Kaplanian Report – May 2023


                       Boeing Reports 737 Max  in Service in China

  All 11 Chinese Boeing 737 Max operators have resumed operation of the airplane as of April 10, Boeing reported on April 11. The airlines have returned 43 Max jets to service, accounting for 45 percent of China’s Max fleet.

Boeing confirmed the numbers as it announced an upgrade of flight training device (FTD) at its Shanghai Flight Training Campus to support Chinese airline operations.  A fixed-base unit that simulates the airplane’s flight deck and aircraft operations, the 737 Max FTD allows trainees to learn and practice advancing to the final stage of the course in a full flight simulator.  China Southern Airlines resumed commercial service of the model this past January 13th with a flight from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou.

The first revenue flight came more than a year after Chinese authorities issued an airworthiness directive on Dec.2, 2021, that ostensibly marked an imminent return to service.  Actions required for compliance include installation and verification of new software meant to correct flight control computer and display system anomalies; rerouting of wire bundles for the airplane’s horizontal stabilizer; installation of stall warning stick shaker circuit breakers and various flight manual revisions.

At the time, China’s Civil Aviation Authority stood as the last major hurdle to the model’s full return to service among Boeing’s global customer base.  In July of 2021, Boeing CEO David Calhoun said he expected China to clear the airplane for revenue flights by the end of that year.  Calhoun did concede, however, that political risks remained a consideration, if not worry. “I don’t want to imply that anything is risk-free on this front,”  said Calhoun. “ It’s not.  It never will be, especially when it relates to China relations, which are real.”

Source: Boeing

Boeing Orders & Deliveries

Boeing’s commercial aircraft orders and deliveries bounced back in March as it once again began delivering 787s and 767s following a pause to address quality issues.  In total, Boeing shipped 64 aircraft: 52 737 Max narrow bodies’ single 737NG based P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol craft, and 11 widebodies.

United Airlines and Southwest Airlines took the most Max aircraft during the month, 12 each, followed by Air Lease Corporation with 7 and Ryanair with 5.  Iraqi Airways also received its first three units of the re-engined narrowbody type during March.

In February, the company had delivered 28 aircraft, of which 25 were 737s.   Boeing also handed 7 787 Dreamliners in March to six customers: American Airlines, Japan Air Lines, Aercap (for lease to Aeromexico), Lufthansa,  Vistara and United.

In March, it also delivered 1 767-300F to FedEx and 3 777 Freighters, one each to China Cargo Airlines, China Postal Airlines and China Southern Airlines.

On April 13 Boeing halted some 737 deliveries due to a newly disclosed quality problem, which might effect future deliveries.  Let us see what happens from April forward.

The company reported net new orders for 60 aircraft for March, including 40 Max jets 21 from Japan Airlines, 2 from Luxair and 17 from unidentified customers and 20 787 Dreamliners, 7 from Lufthansa, 5 from EVA and 8 from unidentified customers.

During the first three months of this year, Boeing received 107 net orders.

Source : Boeing



                   Airbus Opens a Second Assembly Line in Tianjin

Airbus has reached an agreement to open a second A320 family line in Tianjin during a French state visit to China.

The European aircraft manufacturer opened a final assembly line in Tianjin in 2008, one of four for the A320 family along side those in Hamburg, Toulouse and Mobile in the US.  It has since assembled more than 600 aircraft from the Chinese plant and in March local Carrier Juneyao Air took delivery of the first A321neo completed in Tianjin.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury has signed an agreement with the Tianjin Free Trade Zone Investment Company and Aviation Industry Corporation of China to expand A320 family final assembly capacity with a second line at its Tianjin site.

It has also signed a general terms of agreement with China Aviation Supplies Holding Company, covering the purchase of 160 jets.  This comprises earlier announcements covering 150 A320 narrowbody and 10 A350-900 widebody aircraft orders.

Source: Airbus, Airbus Picture

Airbus Orders & Deliveries

Four more Airbus A350 freighters have been booked to Airbus’s back log, attributed to an undisclosed customer on March 23.  The agreement brings to 39 the number of A350Fs on firm order.

The four aircraft are among 20 added to Airbus’s backlog, of which 15 were passenger A350s for Lufthansa.  These included 10 A350-1000s.  Airbus also recorded a single A319neo order from a private customer.

