Sourced by Business Traveller
British Airways is scheduled to receive its first A380 in July, with further deliveries due in August and October next year.
The carrier has 12 of the aircraft on order and will roster the superjumbo first onto its Los Angeles route from October 15, followed by Hong Kong from November 15.
The layout of BA’s A380s will feature 14 seats in First on the main deck, followed by 44 Club World seats in a 2-4-2 configuration, then 199 World Traveller seats in a 3-4-3 layout.
The work was carried out using spray guns, traditional paint rollers and paint brushes, with a total of five coats being applied. The paint adds around 650kg to the weight of the aircraft, but is no thicker than a human hair.
The aircraft’s interior has now been fully fitted, and will fly to the Airbus headquarters in Toulouse for final checks before being delivered to BA in July.
Airlines that currently operate the A380 are Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Qantas, Air France, Lufthansa, Korean Air, China Southern, Malaysia Airlines and Thai Airways.
Aside from BA, other airlines that have ordered the superjumbo include Virgin Atlantic, Asiana, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Skymark Airlines.
A new loading bay so wings for Airbus aircraft can still be loaded onto cargo planes in strong winds have been backed by Flintshire council.
Airbus said the covered bay at Broughton would help workers loading cargo aircraft to take wings to the firm’s plants in France and Germany.
The main door for the cargo deck on the A300-600ST Beluga Super Transporter cannot be opened in high winds.
Five Beluga deliver wings assembled at Broughton for the A320, A330 and A350s.
‘At the mercy’
As well as delivering the wings to the final assembly lines in Toulouse and Hamburg, they also ferry components between Broughton and Airbus sites at Nantes and Saint-Nazaire in France, Bremen in Germany and Getafe in Spain.
Robert Gage, from Airbus UK, said: “We are often at the mercy of the weather in the UK, so this new building will provide a sheltered loading bay which will mean we won’t always need to wait for the wind to drop before we can open the Beluga’s main door.
“With a strong and growing order book, this further investment in the Broughton site will help reduce weather-related down-time for our key transport link and ensure we meet our delivery commitments.”
Sourced by BBC News Wales
By Jens Flottau
Airbus, which is under increasing pressure to prove the viability of its A380 production rates, yesterday conceded that it still needs to fill a “single-digit number” of production slots for the type in 2015.
Speaking during EADS’s first-quarter results conference call, CFO Harald Wilhelm—who also holds the same role at Airbus—stressed that it is a high priority to fill the remaining slots as quickly as possible.
Demand for the A380 has been declining for some time. The manufacturer also has reduced production this year from 30 aircraft to 25, to incorporate the newly designed wing rib-feet and spars that will become standard for new deliveries from 2014, a decision that has resulted in a significant inventory build-up and produced a €3.2 billion ($4.1 billion) negative free cash flow in the first quarter.
Should Airbus be forced to reduce the production rate in 2015, the program would almost certainly miss the goal to break-even that year. But Wilhelm remains “cautious about the further potential for break-even below 30.”
Airbus has firm orders for 262 A380s, 101 of which have been delivered. With a production rate of 30 aircraft a year, the backlog would be sufficient to fill more than five years of production.
Demand for Airbus’s A350, meanwhile, is surging, says Wilhelm. “The level of demand we see recently would make a very clear business case for an accelerated ramp-up of production,” says the CFO, although he cautioned that this would mean taking on additional risk. The A350 “remains a tough ride in terms of ramp-up of the other flight-test aircraft and production,” Wilhelm notes.
Wilhelm also reiterated Airbus’s official comment that the A350’s first flight will occur “in the summer,” adding that “for quite a number of months we have seen no further drift” in the schedule.
Airbus is understood to be planning to move MSN001 to the flight-testing department by the end of this week, which could lead to a first flight in early June, provided there are no last-minute technical issues to resolve.
Sourced by Aviation Week
Painting of the first A350 XWB “MSN001” was today fully completed as it emerged in its Airbus livery out from the paintshop in Toulouse. This latest milestone shows that MSN001 is progressing well on its route to first flight.
The aircraft painting was achieved in less than seven days and follows the recent completion of MSN001’s flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) verification. Last month the aircraft underwent its engines installation, and passed a subsequent intensive phase of ground vibration tests. MSN001 will soon start the final tests before its maiden flight this summer.
Airbus, Air Canada and BioFuelNet Canada, hosted by Montreal’s McGill University, have formed a partnership to assess Canadian solutions for the production of sustainable alternative jet fuels with the long term goal to supply Air Canada. The first assessment is expected by the end of 2013. The partnership was announced today, at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment workshop in Montreal.
The partnership will provide a preliminary study of the different processes and raw materials available for alternative fuel production, exploring innovative new pathways and the overall sustainability of solutions.
