Volume 4 Issue 12 December 2017 The Kaplanian Report

ON THE BOEING FRONT

Boeing Ceremonially Kicks Off  777-9 Assembly

Boeing marked the official launch of production activity for the first 777-9 test aircraft in a public ceremony on October 23. The company started building the wing spar in the newly-erected composite wing center in Everett, Washington, during the summer. The October 23 ceremony coincided with the drilling of the spar by an automated machine in another building on the campus. The ceremonial launch of production for the 777X family comes about 14 -17 months before the scheduled first flight of the 777-9 test aircraft in the first quarter of 2019. Entry into service with Launch customer should occur about a year after first flight.

Meanwhile, GE Aviation is continuing certification testing of the GE9x engine, while the second engine is to test running on a ground test stand since May.

Combined with GE Aviation GE9X engines, the 777X’s new wing will play a key part in delivering enhanced fuel efficiency. It has been increased in diameter by around 7m (23ft) over the current 777-300ER model, to 71.8m (235ft 5in) with a new wing-fold mechanism of 3.5m (11.4ft) on each side — to enable the twin engine jet to use the same airport infrastructure and taxiways as its predecessor.

Flight testing of the 777X is set to commence in 2019. Boeing expects to deliver the first 777-9 during 2020, with the longer-range -8 model to follow one year later.

“We see a good order backlog — much better than the -300ER had at this time, ahead of production,” Boeing Commercial Airplane chief executive Kevin McAllister told Flight global on September 26.  I think you’ll see a very compelling value proposition on that airplane as we go forward.”

Boeing has secured firm orders for 336 of the aircraft—283-9s and 53-8s— since launching the program at the Dubai air show in November 2013 (the last order for 20-9s from Singapore Airlines was finalized in Washington, DC on October 23.)

Other customers include All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa and Qatar.

Launch customer will be Emirates.

Source : Flightglobal/Boeing Picture

 

ON THE AIRBUS FRONT

First A321neo With Revised Door Layout Assembled

The first Airbus A321neo equipped with a modified fuselage and additional cabin exits is nearing completion on the final assembly line in Hamburg. Dubbed the “Airbus Cabin Flex” (ACF) version, this first major variation of the A321 fuselage incorporates up to four over-wing exits instead of the main cabin doors immediately ahead of the wing on existing A321.

The pair of doors immediately behind the wing has also repositioned aft by four fuselage frames (with a deactivation option).

The changes increase in the twinset’s maximum seating from the current 230 passengers to up to 240.  Other interior changes include slimmer seats, redesigned rear galley and lavatory module, and a new rating for exit doors.

The A321neo ACF is due to enter service next year and the changes it features will be incorporated into the extended-range A321LR version of the A321neo, which is due to enter service in 2019.  This variant features increased weights and up to three auxiliary fuel tanks, to boost range by up to 500nm (925km) to 4,000nm.

Source : Flightglobal/Airbus Picture

 

REGIONAL/BUSINESS JETS

  Boeing Business Jets Has Upped Its Sales For 2017

Boeing Business Jets tally for 2017 to 13 aircraft, adding six since the EBACE business aviation in May.  In what new BBJ president Greg Laxton calls a “fast and furious” year to date. The orders include a second 737 Max 7, the only narrow body Boeing Business Jet able to fly 7,000nm (13,000km). Boeing secured its first customer for the Max 7 BBJ late last year—a variant Laxton describes as a “game-changer” as it gives the airframe a product with similar range to the Gulfstream G650 or Bombardier 7000.

Boeing also notched up orders for six wide body business jets—Three 747-8s and three 777-300ERs— in 2017, as well as two of BBJ Max 9s, two original BBJs ( 737-700s) and a pair of BBJ 2s (737-800s). There have been four deliveries of green aircraft: three 777-300ERS and one 787-8.

In total, Boeing has orders for the BBJ version of the Max, with first delivery to a completion center—a 737 Max 8—due in the second quarter of 2018.

Source : Flightglobal/BBJ

 

OTHER AVIATION NEWS

      Retirement of KLM Fokker Ends Era That Began in 1921

The retirement of KLM Cityhopper’s last Fokker 70, after final flight on October 28, marks the end of an era in Dutch aviation history.

