As the Airbus A350-900 twin-aisle twinjet makes its first full international airshow display here in Singapore this week, industry observers will be keen to understand the manufacturer’s plans for the smaller A350-800, which has seen a steady erosion of orders as customers have upgraded to the baseline model. With average aircraft seat capacity moving inexorably to the right, Airbus executives are also mulling a possible double-stretched variant beyond the longer A350-1000.
Ahead of an initial engine run in the second quarter of this year, Rolls-Royce (Booth N23) has started to assemble the 97,000-pound thrust Trent XWB-97 powerplant that will power the heavier, 308-metric-ton (680,000-pound) max takeoff weight Airbus A350-1000 stretch variant of the new twin-aisle twinjet that has been flying since last June. The first items for the powerplant were arriving in the Rolls-Royce (RR) finished parts stores during January, according to program director Chris Young.
Delivery of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737 a little over a week ago in Washington state marked the fulfillment of what Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of sales Dinesh Keskar characterized as a “major win” for the company in the Asian market. In fact, while Boeing would no doubt relish the chance to convert any Airbus operator, the contract with the Singapore Airlines subsidiary came as particularly satisfying given the impressive market share its rival from Europe has established in the region over the past decade or so.
Rolls-Royce is “competing hard” with its Trent 900 offering to power the latest batch of 50 Airbus A380s selected by Gulf operator Emirates Airline, according to Trent fleet programs customer marketing head Peter Johnston. To date, the carrier has chosen only GP7200 engines from the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance joint venture for its previously ordered 90 aircraft.
Boeing’s Charleston, South Carolina 787 factory has experienced a higher number of behind-schedule jobs involving the airplane’s mid-body section than originally anticipated, requiring it to apply “additional resources” to help flow times progress to a satisfactory level, Boeing CFO Greg Smith acknowledged during a conference call the company held Wednesday to discuss its fourth-quarter earnings.
The Air Line Pilots Association sent a letter Tuesday to Senate Banking Committee chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) urging the committee to impose tighter oversight on the Export-Import Bank of the United States and Congress to work toward eliminating financing for widebody aircraft to foreign carriers.
India has lifted restrictions on the Airbus A380 airliner to land at four Code F compliant airports, the country’s Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) announced Monday. But while the industry has applauded the move, the government has not made it an effortless exercise, as major carriers wanting to fly their A380s to India run short on service entitlements.
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.
Aiming to reduce exposure to potential residual-value guarantee (RVG) claims for the A340 twin-aisle quad-jet, Airbus plans to recertify the aircraft to carry 475 passengers, while Rolls-Royce works to improve the type’s engine efficiency and maintenance costs. The European manufacturer told a stakeholders’ forum on December 4 that with increased capacity and lower maintenance charges and ownership costs, the A340-600 can compete against the Boeing 777-200ER and -300ER and replace larger 747-400s.
AAR recently completed the first heavy maintenance check at its new maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at Chennault International Airport in Lake Charles, La. The work was performed on an Airbus A330. AAR occupies approximately 520,000 sq ft of service and administrative space at the facility, including eight hangar bays, seven of which can accommodate widebody aircraft. Construction of a 112,000-sq-ft hangar that can accommodate aircraft as large as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 is under way and expected to be completed next summer.