerospace.


>> 787-9 for the win

787-9 for the winMajor assenbly work on the first 787-9 will begin in the fourth quarter 2012, as it moves to achieve first flight in summer 2013.
The airframer has just completed the release of the first 25% of the detailed engineering drawings for the -9, which is due to enter service with Air New Zealand in early 2014, says Mark Jenks, Boeing Vice President 787-9 development. From here, there will be "a fairly quick rampup" in releasing further detailed design drawings, with the goal to essentially complete the work in winter 2012.
As Boeing starts building the -9, it is trying to apply lessons from the -8 program, in particular to limit the amount of so called "travel work," moving sections forward in assembly without all systems installed. "We will be very hard-nosed in terms of what travels," Jenks says on the eve of the Singapore air show. The problem on the -8 was that some engineering work was not completed, and now there has been more emphasis on completing those steps up front. "So far things are looking really good," he asserts. He also notes that the design work on the hybrid laminar flow technology to be used on the 787-9 is essentially completed, and some parts are already being built. Full scale parts and production tools are also in-hand for the Boeing-built horizontal stabilizer. The work on the -8 was assigned to Alenia Aeronautica, which now takes a secondary role.
Jenks also reaffirms that Boeing does not expect a large impact from the delamination problems seen on the 787-8 because of a production flaw. Inspections are now taking place to assess what aircraft already built need fixing. He says the fix, where needed, can be made fairly quickly. Hopefully.


>> Airbus improves A380 assembly quality.

Airbus improves A380 assembly qualityAirbus has put in place changes to its A380 wing assembly process as part of its long-term fix to address cracking of wing components, but it also expects most of the A380s already built to require fixes as an interim measure.
Singapore Airlines, which has the most A380s affected, says four of its aircraft have undergone the process, and "there were findings during each inspection." Of those, "one aircraft has already undergone repairs and is back in service. Repairs will be carried out before the remaining aircraft are returned to service," says an airline representative.
To avoid the problem on new-build aircraft, Airbus is already using shimming to reduce the strain applied when the wing skins are attacked to the ribs, thereby reducing the loads on the wing rib-feet. The gap between wing skin and rib, in the affected area, was about 1.5-2 mm, rather than 0.5 mm, causing unexpected strain on the rib-feet in the lower wing area near Rib 26 and Stringer 21.
Airbus also is changing the material of the part from an aluminum 7449 alloy to a stronger component. The overall effect will be to add 89 kg to the aircraft, Williams says. Furthermore, Airbus is making changes to the interference fit fasteners because it judged the current arrangement contributory to the damage seen.
The inspection regime the airlines are undertaking involves draining the wing tanks and opening an access panel. Depending on local rules, the process takes a day or more. A repair action, if deemed necessary, can take several days. Airbus stresses the issue is not a flight safety concern.
Wing changes being introduced on the A380 to boost the maximum takeoff weight to 574 from 569 metric tons should not create a new problem in this area, Airbus believes.


>> Eurocopter delivers two EC225s to Héli-Union for offshore operations.

Eurocopter delivers two EC225sEurocopter delivered today two EC225s to Héli-Union, a leading provider of commercial air transportation services worldwide. The new helicopters are the first EC225s to join the company's fleet of some 30 rotary-wing aircraft. The two new EC225s are configured for offshore operations and will be deployed for transportation services for oil and gas companies.
"With its superior range and payload, the EC225 is tailored to perform the most demanding offshore missions and will enable us to meet our customers' evolving needs", said Patrick Molis, chairman, CEO and managing director of the Compagnie Nationale de Navigation (CNN), Héli- Union's parent company. "These deliveries confirm the successful five-decade partnership between Héli-Union and Eurocopter. We are looking forward to the next chapter of our cooperation."
Héli-Union's current fleet of 30 helicopters includes a wide range of Eurocopter products, including the AS350, EC145, AS365, AS332 and now the new EC225. In addition, the company has also ordered four of Eurocopter's brand-new EC175s, for which deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2013.
"Eurocopter and Héli-Union benefit from a long-standing cooperation, which allows for the optimal sharing of experiences and know-how," said Eurocopter President and CEO Lutz Bertling. "Our technical and commercial teams stand ready to support Héli-Union's growth into new regions around the world. By integrating the EC225 into your fleet, you will benefit from an aircraft that has become the reference for oil and gas missions, offering an outstanding performance for the challenging environments in which you operate."
With its optimal safety and reliability, the 11-ton EC225 is tailored for the most demanding missions in all weather-conditions of oil and gas operators. It can accommodate up to 19 passengers for crew change flights and is designed to meet the highest safety standard levels, assured by its system redundancy, a highly capable automatic flight control system (AFCS) and its full de-icing capability.
Source: [retrieved: 04.01.2012]


>> Boeing gets record $19 billion 737 order from Southwest.