It was all the way back in April 1921 that KLM put its first Fokker into service.  KLM’s chief executive Pieter Elbers describes the exit of its last Fokker as “a sad moment”, but also highlights a new beginning for Cityhopper regional unit, which now operates a fleet composed of Embraer E-Jets.

“The replacement of the entire Fokker fleet began nine years ago with the introduction of the first Embraer 190 in November 2008,” Elbers recalls. ”it can be difficult to keep reliability high for the small Fokker fleet, but our maintenance team at Cityhopper has done a fantastic job.”

Special farewell flight between Heathrow and Amsterdam School was operated on the evening of October 28, becoming the last ever scheduled arrival of Cityhopper Fokker 70 at the Dutch hub. The aircraft (registered PH-KZU) was adorned with an image of founding father Antony Fokker on the tail and “Thank you” titles on the fuselage.

Source : KLM Press Room/KLM Picture

  American to Say Good Bye to MD-80s in 2019

American Airlines has set 2019 as the year it will retire its MD-80 fleet, replacing the rear-engined aircraft with modern Boeing 737-800s.The MD-80 was the workhorse of American and other US carriers’ domestic fleets from the 1980s through the early 2000s making it an everyday sight at airports around the country. Fort Worth-based America plans to finish this year with 45 MD-80s in its fleet, shrinking to 26 by the fall of 2018. All the carrier’s MD-80s will be based at its Dallas/Fort Worth hub once the ST Louis pilot base closes.

American was the first major US carrier to commit to the MD-80 — if only tentatively at first — when it agreed to “rent” 20 from McDonnell Douglas in 1982.

The airframer essentially leased the aircraft to the airline under a deal that allowed it to return the aircraft after five years with no penalty, or earlier with a cancellation charge.

Initially, American planned to primarily use the MD-80 to replace Boeing 727-100s in its fleet, citing 37% better fuel efficiency for the former compared to the latter.  Instead American opted to use the aircraft for growth when it placed what at the time was its largest order ever for 167 MD-80s, including 67 firm and 100 options, in 1984.

With the 1984 deal, American had “firmly pinned its future” on the MD-80.American’s fleet grew to 260 by 1993.

Source : Flightglobal/American Picture

 

                                                    LATEST NEWS

  • UTair Russian carrier has unveiled a refreshed livery and a slightly-modified  Utair brand name.

  • Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of the first of two Boeing 787-9s on October 27th making it Africa’s first operator of the type.
  • Aeroflot sizes up Airbus, Boeing for a narrow-body order and considering a “sizable” order of the A320neo and 737 MAX.
  • Airbus delivered first A320neo assembled in Tianjin to Air Asia. The aircraft, powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines.
  • Textron Aviation delivered its 100th Cessna Citation Latitude. The delivery went to NetJets.
  • Emirates Airlines takes delivery of its 100th A380 at Airbus’ Hamburg facility on November 3.
  • The Commercial Aircraft Corp of China (COMAC) has flown its C919 aircraft for the third time—five weeks after its second flight, and 26 weeks after the first flight.
  • Comlux signs the first BBJ MAX 8 completion ever, the aircraft will go to Comlux Indianapolis facilities in the 4th quarter of 2018 for redelivery by the fall of 2019
  • Pratt & Whitney successfully tests next generation Pure Power Geared Turbofan (GTF) as part of the FAA Sustainability Program.

  • Emirates Airlines kicked off the Dubai Air Show by announcing a commitment to purchase 40 Boeing 787-10s valued at $15.1 billion at list prices.

  • Air China and Air Canada take delivery of their first 737 Max 8 aircraft. The latest hand-overs raise Boeing’s total count of 737-8s this year to at least 35.

 

AIR CARGO

Lockheed Flies Second LM-100J Cargo Transport. 

The second LM-100 J has joined Lockheed Martin’s flight test program for the commercial freighter derivative of the C-130J military transport. The newly-built aircraft completed a first flight on October 11 from Lockheed’s final assembly plant in Marrietta, Georgia.

