– First in Chin to benefit from more fuel savings

May 17, 2013– China’s largest operator of Airbus aircraft, China Eastern Airlines, has taken delivery of its first A320 aircraft equipped with Sharklet fuel saving wing-tip devices, becoming China’s first carrier to do so. The aircraft is also the first Sharklets equipped A320 assembled and delivered in Tianjin.

The A320, powered by IAE V2500 engines, features a comfortable two class cabin, seating 158 passengers with eight in business class and 150 in economy. The A320 will make its first commercial flight from Shanghai to Dalian on May 18.

“As the first and biggest Airbus customer in China, China Eastern and Airbus have long-term good cooperation. China Eastern is honored to be the first customer of A320 with sharklets in China. In the near future, China Eastern will further expand our sharklet equipped A320 family fleet”, said Shu Mingjiang, Vice President Flight Operations, China Eastern.

“We are delighted that China Eastern Airlines has taken delivery of its first Sharklet equipped A320. It is a mark of our close ties that the biggest Airbus fleet operator in China is also the first Chinese carrier to benefit from up to four per cent reduction in fuel costs”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers.

Sharklets are made from light-weight composites and are 2.4 meters tall. They are an option on new-build A320 Family aircraft and standard on all members of the new A320neo family. They offer operators up to four per cent fuel burn reduction on longer range sectors and provide the flexibility of either adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms.

China Eastern is one of the largest airlines in China and is the first Chinese airline operating Airbus aircraft in 1985. Now it operates an Airbus fleet of over 230 aircraft including A300s, A319s, A320s, A321s, A330s and A340s.

Airbus Tianjin Delivery Centre has delivered 126 aircraft since June 2009 and it plans to deliver 46 aircraft in total in 2013.

2010 total deliveries to match previous year’s record level

Airbus will increase the monthly production rate for its single-aisle A320 Family from the current rate of 34 to 36, starting December 2010. The production rate for the long-range A330/A340 Family will be maintained at the current level of eight per month.

Airbus’ decision to raise its single-aisle production rate is driven by the continuing demand for its eco-efficient aircraft and a record backlog in excess of some 2,300 A320 Family aircraft.

“Leading economic indices and business confidence indicators are showing an upward trend again. We see this reflected in the continuing solid demand for our eco-efficient products and our robust backlog. Thanks to our proactive order book management we have been able to keep production stable during the year of the downturn, but now it is definitely time to think ahead,” said Tom Williams, Executive Vice President, Programmes. “Aviation is a long-term growth industry. With our prudent decision we will be ready when the market recovers.”

Airbus delivered a total of 498 aircraft in 2009, including 402 A320 Family aircraft, both new company records for a single year. The company target for deliveries in 2010 is to remain at a similar level to 2009.

The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. More than 6,500 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and nearly 4200 delivered to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever

LAKE FOREST, California – 02 March 2010 – Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic), the world leader in state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment and communication (IFEC) systems, today announced that it has been selected to provide in-flight entertainment systems on three (3) Airbus A320 narrow-body aircraft owned by Tel Aviv-based Israir Airlines.

The first aircraft is equipped with the Panasonic Digital Multiplexed Passenger Entertainment System (DMPES), an overhead in-flight entertainment system.

The Panasonic DMPES is an audio and video distribution in-flight entertainment system for narrow-body aircraft such as the A320. The system uses the latest technology that incorporates Panasonic’s X Series System, which reduces space, weight and power when compared with traditional overhead systems. The 10.4” touch screen Crew Panel provides a user friendly and easy access point for the crew.

“We are very pleased to have Israir as a new customer and are looking forward to working closely with them to manage and support their IFEC System,” said Paul Margis, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation. “Israir’s selection of Panasonic’s in-flight entertainment system will help strengthen the airline’s competitive advantage by taking the in-flight experience to a higher level for its passengers.”

“We are very impressed with Panasonic’s global support network, and having local support based in Tel Aviv was important in our decision to choose the Panasonic DMPES,” said Mr. Tamir Jacoby, Service Manager at Israir. “Also, the quality and innovation of the product is in line with the high expectations of our passengers, who want a rich and seamless ground-to-air in-flight entertainment experience.”

