Saturday, April 28, 2012

China Eastern will order 20 Boeing 777s

China Eastern Airlines will order 20 Boeing 777-300ER airliners. The order cannot be placed yet, because China Eastern needs approval of the China government. In October last year China Eastern cancelled an order for 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in favor of a mix of 45 Boeing 737s and 15 Airbus 330s.
The 777-deal comes against the rising fears in Europe that China is blocking Airbus orders as a reaction to the EU carbon tax on aircraft emissions imposed on airlines. Airbus parent company EADS said in March that China was refusing to approve orders for 35 A330s and 10 A380 megajets, because of the carbon tax.

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First 787 from second assembly line

The first Boeing 787 Dreamliner assembled at Boeing's North Charleston facility (South Carolina) was rolled out of the final assembly line on 27 April. The 787 will be delivered to Air India in mid-2012.
The South Carolina final assembly facility is an addition to the first line in Everett and was completed in June 2011. Boeing South Carolina also has responsibility for fabrication, integration and assembly of the 787's midbody and aftbody fuselage sections. Once complete, the fuselage sections are either delivered to the South Carolina Final Assembly facility, or transported via the Dreamlifter to Final Assembly in Everett (Washington).

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Boeing delivers first 747-8I to Lufthansa

Boeing has officially delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental passenger airliner to its first airline customer, Lufthansa, on 25 April. The aircraft will me made ready by Lufthansa employees for a flight from Everett to its future home base Frankfurt on 1 May. The aircraft will arrive in Frankfurt on 2 May. The 747-8I replaces the 747-400 in the Lufthansa fleet. The airline has configured its new generation Jumbo Jets with 386 seats. Lufthansa has ordered 20 747-8Is.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New colours for TUI Boeing 787s

TUI Travel is to introduce a new aircraft colour scheme. The photograph shows what it will look like on its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which will be delivered in 2013 as a replacement for the Boeing 767. TUI Travel airline Thomson Airways will be the first UK customer to take delivery of the Dreamliner. Other TUI Travel airlines, like TUIfly Nordic, Arkefly and Jetairfly will also take delivery of the Dreamliner in this colour scheme. The livery will have a wave design. The light blue colour on current TUI-planes will be retained, but there will also be a dark blue shade. Also retained is the ‘TUI Smile’ on the tails.

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Lockheed TriStar 40 years in service

Today, forty years ago, on 26 April 1972, the Lockheed L-1011 TriStar commenced commercial service with launch customer Eastern Airlines on the Miami-Atlanta-New York service. The L-1011 was the first and last widebody airliner produced by Lockheed and also the last airliner built by the US aircraft manufacturer. The TriStar was the second widebody airliner to be launched and the third to enter commercial service after the Boeing 747 and McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
During its development the TriStar suffered a number of setbacks, which even brought Lockheed's existence in jeopardy, but once in service, the aircraft gained a very good reputation for its reliability, economic characteristics and low noise levels. The L-1011 remained in production until 1983 and 249 were built. Only a few aircraft are still operational. According to Flight International 11 TriStars are in service, of which seven are flying with the Royal Air Force. RAF TriStars are to be replaced by Airbus A330 MRTT Voyagers and the last TriStar will be phased out in 2014.

Personal note: I have flown myself on TriStars of AirLanka and TWA. AirLanka from Amsterdam to Copenhagen and TWA from Amsterdam to New York. My homebase airport Amsterdam Schiphol was more a DC-10-airport than a L-1011-airport  On visits to London Heathrow, for example, I saw many more TriStars than at Schiphol. Still, through the years, I have seen at Schiphol TriStars of British Airways, AirLanka, Delta, TWA, Air Transat, Worldways Canada, Air India, Gulf Air and Royal Jordanian.

More about the Lockheed TriStar on the Widebody Aircraft Parade

JAL introduces Boeing 787

Japan Airlines has introduced the Boeing 787 Dreamliner into commercial service on flights between Tokyo Narita and Boston Logan on Sunday 22 April. The nonstop flight took 16 hours  The aircraft took off Monday for the first return flight to Tokyo on Monday 23 April. With the Tokyo-Boston flights JAL uses the capability of the aircraft to fly long-distance routes between city pairs that don't have enough traffic to justify the operation of bigger airliners. Tokyo-Boston "is exactly the kind of long-haul point-to-point route the 787 was designed to fly," according to Boeing Japan president Mike Denton. Initially, JAL will fly four times a week between the two cities. JAL has on order a total of 45 Boeing 787s.

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Repaired Qantas A380 back in Sydney

The Qantas Airbus A380 that had a mid-air engine failure after take-off from Singapore in November 2010, is back in Australia, after a delay of 18 months. The aircraft (VH-OQA) took off from Singapore Changi Airport on 21 April and landed in Sydney in the morning of 22 April. The aircraft will be back in commercial service from 28 April on Qantas's Sydney-Hong Kong route. The explosion took place in the No 2 engine, a Rolls-Royce Trent 900, over the Indonesian island of Batam. The aircraft flew back to Singapore safely.
The engine suffered a defect in an oil feed tube. This resulted in cracking of the oil tube, leading to a fire within the engine. The fire weakened a turbine disc, which separated from the turbine shaft. The disc broke through the engine case and damaged the wing. Repairs were carried out by SIA Engineering in Singapore.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Looking back to earlier widebody days

It is a real pleasure to to look back to earlier days of widebody aircraft operation. I extracted some Boeing 747-200B photos from my slide archive, mostly taken during the nineties of last century, and added them to the Widebody Aircraft Parade. On show are now 747-100/200s of Olympic, Alitalia, Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Canada, MAS and All Nippon. Take a look: here.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Garuda orders extra Airbus A330 aircraft

Garuda Indonesia has placed a firm order for eleven additional Airbus A330-300s. Garuda Indonesia already operates fourteen A330 aircraft: eight A330-200s and six A330-300s. In total, the airline has 21 A330s on order now. The aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines. The airline has chosen the latest extended range 235 tonne maximum take-off weight variant of the A330-300.

