This Dubai Airshow marks the last time EADS will exhibit at any major aerospace show before it officially changes its name to the Airbus Group on January 1, 2014. Fittingly, two of the company’s highest-profile Airbus-branded products–the A380 and A400M military airlifter–are participating daily in the show’s flying display, while an Egyptair A330-300 sits on static display and an A350XWB cockpit mockup graces the Airbus stand in the exhibit hall.
The commercial outfit that will provide the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) with air-to-air refueling service for the next 22 years says that it will meet the forecast in-service date. By May 2014, AirTanker will have nine Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) ready on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton. It has already trained 18 aircrews, received six aircraft and begun operational flying. Chief executive Phil Blundell told AIN that his company could also assist other customers that need training on the A330MRTT–such as the UAE Air Force.
Airbus Corporate Jet Center (ACJC), a specialist in Airbus Corporate Jet executive cabin completions, recently delivered its 24th aircraft. The project is a strong showcase for the Toulouse-based facility’s capabilities, since it involved the development and integration more than 15 new technologies to meet an unidentified customer’s high requirements in terms of layout design, comfort and systems.
EADS has set itself an ambitious target for its E-Thrust hybrid propulsion concept, a joint effort with British engine maker Rolls-Royce that went relatively unnoticed when it was revealed at the Paris Air Show in June. The E-Airbus, under its new moniker, is to enter into service in 2030 as a 100-seat regional aircraft.
Rolls-Royce’s strategy of feeding technological developments from new programs back to established engines for upgrades or retrofit changes is creating a range of enhanced-performance (EP) packages being available to customers.
While the business aviation world cautiously waits to see if the signs of recovery in the traditional markets of Europe and North America bear fruit, the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are looking elsewhere to satisfy demand for growth. While the Far East and Latin America offer encouragement, it is Africa that offers the best opportunities for increased sales, but the continent also has its own unique set of challenges.
The Middle East is sitting at the end of the air transport rainbow, if Airbus forecasts are to be believed: its share of global traffic will expand faster than that of any other geographical area, increasing by one half in the next 20 years.
“Etihad Airways is the fastest-growing airline in the history of commercial aviation,” said James Hogan, president and CEO, upon the announcement that Etihad will begin nonstop flights to Los Angeles from Abu Dhabi beginning June 1, 2014.
Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet, the commercial luxury private-jet operator, is to issue an RFP for the replacement of six Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) aircraft within the next two months, as it seeks to expand regional charter operations in the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
With initial running of the new Leap-1 engine on schedule in September, CFM International (CFMI) has embarked on an “unprecedented” level of testing that should involve 20 developmental units by the end of next year and seven of the remaining eight planned examples before 2016 (when a final powerplant will take part in a short exercise–possibly a Leap-1C blade-out check).