Middle East Airlines (MEA) has placed a contract for International Aero Engines to support the V2500 engines that power its Airbus A320 fleet. The long-term deal covers turbofans on six aircraft covered by firm orders and three more that the Beirut-based carrier has optioned. The operator took delivery of the first of these V2500 SelectOne-powered aircraft in January 2009.
Air New Zealand has ordered 14 Airbus A320s to replace its existing domestic fleet of 15 Boeing 737-300s. Valued at slightly more than $1 billion at list prices, the contract calls for deliveries to start in January 2011 and continue until 2016 to coincide with the expiration of 737-300 leases. ANZ has chosen IAE V2500 engines to power the A320s.
Airbus has delivered the first of two A318 aircraft equipped with “steep approach” capability to British Airways, the manufacturer announced today. The A318 is the largest commercial aircraft certified to land at London City Airport (LCY), from where BA plans to launch transatlantic service to New York JFK Airport on September 29. This will be the first scheduled airline route from LCY to a destination outside of Europe.
Cooling down somewhat from a red-hot commercial start at this year’s Paris Air Show, Airbus yesterday won a pair of modest but significant firm orders–one from Filipino airline Zest Airways for its first new Airbus A320 and the other from French private airline Aigle Azur for a single A319.
Qatar Airways signed a firm contract yesterday for 24 Airbus A320-family aircraft in a deal that included the conversion of an option the operator placed during last year’s Farnborough air show for four A321s. Qatar expects to take delivery of the first of those airplanes this coming November, while yesterday’s new order for 20 A320s gets filled through the end of 2012.
Airbus (Booth No. 4776) announced here at the NBAA show that it has received 23 orders so far in 2008, including 14 for single-aisle models (five A318s and nine ACJs) and nine for widebodies (eight A350s and one A340). Many of these orders came from undisclosed customers, but Airbus did reveal the names of several buyers, including Jet Alliance (one ACJ and two A318 Elites) and Saudi Arabia-based MAZ Aviation (six A350s).
Argentina’s economic crisis has created a unique business experience for the country’s national flag carrier, Aerolíneas Argentinas. Over the past three years the country has been mired in recession, prompting many businesses to cut costs or risk bankruptcy. The cost-cutting measures, which forced more than 200 companies to dispose of their business jets last year alone, prompted Aerolíneas Argentinas to enter the executive jet market.
Airbus has inked a contract with Honeywell to upgrade the wingtip navigation lights on the A320 family with light-emitting diode (LED) technology. Intended to last 40 times longer than standard halogen lighting, the LEDs will be added to the production line starting next March. Honeywell’s LED wingtip bulbs last about 20,000 hours each, compared with 500 hours for a halogen bulb.
Airbus Industrie began final assembly of the first Airbus A318 at its plant in Hamburg, Germany, when on August 9 it joined the 107-seat jet’s forward and aft fuselage sections. The A318, smallest member of the A320 family, will become the third Airbus type assembled outside the company’s primary plant in Toulouse, France. Airbus also builds the A319 and A321 in Germany.
British Airways last month announced plans to create a business-class service from London City Airport (LCY) to New York via Shannon, Ireland. The airline was forced to incorporate a tech stop due to payload restrictions associated with LCY’s 3,934-foot-long runway. British Airways said it will acquire Airbus A318s configured with 32 business-class seats to operate the service.