The apparent delay in the launch of the Airbus A350 has raised the intrigue over the escalating subsidy row between Boeing and Airbus. A curt EADS statement released last Wednesday said it would not reach a decision on the A350 until September, scuttling speculation that Airbus would announce a launch here today with officials from Dubai’s Emirates.
The mammoth A380 made a triumphal arrival on the Paris Air Show’s center stage here yesterday morning. Airbus’ long-awaited double-decker airliner drew exhibitor set-up staff from the halls and chalets to marvel as it gracefully (and almost silently) appeared on the Le Bourget horizon.
The Doncasters Group, headquartered in Melbourne, UK, recently signed its largest single contract in its 226-year history to produce turbo-machinery for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner auxiliary power unit (AP5000). The alliance with Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems of San Diego, California, has potential revenues of $300 million for Doncasters, which employs some 4,300 people at more than 20 sites in Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.
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.
Korean Air has ordered $300 million worth of GP7200s from the Engine Alliance to power its Airbus A380s. The carrier has ordered 23 engines for the five A380s it has on firm order and will take another 13, worth a further $170 million, if it exercises its options for three more.
Everything is going very well with the Rolls-Royce Trent 900, which has logged more than 400 engine hours aboard the Airbus A380 since the very large airliner’s April 27 first flight, according to managing director (airline) Charles Cuddington. With almost 20 flights completed by the beginning of June, initial engine performance is said to be “better than spec,” reflecting earlier experience on the A340 flying testbed.
Orders for as many as 250 new General Electric (GE) GEnx engines are expected here at the Paris Air Show this week as the Boeing 787 program gathers pace after last year’s hesitant start. Announcements will come as Boeing prepares for the launch of the stretched 747 Advanced (for which it predicts a market for up to 300), and Airbus launches its A350 variant of the A330–both programs representing applications of the new engine.
“We want the subsidy issue to go away. It’s not beneficial to either side,” said Eric Hinson, Honeywell Aerospace’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Hinson’s view on the increasingly bitter feud between Europe and America over government support for airliner programs appears to have nothing to do with politics. It’s pure business.
Airbus believes it is close to correcting a fuel management software glitch that contributed to a Virgin Atlantic Airways A340-600 diversion earlier this year. In related work, Airbus also has begun a fleet-wide retrofit program that should eliminate false fuel system fault messages.
Here at this week’s Paris show, Airbus is introducing the A350, a larger variant of the A330 being presented at a global show for the first time. The latest model follows a disappointing period in orders for Airbus twin-aisle twinjets. During last year and up until early this May, Airbus took orders for just 28 A330-200s (19 percent of the market) against a combined 121 for the Boeing 767 and its replacement, the 787.