Boeing gets record $19 billion 737 order from Southwest.NEW YORK (AP) - Southwest Airlines Co. on Tuesday said it ordered 208 new Boeing 737 aircraft with a value of nearly $19 billion. The Dallas airline, which operates an all-Boeing fleet, placed a firm order for 150 of the 737 Max, a new version of Boeing's most popular plane with more fuel-efficient engines. Southwest also ordered 58 next-generation 737s.
Because discounts are common, Southwest won't pay the full $19 billion list price.
Southwest has bought more 737s than any other airline. Boeing says Southwest, which flies more U.S. passengers than any other carrier, is the first customer to finalize an order for the 737 Max. Including this order, Boeing now has orders or commitments from 13 customers for more than 900 of the new model.
Southwest will receive the first 737 Max in 2017. Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has said publicly before that he considered buying planes from Boeing Co. rival Airbus if Boeing couldn't deliver a redesigned 737 before the end of the decade.
Before buying AirTran, Southwest only flew 737s. It has since inherited AirTran's fleet of 717s.
Last month, Boeing said Indonesia's Lion Air committed to pay $21.7 billion for 230 Boeing 737s. Lion Air also has options for 150 more planes, valued at $14 billion, bringing the deal's total potential value to $35 billion. But the Lion Air deal is not a certainty; it still has to finalize the order. Also in November, Emirates Airlines ordered $18 billion worth of 777s.
Both deals came shortly after Boeing finally began delivering its two newest planes, the next-generation 787 and the latest version of the iconic 747.
Boeing produces about one 737 every day in Renton, Wash. It is raising that to 42 per month in 2014.
Boeing shares rose 66 cents to $71.56 in premarket trading.
Source: [retrieved: 15.12.2011]


>> Airbus (Tianjin) Logistics Company opens for business.

Airbus Logistics Company opens for businessHub in Tianjin to optimise supply chain for Airbus industrial projects in China.
Airbus (Tianjin) Logistics is now fully operational in its brand new facilities in the Tianjin Free Trade Zone Comprehensive Bonded Area. With a logistics facility design similar to Europe, the main purpose of the company is to optimise and support supply chain management of present and future industrial cooperation programmes of EADS and Airbus in China.
A ceremony was held today to mark the opening of Airbus (Tianjin) Logistics. Chinese government officials, representatives of Airbus and its partners, and other aviation industry professionals attended the event. By establishing this logistics company in Tianjin, Airbus aims in particular to optimize all transport and logistics activities related to Airbus in China as part of its worldwide supply chain.
Today, a number of Chinese companies are directly involved in manufacturing parts and components for Airbus aircraft. These companies are located in different cities, including Harbin, Shenyang, Tianjin, Xi'an, Chengdu and Shanghai, and each supply chain is organised separately. A harmonised and streamlined supply chain will increase the efficiency of the Airbus production lines and reduce logistics costs.
"Airbus (Tianjin) Logistics will provide strong support to all industrial exchanges between China and the rest of the world, which are needed as a result of our expanding industrial activities in China. The Airbus logistics centre in Tianjin is another step forward in our cooperation with Tianjin, where we already have the A320 Family Final Assembly Line and Delivery Centre," said Laurence Barron, Airbus China President. "This improvement in our logistics set-up will also support the production of the A350 XWB, of which five percent of the airframe will be manufactured in China".
In October 2009, Airbus signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Tianjin Free Trade Zone on the establishment of a logistics hub in Tianjin. In 2010, the logistics centre started operations in temporary facilities, having served already two major aeronautic projects in Tianjin: the A320 wing equipping project and the assembling and testing of the wing slats by SINELSON AERO (Tianjin) to be installed on aircraft assembled at the FALC.


