The Kaplanian Report – January 2020


              KLM Took Delivery of Two Boeing Aircraft In December

On December 19, KLM took delivery of its 31st 737-800 and last 737-800 from the production line.  It bears the name “Redcrested Pochard”, all 737s are named after birds; KLM has fifty two Boeing 737s in its fleet: sixteen 737-700s thirty one 737-800s and five 737-900s.

On December 21, KLM took delivery of its 4th 787-10 bearing the name “Snow drop”.   All KLM Dreamliners are named after flowers or flowering plants.  With the arrival of Snow drop, KLM has seventeen Boeing 787s in its fleet: thirteen 787-9s and four 787-10s.

Source: KLM Newsroom



     Airbus Delivers First A350s with Touchscreen Cockpit Displays

Airbus has commenced deliveries to airlines of the first A350s equipped with pioneering new touchscreen cockpit displays.

On December 18th, China Eastern Airlines took delivery in Toulouse of the first A350 equipped with the new devices.  To date, around 20 airlines have selected the option for their new A350s.  Airbus developed the systems with Thales, a French aerospace electronics maker.

Boeing is also working to introduce touchscreens into the Cockpit forward displays in its 777-9 and eventually 777-8.   Boeing said in 2016 its aircraft designer decided to introduce the touchscreens in the 777-9 and -8 cockpits to make it even more intuitive and easy for pilots.

Of the A350 cockpit’s six large screens, three can now become touch capable:  the two outer displays plus the lower-center display.  These displays now offer touchscreen capability for pilots when presenting Electronic Flight Bag(EFB) applications.  This new method of input complements the existing physical keyboard integrated into the retractable table in front of each pilot and also the keyboard and trackball “keyboard-cursor control unit” (KCCU) located on the center console.

Source : Airbus/Picture Airbus




                   Boeing Bullish Over BBJ 777-X Sales Prospects

Boeing stated in the recent Dubai Air Show that the interest in the VVIP airliner has been “strong”, particularly in the Middle East, and it hopes to secure the first sales for the latest wide body this year.

“ We have several exciting prospects for the for the BBJX from Governments, heads of state and very wealthy private individuals and expect this year be a very interesting year,” says acting BBJ president James Detwiler.

Like the commercial aircraft on which it is based, the BBJ 777X will be available in-8 and -9 variants, joining the 787-8/9, and 777-200LR/300ER in the BBJ Twin-aisle family.

Detwiler says the BBJ 777X is “far superior” to its predecessor, with GE aviation GE9X engines and a new, more advanced composite wing key to delivering” engined fuel efficiency”.

The -9 will be the first to market at the end of 2021.  Boeing plans to begin delivering the commercial variant that year.

Source : Boeing Business Jets

           Air Kiribati Takes Delivery of its First Embraer 190-E2

Air Kiribati, the flag carrier of the central Pacific island nation of the same name, has taken delivery of the first of two Embraer 190-E2 jets; giving the ability to significantly expand its footprint and directly connect parts of the far flung republic which comprises 32 atolls and one raised coral island across all four hemispheres.

The E-19-E2 aircraft will allow the airline to operate longer-haul domestic and international routes; including connections that had so far been beyond the reach of its fleet of two Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otters, one Bombardier Dash 8 and one Harbin Y-12.

With a maximum range of 2,850nm, Air Kiribati’s E190-E2, delivered on December 30, will be able to fly nonstop from the country’s capital Tarawa to Kiritimati(Christmas)Island.   An atoll belonging to the country, one of the most challenging routes in the Pacific. To date, the domestic flight from Tarawa to Kiritimati required an international stopover in Fiji.

In December 2018,  Embraer and Air Kiribati, signed a purchase agreement for two E190-E2 variant and took a purchase rights on two more with a total list price of $243 million.

Source: Embraer/Embraer Picture



                       Bamboo Airways Gains IOSA Certification

Vietnamese carrier Bamboo Airways received its Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification on the 3rd of January, nearly a year after launch.  This will pave its way to becoming an IATA member in the near future, the carrier says.

