Airbus Defence and Space has confirmed an anticipated order from the Republic of Singapore Air Force for six A330 MRTT tanker/transports. The selection of the Airbus rather than the Boeing KC-46A was first revealed yesterday via the Singaporean ministry of defense’s Twitter account. At the same time, the country’s Ministry of Defense also confirmed that it is to order two more Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk maritime helicopters for the naval air arm’s 123 Squadron, raising the total number to eight.
Loss-making Kuwait Airways has placed its first order for new aircraft in 20 years with a conversion of a commitment covering 10 A350-900s and 15 A320neos worth some $4.5 billion at list prices. The state-owned airline expects first delivery of the new airplanes in 2019. It now operates three A320s, three A310s, five A300s and four A340s.
Rolls-Royce and Cathay Pacific have agreed a TotalCare support contract for Trent 700 engines that power Cathay Pacific group’s 60 Airbus A330 aircraft in-service and on-order with Cathay Pacific group airlines, Rolls-Royce announced in Singapore on Monday. The contract runs for as long as Cathay Pacific and its sister company Dragonair operate the Trent-powered A330s.
Cathay Pacific became the first airline to operate any Trent engine when its Airbus 330s entered service in 1995 and today it stands as the largest Rolls-Royce Trent 700 customer.
As Rolls-Royce (Booth N23) prepares to begin a two-year development and testing phase for the latest Trent engine–the Model 1000-TEN, designed to power Boeing’s stretched 787-10 large twin-aisle twinjet–it has completed three full demonstrators and is building a fourth that will be used in a 500 flight-cycle trial.
Rolls-Royce is “competing hard” with its Trent 900 offering to power the latest batch of 50 Airbus A380s selected by Gulf operator Emirates Airline, according to Trent fleet programs customer marketing head Peter Johnston. To date, the carrier has chosen only GP7200 engines from the General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance joint venture for its previously ordered 90 aircraft.
Aiming to reduce exposure to potential residual-value guarantee (RVG) claims for the A340 twin-aisle quad-jet, Airbus plans to recertify the aircraft to carry 475 passengers, while Rolls-Royce works to improve the type’s engine efficiency and maintenance costs. The European manufacturer told a stakeholders’ forum on December 4 that with increased capacity and lower maintenance charges and ownership costs, the A340-600 can compete against the Boeing 777-200ER and -300ER and replace larger 747-400s.
Christopher Emerson, senior vice president of Airbus and head of product strategy and market forecast, is responsible for overseeing Airbus’s Global Market Forecast, which is published annually. At a pre-Dubai Airshow briefing, Emerson offered the following comments about Airbus aircraft:
A350: The aircraft is improving and is efficient today. We have logged almost 600 hours. The program is on track. There are no issues there. The 350-1000 is moving and this is what we had expected.
The commercial outfit that will provide the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) with air-to-air refueling service for the next 22 years says that it will meet the forecast in-service date. By May 2014, AirTanker will have nine Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transports (MRTTs) ready on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton. It has already trained 18 aircrews, received six aircraft and begun operational flying. Chief executive Phil Blundell told AIN that his company could also assist other customers that need training on the A330MRTT–such as the UAE Air Force.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to investigate a September 20 incident 10 miles west of Adelaide in which two Airbus A330s flew too close to one another. One aircraft was eastbound at FL390 while the other westbound at FL380. The separation loss occurred shortly after the westbound flight was cleared to climb to FL400, generating a Tcas alert in the eastbound aircraft. The controller on duty quickly cancelled the climb clearance but not before the alert was generated.
Airbus announced plans for a new lower weight variant of its A330-300 widebody specifically designed for use on domestic and regional routes in high-growth markets with large populations and concentrated traffic flows, the company announced Wednesday at the Aviation Expo China show in Beijing.