2018 Is Just About Over & There Is A Lot of News!

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This is the last edition of IFExpress for 2018 and it is a big one! There was a lot happening over the past 7 days, so let’s dig in.

Boeing

Boeing, COMAC, 737MAX:
Boeing and joint venture partner Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd (COMAC) celebrated the delivery of the first airplane from the new 737 Completion and Delivery Center in Zhoushan, China. (See rectangle) Air China received the first plane, marking a new era in Boeing’s partnership with the Chinese aviation industry. Delivery of the first MAX 8, assembled in Renton, Washington and completed in China, comes 20 months after construction began at the 100-acre site.

Boeing 737 MAXs for Chinese airlines will be flown from Seattle to Zhoushan, where the joint Boeing-COMAC Completion Center will complete interior work on the airplanes. The statement of work will gradually expand to include painting with the addition of three paint hangers.  Once completed, airplanes will move to the adjacent Boeing-operated delivery center for customer acceptance activities and delivery formalities.

The facility, which covers 666,000 sq ft in total, is designed to support the entire 737 MAX family of airplanes, from the long-range MAX 7 to the high-capacity MAX 10.  With about one third of all 737 deliveries going to Chinese customers, the Zhoushan facility will enable Chinese airline customers to update and expand their fleets with the most technologically-advanced Boeing single-aisle airplanes available. In addition, the business and the partnerships Boeing is developing in China are integral to adding capacity and aerospace jobs in the U.S China is on course to become the largest commercial aviation market in the world.  Boeing’s latest Commercial Market Outlook forecasts that China will need 7,680 new airplanes worth $1.2 trillion USD over the next 20 year and another $1.5 trillion USD in commercial services to support the country’s growing fleet of airplanes.

787th Dreamliner:
Boeing  delivered the 787th 787 Dreamliner to come off the production line, marking a special milestone for the super-efficient airplane family and the fastest-selling twin-aisle jet in history. Since its first delivery in September, 2011, the 787 family has flown nearly 300 million passengers on more than 1.5 million flights around the world, including more than 210 new nonstop routes made possible by the airplane’s superior fuel efficiency and range. The airplane was delivered to AerCap, the world’s largest lessor and 787 customer. Sporting a special logo commemorating the production milestone, the airplane will be leased and operated by China Southern, which continues to expand its long-haul fleet of 787 Dreamliners, including 10 787-8s and eight 787-9s. China Southern Airlines first ordered 10 787-8 Dreamliners in 2005 and further increased its capability on long-haul routes when they placed an order for 787-9s in 2016. The 787s have enabled the airline to launch a number of non-stop global routes, connecting Guangzhou to London and Rome in Europe; Vancouver, British Columbia, in North America; and Perth, Auckland, and Christchurch in the Oceania region.

ELG:
Boeing and ELG Carbon Fibre announced a partnership to recycle excess aerospace-grade composite material, which will be used by other companies to make products such as electronic accessories and automotive equipment. The agreement – the first of its kind for the aerospace industry – covers excess carbon fiber from 11 Boeing airplane manufacturing sites and will reduce solid waste by more than one million pounds a year. Carbon-fiber reinforced material is extremely strong and lightweight, making it attractive for a variety of uses, including in building the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner and the all-new 777X airplane. As the largest user of aerospace-grade composites from its commercial and defense programs, Boeing has been working for several years to create an economically viable carbon fiber reuse industry. The company improved its production methods to minimize excess and developed a model for collecting scrap material. But technical barriers stood in the way of repurposing material that had already been “cured” or prepped for use in the airplane manufacturing process. UK-based ELG developed a proprietary method to recycle “cured” composites so they do not have to be thrown out.

To prove that the recycling method can be applied on a grand scale, Boeing and ELG conducted a pilot project where they recycled excess material from Boeing’s Composite Wing Center in Everett, Wash., where the massive wings for the 777X airplane are made. ELG put the excess materials through treatment in a furnace, which vaporizes the resin that holds the carbon fiber layers together and leaves behind clean material. Over the course of 18 months, the companies saved 1.5 million pounds of carbon fiber, which was cleaned and sold to companies in the electronics and ground transportation industries. Based on the success of the pilot project, Boeing says the new agreement should save a majority of the excess composite material from its 11 sites, which will support the company’s goal to reduce solid waste going to landfills 20 percent by 2025.

Boeing and ELG are considering expanding the agreement to include excess material from three additional Boeing sites in Canada, China and Malaysia. As a result of the partnership, ELG estimates the number of its employees will nearly triple from 39 in 2016 to an expected 112 by the end of 2019 as the recycling market continues to expand.

