Category Archives: Airbus

Airbus and ITA Airways partner to develop urban air mobility in Italy

Airbus and ITA Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on urban air mobility (UAM) in Italy. The two companies will explore the creation of tailored UAM services, by identifying strategic use cases for emission-free mobility solutions.

The agreement foresees a joint approach toward local mobility stakeholders in order to onboard additional partners for the safe and sustainable launch of operations with the CityAirbus NextGen electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, currently in development. The parties also agree to identify pilot cases with the goal of securing public acceptance of UAM by demonstrating the added value that it can bring to communities.

ITA Airways is the Italian flag carrier airline. It was created in 2021, with sustainability as one of the fundamental pillars of its business plan. The company has shown a keen interest in innovative projects to decarbonise aviation, such as the development of urban air mobility through eVTOLs. ITA Airways recently directly purchased 28 aircraft from the manufacturer, including seven A220s, 11 A320neos and 10 A330neos. The A350 will also join the company’s fleet this summer.

Since 2014, Airbus has been exploring how electric propulsion can help drive the development of new kinds of aerial vehicles. In September 2021, the Company unveiled its fully electric eVTOL prototype, CityAirbus NextGen. Airbus is developing a UAM solution with eVTOLs not only to offer a new mobility service but also as an important step in its quest to reduce emissions in aviation across its product range.

ITA Airways aircraft phot gallery:

Airbus and CFM International to pioneer hydrogen combustion technology

Airbus has signed a partnership agreement with CFM International, a 50/50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines, to collaborate on a hydrogen demonstration program that will take flight around the middle of this  decade.

The program’s objective is to ground and flight test a direct combustion engine  fueled by hydrogen, in preparation for entry-into-service of a zero-emission aircraft by 2035. The demonstration will use a A380 flying testbed equipped with liquid hydrogen tanks prepared at Airbus facilities in France and Germany. Airbus will also define the hydrogen propulsion system requirements, oversee flight testing, and provide the A380 platform to test the hydrogen combustion engine in cruise phase.

CFM International (CFM) will modify the combustor, fuel system, and control system of a GE Passport turbofan to run on hydrogen. The engine, which is assembled in the US, was selected for this program because of its physical size, advanced turbo machinery, and fuel flow capability. It will be mounted along the rear fuselage of the flying testbed to allow engine emissions, including contrails, to be monitored separately from those of the engines powering the aircraft. CFM will execute an extensive ground test program ahead of the A380 flight test.

CFM shares Airbus’ ambition of fulfilling the promise they made in signing the Air Transport Action Group goal in October 2021 to achieve aviation industry net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 by developing and testing the technology necessary to make zero emissions aircraft a reality within the ambitious timeline defined.

Airbus has a long-standing relationship with CFM and its parent companies, GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines and, together, the partners have established a great track record of delivering high-performance products that meet the needs of airline customers.

Airbus cancels Qatar Airways order for 50 A321neo jets in growing A350 dispute

Airbus has cancelled Qatar Airways’ order for 50 new A321neo aircraft as the dispute with the carrier grows over the A350 skin flaws.

The two parties will take the A350 dispute to a London court on April 26, 2022. Qatar is seeking $600 million in compensation.

More from Reuters:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/qatar-airways-airbus-court-hearing-set-late-april-2022-01-20/

Airbus achieves 2021 commercial aircraft delivery target

Airbus SE delivered 611 commercial aircraft to 88 customers in 2021, demonstrating resilience and recovery with progress on ramp-up plans.

“Our commercial aircraft achievements in 2021 reflect the focus and resilience of our Airbus teams, customers, suppliers and stakeholders across the globe who pulled together to deliver remarkable results. The year saw significant orders from airlines worldwide, signaling confidence in the sustainable growth of air travel post-COVID” said Guillaume Faury, Airbus Chief Executive Officer. “While uncertainties remain, we are on track to lift production through 2022 to meet our customers’ requirements. At the same time we are preparing the future of aviation, transforming our industrial capabilities and implementing the roadmap for decarbonization.”

In 2021, deliveries comprised:

 

2021 2020
A220 Family 50 38
A320 Family 483 446
A330 Family 18 19
A350 Family 55 59
A380 5 4
Total 611 566

 

Approximately 25% of commercial aircraft in 2021 were delivered using the established “e-delivery” process, allowing customers to receive their aircraft with minimal need for their teams to travel.

In 2021, Airbus doubled its gross order intake compared to 2020 with 771 new sales (507 net) across all programs and market segments demonstrating the strength of the company’s full product range and signaling renewed market confidence.

The A220 won 64 firm gross new orders and several high profile commitments from some of the world’s leading carriers. The A320neo Family won 661 gross new orders. In the widebody segment, Airbus won 46 gross new orders including 30 A330s and 16 A350s of which 11 were for the newly launched A350F which also won an additional 11 commitments.

In number of aircraft units, Airbus recorded a gross book to bill ratio above one.

