All jetliners might look alike to anyone who thinks that an airplane is an airplane is an airplane. And, yes, to the casual observer there is great similarity between Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s, and much in common between A330s and 777s. Even the mighty new A380, with its low, swept wings and four underslung engines, follows established trends apart from a full-length upper deck–and that also has been tried before.
Abu Dhabi government investment vehicle Mubadala Development Co. (Stand W300) has enlisted the aid of some of aerospace’s biggest names in pursuit of the United Arab Emirates’ aim to become a producer and investor in the industry as well as a major customer. The company says its entry into aerospace will be “organized in carefully planned stages and is likely to involve significant investment in the first few years.”
Lufthansa Technik expects to complete construction of a $71.26 million 161,000-sq-ft production facility at its Hamburg location in early 2009.
As part of its unveiling of the 787, Boeing coordinated a 7-series family photo. Right to left: Omega Air 707, AirTran 717, FedEx 727, Alaska 737-800, Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 testbed 747, Continental 757, Delta 767 and Air France 777-300ER. In the background at left is a 747-400 Dreamlifter, used for bringing in 787 subassemblies, and Seattle’s The Museum of Flight’s 747 prototype and Concorde can be seen to the right.
Extra Aircraft’s six-seat Extra 500 turboprop single received European Aviation Safety Agency certification last month. According to company officials, production of the Rolls-Royce 250-B17F/2-powered composite airplane is ready to begin at the company’s facility in Hunxe, Germany, as soon as the pending FAA approval is obtained. The first production aircraft is expected to be finished in December.
This week’s spate of large-airliner orders, many confirming previous announcements, continued on Wednesday as Airbus and Boeing unveiled further business. More new deals could be revealed today. For example, International Lease Finance Corp. is talking to Airbus about its unresolved requirement for about 16 A350 XWB aircraft.
The GE Aviation /Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance, which builds the GP7200 powering the Airbus A380 flying at the show, is ready to offer a powerplant solution for the A350XWB, if Airbus and GE fail to reach agreement.
An International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) order for 50 Boeing 787s, plus conversion of two previously unannounced options (booked earlier this year along with a 777-300ER, for which ILFC was the launch customer) has brought total announced orders for the new twin-aisle twinjet to 634 from 45 customers since its launch in April 2004.
Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois declared yesterday that the European consortium “is back, fully back,” from an odyssey through one of the most trying two years in its history. Any such pronouncement made a day early would no doubt have elicited a hearty belly laugh or two within the Boeing chalet.
Airbus looked intent on making up for two years of persistent hits to its credibility virtually all at once yesterday with a nearly uninterrupted string of sales, order “commitments” and MoU announcements, led by firm orders for 80 A350 XWBs from Qatar Airways and 60 A320s from GE Commercial Aviation Service.