Boeing made history a few weeks ago when it rolled out the first commercial airliner built outside of its manufacturing base in the Puget Sound region of Washington state: a 787 Dreamliner produced at its new final assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. For the U.S. airframer, it was a breakthrough after a changed approach to manufacturing that has been far from straightforward and uncontentious.
Airliner manufacturers aren’t mind readers, so it isn’t easy for them to work out what passengers will request beyond the current generation of cabin services. To find out with more certainty, Airbus has surveyed more than 10,000 people who could be passengers four decades from now to learn their preferences.
Airbus is producing a “final fix” to strengthen parts of the A380’s wing structure that have developed cracks on early examples of the very-large airliner. Aircraft now in production will be modified and the changes will be retrofitted to in-service aircraft. The cracks occurred on wing-rib feet that fasten skin panels to internal wing ribs.
The emergence of “new competitors in very powerful places around the world” has led Airbus to pursue new technologies as a way to differentiate itself, according to strategy and future-programs executive vice president Christian Scherer. For instance, despite the tough economic times, the European airframer is investing around $2.5 billion in environmental research-and-development work this year alone.
Embraer and Boeing signed an agreement here yesterday to collaborate on the integration of new weapons on the A-29 Super Tucano single-engine turboprop trainer.
Interjet, the Western launch customer for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100), has converted its five options into firm orders (nominally valued at $175 million), bringing its total acquisition to 20 of the basic 93-passenger model.
The 200th large-cabin, long-range Falcon 7X business jet has rolled off the production line at Dassault’s Bordeaux-Merignac production facility in southern France, the French aircraft manufacturer announced here at Farnborough. The aircraft is slated to enter final cabin completions this week, the French manufacturer announced here at the Farnborough International airshow.
Latvian carrier Air Baltic has signed a letter of intent for 10 Bombardier CSeries CS300 twinjets worth $764 million (at list prices), with purchase rights for 10 more. Deliveries are to start in the first quarter of 2015.
Air Baltic currently has eight Bombardier Q400s in its fleet, along with 10 Fokker 50s, 16 Boeing 737-300/500s and two Boeing 757s.
Abu Dhabi Autonomous System Investments (ADASI) signed a contract with Piaggio Aero today at the Farnborough Airshow for the Piaggio Aero MPA (multi-role patrol aircraft), a new special-missions surveillance aircraft based on the P.180 Avanti II. The agreement calls for aircraft launch customer ADASI to provide financing for Piaggio to build two prototypes. First flight is scheduled for 2014.