At the end of 2021, Airbus’ backlog stood at 7,082 aircraft.

Qatar Airways takes Airbus to court in London, 21 A350s grounded due to alleged surface degradation

Qatar Airways has issued this statement:

Qatar Airways on December 20 issued legal proceedings against Airbus in the Technology and Construction division of the High Court in London. We have sadly failed in all our attempts to reach a constructive solution with Airbus in relation to the accelerated surface degradation condition adversely impacting the Airbus A350 aircraft. Qatar Airways has therefore been left with no alternative but to seek a rapid resolution of this dispute via the courts.

Qatar Airways currently have 21 A350 aircraft grounded by the condition and the legal proceedings have been commenced to ensure that Airbus will now address our legitimate concerns without further delay. We strongly believe that Airbus must undertake a thorough investigation of this condition to conclusively establish its full root cause. Without a proper understanding of the root cause of the condition, it is not possible for Qatar Airways to establish whether any proposed repair solution will rectify the underlying condition.

Qatar Airways number one priority remains the safety of its passengers and crew.

Newly launched ACJ TwoTwenty completes its first flight

Airbus has made this announcement:

The aircraft will be delivered to Comlux in the coming weeks and then outfitted with a VVIP cabin by COMLUX in Indianapolis, USA after the delivery. Comlux has been selected as an exclusive outfitting partner for the first 15 ACJ TwoTwenty aircraft.

The ACJ TwoTwenty is a new value proposition to business aviation buyers. The innovative solution combines intercontinental range enabling the aircraft to fly up to 5,650 nm/10,500 km (over 12 flight hours), unmatched personal space providing comfort for each passenger  with 73m2/785 ft2 of floor space. The ACJ TwoTwenty is the only business jet featuring six wide VIP living areas, of around 12m2/130 ft2 each and is at a price point of a ULR bizjet.

Equipped with a signature flexible cabin catalogue, this fully completed aircraft is ideal for private and business jet users.

Airbus: How to store liquid hydrogen for zero-emission flight

Airbus issued this report:

Hydrogen is critical to Airbus’ aim of developing the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft by 2035. This will require an innovative approach to fuel storage. Airbus is now designing cutting-edge liquid hydrogen tanks to facilitate a new era of sustainable aviation

 

Hydrogen is one of the most promising technologies to reduce aviation’s climate impact. When generated from renewable energy sources, it emits zero CO2. Significantly, it delivers approximately three times the energy per unit mass of conventional jet fuel and more than 100 times that of lithium-ion batteries. This makes it well suited to powering aircraft.

However, storing hydrogen on-board an aircraft poses several challenges. Hydrogen may provide more energy by mass than kerosene fuel, but it delivers less energy by volume. At normal atmospheric pressure and ambient temperature, you would need approximately 3,000 litres of gaseous hydrogen to achieve the same amount of energy as one liter of kerosene fuel.

Clearly this is not feasible for aviation. One alternative would be to pressurize the hydrogen at 700 bars – an approach used in the automotive sector. In our example, this would slash the 3,000 litres to just six.

This may represent a huge improvement, but weight and volume are critical for aircraft. To go further still, we can dial down the temperature  to -253°C. That’s when hydrogen transforms itself from a gas to a liquid, increasing its energy density even more. Returning to our example, four litres of liquid hydrogen would be the equivalent of one litre of standard jet fuel.

Demanding requirements for hydrogen storage tanks

Maintaining such a low temperature requires very specific storage tanks. They currently consist of an inner and outer tank with a vacuum in between, and a specific material, such as a MLI (Multi-Layer Insulation) to minimise the heat transfer by radiation.

Cryogenic liquid hydrogen storage tanks are already used in several industries, including aerospace, which gives us a good insight into the challenges involved. Airbus’ involvement in Ariane, for example, helped gain knowledge on systems installation, on cryogenic testing and fuel sloshing management, or even on how to build the inner tank itself.

But while there are some synergies between space flight and aviation, there are also numerous important differences. Safety requirements are different than for space launchers as hydrogen storage tanks for commercial aircraft would have to endure approximately 20,000 take-offs and landings, and would need to keep the hydrogen in the liquid state for much longer.

The new Airbus ZEDCs will host multidisciplinary engineering teams to create innovative solutions that will meet demanding aerospace requirements.

David Butters, Vehicles Systems Architect at Airbus

 

Crucial R&D for zero-emission flight

As part of its commitment to clean aerospace, Airbus is now adapting and evolving existing hydrogen storage technology for aviation. Several new research and development facilities across Europe have recently begun work on liquid hydrogen storage tanks for our ZEROe concept aircraft.

In the near term, liquid hydrogen tanks for commercial flight are likely to be metallic. This approach will be pursued by Zero Emission Development Centres (ZEDCs) in Nantes, France, and Bremen, in northern Germany.

Longer term, however, tanks made from composite materials may be lighter and more cost-efficient to manufacture. Airbus will accelerate development of this approach at its new ZEDC in Spain, and its composite research centre in Stade, Germany.

