Kaplanian Report – January 2021

ON THE BOEING FRONT

               Etihad Inaugurates Boeing 787-10 Used as ecoDemonstrator

The Boeing 787-10 aircraft used in 2020 ecoDemonstrator program has been inaugurated into Etihad’s fleet.  In partnership with Boeing, NASA and Safran Landing Systems, Etihad’s 787-10 was the latest aircraft to be used as a flying testbed for a series of potential technological developments under Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator initiative. 

“As the first 787-10 to take part in the ecoDemonstrator program, this very special aircraft stands testament to the innovation and drive for sustainable aviation that forms a core of Etihad’s values and long-term vision,” states Tony Douglas, chief executive of Etihad Aviation Group.  ”This is in line with the tremendous strides being made by Abu Dhabi, and the UAE, in research and development solutions to combat climate change.” 

To celebrate its launch into commercial service, the aircraft has been fitted with a commemorative plaque, while its fuselage retains some of the ecoDemonstrator flight-testing branding. 

Boeing said in July of last year that the Dreamliner was to be used for the evaluation of aircraft noise in flight, and of landing gear fairings intended to quiet the flow of air around a jet’s gear.

The Boeing 787-10 registered A6-BMI expands Etihad’s fleet of 787s to 39 aircraft.

Source: Etihad, Boeing , Etihad Picture

                          Boeing Retires Vintage T-33 Chase Jets

Boeing retires “Red Bird” and “Blue Bird” chase jets.  These are the names of Boeing’s two Canadair T-33 chase jets Boeing used to follow airliners during test flights.  Now,  Boeing’s T-33 are flying into retirement, after 66 years of life.  According to the FAA, Canadair produced both jets in 1954.

“Boeing confirms the retirement of its two T-33 aircraft.” We are  currently looking into other options to support our flight test activities.”

“T-33’s have been used in many flight-test support roles, including as the safety chase plane for the first flight of nearly every new derivative commercial airplane starting with the 767 in 1981 through today’s 777-9,” Boeing adds.  The decision to retire the T33s reflects “lack of supply chain support to maintain the aircraft”, Boeing says.

Source: Boeing, Picture Boeing

              

ON THE AIRBUS FRONT

     Airbus Relieved Over Post-Brexit Deal But Yet to Analyze Details

Airbus is yet to assess the consequences of the newly-agreed future relationship between the UK and the European Union.  But it believes the “potential disruption” which would have arisen from failure to reach a post-Brexit agreement “has been avoided”.

Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury says he “welcomes” the deal, unveiled on December 24, 2020, between the negotiating parties just weeks before the UK-EU transitional arrangement had been due to expire. 

Airbus employs 12,500 people in the UK, at sites including a wing-design site near Bristol and wing-assembly plant in Broughton. Airbus had pressed for the UK to remain a member of the EU, and had warned that it would review investments in the UK if withdrawal undermined its business model.

While it is “pleased” the No deal threat has been averted, the airframer says it will still need to analyze the consequences on its activities.  It points out that a “strong partnership” will “generate benefits right across Europe”. 

Source: Airbus,Picture Airbus         

        

REGIONAL/BUSINESS JETS

        Aerion AS2 Backlog Tops $6.5 Billion with Avion Pacific Deal  

Aerion Supersonic has secured its first commitment for its new AS2 aircraft from China under a marketing and sales agreement with Avion Pacific.   It covers multiple aircraft and pushes the value of the order backlog of the supersonic business jet to more than $6.5 billion.

The agreement was announced on Wednesday, December 9, 2020.  Aerion did not disclose the number of aircraft involved; but the deal is among orders that have helped significantly push up the value of the backlog in 2020.  The company’s backlog was in the $3billion range prior to this commitment.

Aerion plans to begin assembly of the AS2 in 2023, with the first flight coming in 2025 and market entry in the 2027 time frame.  The company envisions building 300 of the Mach 1.4 jets in its first decade of production. Avion Pacific will be among the first customers to take delivery in the expected 2027 service entry date.

Avion Pacific chairman Wu Zhendong  said that “ the AS2 is an aircraft that will shape the future of private aviation in Asia and globally;  we at Avion Pacific wanted to be part of that.”  

Source: Aviation International News

                   Gulfstream Introduces Another G700 Test Aircraft

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. announced the fifth Gulfstream G700 flight-test, just three weeks after the fourth G700 flew for the first time. 

“The G700 flight-test is progressing exceptionally well,” said Mark Burns, president of Gulfstream.  “Every day, we come closer to our goal of delivering this revolutionary aircraft to our customers.  We are steadily increasing flights, flight hours and completion of numerous company tests, further raising the bar for business around the world.”

