Tag Archives: Airbus

China and Airbus to expand their partnership in civil aviation

Airbus made this announcement:

Airbus and China Aviation Supplies Holding Company (CAS) signed a General Terms Agreement (GTA) covering the purchase by Chinese airlines of a total of 300 Airbus aircraft. The GTA was signed in Paris, France by Guillaume Faury, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and future Airbus CEO; and Jia Baojun, Chairman of CAS; in the presence of visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The GTA comprises of 290 A320 Family aircraft and 10 A350 XWB Family aircraft, reflecting the strong demand in all market segments including domestic, low cost, regional and international long haul from Chinese carriers.

According to Airbus’ latest China Market Forecast 2018 to 2037, China will need some 7,400 new passenger and freighters aircraft in the next 20 years. It represents more than 19 percent of the world total demand for over 37,400 new aircraft.

By the end of January 2019, the in-service Airbus fleet with Chinese operators totaled some 1,730 aircraft, of which 1,455 are A320 Family, and 17 are A350 XWB Family planes.

With more than 14,600 A320 Family aircraft ordered and over 8,600 delivered, the A320 is the world’s most successful single-aisle aircraft Family. Of these, the A320neo Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle aircraft with over 6,500 orders from over 100 customers since its launch in 2010. It has pioneered and incorporated the latest technologies, including its new generation engines and the industry’s reference cabin design, delivering 20 percent fuel cost savings alone. The A320neo also offers significant environmental benefits with nearly a 50 percent reduction in noise footprint compared to previous generation aircraft.

Photos: Airbus.

 

Advertisements

Airbus delivers first FANS-C equipped A320 to easyJet

Airbus has delivered the first *FANS-C equipped A320 aircraft to easyJet. In the frame of Europe’s SESAR Air Traffic Management (ATM) research program, this aircraft – and others to follow – will take part in the Airbusled project: “Demonstration of air traffic management improvements Generated by 4D Initial Trajectory Information Sharing” (DIGITS) which will demonstrate the sharing of an aircraft’s predicted trajectory data with air traffic control (ATC).

 

  •  Milestone marks the start of SESAR FANS-C demonstration by seven airlines
  • 100 aircraft with FANS-C to demonstrate 4D initial trajectory sharing in Europe

FANS-C technology will enable airlines to optimise their aircraft’s trajectories and make traffic flows more fluid and aircraft speed easier to manage, which will help them to save fuel and reduce noise. In particular, the sharing of predicted trajectories with ATC controllers will enable smooth aircraft sequencing on approach and in the “Terminal Maneuvering Area”.

Hugh McConnellogue, Group Head of Network Operations at easyJet said: “We are very pleased to be the first airline to receive this new FANS-C technology in our Airbus aircraft – and to try it for real in the SESAR demonstration. Our early hands-on experience already indicates that it promises to be an important enabler to increase the efficiency, safety, and on-time performance of our expanding operations – especially in the congested European airspace.”

Jean-Brice Dumont, Executive Vice President of Engineering, Airbus Commercial Aircraft said: “We congratulate easyJet on the delivery of the first FANS-C equipped Airbus aircraft, which marks the start of this very large demonstration of 4D initial trajectory sharing across Europe.” He adds: “We are proud to lead this SESAR project and to play our part in helping ATM respond to the increase in air traffic volume while enhancing safety, and to bring about a positive environmental impact thanks to a more efficient ATM system.”

From now until mid-2020 seven European airlines, which are all taking part in DIGITS, will progressively equip up to 100 of their A320 Family aircraft with the FANS-C technology. The “Very Large Demonstration” (VLD) will last more than a year and collect data from over 20,000 revenue flights, allowing stakeholders to demonstrate benefits of this technology during live day-to-day operations.

Paving the way for start of the DIGITS operational phase and to ultimately deploy this technology across Europe and the rest of the world, Airbus achieved the world’s first certification of FANS-C ‘4D’ avionics on a commercial aircraft in November 2018 – the initial aircraft type being the A320 Family. Moreover, to complement the airborne FANS-C technology, air navigation service providers (ANSPs) throughout Europe will develop the respective ground ATC tools.

