Quite possibly the last member of the best selling family of airliners in the history of the industry, the recently certified Boeing 737-900ER has at once filled a void in the 200-seat-class market left by the production retirement of the 757, presented Airbus with its first direct competition to the A321 and provided the platform on which CFM International launched its Tech Insertion upgrade for the CFM56-7 turbofan.
Air Transport and Cargo » Air Transport and Cargo Aircraft
News and issues relating to air transport and cargo aircraft.
Manufacturers of nacelles and thrust reversers have no less interest in introducing new technology to their designs than do the suppliers of the engines inside them.
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.
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.