Airbus is still aiming at a first-half 2014 entry into service for the new A350XWB twin-aisle twinjet, with executive vice president and program head Didier Evrard conceding that the schedule is “tight, but feasible.” In late May, he said the immediate challenge was to complete the first airframe for ground testing and overseeing the supply chain.
Substantial order cancellations struck both Boeing and Airbus during the month of April, leaving the Boeing 787 in negative territory for the year and the A350 backlog significantly dented, according to data released last week by both manufacturers.
Boeing has expanded its supplier base into the Middle East by awarding a 10-year contract to Strata Manufacturing, the Al Ain-based subsidiary of Mubadala Aerospace in the United Arab Emirates. The deal, announced at the Global Aerospace Summit in Abu Dhabi on April 17, covers empennage ribs for the 777 twinjet and vertical fin ribs for the 787.
Regional airline service has been slow to take root in the Middle East, and especially at the entry-level turboprop end of the market. But now, a start-up operator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is preparing to launch a feeder service to the region’s aspiring hubs in Abu Dhabi and Doha, giving locals the chance to bypass crowded Dubai.
Based in Fujairah, UAE, Eastern Express plans to ferry business passengers into Abu Dhabi and Doha to connect with growing Gulf-based international passenger networks starting during this year’s first quarter.
As part of its planned expansion in Europe, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways intends to increase its ownership stake in Air Berlin to 29 percent, a move that would make it the largest single shareholder in Germany’s second largest airline.
The holiday season seemed to start early last week for Boeing, as it secured no fewer than three major firm orders, including the biggest in its history.
Abu Dhabi, UAE-based Al Bateen Executive Airport, the Gulf Region’s only dedicated private aviation airport, reported more than 150 business aircraft movements during the Etihad Airways Formula 1TM Grand Prix, which were held November 8 to 13. This represents an increase of 58 percent in movements compared with the same period for last year’s event.
Boeing and Airbus are in broad agreement over the impressive growth rate expected in the Middle East airliner fleet between now and 2030, according to new market forecasts released during the Dubai Air Show last week.
Maximus Air has signed an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance lease agreement with express package carrier DHL. The deal calls on Maximus to operate two newly converted Airbus A300-600RP2F freighters across Europe for DHL.
According to a recent report by Boeing, the Middle East will need more than 37,000 pilots to fly the aircraft due to be delivered there over the next 20 years. But the region faces a serious lack of adequate training facilities. “Pilot requirements for the Gulf region will grow at a faster rate than local pilots can be trained,” concluded Boeing in its latest pilot and technician forecast.