By the end of 2005, and perhaps even by the end of the show, Airbus expects to have booked commitments toward firm orders for 200 examples of the A350. This follow-on from the successful A330 twin-aisle twinjet, was launched less than seven weeks ago, and just 10 months after shareholders EADS and BAE Systems gave formal authority for the sales force to offer the aircraft.
As Airbus prepared to parade the A380 in Dubai, Boeing finally launched the Advanced 747 as a serious competitor. At a hastily called low-key unveiling in London last Tuesday, Alan Mulally, the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, announced orders for 18 B747-8 Freighters worth $5 billion from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA). Orders for the new passenger version will follow next year, he confidently predicted.
Boeing presented a series of planned improvements to the design of the 787 Dreamliner during two days of program updates issued in Seattle last week to airlines, financial institutions and supplier partners. Now Boeing just has to find a way to shed a few thousand pounds from the design to turn its vision for even more range, payload capacity and cabin space into reality.
Goodrich Corp. has won a contract to supply wheels and brakes for Etihad Airways’ fleet of new Boeing 777-300ERs. Abu-Dhabi-based Etihad, which bills itself as the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, placed an order for five of the airplanes late last year. It plans to take the first airplane on January 6.
Not content to sit back and enjoy its Trent engines successes over the last two years, Rolls-Royce has kicked off its sales campaign to power the new Airbus A350 with optimistic forecasts despite launching the engine almost a year later than its competitor, General Electric.
Etihad Airways will take delivery of its first 777-300ER on January 6, almost three months later than originally planned. The Abu Dhabi-based airline placed an order for five of the airplanes last December, at which time Boeing promised to deliver the first this past October, followed by two each in November and December.
Boeing Business Jets is ready to offer a BBJ 3 based on the biggest and longest-range member of the new generation 737 family, the 737-900ER, and is about to convene the first 787 completion center conference to address requirements for VIP versions of the 787 Dreamliner.
International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has become the first named major lessor to order the Boeing 787 under an agreement covering twenty 787-8 and -9 aircraft (and options on a further four) valued at $2.7 billion at list prices. Deliveries are set to start in January 2010 and continue through the following year.
Now that Boeing has settled on a firm design configuration for its 787 Dreamliner, details that until recently looked sketchy have suddenly crystallized just as some of the Middle East’s largest airlines sharpen their focus on fleet additions. From the graceful contours of the cabin to the sleek shape of the airframe, the 787 certainly exudes innovation.
Spirit AeroSystems of Wichita, Kansas, and Infosys have agreed to jointly establish a new engineering center at the Infosys campus in Bangalore, India. According to Spirit (Stand A1000), the center will concentrate on high-end engineering services including product development, design and analysis of airframe structures, engineering change management and stress engineering support.