After little more than 18 months’ service, the Airbus A380 very large airliner is delivering on the manufacturer’s commitments, including lowest fuel burn and operating cost and increased revenues and operators’ market share. “The A3XX [as the program was originally identified] promised a lot and the A380 delivers,” said product marketing director Richard Carcaillet.
European jetliner manufacturer Airbus has acknowledged operators’ “teething troubles,” but it characterizes the A380’s entry into service as “very successful.” The comments follow technical incidents involving 13 aircraft flying with Emirates Airline, Qantas and Singapore Airlines, as well as reported dissatisfaction at Emirates, the A380’s largest customer.
The first Air France Airbus A380 powered with Engine Alliance GP7200 engines successfully completed a four-hour inaugural test flight from Airbus’s Toulouse, France manufacturing site last Thursday, the company announced today. On Monday, the aircraft flew to Airbus’s Hamburg, Germany facilities for paint and interior completions work. Airbus has scheduled the A380 for delivery to Air France in October.
It took all the resources it could reasonably muster, but Airbus managed to reach its target of delivering 12 A380 aircraft last year when on December 30 it handed over to Emirates Airline that carrier’s fourth superjumbo.
Al Jaber Aviation’s $1.2 billion order for 21 new aircraft placed during November’s MEBA show in Dubai confirmed the business aviation industry’s hopes that rising demand in the Middle East will compensate for slowing sales in western markets that are more directly affected by the ongoing financial crisis.
MAZ Aviation in the United Arab Emirates has selected Gore Design Completions of San Antonio to refurbish the executive interior of an A340-200 for a Middle East customer.
Bell 212, Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, Sept. 3, 2008–All seven people aboard the Aerogulf Services Bell 212 were killed when the helicopter hit a crane while taking off from an oil rig in the Persian Gulf. The helicopter had flown cargo from Dubai. After unloading the cargo, it lifted off the helipad, hovered and moved backward into the crane.
The scale and impact of the MEBA 2008 show must have removed any remaining doubts that today the Middle East is business aviation’s hottest marketplace.
Al Jaber Aviation (Stand No. 415) yesterday unveiled details of its entry into the VIP and corporate aviation market and announced a $1.2 billion investment for the acquisition of no fewer than 21 aircraft. The first of its mixed fleet of large-cabin aircraft will enter service in February 2009 and will be based at the AJA initial base at City Airport Abu Dhabi (the former Al Bateen military air base).
MEBA organizers have declared themselves astonished by the impressive growth of the Middle East’s new biennial business aviation show. With 250 exhibitors from 29 countries along with 78 aircraft having converged here at Airport Expo Dubai this week, the 2008 edition will be 175 percent larger than the first show in January 2007.