Established in 1996, Israir is Israel’s second largest carrier, offering both domestic flights and international flights between Israel and major destinations in the Mediterranean Basin and Europe. In 2007 Israir became the first Airbus customer in Israel with the purchase of three A320 aircraft. Its fleet also includes ATRs with seating for 50.

3 November 2009 – Following an intensive and robust evaluation process, Air New Zealand has ordered 14 Airbus A320 aircraft to replace its existing domestic fleet of 15 Boeing 737-300s. The aircraft will be powered by IAE engines.

The A320, which is larger than the aircraft type it will replace, will enable Air New Zealand to increase capacity on routes that are starting to face capacity constraints at some airports during peak times. Air New Zealand has also placed purchase options for a further 11 A320 aircraft, including the possibility of selecting the larger A321.

“Our 12 Airbus A320s already deployed on short haul international routes are performing well, and moving to one single-aisle aircraft type for both domestic and short haul international routes will immediately deliver added efficiencies in maintenance, crew training, and overall fleet simplification,” said Bruce Parton, Air New Zealand General Manager Short Haul Airline.

The A320 has the widest fuselage of any single-aisle aircraft and is a significant factor in added passenger comfort. A new cabin design offers a significant increase in overhead stowage, dramatic ambience lighting options and noticeable noise reduction.

Enhanced aerodynamics, engine enhancements and improved navigation technology such as “continuous descent approach” keep the A320 the most eco-efficient aircraft in its class.

“Air New Zealand will reap the benefits of selecting a common family of aircraft across their domestic and short haul single-aisle fleet. The A320 prevailed in the stiffest of competitions to show once again, that it is the single aircraft of choice bar none. We are delighted to build on our already close relationship with Air New Zealand with this announcement,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers.

The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognised as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly-by-wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. More than 6,400 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerised cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.

23 June 2009 – Airbus today delivered the first A320 aircraft assembled at its Final Assembly Line China (FALC) in Tianjin. At a grand ceremony, the aircraft was handed over by Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders, to the Chairman of Dragon Aviation Leasing, Li Hai. The aircraft will be leased to and operated by Sichuan Airlines.

Tianjin Party Secretary Zhang Gaoli, Mayor of Tianjin, Huang Xingguo, as well as German State Secretary (Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology) Hartmut Schauerte and the President of Sichuan Airlines, Lan Xinguo were present at the ceremony attended by more than 1000 guests.

“The highly reliable and efficient Airbus aircraft are very valuable assets of aircraft leasing companies. As a China-based company, Dragon Aviation Leasing is proud to take delivery of the first Airbus aircraft assembled in China,” said Li Hai, Chairman of Dragon Aviation Leasing.

“Sichuan Airlines was the first Chinese airline to introduce the A320 Family aircraft in China in 1995. Today, we are proud to become the operator of the first A320 assembled in China. We believe that the Airbus aircraft further enhances our profitability and competitiveness with low operational costs and high reliability,” said Lan Xinguo, President of Sichuan Airlines.

“Our Final Assembly Line here in Tianjin and this first aircraft delivery outside Europe mark an important milestone in our strategic long-term partnership with China and the Chinese industry,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO. “This FAL is state of the art, second to none in the world. And so are the aircraft manufactured here in Tianjin. I would like to thank all our partners and employees who worked very hard during the last three years to make this happen.”

The Export-Import Bank of China, a strategic long term partner to Dragon Aviation Leasing, has been supporting the financing for the purchase of the aircraft. The A320 to be operated by Sichuan Airlines will be in a two-class configuration, with eight first class seats and 156 economy seats. The aircraft will be deployed on domestic trunk routes between the airline’s base of Chengdu to such major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It will enter into service on 24th June on the route from Chengdu to Beijing. The aircraft will join the existing fleet composed of 40 Airbus single-aisle aircraft.

Doha-based national carrier, Qatar Airways, has signed a firm contract for 24 Airbus A320 Family aircraft. The agreement includes the firming up of a contract for four A321 aircraft announced at the Farnborough Air show in July 2008.

