Blog A350 XWB News

Financial crisis arriving airlines and forcing to cancel orders.

Escrito por blogjfa 23-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

Qantas has cancelled an order for #35 Boeing 787-9 aircraft to reduce capital expenditure.

Deliveries of #15 787-8s to Jetstar, its low-cost subsidiary, will continue as planned, to allow the transfer of Airbus A330s from Jetstar to Qantas Domestic, and the eventual retirement of Qantas's Boeing 767 fleet.


The group will retain and bring forward #50 787-9 options and purchase rights by two years, with the aircraft available for delivery from 2016 if needed.

Qantas has #12 A380s in service across its long-haul network and will complete the reconfiguration of #9 Boeing 747-400s by late 2012. Boeing 737-800s will continue to enter the Qantas Domestic fleet, and A330s will be transferred from Jetstar as the 787-8s are delivered to the low-cost carrier.

Jetstar's domestic and Asian fleet requirements will be met over the long term by the existing A320 order book and the arrival of the 787-8s, says Qantas.

Neither Qantas nor Jetstar has A350 XWB orders yet, but this cancellation could open a possibility to include the A350 family in future purchases of Jetstar.

A350 XWB orders depends on results of main Top 8 carriers in each area:

- Qatar Airways (#80) and Emirates (#70) in the Middle East

- Cathay Pacific (#36) and Asiana Airlines (#30) in Asia

- United Airlines (#25) and US Airways (#22) in the USA

- Tam Linhas Aereas (#27) in Brazil

- Aeroflot (#22) in Russia

Meanwhile, the European sovereign-debt crisis does not help Air France–KLM and Iberia-British (IAG) to sign orders that are on the table since months.


Currently for A350 XWB program, the order from Hong Kong Airlines [#15 A350-900] is the unique in an inmediate risk of cancellation.


Based on article “Qantas cancels order for 35 Dreamliners” published in Flightglobal

Sometimes, delays are a good thing.

Escrito por blogjfa 22-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

This is the striking conclusion in an article you can read here regarding the forward fuselage power-on in MSN001 some weeks ago, mainly because of the delay on the A350 XWB launch, it has been included 2011-class hardware, instead of 2004-class hardware in 787.



Airbus is slowly but certainly bringing the next generation aircraft to the skies. And the article reviews the status of the program from an “only-system mind” point of view, starting with the following sentence: “The company pushed back the entry into the service by six months so far, mostly due to mechanical issues.”


“The plane maker decided to drop the multiple 10 inch flight deck of the Airbus A380 with a contemporary high-resolution 15" displays and change the system from 2004 to 2011-class hardware.  The displays are replaceable alongside with the computer system, reducing the cost should a system break down. Intersystem redundancies should prevent the sunshade cockpit, e.g. when glass cockpit stops operating due to a computer failure or a power outage.”


“These systems actually use components from PCs, such as AMD or Intel processors, as well as graphics processors from NVIDIA and AMD.”



Based on article “Not Sure If Next-Gen Airbus A350 XWB or Flight Simulator” published on VR-zone technology beats.

ES and MSN001 in the FAL at Toulouse. What is pending in each aircraft?

Escrito por blogjfa 21-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)

Currently in the FAL –Final Assembly Line at Toulouse there are two aircraft in progress. And delayed. This is a summary of the status of each one and what are the workpackages/sections pending to arrive.


MSN5000 -ES – Static Test Specimen

The Vertical Tail Plane and the dummy Horizontal Tail Plane and Tail Cone are already installed on the Rear Fuselage (section 19). The complete fuselage was joint in May.

What is missing?

The two wings of the static test aircraft are being sub-assembled (including ground test equipment installation) in Broughton UK. They will be delivered directly to the FAL.

MSN001 – First flight test aircraft

Front Fuselage (nose sections 11/12 and forward sections 13/14) arrived in July from St.Nazaire to the FAL and two weeks later it was successfully powered-up the flight-deck for the first time (“front fuselage power on”).

What is missing?

The complex section 15 centre fuselage, produced by Spirit AeroSystems. It was the  source of concern for Static Test Specimen. The production process is not still mature enough. Expected to be ready at the FAL for the Fuselage Junction by the mid of September. For that date, the Vertical and Horizontal Stabilizers, already finished at Stade and Getafe plants, will be shipped to the FAL and will be installed in the fuselage before wing/fuselage junction and in paralell the Fuselage Power-ON activities, that is planned for October.

Wings are at Broughton being sub-assembled after the wing box completion. The system installation with such amount of brackets in wing fixed leading & trailing edge (GKN) is being challenging and they will be shipped in September to Bremen for high-lift system installation. They are delayed and expected to be ready at the FAL by end-of- October.

Landing Gear, engines and some Flight Controls & Air Systems equipments could require “special” attention from Airbus to avoid being added to the bottle neck.


Meanwhile the subassembly work for MSN003 sections is well advanced in all different pre-FALs. And the next aircraft MSN002 will be focused on cabin interiors availability, targeted for end-of-2012 at the FAL.

 China Southern 787

… and Boeing  moves to speed 787 deliveries although battling with low maturity: some 787s are requiring as many as #8 production flights, significantly slowing the pace of deliveries and increasing  costs too much.

Boeing is not in a hurry to launch future competitor of the A350-1000

Escrito por blogjfa 15-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)


Boeing, feeling no pressure from airlines for an immediate decision on the stretched version of its 787 Dreamliner, said the plane wouldn’t reach customers until late this decade.


