The Air France KLM Board of Directors approved the group’s planned firm order for 50 long-haul aircraft, consisting of 25 A350 XWBs and 25 Boeing 787s. Plans call for the contracts, still subject to the conclusion of negotiations with the manufacturers, to include options on another 35 of the Airbus models and 25 Boeings.
The team behind ambitious plans to operate Airbus A380s as flying cruiseliners has delayed the program’s launch while it considers the effect of political upheaval in the Middle East on demand for the service. It is also still trying to select an operator for the service and has indicated that it might also order the new A350-1000 XWB long-range airliner.
Airbus has delivered the first center wing box for the A350XWB from its site in Nantes, France to St. Nazaire, France, where engineers will attach it to the first A350XWB fuselage. Forty percent of the wing box, which measures some 21 feet by 18 feet and stands nearly 13 feet tall, is made from plastics reinforced with carbon fiber.
If start-ups are indicators of a healthy completion and refurbishment industry, there is cause for optimism in an industry that has been hard hit over the last several years. Recent months saw the creation of new centers, designers, vendors and consultancies as well as expansion by existing MRO facilities to include cabin outfitting.
The French company chosen to provide radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags for the first major application on “flyable” aircraft components–the Airbus A350 XWB–has established a branch in Boston to support U.S.-based A350 suppliers in tagging their parts.
The 2011 Paris Air Show currently under way has smiled on many manufacturers but on none so benevolently as Airbus, which set a record for the number of new airplane orders announced at any airshow ever: 730 aircraft from 16 customers worth $72.2 billion. The commitments comprise firm purchase orders for 418 aircraft worth $44 billion and MOUs for another 312 aircraft worth $28.2 billion.
Airbus is cooperating with Parker Aerospace (Hall 5 D203) to explore ways to improve the efficiency of fuel cells for aviation applications such as on-board power generation. The objective is to develop a technology demonstrator, which will be followed by a flight-test campaign around the middle of the decade.
Rolls-Royce has revealed how it will increase the thrust of the baseline engine it is developing for the Airbus A350 by 13,000lbs 000 pounds to meet the take-off and climb requirements of the heavier, longer-range A350-1000.
The new Trent XWB version will produce 97,000 pounds lb at take-off, making it the most powerful production engine R-R has ever built, – and that Airbus has ever used.
One of the big changes when Airbus unveiled its market-driven XWB revamp of the A350 back in May 2007 was the new structural concept: a fuselage constructed of 12 panels of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) mounted on frames of aluminum-lithium alloy.
Airbus has revealed that first deliveries of its A350XWB-800 and A350XWB-1000 will be delayed by two years–to mid-2016 and mid-2017, respectively. At a briefing in Paris on Saturday, it claimed the delay of the -1000 would allow it to boost the payload-range performance to better match the Boeing 777-300ER, which is something its customers have been asking for.