Orders for as many as 250 new General Electric (GE) GEnx engines are expected here at the Paris Air Show this week as the Boeing 787 program gathers pace after last year’s hesitant start. Announcements will come as Boeing prepares for the launch of the stretched 747 Advanced (for which it predicts a market for up to 300), and Airbus launches its A350 variant of the A330–both programs representing applications of the new engine.
Over the next five years Iran needs some 140 new airliners, half of which would replace a largely outdated fleet. Air transport demand continues to grow as the Iranian economy enjoys high oil revenues and 8 percent annual GDP growth.
Doha’s Qatar Airways is planning daily nonstop flights to Hong Kong beginning in March, using Airbus A330-200s that later will be replaced with A330-300s. It also wants to add Melbourne, Australia, to its route network in 2006 or 2007.
Airbus has flown the first example of its heavier A340-600, launched by Emirates Airline two years ago. It is to enter service with Qatar Airways in mid-2006. The A340-600HGW (and its A340-500HGW counterpart) has a strengthened airframe and landing gear and is designed to offer a maximum takeoff weight of almost 838,000 pounds.
In the last financial year Emirates Airlines boosted its profits by 49 percent, to a record $637 million on $4.9 billion in revenues, which is up 36 percent year-over-year. Passenger numbers increased from 10.4 million to 12.5 million and the average load factor rose from 73.4 percent to 74.6 percent. Many European and Asian routes drew average loads of more than 90 percent.
Two-year-old Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has started life with such precocious growth rates that it makes neighborhood trailblazer Emirates Airline look almost conservative. In the Gulf region’s anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better air transport market, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways have continued to trump each other with ever more optimistic fleet expansion plans.
Airbus expects to launch its long-delayed freighter version of the A330 by mid-year. An “Authority To Offer” for the A330-200F is expected next month, officials told Aviation International News last week.
Pratt & Whitney has announced upgrades to both its venerable JT8D engine and the PW4000 high bypass ratio turbofan. Improvements to the JT8D are aimed at enabling the engine to meet the latest ICAO Chapter 4 noise rules, which took effect in January. A noise-reducing kit will, says the company, provide a solution to operators of MD-80s wishing to avoid landing charges levied because of excessive noise.
Since its rejection from the Boeing 787 engine contest in April 2004 Pratt & Whitney has had to face up to a harsh new reality–that for the foreseeable future the U.S.’s most venerable engine manufacturer is effectively out of the huge market for the new medium twins from Airbus and Boeing–the A350 and 787.
Ameco Beijing–Air China and Lufthansa formed Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Corp. (Ameco Beijing) as a 60:40 joint venture in 1989. Its facilities at Beijing Capital International Airport include a four-bay hangar covering 334,000 sq ft, a 108,000-sq-ft paint hangar, 66,000 sq ft of component workshops and an engine repair and overhaul workshop and engine test cell covering another 280,000 sq ft.