Sideline: Massive Iran Air’s Future Fleet


Image result for iran air

These Airbuses and Boeings are bound for Iran Air:

Airbus

17 A320s & A330s

21 A320 CEO

24 A320 NEO

27 A330 CEO

18 A330 NEO (series -900)

16 A350 (series -1000)

12 A380

Boeing

15 B777-300 ERs

15 B777-900

4 B747-8

40 B737 MAX

6 B737 NG

21 B737

Image result for iran air

 

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Dubai Airshow: Will Airlines Pause For Breath Over Sales?


Al Maktoum airport
Image Source: AFP

There’s always razzamatazz around the Dubai Airshow, and it’s not just because its a chance for mega-rich Gulf airlines to announce orders or for US defence giants to sell military hardware.

The show is a sort of economic virility symbol; a chance for Dubai to showcase itself. So, while Paris’s huge Le Bourget airshow gets rain and dreadful congestion, Dubai gets sunshine and Katy Perry.

The singer is performing at the show’s gala dinner (no, I’ve not been invited) following in the footsteps of Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross.

But – Ms Perry aside – this biennial event could be unusually quiet.

With more than 1,100 exhibitors and 65,000 trade visitors attending from this weekend, the show will be bigger than 2013, but it looks unlikely to generate anywhere near the $206bn (£135bn) of commercial aircraft orders announced then.

With the production lines of manufacturers Airbus and Boeing booked for years to come, there is an expectation that airlines will “pause for breath”, says analyst Richard Aboulafia, vice president at US-based aerospace consultants Teal Group.

“I think everyone’s more than adequately ordered,” he says. “The Gulf carriers are still expanding, but the existing orders will do the job, and there’s a glut of twin-aisle jets out there.”

Raymond Conner, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, says airlines are now buying so far out into the future that a slowdown in the pace was inevitable.

‘That’s enough’

He’s expecting to see orders, but probably not “the huge numbers that we’ve seen before”. In 2013, Boeing’s orders and commitments reached 342 aircraft, worth $101.5bn at list prices.

Emirates’ chief executive Tim Clark has also played down suggestions that his Dubai-based airline will have its chequebook open. “We’re still running the programme we signed [in 2013]”, Mr Clark told reporters last month.

This includes 150 of Boeing’s huge new 777X, a deal worth $76bn, with the first aircraft due for delivery in 2019. Emirates also added another 50 Airbus A380 super-jumbo jets to its existing order for 90.

“That’s enough for the time being,” Mr Clark said.

It would be a surprise, though, if the airline didn’t have something major to announce on its home turf, even if it didn’t match 2013’s record haul.

Emirates is considering the purchase of some 60 variants of either the Airbus A350 or Boeing’s longer Dreamliner, the 787-10.

But it’s unclear if any deal will be ready to unveil at the show. Much may depend on when Emirates decides to move from Dubai International Airport, where it faces space constraints, to the new larger Al Maktoum International Airport.

Dubai International has capacity to handle 75 million passengers a year. Al Maktoum, when fully up and running, will be able to cater for 160 million, enabling Emirates to accelerate its ambitions to double in size.

Huge relief

Airbus is desperate to announce fresh A380 orders, and Emirates would have more space to operate them at Al Maktoum. But the world’s largest aircraft hasn’t had an order for two years and there have been persistent rumours over its future.

Emirates, the biggest user of the A380, has pushed Airbus to commit to build a new version, the A380neo. But if the Dubai airline is in no hurry to buy, Airbus will be in no hurry to sign off on the €2bn (£1.4bn; $2.1bn)-plus development costs.

Saudi Arabian Airlines also has ambitious expansion plans and if the carrier’s rumoured interest in buying A380s (or Boeing’s 777) turns into firm orders this week, it will be a huge relief for Airbus.

Another manufacturer desperate for good news is Bombardier. The Canadian company announced only on Wednesday that its C-Series aircraft would be making its Middle East debut.

The C-Series, Bombardier’s effort to move into a bigger aircraft bracket and challenge Airbus and Boeing, has been plagued by delays and worries about development costs.

