30 November 2013

24 of 40 A350-900 ordered by Etihad are “A350 Regional” models with lower MTOW and 17% lower engine thrust. Cabin modifications to increase up to 360 passengers.

The new regional variant of the Airbus A350 is to be optimized for routes of up to 6,800 nm. and will feature derated engines and a lower maximum take-off weight.

The aircraft version has been selected by Etihad Airways as part of an order for 40 A350-900s, 24 of them will have the lower take-off weight certification.

¨We are not building a new product,¨ Airbus Senior Vice President Marketing, Chris Emerson, says. But ¨we are getting in the shorthaul market.¨ Airbus is taking the existing A350-900 and adapting it to the requirements of shorter haul flying. The maximum take-off weight will be reduced to around 250 tons from the 268 tons of the standard longhaul version of the A350-900. Engine thrust is expected to be around 70,000lb, compared to 85,000lb for the standard -900 and 97,000lb for the -1000 Rolls-Royce TrentXWB engine.

Most changes will affect the cabin. Airbus plans to reduce the space taken by the galleys or even remove them altogether. Depending on the seating configuration and the standard chosen for any business class section, the regional variant could have space for around 350-360 passengers and more if a single class layout is selected.

Airbus is positioning the aircraft for higher ranges than the A330 regional, which is optimized for routes of up to 2,000 nm. And while the A330 is marketed as a 9-abreast aircraft (compared to 8-abreast for the longer haul version), Airbus does not plan to position the A350 regional version at 10-abreast (compared to the standard 9-abreast).

Based on the article “A350 Regional Version Offered At Lower Thrust” published in Aviation Week

29 November 2013

“If Airbus extend the size and stretch the A350, Qatar will be very interested in placing additional orders,” Al Baker, Qatar CEO.

Qatar Airways said it would consider buying an even larger version of the Airbus A350 wide-body jet than currently on offer, as the No. 2 Middle Eastern airline tilts its fleet toward bigger aircraft.

The Doha-based carrier would be interested in a variant that stretches beyond the A350-1000, the largest of the 3-member family of A350s for sale, Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker told journalists in Dubai at the biennial air show. Qatar may also switch from some of its mid-sized A350-900 models into the larger type, he said.

“If they extend the size and stretch the airplane, Qatar Airways will be very interested in placing additional orders,” Al Baker said after announcing a purchase of A330 freighters.

Qatar, the launch customer for the A350, has already dropped orders for 20 of the smallest versions for larger ones. Al Baker, an early critic of the program, said today he was impressed with the progress that Airbus has made in the last two years on the A350, which performed its maiden flight in 2013.

Airbus has said it’s not currently working on an even larger version of its A350, while maintaining that it would be technically possible. The A350-1000 is aimed at taking business from Boeing’s popular 777, whose upgraded 777X model became the bestseller on the Dubai Air show, including 50 orders from Qatar. The smaller A350 models compete with the 787 Dreamliner.

Based on the article “Qatar Interested in Even Larger A350 as Airlines Boost Jet Sizes” published in Bloomberg

28 November 2013

7 well-established 777-300ER operators (including British Airways and Japan Airlines) have ordered the A350-1000

Boeing's 777 development strategy shows how requirements for a growing part of the long-haul aircraft market have changed. Originally designed primarily as a DC-10 replacement for domestic U.S. carriers, the big Boeing twin swiftly evolved into a long-range workhorse for the world's airlines before the influence of mainly Middle Eastern and Asian operators led to the dominance of the current 777-200LR/300ER long-range generation. This process is on the cusp of evolving to the next phase with the 777-8X/9X.

“They [Persian Gulf-based airlines] clearly had tremendous market success and we continue to work very closely with them as their business model continues to develop,” says John Wojick, Boeing's global sales senior vice president. “We see quite a lot of growth in the region in general, and they've shown themselves to be formidable competitors in the industry. They created a model that's all about long-haul capacity and connecting long-distance routes around the world through hubs—it certainly has our interest.”