Cancellation of two single-aisle jets during the month meant Airbus ended the quarter with net orders of 142 aircraft, comprising of 42 A350s, 88 A320neo-family jets and 12 A220s.

Airbus delivered a total of 61 aircraft in March, bringing overall first-quarter deliveries to 127; among them, 5 A350s and 6 A330s. In the same period last year, it achieved 142 deliveries.

Source: Airbus, Picture Airbus

                                         REGIONAL/BUSINESS JETS

            Gulfstream Adds Sales/Design Center In Beverly Hills

Gulfstream Aeros has expanded its presence on the U.S. West Coast with the opening of a sales & design center in Beverly Hills, California.  The 12,000-sq-ft facility is designed to provide customers with firsthand look at the cabins and furnishings of the Gulfstream fleet as they make completion and finishing decisions to tailor aircraft to their mission requirements.

The Center showcases cabin mockups of GulfStream’s G400, G700, and G800 living areas, as well as the seat designs of the G500 and G600.  An interior design team at the center will help customers select finishes, veneers, floor coverings, leathers, textiles and other interior elements.  In addition, the center is equipped with Gulfstream’s digital cabin creator and exterior paint configurator tools.  “We are always looking for new opportunities to enhance the GulfStream customer experience,” said GulfStream president Mark Burns.

“Expanding our portfolio of sales and design centers to the U.S. West Coast is the next phase in our strategic expansion plan and provides further investment to our customers and the growing worldwide fleet.”

Source: Gulfstream, photo Gulfstream Aerospace

                     Pacific Air Charters Orders Two Tecnam P2021

Italian aircraft manufacturer Tecnam has secured orders for two of its P2012 Traveller commuter aircraft from Hawaii’s Pacific Air Charters.  The Honolulu-based airline also took options to order another 23 of the nine-passenger, twin-piston-engined type, which is among the few new-build commuter aircraft.

Tecnam disclosed the orders on March 29, saying two aircraft are due for “ immediate delivery”.  Pacific Air’s website says it expects to receive the aircraft in late July.

“We are excited to bring comfortable, convenient and modern multi-engine travel to the islands of Hawaii and other areas of the Pacific Ocean,” Pacific Air says.  “The P2012 Traveller is the perfect aircraft for our routes.”

The global in-service P2012 fleet includes 47 aircraft, 30 of which are operated by Massachusetts-based regional airline Cape Air.

Source: Tecnam, picture Tecnam                                                                 


                              Icelandair Signs for 13 A321XLRs

Icelandair has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase 13 Airbus A321XLR aircraft to replace its fleet of aging Boeing 757s.The airline’s first Airbus order ever.

The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, and will comprise options for another 12 of the long-haul narrowbody.

Deliveries are expected to commence from 2029, though Icelandair says it intends to start operating Airbus aircraft from 2025 and is looking to lease 4 A321LRs first.

The new A321XLRs are likely to seat about 190 passengers, seven more than the 757s, and up to 30 more passengers than its 737 Max fleet.

Airline chief Bogi Nils Bogason says the new aircraft will “open opportunities for future growth by entering new and exciting markets”.

Source: Icelandair

                          Austrian to Modernize Fleet With 787s

Lufthansa Group carrier Austrian is expecting to modernize its entire long-haul fleet with Boeing 787-9s over the next five years.

It will introduce its first of 10 787-9s from next year, increasing the airline’s overall fleet to 66 aircraft for the 2024 schedule.

This fleet replacement will be completed by 2028.  Austrian will source the aircraft from orders placed by Lufthansa Group.

Chief executive Annette Mann says the modernization “shows that we are fit for investments and the future”.  She says the aircraft will offer 20% better fuel consumption than its 767s.  Austrian has three 767-300ERs and six 777-200ER, plus a short-haul fleet of Airbus single-aisle and ember regional jets.

Lufthansa Group had indicated Austrian would be a 787 operator when it ordered the type in 2019.

Source: Austrian, picture Lufthansa Group

                      Qatar Airways Takes Up Leases of Nine 737 Max 8s

Qatar Airways has decided to take over the pending leases from Air Lease Corporation(ALC) .

The Airline took delivery of its first 737 Max 8 on April 14 leased from Air Lease Corporation, A7-BSC (msn 43329) was delivered from Everett via Reykjavik Keflavik to Doha Hamad International, but has yet to be inducted into revenue service, although it operated a test flight around the Qatari hub on April 16.