Bombardier, maker of the Learjet and Challenger business aircraft, is weighed down by debt, and last month Quebec province announced plans to invest $1bn in the C-Series programme – aid that may yet spark a trade row with competitors.

Defence Increase

Watch, also, for any hint of news from Iran. The easing of sanctions, possibly from next year, will lead to fleets being upgraded, with the country’s aviation authority having spoken of the need for 400 new aircraft as well as investment in airport capacity.

It’s far too early in the geo-political jigsaw for any announcements. But all the airframe manufacturers will be sizing up the potential of a market that Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Authority, says is “going to be huge”.

Defence deals are no less important than the civil orders, although there will be far less publicity. Saudi Arabia’s defence budget last year was $80.7bn, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The UAE spent $13.4bn last year.

And analysts expect the worsening security situation in parts of the Middle East to boost defence spending across the region.

That’s why US defence firms will be out in force, having scaled back their presence at the Farnborough and Paris airshows in recent years because of falling European arms budgets.

Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman will have a big presence, as will Boeing’s defence and space operations.

Failed bid

More than 90 US companies are participating, and six American states – Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Washington, Virginia and New Hampshire – have their own pavilions.

Boeing is bringing two of its military surveillance aircraft, its P-8 Poseidon and its MSA maritime plane that is still in development, plus its Apache and Chinook helicopters.

The US giant is thought to be in advanced talks about big helicopter orders with unnamed Middle East countries.

Meanwhile, a British Royal Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon will also be there, though not with the anticipation that accompanied its 2013 showing.

Then, UK Prime Minister David Cameron made a surprise appearance to bolster negotiations with the UAE over its possible acquisition of the aircraft.

The UAE pulled out of talks a month later.

Source: Russell Hotten, Business reporter, BBC News, Dubai

Philippine Airlines Fleet Plan: Bombardier, Airbus or Boeing?


PHILIPPINE Airlines Inc. (PAL) plans to add eight Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus A350 XWB aircraft through a lease or purchase agreement to be sealed within the year, the company’s president said.

The new jets would help the airline cut fuel and maintenance costs — its key expense items — while boosting its non-stop flights to the US and Europe from Manila, PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Jaime J. Bautista told reporters after PAL Holdings, Inc.’s annual stockholders’ meeting at the Century Park Hotel in Manila City.

The flag carrier will also buy or lease additional Bombardier turboprops in 2016 to prop up its domestic operations, he said.

With the wide-body planes, PAL will replace six of its existing Airbus A340 and “possibly” add two more to these, with delivery expected by 2017 or 2018.

“There are proposals from Airbus and Boeing but we are not yet ready to announce which airplane we will choose,” Mr. Bautista said. “It will be very efficient if we operate the same types of plane.”

In June, PAL sealed a deal to lease two Boeing 777-300ERs to bolster its long-haul operations to the US and London. Before that, PAL had just six Boeing 777-300ERs it uses for its Los Angeles and San Francisco flights, after retiring its last four-engined Boeing 747 jumbo in September last year.

philippine-airlines

That June deal brought its total fleet count to 78 — four out of five jets are Airbus, according to data from aviation think tank Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA). PAL currently serves six long-haul destinations, one in Europe and five in North America.

TURBOPROPS
Meanwhile, PAL said it expects to take delivery of Bombardier turboprops one year after the order was placed.

“We have nine turboprop airplanes right now, we may replace them or add more. We are considering the same aircraft — maybe a Q300 or or Q400, or even a smaller jet that can carry 50-70 passengers,” Mr. Bautista said.

The smaller planes will address the demand for flights servicing the country’s regional airports.

“We have more than 70 airports in the Philippines and we serve only around 30 of them,” he said.

LOSSES DURING LEAN MONTHS
PAL anticipates “losses” in the coming months but still expects to end 2015 “profitable,” owing to encouraging first-half figures and a surge in demand by December.

In a statement released on Thursday, PAL said it posted $138 million (P6.4 billion) in net income for the January to July period. Second quarter earnings data alone were not immediately available, but the airline reported an $85 million profit in the three months ending March allowing it to remain in the black for a second straight quarter.

