Boeing continues to assert full confidence in the design and airworthiness of the 787, notwithstanding U.S. aviation authorities’ move last Friday to launch “a comprehensive review” of all “critical” systems following reports of a string of incidents involving the Dreamliner, most notably Monday’s fire within the aft electronics bay of a Japan Airlines airplane parked at Boston Logan Airport.
AIN Air Transport Perspective
In a widely unexpected move, Embraer has switched partnership alliances from GE to Pratt & Whitney with its choice of the Geared Turbofan to power the next generation of E-Jets. The decision, announced last Tuesday, gives Pratt & Whitney its fifth application for the engine line also known as the PurePower PW1000G, and leaves Boeing as the last of the four major Western airframe manufacturers not to have adopted the design.
Despite realignment, increased government investment and the appearance of political resolve, the Russian airliner industry has achieved little success in expanding its civil production over the past four years. Although it has nearly doubled its delivery total, from 11 jetliners in 2009, to 10 in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 19 in 2012, the industry’s hopes to launch a challenge to the Western world’s manufacturing powers remain unfulfilled and distant.
In seeking to consummate its proposed strategic alliance with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic Airways aims to head off the challenge posed by the formidable pairing of British Airways and American Airlines. So who did Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson recruit to succeed retiring CEO Steve Ridgway? Why, naturally, a senior American Airlines executive in the shape of senior vice president for customers Craig Kreeger, who assumes his new role from February 1.
The line has sharpened between airlines and labor groups over the FAA’s decision to exclude all-cargo operations from its new, stricter pilot flight duty rule, scheduled to take effect in January next year. Airlines for America (A4A), the trade organization representing major U.S. airlines, issued a statement on January 7 reaffirming its support of the duty rule as published and urging Congress to reject new legislation that would change the rule to include all-cargo carriers.
An order from Aviation Capital Group for fifty 737 Max 8s and ten 737 Max 9s last week lifted Boeing’s firm order total for the prospective re-engined narrowbodies to more than 1,000 and capped a solid year in which for the first time since 2002 the U.S. company outperformed Airbus in both deliveries and sales. Closed in December, the ACG contract increased the number of 737 Maxs on firm order to 1,029 and Boeing’s total firm order count for last year to 1,203.
EADS Innovation Works is reviewing options for the materials Airbus could use on an airplane to replace the A320eo in 2022. The competition between metal and composites remains intense, prompting EADS IW boss Yann Barbaux to advise against betting on a full-composite airplane, now designated the A30X.
Facing a high debt burden, unpaid bills, a depreciating rupee in its home country of India and rising fuel costs, Kingfisher Airlines saw its Air Operator Permit (AOP) expire on December 31 after the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) found the carrier had failed to furnish no-objection certificates from service providers–including airports–in its restructuring plan. Now, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has threatened to “evacuate” the assets of the airline from airports across the country.
Styling itself as “Africa’s first pan-African low-cost carrier,” Fastjet certainly looks like an airline in a hurry. Having opened its base in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, only late last November, it now plans to launch operations in Kenya, Angola and Ghana this year, starting with five Airbus A319s it aims to acquire during the first six months of its expansion and 15 within a year. It also hopes to benefit from the wreckage of South Africa’s low-cost sector with its pending acquisition of defunct 1Time Airline.
Stricter International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations for the bulk shipment of lithium batteries by air took effect on January 1. Smaller quantities and packages of the widely used batteries, which can overheat and catch fire, now stand subject to labeling, packaging and documentation requirements.