Kaplanian Report – January 2023


                                                Boeing Left With a Single Undelivered 747

Boeing has delivered the second-to-last production 747-8F to Atlas Air on November 23rd.  Atlas has now received the third of four 747-8 freighters that it ordered from Boeing in January 2021.  The single remaining in -production 747 also a 747-8F destined for Atlas Air left Boeing Production line on December 6th in advance of its delivery to Atlas Air early this year.  The aircraft, -8 Freighter (MSN67150) the operator has seven 747-8F in operation, according to Cirium fleet data.

The Boeing 747 program began production in 1967, with the first example making its debut in 1969.  With the last built 747 Boeing has delivered 1574 747s of five major variants.  The first 747 took off on its maiden flight more than 53 years ago, in February 1969.  The 747 proved a remarkably enduring aircraft, remaining in production even as Airbus started, then stopped producing the larger A380, many thought would kill of the 747.

Boeing offered both passenger and freighter 747-8 variants, which are powered by four 66, 500 lb thrust GE Aerospace GEnx-2B turbofans.  The 747-8F proved popular thanks largely to its ability to carry heavy loads over long distances, such as the Pacific Ocean.

The freighters have 4, 325nm (8010km) range, capacity to carry 133.1 ton (293, 400 lb) of revenue-generating cargo and space for 34 cargo pallets on its main deck, according to Boeing.  The 747 has played a key role in Boeing’s history of aerospace leadership.

Source: Boeing, Picture Boeing

                                   Boeing Orders and Deliveries For November

Boeing added more orders to its backlog with fresh orders for 737 Max and 767 freighters in November, and closed the month without logging any further cancellations.

During November, Boeing took orders for 21 aircraft, including for 18 737 Max placed by an unnamed customer or customers.  Additionally, FedEx ordered one 767-300F and Japan ordered two 767-based KC-46 aerial refueling tankers, the company said on December 13th.

These deals brought Boeing’s total 2022 orders through November to 685 aircraft, including 548 737s and 137 widebody jets. November was strong month for deliveries, with Boeing handing over 48 aircraft, up from 35 in October.

Shipments included 33 737s for various airlines and one 737NG-based P-8 military surveillance jet to South Korea.  In addition, Boeing delivered 15 widebody jets including one 747, six 767s, two 777s and six 787s.

Source: Boeing                 


                      U. S. Approves Conditions for Airbus A321XLR to Address Fire Risks

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it has approved special conditions for the Airbus A321XLR after concerns were raised that a novel type of fuel tank could pose fire risks in its newest narrow-body jet.

Rival plane maker, Boeing, told European regulators in 2021 the architecture of fuel tank intended to increase the A321XLR’s range ”presents many potential hazards”.

The FAA said in a filing seen by Reuters that it will require that the lower half of the A321XLR fuselage, spanning the longitudinal area of the tank, be resistant to fire penetration to protect passengers.  The FAA publication provides further clarity surrounding the development of the new jet, whose introduction has been delayed to 2024.  Industry sources say proposed delivery schedules of the longer-range single-aisle jet have been left in a state of flux while regulators pondered how to treat the novel design.

“While discussions with the airworthiness are still on going, we are not in a position to comment during the public consultation period”, an Airbus spokesperson said.  Entry-to-service remains scheduled for the second quarter of 2024, the spokesperson added.

The FAA said the special conditions are needed because the new Airbus twin-engine plane includes an extra fuel tank moulded into the airplane fuselage rather than its wings.  The tank is in an area of the lower fuselage that partially replaces the rear cargo compartment of earlier aircraft designs.

Sources: FAA Publication, Ed’s research, Reuters, Airbus

                           Airbus to Fall Short of 2022 Deliveries of 2022 Deliveries Target

Airbus no longer expects to achieve its target of “ around 700 ” commercial aircraft deliveries for 2022, citing the “complex” operating environment.  The European aircraft manufacturer gave the updated guidance after delivering 68 aircraft in November.  That took deliveries to 565 as of the end of November.