Its listed parent firm, PAL Holdings, saw its first-half profit surge by 946% to P5.86 billion from P560.26 million in the same period last year.

“There are months when we expect losses because of the lean season — August, September, October and November. Traditionally, airlines lose money during these months but hopefully we will reduce the losses,” Mr. Bautista said.

To minimize the impact of the lean season, PAL will “manage capacity” by reducing flights to certain destinations, such as those bound for Los Angeles.

“We are still expecting to be profitable for the full year. December will always be profitable,” Mr. Bautista said.

The major growth drivers will be passenger growth, yield improvement, and cost control programs such as efficient fuel utilization.

Within the year, PAL will close codeshare alliances with a “few” US and European carriers, in addition to its nine existing partnerships.

PAL said in its statement that competition in international routes continues to intensify and as cushion, “we need to strengthen and expand our alliances with carriers that can complement our network and passenger base.”

Source: Daphne J. Magturo, Reporter, http://www.bworldonline.com/

Oversize Expectations: A380 Demand Weakens for Airbus


A380

To get a sense of the Airbus A380’s size and ambition, walk up the grand staircase of an Emirates version of the aircraft, go past the showers and the first-class suites and then pass by endless rows in business class to reach the bar at the back of the upper deck. This sleek semicircle, alluringly underlit and fully stocked with pricey spirits like Grey Goose vodka, is undoubtedly one of the defining features of this aircraft, which can hold more than 500 passengers. The plane dwarfs every commercial jet in the skies.

Since it started flying commercially seven years ago, the A380 has caught the imagination of travellers. Its two full-length decks total 6,000 square feet, 50 per cent more than the original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747. Its wingspan barely fits inside a football field. Its four engines take this 560-tonne aeroplane to a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, a surprisingly smooth ascent for such a bulky plane. Passengers love it because it’s quiet and more reminiscent of a cruise ship than an aeroplane.

The A380 was also Airbus’ answer to a problematic trend: More and more passengers meant more flights and increasingly congested tarmacs. Airbus figured that the future of air travel belonged to big planes flying between major hubs. “More than simply a big aeroplane,” one industry analyst wrote when the first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2007, “the newest industry flagship will change forever the way the industry operates”.

The prediction hasn’t exactly come true.

Airbus has struggled to sell the planes. Orders have been slow, and not a single buyer has been found in the United States, South America, Africa or India. Only one airline in China has ordered it, and its only customer in Japan has cancelled. Even existing customers are paring down orders.

Disappointing Tally

The A380 has a list price of $400 million (Dh1.5 billion), but the pressure has forced Airbus to cut prices as much as 50 per cent, according to industry analysts. So far, Airbus has received 318 orders and delivered 138 planes to just 11 airlines — a disappointing tally given forecasts that the plane would be a flagship aircraft for carriers worldwide.

Only one airline — Emirates — has made the A380 a central element of its global strategy, ordering 140 as it built a major hub in Dubai. But Emirates is unique. No one else has bet on the plane with quite the same confidence.

The A380 hasn’t done so well for a number of reasons, some merely cyclical. The plane was introduced amid a deep downturn in the airline business. Airline executives were wary of expanding their fleets aggressively, especially for a costly, four-engine fuel hog.

But critics like Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst at the Teal Group, an aviation consulting firm in Fairfax, Virginia, say the main problem is more fundamental: Airbus made the wrong prediction about travel preferences. People would rather take direct flights on smaller airplanes, he said, than get on big airplanes — no matter their feats of engineering — that make connections through huge hubs.

“It’s a commercial disaster,” Aboulafia says. “Every conceivably bad idea that anyone’s ever had about the aviation industry is embodied in this aeroplane.”

Airbus spent roughly $25 billion to develop the aircraft. The plane was delayed for years because of manufacturing problems while Airbus struggled to keep the plane’s weight down and coordinate its complex design among dozens of suppliers across Europe. In 2012, Airbus discovered small cracks in supporting ribs inside the A380’s wings, an embarrassing and costly design error that the manufacturer is correcting.

