Airbus (Toulouse) has today issued this announcement and photo:
However, the difficulties may become a thing of the past thanks to a new method currently being developed by Airbus – which employs direct inkjet printing to deliver a broad range of production and operational improvements.
The method was developed by engineers from Airbus’ A320 Family paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, and is able to reproduce any livery design – be it a photographic motif, modern art or other complex patterns – faster and more efficiently than traditional painting processes, and with finer detail as well.
The direct printer functions much like a traditional model, using an inkjet head with nozzles that spray three basic colours (cyan, magenta and yellow) and black. Utilising a seven-square-metre bench, the inkjet head prints a design line by line, from top to bottom. After the process is completed, the aircraft component is sealed with a clear coat.
According to technology manager Matthias Otto, the advantages of direct inkjet-printed liveries are numerous. “I can create colour gradients or photo-realistic motifs that could never be achieved with paint,” he explained, and added that this new method also is capable of printing components of any size or shape. In the past, heavier printed film was used to produce complex designs, however such film is susceptible to the effects of heat, cold and high pressure, and ultimately could tear or peel.
The business case for direct printing is convincing. Compared with painting, where the design has to be built up by layer-by-layer, there are far fewer working and drying steps – greatly reducing the lead time. There also is no overspray or solvent vapour when ink is used, providing better working conditions for Airbus employees, as well as a healthier environment.
At present, the inkjet method still is at the experimental stage. Technical Readiness Level 6 (TRL 6) was reached at the end of June, and the ink and associated processes will be qualified early in 2015. Nonetheless, the project already has become part of the A320 Final Assembly Line (FAL) benchmark initiative, with the intention to further stabilise scheduled lead times for the best-selling Airbus single-aisle jetliner family.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this statement about the series of worldwide test flights for its new A350-900:
The world’s newest widebody airliner, the Airbus A350-900, has successfully completed a series of Route Proving trials, receiving an enthusiastic welcome at each of the 14 cities it has visited over the past three weeks. At the technical Route Proving the aircraft must demonstrate its readiness for airline operations on a global scale. This last series of trials is required for Type Certification, which is expected in Q3 this year.
The A350 XWB completed its Route Proving after landing in Toulouse, France on August 13th (17:00 UTC) coming from Helsinki, Finland. The exercise took the flight test aircraft, msn 005, across the globe on an impressive 20-day trip flying over the North Pole, each ocean and stopping at 14 major international airports world-wide. During its World Tour, the aircraft flew approximately 81,700 nm /151,300 km in some 180 flight hours, with all flights performing on schedule. The aircraft was operated by Airbus flight crews as well as Qatar flight crews on the route from Doha to Perth, Moscow and Helsinki. The Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency also participated and flew the aircraft on two legs.
A major highlight was the trip from Johannesburg Tambo International Airport, located at 5,558 feet (1,694m) above sea level, to Sydney, demonstrating the A350’s excellent performance at high altitude airports. The flights from Johannesburg to Sydney and Auckland to Santiago de Chile demonstrated also its capability to fly ultra-long-haul routes or Extended range Twin Operations (ETOPS).
“The aircraft has performed remarkably well confirming the high level of maturity that it has been demonstrating all the way during our development and certification tests. We are set for the Type Certification in the coming weeks, as planned”, said Fernando Alonso, Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests, and added: “I truly believe that the aircraft is fit to enter into service and perform to the expectations of our Customers.”
The technical Route Proving commenced on July 24th in Toulouse/France and comprised the following destinations: Frankfurt, Singapore and Hong-Kong. On the third trip, the aircraft visited Johannesburg, Sydney, followed by Auckland, Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo. The fourth and final journey included Perth followed by Doha, Moscow and Helsinki.
At each destination, the A350 XWB performed as expected and on schedule. Checks were made on standard maintenance as well as typical airport operations and compatibility. The automatic landing capability of the A350 XWB was also successfully demonstrated during a local flight performed at Johannesburg.
The A350 XWB is the latest addition to the market-leading Airbus Widebody product line. Offering its customers a 25% reduction in fuel-burn, the all-new mid-size long-range A350 XWB Family comprises three versions from 276 to 369 seats. The A350 has carbon fibre fuselage and wings and sets new standards in terms of passenger experience, operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A350-941 F-WWYB (msn 005) arrives back at Toulouse.
Airbus A350-941 F-WWYB (msn 005) took off this morning from Toulouse for the final stage of certification.
According to Airbus, “these Route Proving tests are designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services. Some flights will have passengers on board. The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole.”
The world tour using A350 msn 005 test aircraft forms part of the route proving for certification campaign. The aircraft is one of the fleet of five test aircraft and one of two with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). The A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews with the participation of Airworthiness Authority pilots from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The tests form part of the last trials required for aircraft Type Certification scheduled for Q3 this year.
The first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, will follow towards the end of the year.
The three week trial (four trips) starts in Toulouse, France.
Trip one, includes destinations such as Canada via the north-pole and Frankfurt.
Trip two to Asia, the world’s fastest growing aviation market, includes visits to Hong Kong and Singapore.
The third trip brings the aircraft to Johannesburg and to Sydney. From Sydney it will fly to Auckland, followed by Santiago de Chile and Sao Paulo before returning to Toulouse.
On the fourth and final trip, the A350 will depart from Toulouse to Doha, then onto Perth and back to Doha. From Doha it will fly to Moscow, then to Helsinki from where it will fly back to Toulouse.
Today five development A350s are flying and are actively involved in the intensive flight test program, which has already reached over 540 flights and 2,250 flight hours.
At the end of June 2014, the A350 XWB had won 742 orders from 38 customers worldwide.
