CFM International last week froze the design of the Leap engine variant destined to power Boeing’s new 737 Max narrowbody. The Snecma-GE joint venture has said it expects to achieve the first full engine test of the Leap-1B in the middle of next year, followed by initial flight-testing in 2015 and powerplant certification in 2016. Boeing expects the 737 Max to enter service in 2017.
Airbus A320 family
Virgin Australia completed its acquisition of Perth-based regional Skywest Airlines last month through a so-called scheme of arrangement governed by the laws of Singapore.
Seven winners emerged from the Crystal Cabin Awards judging last month, and some of them stand to find a market in business aviation.
The winners were announced at a gala dinner in Hamburg, Germany, on the eve of the opening of the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo.
Candidates with winning entries included Boeing, Diehl Aircabin, Dornier Technologie Systems, Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, Meru, Thales and Zodiac Aerospace.
The pilots of an Air India Airbus A320 were suspended after an April 12 incident in which they landed their aircraft without an ATC clearance on a closed runway in Mumbai. Two local air traffic controllers were also suspended for not taking action when they realized the incident was happening. In a preliminary report, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said the primary reason for the incident was that the pilots had selected the wrong tower frequency and proceeded inbound despite the lack of any radio contact.
One of the highlights of last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, was French start-up company Expliseat’s unveiling of a new economy-class seat that significantly cuts weight and engineering complexity. The new seat, called Titanium, tips the scales at 8.8 pounds per passenger, which the Paris-based firm claims is around half the weight of traditional airliner seats. This may translate into an estimated 3- to 5-percent fuel saving, or $300,000 to $500,000 per aircraft per year.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently identified 100 safety risks across its aviation, marine and rail areas of responsibility, 36 of which relate to transport-category aviation. The ATSB report covers the period July 2009 through June 2012. Most risks were operationally focused within the aircraft itself, with a much smaller percentage related to ATC.
Air transport risks in 2011and 2012 also outweighed those identified as related to general aviation by three to one. Only five investigations, however, were categorized as complex (serious).
Airbus has managed to infiltrate once undisputed Boeing territory by closing a firm order from Indonesia’s Lion Air for 234 A320-family narrowbodies. Signed Monday during a special ceremony attended by French president François Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, the contract calls for delivery of 109 A320neos, 65 A321neos and 60 current-generation A320s.
Airbus saw its order total for the A320neo rise above 2,000 as it executed the largest sale ever involving a Turkish carrier, the manufacturer announced Friday. Turkish Airlines has signed a contract covering “up to” 117 A320-family narrowbodies, consisting of 25 current-generation A321s, four A320neos, 53 A321neos and options on another 35 A321neos.
Frontier Airlines became the first Airbus operator in the U.S. approved to fly public-use precision approaches into airports surrounded by challenging terrain, Airbus subsidiary Quovadis said last week. Frontier should see operational benefits with its Airbus A320s, including a reduction in diversions caused by bad weather, as well as lower fuel burn and lower emissions.
India lost 9 percent of its airline seat capacity as a result of Kingfisher suspending operations since October 1, 2012, when its 66-aircraft fleet was grounded, according to Dinesh Keskar, Boeing’s senior sales vice president for Asia Pacific and India.