While the A380 programme has been a boon for the European aerospace industry, Airbus is unlikely to recover its research and development costs. The best it can now expect is to break even on production costs, according to analysts, provided that it can keep orders going.

Steven F. Udvar-Házy, an industry veteran who is chief executive of the Air Lease Corp, which leases aircraft, calls the lack of interest in the planes “a very unusual situation,” especially among US airlines. “I’ve never seen this before in a big program,” he says.

Competing Conclusions

A little more than a decade ago, the two dominant airplane-makers, Boeing and Airbus, looked at where their businesses were headed and saw similar facts: air traffic doubling every 15 years, estimates that the number of travellers would hit 4 billion by 2030 — and came to radically different conclusions about what those numbers meant for their future.

Boeing figured that traffic would move away from big hubs and toward secondary airports. So it started to build a smaller, more fuel-efficient long-range aircraft, which became known as the 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus, on the other hand, saw the rise of international traffic through major hubs and decided to bet on a big plane to connect those big airports.

“The A380 is not made for every route, but it is ideal for high-traffic routes, high-volume routes that are congested or where there are flying constraints,” says Antonio Da Costa, the head of A380 marketing for Airbus.

And there are a fair number of those routes. Around 15 of the 20 largest long-haul routes by passenger volume in the world today are slot-constrained, meaning they face some restrictions on the number of daily takeoff or landings, says John E. Thomas, managing director at LEK Consulting, a transportation advisory firm.

Here is one example of how the Airbus theory works in practice: This summer, British Airways plans to replace three Boeing 747s flying each day between London and Los Angeles with two A380s, freeing one slot at Heathrow Airport for another flight.

Lukewarm Demand

Yet despite the congestion at hubs like Heathrow and the growth of megacities like New York, New Delhi and Beijing, the market for large planes remains small. Airbus predicts that in the next 20 years, airlines will order more than 29,000 planes from Airbus, Boeing and other makers. But the bulk of those, or roughly 20,000, will be smaller, single-aisle planes that fly routes like New York to Chicago, or London to Frankfurt. Airbus estimates that the market for the biggest — and most expensive — long-range airplanes will be about 1,700.

Boeing, too, is facing lukewarm demand for its latest jumbo jet upgrade, known as the 747-8. The company has received just 51 orders for this big plane, which can seat about 460 passengers and lists at $357 million. By contrast, it has sold more than 1,200 twin-engine 777s, which sell for as much as $320 million. (Airlines typically get discounts on the listed prices.)

More worrisome for Airbus is that it has struggled to find new customers for the A380 after a flurry of initial orders. Just three new carriers — Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Asiana Airlines — are getting A380 planes this year. And last month, Airbus cancelled an order for six A380s destined for Skymark Airlines, a low-cost carrier in Japan that has been losing money.

Garuda of Indonesia recently dropped plans to buy the A380, deciding that the plane was too big for its markets. And Virgin Atlantic, which has options for six A380s, remains undecided about whether to proceed. The airline was partly acquired by Delta Air Lines in 2012; Richard H. Anderson, Delta’s chief executive, has said the A380 is “by definition an uneconomic aeroplane unless you’re a state-owned enterprise with subsidies.”

Current customers, too, are cutting back their orders, including the major carriers in France and Germany, where the plane is assembled. Air France postponed the last two of 12 planes it had ordered. Lufthansa has scaled back its order to 14 from 17.

Cooperation of Airports

Bruno Delile, Air France’s senior vice president for fleet management, says that there are a limited number of routes in its network with enough daily traffic to justify the expense of such a big plane.

“The forecasts about traffic growth and market saturation haven’t exactly panned out,” he says.

Airlines also have to gain the cooperation of airports to modify gates and widen taxiways to make room for the plane. Apart from the main global hubs, few airports have made these investments. No airport in Brazil, for instance, can handle an A380. The plane was only recently allowed in Mumbai.

“Airports haven’t really been rushing to welcome the A380,” Delile says.

Airbus may have mistimed the market in a more fundamental way. While European engineers were developing the plane, their counterparts at Boeing were working on alternative designs. Out of this effort came the 787 Dreamliner, with a carbon-composite fuselage, a host of electronic systems and more efficient engines that could fly longer distances while consuming less fuel.

