Southeast Asian carriers VietJetAir and Myanmar Airways maintained the region’s strong growth-curve yesterday, announcing new airliner deals worth almost $7.4 billion. At the Singapore Airshow, Vietnam’s VietJetAir gave Airbus a $6.4 billion contract covering firm orders for 42 A320neos, 14 A320ceos and seven A321ceos.
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About 40 years after Singapore decided to build a new national airport at the former RAF Changi–initially anticipating requirements to accommodate 30 million passengers/year–the city state has seen a related decision also to reclaim land from the sea vindicated after traveller numbers reached 30 million in 2004, 40 million six years later and 50 million in 2012.
As the Airbus A350-900 twin-aisle twinjet makes its first full international airshow display here in Singapore this week, industry observers will be keen to understand the manufacturer’s plans for the smaller A350-800, which has seen a steady erosion of orders as customers have upgraded to the baseline model. With average aircraft seat capacity moving inexorably to the right, Airbus executives are also mulling a possible double-stretched variant beyond the longer A350-1000.
With its diverse geography and increasingly prosperous and mobile populations, Southeast Asia has become a target of opportunity the world’s regional aircraft OEMs can no longer afford to overlook.
Ahead of an initial engine run in the second quarter of this year, Rolls-Royce (Booth N23) has started to assemble the 97,000-pound thrust Trent XWB-97 powerplant that will power the heavier, 308-metric-ton (680,000-pound) max takeoff weight Airbus A350-1000 stretch variant of the new twin-aisle twinjet that has been flying since last June. The first items for the powerplant were arriving in the Rolls-Royce (RR) finished parts stores during January, according to program director Chris Young.
Delivery of SilkAir’s first Boeing 737 a little over a week ago in Washington state marked the fulfillment of what Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of sales Dinesh Keskar characterized as a “major win” for the company in the Asian market. In fact, while Boeing would no doubt relish the chance to convert any Airbus operator, the contract with the Singapore Airlines subsidiary came as particularly satisfying given the impressive market share its rival from Europe has established in the region over the past decade or so.
Boeing’s Charleston, South Carolina 787 factory has experienced a higher number of behind-schedule jobs involving the airplane’s mid-body section than originally anticipated, requiring it to apply “additional resources” to help flow times progress to a satisfactory level, Boeing CFO Greg Smith acknowledged during a conference call the company held Wednesday to discuss its fourth-quarter earnings.
Airbus has decided to bring an A350 XWB flight-test airplane to the Singapore Airshow next month, marking the first “full” display of the model at an international airshow. Plans call for flight-test airplane MSN3 to appear on static display on February 11 and 12. Airbus also expects the airplane to participate in the flying displays on both days.
Norwegian Air Shuttle reported on Wednesday that it remains unsatisfied with the reliability of its three Boeing 787s following Sunday’s incident in which a problem with a fuel valve delayed a flight between Bangkok and Stockholm for 19 hours. Norwegian Dreamliners have suffered a series of maintenance glitches such as erroneous fault warnings, costing the airline revenue and standing with its customers.
High-speed wind tunnel tests for the Boeing 777X started last week at the company’s transonic wind tunnel in Seattle, Boeing announced Wednesday.