The Fifth G700 test aircraft flew 3 hours and 8 minutes, reaching an altitude of 48,000 feet/14,630 meters and a top speed of Mach 0.935.  This aircraft will focus largely on testing avionics.

Since the first G700 flight on February 14, 2020, Gulfstream has made significant progress in company testing -including cold-weather at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida; flutter; aerodynamic stalls; and envelope expansion. The aircraft has also flown beyond its maximum operating speed and cruise attitude, reaching Mach 0.99 and altitude of 54,000 ft/16,459meters.  In typical operations, the G700 has a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 and maximum climb altitude of 51,000ft/15,545 meters.

Source: GulfStream/Picture Gulfstream                                                             

OTHER AVIATION NEWS

 American Airlines Completed the Boeing 737 Max’s Passenger Flight

American Airlines flew the first scheduled passenger flight of the Boeing 737 Max in the US on Tuesday December 29th, from Miami to New York’s La Guardia following the types ungrounding on November 18th last year.

Since the ungrounding, Latin America carriers Brazil’s Gol Linhas Aereas, Mexico’s Aeromexico.  On the same day, American airlines resumed commercial operations Copa Airlines of Panama resumed operations with its Max fleet flying from Panama City to San Jose, Costa Rica.

The uneventful flight marked the beginning of a new chapter for the aircraft that aims to restore confidence from the traveling public.

United Airlines won’t be flying the aircraft for another month, planning to fly the Max from Houston and Denver starting February 11, 2021.  Southwest as of this writing has not yet announced a start date or loaded the aircraft into its schedule.  Alaska Airlines has a tentative start date of March 1st.

American will fly the plane exclusively between New York and Miami until January 5, 2021, when more routes will see the plane.

Source: American Airlines/Picture American Airlines

                        The GE-90 Engine Celebrates 25 Years of Service

The General Electric GE90, which powers many Boeing 777s, has celebrated 25 years since entering service on the type—it propelled a British Airways flight between London, Heathrow and Dubai on November 17,1995.

The GE90 engine has been among the most reliable in the industry with a world class dispatch reliability rate of 99.97%.  In July 2020, the engine family also surpassed 100 million flight hours.

“We are excited to celebrate another GE90 milestone and would like to congratulate everyone involved in the engines success,” said Mike Kauffman, GE Aviation’s program general manager.  ”We continue to deliver these extremely reliable engines and our dedicated product support team will maintain the GE90 for many years to come, providing maximum value throughout its lifecycle.”

GE has delivered more than 2,800 GE90-94B and upgraded -115B engines to 70 operators around the world. The engine family powers all 777 models and its the exclusive powerplant on the 777-300ER, 200LR and 777 F.

The GE90 engine faces some of the toughest demands daily on a hip-thrust commercial jet engine.  Despite this, the engine has achieved the lowest maintenance burden to date through service bulletin terminating action acceleration and analytics-based field programs.

It’s architecture and mechanical design have influenced every GE and CFM turbofan over the last 20 years. From the popular GEnx and record-selling CFM LEAP engine to the passport for corporate jets and the next generation GE9X engine for the 777X.

The GE90 engine held the world record as the most powerful jet engine for 17 years at 127,900 pounds of thrust – until the newly-certified GE9X engine achieved the new mark of 134,300 pounds of thrust.

Source: GE aviation, picture GE Aviation

                 US Issues Emissions Standards for New Aircraft 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has for the first time missed greenhouse gas (GHG) standards for new aircraft.  The EPA argues, this will ensure “international consistency” and give US manufactures a level playing field with foreign competitors.

The rule mirrors ICAO’s standards and recommended practices for certification of aircraft CO2 emissions announced in 2017.  It limits the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) commercial airliners and business jets can emit beginning in 2018. 

“We anticipate US manufacturers would be at a significant disadvantage if the US failed to adopt standards that are harmonized with the ICAO standards for CO2 emissions,” the agency adds.

Aviation regulator FAA says it welcomes the announcement, adding that US manufacturers can now be sure that they are competing fairly against those in other countries.

On December 28, 2020, Boeing released the following statement:

“We are proud the EPA took this step to finalize the ICAO CO2 standard for aircraft emissions.  This is vital for protecting the environment and supporting the sustainable growth of commercial aviation and the United States economy.  The EPA’s standard will help tackle climate change and ensure that Boeing products will meet the same requirements as our competitors around the world.  The standard is one of the essential pillars of the industry’s strategy to cut net global aviation emissions to half of what they were in 2005 by 2050.  Aviation is one of only two industrial sectors that has adopted global CO2 goals, underscoring our steadfast commitment to our communities and the planet.”

Source: Flightglobal, Boeing,Picture Flightglobal                           LATEST NEWS

  • Air Greenland has formally placed its order for a single Airbus A330-800, nearly a year after disclosing it has selected the twinjet to replace its A330-200.