That plane, which entered service in late 2011, had its share of high-profile problems; the entire fleet was grounded for three months in 2013 because of battery fires. Boeing says the problem has been resolved, and the company has orders for more than 1,000 of the planes. With versions that seat 210 to 330 passengers, and with a range of about 14,848 kilometres (9,000 miles), the 787 allows airlines to fly pretty much anywhere in the world and connect smaller airports without going through a hub.

Japanese carriers are flying these planes from Tokyo to Dusseldorf, Germany, and to San Diego and Boston. This reduces the need for bigger planes to feed big hubs. And passengers are willing to pay more to avoid a connection, says Will Horton, an aviation analyst at CAPA — Centre for Aviation.

Recognising the success of the 787, Airbus started developing its own version of a long-range, fuel-efficient aeroplane, called the A350-XWB. The first should be delivered to Qatar Airways before year-end. Airlines have ordered 742 of the A350s since the program was announced in 2006.

“No doubt some airlines, given the opportunity to rewrite history, would not order the A380,” Horton says.

A bar in the sky

The view from Tim Clark’s office on the top floor of the Emirates headquarters in Dubai offers a stunning panorama of the city’s airport, including a new $4.5 billion terminal. Emirates operates 50 A380s, with more on the way, and has built its business model around the plane. Traffic here never stops. Even at midnight, when flights from the east land and connect passengers who are headed west, the airport is alive and bustling.

If most airlines appear sceptical of the A380, Emirates is a true believer. It stunned the industry in December when it ordered 50 more of the planes, beyond the 90 it already had on order, throwing Airbus a much needed lifeline. (Emirates also ordered 150 new Boeing 777Xs, a more efficient variation on the best-selling jet, helping to initiate the programme for this new aeroplane, due in 2020.)

Clark, the president of the airline, has turned it into one of the world’s largest carriers by seat capacity. And he is the A380’s most enthusiastic supporter.

“People get on the A380 and they absolutely love it,” he says. The upper deck on the Emirates version, he adds, is “just one big party”.

The son of a tanker ship captain and an economist, Clark joined Emirates in the mid-1980s. His basic insight about the A380 is simple: It can be a canvas for a new kind of luxury flight experience. It was Clark who came up with the idea to install two showers for first-class passengers. Airbus engineers thought the idea was crazy because it would require more fuel to fly the water for the showers. But he dismissed their objections. The showers would immediately distinguish the plane from anything else in the air.

He also put a large bar on board, along with a pair of semicircular couches, equipped with seat belts in case of turbulence.

“This thing is so popular and during the course of a 14-hour flight it becomes even more popular,” he says. “They all want to have their picture taken behind the bar with their arms around the girls,” he says, referring to passengers posing with the flight attendants.

Cheerful mood

That was certainly the atmosphere on a 13-hour flight between New York and Dubai earlier this year. While about 400 weary coach passengers on the lower deck tried to catch a few hours of fitful sleep, the upper-deck mood was more festive.

Rudolph V. Pino Jr, an insurance lawyer from New York, enjoyed a glass of chardonnay and traded pleasantries and business cards with other passengers. The bar was staffed by cheerful flight attendants amid an endless supply of drinks.

“It’s a special aeroplane,” he said. “It brings some glamour back to air travel, just like in the days of TWA and the old Boeing 747s.”

Unlike airlines in the United States, Emirates, which is a product of Dubai’s aviation-friendly policies, operates from a single hub. The airport handled 66 million passengers last year, rivalling Heathrow as the busiest international hub. Emirates serves more than 140 destinations, essentially connecting flows of passengers with a single stop in Dubai.

But for Emirates, the biggest selling point of the A380 is its ability to pack in more business-class seats and create an environment that appeals to big-spending passengers.

“The upper deck of the A380 is an absolute gold mine for us,” Clark says. “We elected to make it all premium. We elected to put in all the gadgets and gizmos. We were laughed at, at first.”

