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Britain's Prime Minister David Cameran stands near the Garuda Indonesia A330 Airbus at Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport in Jakarta, Indonesia.
For a boost of trade and investment, Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines purchased 11 A330 Airbus Jetstar airplanes worth $2.5 billion during British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit in Jakarta Indonesia. The new Airbus jets will increase by two-thirds the number of long-hauled A330s ready to be delivered to Garuda.
“The deal between Airbus and Garuda Indonesia Airlines is a great news for the United Kingdom aerospace industry,” Prime Minister Cameran said from his arrival at Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in Indonesia for his 24-hour visit. Cameron also said that he wanted to promote arms deals to mark a departure from British policy. Cameron’s coalition government is trying to boost British economy to reduce reliance on financial services and to limit exposure to their crisis-hit economy by doing more business with growing markets.
Today, Indonesia is seen to have a rapid expansion on the aviation sector opt to travel by air across the archipelago of 17,000 islands. Many islands lack good roads or railways while shipping connections are slow and deadly transport accidents are common.
Garuda’s CEO Emirsyah Satar said he planned to use the new Airbus A330 planes to expand in Asia-Pacific, including China, South Korea and Australia.
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PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus is considering beefing up its A330 passenger jet in a bid to expand a recent winning sales streak for the junior member of its wide-body jet family, the planemaker said on Monday.
While the twin-engined aircraft, in service since the 1990s, is enjoying a second honeymoon with airlines due, in part, to delays in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, analysts say it faces a threat from a possible stretched version of the 787.
An Airbus spokeswoman said a decision on how to enhance the A330 would be taken in the second half of the year.
The EADS unit is considering increasing the maximum amount of weight the A330 can carry by up to 5 tonnes and adding drag-reducing wingtip devices called “sharklets” — upward-slanting wingtips designed to help the aircraft fly further on the same amount of fuel.
They are already planned for the smaller narrowbody A320 and similar devices appear on some Boeing 757s.
A330 sales have flourished in the past two years as Boeing encountered delays in bringing out its carbon-composite 787, which recently entered service.
It has shorter range than either the 787 or Airbus’s planned carbon-fibre alternative, the future A350, but has sold well to airlines operating intermediate long-haul routes.
With the changes under consideration, the A330 would be able to lift up to 240 tonnes at take-off, Airbus said — an increase of 5 tonnes for the most popular variant, the A330-300, and 2 tonnes for the A330-200.
Increasing the maximum take-off weight allows airlines to add more fuel to carry the same number of people and their baggage further, or else carry a larger payload.
France’s La Tribune newspaper said the moves to increase the maximum tolerated weight at take-off would add 7 percent to the range of the A330, potentially giving it a range over 7,000 nautical miles.
With a three-class layout, the A330-300 carries 295 people up to 5,650 nautical miles or 10,500 kilometres, while the A330-200 — a later spin-off with a shorter fuselage and more range — takes 253 people up to 12,500 km.
Boeing has said it was considering a stretched version of its 787 called the 787-10 that would carry about 300 people approximately 6,800 nautical miles.
The move has been described by an industry official familiar with Boeing pre-marketing as a potential “A330 killer”.
The skirmish addresses a lucrative niche of the industry alongside high-profile battles between the A350 and Boeing’s 787 and the older but larger 777, which had record sales last year.
Airbus has said the carbon A350 will eventually outshine the 777 because it will be lighter and cheaper to run, while Boeing was expected to make similar claims about the 787-10 against the A330, which stems from roughly the same era as the 777.
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Airbus expects to decide soon on a plan to boost widebody output to a rate of 11 aircraft a month even as it delays ramping up narrowbody production.
Airbus had been considering a single-aisle production rate increase to 44 aircraft a month, but has decided to hold off for the moment because of bottlenecks among Tier 2 suppliers. The situation is different for the A330, making a production boost there possible, says John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer for customers. The company expects to reach a production rate of 10 widebodies per month this year.
Airbus COO Fabrice Bregier hints that a decision on the single-aisle side could wait until a rate of 42 aircraft per month is reached, which is expected next year. “It would be premature to do it now,” he notes.
One of the reasons Airbus is keen to boost production is because of its bulging backlog. The company booked 1,419 net orders last year and made 535 deliveries. And 2012 should see order intake move ahead of deliveries, with new orders forecast to reach 600-650, while deliveries of 570 aircraft are expected. The order intake should include about 30 A380s, matching the 2012 delivery target.
Output is only one of the deliberations for Airbus this year. The other is whether to launch an A330 winglet program. Leahy says studies have begun for both forward-fit and retrofit options. A decision is likely this year.