The first LM-100J started flying on May 25 to begin Lockheed’s campaign to receive a civil certification of the type from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The addition of the second aircraft “will accelerate our progress to deliver this unique aircraft’s capabilities to civilian operators around the world”, says Wayne Roberts, Lockheed’s chief test pilot for the LM-100J.

Lockheed has announced receiving 25 orders with a total value of $1.6 billion for the converted civil freighter. Externally, the most visible difference between the C-130 J and LM-100J is the absence of windows at the feet of the pilot and co-Pilot in the Cockpit of the commercial derivative. The LM-100J also lacks certain features of the military version, such as the capability to lower the cargo ramp door in flight.

Source : Lockheed/Lockheed Picture

 

 EVA Air Takes First 777-200 LR Freighter  

On November 10 EVA has taken delivery of its first Boeing 777-200LR Freighters part of its fleet modernization plan.

It will be put the aircraft was put into service between Asia and North America later that month. says the Taiwanese airline in a statement. It currently operates cargo services to North American points of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta.

EVA adds that the General Electric GE-90 powered 777-200LR freighter allows it to operate to any North American destination from Taiwan, with a technical stop in Anchorage.

The carrier has another four of the freighters on order, all of which will be delivered by September 2019. With the deliveries, it will retire its five remaining 747-400 Freighters by the end of 2019.

The airline’s executive vice-president of corporate planning Albert Liao tells FlightGlobal that the carrier’s cargo strategy is to utilize the five 777 freighters as well as the belly hold of its 34 777-300ER aircraft to ensure a “sustainable” cargo  in “ good and bad Times”.

Source : Flightglobal/EVA Picture

 

 Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul News

Leap Negotiates Teething Problems 

The engine manufacturers predict around 450 Leaps will be produced in 2017. With all the attention paid to Pratt & Whitney’s problems with the geared turbofan this year, some have overlooked the early hiccups with its rival, The CFM LEAP.

“We have observed a premature loss of coating on the high-pressure turbine shroud which is made by our partner in CFM GE on some engines,” said Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin in a recent earnings call.

Following a problem with LEAP 1B low-pressure turbine(LPT) discs that has nearly been resolved, CFM is now dealing with premature loss of the thermal coating on high-pressure turbine discs on the LEAP-1A and LEAP-1B.

However, Petitcolin, says that “most of this issue is really now behind us” and that coating problems should be fully resolved by 2018.He also stresses that the additional headwind is a conservative estimate, and that the extra technical support may not be needed.  One question for next year is the production split between CFM56 and LEAP engines, given ongoing strong sales of former powerplant.

Source: mro-network .com

 

 MRO Short News

  • FedEx orders up to 50 new-build ATR freighters and will become the launch customer for the line-produced ATR 72-600 Freighter, after placing a firm order for 30 aircraft, plus 20 options.

  • Boeing Asia Pacific Aviation Services has a Singapore Airline Cargo contract to provide fleet engineering services for 747-400Fs via customized solutions from Global Fleet Care portfolio.
  • Airbus forecasts MRO business in Asia will grow 4.5% annually through 2036(vs global growth of 3.9%) and be worth $ 660 billion over the next 20 years.
  • Swiss AviationSoftware was selected by Boeing to support its Global Fleet Care services with AMOS MRO software; Norwegian is first customer to use the AMOS-supported service.
  • HEICO secured $1.3 billion unsecured revolving credit facility to principally fund acquisitions.

 

Answer to Last Month Puzzler:

  TAM of Brazil

Researched and Compiled by : Ed Kaplanian

Commercial Aviation Advisor

Contact – ekaplanian@msn.com

 

Volume 2 Issue 10 The Kaplanian Report

ON THE BOEING FRONT

 The Venerable Boeing 767 Lives on as a Freighter

Boeing is planning to increase production of its wide-body 767 aircraft to 2.5 a month in 2017. The proposed plans come after American courier delivery major FedEx signed a $10 billion deal to purchase 50 additional 767-300F airliners in July.

Boeing currently produces the 767 at a monthly production rate of 1.5, which will be increased to two in early 2016.

gallery-full-05

Since 1981, the company has built passenger and freighter versions of the jet at its Everett assembly line. It was the second twin-aisle aircraft designed to accommodate up to 290 passengers and the second twin-aisle aircraft to be built at the Everett site after the 747.