There are more first- and business-class seats on the Emirates A380 than on the 777, and they are usually 75 to 80 percent full, Clark says. On some routes, like those to Heathrow, where Emirates has five daily flights, that figure can reach 90 per cent. Once the whole plane is 85 per cent full, its operating costs fall below those of a 777, he says.

Expensive gamble

It’s a simple-enough recipe. But for the plane to be successful for Airbus, Emirates can’t be the only airline to make it work.

“United would be a great operator from San Francisco to Asia,” says Mark Lapidus, chief executive of Amedeo, an aircraft leasing company. Last year, Lapidus announced that his company would buy 20 new A380s, in a deal valued at $8.3 billion, and then lease them to airlines. It was an expensive gamble, and Amedeo doesn’t have any commitments yet.

The problem is that US carriers, including United, aren’t interested. Wall Street analysts aren’t convinced, either. Shares of United would plunge at least 10 per cent if it bought A380s, according to one analyst, because of concerns that they would bring too much capacity into the market.

In recent years, US airlines have found the way back to profitability by cutting capacity and retiring airplanes, effectively taking seats out of the market. A bigger plane, in the view of some analysts, would undo everything they’ve done.

Some analysts are also worried about the resale value of an A380, once the planes come off their lease and enter the secondary market. With weak sales and limited interest today, aviation experts say, the plane’s resale value could potentially depress new A380 prices even further.

In his aerie in Dubai, Clark appears untroubled by these considerations.

Clark has repeatedly said he would buy more planes if Airbus could deliver them fast enough.

“My view is that we’ve all got to tough this out,” he says. “As I say to my friends at Airbus: Don’t bottle this. The day will come again. The global economy will take care of you.”

He has encouraged Airbus to build an even bigger version of the A380. That, even Airbus would concede, seems unlikely.

Source: New York Times News Service

Is This Whale-Shaped Plane The Future Of Airliners?


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AWWA Sky Whale

Airliners have become steadily bigger in an effort to take fit in more passengers and drive down the cost of tickets. Could a new outsized design change the way we fly?

Spotting an Airbus A380 at an airport can still create great excitement. The giant, double-decker plane can seat between 500 and 850 people, depending on how much space is given to space-saving economy class, and how much goes to higher-paying passengers with all that extra leg room. It’s an aviation giant, the biggest passenger-carrying aircraft ever to fly the skies.

But the A380 could be become small fry if another, even more outsized design takes to the skies.

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The AWWA Sky Whale is a concept aircraft from Spanish designer Oscar Vinals. With three decks for passengers, it looks like a cross between a tropical fish and a sci-fi space shuttle. Does this huge design herald the future of air travel?

Bigger means better in the world of airliners; the dawn of the jet age brought in the likes of the Boeing 707, an aircraft capable of carrying more passengers quicker and faster than any propeller-driven design. In the ensuing decades, airliners have grown larger and larger. The advent of “jumbo” designs, characterized by Boeing’s 747, meant more passengers per flight, and therefore cheaper seats.

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“Travelling in the Sky Whale could be like a travelling in your private ‘theatre seat’, enjoying what happens around you; hearing some air flow noise, but feeling safe inside a big and intelligent structure,” Vinals says.

The design would use advanced technologies such as self-repairing wings, swiveling engines to enable a near vertical take-off, and hybrid propulsion.

“The engines and batteries are fed by a turbine inside the wings, like a high-speed and powerful dynamo,” says Vinals.

The design also calls for a system to redirect air flow to intake engines and to control laminar flow – in other words, to reduce turbulence around the plane and reduce drag.

None of these technologies are feasible on a large scale at the moment, but all are possible, says Vinals.

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“I did this because I am an aerospace and aviation enthusiast – the technology, development and evolution,” he explains. “I would like to contribute, with my vision, about these.”

Perhaps that vision from someone outside the aerospace industry, without preconceptions, is what is needed to revolutionise plane design. Vinals told me he did “years” and “terabytes” of research. It’s an approach that some in the field appreciate.