“Air Canada has already operated two flights with biofuel and on each occasion we substantially reduced our emissions. We look forward to participating in this project to encourage the development of a source of alternative fuel in Canada. New technologies, such as alternative fuels, are one of the ways our industry plans to reduce its emissions to meet its target of carbon-neutral growth for 2020 and beyond,” said Paul Whitty, Director of Fuel Purchasing and Supply at Air Canada and Chair of the Air Canada Alternative Fuels Working Group.
Dr. Donald Smith, President of BioFuelNet and McGill University Professor said:
“Aviation biofuels are one of the most promising ways to reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint, making air travel more environmentally-friendly. Airbus is a key player in the field, dedicated to finding the most sustainable fuel sources for the future of air travel. This relationship with Airbus is of great importance to BioFuelNet Canada.”
“Any new alternative fuel has to work on existing and future aircraft without modification while meeting certification requirements. Airbus supports this project to ensure that the solutions are sustainable, affordable and technically suitable for all aircraft”, said Frédéric Eychenne, Airbus New Energies Programme Manager.
In June 2012, Airbus and Air Canada performed North America’s first “Perfect Flight” over international borders, cutting CO2 emissions by more than 40 percent compared to a regular flight. The commercial flight with passengers from Toronto, Canada to Mexico City, combined modern aircraft technology, sustainable alternative fuels, streamlined Air Traffic Management and best practice operations such as single-engine taxiing.
Airbus supports the certification and development of commercial quantities of sustainable alternative fuels for aviation through promoting innovative regional projects world-wide.
April marked numerous milestones in Airbus’ order and delivery activities, bringing it to a new industry record backlog of 4,973 aircraft that corresponds to more than seven years of production for its jetliner product line.
New bookings for 83 aircraft were logged during the month – led by the largest order ever from Turkish Airlines: composed of 57 new engine option (neo) versions of the Airbus single-aisle A320 Family (53 in the A321neo configuration, and four of the A320neo variant), along with 25 A321ceo (current engine option) aircraft.
With this transaction, Turkish Airlines becomes the latest customer for new engine option members of Airbus’ best-selling A320 Family, bringing total neo orders to 2,125 aircraft from 40 customers.
Completing the activity in April was an ACJ319 corporate jet order from an unnamed private customer. The month’s new business increased total net orders booked by Airbus during the first four months of 2013 to 493 aircraft.
Airbus provided 45 A320 Family aircraft and 13 A330s in April to international customers. One of the A330s was an A330-200F freighter delivered to aircraft leasing company BOC Aviation for operation by Qatar Airways.
Nearly 20 per cent of the jetliners provided in April were for China’s dynamic airline market, consisting of six A321s, four A320s, one A319 and an A330.
Also notable was the fact that a large proportion of April’s overall A320 Family deliveries were made for low-cost carriers worldwide, demonstrating the single-aisle product line’s continued popularity with this demanding airline sector. Such customers adding A320 Family aircraft to their fleets during the month included Europe’s Vueling, easyJet and Wizz Air; IndiGo and GoAir in India; along with Peach Aviation and Jetstar in Japan.
Year-to-date deliveries from January through April totalled 202 aircraft, representing a 10 per cent rate increase from the same period in 2012.
Sourced by aviator.aero
According to sources, Captain BK Soni called two flight attendants inside the cockpit of the Airbus A-321. “The aircraft was flying on auto-pilot at that time. The co-pilot left his seat to go to the toilet. When he returned, he found that the commander had made the ladies sit on the pilot’s and co-pilot’s seats. After the co-pilot, a senior flyer on the verge of becoming a captain himself, objected, the ladies left their seats,” a source said.
There were unconfirmed reports that at one point, only the flight attendants were inside the cockpit and both the pilots were out. However, AI denied this saying “at no point of time was the cockpit the left unattended by the cockpit crew.”
DGCA rules stipulate that two crew members — including one of the two pilots — should be inside the cockpit at all times. This means that an airhostess has to be called to the cockpit before a pilot can leave it for any reason like going to the lavatory. “It never happens that two flight attendants are called inside the cockpit at the same time as happened on this flight. This is very strange,” said a senior commander.
Adding to the strange occurence was the fact that the auto-pilot switch got disengaged when the ladies were getting up from the seats. “During the incident, due to distraction the co-pilot had touched the auto pilot disconnect button momentarily. But the same was connected back,” an AI statement admitted.
It further said, “Based on a report (the crew member’s complaint) that two cabin crew members were in the cockpit for a prolonged period on the flight, the airline management summoned the cockpit and cabin crew for an enquiry. As the enquiry confirmed the over stay of the cabin crew in the cockpit, administrative action was taken against them and the pilot. They have been suspended pending the final enquiry of the incident.”
Other worrying aviation-related incidents too have also taken place recently. “This is unacceptable and we need to take strict action against the guilty. Last month an AI pilot landed in Mumbai without air traffic control clearance and now we have this episode. It seems AI itself is running on auto-pilot,” an official said.
