AirAsia X confirms order for 55 next-gen Airbus aircraft

AirAsia X confirms order for 55 next-gen Airbus aircraftAirAsia X, the long-haul arm of Asia’s largest low-cost airline, has placed a firm order for 55 new-generation Airbus A330neo aircraft.

The is the largest single order to date for the A330 family confirms AirAsia X’s position as the biggest A330 airline customer worldwide, having now ordered a total of 91 aircraft.

The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding for 50 A330neo during the Farnborough Air Show in July, plus an additional five aircraft. Deliveries will begin in 2018.

The A330neo will incorporate latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features.

Airbus claims these advances will make the aircraft the most cost-efficient in its size category, with a reduction in fuel consumption of 14% per seat, an increase in non-stop flying range of up to 400 nautical miles and the lowest possible maintenance costs.

AirAsia X co-founder Tony Fernandes said: “This latest deal with Airbus will enable AirAsia X to consolidate its growth rate in 2015-2017 before ramping up deliveries from 2018 onwards.

“The A330 has proven itself to be exactly the right aircraft for our business model, combining low operating costs, long range flying capability and high levels of comfort.

“We are extremely excited about the even greater levels of efficiency that will come with the A330neo, which will play a key role in enabling AirAsia X to maintain its position as the long haul low cost leader.”

Airbus chief operating officer John Leahy said: “This order from AirAsia X is a major endorsement of the A330neo as the most cost-efficient aircraft in its size category.

“With the A330neo in its fleet, AirAsia X will benefit from even lower operating costs as it expands it network and reach, enabling more people to fly further more often than ever before. We look forward to AirAsia X becoming one of the first operators of the latest version of the highly successful A330.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airbus to invest £100m at Broughton and Filton factories

Plane maker Airbus is investing £100m in research, development and training in a deal with UK and Welsh governments.

The announcement came at an investment conference in Newport designed to create jobs and growth for the UK.

Airbus employs about 6,000 at Broughton in Flintshire and over 4,000 at Filton.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has also pledged £8.1m to support training in Broughton.

That brings the total investment in the plant to £56m, including £48m being provided jointly by Airbus and the UK government to develop new systems and technologies for building the wings for the company’s aircrafts.

The UK Investment Summit Wales conference is being held at the Celtic Manor Resort, bringing together industry leaders, investors and politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron.

Last year, an extra £100m was spent on research and development in Wales, latest figures show.

On Friday, Airbus also announced that US company Delta Air Lines had placed a firm order for 50 new aircraft.

The research and development elements of the projects will be carried out with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a £2 billion joint investment between industry and government aimed at developing activity necessary for the UK to win work on future aerospace programmes.

‘Backing business’

An Airbus A350-900 test plane Wings for the new Airbus A350 plane are all made at the Broughton factory

Announcing the ATI funding, Mr Cameron said: “Aerospace is a real cornerstone of British business, supporting over 100,000 jobs across the UK and is worth over £27bn to our economy every year.

“With today’s investment we are backing our aerospace sector so that it continues to thrive, as key part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “The aerospace industry is so important to Wales and we need to make sure that the skills of our workforce move at the pace of technological development in this field.”

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb added: “Today’s announcement means the company can now manufacture more of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft wings right here in Wales.”

Paul McKinlay, head of Airbus’s Broughton plant said: “Airbus places great importance on training its workforce and this funding will support development of skills and expertise and ensure Wales is ready to take on the challenges the next generation of technology will bring.”

A total of £48m is being invested in a project at the Broughton plant to develop new systems and technologies for building aircraft wings.

Airbus’s Filton and Broughton plants are responsible for designing, testing and manufacturing the wings for the whole family of Airbus commercial airliners.

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Analysis by Brian Meechan, BBC Wales business correspondent

Airbus is one of the biggest employers in Wales with 6,000 people at the Broughton site manufacturing the wings for its aircrafts.

The UK aerospace industry is in a strong state. It grew by almost 10% last year.

It is a key industry in Wales providing highly skilled and well paid jobs not just at Airbus but also GE Aviation, General Dynamics and British Airways.

Aerospace employs around 23,000 people in Wales.

The money will be used on research and development at the Broughton site.

The Welsh government is also providing a further £8m to the company for staff training over the next five years which is a continuation of financial support it has given Airbus since 2009.

Speaking to some people from small businesses today, they asked why a multi-national company should need taxpayers’ money to train their staff.

It is understandable when budgets are tight in the fields of education, training and apprenticeships.

The argument would be that training workers does not just provide a benefit to the company but to the wider economy by creating a more skilled workforce in Wales which helps us compete internationally.

The Welsh government also offers financial support to attract companies into Wales which often includes money to help train staff.

So if it can be offered to new companies to establish themselves in Wales, why not to businesses that have shown a long-term commitment to the country and its workforce.

Sourced by BBC News


Airbus beats Boeing to $14bn Delta order

Airbus beats Boeing to $14bn Delta orderAirbus has secured a major coup for its new A350 aircraft with an order reportedly worth $14 billion from Delta Air Lines following a competition with Boeing.

The deal is split between 25 A350-900s, an all-new model, and 25 updated A330neos.

The aircraft will replace Delta’s Boeing 747s and 767-300ERs starting in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

The Airbus win builds on earlier successes at Delta, including an order in 2013 with a list value of $5.6 billion.

Boeing told Bloomberg:  “This was a long and highly competitive campaign. Boeing competed for the order with the 787-9, but we did not have enough 787 positions available in the time frame that met Delta’s requirement.”

The A350-900 is due to make its commercial debut with Qatar Airways in the coming weeks.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airbus files patent for UFO-style flying doughnut

Engineers from Airbus have filed a patent application for UFO-like “flying doughnut” aircraft.