Trip one: Toulouse-Iqaluit-Frankfurt-Toulouse
Trip two: Toulouse-Hong-Kong-Singapore-Hong-Kong-Toulouse (Hong Kong to Singapore several times)
Trip three: Toulouse-Johannesburg-Sydney-Auckland-Santiago de Chile-Sao Paulo-Toulouse
Trip four: Toulouse-Doha-Perth-Doha-Moscow-Helsinki-Toulouse
Copyright Photo: Airbus. F-WWYB carries special “Around the World” sub-titles.
Air Lease Corporation (ALC) (Los Angeles) has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 25 A330-900neo aircraft, becoming the first launch customer for the new Airbus Widebody. ALC simultaneously announced a firm order for 60 A321neo aircraft. The contact was signed today at the Farnborough International Airshow by Steven F. Udvar-Házy, Air Lease Corporation’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.
Including today’s order, ALC’s total orders and commitments for Airbus aircraft reaches 225, of which 200 are firm orders (50 A320ceo Family, 110 A320neo Family, 15 A330 Family, 25 A350 XWB Family) plus the MoU for 25 A330neo’s. ALC will announce engine selections for the 60 A321neo aircraft at a later date.
Airbus (Toulouse) issued this statement today at Farnborough:
Following a decision by the Board of Directors of the Group, Airbus has launched the A330-800neo and A330-900neo, two new members of its Widebody Family, which will incorporate latest generation Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, aerodynamic enhancements and new cabin features. Benefitting from the unbeatable economics, versatility and high reliability of the A330, the A330neo reduces fuel consumption by 14% per seat, making it the most cost efficient, medium range Widebody aircraft on the market. In addition to greater fuel savings, A330neo operators will benefit from a range increase of up to 400 nautical miles and all the operational commonality advantages of the Airbus Family. Deliveries of the A330neo will start in Q4 2017.
“The A330 is a very important margin contributor for our Group. It’s also one of the most reliable and efficient commercial aircraft ever. Customers love it. With our decision to re-engine the plane, we will keep the A330 flying high for many more years to come. The development costs for the A330neo will be incurred from 2015 to 2017 with an impact of around -70 basis points on Airbus Group’s 2015 Return on Sales target. However, we have a very good business case and the A330neo, once in service, will continue to significantly contribute to our group’s earnings,” said Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus Group.
“The A330neo is the logical evolution of our reliable and versatile A330 Family. It provides an optimal solution for airlines around the world looking to minimise their fuel and operating costs while offering best-in-class comfort to their passengers,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “We see strong market potential for the A330neo, and like its market-leading smaller sister, the A320neo, we are confident this new aircraft will be a success in the medium-haul segment. We are again leveraging a proven aircraft with a wide operator base and making it even more efficient with the latest innovations and technology developments.”
In addition to the new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, the A330neo will feature incremental innovations, including aerodynamic enhancements such as new A350 XWB inspired winglets, an increased wing span and new engine pylons. Pilots will benefit from latest generation cockpit systems, and the already very comfortable A330 cabin will be further optimised to offer up to ten additional 18 inch wide seats. Passengers are winners too, as they will be able to enjoy a 21st century on-board experience with for example, fourth generation In Flight Entertainment (3D films), mood-lighting and full connectivity.
Will this announcement lead to the killing of the underperforming and smaller A350-800? Bloomberg Businessweek explores this question: CLICK HERE
Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this short statement and photo:
Building on the A320 Family’s established reputation for quiet operations, Airbus is reducing noise levels even further for its popular single-aisle product line with the introduction of small underwing air flow deflectors. Positioned just ahead of underwing cavities for the fuel over-pressure protection system, these devices prevent the cavities from generating a “whistling” sound which can sometimes be heard on the ground when the engines are at idle during final approach. Air flow deflectors were implemented in production A320 jetliners this spring and are also available as a retrofit modification.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus’ (Toulouse) flight test department is moving at full-speed with all five A350-900 developmental aircraft now flying – a fleet that has accumulated more than 2,100 total hours in over 500 flights. Among the key recent achievements of the program are crosswind tests with msn 001 in Keflavik, Iceland (above); msn 003’s hot-weather test campaign in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates; the first flight of msn 005 and two Early Long Flights (ELFs) performed by msn 002. Remaining certification tests include route-proving and “maximum energy” rejected takeoff evaluations, which will help pave the way for the A350 XWB’s planned certification in the third quarter of 2014 and the subsequent delivery of the first customer aircraft to Qatar Airways before year-end.
Copyright Photo: B. Sveinson/Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse), in appealing to ultra low-fare carriers where the number of seats that can be sold is important, is now offering a high-density configuration version for the A320neo/A320ceo of 189 seats and 240 seats for the A321neo. Airbus issued this statement:
In offering even more efficiency for airline operators, Airbus is increasing seating capacity for A320neo (new engine option) and A320ceo (current engine option) jetliners to 189 seats, while also adding 20 more seats for A321neo aircraft to accommodate 240 passengers in an efficient high-density, all-economy layout.
“We are supporting the higher seat count with intelligent means to give living space to passengers,” said Klaus Roewe, Airbus’ Senior Vice President – A320neo Programme. “These new A320 Family configurations do not compromise on comfort, as they retain the Airbus standard of 18-inch wide seats in economy.”
To raise the A320’s capacity to 189 seats, Airbus has worked with airworthiness authorities to certify increased exit limits for the forward and aft doors on this version of the aircraft, taking advantage of exits that are significantly larger than the Type C requirements they were originally certified to. Also incorporated are wider evacuation slides or slide/rafts.
For the A321neo, the use of state-of-the-art slim-line seats and a new exit door arrangement – along with the optimized “Space-Flex” rear cabin galley configuration and Smart-Lavatory design – will increase this stretched fuselage jetliner version’s passenger capacity to 240 passengers, all while retaining Airbus’ 18-inch wide seat standard for economy travellers.
