Accident investigators are eyeing the failure of an oxygen cylinder as the cause of an explosion that forced an emergency landing for a Qantas Boeing 747-400 flying from Hong Kong to Melbourne, Australia on July 24. Immediately after the explosion, the pilots took the widebody down to 10,000 feet, dumped approximately 50 tons of fuel and landed safely at Manila with no injuries to the 365 people on board.
Australian flag-carrier Qantas last month announced it would enlist its wholly owned regional subsidiary, QantasLink, for a large-scale expansion along the country’s eastern seaboard in response from stronger demand from regional points in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
The 2003 Paris Air Show, held June 15 to 22, opened against a backdrop of bitter transatlantic political disputes over France’s opposition to the U.S.-led Iraq War and the future of the Middle East. It ended with carriers from that region providing the whole aerospace industry with a welcome financial shot in the arm by placing multi-billion-dollar orders for new airliners.
In commercial service for nearly nine months now, the Airbus A380 has proven itself perfectly capable of doing what its developers intended it to do–fly lots of passengers comfortably and efficiently.
Universal Weather & Aviation opened a business aircraft handling operation at Sydney (Australia) Kingsford Smith International Airport on November 11. The facility is located in the offices of executive charter and aircraft management group ExecuJet Australia. Meanwhile, Sydney’s only other FBO, Qantas Executive, will close on December 31.
National Jet Systems opened a regional aircraft maintenance facility in Brisbane, Australia. The 62,000-sq-ft complex includes a 46,000-sq-ft hangar that will hold three airliners simultaneously. The company operates a fleet of BAE Systems 146s and Avro RJs on wet leases for flag carrier Qantas and as corporate shuttles for the Australian mining industry.
Boeing has acknowledged its embarrassment over the effect of delays on customers in the Asia Pacific region and despite a characteristic refusal by some executives here to discuss compensation payments, one manager freely offered a gesture of contrition.
A number of airliner sales campaigns could reach their conclusion with signatures here at the show. In fact, reports suggest the possibility of a healthy level of new business, whether in the form of genuine inked contracts, letters of intent or good old-fashioned “penciled-in” line slots. Airlines named by analysts and industry sources for possible order announcements include:
India’s fast-growing Kingfisher Airlines has selected Honeywell to provide 131-9A auxiliary power units for its Airbus A320s, as well as a program for their maintenance. The airline also selected Honeywell to provide the full suite of avionics for its A320, A330 and A340 aircraft.
Airbus continues to consider stretched, longer-range and cargo versions of its A380 very large airliner, but is no longer studying shortbody or combination passenger/cargo variants, according to Richard Carcaillet, head of A380 marketing.