The Middle East needs to prepare to handle increased air traffic congestion over the next few years, especially in the Gulf region; however, forming a central body to coordinate the necessary changes and harmonization is proving difficult.
British engine-maker Rolls-Royce has begun manufacturing parts for the 84,000-pound thrust Trent XWB-84s that will power the first Airbus A350-900 for launch customer Qatar Airways, and is on track for the powerplant’s entry into service (EIS) in the third-quarter of 2014.
Saudi Arabia’s Alpha Star Aviation Services (Stand 806) has signed a firm order for a single ATR 72-600, marking the first sale of ATR’s latest turboprop series in the Middle East. Alpha Star, which also reserved an option on another of the Pratt & Whitney PW127M-powered turboprops, now operates an ATR 42-600. It expects its first ATR 72 to arrive in September 2014.
This Dubai Airshow marks the last time EADS will exhibit at any major aerospace show before it officially changes its name to the Airbus Group on January 1, 2014. Fittingly, two of the company’s highest-profile Airbus-branded products–the A380 and A400M military airlifter–are participating daily in the show’s flying display, while an Egyptair A330-300 sits on static display and an A350XWB cockpit mockup graces the Airbus stand in the exhibit hall.
Boeing sees the reliability of the 787 Dreamliner improving to originally targeted rates within six months, company vice president of sales for the Middle East Marty Bentrott told a gathering of reporters yesterday during a pre-show briefing here in Dubai. Responding to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker’s recent comments about his dissatisfaction with the reliability of the Boeing 787, Bentrott noted that the issues didn’t affect only Qatar, but that Boeing remains committed to resolving them as soon as possible.
Italy’s Piaggio Aero Industries (Stand 1906) announced before the Dubai Airshow that India’s Tata group is now its largest shareholder, with 44.5 percent of the company’s new equity.
Last Thursday Gama Aviation opened a new facility at Glasgow Airport in Scotland. The inauguration of the center is well timed, with two major sporting events planned to take place in Scotland next year. Both the Commonwealth Games, to be held in Glasgow from late July, and the U.S. versus Europe Ryder Cup golf match, to be held at Gleneagles (46 miles North-East of Glasgow Airport) in September, are expected to generate a lot of business aviation and VIP traffic.
Charter operator Gainjet (Stand 2306) recently expanded its fleet with the addition of a 68-seat VIP-configured Boeing 737-400. The Greece-based group has made a specialty of operating former Boeing airliners, with two other 737s already in service (one with 48 seats and the other with 60 seats). The fleet also includes a very spacious 62-seat 757-200.
The company’s XPR program provides performance upgrades for Hawker 400 and 800 series jets, with options for new avionics and upgraded engines. Purchase of an already upgraded Hawker 400XPR or 800XPR, at around half the price of a similar new aircraft, is another option for cost-conscious buyers.
This year’s Dubai Airshow marks the start of a new era in the event’s growth as one of the key dates in the aviation calendar. Having been under development for several years, the move to a new site here at Dubai World Central/Al Maktoum International Airport has been accomplished seamlessly. The move not only provides the show with a purpose-built facility with expanded road access, but also frees the former location at the busy Dubai International Airport from the burden of having to shut down airline operations during the daily flying display.