Embraer:
Boeing and Embraer have approved to the terms of a strategic partnership that would position both companies to accelerate growth in global aerospace markets. The approved terms define the joint venture comprising the commercial aircraft and services operations of Embraer, in which Boeing will hold an 80 percent ownership stake and Embraer will hold the remaining 20 percent. The transaction remains subject to approval by the Government of Brazil, after which Embraer and Boeing intend to execute definitive transaction documents. The closing of the transaction will then be subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions. Under the terms of the proposed partnership, Boeing will acquire an 80 percent ownership stake in the joint venture for $4.2 billion. The partnership is expected to be neutral to Boeing’s earnings per share in 2020 and accretive thereafter. Estimated annual pre-tax cost synergies of approximately $150 million are anticipated by the third year of operations.


Gogo

Gogo, a global provider of broadband connectivity products and services for aviation, announced that modifications to its 2Ku installations on North American aircraft to protect against de-icing fluid contamination have achieved positive results. Gogo is providing an update on the performance of its 2Ku system in order to respond to investor inquiries stemming from recent significant winter storm activity, including Diego, which occurred just this past weekend.

As of December 10, Gogo had experienced no incidents of 2Ku system degradation on aircraft installed with Gogo’s recent de-icing modifications. Based on Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) data listing airports that have experienced deicing activity, Gogo estimates that aircraft with Gogo deicing modifications have been de-iced prior to 2,601 flights so far this winter. And as of December 10, Gogo’s de-icing modifications had been installed on more than 600 aircraft, representing almost 95% of the Company’s North American fleet. While the vast majority of global de-icing activities occur in North America, Gogo will modify existing 2Ku installations on international aircraft as part of each airline’s maintenance program. All newly equipped 2Ku aircraft globally will include the de-icing modifications at the time of installation.As of December 10, 2018, 2Ku availability across the entire Gogo 2Ku fleet was approximately 98% month to date, as compared to 92% for the same period last winter.


Thales

Singapore Airlines is known globally for its high standards of service and cabin experience. The airline has been awarded the internationally acclaimed five-star rating from Skytrax and was recognized by the organization in 2018 as the ‘World’s Best Airline” for the fourth time, operating a modern passenger fleet of more than 100 aircraft. For the upcoming fleet of A350-900 medium haul aircraft, Singapore Airlines has entrusted Thales to sustain their brand promise of improving service excellence, retaining competitive advantage and continuing to meet and exceed customer expectations. This new fleet of aircraft will be equipped with Thales’s AVANT IFE system, featuring an innovative and personalized user experience uniquely designed for Singapore Airlines. The 40 Business Class passengers will enjoy 17” High Definition touch screen monitors with a complementing handset that operates similarly to a consumer smart phone, enabling passengers to use it as a secondary device to control the seatback monitor. The 263 Economy Class seats will feature the latest 11.6” touchscreen monitors. The sleek and lightweight design of AVANT provides travelers an exceptional inflight experience with Singapore Airlines’ vast choice of entertainment. The IFE solution is designed with a new Signature user interface that is unique to Singapore Airlines, and offers a more intuitive user experience with new additional navigational options.

Some key features on AVANT include:

  • Media Filter: This enables passengers to efficiently locate desired media by filtering content through the various categories, genres, languages and available flight duration;
  • Flight Info Map: When enjoying movies or TV shows, passengers are able to concurrently bring up flight info without exiting the media player; and,
  • Air Mouse (available in Business Class): The touch screen handset functions as a remote control by directing the onscreen cursor on the seatback monitor.

Airbus

FLY YOUR IDEAS:
Airbus selected 51 international student teams to go into round two of its sixth Fly Your Ideas global challenge. Students were invited to innovate in six key areas covering Electrification, Data Services, Cyber Security, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality.

PEOPLE:
Airbus SE appointed Philippe Mhun, 56, as Chief Programmes and Services Officer for Airbus Commercial Aircraft, effective 01 January 2019. Mhun, currently Head of Customer Services at Airbus, will succeed EVP Head of Programmes Didier Evrard, 65, who retires around the turn of the year after 41 years associated with Airbus, 20 of those in top management positions.