>> Customs turns back Russian engineers working for Boeing

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport denied entry Friday to 15 Russian engineers from Boeing's Moscow Design Center and sent them back to Russia. The incident caused the company to suspend U.S. travel for other engineers from Russia "until Boeing can determine the appropriate way to proceed," said spokesman Marc Birtel. According to the white-collar union at Boeing, the Society for Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), the engineers were not Boeing employees but lower-paid contractors.
The union's communications director, Bill Dugovich, described the denial of entry as "fantastic news." He said SPEEA has asked the State Department for several years about the validity of Boeing's use of temporary-visitor visas, alleging that Russian contractors violate the terms by working for Boeing while in the U.S.
Boeing's Birtel said the company believes that "the engineers denied entry were traveling with the proper visas." He said Boeing is working with CBP officials "to determine if additional information may be required for the engineers to be approved for entry in order to prevent a recurrence of this situation in the future."
CBP spokeswoman Jenny Burke, citing privacy laws, said the agency cannot disclose details of a specific case. But she confirmed that "15 people were allowed to withdraw their applications to enter the United States as they had not proven that they were admissible."
Further details on what happened were provided by Rich Plunkett, SPEEA's director of strategic development. During questioning of the engineers on Friday, CBP officer John Hullett called Plunkett to consult about their status. Plunkett said Hullett told him that the Russians arrived with B-1 visas. In response, Plunkett informed him of the union's longtime concern on the issue.
CBP's Burke said B-1 visas are most commonly issued to foreign businesspeople traveling for purposes of representing their products, taking orders, or attending seminars or training. Visas are issued by the State Department, and CBP enforces the immigration laws at U.S. entry points. Burke said travelers presenting themselves for entry into the U.S. under a B-1 visa "are subject to an inspection and questioning as to their declared and documented intent for seeking admission."
If through such questioning a B-1 visa visitor "is found to be entering for purposes of engaging in employment, he will be deemed inadmissible," she said.
Plunkett said Hullett told him that under questioning at Sea-Tac at least some of the engineers said that they would be doing work for Boeing during their stay. "We've had a multitude of reports of these engineers sitting side-by-side with our SPEEA-represented engineers doing the same work," Plunkett said.
SPEEA estimates that Boeing has anywhere from 100 to 300 of these engineers here at a time, most of whom are contractors, not direct Boeing employees. They are paid less than engineers here, Dugovich said. Boeing's Birtel declined to say how many people the company has here already on B-1 visas.
"Boeing works diligently to comply with all rules and regulations concerning travel to and from the U.S. for its employees and for others who are working on Boeing projects," Birtel said.


>> Boeing 787 Dreamliner debuts at Seoul air show

Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Seoul air showThe much-delayed Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" was finally put on display during the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2011, attracting tens of thousands of airplane enthusiasts from all over the country.
"The 787 Dreamliner is 20-percent more fuel-efficient, compared to other aircraft of the same size. The plane also releases 20-percent less carbon dioxide and flies 15-percent faster because it is made of ultra-light carbon fiber", said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, during a press conference at the Westin Chosun Hotel, Tuesday.
He then said Boeing projects 1,250 new airplanes will be delivered to Northeast Asian carriers valued at approximately $200 billion over the next 2 decades. "The combined effect of liberalization and rapid economic growth is driving passenger traffic in the region. Air travel in Northeast Asia is expected to grow moderately at 4.3 percent annually over the next 20 years," Tinseth said, pointing out that Korea's dynamic economy as well as the nation's thirst for air travel will fuel growth for the region.
Two-thirds of Northeast Asia's projected 1,250 airplane deliveries will be for growth, he said, adding that taking into account airplanes set to retire, the fleet in Northeast Asia will increase from 690 airplanes today to 1,520 in 2030. "Northeast Asia is a big market for twin aisle and large aircraft. These aircraft account for about 45 percent of the region's demand for aircraft in terms of units and almost 70 percent in terms of value. Airplanes such as Boeing's 787, 777 and 747-8 are ideally suited to meet this market demand", the vice president said. Tinseth said all of these aircraft are on order by Korean airlines, stressing the airplanes offer unsurpassed efficiency, compelling economics, longer range and a superior passenger experience.


>> Boeing Phantom Ray Completes 1st Flight

Boeing Phantom RayThe Boeing Phantom Ray unmanned airborne system (UAS) successfully completed its first flight April 27 at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The 17-minute flight took place following a series of high-speed taxi tests in March that validated ground guidance, navigation and control and verified mission planning, pilot interface and operational procedures.
The flight demonstrated Phantom Ray's basic airworthiness, setting the stage for additional flights in the next few weeks. These company-funded flights will prepare Phantom Ray to support potential missions that may include intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; suppression of enemy air defenses; electronic attack; strike; and autonomous air refueling. Phantom Ray is one of several programs in Phantom Works, including Phantom Eye, that is part of a rapid prototyping initiative to design, develop and build advanced aircraft and then demonstrate their capabilities.


