The single-aisle product strategy revealed this month by Airbus marks the first public move in what promises to be a fascinating duel with Boeing to provide new designs to replace many thousands of 150-seat, single-aisle airliners. But do not look for new production lines any time soon.
When Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) acquired Associated Air Center in 2007, “We had a huge backlog,” said Associated COO Jack Lawless.
That was a good year, and the next year got even better for the business aviation industry, yielding a bumper crop of new business jet deliveries–1,313 to be exact– and adding to the demand for interior completion work.
While most of the completion and refurbishment industry was taking it on the chin during the recession of the past 18 months, Lufthansa Technik was taking it with barely a shrug, according to the German company’s senior vice president of marketing and sales Walter Heerdt. “We felt it, but not too much,” he told AIN. “We had a pretty good backlog, and we have been very successful in selling in 2009.”
The people at Greenpoint Technologies like a challenge, and two of their most recent contributions to the world of widebody completions are all that and more. The U.S. company now holds a patent on its 747-8 modular overhead space utilization project known as the Aeroloft.
Preliminary inspection of a pair of airplanes Airbus used to fly test missions from Toulouse yesterday to assess the effect of volcanic ash on aircraft over Europe showed “no irregularities,” according to the manufacturer.
A380 S/N 004 flew for 3 hours 50 minutes within French airspace and the company’s A340-600 test article flew for five hours in French and German airspace under normal procedures.
Airbus hopes to reach a decision on an engine replacement option for the A320 family in time for this summer’s Farnborough airshow, according to company COO for customers John Leahy.
The Boeing 787-3 program appears all but dead after Boeing vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth yesterday expressed grave doubts about the market viability of the short-range version of the present 787-8. “This is an airplane that is designed for the Japanese market. We have no Japanese customers. We have no customers for it at all,” said Tinseth. “I would find it far fetched to believe that we’ll proceed with that airplane.”
Given Asia’s affinity for big airplanes and the fact that the region is emerging from the global recession as one of the few in the world that has experienced growth in airline traffic, it should come as little surprise that some of Boeing’s brightest prospects for the 747-8 reside there.
Thus far, the bizliner completions sector has remained comparatively solid despite the effects of the recession on the rest of the industry. That relative immunity was most recently underscored by the partnership of London-based Andrew Winch Designs and Jet Aviation of Basel, Switzerland, which delivered a highly customized Boeing Business Jet for a private client.
In March last year, it appeared the bizliner completion centers were sailing through the recession with barely a ripple, working at capacity with slots filled well into 2012. Since many customers for such aircraft are wealthy individuals and governments, it appeared that order cancellations and deferrals would be minimal. And so they were.