German flag carrier Lufthansa took delivery of the first 747-8 Intercontinental airliner from Boeing in ceremonial fashion on May 1, then flew the so-called “Queen of the Skies” from Everett, Wash., to its base in Frankfurt after a touch-and-go landing in Hamburg.
Emirates Airlines has offered a unique proposal to the British CAA that might allow the carrier to land its A380s at London Heathrow Airport in the middle of the night, when traffic levels are minimal. The plan would require the giant aircraft to use much steeper approaches than normal and land farther down the runway, past the traditional touchdown zone.
The question of how London will resolve its looming airport capacity crisis just won’t go away, and the UK’s Conservative government appears to be ruing the day that it resolutely ruled out any question of allowing construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.
Airbus logged its first corporate jet sale in Japan this week, adding a new customer and building its presence in the Asia-Pacific market. The aircraft, an Airbus ACJ318, will go to a customer whose identity remained undisclosed. “Our first Airbus Corporate Jet sale in Japan builds on the growing presence of our modern airliner family, as well as encouraging greater use of business jets to help grow what is, today, the world’s third-largest economy,” said Airbus COO for customers John Leahy.
The Airbus A380 has had its share of problems both before and since deliveries began in late 2007. On the same day last week, Tuesday, two airlines suffered flight-terminating mechanical problems with the world’s largest passenger airliner.
The repair bill for wing cracks first discovered in January on the Airbus A380 will come to about $135.5 million, according to EADS, Airbus’ parent corporation. Initial safety reviews concluded only a few A380s might be affected.
Whatever other problems Qantas may have had as an early operator of the Airbus A380, it appears to be benefitting from a new approach to the potentially vexed task of managing spare parts supply.
Lufthansa Technik Philippines (LTP) has opened a third hangar in Manila for work on widebody aircraft. LTP, a joint venture between Lufthansa Technik and the Philippine MacroAsia Corp., invested $30 million in the construction of the new 91,500-sq-ft hangar, which has a ceiling height of more than 100 feet, large enough for an Airbus A380. The new hangar offers space to work on one widebody and two narrowbody aircraft simultaneously.
Rolls-Royce and Airbus are just about to start flight-testing the 84,000-pound-thrust Trent XWB engine for the A350XWB. Airbus’s A380 flying testbed (MSN 001) has already been fitted with the test engine and requisite instrumentation and is only waiting “for the weather in Europe to warm up a bit,” according to Rolls-Royce chief operating officer Mike Terrett.
The new Rolls-Royce factory in Singapore could be producing half of the company’s large commercial engines by the middle of this decade. The 1.65-million-sq-ft campus at Seletar Airport has cost more than $450 million to build, with some of the funding coming from the island republic’s Economic Development Board. Rolls-Royce managers expect to assemble engines and make fan blades more efficiently here than in the UK, thanks to the clean-sheet, all-under-one-roof building designs.