Category Archives: Airbus

First Airbus A320neo assembled in Tianjin delivered to AirAsia

AirAsia (Malaysia) has taken delivery of the first Airbus A320neo (9M-AGK) assembled at the Airbus Final Assembly Line Asia (FALA) at a dedicated ceremony in Tianjin, China. The aircraft, powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines, seats comfortably 186 passengers and is equipped with the innovative Space-Flex cabin.

AirAsia is the largest airline customer of the A320 Family with orders for 578 aircraft. These include 404 A320neo Family aircraft.

Aireen Omar, AirAsia Berhad Chief Executive Officer said: “We are very proud to receive the first Airbus A320neo fully assembled in Tianjin, China and we would like to congratulate Airbus, as well as the Chinese Government  for achieving yet another milestone. China is today one of the world’s most important markets for aviation, and we are honoured to be part of the development and rapid growth of China’s civil aviation. We are certainly proud to take delivery of this aircraft fully assembled in Tianjin and have this historic aircraft as part of our fleet”.

“The Airbus A320 aircraft has contributed immensely towards our business model and our operations. We received our first A320neo last year and this is our thirteenth Airbus A320neo that we are receiving for the group, which is also the 184th aircraft delivered by Airbus. As we expand our network and grow our fleet, it is important for us to stay at the forefront of our business. We are very pleased with the A320neo, which provides up to 15 percent fuel savings and an additional range of 500 nautical miles, which translates to a lower fares for our guests.” she added.

“I am very pleased to hand over the first A320neo to be assembled in Tianjin to AirAsia.  AirAsia will continue to benefit from the unique commonality between all variants of the Airbus Family and enjoy efficiencies throughout its existing fleet.” said Eric Chen, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft China. “The delivery of the NEO is a milestone for our Asia Final Assembly Line, which will help to meet the robust demand of our customers in China and the Asia-Pacific region.”

The FALA in Tianjin, inaugurated in 2008 became the third single-aisle aircraft final assembly line location of Airbus worldwide, following Toulouse and Hamburg. It was also the first Airbus Final Assembly Line outside Europe. Today, some 340 aircraft have been assembled and delivered from Tianjin, China.

The A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver at least 15 percent fuel savings at delivery and 20 percent by 2020. With more than 5,200 orders received from 95 customers since its launch in 2010, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent share of the market.

Copyright Photo: Airbus.

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Airbus and Bombardier sign their new C Series partnership agreement

Bombardier CSeries CS100 (BD-500-1A10) C-FFCO (msn 50006) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 932101.

Airbus SE and Bombardier Inc. are to become partners on the C Series aircraft program. A corresponding agreement was signed on October 19, 2017.  The agreement brings together Airbus’ global reach and scale with Bombardier’s newest, state-of-the-art jet aircraft family, positioning both partners to fully unlock the value of the C Series platform and create significant new value for customers, suppliers, employees and shareholders.

Under the agreement, Airbus will provide procurement, sales and marketing, and customer support expertise to the C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), the entity that manufactures and sells the C Series. At closing, Airbus will acquire a 50.01% interest in CSALP. Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ) will own approximately 31% and 19% respectively.

CSALP’s headquarters and primary assembly line and related functions will remain in Québec, with the support of Airbus’ global reach and scale. Airbus’ global industrial footprint will expand with the Final Assembly Line in Canada and additional C Series production at Airbus’ manufacturing site in Alabama, U.S. This strengthening of the programme and global cooperation will have positive effects on Québec and Canadian aerospace operations.

The single aisle market is a key growth driver, representing 70% of the expected global future demand for aircraft. Ranging from 100 to 150 seats, the C Series is highly complementary to Airbus’ existing single aisle aircraft portfolio, which focuses on the higher end of the single-aisle business (150-240 seats). The world class sales, marketing and support networks that Airbus brings into the venture are expected to strengthen and accelerate the C Series’ commercial momentum.  Additionally, Airbus’ supply chain expertise is expected to generate significant C Series production cost savings.

Airbus is strongly committed to Canada and its aerospace sector with Canadian suppliers extending their access to Airbus’ global supply chain. This new C Series partnership is set to secure jobs in Canada for many years to come.

