Boeing has left little doubt that it harbors bigger plans for its new plant in Charleston, South Carolina, where by the end of this year it expects to deliver three Dreamliners a month.
Air Transport and Cargo
News and issues relating to international air transport and cargo carriers, national airlines and regional airlines, including aircraft, engines, personnel, acquisitions, accidents, safety, security and training.
All indications point to first flight of the Bombardier CSeries narrowbody by the end of this month, as the program’s flight test team completes final preparations for the milestone event following completion of ground vibration testing.
Boeing’s projection for more than 35,000 new airplanes over the next 20 years suggests a doubling of the size of today’s airliner fleet and a continuing trend in which increases in airline traffic outpace economic growth. The outlook appears to reflect a growing confidence in the fidelity of the positive market indicators the company cited in its 2012 forecast, prompting the company to increase its projection for total airplanes by more than 1,000 units and value by some 7 percent.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has asked GE Aviation to expand required navigation performance (RNP) at China’s Jiuzhai Huanglong Airport. The program, which is intended to simplify pilot and controller workload, will include seven more airlines and extend RNP capability to the mountainous airport’s instrument landing system (ILS).
Under a memorandum of agreement signed on June 4, Rockwell Collins and Avic subsidiary Beijing Bluesky Aviation Technology will form a joint venture to design, manufacture and market commercial flight simulators. The joint venture should begin operating by the end of the year, pending a final agreement and regulatory approvals. Products offered by the venture will serve training needs for regional, narrow- and widebody airliners in China and around the world, including training devices and full-flight simulators.
The 2013 Paris Air Show–the 50th since the biennial event started in 1909–opens on Monday with its exhibitor count at a 10-year high of 2,200 companies from 44 countries. Much of the pre-show excitement this week has been built on expectations that Airbus might take the opportunity to give its new A350XWB airliner a high-profile public debut.
The newest version of the Sukhoi Superjet, SSJ100-95LR, first flown in February this year, has the suffix that is an abbreviation for Long Range, but some would argue that “Last Resort” might better describe the situation in terms of its significance to Russia’s aerospace industry.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has endorsed a plan for global adoption of market-based measures (MBMs) to cut aircraft emissions, calling on world governments to agree to the move at ICAO’s Assembly later this year and so secure an alternative to Europe’s controversial emissions trading scheme (ETS). At its June 2 to 4 annual general meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, IATA “overwhelmingly” adopted a resolution called the Implementation of the Aviation Carbon Neutral (NCG2020) Strategy.
FedEx announced last week the retirement of 10 aging widebody freighters and a decision to accelerate the withdrawal of 76 more in an effort to speed a fleet modernization as continued weakness in the cargo business pressures carriers to cut fuel and maintenance costs. Last week the International Air Transport Association projected a further 2-percent contraction in yields across the industry for this year following a 6.3-percent decline last year.
Automation in the aerospace industry remains fundamentally immature, and Boeing’s efforts in introducing robotics into 777 production might look like baby steps to the world’s automobile makers. But at Boeing’s widebody plant in Everett, Washington, those steps have translated into some considerable efficiency gains following the company’s transition some eight years ago to a moving, U-shaped assembly line and simultaneous implementation of so-called lean production processes.