If the devices could yield a 2% fuel burn benefit, Leahy says such a program would likely move forward.
Not on the near-term agenda is the A380-900 program, a stretched version of the aircraft now on the market. Despite occasional customer interest, such a project would not likely emerge until the second half of the decade, says Airbus CEO Tom Enders. The focus now is on ramping up production. Profit-delivering aircraft will go to customers starting in 2015.
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Airbus cancels its A320 and A321 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion program, saying demand for the airliner version means there is not adequate supply for a conversion program.
“Recent market developments, including the success of the upcoming A320NEO, have resulted in more demand for A320 passenger aircraft and less for freighter versions in this aircraft category. In addition, strongly growing passenger traffic results in high demand for used A320 family aircraft, thus reducing the amount of aircraft available for conversion,” Airbus says, adding that “against the backdrop of these market changes and the increasing pressure on the P2F business case, the partners have concluded to stop and freeze the P2F program.”
Airbus was working with its sister-unit EADS EFW, Russia’s United Aircraft Corp. (UAC) and Irkut on the conversion program. As a result, the joint venture for the business, Airbus Freighter Conversion, has been terminated. Ownership of the joint venture was 32% EADS EFW, 18% Airbus and 25% each for UAC and Irkut.
Work on one A320 prototype aircraft, provided by AerCap, was already under way, although series production had not been initiated. First flight of the aircraft was due this year.
AerCap already had an agreement with Anglo-Swedish cargo airline West Atlantic to be the launch operator of the A320 P2F aircraft. The airline was to lease three aircraft, starting next year, with options for four more.
Airbus would not disclose financial terms linked to the cancellation of the program, including any penalties owed to customers, such as AerCap.
The move also sets back Airbus’ plans to expand freighter activities. The aircraft maker has long bemoaned that its cargo portfolio is far smaller than rival Boeing’s. However, the cancellation of the P2F initiative, along with the decision several years ago not to proceed with the A380 freighter, leaves Airbus with the A330-200F as its only active freighter product.
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The Air France A330 that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago apparently had its pilots distracted with faulty airspeed indicators and failed to properly deal with other vital systems, including adjusting engine thrust, according to people familiar with preliminary findings from the plane’s recorders.
The final moments inside the cockpit of the twin-engine Airbus A330, these people said, indicate the pilots seemingly were confused by alarms they received from various automated flight-control systems as the plane passed through some turbulence typical on the route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. They also faced unexpectedly heavy icing at 35,000 feet. Such icing is renowned for making airspeed-indicators and other external sensors unreliable.
Ultimately, despite the fact that primary cockpit displays functioned normally, the crew failed to follow standard procedures to maintain or increase thrust and keep the aircraft’s nose level, while trouble-shooting and waiting for the airspeed sensors and related functions to return to normal.
Slated to be disclosed by investigators on Friday, the sequence of events captured on the recorders is expected to highlight that the A330 jet slowed dangerously shortly after the autopilot disconnected. The pilots almost immediately faced the beginning of what became a series of automation failures or disconnects related to problems with the plane’s airspeed sensors, these people said.
The crew methodically tried to respond to the warnings but apparently had difficulty sorting out the warning messages, chimes and other cues while also keeping close track of essential displays showing engine power and aircraft trajectory.
The Air France pilots were never trained to handle precisely such an emergency, according to safety experts and a previous report by France’s Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses, which is heading up the investigation. All 228 people aboard Flight 447 died in the accident.
The senior captain, Marc Dubois, appears to have been on a routine rest break in the cabin when the fatal chain of events started, according to safety experts familiar with the details, but the cockpit-voice recorder suggests he may have rushed back to the cockpit to join the other two Flight 447 pilots.
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On Apr. 14, Kenya Airways announced that it has signed a deal for the purchase of nine Boeing 787 aircraft to replace its ageing fleet and expand routes and flight frequencies.
Kenya Airways Chief Executive Titus Naikuni said six of the new planes would replace six of the company’s aging fleet of Boeing 767s, while the rest would be for expansion on new routes.
The airline had been mulling the purchase of A330s from Airbus, after the delivery of the 787, as per an earlier deal signed in 2006, was delayed from October 2010.
Naikuni also said the first of the 787s will be delivered in the last quarter of 2013, and the airline will have an option to buy a further four planes.
“They have given us delivery dates that we are comfortable with. It is a super aircraft,” Naikuni told media.
