Category Archives: Airbus

Airbus’ A321LR goes the distance to open new horizons for airlines

Airbus A321-251N D-AVXB (msn 6839) (Airbus A321 NEO - New Engine Option) TLS (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 937192.

Airbus made this announcement:

The best-selling A320 Family marked a new milestone with the Paris-to-New York nonstop flight on February 13 flown by the A321LR – demonstrating this jetliner version’s ability to serve new markets and operate on heavily-travelled North Atlantic routes with the highest levels of efficiency and comfort.

The LR designation is for ‘long range’ and with good reason: the A321LR has the longest range of any single-aisle commercial aircraft today, able to fly 7,400 kilometres nonstop.

Its ‘long legs’ are signified by the No. 1 A321LR’s livery featuring the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty – a representation of the Paris/New York route flown yesterday from Le Bourget Airport near the French capital to the New York region’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The aircraft also is well suited for intra-regional airline segments in Asia, the United States and other markets.

Improved aerodynamics and efficient jet engines

The A321LR’s unrivalled efficiency – driven by aerodynamic improvements and state-of-the-art efficient turbofan jet engines – has established its popularity among airlines, with Airbus already notching more than 100 orders for the aircraft; the first customer delivery is expected in late 2018. The interior of the A321LR will be passenger-pleasing as well, with unmatched comfort from the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, comfortable seats, extra-large luggage bins and the latest in-flight-entertainment technology.

Operators can outfit the A321LR in state-of-the-art two-class configurations with full-flat seats for true long-haul comfort, or in a single-class layout capable of accommodating up to 240 passengers.

The A321LR is the next evolutionary step of Airbus’ twin-engine A321neo that has captured more than an 80 percent share in its middle-of-the-market category. Airbus expects the A321LR to continue this trend, as it offers a thoroughly modern replacement for the large number of ageing narrowbody and widebody aircraft facing retirement in the coming years.

Value from continual investment in the A320 Family

Airbus continuously invests in the A320 Family – some $300 million per year – to keep this jetliner product line at the leading edge of technology, thereby creating value for its customers and providing continued comfort for passengers.

The A321LR performed its maiden flight on 31 January of this year. Yesterday’s transcontinental flight, with the aircraft powered by two CFM International LEAP-1A engines, is part of nearly 100 hours of flight tests in advance of the jetliner’s airworthiness certification, expected in the second quarter of 2018.

Copyright Photo: Airbus A321-251N D-AVXB (msn 6839) (Airbus A321 NEO – New Engine Option) TLS (Paul Bannwarth). Image: 937192.

Airbus:

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Airbus’ Toulouse paint centre: art in motion

Airbus issued this story about its Aircraft Paint Shop:

When a customer receives a commercial aircraft produced by Airbus at its Toulouse, France-area facilities – home to final assembly lines for the A320, A330 and A350 XWB jetliner families – they can be sure that the highest level of care went into to applying their livery, which is a critically-important element of an operator’s identity.

At the heart of Airbus’ Toulouse paint centre are its more than 300 operators and 120 support function members – who work together in harmony across the facility’s 13 separate paint halls to apply the special colour schemes and logos on more than 350 jetliners delivered each year.

Meeting the needs of Airbus customers

The Toulouse paint shop is well-equipped to meet the varied customer designs and changing production rates of today and tomorrow. According to Head of Paint Jean-François Paul, this is due in large part to the support function members – who work in close partnership with the final assembly teams, supply chain personnel and programmes management so they can quickly adapt to changes.

He added: “Inside the paint centre, meetings take place on a daily basis to anticipate the variations and manage the quality, lead times and costs. The fact that our teams are strongly engaged gives us such flexibility.”

The 13 paint halls are organised by programmes, providing capacity for both the single-aisle and widebody product lines. And when production schedules require even more capacity, the Toulouse paint team knows they can rely on Hamburg, Germany – home to additional A320 Family final assembly lines – to handle some of the painting.

Airbus’ Toulouse paint centre is part of a network of painting facilities at the company’s final assembly sites, which also include Hamburg, Germany; Tianjin, China; and Mobile, Alabama, USA.

Photo: Airbus.

New Airbus A330-800 rolls out of the paint shop

Airbus released this statement and photo:

The newest member of the A330neo Family, the A330-800, has rolled out of the paintshop, on track for its first flight in mid-2018.

The A330-800 is the new generation 250-seater from Airbus’ leading twin-aisle family. With its 242-tonne Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) as the base variant, the A330-800 can operate routes of up to 7,500nm and with the recently launched 251-tonne MTOW variant, the aircraft can operate ultra-long-range routes of up to 8,150nm. The A330-800 will leverage the A330-200’s proven versatility, popularity and reasons for success, offering new-generation economics.

