The Kaplanian Report February 2020

On the Boeing Front

                 New Boeing 777X Completes Successful First Flight

On January 25, 777X took to the skies, entering the next phase of its rigorous test program.

Based on the popular 777 and with proven technologies from the 787 Dreamliner, the 777X took off in front of thousands, including this writer at Paine Field in Everett, Washington. It was 10:09 a.m. local time for a three hour, 51 minutes flight over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field.

The launch of flight-testing of the 777-9 provides the opportunity to examine how  its most significant changes  -the all-new carbon fiber wing- compares with that of its predecessor.

The new 777X family, of which the -9 is the first variant, features a larger wing with a span increase by 7m (23ft) over the 777-300ER, to 71.8m ( 235ft,5in).

This huge span is the reason for its most notable feature -folding wing tips- which is a first on a commercial aircraft.  When folded, the 777X span reduces 64.8m (212ft,8 in) to ensure airport compatibility.

Boeing describes the 777X wing as a “fourth-generation Composite” design, incorporating an “advanced hit-lift” system.  The wing’s trailing-edge system is similar to its predecessor’s, with some interesting changes.  The 777X (top) has garter span and greater revisions to tailing edge, compared with earlier-300ER design (bottom) as shown in pictures.

In addition the 777X -9 variant has 8% more belly-hold cargo capacity than the current production 777-300ER.  The 777-9 will be able to carry up to four more LD-3 containers than the 777-300ER, due to its length of 251ft, 9in (76.7 m).

The new plane’s cargo capacity is 7,707 cubic feet, while the -300ERs capacity is 7,120 cubic feet.

Source : Boeing/Picture Boeing



                            First Airbus BelugaXL Enters Service

Two months after the Airbus BelugaXL gained European Union Aviation Safety Agency(EASA) type certification, the OEM’s first whale-shaped oversized air transport entered service, the company announced on Monday, January 13.

Airbus plans to introduce a further five BelugaXLs by 2023, providing the European airframer the much-needed extra transport capacity it needs to support the ongoing production ramp-up of its commercial aircraft programs.

Like its predecessor, the BelugaST—also known as A300-600ST Super Transporter—the BelugaXL will carry complete sections of Airbus aircraft from different sites around Europe to the final assembly lines in Toulouse, France, and Hamburg, Germany.  Two Rolls-Royce Tree 700 turbofan engines suspended on underwing pylons power the aircraft.  It carries a range of 2,200 nautical miles(4,074 km) and a maximum payload of 51 tons.

Based on the Airbus A330-200 freighter, the BelugaXL incorporates several newly developed elements, including its lowered cockpits highly enlarged cargo bay structure, and a modified rear and tail section.

The XL allows for 30 percent extra transport capacity and carry two A350 XWB wings while the ST can carry only one.

Besides the new BelugaXL, Airbus’s current Beluga fleet consists of five STs.

Source : Airbus/Airbus Picture             



             Mitsubishi Upbeat on SpiceJet Despite Fresh Delays

Mitsubishi Aircraft remains optimistic about the future of its SpaceJet program despite another development delay, saying it now has a “ certificate design” that will enable M90 flight testing to commence.

“We have made significant changes to our organization and improvements in the way we do business,” the company says on February 6.  ”We have also made a myriad of changes to the design of our aircraft.”

At the Paris air show in 2019, Mitsubishi aircraft rebranded the MRJ as SpaceJet, cancelled development of the 69-seat MRJ70 and launched a new 76 variant the M100.   Meanwhile,M90 certification work has continued.

Mitsubishi Aircraft says its latest test aircraft, designated “10010”, puts the company on a path to certification.

“With the completion of aircraft 10010, we have a baseline certifiable design that will allow us to achieve certification and set the stage for the future of the Spacejet family of aircraft,” Mitsubishi Aircraft says.  ”However, as we evaluate the impact of all these changes, it has become clear that we will not achieve certification in FY2020.