But while some argue that pandering to the excessive range requirements of these and similar Asian-based carriers has led to limited success in the case of niche market products like the 777-200LR and A340-500, Wojick says the needs of the Middle East carriers simply form a bellwether for the rest of the world. “It's not a stand-alone phenomenon. The 787, for example, is a testament to our processes. When we looked around the world and saw what people want to do, we saw they wanted to get from Point A to Point B. So we developed the 787 for city pairs, and the Middle East carriers have capitalized on this desire. They've been able to connect city pairs that have never been connected before.”

“The 787 was designed around that philosophy, and now we have over 979 orders to date across a range of 220 seats all the way to 350 seats [the 787-10]. So we're looking at how we extend that with the 777, which today services the market with the -300ER and -200LR, and evolve it with the 8X/9X. Those are going to allow airlines to connect city pairs with an aircraft [777-9X] that burns over 20 percent less fuel [per seat], and has cash operating costs 15 percent lower relative to the -300ER, which has already largely obsoleted other aircraft,” Wojick explains.

The Middle East is the battleground where the fortunes of these new products could be largely won or lost. The competition with the smaller 350-seat A350-1000 forms the focus, with Boeing pushing further sales of the existing 777-300ER while refining the design performance of both the 777-8X and -9X to counter the challenge of the Airbus twin. Wojick refutes the Airbus claims that the A350-1000 is a “777 killer,” despite the fact that seven well-established 777-300ER operators (including British Airways and Japan Airlines) have ordered the A350-1000. “In terms of the 777-300ER, we've sold more of them in the time period that they've been offering A350-1000s, so the data would prove that's not the case. As for the future, when we look to 2020 and beyond, we know we can offer an aircraft that's better in terms of fuel burn and emissions.”

While Boeing strives to improve the range-payload performance of the 777X for the Persian Gulf carriers by reportedly increasing both maximum takeoff weight and engine power, the company is eager to show its overarching twin-aisle development strategy reflects the needs of the wider market. The 787-10, a double-stretch of the 787-8, will “capitalize on fuel efficiency,” states Wojick. “Instead of increasing thrust and range, we believe the airlines would rather have efficiency and a reduction in range. This is about 1,000 nautical miles but it still allows them to service more than 90 percent of the routes served by twins today. We give people a choice. We have the opportunity for them to buy an efficient 300-passenger 787-10, or the 300-passenger 777-8X that has adequate range and which can open up new missions. So by having two products within close proximity in terms of capacity, we can offer a choice of over and under 7,000 nautical miles.”

Based on the article “Dubai 2013. Top Designers” published in Aviation Week

27 November 2013

The full scale cockpit mock-up of the A350 XWB shown in Le Bourget and in Dubai was “made in Spain” in 2 months.

Airbus presented at the Paris Airshow-Le Bourget las June a full size cockpit mock-up of the A350 XWB, which is the most spectacular and emblematic section. Spanish company Mazel was selected to build this stunning demonstrator due to its experience in such projects and its multidisciplinary team.

The cockpit mock-up has been shown in Dubai last week and it will be included in coming Airshows.

The full-scale mock-up allows the visitors to feel as if they were in charge of the real aircraft thanks to being fitted with original interior components such as navigation instruments, flight controls, and displays.

This project was developed by Mazel in a record time of 2 months. In order to complete this task, it was required to use multiple skills such as design, engineering, IT, special materials, assembly, electronic equipment and surface finishing.

Previously, Mazel also developed a 21 meters long full-scale mock-up of the Airbus A350 XWB, which has a panoramic cinema inside. Initially, it was presented at the Paris Air Show in 2009 and then was exhibited in Dubai, Singapore, Berlin, Hamburg and Farnborough Air Shows.

Mazel is an engineering company with over 25 years of experience that has its origins in the automotive sector.

Based on the press release “Mazel has manufactured the full-scale cockpit mock-up of the new Airbus A350 XWB”

26 November 2013

A350 first prototype MSN1 celebrates the 100th flight after successful completion of the artificial ice shapes tests … with a special guest onboard.

