Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic Airways took the first step toward confronting the formidable threat of the recent British Airways-American Airlines pairing as regulators approved Delta’s acquisition of Singapore Airlines’ 49-percent stake in the UK carrier last week. The acquisition means that Virgin Atlantic and Delta have cleared a major hurdle in their effort toward forming a full joint venture, an antitrust review of which the U.S. Department of Transportation expects to complete during this year’s third quarter.
Energized by the explosive growth in the Middle East air transport market, Qatar Airways has turned its attention to Scandinavia as it extends Boeing 787 services to Stockholm on August 1, to be followed a month later to both Copenhagen and Oslo.
Industry wisdom that civil aerospace is continuing its super-boom while defense prospects waiver was clearly confirmed in the headlines from last month’s Paris Air Show (June 17 to 23). The 50th staging of the biennial event was dominated by yet more airliner orders, plus breakthroughs in new aircraft coming to market and significant deliveries.
Backed by five launch customers from across Europe, Asia and North America committing to 102 aircraft, Boeing pressed the “Go” button for its long-anticipated 787-10 development on June 17. United Airlines, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, GE Capital Aviation Services (Gecas) and Air Lease stepped up to support the stretched, longer-range Dreamliner, and they appear to have been influential in shaping the design and performance goals.
Qatar Airways placed a firm order for a pair of Boeing 777-300ERs and signed a commitment for another seven on the opening day of the Paris Air Show. Boeing places the value of the nine airplanes at $2.8 billion, based on list prices. Also holding an outstanding order for seven 777s, Qatar Airways plans to increase the size of its present fleet of 35 Boeing 777s to 51.
General Electric GE90-115Bs power the 777-300ER. GE places the value of the engine commitment at $600 million.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker is upbeat on the market, having ordered nine Boeing 777-300ERs, valued at $2.8 billion (at list prices), of which seven are options. “When we say options, we always make them firm orders,” he said. “Options [simply] give us the flexibility of moving up delivery dates.”
Al Baker said the new aircraft would allow the airline to open new long-haul routes to the U.S. Two of the new jets will be delivered in early 2014.
Boeing fired the starting pistol on the much-anticipated launch of the 787-10 here yesterday, in the process collecting order commitments for 102 airplanes from five customers across Europe, Asia and North America. Air Lease, United Airlines, GE Capital Aviation Services, British Airways and Singapore Airlines form the group of launch customers.
The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s preliminary report on the May 24 incident involving a British Airways Airbus A319 at London Heathrow (LHR) appears to point to inadequate ground maintenance and pre-flight checking. In a special bulletin issued on May 31, the AAIB confirmed that the fan cowl doors on both engines had been left unlatched after maintenance. Just after liftoff, both engine cowlings separated from the aircraft, causing damage that eventually led to one engine fire and shutdown.
Paris Air Show organizers have introduced a range of improvements aimed at making the huge biennial trade fair a more user-friendly proposition when it is staged at Le Bourget Airport from June 17 to 23. At an April 30 press conference in London, Emeric d’Arcimoles, chairman and CEO of show organizer SIAE, said that the show has been sold out for several months and that organizer SIAE has two main aims this year: providing more services for exhibitors and an improved experience for visitors.
Boeing has started discussions with airline and leasing customers about technical, pricing and schedule aspects of the proposed 777X widebody, the company confirmed last week. It said it will decide whether or not to formally launch the program based on the market’s response.