The FAA on Friday is expected to publish a widespread proposal that would require operators and manufacturers of airliner-size airplanes to incorporate technology to meet reduced levels of flammability exposure in fuel tanks (particularly center wing tanks) “most prone to explosion.” The rules would apply to new airframe designs, as well as some 3,200 U.S.-registered Airbus and Boeing airplanes with center wing tanks currently in operation.
As the Paris show opened, Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) announced a significant boost to the 747-400 freighter conversion program conducted by its subsidiary, Bedek Aviation Group. Rabobank of the Netherlands has become the first customer to choose Bedek for a full passenger-to-freighter conversion, with an order for two.
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.
The General Electric GEnx turbofan is one of the two new engine families under development for the 787, but will be the sole option for the new 747, in a 66,500-pound-thrust version which is designated GEnx-2B67. It has the same core but a different fan and fan case.
As Airbus prepared to parade the A380 in Dubai, Boeing finally launched the Advanced 747 as a serious competitor. At a hastily called low-key unveiling in London last Tuesday, Alan Mulally, the president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, announced orders for 18 B747-8 Freighters worth $5 billion from Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA). Orders for the new passenger version will follow next year, he confidently predicted.
Pratt & Whitney has signed the biggest airline spare parts management deal in its history, in a $1.6 billion contract with United Airlines. More than 60 percent of United’s engines now come under P&W care.
In the last financial year Emirates Airlines boosted its profits by 49 percent, to a record $637 million on $4.9 billion in revenues, which is up 36 percent year-over-year. Passenger numbers increased from 10.4 million to 12.5 million and the average load factor rose from 73.4 percent to 74.6 percent. Many European and Asian routes drew average loads of more than 90 percent.
Rolls-Royce has completed its first run of its Trent 1000, the engine competing with General Electric’s GEnx to power the Boeing 787.
No problems were encountered during the test, although the engine departs from tradition in being designed with a mechanical offtake for electrical power.
China’s red-hot air cargo export market is expected to cool somewhat this year, but domestic demand for new freighters is projected to take off. That was the consensus from last week’s Airfreight Asia conference, held in Shanghai. During the event, EADS-EFW and China Eastern Airlines signed a deal to convert three A300-600s to freighter configuration, with more to come.
Ameco Beijing–Air China and Lufthansa formed Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Corp. (Ameco Beijing) as a 60:40 joint venture in 1989. Its facilities at Beijing Capital International Airport include a four-bay hangar covering 334,000 sq ft, a 108,000-sq-ft paint hangar, 66,000 sq ft of component workshops and an engine repair and overhaul workshop and engine test cell covering another 280,000 sq ft.