>> Airbus to exhibit world‘s largest corporate jet cabin at Jet Expo

Airbus – Largest corporate jet cabinAirbus will exhibit the world's widest and tallest corporate jet cabin at Jet Expo in Moscow, allowing visitors to experience the new top-end in bizjet comfort and space for themselves. It will display an Airbus ACJ318, offered for VVIP charter by Comlux, which features the comfort and practicality of home and office, plus seating for 19 passengers, which is more than traditional business jets. "Airbus corporate jets are similar in size to traditional business jets on the outside, but are around twice as big on the inside, allowing them to deliver a more comfortable and productive space in which to travel, as well as the ability to carry more passengers," comments Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, John Leahy. "They also benefit from being derived from the world's most modern aircraft family," he adds. The Airbus ACJ318 that will be displayed features a cabin with a floorspace of around 75 m2/800 ft2, which makes it similar in size to a reasonable size house or apartment.
It features a living area and an office that converts to a bedroom, plus two spacious bathrooms, giving passengers a ride that is comfortable and practical, as well as productive and relaxing. Airbus has sold more than 170 of its corporate jets to date, with the aircraft flying on every continent, including Antarctica. Its customers include companies, individuals and governments.


>> Boeing receives US Air Force Contract

Boeing US Air Force ContractBoeing today announced it has been awarded a one-year, $2.9 million contract by the U.S. Air Force to develop and validate a modification of the A-10 aircraft's Digital Video Audio Data Recorder. The modification will provide a near-term solution to supportability issues with a major subcomponent in the DVADR system. The contract is a task order under the umbrella of the A-10 Thunderbolt Life-Cycle Program Support (TLPS) contract that is administered by the Air Force A-10 System Program Office. The contract announced today is the sixth A-10 TLPS contract the Air Force has awarded to Boeing.
"This task order allows Boeing to continue to enhance the performance of the A-10 and keep this invaluable asset ready to support the warfighter," said Jerry Dunmire, A-10 program director for Boeing. "The Boeing team is ready to apply its innovation and cost-saving initiatives."
The A-10 Thunderbolt II, also known as the Warthog, was introduced into the Air Force inventory in 1976. The twin-engine, single-seat aircraft provides close-air support to ground forces and employs a wide variety of conventional munitions against ground targets.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world‘s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 64,000 employees worldwide.


>> Boeing Introduces 737 MAX with launch of a new aircraft family

Boeing 737Boeing has unveiled the 737 MAX, the name of the new engine variant of the market-leading 737 launched today.
The 737 MAX will deliver big fuel savings that airlines will need to successfully compete in the future. Airlines will benefit from a 7 percent advantage in operating costs over future competing airplanes as a result of optimized CFM International LEAP-1B engines, more efficient structural design and lower maintenance requirements.
Also, Airlines will continue to benefit from maximum reliability. The 737 MAX will build upon the Next-Generation 737's highest reliability performance of any airplane in the world – 99.7 percent on-time departure rate.
The Boeing 737 is the world's most popular and reliable commercial jet transport, with more than 9,000 orders to date. Boeing forecasts global demand for more than 23,000 airplanes in the 737's market segment over the next 20 years at a value of nearly $2 trillion.


>> Airbus at the MAKS 2011 International Aviation & Space Salon

For the first time, Airbus has brought its 21st century flagship A380 to Russia's leading aerospace exhibition and air show – MAKS – which began today at Ramenskoye Airfield near Moscow and runs until 21 August. With the jetliner's landing in advance of the event, Ramenskoye became the 133rd airport visited by the A380. While at MAKS 2011, the aircraft will perform a flying display during each day of the show.
The A380's appearance underscores Airbus' successful relationship with Russia – which participated in the double-deck jetliner's development and continues be a supplier for the A380, as well as the single-aisle A320 Family.
Airbus continues to cooperate with the Russian aircraft industry in a full range of areas – from research and technology, engineering and manufacturing to the vertically-integrated supply chain and certification. Airbus also works with Russian industry for the supply of aircraft components, including titanium landing gear parts, flight control system elements, and heat exchangers for air management systems.
For Airbus' participation in this year's biennial MAKS event, the company also is providing a glimpse of the future with a 3D movie showcasing its vision for tomorrow's aviation – including the Airbus Concept Plane and its revolutionary cabin.