Roewe explained that six or more seats are added by using the new exit door arrangement, which eliminates Door 2 and the first cross-aisle in the fuselage’s forward section, while also incorporating a new double over-wing exit and shifting Door 3 aft-ward by four frames – thereby reducing the area necessary to accommodate emergency exit rows in the aircraft.
“If you add this up, it results in an approximately six per cent fuel burn per seat reduction – only by incorporating more seats in the A321neo aircraft,” Roewe added.
Airbus (Toulouse) yesterday (July 1) rolled out the first assembled A320neo (new engine option). The pictured Airbus A320-271N WL F-WNEO (msn 6101) will soon enter its flight test program. The manufacturer issued this statement:
The assembly of Airbus’ first A320neo has been completed following painting of the aircraft and the mounting of Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines. Msn 6101, which will be the first A320neo to fly, will soon start its ground tests to prepare for first flight.
The flight test campaign for the A320neo will kick-off in September 2014, paving the way for Entry Into Service in Q4 2015.
The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of nearly 2,700 orders received from more than 50 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership.
Airbus also issued this statement about the upcoming test program:
The highly-efficient NEO (new engine option) single-aisle jetliner project is another step closer to taking flight with the rollout of the initial A320neo – a key milestone as Airbus continues on-schedule for the aircraft’s maiden flight.
Prominently featuring the NEO branding on its livery, this aircraft – designated MSN6101 in the company’s numbering system – is powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM engines and is the first in Airbus’ A320neo Family developmental fleet. It is equipped with extensive flight test instrumentation for handling qualities, performance and engine tests, along with the high-altitude, and hot- and cold-weather campaigns.
In total, Airbus’ NEO flight-test fleet will comprise eight aircraft. This includes two A320neos, one A319neo and one A321neo for each of the new engine choices: Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP-1A.
The company’s rigorous A320neo Family flight-test and certification programme is facilitated by the jetliner’s fly-by-wire commonality, as well as previous flight dynamics testing during the Sharklet-certification campaign, explained Sandra Bour-Schaeffer, Project Flight Test Engineer for the NEO programme at Airbus.
Once msn 6101 takes flight, Airbus will begin with initial development and aircraft flight manual tests, before proceeding into its A320neo development and certification phase and maturity campaign – to ensure the A320neo fully meets customer requirements at service entry, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2015.
In addition, a second Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft is planned to join the developmental fleet this year – fitted with lighter flight test instrumentation for noise, functionality, reliability testing and ETOPS approval.
Airbus already is well advanced with “up-front” A320neo testing, including approximately 250 flight hours performed on the company’s A320ceo (current engine option) in-house developmental aircraft to evaluate hardware and software for NEO flight control laws, and test bench validation of thrust reversers.
To further prepare for first flight, Airbus will begin a “virtual flight-test campaign” this summer, which includes simulator-based evaluations of flying scenarios and aircraft systems.
Incorporating its new engine choices, along with the application of Airbus’ fuel-saving Sharklets wingtip devices, the NEO shares over 95 per cent commonality with CEO aircraft – while delivering at least 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption for operators.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse) today (June 2) began actual passenger flight testing on its test Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002). The manufacturer issued this statement:
As preparations continue for the A350 XWB’s first delivery later in 2014, Airbus is ensuring this next-generation widebody jetliner provides an unmatched cabin experience with the initial flight test carrying a full passenger load – which commenced today from Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France.
While it is not part of the technical certification campaign, this evaluation – called an Early Long Flight (ELF) – marks an important step toward the A350 XWB’s commercial service entry, allowing Airbus to assess the cabin environment and related systems in a typical operating scenario.
Today’s ELF is being performed by the second of five A350 XWB test aircraft, designated msn 002. Airbus experimental test pilots are at the flight controls, while a crew from Air France tends to the passengers – made up of Airbus employees selected in recognition of strong work performance. The Air France crew was trained to operate the A350 XWB’s cabin – including public address systems, galleys and safety equipment – prior to this test activity.
Depending on weather conditions, the scheduled ELF flight path will take the aircraft over the Atlantic Ocean, as well as much of western and central Europe, before returning to Toulouse. This test aims to replicate a normal commercial flight according to ELF test director Christophe Bertrand, with confirming A350 XWB airport compatibility as one key objective.
Another focus will be observing the behavior of cabin systems. “We’ll be looking at everything from the in-flight entertainment system and overhead storage bins to the air conditioning and lavatories,” explained Bertrand ahead of today’s ELF take-off. “We also want the crew to experiment with their systems and see how they like the crew rest areas.”
Questionnaires to be filled out by passengers and crew will provide valuable feedback on such qualities as noise, air flow, comfort and ergonomics, as well as the A350 XWB’s many new cabin features – including its LED lighting system and in-flight entertainment.
The A350 XWB’s wide fuselage cross-section was designed for an optimum travel experience in all classes of service. Passengers will enjoy more headroom, wider panoramic windows and larger overhead storage space. With a cross-section of 220 inches from armrest to armrest, the jetliner’s cabin provides the widest seats in its category, being five inches larger than the nearest competitor.
In addition to providing the space for unmatched premium first class and business solutions, the A350 XWB allows for high-comfort economy seating in a nine-abreast arrangement, with Airbus’ standard 18-inch seat width.
Top Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002) in the special “Carbon Fiber” livery arrives back at Toulouse on a previous test flight.
Middle Copyright Photo: Airbus. Air France flight attendants serve the volunteer passengers on board F-WWCF.
Bottom Copyright Photo: Airbus. Volunteer passengers are issued boarding passes and flight simulates a long-range airline flight.
