A huge commitment for Airbus A350s and Boeing 777s by Qatar Airways took top billing yesterday here in Paris. The Qatar announcement involved a total of 60 A350-800s and -900s along with a mix of 20 Boeing 777-300ERs, -200LRs and -200F freighters.
For many of the world’s airlines, the long and tiresome road to recovery has taken them through dips and valleys, hairpin bends and in some cases complete U-turns. Today, after seemingly negotiating much of the most difficult terrain, European airlines have caught a glimpse of the promised land over the horizon. So why, you ask, have the biggest airlines in the U.S.
Air systems specialist Liebherr Aerospace Toulouse (Hall 2B Stand I6) is betting on regional jet production growth. The company counts both established and emerging regional jet players among its customers for products ranging from engine bleed air to integrated air management systems. Nevertheless, Airbus remains one of Liebherr’s major customers and the company has taken part in a recent joint equipment support initiative.
Honeywell is warning lawmakers in Washington to stop stalling over plans for air traffic management (ATM) funding. By contrast, he said that their European counterparts have more quickly confronted the problem.
By the end of 2005, and perhaps even by the end of the show, Airbus expects to have booked commitments toward firm orders for 200 examples of the A350. This follow-on from the successful A330 twin-aisle twinjet, was launched less than seven weeks ago, and just 10 months after shareholders EADS and BAE Systems gave formal authority for the sales force to offer the aircraft.
Doha’s Qatar Airways is planning daily nonstop flights to Hong Kong beginning in March, using Airbus A330-200s that later will be replaced with A330-300s. It also wants to add Melbourne, Australia, to its route network in 2006 or 2007.
Swiss-based independent maintenance organization SR Technics and Okay Airways, China’s first privately owned airline, have agreed to form a maintenance joint venture in Tianjin, China. The new facility will provide aircraft services, fleet technical management and component support for Boeing and Airbus aircraft operated by both existing airlines and new start-ups.
India’s air transport boom could continue at a phenomenal growth rate of 20 to 25 percent for the next three or four years, according to Boeing’s top salesman for the country. Dr. Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president sales with Boeing Commercial Airplane, has also predicted that India’s established incumbent carriers, such as Air India and Jet Airways, will provide the main impetus for the continued growth, rather than the new challengers.
On one thing Boeing and Airbus agree: the Asia/Pacific region will generate enough demand for their products to keep them busy building lots of airplanes over the next two decades. Both companies say they expect to see the vast area spanning from northeast Asia to New Zealand and across to India account for nearly as many aircraft deliveries as North America or Europe, and both expect China to lead the way.
SR Technics (Stand A726) is moving to establish a presence on the Chinese mainland. In recent months the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Okay Airways to form a maintenance joint venture at Tianjin, concluded a joint venture agreement with the Shanghai Foreign Aviation Service Corp. (Shanghai FASCO) and established an Asia/Pacific advisory board (APAB).