As launch customer Qatar Airways prepares to receive new Airbus A350s next year, the Arab operator will train using an operations department at the manufacturer’s Toulouse factory in southwest France. Until then, Airbus plans to conduct flight-test activities to mirror airlines operations at that facility.
Airbus began the 2,500-hour flight-test program for its new A350XWB when the new long-range widebody took off for the first time at almost exactly 10:00 a.m. local time in Toulouse, France, on Friday. The eagerly awaited first flight over southwestern France lasted slightly more than four hours and the twinjet, powered by Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engines, safely touched down back in Toulouse at 2:05 p.m.
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.
Qatar Executive is investing in the development of a private jet terminal at Doha’s Hamad International Airport. The opening of the new gateway for airline service has been delayed, following a failure to achieve the planned “soft opening” on April 1, but this appears not to be holding back plans to serve business aviation traffic there.
Qatar Airways’ private jet division, Qatar Executive, has been granted Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA) regulatory approvals to conduct base maintenance services for Bombardier’s Challenger604/605 and Global series. To meet anticipated demand, the MRO has expanded its service offering with heavy maintenance checks at its nearly 70,000-sq-ft dedicated hangar at Doha International Airport.
Boeing on Tuesday morning officially delivered the first 787 since aviation authorities around the globe grounded the model nearly four months ago. Plans call for Dreamliner Line Number 83—an All Nippon Airways airplane—to take off from Boeing’s Everett, Washington, production site for Tokyo on Wednesday afternoon.
Battery system modifications to the world’s Boeing 787s continued at a steady pace while details of plans for service resumptions gradually began to emerge by the time Qatar Airways flew one of its five airplanes on a route between Doha and Dubai last Wednesday.
Qatar Airways became the second Boeing 787 customer to return a Dreamliner to service after a worldwide grounding of the fleet in January as Flight QR116 took off from Doha for Dubai Wednesday at 1:15 p.m. local time.
A new Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) aviation study predicts that the Persian Gulf region will see 250 million passengers using its airports each year by 2020 and that annual Middle East aircraft movements will reach 2.3 million five years later, when the number of people living within range of a single flight reaches some 7 billion. The study, titled “The World Via Gulf” and published for Dubai’s The Airport Show, scheduled to take place from May 6 to 8 in Dubai, concludes that the region’s aviation industry will create 294,000 jobs over the next two decades.
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.