Airbus (Toulouse) has completed hot and cold testing of its new Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002) in Florida. The new airliner has completed this extreme weather testing at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in northwest Florida (Florida Panhandle). Airbus issued this statement and photo:
The first-ever testing of an Airbus aircraft at the U.S. Air Force’s McKinley Climatic Laboratory subjected the A350 XWB and its various systems and cabin installations to a full range of conditions for further maturity and operability verifications prior to this new jetliner’s delivery start-up later this year.
Airbus brought A350 XWB msn 2 to the facility at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida for more than two weeks of evaluations this month, during which this developmental aircraft was subjected to multiple climatic and humidity settings from a high of 45 degrees C (113 degrees F) to as low as -40 degrees C (-40 degrees F).
Flight test director Philippe Foucault said the A350 XWB’s various systems – from in-flight entertainment and air conditioning to its galleys, water and waste systems – were validated while the A350 XWB was enclosed in the laboratory’s large hangar. Testing included operations with the engines running, which required the A350 XWB to be securely chained in place.
The A350 XWB is one the largest aircraft ever tested at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory, requiring the teams to start their preparations six months prior to arrival. “This is a one-of-a-kind tool, and the laboratory’s operators are masters of it,” Foucault said. “They made everything seem possible.”
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (Amsterdam) Airbus A330-200 operating flight KL 767 has commenced the longest commercial flight with sustainable jet fuels ever performed by an Airbus aircraft. The aircraft took off with a 20% blend of sustainable fuel made of used cooking oil, for a 10 hour flight from Schiphol airport to the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba.
Airbus’ major role in this test is to collect data before, during and after the flight (engine fuel system, engine performance analysis etc.) to provide insights into the use of non-petroleum based fuels compared to traditional fuels.
This flight is the first of a series of around 20 long-haul commercial flights using an Airbus aircraft in the context of the European initiative called ITAKA (Initiative Towards sustAinable Kerosene for Aviation) which aims to speed up the commercialisation of aviation biofuels in Europe.
Funded by the European Union, ITAKA is a collaborative project aiming to produce sustainable aviation fuel and to test its use in existing systems and normal flight operations in Europe with KLM. The project will also link supply and demand by establishing relationships among feedstock growers and producers, biofuel producers, distributors and airlines.
“As the leading aircraft manufacturer, our participation in the ITAKA initiative with KLM using an A330-200 – the most fuel efficient aircraft in its category – is key to our role as a catalyst in the commercialisation of sustainable jet fuels. We are very happy to have the full support of the European Union in the ITAKA project, supporting the aviation industry’s initiative to develop sustainable biofuels for aviation,” said Andrea Debbané, Airbus Vice President of Environment Affairs.
Airbus is involved in major European funded projects contributing significantly to reducing the environmental footprint of aviation, including the Single European Sky (SES) and SESAR for the modernisation of the European Air Traffic Management System and CleanSky, a programme which aims to accelerate technological breakthrough developments and shorten the time to market for new and more environmentally efficient solutions tested on full-scale demonstrators.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. KLM’s A330-203 PH-AOM 9msn 1161) wears special “Leader in biofuel” markings for the historic trip to Aruba.
Airbus (Toulouse) has issued tho statement regarding the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Airbus A300 with Air France (Paris):
Airbus is proud to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the entry into service of its first aircraft – the A300B – operated by Air France as the launch customer.
Above Copyright Photo: Airbus. The first A300 is handed over to Air France.
Today leading the aviation industry, Airbus was focused at the very outset on innovation, by designing the A300B as the world’s first twin-engine widebody.
Moreover, the success of that program and the philosophy to innovate has been the cornerstone of Airbus’ ongoing success story.
Starting in 1974, 878 A300/A310 Family aircraft have been manufactured. Even today, over 400 of these are still in service with 65 customers.
Top Copyright Photo: Christian Volpati/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A300B2-1A F-BVGA (msn 005) is beautifully portrayed in the original 1974 livery at the Paris (CDG). The A300 was delivered to Air France on May 10, 1974.
Airbus (Toulouse) has sen the pictured A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002) to the McKinley Climatic Lab at Eglin Air Force Base in the Panhandle of Florida for two weeks of extreme weather testing. Airbus issued this statement:
In order to go beyond certification requirements and testing to the extremes the first ever Airbus A350 XWB to visit the United States, msn (manufacturer’s serial number) 002 has arrived at McKinley Climatic Lab at Eglin Air Force base in northwest Florida. Over the next couple of weeks the aircraft and its various systems and cabin installations will be subjected to the extreme hot and cold temperatures that the unique facility can sustain in a testing environment. These tests come on top of those already performed earlier this year in the Middle East and Northern Canada to ensure maturity and full in-service readiness from Day 1 for all A350 XWB’s operators.
There are currently four test aircraft flying in the A350 XWB program. Together they have accumulated around 1,600 flight test hours in more than 350 flights. The certification process for the program is progressing on schedule – certification is anticipated in the third quarter of 2014 with entry into service in the fourth quarter of this year.
Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002) is painted in the eye-catching “Carbon Fiber” livery.
Airbus (Toulouse) is introducing a new innovation, “RFID Integrated Nameplates”, to further expand its RFID (radio-frequency identification) deployment and enhance the traceability of aircraft parts that it produces and uses internally.
This market-driven development combines the function of a conventional nameplate and a RFID tag into one compact, durable and lightweight hybrid device. These tags will contribute to value-chain visibility, error-proof identification and efficiency savings in the lifecycle and configuration management of traceable components.
To help support this initiative, Airbus has widened its range of RFID tag suppliers by selecting Brady and Fujitsu to supply the RFID Integrated Nameplates. This latest move to apply RFID tags for internal traceable parts follows the introduction of RFID tags on maintainable parts on its A350 XWB aircraft in 2010 and subsequently seats and life vests across its fleet in 2012.