The size of Kenya Airways’ fleet, which also includes Embraers for domestic and short regional routes, has been curbing its ambitions by limiting destinations and flight frequencies, even on routes with high demand.
Kenya Airways has announced plans to raise an unspecified amount of cash to fund expansion. The process is at the stage of seeking regulatory approvals, Naikuni said.
Rising oil prices would force the company – whose strategy hinges on connecting African travellers to the outside world through its Nairobi hub – to increase fares to cushion its bottom line.
Fuel costs account for between 30 and 40% of the airline’s total operating costs.
“It (oil prices) is impacting us quite a bit. We will have to increase our fares,” said Naikuni, adding the jump in crude was so fast that hedging and fuel surcharges were not enough to deal with it.
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One of the most hotly sought-after military contracts in U.S. history is expected to be issued this week, perhaps the finale in a scandal-ridden bureaucratic nightmare that has pitted two global aerospace titans in a high-stakes competition for a decade.
At issue is a $35-billion prize purse to replace the Air Force’s fleet of Eisenhower administration-era aerial tankers, which refuel warplanes while in flight. The Pentagon has twice awarded the contract, only to see its decision overturned amid accusations of underhanded politics and discriminatory rule-making.
Follow-on tanker contracts could involve building 300 to 400 additional tankers valued at more than $100 billion over several decades, analysts said.
The decision has national implications and strong political overtones. Both companies have boisterous contingents in the halls of Congress pushing for one side or the other because of the huge number of jobs at stake nationwide. For example, if Boeing wins, the bulk of assembly work would be done in the Seattle area. EADS has plans for an aircraft production plant in Mobile, Ala.
But much of the work is slated for California, with airplane parts being manufactured across the Southland. Take Parker Aerospace in Irvine. It’s set to be a supplier on either EADS North America’s offering of a modified Airbus A330 passenger jet or Boeing’s contender, which is based on its 767 airliner.
Dozens of other local aerospace companies also stand to benefit, depending on the outcome, including Raytheon in El Segundo, Alarin Aircraft Hinge Inc. in the City of Commerce and Lamsco West Inc. in Santa Clarita.
But getting to work on the program hasn’t been easy. It’s been a decade-long affair for the Air Force to replace the oldest planes in its fleet. Many of the planes — based on 50-year-old heavily modified Boeing 707s — are run-down, rusty and corroding.
The military depends on the tankers all over the world because they refuel bombers, fighters and cargo planes in midair beyond America’s shores. Still, the Pentagon has been unable to award the contract.
- Los Angeles Times
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A Franco-American team will make a fresh attempt to locate the wreckage of an Air France Airbus A330 that search teams have been unable to find in 18 months of extensive campaigns.
Thierry Mariani, the French deputy minister in charge of transportation, announced on Feb. 4 that Air France, Airbus and the government will back a new search to locate the A330 aircraft, AF447, which disappeared off the Brazilian coast between May 31 and June 1, 2009, without a trace. Like the last mission in May 2010, the new operation will rely solely on advanced unmanned automated systems (UAS), rather than surface-towed sonar, which dominated earlier searches, running back-and-forth patterns to ensure each area is observed at least twice.
However, unlike last year’s attempt, which focused on just part of the vast 17,000-sq.-km crash zone, based on ocean current models, the new mission will systematically investigate the entire zone, except for 6,000 sq. km already explored. Alain Bouillard, an official in France’s bureau of accident investigations, or BEA, who is leading the inquiry, said a follow-up study in June 2010 using dropped buoys had determined that the crash area is characterized by eddy currents, rendering modeling problematic.
To be managed by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, which participated in the 2010 search, this year’s operation will employ three Remus 6000 UAS vehicles supported by a small expedition ship, the Alucia, based in Seattle. Two of the UAS vehicles are owned by the Waitt Foundation and the third by the German oceanographic institute Geomar. If the team is successful in identifying the wreckage field, a larger vessel still to be identified will be sent to retrieve the wreckage and the aircraft’s voice and data recorders.
BEA Director Jean-Paul Troadec says the UASs, equipped with camera and sonar, are the only means currently available capable of undertaking high-precision exploration of the sea floor at the 4,000-meter depths and rugged terrain where Flight AF447 went down, which despite a joint Franco-U.S. mission in 1974 remains largely uncharted. “Given the certainty of the aircraft’s last known position and ACARS data, transmitted 15 minutes before impact, we are sure the aircraft is in the part of the crash zone that we haven’t yet explored,” he says, “and we’re more confident than ever that our strategy will enable it to be found.”
