Emirates boss calls for more fuel-efficient A380

Emirates boss calls for more fuel-efficient A380

The boss of Emirates has called on Airbus to supply a revamped version of the A380 superjumbo with more fuel-efficient engines by 2020.

The airline’s president Tim Clark (pictured) told the Financial Times that the fast-growing Gulf carrier, which has ordered 140 A380s, could be willing to buy an additional 60 to 80 superjumbos.

But he is pushing the European manufacturer to begin preparatory work to make sure it is ready by 2020 to supply an improved version featuring new Rolls-Royce engines.

Airbus has so far refused to commit to a new engine option of the A380, saying only that it will study the case for such an aircraft entering service sometime in the 2020s.

Clark said an A380neo would boost the aircraft’s sales because more fuel-efficient engines and other modifications could reduce the aircraft’s operating costs by between 8% and 10%.

“We have made it crystal clear to [Airbus] in the event of the [A380] neo being launched we would buy it,” Clark said.

He urged Airbus to finalise details for a revamped A380 and then approach other airlines to gauge their interest.

Clark said Dubai-based Emirates’ fleet of A380s could grow from 50 today to as many as 180 because he expects the airline to move to a new, bigger airport sometime after 2020.

The current A380, the world’s largest passenger aircraft, can carry more than 500 people and has a catalogue price of $414 million.

Fabrice Brégier, chief executive of Airbus’ passenger jet business, said this month there was “no urgency” to put new engines on the A380, saying his focus was on increasing sales of the existing superjumbo.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Billion pound funding package spurs hopes of cash boost for Welsh defence sector

Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns is hopeful new cash will come to St Athan

A cash investment of more than £1bn in the UK’s defence capability has spurred hopes that the Welsh economy and defence sector will also receive a boost.

David Cameron yesterday used a visit to Farnborough International Airshow to announce funding worth £1.1bn, including £800m in an “intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance package” intended to extend the reach of the UK’s special forces.

Vale of Glamorgan Conservative MP Alun Cairns was confident this would result in investment coming to St Athan. Last year it was announced St Athan would become the new base of the Royal Signals.

Mr Cairns said: “It’s clear that we’re starting to reap the rewards of the difficult decisions that have been taken and additional investment in the MoD is welcome, particularly when it has a direct impact on the operations in Wales and specifically at St Athan. The special forces are set to receive an additional investment which, most importantly, is needed for the UK’s defence but hopefully it will be a significant injection in cash into the Vale of Glamorgan.

“This will be of benefit not only to the local economy but a significant boost to South Wales.”

The funding package is also widely expected to involve investment in drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Aberporth’s West Wales UAV Centre is a major centre for the development of the technology, but it is not yet known if it will benefit as a result of the new funding.

There will also be funding for next generation radars for Typhoon combat jets.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Defence is a key sector for the Welsh economy with an estimated 6,500 employees including major companies such as QinetiQ, General Dynamics, Airbus Defence, Raytheon and BAE Systems. We therefore have a comprehensive strategy and dedicated team in place to maximise the economic benefits from the industry.

“We welcome the fact that over 70% of the announced funding is allocated to developing the UK’s ISTAR capability as Wales has key strengths and unique test and evaluation facilities in the field of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and associated technologies which are increasingly deployed in ISTAR related programmes.”

Mr Cameron said the funding was “to help keep our country safe and stop terrorism at source”.

He said defence nowadays was “not about battle tanks in central Europe” but about “modern threats”. The money had become available, he said, because the coalition government was able to “close the black hole in the defence budget that it had inherited”.

He added: “There are threats that you cannot defend against from the White Cliffs of Dover.”

The PM boarded an Airbus A350 aircraft that will come into service with Qatar Airways. British Airways’ parent company announced it was converting 20 Airbus A320 options into a firm order.

In the Commons, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond told MPs Britain will not set the agenda for the forthcoming Nato summit but would “pick up the bill”.

Labour MP Gisela Stuart urged Mr Hammond to reconsider his views on making the minimum 2% of GDP spending on defence a statutory requirement as he “finalised” the agenda for the summit, taking place at the Celtic Manor Resort on September 4 and 5.

Mr Hammond quipped: “It is not for the UK to set the agenda for the Nato summit – that is for Nato as an organisation. We merely host it and pick up the bill for doing so.”

The Defence Secretary added: “There is a discussion ongoing among the European Nato partner nations about how we respond to the perfectly fair challenge that the United States has set us by asking the question: why should US taxpayers be prepared to pay for a defence of Europe that European taxpayers appear to be rather reluctant to pay for?”

Sourced from Walesonline


Next-generation A330 to rival Dreamliner

Next-generation A330 to rival Dreamliner

Airbus yesterday confirmed plans to revamp its A330 widebody twinjet to rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner in the long-haul sector.

The A330neo [new engine option] will be powered by more fuel-efficient engines and undercut the cost of the Dreamliner.

The European manufacturer is to spend up to €2 billion to develop and launch the A330neo, an upgraded version of a model of which 1,000 have been sold.

The new generation A330 will carry between 250 and 300 passengers and is due to enter service in 2017.

