Asia Pacific governments have long considered development of their aerospace industries a prime opportunity for technology renewal and overall economic growth. Several big OEMs have answered the call to help, allowing countries such as Singapore and Malaysia to develop into some of the world’s most active aerospace manufacturing, services and technology centers. Others, such as the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia, show particular promise due to their rapidly expanding economies and young, energetic populations hungry for jobs.
Boeing got another big boost for its widebody lineup here yesterday when Korean Air committed to another five 747-8Is and six 777-300ERs worth $3.6 billion at list prices. Also a customer for the Airbus A380, Korean has now signaled its intention to place a second order for the superjumbo’s competitor, production of which Boeing recently cut from two airplanes to 1.75 per month. Boeing holds firm orders for just 40 Intercontinentals and 65 freighters.
Boeing said on December 13 that it demonstrated an unmanned Little Bird helicopter for the Republic of Korea Army. The MD 500 variant flew for about 25 minutes at the army’s aviation school in Nonsan, South Korea.
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.
The FAA has issued Boeing certification for the 747-8 Intercontinental, the company’s newest and largest passenger airplane, clearing the way for first delivery to launch customer Lufthansa “early next year,” the company announced this afternoon.
The first Korean Air A380 took to the skies today for the start of a final phase of flight and ground tests at Airbus facilities in Hamburg, Germany, where the aircraft has undergone painting and full cabin furnishing. Plans call for Airbus personnel to test all cabin systems, including air flow and air conditioning, lighting, galleys, lavatories, seats and in-flight entertainment, during the upcoming program of flights.
The first passenger version of the Boeing 747-8, the 747-8 Intercontinental, took to the air for the first time today from a chilly and windy Paine Field in Everett, Wash., in front of thousands of Boeing employees, company managers and media. The largest passenger airplane ever built by Boeing took off at about 9:58 a.m.
Air China became the third airline to commit to the passenger version of the Boeing 747-8 since the launch of the program in 2005 with the signature of an “agreement” covering five 747-8 Intercontinentals. The agreement remains contingent on Chinese government approval, at which time Boeing will post the contract in its firm order book.
Eastar Jet has signed an agreement with Ameco Beijing for MRO services on the airline’s five Boeing 737NGs. It calls for C-checks and landing-gear overhauls on four of the aircraft. The contract goes into effect next week. According to an Ameco Beijing spokesman, the MRO, Lufthansa Technik and Hawker Pacific are acting together as a worldwide landing gear alliance.
The latest member of the Airbus A330 family is the Series 200F cargo variant, which was launched in early 2007 and is scheduled for mid-2010 entry into service with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Crystal Cargo. The manufacturer had taken orders from 11 customers for 66 A330Fs by May this year, as it also continued to develop the established passenger variant.
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