Ownership Structure and Agreement Highlights

The C Series programme is operated by CSALP in respect of which Bombardier and IQ respectively hold approximately a 62% and a 38% interest.  The Investment Agreement contemplates Airbus acquiring a 50.01% interest in CSALP. Airbus will enter into commercial agreements relating to (i) sales and marketing support services for the C Series, (ii) management of procurement, which will include leading negotiations to improve CSALP level supplier agreements, and (iii) customer support. At closing, there will be no cash contribution by any of the partners, nor will CSALP assume any financial debt. It also contemplates that Bombardier will continue with its current funding plan of CSALP and will fund, if required, the cash shortfalls of CSALP during the first year following the closing up to a maximum amount of US$350 million, and during the second and third years following the closing up to a maximum aggregate amount of US$350 million over both years, in consideration for non-voting participating shares of CSALP with cumulative annual dividends of 2%, with any excess shortfall during such periods to be shared proportionately amongst Class A shareholders.

Airbus will benefit from call rights in respect of all of Bombardier’s interest in CSALP at fair market value, with the amount for non-voting participating shares used by Bombardier capped at the invested amount plus accrued but unpaid dividends, including a call right exercisable no earlier than 7.5 years following the closing, except in the event of certain changes in the control of Bombardier, in which case the right is accelerated. Bombardier will benefit from a corresponding put right whereby it could require that Airbus acquire its interest at fair market value after the expiry of the same period. IQ’s interest is redeemable at fair market value by CSALP, under certain conditions, starting in 2023. IQ will also benefit from tag along rights in connection with a sale by Bombardier of its interest in the partnership.

The Board of Directors of CSALP will initially consist of seven directors, four of whom will be proposed by Airbus, two of whom will be proposed by Bombardier, and one of whom will be proposed by IQ.  Airbus will be entitled to name the Chairman of CSALP.

Subject to obtaining the required approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange, the transaction also provides for the issuance to Airbus, upon closing, of warrants exercisable to acquire up to 100,000,000 Class B Shares (subordinate voting) of Bombardier (representing approximately 5% of the aggregate issued and outstanding Class A Shares (multiple voting) and Class B Shares of Bombardier on a fully-diluted basis, and approximately 5% of the aggregate issued and outstanding Class A Shares and Class B Shares on a non-diluted basis), at an exercise price per share equal to the US$ equivalent of C$2.29, which represents the volume-weighted average price of the Class B Shares over the five trading days ending Friday, 13 October 2017. The warrants will have a five-year term from the date of issue, will not be listed and will provide for market standard adjustment provisions, including in the event of corporate changes, stock splits, non-cash dividends, distributions of rights, options or warrants to all or substantially all shareholders or consolidations.

The issuance of the warrants and their terms were negotiated between Bombardier and Airbus at arm’s length and will not materially affect control of Bombardier. Security holder approval will be required under Toronto Stock Exchange rules due to the fact that the warrants will be issued later than 45 days from the date upon which the exercise price was established. Such approval is expected to be obtained by way of written consent of shareholders holding more than 50% of the voting rights attached to all of Bombardier’s issued and outstanding shares.

The transaction has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both Airbus and Bombardier, as well as the Cabinet of the Government of Québec. The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals, as well as other conditions usual in this type of transaction. There are no guarantees that the transaction will be completed and that the conditions to which it is subject would be met. Completion of the transaction is currently expected for the second half of 2018.

Copyright Photo:  Bombardier CSeries CS100 (BD-500-1A10) C-FFCO (msn 50006) ZRH (Rolf Wallner). Image: 932101.

The first Airbus A330neo successfully completes its first flight

The first flight of the first Airbus A330neo

The first of three A330neo Family development aircraft to fly – MSN 1795, an A330-900 variant – has landed at Toulouse-Blagnac, France at 14:10 local time on October 19, 2017 after successfully completing its first flight which lasted 4 hours and 13 minutes. The aircraft was powered by the latest technology Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 turbofans.

