Launch customer Qatar Airways released photos of the first Airbus A350-900 it expects to receive this year, freshly painted at the manufacturer’s assembly plant in Toulouse, France. The airline has ordered 80 of the new widebodies: 43 A350-900s and 37 -1000s.
Airbus is working hard to complete A350 flight testing, which it hopes to close by the end of next month in preparation for formal European Aviation Safety Agency airworthiness approval in September. Principal remaining work involves long-range flights now under way following a maximum-energy rejected take-off (MERTO) demonstration at Istres Air Force Base in France on July 19. By July 22, the five A350 test aircraft had logged more than 2,250 hours during about 540 flights involving more than 1,380 takeoff/landing cycles.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker officially endorsed the Boeing 777-9X yesterday here in Farnborough by converting the 50-airplane memorandum of understanding announced at the Dubai Air Show last year to a firm order. A separate agreement to take purchase rights for another fifty 777-9Xs could increase the value Qatar’s investment from $18.9 billion to $37.7 billion at list prices. Finally, Al Baker also announced his intention to order four 777 Freighters and place options on another four.
The 2014 edition of the Farnborough International Airshow has beaten its own record for aircraft and engine orders, with organizers announcing a $130 billion running tally after the first three of the five trade days. Factoring in all provisional orders, AIN’s own analysis puts the estimate at just above $155 billion.
Qatar Airways dominated commercial proceedings at the Farnborough International Airshow yesterday, signing contracts with Boeing for its 777Xs that could be worth up to $37.7 billion, plus another $2.4 billion deal for four 777 freighters.
It might seem only a year or two since Airbus launched the A380 and just months since the mighty, double-deck behemoth entered service, but the European manufacturer has delivered more than 130 since operations began, almost six years ago, in October 2007. The aircraft, which typically accommodate about 500 passengers (depending upon customers’ cabin configurations), have an average daily use of more than 13 hours, says Airbus. Of the 324 examples that had been ordered by late June, the backlog of 192 includes 20 booked this year.
Rolls-Royce is confident that other customers will take up the 70 Airbus A350-900XWB and -1000XWB production positions released when Emirates Airline canceled its order on June 1, and says demand remains strong for the new twin-aisle twinjet, which is powered exclusively by R-R Trent XWB engines. The loss reduced the manufacturer’s orderbook by £2.6 billion (excluding the value of “TotalCare” support contracts), or about 3.5 percent.
Airbus has begun airline crew training for its A350XWB customers about six months ahead of the new twin-aisle twinjet’s entry into service, scheduled for late this year, according to chief test pilot Peter Chandler, who flew the aircraft on its maiden flight in June 2013. He reports that the training syllabus has been developed and that the first A350 pilot course was under way last month, with access to a full flight simulator. Launch customer Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines have received demonstration flights.
The fifth and final Airbus A350-900 flight-test article took to the skies for the first time Friday, marking the start of the last phase of the 2,500-hour certification program. The second passenger cabin-equipped A350, MSN005 embodies the “operationally definitive” configuration for flight test duties, said Airbus. Plans call for it to perform route proving and ETOPS validation ahead of certification in the third quarter of this year and first delivery to launch customer Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter.
Airbus A350-900 flight test aircraft MSN3 has completed hot weather testing in Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates, Airbus announced Wednesday.
Sales of single-aisle airplanes completely filled the May order books for both Airbus and Boeing this year, increasing narrowbody backlogs for both companies despite feverish production activity. The European airframer added 70 aircraft to its order book in May through transactions with both airline customers and leasing companies for its A320 product line, while U.S. manufacturer drew orders for ninety-nine 737s, primarily from unidentified customers.
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