Source: Mitsubishi Aircraft/Picture Mitsubishi Aircraft

               Boeing, Embraer Partnership Cleared by Brasilia 

Boeing and Embraer have secured approval of their planned partnership from authorities in Brazil.

The latest approval for the pair’s two proposed joint ventures comes from Brazil’s Council for Economic Defense(CADE).  It follows clearance from jurisdictions such as the USA, China, Japan, South Africa, Montenegro, Colombia, and Kenya.  Only the European Commission has yet to approve it .

“Boeing and Embraer welcome the unconditional approval of their strategic partnership by the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) General-Superintendence(SG) in Brazil,” says Marc Allen, Boeing’s president of Ember partnership & group operations. 

The decision is final in 15 days, unless CADE commissioners request a review.As for the European Commission, discussions have been underway since 2018.

The pact envisages the two companies forming two joint ventures.One will comprise commercial aircraft and services, with Boeing holding 80% and Embraer 20%.

The other joint venture will develop markets for the Embaer’s C-390 Millennium tactical transport, in which Embraer will own 51% and Boeing 49%.

Source : Flightglobal/Boeing 



          Credit Suisse Launches Aviation Financing Subsidiary 

Credit Suisse has launched an aviation liquidity subsidiary that aims to help actors in the aviation and air transport industry manage short-term transactions involving leased aircraft.

The company, to be called SCAL Aviation, will be headquartered in Dublin, the Swiss bank said on January 16.

SCALE will be an aviation conduit and liquidity provider for investors, aircraft lessors, airlines, and aviation manufacturers, facilitating aviation asset acquisitions, dispositions, capital markets financings, and investments.  Targeting short-term warehousing of aviation assets, SCALE will assist aviation industry clients with fleet transitions, financing, and ease of execution to provide greater execution certainty around portfolio trading activities.

The subsidiary will only deal in new or used commercial aircraft, not private jets, provide its services only on aircraft with lease attached, rather than speculative orders.

“SCALE is not an aviation lessor and will not be building long term investment portfolio of aircraft, the statement says.

Source : Credit Suisse

           ANA 321LR order Signals Change in Thinking on A321neo

All Nippon Airways(ANA) has placed its first orders for the A321neo Airbus Cabin Flex(ACF) version, which it will take as the A321LR extended range variant.  The decision is significant as the airline had previously retained its contract for the original A321neo cabin configuration.

The A321LR order has been placed by parent company ANA Holdings through a swap of two existing A320neo orders.  The A321LRs will be delivered in FY 2022 and 2023.

ANA was launch operator for the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-powered A321neo, taking its first in September 2017.  It now operates a fleet of 11 A321neos, all of which are built to the A321 original door configuration, with four cabin doors on each side.

The airline had a further 11 A321neos on backlog prior to the A321LR announcement, according to Cirium fleets data.  ANA has continued to take this original A321neo layout to retain fleet commonality, despite the introduction of the improved ACF version in July 2018.

Source : Flightglobal/Picture ANA

    Japanese Start-up Zipair Indicates Plans for Transpacific Flights

Japanese start-up Zipair is positioning itself as a mid-to long-haul carrier and has plans for transpacific flights.

The Japan Airlines subsidiary, which aims to operate a fleet of 10 Boeing 787s, notes the Dreamliner’s status as the best seller among major Japanese carriers.  As such, the ease of procurement and maintenance makes it a good choice for transpacific routes, the airline said during a joint media briefing with Boeing at the Singapore air show.

Zipair aims to be the first low-cost carrier to operate the sector, after it obtains ETOPS certification.  It meets the criteria on two of three fronts—maintenance and flight management, by virtue of tapping on JAL resources—and is working on pilot training.

Prior to that, the Tokyo Narita-based airline will launch in May, first with Bangkok flights, followed by a Seoul service in July.

