With 36 A380 aircraft in the fleet as of late September and a further 104 now on order, the aviation community is trying to calculate what will happen to Emirates’ superjumbo fleet when the time comes to retire the type, at around halfway through its lifetime. Some analysts believe that, given a lifespan of 25 years, a proxy for the useful life of a modern widebody aircraft, the A380 will face problems in the secondary market when major leases come to an end after the standard 12-year term.
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.
The rulers in the Arabian Gulf region strive for bigger and better in practically every pursuit they undertake, and that includes air transport. So when Boeing drew its plans for its proposed new 777X, its considerations no doubt included the needs of those in the Middle East, who are some of the biggest customers for the current 777.
The dynamism of today’s airliner leasing business was illustrated earlier this year by the creation by German investment company Doric GmbH of a separate entity, Doric Lease Corp. (DLC), to manage the assets.
Airbus has “done really well with [A350-900] flight test [and] in the first phase has gathered a lot [of information],” according to executive vice-president and program head Didier Evrard. By the beginning of November, the first two A350-900 twin-aisle twinjets had logged more than 100 flights and over 500 hours of testing.
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).
British engine-maker Rolls-Royce has begun manufacturing parts for the 84,000-pound thrust Trent XWB-84s that will power the first Airbus A350-900 for launch customer Qatar Airways, and is on track for the powerplant’s entry into service (EIS) in the third-quarter of 2014.
Airbus is promoting its ACJ330 and ACJ340 Gala concept at the Dubai Airshow, hoping to add to its list of several potential clients. The Gala concept was conceived as a means to offer a lower-cost alternative to a full VIP configuration for Airbus widebody airliners. The design places airliner-type seating fore and aft of a VIP section between doors two and three. Airbus designed the Gala product primarily for head-of-state clients who travel with large contingents of support staff and advisors.
Rolls-Royce’s strategy of feeding technological developments from new programs back to established engines for upgrades or retrofit changes is creating a range of enhanced-performance (EP) packages being available to customers.