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.
Cathay Pacific Airlines has confirmed its plan to replace its aging Boeing 747-400 fleet with Airbus A350-1000s in a new $4.2 billion deal signed at the Farnborough International airshow yesterday. The Hong Kong-based carrier has placed new orders for 10 aircraft, and will convert 16 existing orders for the A350-900 into the larger variant.
General Electric said yesterday that component efficiency improvements on its CF6-80E1 engine would provide up to a 1-percent improvement in fuel efficiency for Airbus’s planned extended-range A330. The airframer announced plans for the new development with an increased maximum takeoff weight at the Farnborough International airshow on Monday. The U.S. engine manufacturer expects to deliver the enhanced engine for the first 240-metric-ton A330 in 2015.
Rolls-Royce is making further performance improvements to its Trent 700 engine, which powers the Airbus A330. Technologies from the Trent 1000, Trent XWB and BR725 engines are being incorporated into this latest Trent 700 variant, increasing efficiency by at least 1 percent.
Rolls-Royce unveiled a new, more efficient 787 engine variant yesterday at its main Farnborough press briefing. The Trent 1000-TEN (Thrust Efficiency New technology) leverages new technologies from the in-development XWB engine for the Airbus A350XWB. The more efficient Trent 1000-TEN will be rated for up to 78,000 pounds of thrust, enabling it to be used as a common powerplant for all Boeing 787 variants, namely the -8, -9 and, if it launched by the U.S. aircraft manufacturer, the -10X.
Arkia Israeli Airlines has signed a purchase agreement for four Airbus A321neos here at the Farnborough International airshow. A new Airbus customer, Arkia will use its aircraft in an all-economy class configuration, seating 220 passengers. Engine selection will be announced later, Airbus said.
Increased range and payload for the Airbus A330 twin-aisle twinjet, announced by the European manufacturer here at the Farnborough International airshow yesterday, will be welcomed by Malaysia Airlines (MAS), whose brand-new A380 very large airliner also opened the week’s flying-displays.
Sierra Nevada Corp. has selected Parker Aerospace Gas Turbine Fuel Systems division’s thermal-management equipment to cool and heat its autonomous landing system (HALS) on Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. Sierra Nevada has a contract to fulfill the degraded visual environments (DVE) operational-needs statement issued by the U.S. Army aviation-networks mission-planning program directorate.
By the beginning of June, the first 84,000-pound-thrust Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine had flown for more than 40 hours aboard the Airbus A380 flying testbed (FTB) as Airbus moves toward a first A350 flight “probably around mid-2013,” according to engine program director Chris Young. Trent XWB Serial Number 20990 had logged 43 hours and was scheduled to make two more flights before replacement by S/N21000, dubbed FTB2 (see box).
Ten Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines–serial numbers (S/Ns) 20990, 20001 through 20006, 20009 and 21000–are being used in the test program.
•By last month, some 43 hours’ testing had been accumulated during 14 of 16 scheduled flights with initial flight-test unit S/N 20990, which will subsequently be available to provide spare capacity. Rolls-Royce says the powerplant is its most highly instrumented flight-test engine ever.