Zurich-based charter company Comlux took possession last month of an Airbus A318 Elite, making it the first to operate the type. The aircraft will be outfitted with a VIP cabin that seats up to 18 passengers by Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg, which is due to deliver the completed aircraft this quarter. The Elite is a 4,000-nm-range jet intended to compete with the Gulfstream G550 and Global Express.
Airbus A320 family
An Airbus Corporate Jetliner is about to get the chance to prove the value of its certification for flights into known icing conditions as it begins shuttle flights into Antarctica. The aircraft will be operated under a five-year lease from CIT Aerospace by Sydney, Australia-based Skytraders and will carry scientific personnel and supplies on behalf of the Australian Government Antarctic Division.
Goodyear Tire and Rubber grabbed some traction in the aviation tire business with a series of contracts signed just before this year’s show. Most recently, it chose its second aviation tire evaluation center, the 43 Air School in Port Alfred, South Africa. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, serves as Goodyear’s other evaluation center.
Following its success in securing contracts to supply wing and fuselage components for the Airbus A380 from its Emmen, Switzerland plant, Ruag Aerospace has achieved a further success in its aerospace construction. A new order from Airbus makes Ruag the sole supplier of Section 15 fuselage side panels for all aircraft in the A320 family.
Pratt & Whitney is now having to consider what it can contribute to a new powerplant to be developed by its Pratt & Whitney Canada subsidiary for the proposed Bombardier C Series of small jetliners. It also is seeking new launch customers for its PW6000 engine on the Airbus A318 and is continuing to invest in new-technology developments for possible future applications, according to P&W president Louis Chenevert.
Malaysian discount-fare airline AirAsia finally chose an engine type for the 60 Airbus A320s it ordered in two batches last December and in March. CFM International will supply its CFM56-5B as specified under a firm order signed here yesterday for 120 engines and nine spares valued at some $750 million at list price.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker and Lufthansa Technik CEO August Henningsen yesterday celebrated the signing of agreements whereby Lufthansa will provide engine maintenance and live TV installations for select aircraft operated by the Arabian flag carrier.
International Aero Engines (IAE) is talking with Airbus and Boeing about a prospective powerplant for a next-generation 150-seat airliner to follow on from the A320 and 737 families. “The timing is not clear, but our technology programs suggest that a new design must represent a step change from current engines,” said president Mark King. IAE comprises Japanese Aero Engines, MTU Aero Engines, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce.
AirAsia has taken a 19-percent stake in GE Engine Services’ engine-overhaul business in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and become the first customer for the engine company’s new OnPoint service package. Under a 23-year agreement signed here yesterday, GE will provide maintenance, repair and overhaul for 129 CFM56-5B engines that will power the airline’s Airbus A320-200 fleet.
Details of Irish carrier Ryanair’s latest contract with Boeing illustrate some of the negotiable areas within such agreements. Last month, the low-cost carrier completed its fourth 737-800 order in seven years under aggressive plans that predict fleet growth from 82 such aircraft to 225 by March 31, 2012. By then, Ryanair expects to carry 70 million passengers annually, compared with 34 million in the current year.