Qatar Airways currently operates 19 A320 Family aircraft, the Middle East’s largest fleet. The new aircraft configured with a two-class cabin will be deployed to enhance and expand services on regional, Eastern European and south west Asia services.

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker said: “The additional Airbus A320s and A321s give Qatar Airways a firm footing in the rapid development and expansion of our regional network. Qatar Airways is determined to grow with the world’s best aircraft at the heart of a modern and fuel efficient fleet, and this A320 Family order will ensure that our narrow-body fleet is the youngest and best equipped in the region.”

In addition to 19 A320 Family aircraft, Qatar’s current in-service fleet includes four A340-600s and the region’s largest fleet of 29 A330s.

“Qatar Airways’s partnership with Airbus dates back to the early 1990’s, and we take great pride that it is stronger today than ever before. Qatar already operates a modern fleet of eco-efficient Airbus’ and we are delighted that with the equally efficient A320, Airbus is forming the backbone of Qatar’s modern fleet,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.

Qatar Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines, with a fleet that includes A320s, A300Fs, A330s and A340 aircraft including the ACJ corporate jet. Qatar Airways is also a customer for the 21st Century flagship, the A380 and is the largest customer for the A350 XWB.

The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Over 6,300 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and almost 3,900 delivered to more than 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the worlds best selling commercial jetliner ever.

With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.

18 May 2009 – The first A320 aircraft assembled outside Europe in the Airbus Final Assembly Line China (FALC) successfully completed its first flight today. The aircraft took off from Tianjin International Airport at 10:42 am and landed at 14:56. The four hour and fourteen minute test flight was jointly captained by Harry Nelson, Vice President Production Flight Tests and by Experimental Test Pilot Philippe Pellerin. The other crew members were Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests Fernando Alonso and Zidan Ren, the first Chinese Flight Test Engineer trained by Airbus as well as Cabin Engineer Eric Garcia

“The flight was a complete success thanks to excellent teamwork,” said Fernando Alonso, Senior Vice President Flight & Integration Tests, Airbus. “I was delighted to participate in this historic flight. This A320 assembled in China unquestionably demonstrated the same quality and performance as those assembled and delivered in Hamburg or Toulouse.”

“I would like to congratulate and sincerely thank all those in China and in Europe who, through their dedication and hard work, have made the first Airbus Final Assembly Line outside of Europe a reality,” says Laurence Barron, President of Airbus China. “Our commitment is to provide the very best aircraft and services to our customers and operators in China, while applying the same rules, procedures and quality standards as for any other Airbus aircraft produced in Europe. It highlights our commitment to the development of a long-term strategic partnership with the Chinese aviation industry.”

This first aircraft will be delivered to Dragon Aviation Leasing in June from the Airbus Delivery Centre in Tianjin and will be operated by Sichuan Airlines. Chinese customers have ordered more than 700 aircraft from Airbus, the majority of which are from the A320 Family. Eleven A319/A320 aircraft are scheduled for delivery in Tianjin in 2009 and the FALC production rate will be ramped up to four aircraft per month by the end of 2011.

The A320 FALC is a joint-venture between Airbus and a Chinese consortium comprising Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) and China Aviation Industry Corporation (AVIC). Airbus China holds 51 per cent of the shares, while the Chinese Consortium holds 49 per cent. The FALC in Tianjin is based on the latest state-of-the-art Airbus single-aisle Final Assembly Line in Hamburg, Germany. FALC started work in August 2008.

The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly-by-wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. More than 6,300 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold and more than 3,800 delivered to some 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the worlds best-selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.

Wow, the Internet has been buzzing about the Lumexis install on US Airways A320 demo plane. We have been getting unsolicited input from our spy network and we thought our readers would like to get up to speed. 