ACIC:
Airbus China Innovation Centre (ACIC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Royole Technology – a global pioneer in flexible displays, flexible sensors and foldable smartphones. The two parties will collaborate to develop applications that implement flexible electronic technologies in cabin environments and investigate the possibilities for commercial cooperation. Airbus has been dedicated to design and manufacture aircraft that provide a better cabin experience for passengers. By investigating the use of flexible displays and flexible sensors in the cabin, Airbus plans to cooperate with Royole Technology by building a futurized, digitalized and personalized cabin to further improve the cabin environment, cabin safety and energy saving. Based in Shenzhen, Airbus China Innovation Centre is the first Innovation Centre set up by Airbus in Asia. Its mission is to fully leverage local advantages including innovative talents, partners and the eco-system, and combine this with Airbus’ expertise in aerospace to explore breakthroughs in technologies, business models and new growth opportunities. ACIC is now fully operational with the official office opening ceremony due to take place in early 2019.

AVOLON:
Dublin, Ireland-headquartered aircraft lessor Avolon firmed up an order for 75 A320neos and 25 A321neos. The agreement is the single largest order for Airbus aircraft ever placed by Avolon. The agreement takes Avolon’s cumulative orders with Airbus to 284 aircraft (240 single-aisles and 44 widebody aircraft) including the A321neo, the A330neo and the A350 XWB. The new order for 100 aircraft, together with the 22 single-aisles and four wide-bodies already delivered, increases Avolon’s Airbus backlog to 258, the largest of any lessor. Featuring the widest single-aisle cabin in the sky, the efficient A320neo Family incorporates the very latest technologies including new generation engines and Sharklets, which together deliver more than 15 percent fuel and CO2 savings from day one and 20 percent by 2020 as well as 50 percent noise reduction. With more than 6,200 orders received from over 100 customers, the A320neo Family has captured some 60 percent of the market.

ANA:
The first A380 for All Nippon Airways (ANA) rolled out of the Airbus paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, bearing the airline’s distinctive and unique Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle livery. ANA has firm orders for three A380s, becoming the first customer for the superjumbo in Japan. The airline will take delivery of the first A380 at the end of Q1 2019 and will operate the aircraft on the popular leisure Narita-Honolulu route. The three ANA A380s will be painted in a special livery depicting sea turtles which are native to Hawaii. The first aircraft is blue, the second will be green and the third orange. The ANA A380 livery is one of the most elaborate ever painted by Airbus. It took 21 days for the Airbus team to paint a surface of 3,600m2 using 16 different shades of color.The aircraft will now have completion of its cabin and enter a final phase of ground and flight tests in Hamburg, during which all cabin systems will be thoroughly tested, including air flow and air conditioning, lighting, galleys, lavatories, seats and in-flight entertainment. In parallel, Airbus will also undertake advanced aircraft performance tests before it flies back to Toulouse for preparation of its delivery and ferry flight. As one of the world’s most prestigious airlines, ANA will be able to benefit from the A380’s proven operating economics and unrivaled passenger appeal. Offering more personal space than any other aircraft, the A380 is the most efficient solution to meeting growth on the world’s most heavily traveled routes, carrying more passengers with fewer flights at lower cost and emissions. At the end of November, Airbus has delivered 232 A380s, with the aircraft now in service with 14 airlines worldwide.

MJET:
MJet GmbH of Austria became the first ACJ319 operator to sign up for Skywise, enabling it to integrate its own operational, maintenance, and aircraft data into the Skywise platform. MJet will store, access, manage, and analyze selected Airbus data together with its own data and global benchmarks without the need for additional infrastructure investments. This service will provide MJet new insights at aircraft, company and global level while allowing it to enhance its operations by improving operational reliability, reducing operational interruptions and identifying efficiencies, cost savings and enhanced revenue opportunities. MJet will share its Airbus operating-data and in return access the platform to benefit from other A319 operators’ aggregate aircraft reliability fleet data. MJet will also work with Airbus to further develop product and support services specifically for ACJ operators.

Skywise provides all users with a single access-point for their enriched data by bringing together aviation data from multiple sources, across the industry, into one secure platform. The more data that airlines share into the Skywise platform, the more accurate the predictions and models for all connected. All data is anonymized to ensure data confidentiality. More than 190 Airbus corporate jets are in service around the world, flying on every continent, including Antarctica.


FlightPath3D
Interactive 3D moving map company, FlightPath3D has secured its landmark 50th airline customer in five years, in the form of All Nippon Airways (ANA), which will make the system available across its fleet. (Editor’s Note: Boris Bubresko noted: “Our next FlightPath3D map implementation will be on our Wi-Fi solution and to our customer’s personal device.”)


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