Zipair says it aims to become a “new basic” class of carriers, one that sits between the low-cost and full-service categories that have the aviation industry “polarised”. “As a mid-to long-haul carrier, I don’t want our customers to feel exhausted by our flights,” says Zipair president Shingo Nishida.

Nishida tells Cirium that Zipair currently has two 787s transferred from JAL.  Its target of 10 787s by 2024 still holds and broadly, expects to receive two aircraft from JAL each year.

Source: JAL/Flightglobal/Picture Zipair



  • Engine Leasing Specialist Willis Lease Finance has ordered up to 60 CFM International Leap power plants for both the Airbus A320neo and the Boeing 737 Max families.
  • Braathens Regional Airlines has axed a long-standing order for Airbus A220s, and plans to wet-lease Embraer 190s for regional jet operations.
  • Aerion Supersonic has selected several more suppliers of components for its in -development AS2 jet, which the company hopes will conduct a first flight in 2024.                        
  • Emirates has ordered two Boeing 777X full-flight simulators from training provider CAE, with first expected to arrive in 2021.
  • ATR delivered its first of two ATR 42-600s to Hokkaido Air Systems to replace its Saab 340s.
  • Air Canada took delivery of its first of 45 Airbus A220-300s from the Miracle A220 program facilities.
  • ANA’s third and final Airbus A380 rolled out from the airframes’s paint shop in Hamburg on January 24.                                                                                                                               
  • Scandinavian Airlines(SAS) has taken delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 as part of an extensive fleet modernization program.                                                                               
  • Congo Airways has signed a firm order for two Embraer E175 in a deal valued at $194 million based on list prices.  The agreement also includes purchase rights for a further two aircraft.                                                                                                                                   
  • Air Macau has accepted its first Airbus A321neo on long-term lease from Air Lease Corporation.

Sources : ATW, Flightglobal, Airbus, SAS, Air Lease, Air Canada, Emirates, ANA.



                      FedEx Takes First 767 at Higher Production Rate                                     

Boeing has delivered the first 767-300 Freighter to FedEx Express, built at the increased production rate.

Boeing has been producing the all-cargo twinjet at a rate of 2.5 aircraft per month but has increased this to three a month this year.  The 767s are built at Boeing’s primary wide body production facility in Everett, Washington.

To help improve efficiency as the rate increases, Boeing last year transferred assembly of the 767’s forward fuselage to Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita.

Spirit previously made sections of the 787’s forward fuselage and shipped them to Everett where the Section 41 was assembled.

The 767, which has been in production for almost four decades, has experienced increasing demand from cargo operators.  It is also being produced as the KC-46A military tanker for the USA and Japan.  The current backlog stands at 94 aircraft, comprising 54 freighters for FedEX and UPS, and 40 tankers.

Source: Boeing/Picture Boeing

   Lessor BBAM Orders Three Boeing Converted Freighters                                     

Aircraft lessor BBAM has ordered three 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters, Boeing disclosed.

Three of the lessor’s existing fleet will be converted, says Boeing.  BBAM manages 133 737-800s, as well as two 737-800BCFs operated by China Postal Airlines.

The Lessor bills itself as ”the only manager in the aircraft leasing industry focused exclusively on generating investment returns for third-party investors”.

Chief executive Steve Zissis states that the 737-800 is “an integral part of BBAM’s managed fleet of commercial passenger jet aircraft” and notes “strong interest from customers in the standard-body freighter”.

He adds: “We chose Boeing’s conversion program because we believe it maximizes the platform’s capability and reliability.”

Boeing says the 737-800BCF, which entered service in 2018, has won a total of 130 orders and commitments.

In its Commercial Market Outlook forecast, which has a 20-year span, Boeing predicts demand for 2,820 freighters, including 1,220 standard-body passenger-to-freighter conversions.

Source : Boeing/Picture Boeing     



Researched and Compiled by :

Ed Kaplanian    Commercial Aviation Advisor 

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Editor:   Lee Kaplanian