Airbus A350-1000 manufacturing is under way, with Airbus reporting last month the laying up of the first carbon fiber elements, to be followed in the coming weeks by the first cutting of metal parts, according to program executive vice president Didier Evrard. Establishment of systems-installation design maturity is said to be “on plan,” while work continues on the variant’s structural design phase, which will permit the start of engineering drawing. Structural design maturity “incorporating all requirements” also was completed by mid-June.
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It might seem only a year or two since Airbus launched the A380 and just months since the mighty, double-deck behemoth entered service, but the European manufacturer has delivered more than 130 since operations began, almost six years ago, in October 2007. The aircraft, which typically accommodate about 500 passengers (depending upon customers’ cabin configurations), have an average daily use of more than 13 hours, says Airbus. Of the 324 examples that had been ordered by late June, the backlog of 192 includes 20 booked this year.
Boeing sees little chance that it will have to cut production of the 777 during the transition to the 777X, notwithstanding recent conjecture from analysts that a so-called sales “drought” since the launch of the program during last year’s Dubai Air Show could portend a period of market weakness–and a possibility that it won’t find enough orders to maintain its 8.3-per-month rate into 2020.
Analysts expect established trends in predicted long-term jetliner requirements to continue, with little change to the market breakdown by aircraft size, according to the latest Boeing 20-year forecast statistics, unveiled in London on July 10.
Containing risk represents one of the hallmarks of Boeing’s proven approach to the 777 program, and its agreements last month with five key Japanese partners to perform major work on the 777X didn’t deviate far from historic form. But while the consortium of Japanese companies known as Japan Aircraft Industries won responsibility for essentially the same portion of the 777X airframe–21 percent–that it carries on the current version of the 777, Boeing didn’t necessarily exhibit a light touch in its negotiations with the group of long-time structural suppliers.
Embraer is unveiling its cabin interior for the new -E2 version of its established regional-jet series, which are marketed generically as E-Jets, here at the Farnborough Airshow this week. Maintaining the same four-abreast fuselage cross section, the -E2 models are principally re-engined variants of the E175, 190 and 195 powered by Pratt & Whitney geared turbofans–the PW1700G on the E175 and the larger PW1900G on the heavier E190 and E195.
By the end of September, Airbus expects to have received European Aviation Safety Agency type certification for the A350 ahead of delivery of the first two aircraft– manufacturer’s serial numbers (MSNs) 006 and 007–to Qatar Airways by the end of the year. The final flight-test aircraft, MSN005, flew on June 20–a year and six days after the type’s maiden flight.
As Airbus A350XWB (Xtra widebody) customers freeze aircraft interior configuration plans, the European manufacturer hopes to limit cabin furnishing options for the new twin-aisle twinjet in order to keep final-assembly lines flowing as it accelerates production rates during a steep industrial ramp-up.
Airbus has begun airline crew training for its A350XWB customers about six months ahead of the new twin-aisle twinjet’s entry into service, scheduled for late this year, according to chief test pilot Peter Chandler, who flew the aircraft on its maiden flight in June 2013. He reports that the training syllabus has been developed and that the first A350 pilot course was under way last month, with access to a full flight simulator. Launch customer Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have received demonstration flights.
Resistant to grounding their Boeing 787-8s for a even a short time, several operators have indefinitely deferred addressing fixes to some of the airplanes’ last remaining glitches, presenting the manufacturer with an “issue” as it marches toward its target dispatch reliability rate of 99.6 percent.