Boeing has delivered the first 747-8 with performance-improved GEnx-2B engines as part of the airplane’s performance improvement package (PIP), the company announced Wednesday. A Cathay Pacific Airways 747-8 Freighter was the first of the jumbo jets delivered with the PIP engines.
In what might seem a 180-degree heading change, Airbus confirmed the possibility of a second stretch of its A350XWB that could help fill a gap between the largely composite-bodied twinjet and the A380 superjumbo.
The recent global financial recession notwithstanding, long-term airline traffic growth will average 4.7 percent per year, while cargo traffic grows at a slightly higher annual rate, 4.8 percent, according to the latest 20-year market forecast published by Airbus. However, the company projected a marked disparity between traffic growth in “advanced” and “emerging” markets. COO for customers John Leahy noted a divergence in gross domestic product GDP trends between the groups since 2000.
As Airbus handed over the 1,000th A330 to Cathay Pacific Airways last Friday, it confirmed plans to accelerate introduction of the 242-metric-ton maximum takeoff weight model and to offer a new, lower operating weight, shorter-range “regional” variant.
Continued weak demand for large passenger and freighter airplanes has convinced Boeing to slow production of its 747-8 from a rate of two airplanes per month to 1.75.
The company expects to deliver the first airplane built at the new rate early next year. It said it doesn’t expect to move to result in a “significant” financial impact.
For Airbus and its A350XWB program, 2013 should prove a critical year. With service entry already pushed back to the second half of 2014, the European airframer is carefully managing expectations for a first flight as it seeks to resist the temptation to rush the key milestone in time for June’s Paris Air Show.
Charter operator Gama Aviation says young children will no longer need to sit on their parents’ laps while traveling aboard any of Gama’s Bombardier Challenger fleet thanks to the company’s new infant safety seats. The UK-based business aviation services group made the seats and claims they are the first child seats certified for taxi, takeoff and landing on numerous business jets. The seats are already in use aboard Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific flights.
Dynamic growth in emerging economies will be the principal factor driving commercial aircraft requirements in the coming 20 years, according to Airbus. Other major contributions will come from increased global urbanization and a doubling of middle-class populations. “By 2031 the number of ‘mega-cities’ will more than double to 92, and 90 percent of the world’s traffic will be between (or through) these points,” concluded the European airframer in its new 2012-31 market forecast, released in London on September 4.
Cathay Pacific Airlines has confirmed its plan to replace its aging Boeing 747-400 fleet with Airbus A350-1000s in a new $4.2 billion deal signed at the Farnborough International airshow yesterday. The Hong Kong-based carrier has placed new orders for 10 aircraft, and will convert 16 existing orders for the A350-900 into the larger variant.
Airbus could withdraw from a commitment to increase A330 production to 11 aircraft per month in two years’ time, if there is no change to the European Union (EU) emissions trading scheme (ETS), according to programs executive vice president Tom Williams.
- Page 1