The first flying prototype MSN1 has successfully completed the artificial ice-shape flight test campaign

Last Sunday the artificial ice-shapes were removed from the MSN1 and the FTI reconnected in order to allow the MSN1 to celebrate on Monday the 100th flight without artificial ice-shapes as shown in the pictures below:
Vertical and Horizontal Stabilizers with artificial ice-shapes ....  and without ice-shapes

The artificial ice-shapes campaign has been performed from 13/Nov to 21/Nov with more than 30 flight hours of tests. This short campaign has included a 5 hours flight on 17/Nov, the first flight on Sunday.

All these pictures are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/aircrafts/

The first flight-test aircraft, MSN001 (F-WXWB), as of today has accumulated 103 flights (missions) and more than 457 flight hours, while MSN003 (F-WZGG), the second flight-test aircraft, has completed 27 flights and close to 150 flight hours.

Following the completion of these tests with simulated ice-shapes, Airbus is preparing for icing tests with natural ice, targeted before end of the year although the exact timing and location largely depends on the weather.

With these flying maneuvers, the flight test crews wanted to be able to simulate the worst case icing conditions on the aircraft with ice shapes, installed on the wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers.

25 November 2013

Didier Evrard Head of A350 Program visited last week the site that Spanish Tier 1 Alestis has in Aerópolis –Sevilla.

According to Alestis, the visit has served Airbus to check on-site the good progress the company has experienced in this program "due to industrial restructuring launched in September 2012". The delegation from Airbus, and especially Didier Evrard, acknowledged the fulfillment of all the commitments made by Alestis Aerospace in the A350 XWB program, and claimed that currently the company is a "totally reliable" supplier after having overcome a difficult situation over the past months.

"Now you have the future on your hands. Continuing this progress, Alestis might be one of the best suppliers of the A350 XWB", said Evrard to the workforce of the Sevilla site.

Alestis Aerospace CEO Francisco Javier Díaz Gil said that "Alestis is in the right direction" and although "it still has many challenges ahead," also was "confident" that the commitment of all those who form the company will "tackle them successfully". "This company is proving that we can do things very well and it is trained to change and improve constantly. It is a proud to work in a Tier1 as Alestis Aerospace", underlined.

Alestis Aerospace faced last year a cash crunch and from May/2012, it was placed under court administration, operating from one bill to the next. Airbus took the control of the group and named the CEO. Alestis designs and builds the Section 19.1 of the Rear Fuselage and the belly fairing.

Based on the article “El director del A350 XWB junto a una delegación de Airbus visita la planta de Alestis en Aerópolis” published in 20minutos.

24 November 2013

Magellan Aerospace increases the participation on the A350 XWB program with additional workpackage.

Magellan Aerospace has signed an agreement with Airbus securing a major work package on the A350 XWB. The package, which is an addition to other supply contracts Magellan Aerospace has on the A350 XWB, consists of a series of machined and assembled structural components for the fuselage structure in this aircraft which supports the cabin storage bins and aircraft systems and is worth approximately $US 45 million dollars over the next 4 years.

Production will utilize existing and new capacity at Magellan's facilities in the UK in Wrexham, Chalfont and Greyabbey. To support this program Magellan will invest in a range of new high technology machines to optimize efficiency and value to the customer.
Magellan currently participates on the Centre Wing Box and the Pylon Secondary Structure as well as with the machining and treatment of complex machined aluminium-lithium detail components.

Mr. Jim Butyniec, President and CEO of Magellan discussed the strategic importance of participation on the A350 XWB program and Magellan's continued drive to secure major work packages on future aircraft for Airbus and Boeing programs. He commented, "This new package, together with existing A350 XWB work consolidates Magellan's strong position on this exciting new Airbus program"

Based on the press release “Magellan Aerospace Selected to Machine and Assemble Structural Components for the Airbus A350 XWB Program”

23 November 2013

The new Libyan Wings airline signs a MOU for 3 A350-900 to start building up it´s operations

Libyan Wings, the newly launched Tripoli based airline, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for 3 A350-900s (and 4 A320neo’s). The carrier is building up its fleet with aircraft orders announced at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. Libyan Wings will start operations for passenger charter and freight from the beginning of 2014.