Airbus claimed at the Farnborough air show that the A330neo could broadly match the Dreamliner’s sales by securing orders for more than 1,000 aircraft.

With a wider, more aerodynamic wingspan and more seats in a better designed interior, the company said it will produce an aircraft that is 14% more fuel-efficient.

John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers, insisted the A330neo would not cannibalise sales of its other widebody aircraft, notably the A350, the Financial Times reported.

However, Airbus expects airlines that have placed limited orders for the A350-800, the smallest version of the aircraft, to convert to the A350-900, the mid-sized model, or the A330neo.

US firm Air Lease Corporation was unveiled as the first customer for the A330neo with an order for 25 aircraft worth $6.9 billion.

The company said there was a “compelling price difference” between it and other widebody aircraft, according to the FT.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Flybe strikes Q400 turboprop enhancement deal

Flybe strikes Q400 turboprop enhancement deal

A strategic services deal has been signed between Flybe and Bombardier to make improvements to the airline’s UK fleet of 45 Q400 aircraft

The agreement will see the aircraft maker undertake a “major programme of enhancements” to make the turboprops “one of the most operationally efficient regional fleets in the world”.

Airline chief executive Saad Hammad said: “This strategic agreement with Bombardier is an important part of our commitment to profitable regional flying.

“The Q400 is specifically optimised for regional routes and the Flybe fleet will be one of the most operationally efficient regional fleets in the world.

“Any decisions regarding incremental capacity deployment in the UK will see the Bombardier Q400 aircraft play an integral role.”

The move follows the carrier cutting summer seat capacity by 16%.

“In the UK today, Flybe is flying the right aircraft on the right routes and, critically, in the right numbers,” Hammad said.

Bombardier Aerospace sales, marketing and asset management senior vice president Ray Jones said:  “Flybe is a valued, long-time Bombardier customer and as one of the largest operators of the Q400 in the world we are pleased that Flybe continues to show its long-term commitment to the Q400 aircraft.

“Embarking on a strategic agreement that will assist in its Q400 aircraft fleet enhancement will be integral to Flybe’s market competitiveness.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Monarch Group confirms $3.1bn Boeing order

Monarch Group confirms $3.1bn Boeing order

Monarch Group today confirmed plans for 30 new Boeing short-haul aircraft worth $3.1 billion plus options on a further 15.

The company said it was in the process of finalising terms and working towards signing a purchase agreement with the US manufacturer for the purchase of 30 next-generation Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, with options on 15 more.

The group’s Monarch Airlines arm currently operates a fleet of mainly Airbus aircraft.

Group executive chairman Iain Rawlinson said: “Today’s announcement is an important milestone in an exhaustive three-year evaluation process, and a key part of The Monarch Group’s transformation and renewal.

“Boeing truly understood our business and put together a complete package that fits extremely well with our ambitions for the group.

“With this announcement, we begin another chapter in our long and fruitful relationship with Boeing – something which now stretches over 40 years.”

Monarch Airlines managing director Andrew Swaffield added: “I joined Monarch Airlines because I saw that it has a unique brand, and exceptional people. We see an opportunity to bring back warmth and a personal touch to a very commoditised European aviation market. Our size enables us to deliver on this promise.

“With this fleet replacement we are choosing the correct number of aircraft and the correct size of aircraft to help us create a year-round efficient European operation which maximises profitability.

“Our process has been rigorous and fair and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead it to a successful conclusion.

“Having reviewed all of the options in the marketplace, we concluded that the Boeing 737 MAX 8 is the aircraft that best fits our future route network strategy, enabling us to tightly control our unit costs whilst offering a superior service to our customers.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Ray Conner said: “We are delighted that Monarch intends to structure its future fleet around the 737 MAX. We look forward to finalising the order and can’t wait to see the Monarch livery on 737s once again.

“Today is a proud moment for everyone at the Boeing company, as we welcome back a prestigious UK operator, and we are confident that the 737 MAX will play a significant role in Monarch’s continued success.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Monarch to agree a deal for 30 new aircraft?

Monarch Airlines is this morning expected to seal a deal for around 30 jets to replace its short-haul fleet.

Monarch aircraft

The airline is poised to announce an agreement worth a rumoured $3 billion at list price, with industry sources pointing to a deal for Boeing 737s.

A Monarch spokeswoman confirmed on Friday that the carrier’s management team would be at the Farnborough Airshow today and that a time for an announcement had been set. However, she added: “What we are announcing is still being decided.”

The spending spree is a major vote of confidence in the airline by its owners, Amerald Investments, controlled by Switzerland’s Mantegazza family, who were forced to inject £75m in 2011 as a rescue package.

The Monarch Group previously said that it was set to return to profit in 2013. Its airline is carving a niche as a ‘midway’ brand between the budget and charter carriers.

Sourced from TTG Digital


IAG converts 20 Airbus options into firm orders

IAG converts 20 Airbus options into firm orders

International Airlines Group today converted 20 of 100 Airbus 320neo options it announced in August into firm orders.

The new generation aircraft, valued at $92 million each, will be delivered in 2018 and 2019 to provide both cost savings and environmental benefits.

