Airbus has “done really well with [A350-900] flight test [and] in the first phase has gathered a lot [of information],” according to executive vice-president and program head Didier Evrard. By the beginning of November, the first two A350-900 twin-aisle twinjets had logged more than 100 flights and over 500 hours of testing.
Airbus faces several major steps in bringing the A350XWB, which flew in June before appearing at the Paris Air Show, into service in the second half of 2014, said executive vice-president and A350 program head Didier Evrard. The manufacturer is working hard to progress the five-aircraft flight-test campaign in order to deliver a mature design at entry into service (EIS).
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.
Airbus is promoting its ACJ330 and ACJ340 Gala concept at the Dubai Airshow, hoping to add to its list of several potential clients. The Gala concept was conceived as a means to offer a lower-cost alternative to a full VIP configuration for Airbus widebody airliners. The design places airliner-type seating fore and aft of a VIP section between doors two and three. Airbus designed the Gala product primarily for head-of-state clients who travel with large contingents of support staff and advisors.
Rolls-Royce’s strategy of feeding technological developments from new programs back to established engines for upgrades or retrofit changes is creating a range of enhanced-performance (EP) packages being available to customers.
The Middle East is sitting at the end of the air transport rainbow, if Airbus forecasts are to be believed: its share of global traffic will expand faster than that of any other geographical area, increasing by one half in the next 20 years.
Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group of Fairfax, Virginia, wonders whether Emirates has bitten off more than it can chew with the A380. The lack of operating lessors is an indication of a weak-to-nonexistent secondary market. And Emirates’ insistence on low average fleet age–a year ago, its strategy officials were aiming for under six years–means that the airline could have to start offloading its earliest A380 components in the fleet as soon as next year.
Boeing will consider other locations to assemble its new 777X after its machinists union voted down a proposed contract extension that was described as critical to basing work on the new widebody in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.
Amac recently completed its second BBJ 777-300ER for a private customer in the Middle East. The work consisted of a full maintenance C-check and interior modifications such as a newly integrated master bedroom, master en suite and majlis (private seating area).