SESAR = “Single European Sky ATM Research”

*FANS-C is facilitated with two key components: “Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract” (ADS-C) and “Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication” (CPDLC). ADS-C enables the automatic or on-demand transmission to air traffic control of the aircraft’s complete predicted four-dimensional aircraft trajectory (3D + time), while CPDLC facilitates the digital uplink of ATC orders and clearances. The benefits of FANS-C include: More accurate flight plans; more optimised trajectory computation and acceptance processes; better alignment of airlines’ and ATM planned trajectories; enhancement of aircraft traffic predictions and improvement of demand/capacity network calculations.

The seven airlines taking part in the DIGITS program comprise: Air France; British Airways; easyJet; Iberia; Novair; Thomas Cook; and Wizz Air.

For FANS-C capability on-board an A320 Family aircraft, the equipment required includes a new Data Link router (ATSU), an upgraded Flight Management System (FMS) and “DCDU” Data Link compatible cockpit displays. FANS-C will be first available on the A320 Family and subsequently on all other Airbus programs.

Alaska Airlines unveils its new Airbus cabins

 

Alaska Airlines made this announcement on its blog:

Today, we’re excited to take you inside our retrofitted Airbus aircraft. Months of research, focus groups and iteration went into the new cabin, but we started by asking a single question: What makes you comfortable on a plane?

Turns out, your comfort is about a lot more than ergonomics, though that’s part of it. You want to feel more in control – control of your space, your belongings and, ultimately, your flight experience.

“Our goal is not to be different for different’s sake,” explained Sangita Woerner, Alaska Airlines vice president of marketing. “We want to be different for our guests – and we believe the details matter.”


We continued to iterate with our partners until we got it right. The new design takes your comfort to heart – with custom memory foam seats, tablet holders to fit your mobile device of choice, headrests with six adjustable settings and more.

“Comfort is about the seamlessness of all interactions you have on board,” said Johannes Lampela, BMW Designworks director of design, who worked on the cabin retrofit. “The modern traveler wants to be in control, not dictated by their space. This means they need to have freedom to put things in different places.”

Here’s a closer look at the thoughtful touches throughout the new cabin:

Calming colors 

first class Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

uniforms Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

“We wanted a calming environment because travel can be so stressful,” Woerner said. “You should feel comfortable and welcome the moment you step on board.”

For this reason, we opted for neutral colors, blending warm and cool grays and blues. When you walk from the front to the back of the plane, the colors transition from lighter to darker shades, creating a spacious first impression and a sense of depth. The goal was to produce a space that’s pleasing on the eye no matter where you’re seated.

To infuse our brand personality into the space, brighter brand colors are used as accents. Pops of fun blues can be found in elements such as the seat-back literature, mood lighting and flight attendants’ uniforms, working together to create a cohesive look. 

One-of-a-kind seats

main cabin seat Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

headrest Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

To ensure optimal comfort, our seats were tested by people sitting on them for hours at a time, mimicking a long-haul flight.

The cushions are hand-cut out of several memory foam parts, creating a design unique to Alaska Airlines.

You’ll also find a six-way adjustable headrest, accommodating more body types and giving you more control.

First class luxuries

first class luxuries Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

We took great care to ensure our first class guests get a remarkable experience as soon as they walk on the plane.

When you think of a premium vehicle seat, chances are you think of a car, not a plane. To bring in a feeling of luxury, we looked to the automotive industry for inspiration.

“For our first class seats, we wanted a sports car, performance-driven look,” Woerner said. “We’re a performance-driven, on-time airline, so this was important to us.”

first class seat Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

We carefully considered the materials and shape of the memory-foam cushion. A mix of textiles and quilting techniques were used for the seat covers to create a richer look, much like you’d find in a luxury car.

“Alaska wanted the first class seats to feel like a seamless transition from your premium vehicle,” said Martin Rehmet, regional sales director of German seat manufacturer Recaro. “The sculpted seat hugs more of your body and back.”