Click the picture to watch the video

“The A350 XWB and A320neo will play a significant role in ensuring that our new airline operates one of the most modern and efficient fleets in the Middle East region moving forward,” said Wisam Al Masri, Chairman of Libyan Wings. "With these fuel-efficient aircraft we will be able to offer passengers the highest levels of comfort on both long haul and shorter regional routes, while benefitting from the lowest operating costs and best environmental performance."

"It’s very exciting to see a new airline starting its business today with our efficient, latest generation A320neo and A350 XWB Families. This means that the Airbus product line, from single aisle to widebody clearly meets customer requirements in the world’s most competitive and demanding markets like the Middle East," said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers. "Whether for short regional services or long intercontinental routes, Airbus has the right products with the lowest operating costs and best in class comfort standards."

Libyan Wings is a fully privately-funded airline backed by Libyan businessmen, according to Chairman Wisam Al Masri. It will function as a full-service operator, with the aircraft configured in both business and economy class seating.

Established in 2012, the Tripoli-based carrier plans to serve primarily the MENA region at the start, explained Haret Alfasi, the carrier’s Applications Manager. The current strategy is to debut with domestic routes and flights to such countries as Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, along with Turkey. Future expansion is anticipated to northern Europe, with service to Persian Gulf countries also envisioned, he explained

“Our aircraft choice today also demonstrates a commitment to innovation, technology and matching customer expectations in terms of comfort and safety, while also addressing the growing environmental concerns of the aviation market.” Alfasi told reporters at the Dubai Airshow announcement press conference.

He added that Libya’s air transport sector is developing quickly, maintaining a strong recovery trend that has been boosted by a consumer market boom and the introduction of world brands in the country.

“Libyan Wings is here to demonstrate that we intend to make an impact in this market as well,” Alfasi concluded. “In addition, Libyan Wings is keen to play role in helping to revolutionize and improve airport infrastructure in Libya.”

Based on the press release “Libyan Wings orders three A350 XWBs and four A320neo’s”

22 November 2013

Airbus is studying how much additional engineering work would be needed for the A350-1100, a double-stretched A350 XWB. No serious technical show-stopper identified.

Airbus has launched detailed technical studies into further stretching the A350, program head Didier Evrard said recently.

The current studies center on how much additional engineering work would be needed for the aircraft’s structure and systems to allow the fuselage to be extended beyond that of the A350-1000, a stretched version of the baseline A350-900.

Last month, at the Istat Europe conference in Barcelona, Airbus COO-Customers John Leahy confirmed for the first time that the company was studying the idea, although he later downplayed his comments. Later Evrard said “we are not in a hurry to define another product, but if the market needs it, we will do it.”

The current studies are primarily technical. Evrard pointed out that the landing gear for the -1000 is already different from the -900, and has upward weight potential in the tens of tons, so it would not be a hurdle. Evrard indicated that he didn´t see any technical issues that would be considered a serious technical show-stopper. “Others did it, we can certainly do it, too,” he said, referring to Boeing’s launch of the 787-10, a double-stretch of the 787-8.

The amount of engineering work needed would largely depend on the extent of the stretch and the kind of missions that the aircraft would have to fly. A stretched version that does not include significant upgrades is likely to lose range.

If Airbus goes ahead with the project, it would follow Boeing’s plans to stretch the 777, making the proposed 777-9X a 400-seat aircraft. The type is widely expected to be launched at the Dubai air show in November.

Following the technical studies, Airbus plans to take a closer look at the market potential of a larger A350, which would likely take the aircraft into a similar size category. The A350-1000 is defined by Airbus as a 350-seat aircraft in three classes. It is almost identical in size to Boeing’s 777-300ER, but Airbus claims it can seat 9 additional passengers because the aircraft will have only 4 exit doors on each side rather than 5 for the 777-300ER.