The “end of the teens” is the likely target for the new Dreamliner’s entry into commercial service, should Boeing commit to offer the model, Mike Sinnett, chief project engineer on the plane, said today in an interview. 

“We’re not in a hurry to come up with an answer” on developing the 787-10, Sinnett said. “We’re not even to the point that we’re telling the board, ‘We’re going to come talk to you by the end of the year.’”


The Boeing 787-10 will come much later than most suggestions. It was widely thought that Boeing Commercial would go to the Board by 2012 year-end to seek an Authority to Offer (ATO) the plane by 2013  year-end, with an EIS perhaps around 2016.

What is the meaning of this decision?

The double-stretched 323-seat Boeing 787-10 is designed (and will be developed)  to be the “A330-300 killer” burning 25% less fuel with a range of 6,700-6,750nm (nautical miles). And also the 787-10 is planned to replace the 777-200ER, with better fuel efficiency (lower weight, better engines and aerodynamics). If the EIS is postponed to 2020, this means the A330-300 will be in the air for more time, competing with more fuel efficient 787s.

And linked with 787-10 decision, the 407-seat 777-9X  which is planned to burn 21% less fuel per seat than the 777-300ER will also be postponed. The 777-9X will have the largest wing ever produced by Boeing, with 71.1m wingspan. So the war in this market will be between 777-300ER and 17% fuel more efficient A350-1000. Boeing is sure the A350-1000 will have additional delays in the development and prefers continue selling additional 777-300ER to provide interim lift and further expand its strong customer base for a transition to a bigger, more fuel efficient -9X variant. And it will be enough time to optimize the 777-300ER weight  in 453,6 kg eliminating the overwing exit.

Boeing also prefers investing some money in 777-300ER improvements (in the same way Airbus is doing with A330-300) offering reliability to airlines, instead of investing much more money in new developments in current uncertain future situation.  



Based on article “Boeing Doesn’t See Stretched 787 Until Late in Decade” published in Bloomberg

Cathay Pacific´s strategic renewal of the fleet focus on fuel-efficient 777 and A350

Escrito por blogjfa 15-08-2012 en General. Comentarios (0)


Cathay Pacific Airways, Asia’s largest international carrier, has posted its worst interim results for the first half of 2012: US$120.6 million loss attributable to shareholders, a dramatic reversal of the US$359.9 million six-month profit posted in the prior year period.


However, the oneworld alliance member is staying the course and making significant investments in its fleet, in-flight products and cargo facilities that promise to be state-of-the-art and ensure it will reap the most benefit from an eventual economic upturn.


A toxic mix of high fuel cost, slumping cargo and softening yields significantly weighed on the bottom line of the world’s largest freight carrier.


The combination of very, very high fuel prices and generally weak revenues is a big challenge for every airline in the world,” Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar said.

Its passenger business, is in a relatively better shape than cargo. Its passenger revenue grew by 9.2% from 2011 first-half, on a 8.6% increase in the number of passengers carried from 13.2 million in 2011 first-half to 14.3 million this year.

On the other hand, fuel costs increased by 9.9% net of fuel hedging gains from HK$18.6 billion in 2011 first-half to HK$20.4 billion in 2012 first-half owing to a 4.6% increase in average into plane jet fuel price at US$134 per barrel. And the fuel is by far the biggest operating cost at 41%.

In the cost-saving measures that Cathay Pacific announced back in May, the fuel-efficient aircraft is key in the fleet renewal program with 101 new aircraft orders in its backlog.

They are replacing its remaining 747-400 (F and BCFs) standardizing the Cargo fleets on the 777F and the 747-8F (24% more fuel-efficient with lower maintenance costs).

In terms of its passenger fleet, Cathay Pacific has the best aircraft orders mix in its order backlog, including #22 Airbus A350-900s and #26 A350-1000s in addition to #22 undelivered Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that will form an ultimate #50 strong 777-300ER fleet.


A350-1000 has better fuel efficiency by 22%+17% than 747-400 and by 17% than 777-300ER.

While Cathay Pacific does and will take hits on its balance sheet in even retiring the 747-400s and A340-300s earlier, renewing its fleet is a very sound strategy going forward given the fuel efficiency gains that these new long-haul twin-engine aircraft offer, as the 777-300ER is 22% more fuel efficient than a 747-400 and the A350-1000 is 17% more fuel efficient than the 777-300ER, according to Cathay Pacific.

Indeed, Cathay is extremely well-positioned for future growth with this fleet and has plenty of time to evaluate its options, as the proposed 407-seat 777-9X will offer the Hong Kong-based carrier a growth opportunity over the 365-seat 777-300ER while burning 21% less fuel per seat than the 777-300ER without compromising its frequency-based business model. Another aircraft of interest to Cathay sooner rather than later would be the double-stretched 323-seat Boeing 787-10X Dreamliner which burns 25% less fuel than an A330-300 with a range of 6,700-6,750nm (nautical miles), as Cathay needs to retire its oldest Airbus A330-300 aircraft which has been the backbone of its regional fleet when the 787-10X enters into service in 2020.

“We’ve no future plans at this moment [to acquire more new aircraft],” Cathay Pacific chief executive John Slosar clarified, however.


Based on article “Gleam of hope for Cathay Pacific in stormy skies” published in Aspire Aviation