In their ergonomic and sleeping studies, Recaro looked at the first class seat cushion from all angles to figure out the best way to support a passenger’s feet and bring them into a relaxed position.

foot rest Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

“A footrest is the best option to support people of varying heights,” said Rehmet. “It’s also more supportive, visible and intuitive to use than a leg rest.”

In addition to a foot rest, the first class seat features cup holders – conveniently placed in the arm rest – and a side pocket for storing your reading material.

Every seat in the aircraft also has a custom tablet holder (see below) and a stretchy mesh seatback pocket to give you more flexibility to use the space as you see fit.

A multitasker’s seatback 

There’s no question: the modern traveler wants to be able to multitask. Whether watching a show while texting a friend, or sending emails while charging your phone – you want to be able to utilize more than one screen or device at a time.

tablet holder Inside our new cabin: Thoughtful touches for the modern traveler

To make our seats more conducive to multitasking, we built a custom tablet holder at eye level that can adjust to fit most mobile devices. A clip slides up and down, allowing you to find the right fit, and a non-slip shelf folds down to keep your device secure.

“It’s not a question of whether people want to bring their own device – they do,” said Recaro’s Rehmet. “We made the tablet holder more accommodating than you’ll find on other major domestic carriers.”

To enable easy charging of your device while it’s in use, the new seatbacks also feature a USB port next to the tablet holder. A power outlet remains under the tray table.

By keeping your mobile device in a hands-free position at optimal viewing height, the tray table is left open for food and other essentials. In premium class, you’ll find an additional cup holder in a more protected spot.

The seatback pocket is also bigger and more forgiving, made with a stretchy, see-through fabric. Taken together, these elements give you more freedom and control to use the space as you please.

Starting this month, guests flying on Alaska Airlines will experience a comfortable and modern new cabin, as the West Coast airline shifts into high gear retrofitting its Airbus fleet. The upgraded cabin is the result of two years of customer research and combines the best features of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, along with many thoughtful enhancements to make the travel journey comfortable, hassle-free and productive.

“Just two years after acquiring Virgin America, we’re thrilled to introduce a modern cabin that aligns the onboard experience across our fleet,” said Ben Minicucci, president and COO at Alaska Airlines. “After extensive feedback from our guests and in collaboration with our partners, we’ve infused the Alaska Airlines cabin with key brand elements from Virgin America – the result is a premium experience at an affordable price.”

Alaska’s new cabin features include:

  • Refreshed color palette from the updated bulkhead design to the carpet, bringing in neutral tones that are associated with relaxing environments against pops of Alaska’s signature blue.
  • Ambient mood lighting with calming, cool blue hues developed by lighting and color experts to complement the human body’s natural circadian rhythm. The result is lighting that changes throughout the flight to promote an uplifting energy during the day and calming energy into the evening.
  • Advanced high-speed satellite Wi-Fi by Gogo will deliver faster connection speeds, including the ability to stream content from popular services like Netflix or HBOGo.
  • Redesigned first class Recaro seats that evoke the feeling of both performance and comfort, like a luxury car. The sculpted design features memory foam and a 40″ pitch, along with footrests to support guests of varying heights.
  • Ergonomically-friendly tablet holders at each seat that accommodate most tablets and smartphones. The holders free up tray table space and an added shelf keeps devices in prime viewing position. Flexible mesh pockets also allow for easy access to essentials during the flight.
  • Upgraded premium and main cabin seats now feature memory foam for added comfort.
  • Conveniently-placed and tilted power outlets at every seat (USB & 110V) that allow guests to easily locate and charge two devices at once. The electrical boxes under the middle seat have been relocated to provide more personal space for guests.
  • Curated, onboard music program with a cool West Coast vibe that complements the relaxing and modern ambiance.
  • Cup holders throughout first class and premium class, so that guests can multi-task while they savor a craft beer, wine, or cocktail and have full use of the tray table.

