The first Airbus A330 future strategic tanker aircraft (FSTA) for the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) made its first flight after conversion on September 13. Three days later, the British legislature published a report that heavily criticized the $16 billion-plus procurement of the RAF’s new tankers via a private finance initiative (PFI).
First came the Middle East carriers on Monday, then yesterday it was the turn of Asian and Latin American airlines to keep the Farnborough airshow cash registers ringing with deals done covering roughly $6.5 billion in new business for Airbus.
Arab carrier Royal Jordanian Airlines and Avalon, a new aircraft-lease company, have been confirmed as the previously unidentified customers for three Boeing 787-8s and twelve 737-800s, respectively. Royal Jordanian’s order is valued at “approximately $500 million” and brings its 787 commitments to 11.
Launch customer Etihad Airways took delivery of the first Airbus A330-200F Freighter at a ceremony on Tuesday here at the Farnborough airshow. The aircraft, which can haul up to 70 metric tons of cargo, will enter service with Etihad’s cargo business, Etihad Crystal Cargo, in September. It is on display for the duration of the airshow, after which it will undertake final pre-delivery preparations by Airbus in Toulouse.
Virgin Picks Rockwell Digital for A330-300s
In the U.S. Air Force KC-X competition size matters, but not much else, according to a Boeing briefing here. The company refused to discuss how its NewGen Tanker could be “combat ready” when substantial development work must be done. Citing competitive reasons, Boeing gave no technical details on the new cockpit, the new refueling boom, or even which version of the 767 it was based on.
Jumbo-sized airliner orders came back into fashion on the first day of the 2010 Farnborough airshow as Boeing and Airbus led the charge to seal new deals. Other leading airframers, including Embraer, Sukhoi and Bombardier, followed suit in a wave of new business reported throughout today’s edition of Farnborough Airshow News.
Rolls-Royce Opens JSF LiftSystem Facility
The latest member of the Airbus A330 family is the Series 200F cargo variant, which was launched in early 2007 and is scheduled for mid-2010 entry into service with Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Crystal Cargo. The manufacturer had taken orders from 11 customers for 66 A330Fs by May this year, as it also continued to develop the established passenger variant.
Australia’s Qantas has reached a new agreement with Boeing to advance delivery of the first of eight 787-8s it has on order to mid-2012, some two years earlier than last planned. Qantas plans to use the airplanes to expand the international route network of its Jetstar low-fare subsidiary, which expects the airplanes to arrive in a two-class, 313-seat cabin configuration.