Category Archives: Aircraft
Okay, we all know about the US sanctions on doing business in Iran. The US Government made a rule that stated that no airplanes could be sold to Iran or an Iranian company if that aircraft contains any parts made in the US. Well that is basically all commercial aircraft except Russian aircraft. When Iranian aircraft buyers want Airbus or Boeing products they have to get more creative to get around US sanctions. Well not that creative I guess, the airlines use straw buyers.
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Sources within Airbus are reporting that their newest plane, the A350 is ready for its first flight. After having successfully completed engine tests yesterday, sources say that the first flight should take place this Friday. Subject to weather the flight should take place around 1000 Friday morning.
The A350 is Airbus’ answer to Boeing’s 787 and 777. Airbus expects to start delivery of the A350 next year.
- Airbus Starts the A350 Line
- Airbus Removes Lithium-ion Batteries From the A350
- Look at Those Winglets
Philippine Air loaded the seat map for their new A330 configuration. The all economy configuration seats 414 passengers in a 3-3-3 configuration and slated to be used on Hajji flights. Wait what 3-3-3?!?!?!. Ok that doesn’t sound as bad as it actually is. Most carriers have their A330’s in 8-abreast seating in a 2-4-2 configuration, which this average blogger finds reasonably comfortable. Now, until recently the 777 has 9-abreast seating in a 3-3-3 configuration. Of course cabin width on a 777 is 19ft 3in (5.86m) and the A330 has cabin width of 17ft 3in (5.28m). Using some rough maths this means that each seat on Philippine Air’s new A330 is about 8% narrower than the 777 coach seat. On an hour long flight that’s not going to make much of a difference, on a flight to Saudi Arabia I imagine this will make a huge difference.
Either way count me out.
h/t Airline Route Blog
Allegiant Airlines today started service with their new acquired A319s. Allegiant is set to take delivery of 7 A319s from EasyJet and 9 A320’s from Iberia.
American finalized a sale and lease-back deal with ILFC for 15 737-800’s delivery to start in May and one 777-300er with delivery this month.
Currently, I am going over the webcasts from the J.P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation, and Defense Conference. Speakers are from JetBlue, Southwest, Boeing, United, Delta, US Airways, and Alaska Airways.
What you haven’t heard of the MA700? Chinese aircraft manufacturer Avic Aviation today approved the MA700 for production starting next year with first flight sometime in 2016. The MA700 is a 70-80 seat turboprop regional commercial airliner designed to compete with the Q400 and ATR-72. Currently this aircraft like other Chinese commercial aircraft has seen limited orders from outside of China. Like the COMAC C919 regional jet and Yun-20 cargo plane unless the Chinese can market the airliner outside of their state owned leasing companies it will not be commercially successful on the world market. Now I have read some reports claiming that the MA700 will be 20% more efficient than existing turboprops. This is a I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it sort of claim, though if true the MA700 will be very marketable to European and American carriers.
China is new to the commercial aviation market. However, the major benefit planned economies have over free-market economies is that the government can keep dumping money into development until results are achieved . While current Chinese offerings are inefficient compared to their western counterparts, that gap will narrow as Avic and COMAC become more experienced in the science and art of commercial aircraft development.
The link to the production storyis in Spanish
Interjet Airlines yesterday finalized a deal to replace its domestic fleet with 100 Sukhoi SSJ-100s. The SSJ-100 is a Russian regional developed through a joint venture between Russian manufacturer Sukhoi and Boeing. This order represents the first time as far as I know of a Russian aircraft manufacturer delivering outside of former Eastern Bloc countries including Cuba. This is big for the Russian commercial aviation industry which hasn’t really ever seen true commercial success.
The SSJ-100 competes against the Embraer ERJ-195 and Canadair CRJ-1000, both very popular regional aircraft. Obviously Interjet sees something in the SSJ-100 that other airlines do not. If I had to guess that would probably be price. Airbus cut sweetheart deals with Northwest and America West to get the A320 into service in the United States, no doubt Sukhoi badly wants to carve out market share for its aircraft as well. Time will tell if the 100 SSJ-100’s will get Sukhoi the exposure it needs to develop markets outside of Russia.
Airbus has moved their first flying A350 into ground testing. Airbus is still a ways off from first flight and flight testing, easily shown by the lack of engines on the Airbus provided pictures. Looking at the pictures the thing that amazes me are those winglets. They look amazing.
Photos courtesy of Airbus and FlightGlobal
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Aviation Week, is reporting that Lufthansa is looking at acquire 6 777-300’s for subsidiary Swiss Air.
While the order if it happens would be small, six air frames, it would mark a shift from Airbus to Boeing. Currently the Lufthansa Group operates only 4 772ERS and they were acquired in a merger. Lufthansa has shown little interest in Boeing planes outside of a token order of 15 Boeing 747-8is. Between Swiss, Lufthansa, Austrian, and Brussels (all part of the the Lufthansa group) the current fleet plan after retirements is 42 Boeing aircraft, 19 747-400’s 15 747-8is, 4 767’s and 4 772ers. This number is really smaller at the 15 748’s will be replacing the 744s, so it is closer to 25 Boeing frames compared with a current fleet of around 480 frames. So less than 10% of the Lufthansa group’s fleet is made by Boeing.
Aviation week cites available slots as the reason for the Boeing order. That’s believable as the the A350, the closest Airbus equivalent to the 773 will not be online for several years. These 773s will replace Swiss’ A340 fleet. The A340-300 that Swiss currently operates has largely been replaced by the A330-300, basically a twin engine variant of the A340-300. The cost of moving to two engines resulted in shorter range. So, while Swiss was able to replace their Trans-Atlantic fleet with the A330s, they were not able to do so on their Asia flights. The quest for greater efficiency and lower operating costs has led Lufthansa to at least contemplate ordering 777-300s.
One added benefit for Lufthansa would be preferential pricing from Boeing. Boeing would love to book another order from a long time Airbus customer. Also Lufthansa might be able to leverage future Airbus orders.
I need to amend the list of carriers that are going to a 3-4-3 configuration. Aeroflot is starting service with the 777-300ER and it will be in a 3-4-3 coach configuration. In addition they have a 2-4-2 premium economy section that looks interesting and their 2-2-2 business configurations is a carbon copy of United’s (formerly Continental’s) 2-class business seat. Here is a video if you are interested.
Airbus announced today that they were removing lithium-ion batteries from the A350. This is in direct response to the problems Boeing has been having with the 787 for the past couple of months. Recently LOT canceled its 787 schedule through October suggesting that the plane will be out of service for sometime. All other carriers seems to canceling service on a monthly basis with most flights canceled through the end of March. The A350 is Airbus’ composite aircraft and is set for its first flight in Q4 2012.