The Russian government is seeking to put in place measures to boost the export prospects of the Irkut-led MC-21 next generation narrowbody jetliner, which is now scheduled to have its maiden flight in 2015, certification in 2017 and availability to airlines in worthwhile numbers from 2020 onwards.
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News and issues relating to air transport and cargo aircraft.
Brazilian OEM Embraer received a firm order from U.S. operator SkyWest for 40 E175 regional twinjets. SkyWest plans to operate the 76-seat aircraft under a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with United Airlines. Another firm order for 60 of the E-Jets hinges on SkyWest’s being awarded additional CPAs with major airline partners. In addition, the acquisition agreement includes options for another 100 E175s, bringing the potential total order to 200 airplanes. If all 100 firm orders are exercised, the deal has an estimated value of $4.1 billion.
Boeing says it has finished installing a battery system modification on the first 50 delivered 787 Dreamliners that were grounded pending the retrofit. Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing, made the announcement in a blog post on May 29, reporting that all eight current 787 operators expect to return their Dreamliners to service within days and “we can’t thank all of them enough for their patience, partnership and support” during the grounding of more than three months.
UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. The FAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating this summer.
A switch from composite to titanium for the inner walls of the thrust reversers on the Boeing 737 Max has allowed designers to increase the fan diameter in the airplane’s CFM International Leap-1B turbofans without a proportional increase in the size of the nacelle. The relatively minimal growth of the nacelle means Boeing could keep its original plans for coping with the small amount of ground clearance margin available while optimizing thrust levels, explained 737 Max program vice president and general manager Keith Leverkuhn.
Japan’s first indigenous commercial passenger jet, the MRJ, is on track to make its first flight this year, according to Hideo Egawa, chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Aircraft. While Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has long contributed components and assemblies in support of other manufacturer’s projects, the next-generation MRJ represents its first designed and produced passenger jet. Indeed, Egawa described the task of integrating all the efforts to produce the regional jet as one of the biggest challenges Mitsubishi Aircraft has faced since its launch in 2008.
With increasing numbers of Airbus A380s in their fleets, Asian and Middle East airlines are growing impatient to start deploying the super-large widebodies on services to and from India. But the Indian government’s policy of sheltering national carrier Air India from competition is preventing carriers such as Lufthansa, Emirates and Singapore Airlines (SIA) from using aircraft larger than the Boeing 747 under the terms of existing air services agreements.
GKN Aerospace’s acquisition of Volvo Aero is starting to bear fruit, giving the UK-based aerostructures group a significant boost in this growing market segment. This year, the addition of the Sweden-based engine systems manufacturer is expected to boost total revenues from GKN’s aerospace division by approximately $700 million, to $3.5 billion.
Southwest Airlines has triggered the program launch of Boeing’s 737 Max 7 narrowbody by converting 30 options that it holds for the existing 737 Next Generation family into orders for the new model. The U.S. low-cost carrier expects to take first 737 Max 7 deliveries in 2019. In a deal announced Wednesday, it also has exercised options for five more Next Generation 737-800s.
Boeing has started discussions with airline and leasing customers about technical, pricing and schedule aspects of the proposed 777X widebody, the company confirmed last week. It said it will decide whether or not to formally launch the program based on the market’s response.