For radio-frequency identification, tags – containing electrically stored information – which are attached to objects can be automatically identified and tracked by utilizing electromagnetic fields to transfer data.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Final assembly of the first Airbus A320neo is advancing rapidly in Toulouse, France, putting this “new engine option” jetliner program on track for its maiden flight later this year, to be followed by the initial customer delivery in 2015.
The number one Airbus A320neo began its final assembly process last month – starting with the join-up of its forward and aft fuselage sections, which were produced at Airbus’ St. Nazaire site in France and Hamburg, Germany facility respectively, then delivered to Toulouse.
This was followed by the mating of major aircraft structures produced at Airbus sites across Europe, including the wings (Broughton, UK); vertical tailplane (Stade, Germany); horizontal tailplane (Getafe, Spain); engine pylons (St. Eloi, France); and outer and inner flaps (Bremen, Germany). During recent activity, the main flight-test instrumentation equipment also was installed.
In parallel, the first A320neo jetliner’s PW1100G-JM engines are being prepared at Pratt & Whitney’s manufacturing facilities in the U.S., and will be delivered to Airbus in the coming months.
The A320neo incorporates many innovations, including latest-generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices – which together deliver 15 per cent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of more than 2,600 orders received from 50 customers since its 2010 launch, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 per cent of the market.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. F-WNEO (msn 6101) is designated as an A320-271N (neo).
Airbus (Toulouse) has unveiled the A350 XWB’s development cabin interior installed on board flight-test aircraft msn 002 at the Airbus site in Hamburg. Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002), which made its first flight on February 26, 2014, is the first of two test aircraft fitted with a passenger interior and is part of the growing A350 XWB development fleet. Intensive cabin flight and ground tests have already been performed during a two-week stay of the aircraft in Hamburg in mid-March 2014. The cabins of all Airbus aircraft are developed by the engineering and research teams based there. The new interior demonstrates how the aircraft’s “eXtra-wide” fuselage will soon offer passengers even more personal space, flexibility and comfort in business and economy classes, and especially, a wide 18” seat in 9-abreast economy.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. The test cabin of F-WWCF (msn 002).
A350 XWB msn 002 will be tasked with conducting a series of “Early Long Flights” with its cabin accommodating real passengers. ‘Hot and cold’ cabin trials will also feature in its busy test programme, which also includes validation of the advanced fourth-generation in-flight-entertainment (IFE). F-WWCF (msn 002) will soon be joined by the second cabin-equipped A350 msn 005, which will be tasked with route-proving flights around the world to the major destinations it will serve.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. Computer rendering of the Business Class cabin.
Together with the unveiling of the first A350 XWB test cabin, Airbus also inaugurated its dedicated A350 XWB Customer Definition Centre (CDC) where airline customers and operators will follow an efficient cabin design and definition process allowing shorter lead times. The CDC, which features individually tailored zones, enables the customers to see, feel and test the real catalogue solutions presented in a showroom environment, and in close cooperation with the risk-sharing partners. The centre also incorporates the innovative electronic “A350 XWB Configurator” – a virtual environment and modelling tool for accelerated cabin specification and visualisation. In short, the CDC is a “one-stop-shop” for airlines to establish their own A350 XWB cabin definition efficiently in one place.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. The lighting in the projected Business Class section.
Notable passenger-pleasing features of the A350 XWB cabin which customers can evaluate for real in the CDC include the full cabin LED lighting with 16.7 million possible colors for customized ambiances and scenarios, or the various galley options. They will also be able to experience the wide array of fourth-generation IFE consoles and high-definition display options – for which the associated electronics boxes and connections are smartly integrated and combined with the aircraft’s unique flat floor architecture, thus freeing-up even more personal space, under the seat.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. The Business Class seat.
Visitors to the CDC’s full-scale mock-ups will also appreciate the aircraft’s near-vertical sidewalls, adding eXtra spaciousness to the cabin and the large overhead stowage bins to match growing hand-luggage volume requirements.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. The proposed Economy Class cabin.
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions covering a wide range of capacities from 276 to 369 seats. This family, whose 221-inch wide internal cabin cross-section is optimized for full long-range passenger comfort in all classes, brings a 25 percent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category. At the end of March 2014, the A350 XWB had won 812 orders from 39 customers worldwide.
Top Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Test aircraft Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF (msn 002) in the “Carbon Fiber” livery arrives back at Toulouse.
Airbus has started final assembly of the first A320neo (msn 6101) at its Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse (France), with the join-up of the forward and aft fuselage sections which recently arrived from St. Nazaire in France and Hamburg in Germany respectively.
Once this phase is completed, the next stage is the wing to fuselage join-up. Overall it takes about one month to complete the final assembly of an A320 Family aircraft. On average, every seven hours an A320 Family aircraft leaves one of the three A320 Family FAL’s in Toulouse, Hamburg, or Tianjin.
According to Airbus, “The A320neo first flight will take place in the fourth quarter of 2014 and first delivery in the fourth quarter of 2015. The A320neo “new engine option” incorporates many innovations, including latest generation engines and large Sharklet wing-tip devices, which together deliver 15 percent in fuel savings and a reduction of 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year. With a total of more than 2,600 orders received from 50 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership.”
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
One of the first Concorde jetliners built at Toulouse, France has made its final “voyage” with the aircraft’s ground transfer to the Airbus-supported Aeroscopia Museum site at the Toulouse-Blagnac Airport. Designated as an Aerospatiale BAC Concorde 100 and registered as F-WTSB (msn 1), this Concorde made its last flight in April 1985, returning to Toulouse after a career that included a full range of test and development activity.