It would mean passengers entering the aircraft through steps leading up to an “access hatch” around the hole in the centre and receive their in-flight meals from trolleys being pushed through curved aisles.

The doughnut-shaped craft aims to increase the legroom for travellers and address the problem of cabin pressure.

The 15-page application, which was filed in the US last month, says: “The present invention proposes an aircraft wherein the structure of delimiting passenger cabin extends over 360 degrees around a space defined outside structure.

“The invention allows structure to be more resistant to loads induced by the cabin pressurisation, while allowing to reduce or even to avoid the need for a sealed bottom, and while allowing to increase the space available for passengers.”

It adds: “Indeed the presence of the space defined outside the structure and surrounded by it inside the aircraft, enables better distribution of pressurisation loads applied to the structure and thus makes this structure more capable of resisting these pressurisation loads.”

The patent application is among a series of unconventional and futuristic plans proposed by Airbus, The Times reported.

It has sought legal protection for an economy-class seat for standing passengers shaped like a bicycle saddle, a virtual reality helmet for delivering in-flight films and music as well as a windowless cockpit.

Airbus says that the design was worthwhile enough to protect with a patent and is among 6,000 ideas that its engineers formulate each year.

But the manufacturer said: “This is not something that’s currently under active development.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airbus forecasts demand for 31,000 new aircraft over next 20 years

More than 31,000 new passenger aircraft and air freighters will be needed over the next 20 years, due to growing demand for air travel.

Growing middle classes in emerging economies taking to the skies will be the main drivers, according to Airbus.

The European aircraft manufacturer forecasts that the new aircraft will be worth $4.6 trillion (£2.8 trillion) of orders to the aerospace industry as passenger numbers grow at an annual rate of 4.7% from the current rate of 3 billion a year carried by 32 million flights.

The worldwide aviation sector is estimated to be worth $2.4 trillion a year and employs 60 million people.

Aircraft joining the modern day fleet mean the number of air freighters and airliners with 100 or more seats will more than double from today’s total of 18,500 to almost 37,500 by the year 2033.

Airlines are expected to retire 12,400 old and less fuel-efficient jets in the intervening period as they seek to cut costs in the age of ever-rising fuel prices.

Asia is expected to be the biggest single customer for new aircraft, taking 39% of them, more than combined total of the next two biggest regions, Europe at 20% and North America at 18%.

The predictions come in Flying on Demand, Airbus’s global market forecast which analysed themes seen by 800 passenger airlines and 200 freight operators, The Telegraph reported.

Airbus predicts a requirement for 9,300 widebody aircraft valued at $2.5 trillion over the next 20 years.

Some 7,800 of these new aircraft will be twin-aisle models with 250 to 400 seats and the remaining 1,500 will be very large aircraft with 400 or more seats.

The report also predicts that the number of “aviation mega-cities” – those with 10,000 or more international long-haul passengers a day – will almost double to 91 as economic growth in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East outstrips developed regions.

“Aviation is growing impressively and our latest forecast confirms its long-term growth,” said John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers.

“While mature aviation regions such as Europe and North America will continue to grow, Asia will stand out along with emerging markets for dynamic development. This growth trend is confirmed by Chinese domestic traffic becoming the world’s number one aviation market within the next 10 years”.

The forecast came as the manufacturer’s new generation A320neo made it maiden flight in France.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


A350 XWB test fleet now complete: ‘MSN005’ – the fifth and final flight-test aircraft takes to the skies

Press Release by Airbus

With the first flight today of A350 MSN005, the five-strong development fleet is now complete. Being the second passenger cabin-equipped A350 and tasked with route proving and ETOPS validation, MSN005 embodies the operationally definitive configuration for Type Certification duties. This milestone means that the A350 XWB development programme is at full speed and on track for certification in the third quarter of this year, to be followed thereafter by delivery of the first customer aircraft to Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter.

As of today, the A350 XWB programme has already achieved more than 2,000 flight-test hours in around 500 flights, and with this the programme is demonstrating the highest flying rate ever achieved in Airbus flight tests, with around 80 flight hours per aircraft per month.


Air New Zealand selects A320neo Family to modernise single aisle fleet

Press Release by Airbus

Following Air New Zealand’s 2009 order for A320 Family aircraft, the airline has selected the added efficiency and performance of the NEO with an order for three A321neo, 10 A320neo and one additional A320ceo aircraft. The agreement marks the first time Air New Zealand has ordered the larger A321 aircraft and the NEO. Engine selection and cabin configuration will be made at a later date.

The A321 is the largest member of the A320 Family offering the best seat mile costs of any single aisle. The A320 Family fuselage is seven inches wider than competing aircraft and with a cargo hold designed for industry standard containers and pallets.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says the purchase confirms the airline’s intention to have an Airbus narrow body fleet. “Operating one narrow body aircraft type will bring important efficiencies in training, maintenance and operating costs.  The new Airbus NEO will help ensure we continue to operate one of the world’s youngest jet fleets and will further drive fuel efficiency allowing us to minimise our carbon footprint.”

“The NEO offers even further gains – a 15 per cent fuel burn reduction or up to 950 kilometres added range, and significantly reduced noise. Passengers appreciate the A320 Family has the widest and most comfortable cabin, and this re-order is proof that it also offers unmatched performance and productivity,” said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers

The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with more than 10,200 orders to date and over 6,000 aircraft delivered. The latest version A320neo incorporates new engines and “Sharklet” wing tip devices which together deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings. At the end of April 2014, firm orders for the NEO reached over 2,700 aircraft from 50 customers, representing a 60 per cent share market share in its category.


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