The crew in the cockpit on board this flight comprised: Experimental Test Pilots Thierry BOURGES, Thomas WILHELM and Test-Flight Engineer Alain POURCHET. Meanwhile, monitoring the aircraft systems and performance in real-time at the flight-test-engineer’s (FTE) station are Jean-Philippe COTTET, Emiliano REQUENA ESTEBAN and Gert WUNDERLICH.

Photo Above: Airbus.

Airbus has developed a fast-paced development program from launch to first A330neo delivery. This will comprise 1,100 flight hours for the A330-900 campaign – to achieve its EASA and FAA Type Certification around the middle of 2018. An additional 300 flight hours is also allocated for the A330-800’s own certification flight-test campaign – which will commence in due course. These respective campaigns will be performed in an ‘airline like’ environment, ensuring maximum aircraft maturity and reliability at entry into service (EIS) with A330-900 launch operator TAP Portugal. This phase will also define the mature aircraft documentation to be available for airline operators at EIS.

Overall, the full flight-test campaigns for both models will be performed by two A330-900s and one A330-800 respectively. To complement these dedicated flight-test aircraft, the first production A330-900 aircraft will also be tasked to validate the full Airspace cabin.

Launched in July 2014, the A330neo is the latest generation in Airbus’ market-leading A330 product line, comprising two versions: the A330-800 and A330-900. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, nacelle, titanium pylon, new wings and an Airspace by Airbus Cabin. The most visible new features of the A330neo are the new wing span extensions to 64m total (up from the CEO’s 60.3m span) and the specially developed curved wingtip Sharklets – which draw on A350 XWB technology. Less visible, but equally important is the implementation of enhanced 3D-optimised aerodynamic refinements along the overall wing profile. Meanwhile, the Trent 7000s deliver double-digit fuel burn improvements and the quietest operation thanks to latest technology components, materials, new ‘zero-splice’ inlet and composite nacelle, ‘fully-faired’ pylon and also the larger (112-inch diameter) slower-rotating front fan with a bypass ratio of 10:1 – compared with the typical 5:1 ratio of previous-generation turbofans.

Both the A330-800 and the A330-900 will accommodate up to 10 more passengers than their respective predecessors, thanks to their new Airspace interiors which introduce various cabin enablers to free-up more usable cabin space – thus ensuring that each passenger can enjoy a significantly better actual comfort level and in-flight experience versus that offered by any competing aircraft in its market sector. The larger A330-900 will accommodate up to 287 seats in a typical three-class layout, while the A330-800 typically will seat 257 passengers in three classes.

To date 12 customers have placed orders for a total of 212 A330neos.

Top Copyright Photo: Airbus A330-941N F-WTTN (msn 1795) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 939623.

Airbus repaints the first A320, will go to the Aeroscopia Museum

The original Airbus A320

Airbus in August 2017 repainted the first A320 (msn 001) in it’s original 1987 livery. The historic airliner has also been reregistered with its original registration, F-WWAI.

MSN 001 history:

First flight on February 22, 1987 as F-WWAI.

Reregistered as F-WWFT in 1991.

Reregistered as F-WWBA in 2006.

The aircraft will be donated to and displayed by the Aeroscopia Aeronautical Museum in Toulouse.

ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF AEROSCOPIA

A SHORT HISTORY

In the Midi-Pyrénées region, nearly 80,000 people make a living from the aviation industry, the driving force behind the region’s economy:

manufacturers, sub-contractors, suppliers, design offices, service providers…

Between the first powered aircraft designed in secret in the town of Muret by Clément Ader, and the first flight in the skies of Blagnac of the A380, flagship of the European aviation industry, more than a century has passed.

To fly across the seas and the continents, first came the aircraft made by Latécoère and Dewoitine, then the Languedoc and the Armagnac.

At the end of the fifties Caravelle, the first French jetliner, proved to be a resounding success. Then in 1969 it was Concorde’s turn to take to the skies for the first time in Blagnac.

These aircraft were followed by the entire Airbus family, affirming Toulouse’s mission to fly higher, faster and farther.

This is also the story of the great pioneers of aviation.