Alaska’s Airbus fleet of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft are being updated in phases this year and by early 2020, 36 percent of the mainline fleet will feature the new cabin interior – including the entire Airbus fleet, Boeing 737-700s and three new Boeing MAX 9 planes. The retrofitted planes will bring consistency to the guest experience across the Alaska fleet, and expand the First Class and Premium Class sections with 12-seats and 24-seats respectively, offering more guests the option of an elevated experience. Alaska will take delivery of its first MAX 9 this summer, which will feature the new cabin interiors.

Alaska is adding this decal on its aircraft by the front door:

Photos: Mark Durbin.

“Our guests are at the center of everything we do,” said Andrew Harrison, Alaska Airlines’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer. “From relaxing in our lounges to being in the air, we know travelers want more control and comfort, while also enjoying the same low fares and great service. So that’s exactly what we did – we created a relaxing travel experience, so that our guests can focus on where they’re going and leave the rest to us.”

The new cabin is part of a series of investments Alaska has made to its onboard offering over the last 12 months, which includes advanced, high-speed satellite Wi-Fi, free chat, free movies and entertainment, and a new rotating seasonal menu. The menu offerings feature fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and feel-good snack and beverage options from beloved West Coast brands including Salt & Straw, Luke’s Organic and Fremont Brewing. By 2020, the majority of the mainline fleet will have the new satellite Wi-Fi installed.

The unveiling of the new cabin interior comes on the heels of Alaska Airlines’ plans for a new 8,500-square-foot rooftop lounge at San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 2. Featuring stunning views of the San Francisco Bay, the lounge will feature warm finishes and a modern and welcoming vibe, along with generous amenities such as hand-crafted Starbucks beverages, made-to-order meals for purchase and an expansive bar program featuring local Bay Area draught beers and West Coast wines. The Lounge is expected to open in 2020.

In addition, as part of Alaska’s multi-year investment to refresh and expand its Lounge portfolio, the new flagship 15,800-square-foot lounge at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will open in the next few months. Alaska is also renovating its Lounges in Anchorage, Alaska, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. These renovations are expected to be completed in the next few months and will include a new barista station, made-to-order meals and additional seating, as well as an updated look-and-feel.

EASA certifies Airbus A330neo for “beyond 180 minutes” ETOPS

Airbus has made this announcement:

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has approved the A330-900 for ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine aircraft Operations) “beyond 180 minutes” diversion time. This significant achievement means that operators of the A330neo, which is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, will benefit from the most efficient, reliable and direct long-range routings.

The approval, which includes ETOPS 180 min. capability in the aircraft’s basic specification, now also includes the option for “ETOPS 285 min.” This extends the potential air diversion distance to around 2,000nm. The U.S. FAA’s respective ETOPS certification is expected soon.

A330neo operators which choose the ETOPS 285 min. option will be able to serve new direct ‘non-limiting’ routings. Meanwhile, operators flying on existing routes (currently flown with up to 180-minute diversion time) will be able to traverse a straighter, quicker and more fuel efficient path, and also have access to more – and possibly better equipped – en-route diversion airports if needed.

The granting of this ETOPS capability is a testimony to the aircraft’s design and systems maturity, which has been demonstrated to be as good as its predecessor – the versatile and extremely reliable A330-200/A330-300 family, proven over many millions of flights.

The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft family comprising the A330-900 and the smaller A330-800. The A330-900 in particular is the lowest seat-mile cost 300-seater which incorporates highly efficient Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, a new 3D-optimised wing with greater span and lighter composite materials, plus new wingtip Sharklets. Together, these advances bring greater range (around 7,200 nm with a three-class cabin) and 25% lower fuel consumption compared with older generation aircraft of similar size.

The A330 is one of the most popular widebody families ever, having received over 1,700 orders to date from 120 customers. More than 1,400 A330s are flying with over 120 operators worldwide. The A330neo is the latest addition to the leading Airbus twin-engine widebody family, which alongside the A350 XWB, offer unmatched space and comfort combined with unprecedented efficiency levels and long-range capability.

In 2009, the Airbus A330-200/-300 became the first airliner family to gain an ETOPS ‘Beyond 180min’ certification, which was granted by EASA. Airbus twin-engine airliners have accumulated over 20 million ETOPS flight hours, most of which have been accumulated by the A330 Family.

