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American Airlines was the first to order and take delivery of the Boeing 777-300ER. The aircraft is expected to be the cornerstone of the American Airlines international flights by giving a unique flying experience to the passengers
“This aircraft will deliver a new level of comfort, connectivity and convenience for our customers,” Virasb Vahidi, chief commercial officer of American Airlines said. “We are especially pleased to be among the first in the industry to offer a combination of fully lie-flat seats with all-aisle access, international Wi-Fi and state-of-the-art in-seat entertainment.”
The first commercial flight of the American Airlines 777-300ER is scheduled on January 31st from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Sau Paulo, Brazil. It will also fly to London Heatrow Airport from Dallas-Fort Wort as well as from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
The Boeing 777-300ER features lie-flat seats in the first and business class sections. These sections also have a walk-up bar stocked with food and drinks, the first for any U.S. airline.
The airplane also offers a wide range of entertainment selections with hundreds of movies, TV programs, and music. Each passenger seat in the aircraft has its own 110-volt AC power outlets and USB jacks for charging personal devices.
The innovative design of the cabin gives a more spacious vibe by using dramatic archway, ceiling treatment, and mood lighting.
American Airlines ordered 14 units of the Boeing 777-300ER and the remaining units will be delivered through 2013.
The first delivery of the Boeing 777-300 is part of the American Airlines renewal plan with the goal of having the youngest fleet among popular airlines within the next five years.
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Boeing is looking at expansive and more modest changes to the 777 widebody to keep the product viable, but a strategy decision is not likely soon, says Air Lease Corp. Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy.
Boeing is already in talks with potential customers about the so-called 777X, says Boeing Commercial Airplanes President Jim Albaugh.
Some of the proposals being looked at include a brand-new engine to replace the GE90, which General Electric would first have to develop, Udvar-Hazy says.
Also on the agenda are potentially a new wing, or, at least, aerodynamic improvements.
Udvar-Hazy says the options range from major changes to a Band-Aid approach to keep the aircraft competitive versus the Airbus A350-1000.
Some options are “extremely costly, in terms of development and would involve significant redesign of the airplane,” he says.
The near-term focus for Boeing will be on getting the 787 into customer hands, he adds, so, “I don’t think Boeing is going to come to any quick decision.”
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July 31, Sunday, two Delta Air Lines planes collided on the taxiway at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, the fourth incident in four months involving the carrier’s aircraft.
Delta Flight 2207, which was scheduled for Minneapolis, and Flight 1777, headed to Atlanta, had a “taxiway incursion,” said Delta spokeswoman Chris Kelly Singley. She didn’t know the full extent of the damage to the aircraft.
After the incident, which occurred about 7:30 p.m. local time, the passengers of both planes were removed and rescheduled on other Delta flights or those of another airlines last night and this morning, Kelly Singley said. No injuries were reported, said Karen Pride, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation.
“Delta’s No. 1 priority is safety,” Kelly Singley said in a telephone interview.
Earlier this month, a Delta wide-body plane struck the tail of a smaller jet from regional partner Atlantic Southeast Airlines as they prepared for takeoff from Boston’s Logan Airport.
In April, a Bombardier CRJ-700 from Delta’s Comair unit was clipped by the wing of an Air France Airbus SAS A380 superjumbo at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, spinning the smaller plane and 66 occupants through 90 degrees.
A month later, the wing of a Delta Boeing 737 struck the tail of another at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Delta’s hometown hub.
“Each of the incidents is being looked at individually, and by no means do we believe we have a trend,” said Kelly Singley.
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Alaska Airlines is interested in Boeing’s recently-announced re-engined 737 offering, though the carrier has yet to make any decisions about the type’s future in its fleet.
“We are very much in favour of lower fuel burn, and if Boeing can do this sooner rather than later, that’s a good a thing”, said Bill Ayer, CEO of Alaska parent Alaska Air Group during the company’s second quarter earnings call.
“We just learned about this, really, yesterday, like everybody else,” said Brandon Pederson, company CFO.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh said 20 July that he planned to recommend re-engining the 737 to the Boeing board of directors in August, with a formal authority to offer expected in the fourth quarter.
“We’re all in favour of saving money on our fuel bill, but in terms of how that affects our orderbook, our fleet, our capex, it’s just too early to tell,” Pederson added.
Initial estimates of the fuel burn improvement have spanned from 10-12% and as high as 15% depending on the final configuration that is selected.
Ayer also said “we will be very interested to learn more about this airplane and we look forward to taking delivery of some, if everything looks right in terms of the cost and the fuel burn and so forth”.
Boeing expects to firm the configuration of the new variant within three to four weeks as it concludes deliberations about the fan size of the CFM International Leap-X engine that will exclusively power the new aircraft, which is slated for an entry into service sometime mid-decade.
“We have a fleet plan and an orderbook with Boeing right now that we’re happy with in terms of numbers of airplanes and timing of airplanes, and I think the idea would be that this new airplane would just slot into that whenever it’s available”, he continued.
According to a filing with US regulators, Alaska said it is scheduled to take delivery of six 737-800s in 2012, three in 2013, one in 2014, and two in 2015.
It will also take delivery of six and seven 737-900ERs in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Alaska added the 737-900ER to its orderbook this past January.
The company also said in the filing that it has options for 42 more 737s.
Alaska exclusively operates the Boeing 737 in its fleet, operating the -400, -700, -800, and -900 variants.
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Boeing’s decision to replace the engines of its popular 737 jetliner rather than replace it with an all-new airplane is a “dream scenario” for Spirit AeroSystems, a Spirit analyst said.
Spirit also will benefit from American Airlines’ record-setting order announced Wednesday for 450 narrowbody aircraft placed with Boeing and Airbus.