>> Bombardier Offers Improved High-Speed Internet Systems for Global 5000 and Global 6000 Jets

Bombardier NewsBombardier Aerospace announced that it has selected EMS Aviation to provide new increased high-speed internet connectivity as an option for Global 5000 and Global 6000 business jets. The new system features ViaSat Ku-band communication system and EMS router equipment, providing a virtual office in the sky with typical download speeds as experienced on the ground*; and complements the aircraft's standard L-band SwiftBroadband system. Designed to operate with the ViaSat Yonder® high-speed Internet service and available through service partners**, the system offers increased connectivity and multi-regional service coverage […]


>> 40th anniversary of the Harpoon Missile System

Boeing 737-900Boeing and the U.S. Navy recognized the 40th anniversary of the Harpoon Missile System today at a ceremony near the company's St. Charles facility. "After four decades of cooperation with our Navy partners, Boeing's dedicated and talented Harpoon team continues to find innovative ways to meet the needs of warfighters on today's ever-changing battlefields," said Debbie Rub, vice president and general manager for Boeing Missiles and Unmanned Airborne Systems (MUAS). "Throughout the life of this legacy program, Boeing has continually incorporated system upgrades to enhance the Harpoon's reach and interoperability."


>> Report: Paris Air Show 2011

Paris Air Show 2011Le Bourget 2011 was driven by a very positive atmosphere based on full order books and a significant increase in all mayor civil aircraft programs. But there are still some question marks which influence will come from the financial market.
In the following some information which are worth to be highlighted.
>> read full report


>> Korean Air with the first 737-900ER and 30. 777

Boeing 737-900The American aircraft company Boeing and the South Korean airline marked two milestones simultaneously on Monday. The South Korean airline took delivery of its 30th Boeing 777, a 777-300ER with an increased range and the first Boeing 737-900ER. The next generation 737 is simultaneously the first 737 with the new ‘Sky Interior' cabin design. This is modelled on the design of the 787 cabin and is characterised by modern, convex lateral walls and window embeddings. The design of the new, larger overhead lockers aims to give passengers even more space for their luggage than before. However, according to Boeing, the luggage compartments take up less space in the cabin. Customers can also choose from different lighting spectra. The LED lighting is brighter and replaces the illuminated signage, the lights for cabin staff and the halogen reading lights. The airline wants to start using the jet on the Osaka Kansai and Tokyo-Haneda routes in the course of the year.


>> Paris Le Bourget aviation trade fair

The Paris aviation fair at Le Bourget is the event of the aviation and aerospace industry. This is where state-of-the-art technologies from the aviation and aerospace industry and the associated equipment such as aeroplane engines and satellite technology are showcased. Various specialist presentations and spectacular air shows round off the programme of this event. It takes place from 20.06.2011 – 26.06.2011. You can find more info here.


>> Global profits in the aviation industry

According to a statistic published on, the aviation industry has enjoyed considerably increased success over the past few years. The 2001 to 2009 period was investigated. For example, in 2007 the aviation industry attained a global profit of 2.5 billion US dollars.


>> Innovation expenditure: metal manufacture and processing

Expenditure on innovation in the metal manufacture and processing branch in 2006 amounted to 1.87 billion Euros. R&D and innovation-related expenditure for tangible assets and intangible assets, further training, marketing, conception, construction, design and production and sales preparation belong to the innovation expenditure elements in this branch. The study deals with the developments from 2006 – 2008.


>> New European satellite navigation service enhances aviation safety

On 2nd March, the European Commission inaugurated the EGNOS "Safety-of-Life" air safety service. The EGNOS system facilitates precise descents and thus makes navigation safer. Furthermore, delays, diversions and cancellations of flights are reduced. In addition, this complimentary technology allows airports to increase their overall capacity and decrease operating costs. EGNOS allows shorter flight routes to be planned on which less fuel is consumed and the CO2 emissions caused by aviation thus reduced. EGNOS is a satellite-assisted supplementary system which improves the accuracy of GPS signals throughout Europe. It is also the predecessor of Galileo, the global satellite navigation system which the European Union is currently developing.


>> Green light for Super-Airbus A3XX: and it is constructed after all.

The Airbus partners have given the green light for the construction of the world's largest passenger aeroplane. The Super Airbus A3XX will be assembled in the French city of Toulouse. Hamburg is accepting responsibility for the interior fittings of the A3XX, which will be able to accommodate up to 650 passengers, and will supply the aircrafts to customers in Europe and the Near East. 2000 jobs will probably be created in Hamburg as a result. The US competitor Boeing wants to respond to Airbus' challenge and the new A3XX super plane with ‘stretched' models of its 747 jumbo. However, the group has not yet made any decisions with regard to the further development of the aircrafts. First they want to wait and see whether there is enough interest in the new supersize aeroplanes among the airlines and leasing companies.