Here, in the birthplace of global civil and military aviation, the Airbus Group laid the foundations of its head office in January 2014 and the commercial successes of Airbus and ATR boost the economy of the Midi-Pyrénées region.

For more than 30 years, the players and witnesses of this industrial, technical and human saga, as well as those who love aircraft and love to fly, have strived for this history to be forever remembered and shared. For the preservation of this historical heritage.

Aeroscopia, an aviation museum, addresses this expectation.

The foundation stone was laid on June 16, 2011.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A320-211 F-WWAI (msn 001) TLS (Eurospot). Image: 939211.

Airbus announces a study for an enhanced A380, called the “A380plus”

Airbus is presenting a development study for an enhanced A380, the “A380plus”. The study includes aerodynamic improvements in particular new, large winglets and other wing refinements that allow for up to 4% fuel burn savings. Added to an optimised A380 maintenance programme and the enhanced cabin features first shown at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in April, the overall benefit is a 13% cost per seat reduction versus today’s A380.

John Leahy, Airbus COO Customers, explains: “The A380plus is an efficient way to offer even better economics and improved operational performance at the same time.” John adds: “It is a new step for our iconic aircraft to best serve worldwide fast-growing traffic and the evolving needs of the A380 customers. The A380 is well-proven as the solution to increasing congestion at large airports, and in offering a unique, passenger-preferred experience. ”

The new winglets measure approximately 4,7 metres in height (an uplet of 3.5m, and a downlet of 1,2m). It is designed to improve aerodynamics and reduce drag.

The optimised cabin layout based on the ‘cabin enablers’ presented at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX), allows up to 80 additional seats* with no compromise on comfort: redesigned stairs, a combined crew-rest compartment, sidewall stowage removal, a new 9-abreast seat configuration in premium economy and 11-abreast in economy.

The A380plus will have an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 578 tonnes providing the flexibility of carrying up to 80 more passengers over today’s range (8,200nm), or flying 300nm further.

The A380plus features longer maintenance check intervals, a reduced six-year check downtime, and systems improvements, which will reduce maintenance costs and increase aircraft availability.

The A380 is the world’s largest, most spacious airliner that offers passengers the smoothest, quietest and most comfortable ride. With two full widebody decks, offering widest seats, wide aisles and more floor space, the A380 has the unique capability to generate revenue, stimulate traffic and attract the flying public, who can now specifically select the A380 when booking a flight via the iflyA380.com web site. Over 170 million passengers have already enjoyed the experience of flying on board an A380 today. Every two minutes, an A380 takes off or lands somewhere in the world.

497 passengers is the airline’s average capacity of the A380s currently in operation today – which are consistently attracting above-average passenger load factors. With all A380 cabin enablers, the A380 average seat count would move from 497 to 575 in four classes, and generate significantly more revenue for airlines.

Cabin enablers description

New Forward Stairs – 20 more passengers (Business, Premium Economy & Economy Classes)

The NFS involves relocation of the forward stair from Door 1 to Door 2, and combining the entrance of the NFS to the upper deck (going up), with the adjacent staircase to the lower-deck crew-rest (going down). The NFS would make room for up to 20 additional passengers.

Combined Crew-Rest Compartment (CCRC) – three more passengers (Premium Economy)

For the CCRC, the existing flight-crew-rest (behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area at Door 1) is moved down and combined with the cabin crew rest on the lower deck. This innovation frees space for three extra Premium-Economy passengers at the front of the main-deck.

11-abreast 3-5-3 economy layout on the main-deck – 23 more passengers (Economy Class)

Thanks to an innovative seating concept developed by Airbus and its seating partners, Airbus is able to maintain an 18inch seat-width while offering airlines an 11-abreast Economy Class on the main-deck in a ‘3-5-3’ configuration. This enables an increase in capacity of 23 seats – adding significantly to the A380’s revenue-generating potential.

New Aft-Galley Stair Module (AGSM) – 14 more passengers + two food trolleys

The AGSM involves the redesign of the rear-stair from a spiral configuration to a straight/square one. On the main-deck, this allows valuable storage volume for galley modules. Overall the AGSM provides space for 14 more revenue passengers plus two extra food trolleys.