“I think that’s where these concepts come in,” says Dr Michael Jump, lecturer in aerospace engineering at the University of Liverpool. “It’s people challenging through their imaginations. It’s the engineering community’s opportunity to either say ‘that’s a good idea, let’s try and make it happen’, or ‘it’s less of a good idea, and this is the reason why’”.

He says there are three factors to consider when evaluating the design of an aircraft, collectively known as the Breguet Range equation. This can be used as an estimate of efficiency.

They are: propulsive efficiency (how efficient are your engines?); aerodynamic efficiency (is lift maximised and drag minimised?); and structural efficiency (how much payload can you carry?).

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Generally airlines want to fly as far as possible, with the biggest load (or largest combined weight of passengers) possible, while using as little fuel as possible. If you can maximise all three, you technically have a better aircraft design. The major airliner manufacturers have made tweaks to this equation, but have largely stayed faithful to a tried-and-trusted design.

“The likes of Boeing and Airbus have a lot of experience of building aircraft that look like a tube and two wings,” says Jump.

“When it comes to a new airframe that they want to design, it makes sense to evolve rather than revolutionise.”

A cylinder is also a structurally efficient way to contain pressure, which aircraft must do to maintain the right air pressure for passengers when flying at high altitude.

Mark Drela, professor in the department of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, agrees. “The airplane fuselage is a pressure vessel,” he says. “It really needs a circular cross section for that. You don’t see scuba diving tanks that are rectangular. If it’s round, then it’s light.” On a plane, of course, weight is everything.

“Airplanes look the way they do, not because of some stylistic decision, but almost entirely for technical reasons,” he says. “Form follows function.”

For that reason, Drela doubts the usefulness of design exercises like this one. “It’s more of a stylistic concept,” he says.

What’s more, for a manufacturer to be able to sell a new aircraft, it has to demonstrate that it is safe. The safety regulations have evolved over a century of manned flight, but with a radical design it would be much harder to demonstrate safety.

“The optimised airplane is like a grand set of compromises, and it’s a colossal exercise to balance everything,” says Drela.

“Airbus went with the huge A380, Boeing put its money on the smaller airplane with 787. And it is not obvious which is the better approach yet.”

But, Vinals says, Albert Einstein might have the last word on this: “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions”.

Source: Jack Stewart, bbc.com

Philippine Airlines New Plane


Boeing: What Is New On The Boeing 777X?

 

Boeing 777X to replace 747-400 and 777-200LR. Record-breaking launch, but there is more to come. New engines and wing design result in lower fuel consumption and better aerodynamic performance.

 

The success of the Boeing (BA) 777 led to demand for an even more sophisticated generation of the Boeing 777: The Boeing 777X. The ‘X’ was launched at the Dubai Air Show 2013, gathering record breaking orders and commitments. Boeing said it was not a question whether there would be a successor of the current 777 generation, but more of a question when this new generation aircraft would be on the market.

 

The success of the Boeing 777X can be attributed to the highly successful Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200ER and the increased demand for aircraft in the coming decade. The Boeing 777X consists of 2 variants: the -8X and the -9X.

 

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PAL Cancels 5 A330 Orders, Airbus Drops Behind Boeing in 1Q Jet Orders


A321_A330_PAL

(Reuters) – Airbus dropped behind U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N) in the race for new airplane deals in the first quarter after a pair of wide-body order cancellations, while Boeing finalized a major Canadian sale, company data showed on Friday.

Airbus, a subsidiary of Airbus Group (AIR.PA), said it had won new 40 orders in March, led by a diplomatic deal that saw China unblock 27 orders for A330 jets during a state visit to Europe by President Xi Jinping.

However, it suffered two order cancellations, including 12 A350-800 aircraft from a company linked to struggling Italian airline Alitalia CAITLA.UL and five A330s from Philippines Airlines.

Airbus ended the quarter with 158 new orders or 103 net orders after adjusting for cancellations.

Boeing said on Thursday it had won 275 gross orders or 234 net orders in the first quarter. Cancellations for both planemakers ran at about the same level during the quarter.

Boeing leapfrogged its arch-rival in gross orders after winning an order for 61 narrowbody jets from Air Canada, marking a shift of suppliers by the Montreal-based airline. The order, first announced in December, was finalized this week.

