Boeing has released half of the defined design for the 777F cargo aircraft to its factories and suppliers to begin manufacture of tools, parts and assemblies. The large twin-engine freighter is said to be on track to meet Boeing’s performance commitments. Launch customer Air France, which ordered the aircraft in May 2005, expects to receive the first of five examples in the last three months of next year.
Delivery of the 561st Airbus A300 next month marks completion of the European manufacturer’s long march to becoming a successful competitor to its U.S. rival, Boeing, in the commercial aircraft market. It has developed, certified, marketed and completed profitable production of its initial design and embarked on a successor project.
Three years after they merged, Air France and KLM say the combination has paid off. At a press conference to announce the 2006-07 result here in Paris last month, chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta reported strong increases in revenue and income. The joint French/ Dutch operation is profitable, and the share price has risen 70 percent this year. “By every standard, it’s been successful,” added vice chairman Leo Van Wijk.
A Fokker 100 flown by Air France subsidiary Régional Compagnie Aérienne Européenne crashed immediately after takeoff on January 25 in Pau, southwest France. All four crewmembers and 50 passengers in the 100-seat jet evacuated safely, but one person on the ground was killed. The accident occurred at 11:28 a.m. local time, as the aircraft was departing for Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
For those in the U.S. who fail to appreciate fully how the rest of the world has suffered from the effects of 9/11, consider this: since that infamous day no fewer than 18 air transport operators have disappeared in France alone. So how can a small airline born during this volatile period survive? Twin Jet, based in Aix-en-Provence, France, thinks it has found the answer.
Air France Industries (AFI) and Lufthansa Technik (LHT) are joining forces in Airbus A380 component support, the two companies announced at Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) Airport on Friday. The two arch rivals in the European maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) market have created a joint venture called Spairliners. They are targeting a 30-percent market share within three years.
Marco Cavazzoni says to mark his words: “We’ll deliver the first 747-400 Special Freighter on December 13. Cathay Pacific Airways will put it into revenue service within a couple of days.” Cavazzoni, who leads the 747 passenger-to-freighter conversion program for Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, added, “We’re told that such a firm date is unusual…customers will keep that date in their pocket.”
Last month Air France Industries opened an €84 million ($103 million) maintenance facility adjacent to Paris Orly Airport with a new work organization system to cater to the constant increase in third-party customers. While inaugurating the 441,000-sq-ft site, Air France chairman Jean-Cyril Spinetta outlined AFI’s bold aim to improve performance by halving turnaround time and cutting production costs by 15 percent.
An optimistic Louis Le Portz flashed a broad smile as he contemplated the opening of this week’s Le Bourget salon just a few weeks prior to the event. He knows that his first stab as commissaire général, or commissioner, of the biennial Paris Air Show marks a recovery from four gloomy years of aerospace industry decline and a return to something resembling the conditions exhibitors enjoyed prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Boeing last month launched the much-anticipated 777 Freighter with five firm orders from Air France. Based on the 777-200LR, the 777 Freighter will fly as far as 4,965 mn with a full 229,000-pound payload, making it the world’s longest range cargo hauler.