New technology and improved aerodynamics will lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions by 15%, as well as providing both noise and performance advantages.

The A320s are intended to replace 21 British Airways’ short-haul aircraft “but will be re-allocated if the airline cannot make a profitable return from its short-haul business,” IAG said.

The BA, Iberia and Vueling parent company has negotiated a “substantial discount” from the list price of the new aircraft.

The 100-strong options are part of a Vueling order for up to 120 A320 family aircraft.

The remaining options can be used for any of the airlines in the group for aircraft replacement requirements.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Huge growth predicted by aircraft manufacturers

Huge growth predicted by aircraft manufacturers

Aircraft manufacturers are gearing up to handle 7 billion passengers a year by 2033 by building five aircraft every day for the next 20 years.

Forecasters at Boeing predict the annual number of internal flights in China will have overtaken the domestic US market by that time.

The US manufacturer forecasts that the level of air travel will rise at 5% a year, easily outstripping global GDP growth, which is predicted to rise at 3.2% a year.

Meanwhile, the number of aircraft in operation will more than double from the present 20,910 to 42,180 in 2033.

Of the present fleet, a quarter are expected to still be in commission 20 years later.

At expected rates of demand that means Boeing and rival Airbus will be expecting to build 36,800 aircraft.

All those new aircraft at current list prices will cost the world’s airlines a total of $5.2 trillion. More than 25,000, or about 70%, are expected to be either Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s.

Boeing marketing vice president Randy Tinseth said the expected increase in passengers flying - 133% over 20 years from the current 3 billion - will outpace the expected production of aircraft.

But he said: “Technologically, the aircraft are more capable, flying longer hours, longer routes. The cost of flying has been reduced by better airline management.

“Smarter seat design giving the same comfort levels means you can get more seats on board.

“By 2033, aircraft will be 25% more capable than they are today. Without that technological development we would be needing to build 10,000 more aircraft [than the 36,800 expected].”

Within 20 years intra-North America flights will have not only been overtaken by the Asia Pacific domestic market but also by the Chinese internal market.

The Far East markets are expected to grow at about 6.5% a year compared with 2.3% in North America.

The intra-European market will become the fourth largest market - from third - and is expected to continue to rise by 3.5% a year.

The two single fastest-growing markets, though coming from much lower bases, are the Middle East to Asia-Pacific market, expected to rise by 7.4% as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha emerge as global hub airports; and the the Latin American market, where travel around the continent is expected to increase by 6.9%, the Times reported.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Virgin Atlantic unveils first 787 service to mark 30th birthday

Virgin Atlantic unveils first 787 service to mark 30th birthday

Virgin Atlantic marked its 30th birthday this week by announcing the launch of its first Boeing Dreamliner service to Boston.

The carrier is due to take delivery of its first Boeing 787-9 in September and will begin services between Heathrow and Boston on October 28.

Virgin Atlantic will be the first European carrier to begin operating the 787-9, a larger version of the Dreamliner currently in service.

The airline launched its first flight from Heathrow to New York Newark 30 years ago on June 22 1984.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger said: “We’ve been proudly serving and delighting our customers for the last 30 years.

“We know the Dreamliner will bring new innovations and cutting edge product. We look forward to welcoming this aircraft to our fleet.”

Kreeger described the 787 as “the centrepiece” of Virgin’s future fleet, saying: “The 787-9 will represent over half our fleet by 2018.”

Virgin Atlantic’s 787-9 will be configured with 264 seats – 31 in Upper Class, 35 in premium economy and 198 in economy.

The carrier promises a new version of its Upper Class, a “refreshed” premium economy – including a social space it has christened “the wander wall” – and a “best in class” economy seat, with WiFi access and the latest inflight entertainment.

Tickets for the Heathrow-Boston service are due to go on sale on Thursday (June 26).

Virgin will take delivery of a second 787 before the end of the year and launch the aircraft on its Heathrow service to Washington in December.

It plans to add a Heathrow-Newark 787 service five times a week from January 2015 and a daily 787 service between Heathrow and New York JFK from February.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Emirates to reconsider A350 cancellation

Emirates to reconsider A350 cancellation

Emirates has announced it will look again at buying a fleet of Airbus A350s after recently cancelling a $16 billion order for 70 of the new aircraft.

The Gulf carrier cancelled its order for the aircraft earlier this month in a move seen as a serious blow to Airbus.

Emirates is among the world’s biggest airlines and its announcement will trigger a major battle between Airbus and Boeing as the airline said it would look at both the A350 and Boeing 787.

The carrier was to have been the launch customer of the A350, which is due to launch later this year, following a deal announced in 2007.

Emirates gave no reason for the cancellation, but it’s understood concerns about the aircraft’s performance lay behind it.

However, Emirates chief executive Tim Clark said yesterday: “We will re-engage with Airbus on this aeroplane at the end of this year, the beginning of next year.”

Clark said Emirates would “also engage” with Boeing about the 787 as an alternative.

The A350 is a wide-body, long-haul jet with a carbon composite fuselage and other fuel-saving features similar to the 787.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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