A Boeing spokesman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying: ”Increasing the production rate in 2017 provides flexibility needed to address additional commercial orders while meeting all our customer requirements.” According to reliable sources Boeing is negotiating with FedEx rival UPS for another large order and there is a Chinese express-cargo carrier considering a move into the wide-body market, with the 767 as a likely candidate.

In addition, Boeing is preparing to commence production of a modified version of the 767, which will serve as the future refueling tanker for the US Air Force (the KC-46) and had it first flight on September 25th, 2016.

Source : Aerospace-Technology/Ed’s Research/Photo Boeing

 

ON THE AIRBUS FRONT 

 Airbus Details Dimensions of A330-Based Beluga

Airbus’s new Beluga XL transport will be some 4.3 m (14.1ft) longer than the A330-200 on which the aircraft is based.

The Beluga XL, which will succeed the smaller A300-600ST within the airframe’s logistics fleet, has reached design freeze.

Airbus has disclosed that it will be 63.m (207 ft) in length while its wing span will remain  unchanged from the A330-200’s at 60.3m (97 ft)

The Aircraft’s next development stage will be the detailed design freeze.

Airbus says a review has shown that the Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered jet is sufficiently “robust and mature” to move out of the concept phase. Final assembly is scheduled to begin in 2017.

The Beluga XL will be around 1.5m (4.9 ft) taller at fin than the A330 counterpart.

Airbus projects that it will have a maximum take-off weight of 227t compared with 155t for the current A300-600ST.

The XL, with an 8.8m-diameter fuselage, will be able to transport a maximum payload of 53t over a range of 2,200nm.   Airbus expects to put the Beluga XL, of which it will construct five, into service in 2019.

Source : Flightglobal

 

BUSINESS/REGIONAL NEWS

 Embraer Begins Assembling the First E190-E2

Two years after the launch of the program at the Air Show in Le Bourget, Paris, the first E-Jets E2 family, an E190-E2, is beginning to be assembled at the company’s factory in Sao Jose dos Campos.  Embraer has already received the first sub-assemblies from suppliers in several countries and the assembly of the first prototype is moving forward as planned.

“It is exciting to see the E2 taking shape with the large amount of sub-sets arriving to our Sao Jose dos Campos facility, where the final assembly will soon begin,” says Luis Carlos Affonso, Senior Vice President & COO, Embraer Commercial Aviation.

At Embraer’s plant in the city of Evora, Portugal, the first sub-assemblies for the wings and central fuselage are ready. In Spain, Aernnova AEROSPACE S>A. is finishing the assembly of the vertical empennage; the company will also supply the horizontal empennage. In the Czech Republic, Latecoere finished the baggage doors and they have already been sent to Brazil to be installed in the aircraft.

In the United States, Triumph Aerostructures, which is also responsible for the rudder and elevator, is assembling section three and the aft of the fuselage; these are the only large segments that will not be manufactured by Embraer.

Eleb, an Embraer wholly owned subsidiary, with 35 years of experience in designing and manufacturing landing gear, was chosen to supply the landing gear of the second-generation E-Jets, and it is working to conclude the first sets.

The first delivery of an E-Jets (the E190-E2 is planned for the first quarter of 2018.  The E195-E2 is scheduled to enter service in 2019 and the E175-E2 in 2020.

Source : Embraer

 

OTHER AVIATION NEWS

Lufthansa Technik Completes First BBJ Split Scimitar Winglet Modification 

German maintenance, repair and overhaul provider Lufthansa Technik has become the first European company to install Aviation Partner(API’S) new split scimitar winglets(SSW) on a Boeing Business Jet.

The modification took 10 days to complete and comes on the heels of EASA approval for the aerodynamic wingtip-developed jointly by API and Boeing.

The SSW retrofit involves replacing the BBJ’s current winglet tip caps with an aerodynamically shaped similar tip cap, and adding a smaller, similar-shaped vertical strake.

Lufthansa Technik said that in order to install the winglets, its engineering team were required to “reinforce various areas on the inside of the aircraft structure, particularly in the wing tanks”. The project also in evolved “complex painting tasks…to match the aircraft’s current paint  scheme”, it adds.

