With 36 A380 aircraft in the fleet as of late September and a further 104 now on order, the aviation community is trying to calculate what will happen to Emirates’ superjumbo fleet when the time comes to retire the type, at around halfway through its lifetime. Some analysts believe that, given a lifespan of 25 years, a proxy for the useful life of a modern widebody aircraft, the A380 will face problems in the secondary market when major leases come to an end after the standard 12-year term.
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ATR and lessor GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) have closed a $241 million deal here at the Dubai Airshow for five ATR 72-600 regional turboprops, plus five options. ATR CEO Filippo Bagnato and Gecas president and CEO Norman Liu signed the contract here on Sunday. “These aircraft will support the strong growth in regional air transport we anticipate over the coming years,” Liu said. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2015. Previously at the show, ATR (Stand 1424) also announced an order from Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services.
A series of blockbuster orders placed yesterday underlined Dubai’s status as capital of the commercial aircraft megadeal, chief among them being an order for 150 Boeing 777X aircraft placed by Emirates (termed a “commitment”)–effectively launching the new larger variant of the popular long-range twinjet. Emirates’s 777X order, which consists of 115 -9Xs and 35 -8Xs, was not entirely unexpected as the carrier played a leading role in defining the aircraft, but yesterday marked the largest product launch in commercial airline history (by dollar value) for any OEM.
Airbus has “done really well with [A350-900] flight test [and] in the first phase has gathered a lot [of information],” according to executive vice-president and program head Didier Evrard. By the beginning of November, the first two A350-900 twin-aisle twinjets had logged more than 100 flights and over 500 hours of testing.
Airbus has signaled that it could drop the A350-800, the smallest member of the new family.
Airbus faces several major steps in bringing the A350XWB, which flew in June before appearing at the Paris Air Show, into service in the second half of 2014, said executive vice-president and A350 program head Didier Evrard. The manufacturer is working hard to progress the five-aircraft flight-test campaign in order to deliver a mature design at entry into service (EIS).
Fast-growing Russian leasing group Ilyushin Finance Co. (ILC) is targeting the Middle East market with a portfolio of five airliners that could exploit the increasingly blurred lines between traditional regional air transport fleets and new-generation narrowbodies.
Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services (Stand 806) has signed a firm order for a single ATR 72-600, marking the first sale of ATR’s latest turboprop series in the Middle East. Alpha Star, which also reserved an option on another of the Pratt & Whitney PW127M-powered turboprops, now operates an ATR 42-600. It expects its first ATR 72 to arrive in September 2014.
This Dubai Airshow marks the last time EADS will exhibit at any major aerospace show before it officially changes its name to the Airbus Group on January 1, 2014. Fittingly, two of the company’s highest-profile Airbus-branded products–the A380 and A400M military airlifter–are participating daily in the show’s flying display, while an Egyptair A330-300 sits on static display and an A350XWB cockpit mockup graces the Airbus stand in the exhibit hall.
Boeing sees the reliability of the 787 Dreamliner improving to originally targeted rates within six months, company vice president of sales for the Middle East Marty Bentrott told a gathering of reporters yesterday during a pre-show briefing here in Dubai. Responding to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker’s recent comments about his dissatisfaction with the reliability of the Boeing 787, Bentrott noted that the issues didn’t affect only Qatar, but that Boeing remains committed to resolving them as soon as possible.