Alongside 68 aircraft deliveries in November, Airbus registered 29 new orders and 14 cancellations during the month.

Source: Airbus               

                               REGIONAL/BUSINESS JETS

                                             Japan’s Oriental Bridge Takes First ATR 42- 600

Japanese regional carrier Oriental Air Bridge (ORC) has taken delivery of its first ATR 42-600, which it will operate on regional routes out of Nagasaki.  The carrier will commence services with the 48-seat aircraft in July of this year, according to ATR. The carrier ordered the aircraft at the Farnborough Airshow in July .

The aircraft delivered in Toulouse carries the brand-new ORC livery.   The Japanese carrier will plan to start operating the ATR aircraft in July 2023 to further support the airline’s domestic activities in providing essential connectivity from Nagasaki on the island of Kyushu in Japan.

ATR will support the aircraft through a Global Maintenance agreement contract.  Cirium fleets data indicates that ORC also operates De Havilland Canada Dash 8 Q200s with an average age of 22.2 years’ single Airbus Helicopters AS365-N3+ helicopter.

Source: Oriental Air Bridge, Picture ATR

                                       Pilatus Aircraft Delivers Last PC-6 Porter

On December 12, 2022, the last PC-6 Porter was delivered to Indonesian charter operator Smart Aviation, marking the end of 63-year production run for the rugged, unpressurized turboprop single.

Stans, Switzerland-Pilatus announced in 2017 that it planned to cease P-6 production in 2019, but the pandemic and other delays stretched that to 2022.  At the time, the aircraft manufacturer said it was dropping the PC-6 line to focus more of its attention on the PC-24 twinjet.

According to Pilatus, 604 of the multi-role Pilatus Porters were produced since 1959, with more than 500 made at the manufacturer’s Stans headquarters and 100 manufactured in the US under license.  The PC-6 is known for its short and landing capabilities and general versatility.

Source: Pilatus, Picture Pilatus                                                                 

                                OTHER AVIATION NEWS

                     United Airlines Reboot for Long-and Short-Haul Fleet with Boeing

United turned to Boeing for a firm order for 100 787 Deamliners, with options for 100 more, and also announced the purchase of 100 737 Max aircraft (including 56 new orders and confirmation of 44 Options).

Under the agreement with Boeing, United will start taking delivery of the 787s between 2024 and 2026.  It will choose the mix of the-8, -9 and -10 models to serve various long haul routes, in what United says is the largest widebody aircraft order ever placed by a U.S. carrier.

As part of the United next 206 fleet capacity plan, the airline will take the first batch of 44 747 Max twinsets between 2024 and 2026, with additional 56 units to follow in 2027 and 2028.  The Company says it expects to take delivery of some 700 airliners by the end of 2032, with an average of more than two each week in 2023 rising to three each week in 2024.

The 787 Dreamliners will replace older 767 and 777 wide bodies, with the older 767s due to be completely removed from United’s fleet by 2030.  Depending on the final choice of specific 787 and 737 Max models, the deal with Boeing is likely to be valued at least $65 billion, based on current lis prices.

Source: Boeing, Photo Boeing

                                      New Zealand Receives First P-8 Poseidon

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) has taken delivery of its first Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft at a ceremony in Seattle’s Boeing Field.  The aircraft is the first of four examples that the Pacific nation is acquiring to replace its six Lockheed P-3K2 Orions.  New Zealand’s Consul-General to Los Angeles, Clarke-Watson, represented Wellington at the ceremony.

“For New Zealand, as a maritime nation and one of the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zones, the ability to quickly survey the ocean is vital,” says Clark-Watson.

The aircraft, obtained under the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process, will be stationed at RNZAF Ohakea.  Boeing will provide sustainment under its P-8 International Program.  Wellington’s remaining three P-8s are in advance stages of production, with delivery due in 2023, says Boeing.

Boeing has awarded Lufthansa Technik a contract for sustainment services with its support of the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s future fleet of four P-8A aircraft that will leverage commercial capabilities to improve readiness rates.