The Aeroscopia Museum where Concorde msn 1 will be permanently displayed has received funding from Airbus, and its collection will also include one of the initial A300s – the cornerstone widebody jetliner in Airbus’ product line – as well as the msn 1 flight test A400M military airlifter.
Airbus (Toulouse has decided to increase production of its single-aisle A320 family to 46 a month in the second quarter of 2016, up from the current rate of 42. The new higher production rate will be achieved gradually, with an intermediate step at 44 aircraft per month in the first quarter of 2016.
Over the past five years, Airbus has steadily increased A320 Family production, going from rate 36 at the end of 2010 to a rate of 38 in August 2011, then up to rate 40 in the first quarter of 2012 to reach 42 per month in the fourth quarter of the same year.
With over 10,200 Airbus single aisle aircraft sold and more than 5,900 delivered to nearly 400 customers and operators, the A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is the world’s best-selling and most modern single aisle aircraft family.
With a total of 2,610 orders the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market, clearly demonstrating its leadership. Incorporating new more efficient engines and Airbus’ “Sharklet” large wing tip devices, these new aircraft are set to deliver fuel savings of up to 15 percent.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse) has brought one of its new Airbus A350 to Doha’s new Hamad International Airport in Doha on its way to the Singapore Airshow. Airbus issued this stated:
An A350 XWB flight test aircraft (msn 3) has made its premiere appearance at Doha’s new Hamad International Airport, on its way to the Singapore Airshow. The visit is part of the Entry-into-Service preparations between Airbus and Qatar Airways, the A350 XWB launch customer, who will take delivery of its first A350 XWB in the fourth quarter of this year.
During the visit, the aircraft was welcomed by Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker as well as government officials, eager to see the aircraft performing in Qatar’s skies.
The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) is an all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions. The new Family, whose fuselage cross-section is optimized for full long-range passenger comfort in all classes, will bring a 25 percent step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category. To date, the A350 XWB has won 812 orders from 39 customers worldwide.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Qatar Airways’ (Doha) CEO, Akbar Al Baker, visited Airbus’ facilities in Toulouse to get first-hand information on the A350 program’s progress. The airline will be the first A350 XWB operator and is also its biggest customer with 80 aircraft on order. Airbus and Qatar Airways are working closely together to ensure a successful entry-into-service of this all-new aircraft from day one.
During his site-tour, Mr Al Baker unveiled Airbus’ newest flight test aircraft msn 4, branded with a special “launch customer” livery. The aircraft will soon join the A350 flight test fleet for external noise and lightning tests, avionics development & certification and training for first customer pilots & maintenance teams.
“I am pleased with what I have seen during my visit. It gives me every confidence that the program is well on track for our first delivery in 2014. At Qatar Airways, we are eager to open a new chapter of efficient and comfortable air travel and the A350 XWB will do this for us. The aircraft will give us that extra edge in economics and comfort to further boost our route expansion.” commented Akbar Al Baker.
Copyright Photos: Airbus.
With the placement of the final truss atop the roof this week, the construction of the first building in the Airbus Mobile Assembly Line complex has reached an important milestone. The entire “skeleton” of the building can now be seen. This building is the Final Assembly Line Hangar, which is where A320 family aircraft will be assembled. The milestone was celebrated with the construction crew and project team members signing the final truss before it was lifted into position.
Construction contracts for the other buildings in the complex will be awarded soon. Aircraft assembly is scheduled to begin in 2015, with first deliveries from the Mobile facility beginning in 2016. Airbus anticipates the facility will produce between 40 and 50 aircraft per year by 2018.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse) has delivered the 1,000th Airbus aircraft to China. This milestone was reached in December 2013 with the hand over of an A320 to Air China (Beijing).
Airbus delivered its first jetliner to China in 1985, but the fleet grew slowly for the first decade. Deliveries to Chinese customers now account for over 20 per cent of total Airbus production and, according to forecasts, 170 aircraft per year will be delivered from 2014 to 2020.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. Pictured with the temporary registration of B-509L, the Airbus A320-214 became B-9926 (msn 5771) when it was handed over to Air China on December 24, 2013.
The first group of employees who will support the production processes for Airbus’ U.S.-based A320 Family assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, reported for their on-the-job-training in Hamburg this week. Over the next months, the manufacturing engineers, station managers and a quality manager will work alongside their counterparts in Germany to become familiar with production tools and processes.
Hamburg is Airbus’ headquarters in Germany and is the home of the A320 Family program management team. Structural assembly and equipping of fuselage sections and final assembly of the A320 Family’s four members – the A318, A319, A320 and A321 – take place there.
Aircraft assembly in Mobile will begin in 2015, with first delivery scheduled for 2016.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse) has issued this report for 2013:
Airbus exceeded commercial targets in 2013, achieving a new record of 626 aircraft deliveries (493 A320 Family aircraft, 108 A330, 25 A380) to 93 customers (15 new) and a new industry record of 1619 gross orders (377 A320ceo, 876 A320neo, 77 A330, 239 A350 XWB, 50 A380) beating the previous record in 2011 by 11 aircraft. The year was also Airbus’ most valuable gross order intake (List price $240.5 billion US). By year end, the backlog had climbed to an industry wide record of 5,559 aircraft, valued at $809 billion US at list prices, or eight years production.
Aircraft deliveries in 2013 were up for the 12th year in a row, beating the initial target and surpassing the previous record set in 2012 (588) by an additional 38 aircraft.
At 2013 year end, Airbus commanded 51 per cent gross market share (aircraft above 100 seats). Decisions by customers to move towards larger aircraft in all segments (A321, A330-300, A350-1000 and A380) is having a positive result on revenues, complementing Airbus’ lead in both single aisle and widebody aircraft markets.
