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.
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.
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.
Boeing sent yet another signal last week that its use of cheaper labor markets in the southeastern U.S. would only accelerate when it announced plans to open a new propulsion engineering center in Charleston, South Carolina, to support the 737 Max. The move comes as part of a wider plan encompassing the establishment of new centers for engineering design and out-of-production airplane support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington State and Southern California.
More than two years after Boeing acknowledged problems with the 747-8’s flight management computer (FMC), the airplane carrying a package of improvements largely centered on the Honeywell FMC took to the air last week. Taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at 1:30 p.m. local time on May 20, the 747-8 Intercontinental flew for about four hours with the newly upgraded FMC and a performance improvement package (PIP) for its General Electric GEnx-2B turbofans.
Dubai International Airport (DXB) is to close both runways over a period of almost three months next year in a major refurbishment program that will lead to the diversion of scheduled passenger flights, as well as all Emirates SkyCargo aircraft, to the new Dubai World Central Airport (DWC). The work at one of the world’s busiest intercontinental hubs is due to take 80 days and will start on May 1 next year.
Boeing’s recent assertion that the appetite of capital markets to fund airliner orders has increased comes as especially welcome news to manufacturers and their customers at a time when other sources of funding seem under pressure. Export credit, in particular, now comes generally at higher interest rates and with tougher equity requirements. At the same time, such government-backed capital has become a hostage to global politics, according to Kostya Zolotusky, managing director for capital markets development and leasing at Boeing Capital.
A pair of major new suppliers for Embraer’s next-generation E-Jets identified themselves last week in a sign that program advancement continues apace despite the airframer’s reservations about communicating any details about its plans for an industrial launch or even performance specifications.