It has been a busy year for the Airbus Military A400M program, which has seen the first major components of the European airlifter reach the final assembly site at Seville, Spain, the first run of the TP400-D6 turboprop at Istres, France and–until the beginning of March–the successful achievement of all critical milestones.
By all indications, the era of the “more electric” airplane suits Hamilton Sundstrand and its president, Dave Hess. Supplier of the entire primary power generation and virtually all of the power distribution on the Boeing 787 airliner, the Windsor Locks, Connecticut-based division of United Technologies (UTC) expects to generate $15 billion in revenue over the life of that one program.
Quite possibly the last member of the best selling family of airliners in the history of the industry, the recently certified Boeing 737-900ER has at once filled a void in the 200-seat-class market left by the production retirement of the 757, presented Airbus with its first direct competition to the A321 and provided the platform on which CFM International launched its Tech Insertion upgrade for the CFM56-7 turbofan.
At a time when the state-of-the-art in aerostructures design more and more often involves the use of carbon-fiber laminates, companies like Alcoa Aerospace suddenly face a perception challenge unrivaled since aluminum became the material of choice in airplane construction. So the timing of Alcoa Aerospace’s first industry forum, held in New York City on May 2, came as little surprise.
In recent years, engine manufacturers have shifted their emphasis from straightforward production of engines to the far more lucrative business of after-sales support.
Rolls-Royce is no exception. In the last decade, its TotalCare engines business has expanded by a healthy 10 percent a year, creating a business that by the end of 2006 was worth $3.9 billion–more than half the company’s total civil engines business.
Simulators and other training aids from Thales are set to help carriers in India and the Asia Pacific region meet the demand for pilots to fly the large numbers of new aircraft they have ordered as well as supporting the introduction of the newest airliner models.
A surge in demand for landing gear overhaul has prompted Lufthansa Technik to form a division dedicated to the activity and consider adding shifts at its four facilities while launching a total landing gear support (TLS) program.
Manufacturers of nacelles and thrust reversers have no less interest in introducing new technology to their designs than do the suppliers of the engines inside them.
EADS expects to sign a firm contract with Aeroflot for 22 of the new Airbus A350XWB airliners here at the Paris Air Show this week, or perhaps at Moscow’s MAKS’2007 event in August. This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the deal in March this year.
Having promised so much and letting its A380 launch customers down so dismally with the news of serious program delays, Airbus is understandably cautious in its prognosis for the super-large airliner’s immediate future. All the talk in press briefings before the Paris Air Show concentrated on achieving “maturity” and “sustainability” for the program.