Boeing and a trio of Arabian Gulf airlines have set the stage for what could prove one of the most memorable Dubai Air Shows ever, as the parties neared conclusion of negotiations of reported contracts for up to approximately 200 of the new 777X, valued at some $80 billion at list prices. The deals appear likely to effectively launch the project here in Dubai, where executives for Emirates Airline have spent more than two years helping define the ultimate shape of the 350- to 400-seat jet, entry into service of which Boeing has targeted for around 2020.
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EADS has an ongoing partnership with Siemens and Diamond Aircraft on serial hybrid propulsion. The three companies announced the first flight, in June near Vienna, Austria, of a DA36 E-Star 2 motorglider, the propeller of which was driven by an electric motor. The batteries were recharged in-flight via a small Wankel-type engine.
Separately, the European group is already developing the E-Fan, an electric two-seater for pilot training.
EADS has set itself an ambitious target for its E-Thrust hybrid propulsion concept, a joint effort with British engine maker Rolls-Royce that went relatively unnoticed when it was revealed at the Paris Air Show in June. The E-Airbus, under its new moniker, is to enter into service in 2030 as a 100-seat regional aircraft.
The Middle East is sitting at the end of the air transport rainbow, if Airbus forecasts are to be believed: its share of global traffic will expand faster than that of any other geographical area, increasing by one half in the next 20 years.
Progress has proven slow–tediously slow–for Mitsubishi’s MRJ regional jet program during the two years between the 2011 Dubai Air Show and this one. In fact, program schedules reflect two separate year-and-a-half-long delays to certification since then, placing the company further from its elusive goal today than it thought it stood during the 2011 edition of the Middle East’s premier aerospace event.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued an airworthiness directive requiring inspections and possibly modifications to the Airbus A380, stating that cracks discovered during fatigue testing could “reduce the structural integrity of the wing.”
Boeing said it has completed aerodynamics, engine and weight audits that together have given it a clearer picture of the future operating performance of the new 737 Max. The manufacturer now says the re-engined narrowbody will burn 14 percent less fuel than today’s 737-800NG, one percent better than it previously estimated.
Airbus cited sleep-study results in calling on airlines to set an 18-inch minimum seat width standard for long-haul flights. Organizations representing the airline industry said seating options should be left to individual carriers.
Bombardier said its CSeries flight-test program is progressing as planned, and its “target” remains to complete the program and certify the new airliner one year after first flight, or by next September. However, the manufacturer said that it is discussing a definitive schedule for the five-aircraft test program with its suppliers and customers. It will reveal the schedule “in the next few months,” according to Pierre Beaudoin, president and CEO.