Upper-deck sidewall stowage removal – 10 more passengers (Business Class)

The option to remove the sidewall stowages on the upper-deck increases the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height – which makes space for up to 10 more business class seats / beds when an angled herring-bone arrangement is used.

Nine-abreast Premium Economy on the main deck – 11 more passengers (Premium Economy)

The A380’s generous main-deck cross section – significantly wider than any other commercial airliner – is allowing seat manufacturers to optimise their Premium Economy (PE) seat designs to create the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible. This layout enables 11 more PE seats than in an eight-abreast layout.

Images: Airbus.

Airbus begins production of first U.S.-built A320 in Mobile

The Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility in Mobile, Alabama, has received the major component assemblies for the first A320 that will be produced in the U.S. The 27 aircraft delivered from the facility thus far have been A321s.

This marks another important milestone for the manufacturing facility, which began production in July 2015 and is equipped to build three members of the A320 Family: A319, A320 and A321.

This A320 is destined to be delivered to Spirit Airlines this summer.

Photos: Airbus.

AIRBUS178-1st-A320-Arrival

Airbus develops package of new A380 Cabin Enablers, including “New Forward Stairs” option, for A380 customers

Airbus is developing a full spectrum of new Cabin Enablers for customers of its flagship A380 airliner. The latest is the “New Forward Stairs” (NFS) option which was presented at the Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg. Together these cabin enhancements will make this very efficient and comfortable airliner even better: Overall cabin optimisation is expected to result in the freeing-up more cabin floor space for around 80 additional passengers*. This would bring airlines significant additional revenues.

With this latest proposal of the NFS option, the package of new cabin enablers for the A380 now comprises the following:

New Forward Stairs – 20 more passengers (Business, Premium Economy & Economy Classes)

The NFS involves relocation of the forward stair from Door 1 to Door 2, and combining the entrance of the NFS to the upper deck (going up), with the adjacent staircase to the lower-deck crew-rest (going down). The NFS would make room for up to 20 additional passengers.

Combined Crew-Rest Compartment (CCRC) – three more passengers (Premium Economy)

For the CCRC, the existing flight-crew-rest (behind the cockpit in the mezzanine area at Door 1) is moved down and combined with the cabin crew rest on the lower deck. This innovation frees space for three extra Premium-Economy passengers at the front of the main-deck.

11-abreast 3-5-3 economy layout on the main-deck – 23 more passengers (Economy Class)

Thanks to an innovative seating concept developed by Airbus and its seating partners, Airbus is able to maintain an 18inch seat-width while offering airlines an 11-abreast Economy Class on the main-deck in a ‘3-5-3’ configuration. This enables an increase in capacity of 23 seats – adding significantly to the A380’s revenue-generating potential.

New Aft-Galley Stair Module (AGSM) – 14 more passengers + two food trolleys
The AGSM involves the redesign of the rear-stair from a spiral agreement to a straight/square one. On the main-deck, this allows valuable storage volume for galley modules. Overall the AGSM provides space for 14 more revenue passengers plus two extra food trolleys.

Upper-deck sidewall stowage removal – 10 more passengers (Business Class)
The option to remove the sidewall stowages on the upper-deck increases the wall-to-wall cabin width at foot-rest height – which makes space for up to 10 more business class seats / beds when an angled herring-bone arrangement is used.

Nine-abreast Premium Economy on the main deck – 11 more passengers (Premium Economy)
The A380’s generous main-deck cross section – significantly wider than any other commercial airliner – is allowing seat manufacturers to optimise their Premium Economy (PE) seat designs to create the industry’s most efficient and comfortable PE layout possible. This layout enables 11 more PE seats than in an eight-abreast layout.

Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2016, it generated revenues of €67billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners from 100 to more than 600 seats. Airbus is also a European leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as Europe’s number one space enterprise and the world’s second largest space business. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

497 passengers is the airline’s average capacity of the A380s currently in operation today – which are consistently attracting above-average passenger load factors. With all these A380 cabin enablers, the A380 seat count would move from 497 to 575 in four classes, and generate significantly more revenue for airlines.

Photo: Airbus.