Airbus said the canceled A350-800 order came from Aircraft Purchase Fleet, a Dublin-based leasing firm originally set up to provide capacity for Alitalia.

While the immediate effect of the cancellation is to dent Airbus’s order book, it also reflects a deliberate effort by the jetmaker to wean customers off the least-sold version of its newest aircraft as it focuses on the larger A350-900.

That may help clear the air for a possible decision by Airbus later this year to give a new lease of life to an existing model by putting new fuel-saving engines on the A330.

People familiar with the project say the revamp would be incompatible with putting much investment in the A350-800, which is a similar size but has been relatively unpopular because it is a scaled-down version of the A350-900.

Such “shrink” aircraft tend to be less efficient than planned because they inherit some unnecessary structure and weight from the larger base model.

Orders for the $261 million A350-800 peaked at more than 180 aircraft in 2008 but have dwindled to 34 following the latest cancellation as attention focused on two larger A350 models.

Aerospace analysts say the future of the smallest variant of A350 now hinges on its remaining five customers including Russia’s Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), South Korea’s Asiana Airlines (020560.KS) and Hawaiian Airlines (HA.O), who may demand concessions in return for changing their fleet plans.

U.S. carrier Delta Airlines (DAL.N) officially launched a competition on Thursday to renew the top end of its fleet with new jets and its decision could shed further light on whether Airbus goes ahead with the revamped “A330neo”.

In terms of deliveries, Boeing remained the industry leader in the first quarter with 161 commercial aircraft deliveries compared with 141 for Airbus.

China’s decision to unblock 27 A330 jet orders reflected a reduction of tensions between China and the European Union over EU policies on aviation emissions, but fell short of forecasts of a major new plane order pending final resolution of the row.

On Thursday, the European Parliament voted to exempt international flights from paying for their carbon emissions following intense pressure from national governments not to extend current rules beyond domestic air travel.

Source: TIM HEPHER, REUTERS

Airbus or Boeing for PAL’s Manila-London flights?


Source: Rappler.com / Lala Rimando

Image  Image

MANILA, Philippines – A long-haul and wide-bodied unit of either Boeing or Airbus will be used in the November 4 Manila-London flights of legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).

Whether a US-made Boeing or Europe-made Airbus aircraft will be used for the route highlights how the rivalry between the two rival global manufacturers is present in Asian skies, including the Philippines. PAL was once a struggling local carrier but is now revived and aggressively expanding.

“We are utilizing either [Boeing] 777-300ERs and [Airbus] 340-300 for long haul,” PAL president Ramon Ang replied when asked about on the carrier’s choice aircraft for the route in a press conference on Tuesday, September 17.

“[For] long-haul [flights that involve] non-stop 13-hour [travel], you need to use 777 or 340’s. Those are the only available airlines,” he explained.

Boeing’s 777 aircraft has a 370-seat capacity, while Airbus A340 has 264.

PAL’s return to the United Kingdom after 15 years was marked by a “renewal of ties” ceremony with UK Trade Minister Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint in Makati City

Some parts of Airbus units are sourced from the UK.

“We’ve very happy that London is PAL’s first Europe destination since flights to that continent were discontinued in 1998,” said Ang during the press conference

PAL will fly 5x a week (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) departing Manila in the morning and arriving at Terminal 4 of London’s Heathrow airport, the world’s busiest.

“That we have been given permission to fly to Heathrow makes our return much more meaningful. We take this as a strong vow of confidence by UK authorities in PAL’s ability to bring in the passenger traffic volume worthy of the world’s top airlines,” Ang added.

“I am confident that these flights will greatly enhance the relationship between the UK and the Philippines,” Lord green said.

The direct Manila-London flights in November marks the first time the Philippines is returning to European skies.

The Philippines and the UK government has an existing bilateral air agreement for up to 7x a week flights.

READ: PAL can fly direct to UK

The European Union lifted its safety ban on Philippine carriers in July after the local aviation regulator met the safety standards of the 27-member economic bloc. – Rappler.com

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