Bombardier Business Aircraft has two aircraft on display at Abu Dhabi Air Expo, both flying the colors of owners from the Gulf region. One is a Challenger 605, managed by Sharjah’s Gulf Wings and being shown on behalf of an unidentified Kuwaiti owner.
As the Airbus A350-900 twin-aisle twinjet makes its first full international airshow display here in Singapore this week, industry observers will be keen to understand the manufacturer’s plans for the smaller A350-800, which has seen a steady erosion of orders as customers have upgraded to the baseline model. With average aircraft seat capacity moving inexorably to the right, Airbus executives are also mulling a possible double-stretched variant beyond the longer A350-1000.
A leading Mubadala Aerospace MRO network member, SR Technics’ drive to expand out into the world is bearing fruit. Now able to claim 40 customers, among them operators as prominent as Singapore Airlines, EasyJet, Qatar Airways and South African Airways, the company is set on bringing its integrated MRO business to all points of the compass.
Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker believes the only way to solve the growing ATC congestion problems in the Middle East is to develop a single air traffic management system similar to Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky concept. Qatar is among several countries in the region searching for a congestion solution to support regional airline expansion plans.
Keen to show his airline can operate as a profitable carrier amid assertions that it survives on the largesse of its government benefactors, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker offered revealing insights at last month’s Dubai Airshow into some of the internal machinations and brinkmanship that shape aircraft purchase negotiations. The colorful and sometimes controversial Al Baker played coy about his interest in the 777X while fully intending to engage Boeing in serious negotiations that eventually led to a blockbuster sale.
Christopher Emerson, senior vice president of Airbus and head of product strategy and market forecast said that the number of aviation mega-cities will more than double in the next 20 years. This will require as much configurability in aircraft as possible, particularly between major city pairs, and he said that Airbus’s widebody family–the A380, the A350XWB and the A330–are the ideal match for long-haul trunk routes, long-haul developing routes and regional routes, respectively. “For us, our family completely matches the market,” Emerson said. “There is no gap.”
A series of blockbuster orders placed yesterday underlined Dubai’s status as capital of the commercial aircraft megadeal, chief among them being an order for 150 Boeing 777X aircraft placed by Emirates (termed a “commitment”)–effectively launching the new larger variant of the popular long-range twinjet. Emirates’s 777X order, which consists of 115 -9Xs and 35 -8Xs, was not entirely unexpected as the carrier played a leading role in defining the aircraft, but yesterday marked the largest product launch in commercial airline history (by dollar value) for any OEM.
Students of human psychology need look no further than the fable of the tortoise and the hare to understand the situation today in the region’s leasing sector. In the waning years of the boom, a number of new entrants made valiant plays, but some appear to have had to pause to reconsider. Despite the aviation boom in the Middle East, few new major regional entrants into this esoteric business have come into existence and, of those that have, the 2008 bust clearly had a major negative impact.
Airbus faces several major steps in bringing the A350XWB, which flew in June before appearing at the Paris Air Show, into service in the second half of 2014, said executive vice-president and A350 program head Didier Evrard. The manufacturer is working hard to progress the five-aircraft flight-test campaign in order to deliver a mature design at entry into service (EIS).
Boeing sees the reliability of the 787 Dreamliner improving to originally targeted rates within six months, company vice president of sales for the Middle East Marty Bentrott told a gathering of reporters yesterday during a pre-show briefing here in Dubai. Responding to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker’s recent comments about his dissatisfaction with the reliability of the Boeing 787, Bentrott noted that the issues didn’t affect only Qatar, but that Boeing remains committed to resolving them as soon as possible.
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