Qatar Airways has not filed the schedules for the type yet.  The aircraft is the first of nine B737 Max 8s originally destined for S7 Airlines which were recently picked up by the Qatari carrier.  Last year, the airline ordered twenty- five B737-10s with a further twenty-five options.  Qatar Airways becomes a new operator of the type, and expanding its short-hail operations.

Source: ch-aviation, picture Qatar Airways               


  • Mexico’s VIP 787 the Mexican Government has agreed to sell its controversial presidential Boeing 787-8 to the government of Tajikistan after the Tajik authorities express interest in the aircraft.

  • Alaska Air Cargo plans to boost its fleet supporting the state of Alaska in 2023 by converting two Boeing 737-800 into freighters, with the first jet expected to start hauling cargo this summer.
  • Elbit Systems is to supply the large main-deck cargo door for the Boeing 777-8 freighter, under an aerostructures agreement with Boeing.
  • AAR Supply Chain is to acquire nine Boeing 757-200 passenger jets and their 18 Rolls-Royce RB211 engines from American Airlines to provide spare parts for freighter aircraft.

  • Azerbaijan Airlines Is ordering a dozen Airbus single-aisle jets, comprising of A321neo and A320neo variants.
  • Avolon has completed the delivery of 15 A320neo aircraft to Vistara, a joint venture of Tata Group and Singapore Airlines.

  • Royal Jordanian has signaled that it is looking to step up to the Boeing 787-9 operations, as it seeks to acquire thee of the variant.

  • E-3 Retirement the US Airforce (USAF) has retired the first of several Boeing E-3 Senttry airborne warning and control aircraft the service plans to decommission in the near future.

Sources: Alaska Airlines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Avolon, AAR Supply Chain, Elbit Systems, FlightGlobal, Royal Jordanian.

                                              Air Cargo

              Mammoth Freighters Builds 777 Order Backlog

Mammoth Freighters, a US company developing cargo-converted Boeing 777s, expects to complete its first 777-200LR modification by year-end and achieve an initial regulatory certification by April 2024.

The company says it now holds orders to modify 35 777s from passenger to cargo configurations, including 9 modified 777-200LRs due for delivery to DHL, under a newly disclosed deal.

Mammoth is also in advance stages of negotiations to sell another 10 of the modified Boeing widebody jets, the Orlando-based company’s vice-president of marketing and sales Brian McCarthy tells FlightGlobal on April 20.

Orlando-based Mammoth previously aimed its 777-200LR modification by the FAA with a supplemental type certificate (STC) in 2023.  But the modification’s expected by the end of this year means the FAA will grant the STC in 2023.  McCarthy Said Mammoth expects to receive an STC for its 777-300ER conversion about six months after that, he adds.

Mammoth’s corporate affiliate, Aspire MRO, is performing the conversion work in a former American Airlines 777 maintenance site at Fort Worth Alliance airport in Texas.  Both Mammoth and Aspire are backed by Fortress Investment Group.

Mammoth is initially setting up three modification lines at the site and is already working on conversions of two 777-200LRs (formerly Delta Air Lines aircraft due for Cargojet) and one 777-300ER(an aircraft owned by AViaAM leasing).

Mammoth plans for the Fort Worth facility to eventually have five modification lines.  It also hired UK Bro shop STS Aviation Services to established another modification facility in the city of Manchester.

Source: Mammoth Freighters, FlightGlobal, Picture Mammoth Freighters

                         Raindo to Lease 737-800 Freighters

Indonesian start-up cargo operator Raindo United Services is to lease a pair of Boeing 737-800 converted freighters.  The aircraft will be leased through Irish lessor AerCap.  AerCap adds that the initial aircraft will be converted at Boeing Shanghai Aviation Services, while a second will undergo modification by Boeing & Taikoo Shandong Aircraft Engineering Co Ltd. STAECO.

Raindo United Services is the operating brand for Rusky Aero Indonesia, located in Jakarta, and is aiming to commence flights in July of this year.  The carrier was established last June and has since obtained various licenses including a scheduled air cargo transport certificate.  AerCap has delivered around 50 converted 737-800 freighters.

Source: AerCap, Raindo, Picture Raindo United Services


Researched and Compiled by :

Ed Kaplanian    Commercial Aviation Advisor 

Contact – ekaplanian@yahoo.com

Editor:   Lee Kaplanian