Airbus argues that the proposed Boeing 777-9X will burn 15% more fuel than its A350-1000 for about 10% more capacity, and it will not get below the fuel-burn per seat achieved by the -900.

Based on the article “Airbus Studying Feasibility Of A Double-Stretched A350” published in Aviation Week

21 November 2013

A vote of confidence from Etihad; 50 A350 ordered marking a volte-face after previously canceling some orders.

Click the image to watch the video

Etihad orders 50 A350, including 10 A350-1000, only one and a half year later than the Middle Eastern airline cancelled 7+6 A350-1000 in May and January last year.

Chief Executive Officer James Hogan said at the Dubai Air Show that of the 40 A350-900 that Etihad agreed to buy, 24 are regional models due from 2018.

The commitment is a surprise comeback for Airbus after Hogan had canceled 13 A350-1000 orders last year, dealing a blow to Airbus at a time when the aircraft was struggling to gain appeal with buyers.

Etihad Airways, national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has announced a firm order for 50 A350 XWBs, 36 A320neo aircraft and one A330-200F as part of its fleet modernization strategy.

The contract was signed at the 2013 Dubai Airshow by James Hogan, Etihad Airways CEO and Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, said, “Ten years ago this month, we celebrated our inaugural flight from Abu Dhabi using an Airbus A330.

A decade later, we have grown into one of the world’s leading airlines and the importance of Airbus to our fast-growing operations has never been stronger. We have more than 60 Airbus aircraft in our fleet today, and this latest order is testament to the continued strength of our partnership.

As one of the first airlines set to receive the much-awaited Airbus A350-1000, we look forward to benefiting from its operational efficiencies and cost savings.”

Based on the article “Etihad Adds A350 Wide-Body Jet After Previously Canceling Order” published in Bloomberg

20 November 2013

What has the first flying prototype MSN1 achieved alone in the A350 flight test program.

Hugues Van Der Stichel, Experimental test pilot, VP Flight Test Regulation, explained exactly what key achievements have been logged so far.

  • Aero clean and landing configurations are completed.
  • Settings for the air brakes are completed.
  • The flight envelope has been opened.
  • The A350 is now cleared in normal law up to FL430.

  • System tests including failure cases and a RAT (ram air turbine) in-flight extension have been completed.
  • Auto-flight is functional, and the first autoland was performed on F4.
  • Landing gear free falls have also been performed.
  • The timing is not known for the all important VMU minimum unstick speed tests, the slowest speed at which the aircraft will safely take off.


Though Airbus says icing tests will occur by year’s end depending on weather.

Based on the article “Airbus Gives Major A350 XWB Program Update: Rival 777X In The Crosshairs” published in Airchive

19 November 2013

First pictures of the cabin interior installation in the MSN2 third A350 flying prototype.

Patrick du Ché is the head of development flight tests and is also responsible for the development of the A350 XWB flight test campaign. “We´ve prepared very deeply for this flight test campaign and now it´s paying off”, he said. “Full speed ahead!”

MSN2 cabin interior installation

The MSN2 is the first test aircraft with a cabin. “This aircraft should join the fleet in early 2014 and then we´ll start carrying passengers and performing tests of the cabin and all of the cabin systems.”

MSN2 cabin interior installation

“If you are wondering why MSN2 is the third test aircraft, thanks to advancements in on-ground cabin testing, we didn´t need it before MSN3. So we built MSN3 earlier than planned, but kept the same MSN numbers” Patrick du Ché said.

MSN2 cabin interior installation

The MSN5 is a key aircraft for Airbus; “it will have a cabin and it will have all of the modification and improvements that we´ve made since testing began. It should be ready in spring, just months before we´ll deliver to our first customer, Qatar Airlines.”

MSN2 cabin interior installation

MSN5 will carry passengers as it basically makes a round-the-world trip during what Airbus call “route proving”, when they probe themselves and to their customers that the aircraft will do the job that it is supposed to do.


Based on the article “En route for certification” published by Airbus.