Organizers of the 2011 Paris Air Show (June 20-26) promised a feel-good factor that would leave the aerospace industry in no doubt that the long-awaited recovery has kicked in. They kept their word, and then some, with wave upon wave of new airliner orders and the associated new business in engines, equipment and support packages.
Rolls-Royce has signed a $360 million long-term TotalCare agreement to provide engine support services and enhanced performance kits for the Trent 700 engines that power four Etihad Airways Airbus A330s. Etihad has also extended an existing agreement covering Trent 700s powering 20 other aircraft in the Abu Dhabi airline’s fleet, and will fit the EP kits on 30 Trent 700s.
Rolls-Royce has revealed how it will increase the thrust of the baseline engine it is developing for the Airbus A350 by 13,000lbs 000 pounds to meet the take-off and climb requirements of the heavier, longer-range A350-1000.
The new Trent XWB version will produce 97,000 pounds lb at take-off, making it the most powerful production engine R-R has ever built, – and that Airbus has ever used.
Boeing needs to “get on with it,” if it is to compete with the Airbus A320neo, according to International Lease Finance Corporation CEO Henri Courpron. The leasing group argued yesterday that the answer may lie in an early Boeing 737-800 upgrade.
Airbus has revealed that first deliveries of its A350XWB-800 and A350XWB-1000 will be delayed by two years–to mid-2016 and mid-2017, respectively. At a briefing in Paris on Saturday, it claimed the delay of the -1000 would allow it to boost the payload-range performance to better match the Boeing 777-300ER, which is something its customers have been asking for.
As Airbus prepares to put together the first A350 XWB, the European manufacturer acknowledges the stiff task it faces to open the final assembly line (FAL) by the end of this year and to fly the aircraft within 12 months thereafter. It says significant challenges remain to start the FAL by year’s end with “an appropriate level of quality to prepare the ramp-up.”
Rolls-Royce is working “very closely” on the engine requirements for a 787-10X development being considered by Boeing, according to Trent 1000 program director Simon Carlisle. “The goal is to be ready with an engine for the whole  family,” so if Boeing looks at payload/range or economics “so will Rolls-Royce.”
Eight Trent XWB engines–serial numbers 20990 and 20001 through 20007–are being used in Rolls-Royce’s test program. Following are descriptions of the status or goals for each of the eight:
By the end of this month, the manufacturer hopes to complete pass-off tests of Trent XWB 20990, its most highly instrumented flight-test engine ever, ahead of trials aboard the Airbus A380 flying test bed.
With positive early test results and an accelerating work schedule, Rolls-Royce is confident it can deliver the Trent XWB as a mature engine, ready for full production before the end of 2014. Related technology programs are said to be on track in terms of high temperature and thrust.
Building on a strong upturn in global airline traffic, Airbus is ramping up production of all its models–A320 family, A330 and A380–while keeping a careful eye on possible supply chain issues that could hit increased output rates for these models and also for the new A350 XWB widebody. Meanwhile, costs and an uncompetitive euro-dollar exchange continue to give headaches to the European airframer’s top management.