Bamboo Airways took delivery of its first 787-9 on December 22, 2019.  And passed the requisite safety audit that covers eight areas contributing to airline operational safety.  These are corporate organization and management systems, flight operations, flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations, as well as operational security.

The Carrier launched in January 2019 and Cirium schedules data shows its first flight took off in March. It mostly services the domestic market but launched four international routes in October and November: from Cam Ranh to Seoul and Macau, and from Da Nang to Seoul and Taipei.

The carrier is targeting 30 aircraft by the first quarter of this year, including four 787-9s, and hopes to expand its network to 25 international routes within the year.

Source: Flightglobal/Picture Boeing

          Azerbaijan to Double Fleet with Airbus, Boeing Aircraft

The Azerbaijani government-owned carrier Azerbaijan Airlines (AZAL) will buy more than 20 new aircraft to develop its route network as plans continue to more than double its fleet.

To build up long-haul routes, AZAL has signed an agreement for two Boeing 777s, which will go into service in 2020-2021.

AZAL president, Jahangir Askerov, said the airline is ready to discuss the purchase of three more 777s, as well as Boeing 787s.  ”This will allow us to expand our long-haul flight geography,” he said.  The Azerbaijani carrier became the first operator for the later type in post-Soviet area in 2014.

AZAL is also in negotiations with Airbus for 10 A320neos to increase its narrowbody capacity.  The airline had initially planned to start receiving the same amount of Boeing 737MAX aircraft from the end of 2019, but deferred the deal to 2024 after the type’s grounding.

AZAL now operates 18 aircraft, including four A319s and six A320s, as well as two each A340-500s, Boeing 757-200s, 767-300s and 787-8s.

Source: Air Transport World/Picture Azerbaijan Airlines

        Royal Jordanian Ranked in AirlineRatings Top 20 Global Airlines List

Royal Jordanian closed 2019 with another positive record, according to an airline safety and product review website, listed Royal Jordanian (RJ) as one of the top 20 safest airlines in the world in its list of “Top Twenty Safest Airlines 2020”.    They were selected from a pool of 405 different airlines it monitors.

Among the top 20 safest airlines are four Arab Airlines: Etihad, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Royal Jordanian.   Australia’s Qantas topped the list, ranking 1st.

The Safety-rating system in this list was developed based on different factors, including airlines’ compliance with international regulations, the age of their fleet of aircraft, safety innovation, operational excellence and the utilization of new, more advanced, aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350.

RJ’s President/CEO Stefan Pichler said: “We are pleased with this rating among other big international carriers.  RJ has been known for its great record in safety and operations for the past 56 years’ result of the hard work of its employees, who are keen to maintain this high standard. We will continue the hard work to keep our high international position and improve our operations, products and services, thus making sure to always offer our passengers the best.”

Source: Arabian AeroSpace/Picture Royal Jordanian



  • Sun Country Airlines has signed a six year deal with Amazon to operate 10 Boeing 737-800F freighters for Amazon Prime starting this spring.
  • Singapore Airlines when Singapore Airlines has announced it will fold Subsidiary SilkAir into Singapore Airlines including its 17 Boeing 737-800s and six grounded Max 8s.SilkAir is currently transitioning to an all-737 fleet.  This entry was posted in Singapore Airlines and tagged 9V-MBN, Boeing 737 Max 8, MSN 44258, Singapore Airlines on December 20, 2019.                                                                                                      
  • Icelandair Cargo handles all shipments to and from Iceland for FedEx and TNT, following a new three-year agreement going into effect early this year.
  • Airbus plans to boost A320neo production at its Mobile, Alabama, site to seven aircraft monthly in 2021.
  • All Nippon Airways(ANA) will take delivery of its last of three Airbus A380s, which have been specially dedicated on its Tokyo-Honolulu routes.
  • BOC Aviation has placed an order for 20 Airbus A320neos, with at least committed to new customer Avianca.
  • Avianca Colombian airline has cancelled 20 Airbus A320neo purchase commitments and delayed Airbus deliveries of A320neos until 2025, making another step in the carrier’s financial transformation effort.
  • KLM Cityhopper firms up an order for Embraer E-195-E2 jets and adds six further aircraft.
  • Emirates retains 777-8s in revised 777x order, the airline is expecting to receive 101 777-9s and 25 777-8s.
  • Embraer E175_E2 made its inaugural flight from the company’s facility in Sao Jose dos Campos.  The maiden flight kicks of a rigorous 24-month flight test campaign.                     

