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Report: Paris Air Show 2011

Bombardier CSeries Program in progress:
Bombardier has taken 10 firm orders for its CSeries jet from an undisclosed “major airline” that will become the first operator to take delivery of the new 110-145-seat jet.

The deal for 10 CS100s, with options for six more, brings to 23 the number of firm orders the Canadian aircraft builder has received this month for the CSeries, giving new momentum to an effort that some competitors had written off as a lost cause. The program now has 113 firm orders and 109 options from six customers, pushing Bombardier closer to its goal of 300 firm orders by the CSeries’ scheduled first delivery in late 2013.

The latest order was finalized at the Paris air show on June 19 and has been approved by the airline’s board, Bombardier Commercial Airplanes President Gary Scott told Aviation Week in an interview at the show. The deal is valued at $616 million at list prices and just over $1 billion with options. “This is done,” he said. “Firm contract, no outstanding issues. All approvals have been obtained.”

The announcement of a new customer at Le Bourget is a symbolic victory for Bombardier, which was derided by critics for its inability to win any CSeries orders at last summer’s Farnborough air show – and for nearly a year after that. Scott says Bombardier is in “advanced discussions” with “more than a handful” of other potential customers. He said it was possible more orders could be announced at this week’s Paris show. “I wouldn’t rule it out. Clearly we continue discussions at air shows.”

Bombardier ended a 15-month order in CSeries orders earlier this month, when a regional airline in Sweden agreed to buy 10 of the jets and take options for 10 more. Shortly after that, the company won three more firm orders and three options from an undisclosed customer for the jet, which is designed to provide 15% lower operating costs.

Airbus new order status:
The SAS Group’s order of A320NEO (new engine option) aircraft puts Airbus above the 500 order and commitment mark for the NEO which was a company target for the Paris air show.

The airline says its order for 30 Airbus A320NEO aircraft will be delivered between 2016 and 2019. The airline also has options for 11 more of the aircraft. The NEOs will be powered by Leap-1XAs.

The effort is part of a fleet overhaul the struggling airline has been planning. SAS will phase out MD80s at Copenhagen with leased A320s and then replace those with its NEOs.

Airbus has now secured deals for 524 NEOs.

Airbus’s order surge at the Paris air show has driven the Airbus A320NEO (new engine option) backlog to 1029 orders and commitments.

The company secured 730 orders overall so far at the Paris air show, valued at $72 billion, says John Leahy, Airbus COO for customers. That does not include the 180 sold to Indigo, which had been previously announced.

This year was “the best air show ever for Airbus in terms of aircraft numbers sold,” says Tom Enders, Airbus CEO. Most of the 700 deals are firm orders, he says, valued at over $70 billion.

“I was pretty much amazed that we sold that many aircraft here,” Enders says of the A320NEO.

Leahy says more deals are planned. For instance, Alafco, which signed for 30 A320NEOs.

That is having Airbus looking at further ramp-ups for single-aisle in particular. “We will investigate if we can go considerably higher,” Enders says. Airbus has a few production slots for standard A320s free in 2014 and NEOs in 2018/19, depending on the turnover from standards to NEOs. A350 production is sold out until about 2018/19 and the A330 until 2013/14.

Highlights also include the first A319NEO order and the launch of the winglet retrofit program for narrowbodies as part of a deal with JetBlue.

Success for Lockheed Martin F-35A “JSF”:
Norway’s parliament approved June 16 the purchase of four Lockheed Martin F-35As for training, solidifying earlier plans for the buy, according to Rear Adm. Arne Roksund of Norway’s defense ministry.

The aircraft, the original USAF configuration, will be purchased in Lot 8, and some other international partners are expected to join this buy.

These aircraft will largely be funded in 2014 with a 2016 delivery. They will be based at the Joint Strike Fighter schoolhouse at Eglin AFB, Fla. Roksund made his announcement June 21 at the Paris air show.

The first F-35s for use in Norway will begin delivery in 2018 with initial operational capability expected in 2019.

Boeing move forward with B787:
All Nippon Airways (ANA) engineering staff met with Rolls-Royce and Boeing at the Paris air show on June 20 to make final preparations for the arrival of the first Boeing 787 in Japan on July 4 for service readiness tests.

The aircraft will be flown between cities on four of ANA’s routes in southern Japan over a three-day period to simulate daily airline operations, and perform fit checks of ground equipment. The flights, which will include routes between Tokyo, Osaka, Kansai and Hiroshima, will emulate current domestic operations flown by 767-300s.

The Boeing-run service readiness operation validation (SROV) will involve ANA staff but be flown by Boeing pilots. The first cadre of ANA 787 pilots has meanwhile completed flight training in Seattle and will become training captains for follow-on ANA line pilots. ANA, which expects to receive its first production aircraft in August or September, will initially use the first four 787s equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 ‘Package A’ engines on intra-Japanese flights.

“We will initially use it on domestic routes to train pilots, but our target is to use the aircraft for international routes to expand our network within this fiscal year (which runs to March 2012), from Tokyo (Haneda) to Europe,” says ANA spokesman Kazuo Yoshioka. International flights will be flown by later batches of 787’s powered by the improved ‘Package B’ engines, the first of which will be delivered before the end of the year says Rolls-Royce. Boeing is currently finalizing fuel burn tests on the Package B engine using the fourth test aircraft, ZA004.

Boeing success in widebody aircrafts:
The U.S. airframer, meanwhile, beat Airbus in widebody orders, securing deals for 19 Boeing 747-8s, 27 777s, four 787s and one 767. The company booked $22 billion in commercial aircraft deals.

Embraer participate in the positive trend:
And it was not just Airbus and Boeing that secured large numbers—Embraer took orders for more than 60 aircraft. That has Frederico Curado, Embraer’s CEO, saying a production ramp-up is under consideration, although it will depend on how much the orderbook grows in the second half of this year.

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