A plainly visible sign of progress on the Airbus A350 program emerged last week with the installation of the first pair of Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and the new Honeywell HGT1700 auxiliary power unit at the airframer’s production facilities in Toulouse, France.
Airbus A3xx series
The Lufthansa supervisory board has loosened its purse strings and approved a series of major fleet additions, led by 100 Airbus A320 family jets. The Lufthansa Group also plans to order a pair of Airbus A380s and six Boeing 777-300ERs, raising the total value of its newly announced acquisitions to $13.1 billion.
Airbus surpassed its delivery target in 2012 with a final tally of 588 aircraft for 89 customers (a rise of 10 percent over 2011). In press conference held at its Toulouse, France, headquarters on January 17, the European airframer also reported that it had exceeded its own orders target for last year by logging gross orders for 914 aircraft.
Singapore Airlines has completed a firm order for 25 more widebody aircraft from Airbus, comprising five A380 superjumbos and 20 A350-900s. The parties signed the firm order in December, some two months after Singapore announced its intention to enter into the contract.
Just a week after release of an airworthiness directive to address blockages in the angle-of-attack (AOA) systems installed on Airbus A330/340s, the European Aviation Safety Agency has included other models of the Airbus series in the procedural updates.
Airbus Corporate Jets launched its new Gala cabin concept for the ACJ330/340 widebodies today at MEBA 2012. The concept is applicable to A330s and A340s, which essentially have the identical cabins between doors two and three. In this cabin zone, Airbus proposes the installation of a VVIP fit encompassing a master bedroom, master office and conference area. Governments requiring head-of-state aircraft are seen as the main potential customers.
Qatar Airways underscored its endorsement of the largest variant of Airbus’s new A350 XWB last week by raising its firm order count for the A350-1000 to 37 from 20. The contract amendment also added three A350-900s to its previous order for 17, but it effectively scrapped Qatar’s firm order for 20 A350-800s.
Airbus Corporate Jets vice president Francois Chazelle said yesterday that the company had not decided if it would offer neo (new engine option) engines for the ACJ318 but would for the company’s other single-aisle offerings, beginning in 2018. ACJ customers will be able to choose between the CFM Leap-X and the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power 1100G engines. The first single-aisle Airbus commercial jet is scheduled to begin flying with neo in 2015 and Airbus has committed to investing $350 million annually in renewing its single aisle aircraft.
Ireland-based aircraft lessor Avolon is speaking out against what it characterizes as irresponsible speculation that the economic life of modern airliners has been significantly reduced by the dismantling (for parts) of a number of relatively young aircraft, such as the Airbus A318. In an October 2 webcast, Avolon CEO Domhnal Slattery and head of strategy Dick Forsberg presented the results of a study drawing on raw fleet data provided by consultancy Ascend, combined with its own 10-year projections.
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