Spirit builds the 737 fuselage in Wichita.
It also builds parts of all Airbus aircraft at its plants in the United Kingdom.
“The American order is good news for us all the way around,” said Spirit spokeswoman Debbie Gann said.
Shares of Spirit jumped 7.3 percent Wednesday, gaining $1.50 to close at $22.07. Shares have traded between $17.93 and $26.49 in the past year.
The plan to replace the engines on the 737 with more fuel-efficient engines called the Leap X is subject to approval from Boeing’s board of directors. A Boeing official said Wednesday that the program is expected to be launched sometime this fall.
American’s order to Boeing includes 100 737 Next Generation aircraft with options for 40 more. It also committed to buy 100 of the planes with the new engines with an option for 60 more.
American’s order to Airbus is for 260 single-aisle aircraft, including 130 of A320 family of aircraft with new engines, called the A320neo, for new engine option.
Boeing’s decision to go with 737 engine replacement rather than replacing the 737 with an all-new design is good for Spirit, said Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia.
A new airplane would present a major risk, he said.
Boeing would put work on the new plane out for bid, he said. And there are no guarantees whether or how much work Spirit would win.
The 737 program accounts for half of Spirit’s revenue and keeps thousands of its 10,400 Wichita employees busy.
Without the program, “the big risk is keeping people working,” he said.
In addition, Boeing officials have said that a replacement plane would likely be a composite aircraft. A composite fuselage would require fewer workers than the aluminum 737.
Aboulafia called the 737 a “relatively labor intensive fuselage” by comparison.
“Building the same tube you’ve built for decades is very different from having to collaborate the design work and new equipment needed to build something new,” Aboulafia said.
Adding new engines to the 737 is not a major change to the design.
“It’s a minor derivative,” he said.
The re-engining project will keep the 737 in production for many more years, Aboulafia said.
For its part, Spirit is digesting the news of Boeing’s decision, Gann said.
“We’ll be obviously working closely with Boeing to support the re-engine,” she said. “We’ve been talking with Boeing about all kinds of possibilities trying to stay in a position where we can support our customer whatever they decide.”
The decision came months earlier than expected.
Last month at the Paris Air Show, Boeing officials said they would not rush a decision, which would likely be made toward the end of the year.
Boeing has had separate teams studying the two options. Customers seemed to be leaning toward an all-new aircraft, officials have said.
Airbus outshined Boeing at the air show with announcements of hundreds of orders for the A320neo.
In addition, Boeing had to compete vigorously with Airbus for the American Airlines order.
In the end, the decision against launching an all-new plane came down to production worries, said Jim Albaugh, head of Boeing’s commercial aircraft division.
The challenges of producing a new composite airplane at the high production rates necessary to meet demand was a big stumbling block, he said.
“While the technology was there to do a new airplane, the production system is not understood how to build some 60 composite airplanes a month,” Albaugh said.
A new airplane would not be ready in the short time frame customers desired.
“They wanted more airplanes now,” Albaugh said.
In making the decision, Boeing was able to “stave off a disaster,” Aboulafia said.
“In 10 years, it (production) might be solvable,” he said. “I think they knew volume production of a composite tube is quite problematic given what we know about production today.”
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American Airlines said Friday that it has agreed to a sale-leaseback arrangement with an independent aircraft leasing company to finance up to 35 Boeing 737-800 Next Generation aircraft.
The arrangement calls for 29 firm deliveries, including 26 previously ordered aircraft and three newly ordered aircraft. The arrangement also covers six more 737-800 Next Generation aircraft subject to purchase rights for possible delivery in 2013-2014.
Under the sale-leaseback arrangement, AerCap will purchase the aircraft from American and lease them back to the Fort Worth-based carrier.
“We are pleased to significantly expand our relationship with AerCap and diversify our financing strategies,” said Bella Goren, chief financial officer for AMR Corp., American’s parent company. “This arrangement is a great reflection of the flexibility we have to efficiently raise capital in support of AMR’s strategic fleet renewal efforts.”
American Airlines also updated its fleet replacement schedule on Friday. The airline plans for delivery of 15 Boeing 737-800s in 2011, 28 in 2012 and 14 in 2013.
American has reportedly been negotiating with Chicago-based Boeing and France-based Airbus to add up to 250 new, fuel-efficient aircrafts to its fleet, according to media reports in recent weeks.
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Two planes collided on a taxiway at Boston’s Logan Airport on Thursday night, causing one to be injured.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that a Delta 767 collided with an Atlantic Southeast jet on a taxiway around 7:30pm local time.
“While taxiing out for departure, the wing from Flight 266 from Boston to Amsterdam made contact with the vertical stabilizer of ASA Flight 4904, also on departure from Boston to Raleigh-Durham,” a statement from Delta Air Lines said.
“Both aircraft have been removed from service for inspections and passengers are currently being reacommodated on other aircraft.”
Boston Logan International Airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said one person was complaining of neck pain after the crash, but that no one else had been injured, myFOXboston.com reported.
A passenger aboard the larger Amsterdam-bound jet, 30-year-old Jacob Crane, of Atlanta, told the Boston Herald that he had watched his plane’s wing run into the other plane’s tail.
“I saw it coming. We were taxiing pretty quick. I saw the wing and I said we’re not going to clear that. It was like ‘oh, they hit,’ and that was that.
“It was generally pretty calm but there were some people … a Russian guy was grabbing for the emergency exit,” Crane said. “But it was like no big deal. Nobody was hurt. There was a girl next to me that started crying and bawling but everybody else was pretty calm.”
The collision caused the tail of the commuter jet to bend over completely, according to myFOXboston.com.
The crash came three months after a Comair plane was involved in a dramatic smash with an Air France A380 on the tarmac at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport — an incident which made headlines globally after being caught on film.