Almost eight years have passed since the Airbus A380 widebody completed certification and entered service. Airbus engineers continue to handle multiple product development tasks for in-service types, and the very first A380 prototype continues to support their efforts with frequent flight testing.
Airbus A3xx series
Airbus is working hard to complete A350 flight testing, which it hopes to close by the end of next month in preparation for formal European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness approval in September. Principal remaining work involves long-range flights now under way following a maximum-energy rejected take-off (MERTO) demonstration at Istres Air Force Base in France on July 19. By July 22, the five A350 test aircraft had logged more than 2,250 hours during about 540 flights involving more than 1,380 takeoff/landing cycles.
Airbus’s board of directors has made an “unconditional and unanimous” decision to launch the re-engined, extended-wing A330neo widebody family that will be cheaper to buy and operate than the Boeing 787, Airbus executives declared on Monday at the Farnborough International Airshow. The manufacturer also announced a memorandum of understanding with Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 25 A330-900neos and promised further orders will follow this week.
The fifth and final Airbus A350-900 flight-test article took to the skies for the first time Friday, marking the start of the last phase of the 2,500-hour certification program. The second passenger cabin-equipped A350, MSN005 embodies the “operationally definitive” configuration for flight test duties, said Airbus. Plans call for it to perform route proving and ETOPS validation ahead of certification in the third quarter of this year and first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter.
Airbus A350-900 flight test aircraft MSN3 has completed hot weather testing in Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, Airbus announced Wednesday.
Sales of single-aisle airplanes completely filled the May order books for both Airbus and Boeing this year, increasing narrowbody backlogs for both companies despite feverish production activity. The European airframer added 70 aircraft to its order book in May through transactions with both airline customers and leasing companies for its A320 product line, while U.S. manufacturer drew orders for ninety-nine 737s, primarily from unidentified customers.
As the air transport industry’s heavy hitters gathered in Doha for IATA’s June 1-3 annual general meeting (AGM), thoughts turned to heavy iron—namely, prospective widebody developments that stand to upset the competitive status quo as early as the Farnborough Air Show in July.
European Union government ministers meeting at the ILA air show in Berlin on Tuesday said they will back a new European Commission (EC) complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the state of Washington’s offer of $8.7 billion in financial support for Boeing’s 777X development.
Airbus has bolstered its presence in India with the appointment of Srinivasan Dwarakanath as CEO of Airbus India. The European airframer’s local subsidiary also has a new chairman in the shape of Charles Champion, who is the parent company’s executive vice president for Engineering and a member of the executive committee.
Loss-making Kuwait Airways has placed its first order for new aircraft in 20 years with a conversion of a commitment covering 10 A350-900s and 15 A320neos worth some $4.5 billion at list prices. The state-owned airline expects first delivery of the new airplanes in 2019. It now operates three A320s, three A310s, five A300s and four A340s.
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