API launched the retrofit program two years ago for owners and operators of BBJ, BBJ2 and BBJ3 VIP airliners (BBJ is based on the 737-700, BBJ2 is based on the 737-800 and the BBJ3 is based on the 737-900 airliners)

According to Seattle, Washington-based API, the new winglet helps to reduce drag on long-range flights and boosts range by around 2%-or as much as 120nm ( 220km).

Lufthansa Technik is now in talks with other BBJ owners looking to modify their aircraft with the SSW adaption.

Source : Flightglobal / Lufthansa Technik

 

Rizal Ramli Urges Garuda to Cancel Airbus A350 Purchase Plan

After being on the job one day, recently appointed Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Rizal Ramli has made news by requesting national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia cancel its fleet expansion plan.

“I made the request to President Jokowi. I don’t want Garuda to go bankrupt again. In July it agreed to buy 30 Airbus A350 using $44.5 billion loan from China Aviation Bank. The aircraft is only suitable for Jakarta-North America and Jakarta-Europe route.” said Rizal.

According to Rizal, the international routes planned by the carrier are unprofitable. Airlines in Southeast Asia that offer similar routes, such as Singapore Airlines, have poor financial performance, he pointed out.

Rizal added that Garuda’s routes to Europe only had a 30 percent passenger load factor. Instead of expanding its international routes it would be better if Garuda concentrated on the domestic and regional markets.

“We can rule the regional market in five to seven years. When we are strong enough, then we can go onto the next step. The President has agreed to the cancellation of the purchase of the Airbus 350 and we will summon the Garuda management to change its plans,” said Rizal.

Separately, Garuda Indonesia vice president for corporate communication M.Ikhsan Rosan said the carrier had not made a final decision on the purchase of the Airbus A350. Ikhsan said the carrier was considering whether it would use Airbus A350 or Boeing 787.

“It is true there was a signing ceremony in Paris with Airbus in June, but it was a letter of intent,” said Ikhsan.

Source : Jakarta Post

 

Bombardier Seeking Investors for all Business Units : Sources

Canada’s Bombardier Inc is exploring the sale of a stake in any of its business areas, not just its rail unit, to ensure it can finish development of its delayed C Series jet, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The Montreal-based company has hired investment bankers to look at a variety of financing options, the sources said, including selling aerospace or rail assets in full or in part, forming joint ventures or bringing in private equity investors. One source familiar with the company’s thinking said Bombardier hoped to secure some additional source of cash, through the sale of a business unit or another arrangement, perhaps with Canadian government, before its third-quarter earnings report on October 29th.

A banking source said the company is not desperate for cash but wants to be proactive and shore up its stock, which has dropped more than 50 percent in the last year as it pushes to bring the new C Series jet into service, years late and billions over budget.

In May, the company said it planned to file late this year to launch an initial public offering for a minority stake in its rail unit, Bombardier Transportation. Spokeswoman Isabelle Rondeau said that the plan had not changed.

“Everything is on the table,” said the source familiar with the Company’s thinking.

“They’re aggressively looking worldwide for some sort of capital infusion. At the end of the day, they need more cash to keep the C Series going, because the future of the company depends on that Plane”

“We are in constant contact with Bombardier and won’t comment on rumors,” a spokeswoman for Quebec’s economy minister said.

Source : The Globe And Mail

 

LATEST NEWS IN BRIEF  

  • British Airways receives the first 787-9, and will enter service on the 25th of this month.
  • Aeroflot drops plans to acquire Transaero. The Russian government will allow Transaero to enter bankruptcy placing the carrier’s future in serious doubt.
  • Mitsubishi Aircraft has narrowed the target schedule for the first flight of the MRJ to the last week of this month. Between Oct. 26th and Oct. 30th.
  • Blue Air(Romania)  is set to establish a base in Turin, Italy with effect from 26th of this month. The airline has a fleet of Boeing Classic aircraft composed of 737-300, 400s and one 737-500.

