Boeing’s slow-selling 747-8 hasn’t struggled to gain market penetration for a lack of effort on the part of the company’s sales team, or, as program head Eric Lindblad would attest, a lack of ongoing performance improvements or technological innovation. In fact, today’s 747-8 weighs some 9,000 pounds less than the first example Boeing placed into service in 2011 and 2,000 pounds less than airplanes it delivered around a year ago. With further work, the company expects the weight to eventually drop by more than 10,000 pounds.
Lord Corp. (Chalet A33) is here at the Farnborough show as it starts a major expansion push into Europe. At a pre-show briefing at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London the company unveiled a new “aerospace business growth strategy for Europe”–the main focus being the booming fixed-wing airliner sector, as Lord is already active in the helicopter industry in Europe, specializing in noise, vibration and motion-control technologies.
GKN Aerospace (Chalet G1) comes to Farnborough content in having achieved “a good set of results” in 2013 as it increased sales by 10 percent to £7.6 billion (around $10 billion). “It was a good year at GKN pretty much across the board–bar land systems,” said Kevin Cummings, CEO of GKN aerospace during a pre-airshow briefing.
Industrial bioscience company Amyris and energy giant Total have begun to market a so-called drop in jet fuel containing a 10-percent mix of renewable farnesane under a newly revised ASTM standard, the companies announced in June. Amyris and Total have worked closely on approval of the new fuel with Boeing, which, according to the airframer’s managing director of environmental strategy and integration, Julie Felgar, wants to see biofuel account for a 1-percent share of the total jet fuel supply within 10 years.
Even as aircraft engine makers continue their very focused efforts to reduce fuel consumption and emissions, the use of biofuel alternatives to jet-A is an increasingly important facet of the campaign to make air transport more environmentally sustainable. Plans for making biofuels a more mainstream option for operators now account for around half of all the objectives set by the Advisory Council for Aviation Research and Innovation in Europe (Acare).
The production system that promises to support a reduction in final assembly times for the Boeing 737 from 10 to 9 days this year should become still more efficient with the introduction of a new automated panel assembly line (PAL) by early 2015. Built by Mukilteo, Washington-based Electroimpact, the PAL fastens stringers to wing skin panels at twice the rate Boeing now can manage using the current process at the 737 plant in Renton, Washington.
The past few years have not been easy for Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation, the company’s product marketing director Noriyoshi Saito indicated yesterday here at the Farnborough International Airshow. The Japanese manufacturer is nevertheless proudly displaying a cabin mockup of its long delayed Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ).
Engine manufacturer CFM International announced yesterday here at Farnborough International 2014 that American Airlines has selected its Leap-1A turbofan engine to power 100 Airbus A320neos. At list price, CFM values the engine order at $2.6 billion. The aircraft order was originally announced in July 2011 and American will begin taking delivery of the aircraft in 2017.
Debuting its new 787-9 widebody here at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday, Boeing fired off an aggressive opening salvo against its rival Airbus. According to the U.S. airframer’s marketing vice president Randy Tinseth, if Airbus goes ahead with its anticipated launch of the re-engined A330neo this week it will prove that its A350 program is a failure.
Airbus A350-1000 manufacturing is under way, with Airbus reporting last month the laying up of the first carbon fiber elements, to be followed in the coming weeks by the first cutting of metal parts, according to program executive vice president Didier Evrard. Establishment of systems-installation design maturity is said to be “on plan,” while work continues on the variant’s structural design phase, which will permit the start of engineering drawing. Structural design maturity “incorporating all requirements” also was completed by mid-June.