David Gallo, director of special projects at Woods Hole and co-expedition leader, says exploration of the crash zone last year showed the Remus submarines are capable of running precision patterns in terrain with scarps of 90 degrees or more. And a high-precision mapping campaign of the Titanic site last August-September showed they can detect objects the size of a barrel or a chair at 600 meters, Gallo said.
The Alucia is scheduled to leave Seattle on Feb. 9 and arrive at Suape, Brazil, on March 14. It is slated to be on station to begin the search on March 18. The operation is to extend through July 8.
Air France and Airbus will foot the estimated €9.2 million ($12.5 million) cost of the search and the French government the retrieval effort.
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TUI Travel PLC has become a new direct customer for Airbus, with an order for two A330-300 aircraft. The European travel group has ordered these aircraft for its French airline subsidiary, Corsairfly. The two wide-bodied A330-300s are the latest 235 tonne maximum take-off weight variants and will be operated on the airline’s popular long-haul routes from Paris across the Atlantic to the French Caribbean islands and North America, in addition to Indian Ocean destinations.
Pascal de Izaguirre, Managing Director of Corsairfly, says “We are delighted with this decision by TUI Travel to buy Airbus A330 aircraft.” He adds “We already experience excellent performance from the A330-200s we currently operate and these new aircraft with a track record of spectacular efficiency, reliability and low operating costs will allow us to perfectly match our new strategy. Moreover, aircraft commonality, unique to Airbus, will allow us to meet our restructuring programme target.”
John Leahy, Airbus COO Customers, says “The A330-300 is not only the most efficient aircraft in its class with lowest fuel consumption in service today, it is also the aircraft which best fulfils airline’s needs in terms of range and capacity.” He also says “TUI travel’s decision to acquire our mid-size long-haul star is further proof that the A330 delivers exactly what the market needs.”
The aircraft will be configured in two classes with a total of 362 seats.
With a true wide-body fuselage allowing very high comfort standards, the A330-300 is able to accommodate seat and class configurations to suit diverse customer requirements. It has a range of up to 5,600 nm / 10,400 km with a typical 300 passenger load. Highly efficient and optimised for the medium – to long range market, the A330-300 offers the best balance between range and cost. The A330-300 remains the most economic means of flying 300 or so passengers on medium range routes in true long haul comfort. Orders for the aircraft stand at more than 480.
The A330 Family, which spans 200 to 400 seats for the passenger variants, also includes Freighter, VIP, and Military Transport/Tanker variants, has now attracted more than 1,100 orders.
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Airbus Military expects that by early November the remaining test flights for the Royal Australian Air Force’s A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft will be completed, clearing the way for deliveries to begin before year’s end.
The first operator of the A330 tanker variant will be the RAAF. Flight testing for the MRTT’s military certification was completed in July after a seven-month program involving 112 flights. Spanish military approval was received Oct. 5, said Airbus’s head of flight operations and test, Gabriel Garcia Mesuro. “There remain less than 10 qualification flights to fly [for the RAAF],” he said. Some of the testing left will involve night flights for receiver qualification. Mesuro claims “We’ll finish all these by early November.”
Mesuro said that the MRTT flight test effort involved the RAAF’s first two A330s, while its third aircraft has just gone into the paint shop in Paris. The next phase will be the start of the “formal delivery process,” he adds. “We will deliver two MRTTs by the end of the year — numbers two and three. The aircraft will be ready for delivery by early December.”
Conversion of the RAAF’s fourth MRTT began “some months ago” and will be completed in mid-2011, Mesuro said, while its fifth and final aircraft will be delivered to Qantas for modification early next year.
Meanwhile, the second A330 MRTT Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) for the U.K. Royal Air Force completed its first post-modification test flight from Airbus’s Getafe plant near Madrid on Oct. 26. The manufacturer says the crew reported that the aircraft, its systems and Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines performed entirely satisfactorily during the 2-hour flight.
The RAF’s first FSTA, which made its first flight on Sept. 16, is grounded in Getafe while its Cobham-supplied fuselage refueling unit system is installed.
Mesuro stated “There was a delay in the delivery of the system from the supplier, but we have now received it.”
This aircraft performed five flights prior to going into the workshop. Early next year, it will undertake refueling qualification tests in the U.K. with various RAF aircraft, including the Eurofighter Typhoon. Mesuro said the FSTA may also fly some refueling trials with the Airbus Military A400M. According to Airbus, formal deliveries to the RAF are due to begin toward the end of 2011.
The first A330 MRTTs for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are due to make their post-modification first flights from Getafe early next year.