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Transaero signs for four Dreamliners

The Russian airline Transaero Airlines signed an order for four Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners. The signing ceremony was held onboard a 787 during a demonstration flight for Transaero's executives, employees and special guests.
Transaero is already a large operator of widebody types, flying  Boeing 747, 767 and 777 aircraft. Its first widebody was an Ilyushin Il-86, it flew the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and today it has the Airbus A380 on order. Transaero became the first Russian airline to fly Boeing airliners in 1993 when it started flying the Boeing 737.

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Airbus A330 begins RAF service

The Airbus A330 MRTT Voyager military tanker/transport has made its service debut with the Royal Air Force. The modified Airbus widebody took off for its first operational service flight from RAF Brize Norton on April 8, to familiarise a RAF crew with the aircraft as part of the training programme.
The Voyager is going to replace the RAF's aged Lockheed TriStar and Vickers VC10 aircraft currently in service. Itt is equipped with Cobham 905E under-wing hose and drogue refuelling pods. The consortium AirTanker Services will deliver 14 of the aircraft and provide operational support. All 14 aircraft must be delivered by 2016. (Photo: AirTanker Services)

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Boeing beats Airbus on widebody deliveries

Airbus and Boeing have published their first-quarter deliveries. They were up compared to a year ago. Airbus delivered 131 aircraft, up 12 compared to 119 aircraft in the 2011 first quarter. In January, February and March Airbus delivered 27 widebodies: ten A330-200s, one A330-200F, twelve A330-300s and four A380s.
Boeing delivered 137 aircraft, up 33 compared to 104 aircraft the 2011 first quarter. The American aircraft-builder delivered 38 widebodies: six 747s, seven 767s, twenty 777s and five 787s.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Airbus A350 final assembly begins

Airbus has begun final assembly of the first A350 XWB in its brand new final assembly line in Toulouse. This first A350 XWB airframe will be used for the static structural tests that all new aircraft undergo as part of their certification process. Airbus started joining the front fuselage section (21 m long) with the centre fuselage (19.7 m long). Delivery and installation of the aft fuselage from Hamburg will take place in the coming weeks, followed by the wings delivered from Airbus' wing assembly site in Broughton, UK.
The A350 XWB fuselage is made up of three main sections - front, centre and aft. These will be joined together at the first main assembly station, Station 50. The nose landing-gear is also joined here. Once this stage is completed, the fuselage is transferred to Station 40 where the wings and tail sections are joined.  In parallel to this, cabin installation will be carried out simultaneously to the wing-fuselage join up, as well as the "power on" of the aircraft systems. In this way, functional tests can start earlier than on previous programmes.
The assembly of the first flying A350 XWB, MSN1, will start during summer.

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Air Alfa Airbus A300s in my archive

Again I took a look to old slides in my collection and found some pictures of Airbus A300s operated by the Turkish charter airline Air Alfa, which was founded in 1992 and ceased operations in 2001. It used eleven A300s and belonged among quite a number of Turkish charter airlines flying this Airbus type during these years. Today most A300s in Turkey are flown by cargo airlines. You can find my Air Alpha A300 page here.

Sixty times 777 for Air France

Air France has taken delivery of its 60th Boeing 777 passenger jetliner, a 777-300ER (Extended Range). More aircraft are to follow. By summer 2012, Air France will operate a total of 62 777 passenger jetliners and two 777 Freighters. To date, Boeing has recorded orders for 1,367 777s to 64 customers around the globe. 

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"747-8 is able to fly to 200 airports...."

"The 747-8 family is the only airplane above 400 seats approved to serve more than 60 airports around the world." This is a proud statement in a Boeing press release today, which says that the 747-8 is approved for operations at 200 airports worldwide. To date, 63 airports are actually receiving the type, of which 14 airplanes are flying now, operated by five airlines. Of course this press release is meant only to ridicule the bigger Airbus A380, which cannot serve as many airports as the 747-8 can, simply because it is bigger and heavier. Boeing adds that 747-8 operators have identified a total of 240 destination airports, "significantly more than the airplane's main competitor is able to serve". Embraer might say: "Our E-Jets can land and depart at many more airports than the Boeing 747-8." And what to think of a Cessna 172? Or: how good is that 747-8 actually?!

By the way: the Lufthansa 747-8I doesn't even have 400 seats, only 386. And Embraer E-Jets usually have even more seats than 747-8F freighters.....

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

TAAG orders Boeing 777-300ERs

TAAG Linhas Aereas de Angola (Angola Airlines) ordered three additional Boeing 777-300ER (Extended Range) airplanes. The order includes purchase rights for another three 777-300ERs. TAAG already operates five 777s: three 777-200ERs and two 777-300ERs from its homebase Luanda to Lisbon, Beijing, Dubai, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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