During the year the A320neo surpassed 2,600 orders while strong sales of the A320ceo continued with more than 1,000 sold since the NEO was launched. The A350 XWB had significant commercial breakthroughs especially with a first order from Japan, and the A380 coninued to dominate the Very Large Aircraft market with 50 new orders.
Signalling Airbus’ successful transformation to a more agile company, 2013 was also notable for the A350 XWB first flight. Test flights are progressing well with two aircraft having accomplished over 800 flight hours. Certification is targeted for Q3 and Entry Into Service for Q4 2014. The A330 new longer range and regional variants were launched, A330 production reached a new record high of rate 10 per month and single aisle remained stable at rate 42.
In 2013, Airbus Military delivered 31 aircraft including seven A330 MRTT and two A400M for the French Air Force, confirming the programme is well back on track.
Copyright Photo: Olivier Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. Brand new test aircraft, Airbus A350-941 F-WXWB (msn 001), approaches the runway for landing at Toulouse.
Airbus (Toulouse) yesterday (January 2) rolled-out its third A350 XWB flight-test aircraft (msn 002) from the paint shop in Toulouse.
The new type is expected to enter service in the fourth quarter of this year.
The pictured Airbus A350-941 F-WWCF wears a distinctive “Carbon” signature livery to reflect its primary construction from advanced materials. This aircraft is also the first of two A350 flight test aircraft to be equipped with a full passenger cabin interior.
Composite materials in Airbus aircraft have seen a step-by-step introduction that started with the A310 which was first rolled-out in February 1982. Benefiting from over 30 years of composite material experience, 53% of the A350 XWB’s airframe is made-up of carbon-fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) including Airbus’ first carbon-fiber fuselage.
Copyright Photo: Airbus/P. Pigeyre.
JAL-Japan Airlines‘ (Tokyo) private corporate decision to order the Airbus A350 is sending shock waves through the Japanese aviation industry. According to report by Reuters, JAL informed the Japanese government it was switching to Airbus with a large order from Airbus for the A350 rather than the Boeing 777X with a simple e-mail at the time of the public announcement. Japanese companies and Boeing have a close business connection as Japanese companies are actively involved in Boeing projects. As a result, Boeing has always captured a large share of the Japanese market. This order has will undoubtedly change the dynamics between these Japanese companies and Boeing. ANA-All Nippon Airways (Tokyo) is fast approaching an order between Airbus and Boeing and is coming under political pressure to order Boeing long-haul aircraft. The Japanese government says it has a hands-off policy. Will Boeing lose again?
Meanwhile Boeing is revamping its marketing strategies (long overdue). Boeing has now lost a long list of airlines to Airbus. Boeing has only taken a few carriers away from Airbus. Embraer and to a lessor extent, Bombardier, are also taking a greater portion of the narrow body market.
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Airbus has announced a new lower weight variant of its versatile A330-300 wide-body aircraft that is optimized for use on domestic and regional routes in high growth markets with large populations and concentrated traffic flows. China will be one of the most important markets for this new version of today’s world’s most efficient and reliable wide body aircraft.
The announcement was made by Fabrice Bregier, President and CEO of Airbus, at the Aviation Expo China (Beijing Airshow) 2013, which has opened its doors in Beijing.
“The new lower weight A330-300 variant specially designed for regional and domestic use is Airbus’ solution for markets with large populations and fast growing, concentrated air traffic flows. Operators of the new A330-300 variant will benefit from a proven, mature and reliable aircraft that brings relief to limited airspace, airport congestion and pilot shortage,” said Fabrice Bregier. “We are announcing the new A330-300 lower weight variant today in China because here we see strong pent-up demand for efficient and reliable wide-body aircraft connecting mega cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.”
Compared to current A330-300 variants that are adapted to longer-range missions of up to 6,100 nautical miles (nm), the new A330-300 regional and domestic variant will be optimised to seat up to around 400 passengers in Airbus’ best in class 18 inches wide economy seat comfort on missions up to 3,000 nm and offer significant cost savings through a reduced operational weight of around 200 tonnes. The reduction in fuel burn per seat and maintenance costs thanks to these innovations will result in an overall cost reduction by up to 15% compared with the today’s long-range A330-300 variants.
In addition, the new A330-300 variant will benefit from the latest A350 XWB and A380 technologies. These include cockpit functionalities such as dual head-up display and the latest navigational systems. The cabin will also be future proofed with innovations such as modern slimline light-weight seats, high broadband wi-fi connectivity throughout, the newest In-Flight Entertainment allowing HD TV, LED lighting and full colour mood lighting.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. For the first time the A330 flew in formation with the new A350 and also the A380 near Toulouse.
The new Airbus A350 joined the Airbus A330 and Airbus A380 for an “Xtra-widebody” family flight yesterday (September 19) near Toulouse. The Airbus wide body family of flight test aircraft, the A380, A330 and the all-new A350 XWB, took off from Toulouse flying together for the first time.
Copyright Photo: Airbus.
Airbus (Toulouse) has delivered its 8,000th aircraft – an A320 for AirAsia Indonesia (Jakarta). The aircraft took off from Toulouse, France on Saturday August 3 and arrived earlier today (August 5) at its new base in Jakarta.
Airbus (Toulouse) yesterday (July 19) celebrated the delivery of the 1,000th A330. The aircraft, an A330-343X registered B-LBB (msn 1436), powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, was handed over to Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong) at special ceremony in Toulouse. Cathay Pacific together with its sister airline Dragonair (Hong Kong) is the world’s largest operator of the A330, with a total of 56 now in service.
