EADS expects to sign a firm contract with Aeroflot for 22 of the new Airbus A350XWB airliners here at the Paris Air Show this week, or perhaps at Moscow’s MAKS’2007 event in August. This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the deal in March this year.
Air Transport and Cargo » Air Transport and Cargo Aircraft
News and issues relating to air transport and cargo aircraft.
They’re big. They’re in demand. But they’re getting old, and availability is becoming a problem. That’s why Volga-Dnepr Airlines (VDA) has been pushing so hard for more An-124 Ruslan heavylift freighters to be built. But despite the aircraft’s commercial success since the end of the Cold War, it’s not clear whether renewed production is a priority for Russia’s newly formed, state-owned United Aircraft Co. (OAK).
Having promised so much and letting its A380 launch customers down so dismally with the news of serious program delays, Airbus is understandably cautious in its prognosis for the super-large airliner’s immediate future. All the talk in press briefings before the Paris Air Show concentrated on achieving “maturity” and “sustainability” for the program.
Bombardier Aerospace is responding to demand for bigger regional jets with its 100-seat CRJ1000 and continues to mull a 90-seat stretch of its Q400 turboprop. Regional airlines are thriving, but constant pressure on operating costs means their equipment is getting steadily bigger, the company’s top executives agreed at a pre-show briefing in Belfast last month.
Prices for new Boeing jetliners could harden as the manufacturer works to manage production rates and outsourced parts supplies in the face of continuing high demand that Boeing says defies previous market cycles.
Russia’s new airframing consortium OAK has won government approval to continue limited production of widebody airliners. This covers assembly of 15 Ilyushin Il-96s in the 2008 to 2012 time frame, allowing the Voronezh Aircraft Production Association (VASO) to maintain annual production rates of three aircraft.
The key to Bombardier’s still-pending decision on whether to go ahead with a $2 billion-plus investment in its projected C Series 110/130-seat regional airliner family appears to rest with the engine manufacturers.
Bombardier’s business model for the C Series airliner family includes fleet management services along the lines of Boeing’s GoldCare program for the 787 that would enable operators to pay a fixed per-hour fee to cover maintenance, spares and overhaul.
Now the Canadian airframer is considering a similar program for its existing regional aircraft.
Delivery of the 561st Airbus A300 next month marks completion of the European manufacturer’s long march to becoming a successful competitor to its U.S. rival, Boeing, in the commercial aircraft market. It has developed, certified, marketed and completed profitable production of its initial design and embarked on a successor project.
When a new aircraft is breaking all sales records and only two engine companies compete to supply its power, it is hardly surprising that those two companies are sounding increasingly bullish. Boeing’s announcement in early April that the 787 had passed the 500-order milestone confirmed that the 787 has become the fastest selling commercial aircraft in its history.