The meteoric development of India’s airline industry continues unabated as Air India extends its nonstop network to all corners of the globe with Boeing’s longest-range airliner. On February 8, Air India placed its fourth 777-200LR on a new direct route between Delhi and New York JFK Airport, and expected the imminent arrival of airplane No. 5 as we approached the start of this year’s Singapore show.
Indonesia’s Lion Air and India’s SpiceJet have started operating some of the first 737-900ERs to roll off Boeing’s Renton, Washington assembly line. The Asian carriers could well serve as barometers of the type’s value within the low-fare markets expected to account for so much of the region’s airline growth. Early accounts suggest the new twinjet has met expectations and more.
Charter firm PrivatAir has converted one of its two options into an order for a $162 million VIP Boeing 787-8. As a result of this conversion, PrivatAir now has two executive 787s on firm order and holds an option on one more. The charter company said the VIP 787s will help it meet increasing customer demand for long-range, large-cabin business jets.
The Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) bid submitted by Sukhoi, Ilyushin, Yakovlev and Boeing has won the Russian state tender for development of a new 70- to 80-seat regional jet. Russia’s Rosaviacosmos state agency initiated the tender last summer. The winner will get state funding to cover some research and development, provided the rest comes from commercial sources.
Boeing has been inundated by requests from business jet operators for information about its Connexion broadband satellite communications system since the widely publicized trial launch of the service in January aboard a Lufthansa 747-400.
Officials for Jeppesen report that the company has identified and corrected many of the irregularities in its NavData boundary data, but at press time about 350 of the more than 20,000 boundaries included in the latest update of the database, effective March 20, had not yet been fixed. The error arose from problems with a software upgrade when data was pulled from a database containing airspace boundaries worldwide for the March update.
Despite the worldwide economic slump and the threat of war in Iraq, the fourth annual Aircraft Interiors Expo 2003 opened its doors at Germany’s Hamburg Messe conference center in late February, and organizers and exhibitors alike appeared pleasantly surprised at the industry response to this largest expo to date.
Boeing confirmed today that it will delay first flight of the 787 Dreamliner once again, from the end of the first quarter to around the end of the second quarter, due to what 787 program boss Pat Shanahan described as inaccurate assessments of the time needed to complete so-called traveled work in Everett, Wash.
EADS-Airbus said it would produce the A330-200 freighter on the same production line in Mobile, Ala., as the KC-30 tanker, if the U.S. Air Force selects that aircraft for its KC-X requirement. Northrop Grumman is bidding the KC-30 against the Boeing 767 tanker, and the Pentagon is due to announce its long-awaited choice at the end of this month.
Boeing’s new Connexion satellite Internet service last month began operating in revenue passenger service aboard a Lufthansa Boeing 747-400 flying daily between Frankfurt, Germany, and Washington Dulles International Airport. The good news for passengers is that Lufthansa is offering the service free of charge for the duration of this initial three-month trial.