  • Virgin Australia, which most recently exited administration under new owners, has placed a new order for 25 Boeing 737 Max 10s after cancelling its existing commitments for the type.  The airline had held orders for 48 737 Max, including 23 Max 8s and 25 Max 10s, but had repeatedly pushed back deliveries.
  • Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has delivered the first of 18 Boeing 737 Max 8s to American Airlines as part of Purchase and Leaseback agreement.
  • Royal Jordanian celebrated the 57th anniversary since launching in 1963.

  • JetBlue Airways has taken delivery of its first Airbus A220-300, built in Mobile, Alabama facility.

  • Qatar Airways is to bring forward the launch of its four weekly flights to Seattle from March 15 to January 29, 2021.  The service will be operated by its Boeing 777.
  • New Calidonian carrier Aircalin has taken delivery of its first Airbus A320neo, the airline has an ordered one additional A320neo.

  • Australia will acquire an additional pair of Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, which will boost its fleet of the type to 14 examples.

  • Icelandair Group is selling a pair of Boeing 737 Max jets under a leaseback scheme, ahead of their delivery this year.
  • European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has certified the ATR 72-600 freighter.

AIR CARGO

                        Boeing 777LRF Joins the AirBridgeCargo Fleet

Volga-Dnepr Group is phasing in its first Boeing 777-200LRF.  The freighter, which has been recently certified in Russia, will be part of AirBridgeCargo’s (ABC) fleet.

The Boeing 777-200LRF, is to be be deployed on Trans-Siberian route, enabling ABC to offer more optimized delivery options for its customers.  It is the largest twin-engine freighter with up to 106 tons of payload; this complements ABC’s already extensive fleet of Boeing 747Fs and gives more flexibility in terms of special and general cargo transportation.

“We would like to thank our personnel and specialists, partners and customers for this great milestone at the turn of 2021 when airfreight is in high demand, especially for healthcare, commerce and essential cargoes transportations,” Tatyana Arslanova, chief executive officer of Volga-Dnepr Group, commented.

“2020 has put the air cargo at the front, air carriers continued delivering much-needed medical cargoes –PPE, vaccines, medicines, medical equipment and other items to combat COVID-19 spread.

We are positive that the new freighter type within AirBridgeCargo’s fleet will open new opportunities for other carriers operating to/from Domodedovo airport”, mentioned Igor Borisov, Director of Domodedovo airport.

Source: AirBridgeCargo/Aircargoweek/Picture AirBridgeCargo

                    

                       Qatar Receives Three 777-200LRF Deliveries on Same Day

Qatar Airways ended 2020 by taking of three Boeing 777-200LRF freighters, all departing the Boeing  Everett’s delivery center for Doha within about 30 min of one another on December 31,2020.  The aircraft – registered A7-BFV, BFW and BFX.  The milestone also marks the 200th 777-200LRF to be delivered.

With the arrival of the trio of 777-200LRFs, Qatar Airways Cargo now operates 24 of this airplane model along with two 787-8 freighters.  As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, Qatar’s dedicated freighter fleet serves more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha hub.  It also delivers freight on the belly-hold deck of passenger aircraft to an extensive network.

“With the arrival of these new freighters, we are injecting more capacity in the market; which is very much required during the pandemic.  The added capacity will also enable us to support the logistics around the COVID-19 vaccination, which is projected to be one of the greatest logistical challenges for the industry.” said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr Akbar Al Baker.  ”With our investments in innovation and fleet, we are able to fulfill our customers’ logistical requirements and facilitate the continuity of global trade.”

Boeing says customers have ordered a total of 242 777-200LRFs since the program was launched in 2005.

Source: Boeing/Flightglobal/Picture Boeing

                              FedEx Takes First Line Built ATR 72-600 Freighter 

ATR has handed over the first of 30 factory-built ATR 72-600 freighters to launch customer FedEx Express.  The twin-turboprop will make its commercial debut on European routes in 2021. 

FedEx will receive a further six or seven examples in 2021 and the remainder will follow in the period to 2025; at a maximum rate of six aircraft per year, says Scot Stuminger, executive vice-president and chief executive of aviation at the express carrier.

Speaking during an online delivery on December 15, Stuminger said the first aircraft(EI-GUL) will be flown to Season airport for “customisation”, including of an enhanced vision system before it enters service with Irish operator ASL Airlines. 

ATR forecasts a total market for 460 turboprop freighters over the next 20 years, either conversions or new-build example.

Source: ATR, FedEx                     

Researched and Compiled by : 

Ed Kaplanian    Commercial Aviation Advisor  

Contact – ekaplanian@msn.com

Editor:   Lee Kaplanian