“Adapting cryogenic tank technology for commercial aircraft represents  some major design and manufacturing challenges,” says David Butters, Head of Engineering for LH2 Storage and Distribution at Airbus. “The new Airbus ZEDCs will host multidisciplinary engineering teams to create innovative solutions that will meet demanding aerospace requirements.”

All ZEDCs are expected to be fully operational and ready for ground testing with  the first fully functional cryogenic hydrogen tank during 2023, and with flight testing starting in 2025.

Airbus goes legal as Qatar Airways A350 skin flaws escalates

From Reuters:

“Airbus dramatically raised the stakes in a dispute with Qatar Airways over skin flaws on A350 jetliners on Thursday, accusing the Gulf carrier of misrepresenting the problem as a safety issue and calling for independent legal advice.”

Read the full article:

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/airbus-says-seeks-legal-advice-qatar-airways-a350-damage-row-2021-12-09/

ALC order for 111 Airbus aircraft launches Sustainability Fund

Air Lease Corporation (ALC) has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) covering all Airbus Families, highlighting the power of the company’s full product range. The agreement is for 25 A220-300s, 55 A321neos, 20 A321XLRs, four A330neos and includes seven A350Fs. The order which will be finalised in the coming months, makes the Los Angeles based ALC one of Airbus’ largest customers and lessor with the biggest A220 order book. Founded in 2010, ALC has ordered a total of 496 Airbus aircraft to date.

Airbus foresees demand for 39,000 new passenger and freighter aircraft by 2040

Airbus made this announcement from Dubai:

  • Retirement of older aircraft to accelerate, demand progressively more driven by replacement, supporting the industry’s decarbonization objectives
  • Demand for air transport will continue to grow, driven by GDP, rising middle class and desire to explore and connect
  • Continued improvements in fleet efficiency, sustainable fuels, operations and propulsion technologies will enable the sector’s 2050 net-zero objective
  • Need for over 550,000 new pilots and over 710,000 highly skilled technicians over the next 20 years

 

In the next 20 years, Airbus forecasts demand for air transport to progressively shift from fleet growth to the accelerated retirement of older, less fuel-efficient aircraft, resulting in a need for some 39,000 new-build passenger and freighter aircraft, 15,250 of these for replacement. As a consequence, by 2040 the vast majority of commercial aircraft in operation will be of the latest generation, up from some 13% today, considerably improving the CO2 efficiency of the world’s commercial aircraft fleets. The economic benefits of aviation extend beyond the sector, contributing around 4% to annual global GDP and sustaining some 90 million jobs worldwide.

While having lost nearly two years of growth over the COVID period, passenger traffic has demonstrated its resilience and is set to reconnect to an annual growth of 3.9% per year, driven by expanding economies and commerce around the globe including tourism. The middle classes, who are the likeliest to fly, will grow in number by two billion people to 63% of the world’s population. The fastest traffic growth will be in Asia with domestic China becoming the largest market.

The demand for new aircraft will include around 29,700 Small aircraft like the A220 and A320 Families, as well as about 5,300 in the Medium aircraft category such as the A321XLR and the A330neo. In the Large segment, covered by the A350, a need for some 4,000 deliveries  is expected by 2040.

Cargo demand, boosted by e-commerce, is driven by an expected growth in express freight of 4.7% per year and a general cargo (representing about 75% of the market) growth of 2.7%. Overall, over the next 20 years there will be a need for some 2,440 freighters, of which 880 will be new-build.

In line with growth, ever more efficient aircraft operations globally increase the need for commercial aviation services – including maintenance, training, upgrades, flight operations, dismantling and recycling. This growth is on track at Airbus’ pre-pandemic forecast levels reaching a cumulative value of around $4.8Tn in the next 20 years. While continuing through a COVID-related downdip of some 20% over the 2020-2025 period, the services market is rebounding, triggering a need for some 550,000+ new pilots and 710,000+ highly skilled technicians over the next 20 years. While maintenance will remain the leading services segment, flight, ground operations and sustainable services are also expected to grow significantly.

“As economies and air transport mature, we see demand increasingly driven by replacement rather than growth. Replacement being today’s most significant driver for decarbonisation. The world is expecting more sustainable flying and this will be made possible in the short-term by the introduction of most modern airplanes,” said Christian Scherer, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Airbus International. “Powering these new, efficient aircraft with Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) is the next big lever. We pride ourselves that all our aircraft – the A220, A320neo Family, the A330neo and the A350 – are already certified to fly with a blend of 50% SAF, set to rise to 100% by 2030 – before making ZEROe our next reality from 2035 onwards.”

The global aviation industry has already achieved huge efficiency gains, as shown by the 53% decline in aviation’s global CO2 emissions since 1990. Airbus’ product range supports at least a 20% CO2 efficiency gain over previous-generation aircraft. In view of further ongoing innovations, product developments, operational improvements as well as market based options, Airbus is supporting the air transport sector’s target to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.