Sources: Embraer, Airbus, Flightglobal, Emirates,Singapore Airlines

                                      AIR CARGO

                         Atlas Air Lands El Al As New Customer

El Al Israel Airlines is outsourcing operation of its main freight route between Tel Aviv and Liege, Belgium, to Atlas Air Inc. under unexpended charter arrangement.

Atlas, an aviation services company headquartered in Purchase, N.Y., said on January 7 it is leasing an El Al  Boeing 747-400 freighter, operating it with its crew and providing maintenance and insurance (ACMI) beginning this month.

El Al, a new customer for Atlas, is experiencing strong growth in demand across its freight network, according to the announcement.  The Israeli carrier sells space on the plane and covers expenses such as ground handling, landing fees and fuel.

No terms of the commercial cooperation were disclosed, but ACMI deals typically run for one to three years.

El Al opted for the turnkey”wet” lease with Atlas because in the past year it ended use of Boeing 747s in its own fleet and switched to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Source : Atlas Air Worldwide/Picture Atlas Air Worldwide



               China’s Bid to Challenge Boeing and Airbus Falters

Development of China’s C919 single-aisle plane, already at least five years behind schedule and going slower than expected, a dozen people familiar with the program told Reuters, as the state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation(COMAC) struggles with a range of technical issues that have severely restricted test flights.

Delays are common in complex aerospace programs, but the especially slow progress is a potential embarrassment to China, which has invested heavily in its first serious attempt to break the hold of Boeing and Airbus on the global jet market.

The most recent problem came down to a mathematical error, according to four people with knowledge of the matter.

COMAC engineers miscalculated the forces that would be placed on the plane’s twin engines in flight -known in the industry as loads- and sent inaccurate data to the engine manufacturer, CFM International, four people familiar with the matter told Reuters.As a result the engine and its housing may both have to be reinforced, the people said, most likely at COMAC’s expense-though another source denied any modification. 

That and other technical and structural glitches meant that by early December, after more than two and a half years of flight testing, COMAC had completed less than a fifth of the 4,200 hrs in the air that it needs for final approval by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, two people close to the project told Reuters.

COMAC did not respond to Reuters requests for comment for this story.  CFM, a joint venture between General Electric and France’s Safran, declined comment.

COMAC has still not finalized the correct calculations and data to send to the engine manufacturer, which are key to ensuring that the engine does not fail under heavy loads.

The engine miscalculation does not reflect a lack of theoretical understanding – China has been putting people in space for almost two decades.  But it does illustrate the national aerospace manufacturer’s lack of experience in designing and building commercial aircraft.

It also found a gearbox attached to the engine was vulnerable to cracking, which caused and engine to shut down during a test flight, three sources told Reuters, a problem that potentially affects all six C919 jets now invest flights.   Regular inspections of the gearbox to check for cracks and leaking oil have curtailed COMAC’s flight test program, they said.

The gearbox problem, discovered in 2018 and not previously reported, was due to unexpected vibrations, two sources told Reuters.  Engineers on the program have found ways to minimize the risk, the sources said.

The accumulation of problems has put COMAC significantly behind schedule, which will prove costly.  The C919 is designed to compete with the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo families.

Most industry forecasters now expect the prolonged cyclical boom in demand to fade this year’s business confidence wanes amid geopolitical tensions, meaning the plane that debuts in 2021 or 2022 will likely miss out on orders for years to come.

Source : Reuters       




Researched and Compiled by :

Ed Kaplanian    Commercial Aviation Advisor 

Contact –

Editor:   Lee Kaplanian 


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