Small Planet Airlines redelivered two old Boeing 737-300 aircraft to the leasing company at the end of last year and will return the remaining two after this Summer season. From then on, the company will operate all-A320 fleet across it’s two Air Operator Certificates (AOCs) in Poland and Lithuania.
In order to replace the ageing 737-300s, and to capture new growth opportunities, Small Planet Airlines has leased 5 Airbus A320 aircraft.
Small Planet Airlines Poland and Small Planet Airlines Lithuania combined will use 9 aircraft in total this Summer (3 in Poland and 2 in each of Lithuania, France and Great Britain).
“Following the leasing of the new aircraft, the company’s fleet became one of the freshest among the European charter airlines. We will aim to maintain an average fleet age of about 10 years,” said Vytautas Kaikaris, CEO of Small Planet Airlines. “By renewing our fleet, we are aiming at more efficient operations. A320s, compared with Boeing 737-300s, have bigger capacity and lower fuel consumption per seat. In addition, they are more reliable and that should help with punctuality.”
According to Mr. Kaikaris, the company used only Airbus A320 aircraft in Poland last year and the strategy paid off, with Small Planet Airlines making a profit in the Polish market.
Small Planet Airlines is leasing the additional aircraft from CIT Aerospace, MC Aviation Partners (MCAP), International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), Aviation Capital Group (ACG) and World Star Aviation.
Sourced by aviator.aero
By Mark Elliott
Airbus has sealed a major new aircraft order from China.
In a deal signed in Beijing yesterday in the presence of French president François Hollande and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, China Aviation Supplies (CAS) agreed to purchase 60 Airbus aircraft, comprising 42 single-aisle A320-series aircraft and 18 twin-aisle A330 jets.
The General Terms Agreement (GTA) was penned at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing by Li Hai, president & CEO of CAS, and Fabrice Brégier, president & CEO of Airbus, as part of a series of Sino-French trade agreements signed during President Hollande’s trip to China. CAS is a state-run aircraft leasing and financing company which supplies aircraft to domestic carriers.
“We are delighted to receive a new order from our long-standing customer CAS,” said Brégier. “The A320’s high reliability and low operational cost has made it very popular with Chinese airlines. As congestion puts pressure on airports in large cities in China, the A330 is an excellent solution as larger aircraft can transport more passengers with less flights.”
By the end of March 2013, there were 750 A320-series aircraft in operation with 14 Chinese airlines and more than 110 A330s in operation with six carriers. Airbus operates a production line in China, with the Tianjin facility producing A320 aircraft for local airlines.
Sourced by Travel Daily
Airbus and IBM are working together to transform Airbus’ fleet solution offerings, which will provide airlines and operators with advanced IT services for maintenance, engineering and flight operations. These fleet service offerings will enhance operational efficiencies, help airlines to manage their aircraft more effectively and improve customer service by smarter use of ‘big-data’.
“Airbus Smarter Fleet Solutions” (ASFS) will initially focus on two activities: Firstly, it will integrate and also further develop Airbus’ current portfolio of software products (“e-solutions”). Presently, the latter comprise an extensive range of standalone applications, which are accessed via a variety of online and offline media, and are used by about 200 operators today. Secondly, ASFS will provide tailored fleet data management using an open, modular and flexible platform. This service will give customers visibility to plan ahead for smooth operations. It will also enable them to easily integrate existing and new services and solutions – a level of value-added service, which is increasingly being sought. This trend is being driven by today’s growing volumes and complexities of operational ‘big-data’ from multiple resources, new technological opportunities, and by the economic environment which increases the ‘value-for-money” expectations from IT solutions.
“Today’s aircraft can generate up to a half terabyte of data per flight, an unprecedented volume and variety of data seen in few other industries,” said Timothy J. Wholey, Global Leader, Aerospace & Defense Industry, IBM Global Business Services. “IBM is pleased to provide technology and services that will provide Airbus and its customers a smart way to extract real-time data, identify patterns and act on insights to help improve efficiency and enhance the passengers’ travel experience.”
Didier Lux, EVP Customer Services, Airbus says: “This agreement with IBM is a major step in the implementation of Airbus’ aim to provide airlines with strong added-value innovative services for their long-term business development.” He adds: “Our customers will soon benefit from the most advanced information management solutions to address their engineering, operational and maintenance needs.”
The Smarter Fleet Solutions bring together Airbus’ aircraft manufacturer expertise with IBM’s expertise in managing ‘big-data’, advanced analytics and asset optimization needed in today’s commercial aircraft operations.
Airbus is the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer of passenger airliners, ranging in capacity from 100 to more than 500 seats. Airbus has design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, and subsidiaries in the US, China, Japan and in the Middle East. Airbus is an EADS company.