Source: Boeing, Photo Boeing

Rolls- Royce UltraFan Technology Demonstrator Build Complete & Getting Ready for Testing

On December 19, 2022, Rolls-Royce announced it has completed building and is preparing to test its UltraFan technology demonstrator.  In a major milestone for the program, the demonstrator engine was transported from the build workshop and into Testbed 80 in Derby, UK, where it was mounted in preparation for testing.  The first test demonstrator is expected to take place early this year and will be operated using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel.

Chris Cholerton, President of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace, said:Seeing the UltraFan demonstrator come together and getting ready to test in Testbed 80 is a great way to end 2022.  We have all been waiting for this moment, which is such an important milestone for the program and for the team who have worked on it.”

The next stage will be to see UltraFan run for the first time on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel, proving the technology is ready to support more sustainable flight in the future.”  Combing a brand new engine design with a suite of technologies to support sustainable air travel for decades to come, the UltraFan demonstrator has a fan diameter of 140 inches and offers a 25% fuel efficiency improve meant compared with the first generation of Trent engine.

UltraFan offers a variety of sustainability solutions that will support the journey to net zero aviation.  In the nearer term, there are options to transfer technologies from the UltraFan development program to current Trent engines to deliver enhanced fuel efficiency and reduction in emissions.  In the longer term, UltraFan’s scalable technology from -25, 000 -110, 000 lb thrust delivers the potential to further improve fuel efficiency of both narrowbody and widebody aircraft by up to 10 per cent.

Testbed 80, the world’s largest and smartest testbed, was designed and built especially to accommodate the size and technical complexity of the UltraFan demonstrator.  It was opened in 2020 and has already completed many hours of experimental engine testing.

Source: Rolls-Royce, Photo Rolls-Royce  


  • NetJets has ordered four of Bombardier’s ultra-long-range, newly rebooted Global 8000 business jets in a deal with a list-price value of $312 million.

  • L3Harris Technologies intend to acquire propulsion systems expert Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings in an all-cash deal valued at $4.7 billion, the companies said on December 18.
  • Condor German leisure has taken delivery of its first Airbus A330-900, one of 16 which will modernize its fleet.
  • Air Greenland has become the third operator of the Airbus A330-800 following delivery of the single example ordered by the airline.

  • Ethiopian Airlines Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines again partnered to bring humanitarian aid to those in need— this time using the airline’s three recently delivered 737 Max 8 airplanes to transport more than 12,000 pounds of supplies to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

  • Bombardier is to open its sixth service center outside the USA, breaking ground on December 6th on a 9, 300 sq m (100 sq ft) site at Abu Dhabi International airport.
  • Uzbek Start-Up Silk Avia has agreed to a deal to acquire five new ATR 72-600 turboprops, becoming the first operator of the type in Central Asia.

Sources: NetJets, Condor,  Air Greenland,  Airbus,  Boeing,  Ethiopian, Bombardier.

                                              AIR CARGO

                         Nippon Cargo Airlines Extends GEnx Support Agreement

Japan’s Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) has extended its support agreement for the GE Aerospace GEnx-2B engines that power its Boeing 747-8F fleet.  The Extension runs for six years, and extends the “Rate Per Flight Hour Engine Services Agreement” between the two companies, says GE Aerospace.

“GE Aerospace is proud to support NCA and the GEnx fleet,” said Dave Kircher, General Manager of GEnx Product Line at GE Aerospace.  ”It’s an honor to continue the relationship and provide exemplary service and support.”

NCA And Ge have a long-standing relationship that began with the CF6 engine.  Today NCA operates an extensive fleet of aircraft powered by GE’s CF6 and GEnx.  A unit of Japan’s NYK Line, NCA operates eight 747-8Fs, Cirium fleets data indicates that the average age of its 747-8Fs is 10.3 years.

Source: GE Aviation, Photo NCA


Researched and Compiled by :

Ed Kaplanian   

Commercial Aviation Advisor 

Contact – ekaplanian@yahoo.com

Editor:   Lee Kaplanian