Since its first delivery of the A330 in 1995, Cathay Pacific’s Airbus fleet now comprises 38 A330-300s and 11 A340s, while Dragonair flies 21 single aisle A320 Family aircraft and 18 A330-300s. The Cathay Pacific Group has outstanding orders for 10 more A330-300s. The airline will also take delivery of 48 all-new A350 XWBs in the future, including 46 ordered from Airbus and two leased aircraft.
The wide market appeal of the A330 Family is demonstrated daily by over 100 operators, including network carriers, low cost, charter and flag carriers, who fly A330s on all missions from 30 minutes to over 14 hours. About 1.2 billion passengers have enjoyed traveling on board the light, bright and spacious A330 cabin to and from the 300 airports it serves today. More than 1,250 A330s have been ordered to date.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. B-LBB wears a special “We are flying the 1000th A330″ inscription below the main titles.
Airbus (Toulouse) brought its new Airbus A350-900 yesterday (June 21) to the Paris Air Show for a brief fly-by.
The manufacturer issued this statement:
As part of its third test flight from Airbus’ Toulouse headquarters in southwestern France, the number 1 A350 XWB headed north to offer a show-stopping performance in the skies above Le Bourget Airport today – where a large crowd gathered to witness the fly-by of this new highly-efficient wide-body jetliner.
The aircraft, designated msn 001 in Airbus’ numbering system, made a dramatic entrance over Le Bourget at approximately 1:30 p.m. – marking its first appearance at a public event. Cheers and applause from the crowd drowned out the A350 XWB’s quiet Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines as the aircraft flew along the air show runway before clearing the area and entering the cloud cover.
Piloted by Airbus Captain Peter Chandler and Captain Guy Magrin, the A350 XWB’s fly-by was performed with the authorisation of the France’s DGAC civil aviation authority, and supported by Paris Air Show organisers – who allocated a slot in Friday afternoon’s aerial display.
The A350 XWB performed its first flight on June 14, 2013 from Toulouse and followed that with another mission this week, before its fly-by at the Paris Air Show. These initial flights opened a test and certification campaign that will total approximately 2,500 hours with a fleet of five development aircraft.
Copyright Photo: Airbus. A350-951 F-WXWB (msn 001) flies over a mostly cloudy Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport on the longest day of the year.
The 2013 50th International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport is winding down for the manufacturers. We have been reporting this week on all of the order announcements.
There were several airliner flight demonstrations. Here is a sample:
Boeing demonstrated an Air India 787-8 Dreamliner at Paris:
Airbus demonstrated an A380 bound for British Airways at Paris:
Copyright Photo: Marcelo F. De Biasi/AirlinersGallery.com. Airbus A380-841 F-WWDD (msn 004) “Own the sky” also performed at the show.
Airbus (Toulouse) today (June 14), as planned, launched the first flight of its first Airbus A350-900 (A350 XWB). The pictured A350-941 F-WXWB (msn 001) took to sunny skies at Toulouse this morning.
Here is the statement by Airbus:
A new chapter has opened in Airbus’ 43 year history as the first A350 XWB, the world’s most efficient large twin-engined commercial aircraft, powered aloft this morning for its maiden flight at Blagnac in Toulouse, France at 10.00 hours local time. Equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB turbofans, the A350 XWB first flight is taking place over south western France.
An international crew of six is on board, comprising two Flight Test Pilots, one Test Flight Engineer and three Flight Test Engineers. At the controls of the A350 XWB’s first flight are Peter Chandler, Airbus’ Chief Test Pilot, and Guy Magrin, Project Pilot for the A350 XWB. Accompanying them in the cockpit is Pascal Verneau, the A350 XWB Project Test Flight Engineer. At their flight test stations in the main aircraft cabin and monitoring the progress of the flight via an extensive array of flight test instrumentation are the three flight test engineers: Fernando Alonso, Head of Airbus Flight & Integration Test Centre; Patrick du Ché, Head of Development Flight Tests; and Emanuele Costanzo, lead Flight Test Engineer for the Trent XWB engine.
This first flight marks the beginning of a test campaign totaling around 2,500 flight hours with a fleet of five development aircraft. The rigorous flight testing will lead to the certification of the A350-900 variant by the European EASA and US FAA airworthiness authorities, prior to entry into service in the second half of 2014 with first operator Qatar Airways (Doha).
The A350 XWB is Airbus’ all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in spacious three-class layouts. The new family will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 per cent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions. To date the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot (please click on the photo for the full-size view).
Airbus (Toulouse) has confirmed that the A350 XWB first flight is planned for this Friday, June 14, based on current visibility of the program and the flight test status. Weather conditions permitting, the A350 XWB msn 1 will take off from Toulouse-Blagnac airport at around 10:00 am local time.
The A350 XWB flight test teams are now carrying out the last checks on the A350 XWB “MSN1” before they give their final green light for the first flight to take place this Friday. Recent pre-first flight tests successfully carried out include the first power up of the fuel efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines on msn 1, which took place on June 2.
The A350 XWB is the all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The new family will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 per cent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions. Scheduled for entry-into-service in second half of 2014, the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide.
Copyright Photo: Eurospot. Airbus A350-941 F-WXWB (msn 001) taxies at Toulouse yesterday (June 11) prior to the first flight on June 14.
Airbus (Toulouse) has completed the painting of the first A350 XWB (msn 001). On May 13 the new type was fully completed as it emerged in its Airbus livery out from the paintshop in Toulouse. This latest milestone shows that msn 001 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 msn 001’s flight-test-instrumentation (FTI) verification. Last month the aircraft underwent its engines installation, and passed a subsequent intensive phase of ground vibration tests. Msn 001 will soon start the final tests before its maiden flight this summer.
Copyright Photos: Airbus. The new airliner is officially an A350-941 with the registration of F-WXWB (msn 001).