In the U.S. Air Force KC-X competition size matters, but not much else, according to a Boeing briefing here. The company refused to discuss how its NewGen Tanker could be “combat ready” when substantial development work must be done. Citing competitive reasons, Boeing gave no technical details on the new cockpit, the new refueling boom, or even which version of the 767 it was based on.
In its latest current market outlook published last Thursday, Boeing projects a near-term increase in airline traffic growth, with global economies expected to regain lost ground in the next two or three years as they recover from the latest worldwide recession.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce is preparing the technology needed for new two-shaft and three-shaft turbofan engines in the second half of this decade and an open-rotor design in the early 2020s.
“Our long-term strategy is to invest in technology and protect our options,” said Mark King, Rolls-Royce president of civil aerospace. “Two years ago we decided to make sure we were capable of whatever the manufacturers want.”
Emirates Airline could not wait until this week at Farnborough to order more Engine Alliance GP7200-powered Airbus A380 airliners. Instead it chose last month’s ILA airshow in Berlin as the stage on which to announce its plans to acquire a further 32 of the widebodies.
While it seems like the A380 first flew only a short time ago, Airbus is well into its next program–the A350 XWB (eXtra widebody). The planned family is scheduled to begin operations in mid-2013 competing against the Boeing 787 (expected to enter service early next year) and some variants of the 777, which began commercial flights in 1995.
The latest member of the Airbus A330 family is the Series 200F cargo variant, which was launched in early 2007 and is scheduled for mid-2010 entry into service with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Crystal Cargo. The manufacturer had taken orders from 11 customers for 66 A330Fs by May this year, as it also continued to develop the established passenger variant.
Boeing’s 2010 Current Market Outlook, released today in London, projects a $3.6 trillion market for new commercial airplanes over the next 20 years, as world economies rebound and strong demand for new and replacement aircraft spurs growth. Boeing forecasts a market for 30,900 new commercial passenger and freighter airplanes by 2029.
Four years after the surprise launch of the Airbus A350XWB airliner, engine maker Rolls-Royce is still faced with two pleasant surprises from what might have seemed an ill-timed program given the impending global recession. First, it remains the sole powerplant provider for the new widebody airliner.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner test fleet surpassed 1,000 flight hours this week. According to Boeing, the 787 program is now about 40 percent through the test conditions required to certify the first version–the 787-8–of the new twin widebody.
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.