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  • Airbus flies the second CFM International Leap-powered A320neo into the type’s flight-test campaign.
  • Alaska Airlines has become just the second North American carrier to achieve Fast Travel Platinum status, which is awarded by IATA to airlines that offer four or more Fast Travel compliant options to at least 80% of their passengers.
  • Boeing employees in Renton, Wash. have started the final assembly of the first 737 MAX 8,  the first member of Boeing’s new single-aisle family, on schedule.  More Detailed report on this aircraft will be coming in my next report.
  • Emirates celebrated the Boeing 777 fleet completing 859,000 flights while logging over 4,720,000 flight hours since its first delivery in 1996.
  • Scandinavian Airlines has taken delivery of its first 242t Airbus A330-300; making it the first carrier in Europe to receive the higher-weight, longer-range-300 variant.
  • Flybe UK regional introduced its first ATR 72-600 series aircraft into its fleet, on lease from Aviation PLC. It will operate from Sweden in the livery of Flybe’s new partner in Northern Europe, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS)

  • Jetstars transition to an all Boeing 787-8 long-haul fleet is almost complete after the low-cost carrier’s 11th and final Dreamliner on firm order entered revenue service in mid September.

 

AIR CARGO

Atlas to Operate B767 Converts for DHL

US aircraft lessor Atlas Air will operate two Boeing 767Fs leaded by its Titan Aviation arm to DHL Express.

Atlas Air will operate the aircraft, which are being converted from passenger to freighter configuration, through sister company Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, linking the flights with Polar’s existing services for DHL and other customers.

The new operation represents a continued expansion of Atlas Air’s crew, maintenance and insurance(CMI) service. The operation is expected to begin in late 2015 and early 2016 following the conversion of the two 767s.

“By growing our CMI operations, we continue to diversify our business mix and to drive more predictable revenue and earnings streams,” said William Flynn, president and chief executive of parent group, Atlas Air Worldwide.

The company will operate 20 aircraft in its CMI operations when these units commence service.

Source : aircargonews/Atlas Air

 

MILITARY NEWS

Boeing to Lead $ 4 Billion F-15 Jet Fighter Contract 

An aging but formidable fighter jet is being given new relevance in a bid to fill the gap created by delays in the world’s most expensive new generation combat aircraft program.

Boeing was named the first week of this month as prime contractor on a $4 billion contract to install a new, all digital electronic warfare and threat detection system on the F-15 fighter, which made its first flight more than 40 years ago and was never been defeated in air-air combat.

Often described as the backbone of the US Air Force’s air superiority, the F-15 tactical fighter jet was due to be replaced in the 2020s by more advanced fifth generation aircraft such as the F-35.

However delays in developing and fielding the F-35, and cutbacks in the procurement of another fighter-the F-22- prompted the USAF to extend the life of the F-15 until 2040.

BAE Systems of the UK will develop the electronic warfare suite in a deal worth some $1 billion over 10 years, of which $67 million will be booked this year. BAE said the contract was significant milestone in the group’s plan to extend the electronic combat solutions business. The new system will replace the current Tactical Electronic Warfare Suite developed by Northrop Grumman, which has been in use since the 1980s.

The new threat detection system will be installed on more than 400 F-15 Es and F-15 Cs.

Source : Financial Times

 

          Boeing’s KC-46 Pegasus Hits a Key Milestone 

Boeing seems to get a bum rap from the so-called analysts, who think that they know better what happens at Boeing with every product they come up with.  The same applies to the KC-46 tanker.

Fortunately, the project is back on track, on September 25th Boeing completed an initial four-hour test flight for the first KC-46 tanker. There is plenty of testing left to do, but Boeing will salvage the KC-46 program and turn a decent profit as Boeing know how to build airplanes.

The initial flight conducted last month checked the plane’s basic systems. According to the company, ”Boeing test pilots performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems and took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 35,000 feet prior to landing.”

Boeing still expects to be able to test the refueling system and then do aerial refueling trial runs before the end of the year.

In the opinion of this writer and shareholder of The Boeing Company the KC-46 program will be a great success, the same as the 787 program, which got its share of bad publicity from the so-called financial experts

Source : Ed’s opinion/Picture Boeing

 

 

Researched and Compiled by : Ed Kaplanian

Commercial Aviation Advisor

Contact – ekaplanian@msn.com