“ETOPS” is a set of rules initially introduced by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in the mid-1980s to allow commercial operations with twin-engine aircraft on routes beyond 60min flying time from the nearest airport and which were previously operated only by aircraft with more than two engines. These rules, which are now named “EDTO” (Extended Diversion Time Operations) by ICAO have been progressively revised to allow operations beyond 180 min diversion time.

Photo: Airbus.

Construction begins on Airbus’ U.S. A220 manufacturing facility

Airbus’ manufacturing growth in the United States advanced another step in Mobile, Alabama, as construction of the company’s A220 Manufacturing Facility officially launched with a groundbreaking ceremony. The assembly line will satisfy the strong and growing U.S. demand for the A220 aircraft, the newest offering in Airbus’ commercial aircraft product line.

Tom Enders, CEO of Airbus, and Guillaume Faury, President Airbus Commercial Aircraft, led the celebration and welcomed approximately 700 attendees including Airbus and other industry executives, Airbus manufacturing employees, state and national dignitaries, and local community leaders.

The new assembly line, which is the company’s second U.S.-based commercial aircraft production facility, will be located at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley adjacent to the A320 Family production line and will facilitate assembly of A220-100 and A220-300 aircraft for U.S. customers. Aircraft production is planned to begin in the third quarter of 2019 with first delivery of a Mobile-assembled A220 aircraft scheduled for 2020. The new A220 production facilities will be complete by next year.

With an order book of more than 500 aircraft to date, the A220 has all the credentials to win the lion’s share of the 100- to 150-seat aircraft market estimated to represent at least 7,000 aircraft over the next 20 years.

Airbus records 800 deliveries in 2018

Airbus SE delivered 800 commercial aircraft to 93 customers in 2018, meeting its full year delivery guidance and setting a new company record. Deliveries were 11 percent higher than the previous record of 718 units, set in 2017. For the 16th year in a row now, Airbus has increased the number of commercial aircraft deliveries on an annual basis.

In total, the 2018 commercial aircraft deliveries comprise:

  • 20 A220s (since it became part of the Airbus family in July 2018);
  • 626 A320 Family (vs 558 in 2017), of which 386 were A320neo Family (vs 181 NEOs in 2017);
  • 49 A330s (vs 67 in 2017) including the first three A330neo in 2018;
  • 93 A350 XWBs (vs 78 in 2017);
  • 12 A380s (vs 15 in 2017).

In terms of sales, Airbus achieved 747 net orders during 2018 compared with 1,109 net orders in 2017. At the end of 2018, the backlog of Airbus commercial aircraft reached a new industry record and stood at 7,577 aircraft, including 480 A220s, compared with 7,265 at the end of 2017.

Over the last 16 years, Airbus has steadily increased its production year-by-year with the final assembly lines in Hamburg, Toulouse, Tianjin and Mobile complemented by the addition of the A220 line in Mirabel, Canada, during 2018. A notable contribution to Airbus’ delivery increase in 2018 came from the final assembly lines in the US and China. For the top-selling A320 Family in particular, the Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Mobile, Alabama, saw its 100thdelivery, and is now producing in excess of four units per month. Meanwhile, Airbus’ “FAL Asia” in Tianjin, China, achieved its 400th A320 delivery, while in Germany Airbus commenced operations of its new, fourth production line in Hamburg. Overall, the A320 programme is on track to achieve rate 60 per month for the A320 Family by mid-2019. The Airbus teams successfully reached an important industrial milestone for the A350, achieving the targeted rate of 10 aircraft per month.

Airbus will report Full Year 2018 financial results on February 14, 2019.

Footnote:

The Full-Year 2018 net orders and backlog represent the contractual view. The Full-Year 2018 backlog value will be measured under IFRS 15 and will reflect the recoverable amount of revenues under these contracts. A significant reduction in order backlog value is expected mainly due to the adjustment for net prices versus list prices. The FY 2017 backlog will not be restated.