Building on the success of the A330-200 with over 600 aircraft in operation, the A330-800 brings new-generation economics and comfort in addition to unprecedented range to the 250-seat aircraft market. Together with the larger 300-seat A330-900, they share 99 percent commonality, having the same airframe, engines and cross-crew training. This gives operators great flexibility to use either aircraft in their fleet according to network needs in size and range. Both of these widebody aircraft incorporate new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, zero-splice nacelles, titanium pylons, new wings and new Airspace by Airbus cabins. The most visible new features of the A330neo wings are the specially developed curved wingtip Sharklets – which draw on A350 XWB technology, extending the wingspan to 64 metres, providing state-of-the art aerodynamic characteristics.

Airlines will benefit from 25 percent less fuel burn per seat compared to previous-generation competitors, reduced maintenance costs and the A330’s market-leading 99.5 percent operational reliability. Passengers will enjoy the award-winning all new Airspace cabin inspired by the A350 XWB. On top of latest generation in-flight entertainment and connectivity, passengers can look forward to a new welcoming entrance area, spacious overhead bins, mood lighting and exceptionally quiet flights.

With over 1,700 orders, the A330 is the most popular widebody aircraft ever, having flown nearly one million annual flights. Today, close to 1,400 aircraft have been delivered to 118 customers worldwide on a wide range of routes, from domestic and regional flights to long-range intercontinental services. Offering the lowest operating costs in its category, and thanks to continuous investments in latest innovations, the new-generation A330neo will be the most profitable and best performing aircraft in its size category.

Photo: Airbus.

First Airbus A321LR successfully completes its first flight

Airbus’ first A321LR (Long Range), msn 7877, has accomplished its first flight following a mission lasting 2 hours and 36 minutes. The aircraft powered by CFM Leap-1A engines is now set to undergo a nearly 100 hour flight test programme, including trans-Atlantic missions, for EASA and FAA Type Certification in Q2 2018. Entry into service is targeted for Q4 2018.

The aircraft’s crew comprised: Experimental Test Pilots Yann Beaufils and Peter Lofts as well as Flight Test Engineers Frank Hohmeister, Jim Fawcett, Cedric Favrichon and Cabin Specialist Alexander Gentzsch. During the flight, the crew tested the aircraft’s flight controls, engines and main systems including flight envelope protections, both at high and low speed.

The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling its operators to accommodate up to 240 passengers in Airbus’ widest Single Aisle fuselage in the sky. The new Airspace by Airbus cabin available on the A320 Family additionally enhances the passengers’ unrivalled travel experience. With further options, combining an increased Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) of 97 tons and a third Additional Centre Fuel Tank (ACT), the aircraft’s range extends to 4000nm (7400 km), allowing airlines to tap into new market opportunities.

Incorporating the latest engines, aerodynamic advances, and cabin innovations, the A321neo offers a significant reduction in fuel consumption of 20 percent by 2020. With more than 1900 orders received from over than 50 customers, to date the A321neo has captured a solid 80 percent market share, making it the true aircraft of choice in the Middle of the Market.

Photos: Airbus.

Airbus delivers 718 aircraft in 2017, up 4%

Airbus’ Commercial Aircraft deliveries in 2017 were up for the 15th year in a row, reaching a new company record of 718 aircraft delivered to 85 customers. Deliveries were more than four percent higher than the previous record of 688 set in 2016. The 2017 total comprises: 558 single aisle A320 Family (of which 181 were A320neo – an increase of 166 percent over 2016); 67 A330s; 78 A350 XWBs (up by nearly 60 percent from 2016) and 15 A380s. Furthermore, to cap this resounding annual production achievement, Airbus achieved 1,109 net orders from 44 customers. At the end of 2017 Airbus’ overall backlog stood at 7,265 aircraft valued at US$1.059 trillion at list prices.

Fabrice Brégier, Airbus Chief Operating Officer and President Commercial Aircraft commented: “A new Airbus delivery record coupled with our fifth best order intake wraps up a remarkable year for us. This outstanding achievement is testimony to the dedication of all our teams, and makes the company fitter, stronger and ready for the opportunities ahead.”

With this year’s performance Airbus has steadily built on deliveries year on year – with 15 consecutive years of production increase. From its four A320 Family plants in Hamburg, Tianjin, Mobile, and Toulouse, Airbus is on track to achieve rate 60 per month on single-aisle by mid-2019. Meanwhile, the A350 XWB is equally on track for rate 10 by the end 2018. Airbus’ healthy order intake in 2017 resulted in a ‘book-to-bill’ ratio of 1.5.

