Debuting its new 787-9 widebody here at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday, Boeing fired off an aggressive opening salvo against its rival Airbus. According to the U.S. airframer’s marketing vice president Randy Tinseth, if Airbus goes ahead with its anticipated launch of the re-engined A330neo this week it will prove that its A350 program is a failure.
Airbus A350-1000 manufacturing is under way, with Airbus reporting last month the laying up of the first carbon fiber elements, to be followed in the coming weeks by the first cutting of metal parts, according to program executive vice president Didier Evrard. Establishment of systems-installation design maturity is said to be “on plan,” while work continues on the variant’s structural design phase, which will permit the start of engineering drawing. Structural design maturity “incorporating all requirements” also was completed by mid-June.
It might seem only a year or two since Airbus launched the A380 and just months since the mighty, double-deck behemoth entered service, but the European manufacturer has delivered more than 130 since operations began, almost six years ago, in October 2007. The aircraft, which typically accommodate about 500 passengers (depending upon customers’ cabin configurations), have an average daily use of more than 13 hours, says Airbus. Of the 324 examples that had been ordered by late June, the backlog of 192 includes 20 booked this year.
Rolls-Royce is confident that other customers will take up the 70 Airbus A350-900XWB and -1000XWB production positions released when Emirates Airline canceled its order on June 1, and says demand remains strong for the new twin-aisle twinjet, which is powered exclusively by R-R Trent XWB engines. The loss reduced the manufacturer’s orderbook by £2.6 billion (excluding the value of “TotalCare” support contracts), or about 3.5 percent.
The fifth and final Airbus A350-900 flight-test article took to the skies for the first time Friday, marking the start of the last phase of the 2,500-hour certification program. The second passenger cabin-equipped A350, MSN005 embodies the “operationally definitive” configuration for flight test duties, said Airbus. Plans call for it to perform route proving and ETOPS validation ahead of certification in the third quarter of this year and first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter.
Emirates Airline has cancelled its order of 70 A350 XWBs, Airbus confirmed on Wednesday. The Dubai-based carrier originally placed the order for 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s in 2007. It had planned to take first delivery in 2019.
Rolls-Royce on Wednesday revealed plans for a new generation of engine designs to replace the current Trent family. The first, called Advance, would reach the market by the end of this decade, burning at least 20 percent less fuel and emitting 20 percent less CO2 than the first generation of Trent engine. The second, dubbed UltraFan, would enter service by 2025 and use a geared design and a variable-pitch fan system capable of delivering at least a 25-percent improvement in fuel burn and emissions.
GE Aviation this week reported that testing on the high pressure compressor (HPC) module for the GE9X engine that will power Boeing’s 777X aircraft continues to yield “very promising results,” achieving a 27:1 pressure ratio–the highest of any commercial aircraft engine. The tests began in September at the GE Oil & Gas testing facility in Massa, Italy, and the module has accumulated close to 300 hours of testing today.
A long-term agreement between key supplier to the Boeing 787 program, UTC Aerospace Systems (Chalet CD07), and Lufthansa Technik (LHT, Booth K65) has been announced for the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of UTC’s interiors products, sensors and integrated systems on the Boeing 787. The agreement builds on a previous contract, expanding LHTs capabilities as a licensed MRO provider for UTC. The two have shared a working relationship on the 787 since 2011.
Leasing groups Amadeo and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) yesterday pushed the airliner orders tally for the 2014 Singapore Airshow close to $30 billion, with separate deals for up 60 new aircraft. Amadeo, which up until Monday this week was known as Doric Lease Corp., firmed up an order for 20 Airbus A380s that had been the subject of a memorandum of understanding signed at the last Paris Air Show in June 2013. Meanwhile DAE inked a $1 billion contract with ATR for up to 40 ATR 72-600s turboprops.