Firstly, the Lumexis fiber optic system has been installed on airplane T/N 680 in Rome, New York. With work beginning on Jan. 5, 2009 it took some 23 days to complete it. All seats have been equipped for a total of 150 stations. A FAA flight test was performed last week. Insiders state that installation supplier, Inflight Canada, exclaimed that Lumexis is the easiest retrofit of this level of system they have ever performed!  One source noted that one of the installers said that with a bit of pre-installation effort on “A” checks, planes like A330’s and A340’s could be retrofitted in 7 days! Think about it, cable placement has been made a lot easier because of the complete disregard for EMI/RFI issues – cable placement and noise are a thing of the past because of the under floor seat boxes and dedicated cable “tubes”.  

We also understand that Inflight Canada designed the iCache system, which uses a patented beam (stringer) grabber that greatly did away with the drilling, rivets and sealing used in normal mechanical installs, and yes, we asked our spies about the fiber optic cable installation in the seats. It seems Smallhorn went to the Canadian Military to get smart on these processes and we hear they got a real education. The military uses a lot of fiber and has developed a skill set with this technology. This probably contributed to the easy seat modification that ensued. The system needed no special ATE or test equipment… they plugged in cables and it worked! About the only note we feel should be made is with respect to weight. While the Lumexis system itself is probably the lightest installed, full capability in-flight entertainment system, the added boxes and tubes of the full installation package no doubt raised the final number. 

The Inflight Canada and Lumexis folks aren’t talking but we think there is another North American customer in the works. As soon as the final DCN’s are submitted and approved, the system will be certified to fly un-placarded and powered up with passengers. We hear the plane is in service today, flying out of Phoenix. Additionally, we understand a full offering is planned for each seat when in service. Specially trained flight attendants will explain and promote the system to passengers. Pax usage data is to be downloaded to the airline’s operations center after landing. The EV-DO, cellular-based Secure Data Bridge facility (cell phone network) that supports the data gathering was tested during the FAA-mandated verification flight. We understand it worked extremely well and may be the new standard of data IFE download (Yes, we know it is not new). 

Here is a great blog for more insider stuff:

We may eat, sleep, and breath In-Flight Entertainment here at IFExpress central, but sometimes our industry problems are simply lost in the events of the times. This is one of those times… at least here in the US. As aviation, and a heckuva lot of other industries, take a nosedive, there are forces at work that promise to build a better world – aviation not withstanding. Recent events in New York may be the poster child of things to come. Seeing all those passengers standing on the wings of an A320 surrounded by first responders looked like the most one could make out of a really bad day flying. Actually, that imagery may be the beginning of some good news, badly needed. An airplane loss good news? More on that later. 

No doubt, the forthcoming economic experiences will be humbling. The effects on all of us will be more taxes, more stress, more headaches, more loss, and if we are lucky, more hope. While we all tighten our belts in expectation of the forthcoming year, it has to be worth the cost if we can see the possibility of a better future, a cleaner environment and a healthier aviation industry… a couple of years down the road (US Economy 2.0). From the airline point of view, recent fuel increases have created leaner airlines. Ones not necessarily in tune with passenger needs, but airlines that can survive lean times. 

From the perspective of US citizens, we know there is going to be more donation of personal time and personal contribution to our neighborhoods, our economy and our environment. This will be true, to one degree or another, in almost all other countries and while crappy slogans like “we feel your pain” are better left for soap operas, one could say it applies here. Moreover, we tried to think of a positive message to send out to our readers like the Chinese proverb used in the Hot Topic title. Euphemistically, it could be considered a curse as well, but as one might expect, no Chinese person has ever been accorded the attribution of the saying. So in that vein, we have to consider that current events, while interesting, might be starting to take a turn for the better! Hey, perhaps the glass is half full?

As we mentioned earlier, note should be made of a recent aviation incident in the US, the US Airways Flight 1549.  We wanted to acknowledge the airplane – the Airbus A320. While the obvious heroes of the stricken flight are unquestionably the captain, crew, and first responders, the durable little plane from Airbus endured a landing on water, deployed chutes and rafts, supported passengers and crew on its floating metal fuselage and wings, while generally acting as an aluminum life raft for some 156 people. This did not go unnoticed by us and we offer a tip-o-the-hat to all the professionals at Airbus and US Airways who build, support, fly, and maintain such a fine product.