There were many industrial milestones achieved by Airbus Commercial Aircraft in 2017, which included: delivery of the 100th A350 XWB; the delivery of the 50th A320 Family aircraft from our FAL in Mobile; delivery of Emirates’ 100th A380; first flight of the A330neo; certification of the A350-1000; first A321neos delivered with CFM and P&W engines; inauguration of the new A330 Completion and Delivery Centre in Tianjin, China, with two first deliveries; and structural completion of the first Beluga XL. On internationalisation, our partnership with China is expanding while our Americas footprint is equally extended. Moreover, in the provision of Services worldwide Airbus is significantly enhancing its local presence to be closer to its customers.

Images: Airbus.

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First Airbus BelugaXL transporter rolls off the assembly line

Airbus has made this announcement:

The first structurally complete airframe for the new BelugaXL rolled out from its assembly hangar in Toulouse, France this month. Once operational, a fleet of these next-generation airlifters will be used to transport completed sections of Airbus aircraft among the company’s European production sites and to its final assembly lines in France, Germany and Spain.

The BelugaXL is one of the most voluminous aircraft in existence, and everything about it speaks to that fact. With a bulging upper forward fuselage and enormous cargo area, the BelugaXL is hardly recognizable as the outsized airlifter version of the Airbus A330-200 jetliner from which it is derived. “We have the A330 as a foundation,” said Bertrand George, head of the BelugaXL programme, “but many changes have been successfully designed, introduced into the aircraft and tested. Transforming an existing product into a super transporter is not a simple task.”

This initial BelugaXL is expected to be flying by mid-2018. “The whole team is really looking forward to seeing its first flight and, of course, its smiling livery,” said George, referring to the supersized smile that will be painted across the ‘face’ of the transporter, the winning design of six options presented to Airbus employees for a vote in early 2017.

Ground testing for the No. 1 BelugaXL before first flight

Before that can happen, the aircraft will undergo a months-long battery of tests after installation of its two jet engines, ensuring each of the BelugaXL’s systems function as intended. All the while, said George, “We will perform bench tests in Toulouse and Hamburg, Germany – testing our systems on flight simulators and in laboratories” as well as using hydraulic jacks to simulate flight loads on full-scale copies of specific joints between the new upper bubble and A330’s lower fuselage.

“The data from these tests will be used to clear the aircraft for flight and, later on, to attain type certification,” the official pronouncement of the aircraft’s safety and airworthiness, said George.

While the first structurally complete BelugaXL moves into its testing phase, the second A330 to be converted into a BelugaXL arrived on schedule in Toulouse to begin its integration process. George noted that with lessons learned from the production of the first transporter, the assembly time for the second is expected to be about two months shorter.

The BelugaXL programme was launched in November 2014 to address Airbus’ increasing transport requirements. At six metres longer, one metre wider and with a payload lifting capacity six tonnes greater than the BelugaST transporter version it is replacing, the BelugaXL will be able to transport both wings of the A350 XWB jetliner at once, instead of the single wing currently accommodated on the BelugaST. All told, five BelugaXLs are scheduled to enter service for Airbus’ airlift needs.

Photos: Airbus.

Airbus to open first US West Coast training center

Airbus issued this statement:

In a move to further expand its global training capacity, Airbus has acquired the Strategic Simulation Solutions flight training center in Aurora, Colorado, a Denver suburb. Currently, the training center primarily supports Frontier Airlines and has significant room for growth.  Airbus plans to at least double capacity at the facility in the next few years.

“This is another major step forward in our ambition to grow services around the world,” said Laurent Martinez, Head of Services by Airbus. “Our Global Services Forecast predicts a need for 122,000 new pilots in the Americas by 2035, representing 23% of the world’s demand. We want our Airbus flight training facilities to be easily accessible to our customers regardless of their location, hence this latest move.”

Prior to this acquisition, Airbus provided training to the North American region primarily from its Miami, Florida-based training center. The addition of the new Aurora training center will help meet long-term growth in expanding markets throughout the Americas.  Over the past two years Airbus has expanded its training capacity for customers in the Americas with the addition of training centers in Mexico City, Mexico and in Campinas, Brazil.

At a worldwide level, Airbus expanded its training network more than threefold in only three years; growing from five locations in 2015 to 17 locations today.

“We will hold steady in our ambition to provide the most state-of-the-art, top-quality training to our customers, and to continue expanding our global training capacity at its current pace,” Martinez said.

Currently, the Aurora training center has two A320 Family, FAA Level D full flight simulators – the highest-level flight simulators – for training of Frontier Airlines pilots on the airline’s all-Airbus fleet. Additional simulators will be added at the Aurora facility in 2018 to address anticipated increased demand for training. Additionally, Airbus’ innovative ACT Suite – a fully comprehensive, high-fidelity course for maintenance training can also be set up within a week’s notice and will be offered in line with demand.

Airbus’ modular, competency-based training services deliver a comprehensive mix of theoretical courses, hands-on practice and environment immersion using the latest technologies – including virtual, augmented and mixed reality.