31 March 2015

No orders in 1st Quarter of 2015 for A350 XWB.

A350 XWB family has not received new orders in the first 3 months of 2015.

Source: Florent Peraudeau

Last new order was for 25 A350-900 in Nov/2014 from Delta.

Current backlog is 778 aircraft after 2 deliveries to Qatar

Meanwhile, A330neo has received in March/2015 an order for 25 aircraft from ALC lease company.

The A330neo has common type rating with A350 and A330 and 95% of spares commonality with A330.

Source: Airbus

Boeing has 7 net orders for 787 in Q1/2015 (including 3 787-10 ordered by Japanese ANA some days ago) and 7 net orders for 777 (5 from Korean and 2 from unidentified customers).

For Q2/2015, with Paris Air Show in mid-June, news about the A350-800 model are expected (currently with 16 orders backlog) as well as some orders announcement during the air show.

30 March 2015

Figeac Aero delivers the first A350 floor to Spirit Aerosystem tier1.

Figeac Aero proceded some weeks ago in Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) with the delivery of the first floor of A350.

Figeac Aero is tier2 in this workpackage of Spirit Aerosystem that is the tier1 of Airbus Saint-Nazaire.

The floor is a 7.5 metres long structure made of titanium. Components have been manufactured in Figeac and  its Tunisian subsidiary.

Although the manufacturing site currently employs 22 staff, Figeac Aero CEO Jean-Claude Maillard plans 80 jobs when the ramp-up is achieved and the construction within 3 years of a site with 5.000 m2.

The investment is valued at EUR 5 million. "Creating close subsidiaries of our customers is one of our strategic axes", mentions the CEO.

Jean-Claude Maillard reaffirms its intention to win workload from other clients in Loire-Atlantique region as  Stelia Aerospace (previously Aerolia) and Airbus.

Based on the article “Figeac Aero livre son premier plancher d'A350 à Montoir-de-Bretagne” published in L`Usine Nouvelle

29 March 2015

A350 XWB will be at Paris Air Show in June

Paris air show's managing director Gilles Fournier has confirmed that the Airbus A350 will fly.

Source: Jorge Guardia

The Paris air show will take place on 15 to 21 June. The 51st Paris air show is slated to host more than 2,200 exhibitors this year and 285 official delegations.

The show organizers are still in the process of firming up the aircraft that will be on display.

Two years ago the A350 1st flight prototype made a flight appear only some days after the First Flight.

For 2015 a static display and a flight display is expected.

And probably we could see one of the first customer´s A350 painted in Qatar Airways and / or Vietnam Airlines.

Regarding the Paris Air Show, on 2015 there will be no US military aircraft flying-display and it is not confirmed yet the Bombardier C-Series show debut.

Based on the article “No US military aircraft in Paris flying display” published in FlightGlobal

28 March 2015

Cathay A350, scheduled for Feb/2016, will fly Hong Kong-Auckland route.

Cathay Pacific plans to fly the A350 from Hong Kong to Auckland later next year.

Source: Manuel Belleli

The airline has finalized the interior configuration for the Airbus A350 XWB and an executive said the new planes were on course to fly to this country with a much bigger business-class cabin than aircraft now used on the route.

Cathay's general manager product Toby Smith said the airline was expecting the first of the new planes next February.

Typically they would spend a few months flying shorter routes in the region to familiarise crew with it then on to longer-haul deployment.

"That is subject to change for any number of reasons but I think it's fair to say with the A340 currently on the New Zealand route being gradually phased out it's very likely that it will be deployed pretty quickly on the Auckland route," he said.

Smith said Cathay next year was expecting delivery of 12 of A350 (out of 22 A350-900 ordered and additional 26 A350-1000).

Source: Victor Pody

The A350 would have 38 business-class seats compared to 26 in the A340, 28 premium-economy seats (no change) and 214 in economy (3 more).

"The big increase is in the business-class cabin. We have a lot of confidence in the premium market."

The aircraft is wifi capable and Smith said the airline would run trials to ensure systems are robust.

"We want to make sure it is similar to what they get at the office or at home. We'll be conducting trials before rolling it out."

Based on the article “Cathay Pacific eyeing premium market” published in The New Zealand Herald.

27 March 2015

Qatar's 3rd A350 MSN9 first flight.

Qatar Airways 3rd A350-900 has done it's maiden flight today departing from Toulouse.

The MSN9 aircraft performed the RTO yesterday Thursday 26/March. 

And today it has done a long first flight over Atlantic coast of France for around 7 hours.

Delivery to Qatar is targeted to end-April.

All pictures Source: based on A380_TLS_A350

26 March 2015

TAM begins preparing A350 certification for EIS in Jan/2016.

The first A350 XWB in the Americas is planned to be received by TAM Linhas Aéreas in December this year.

Source: Airbus

From 2012, the company is preparing for the Entry Into Service of this innovative aircraft in its fleet, including the formation of a multidisciplinary team dedicated solely to this project.

In March, in an important step of the process, TAM initiated the certification process jointly with the National Civil Aviation Agency (Anac).

The ANAC will review and validate documents, procedures, and practical exercises related to the operation of the A350 XWB on TAM.

The Agency will certify the ability of TAM operating the A350-900 XWB securely.

The aircraft will operate commercial flights from January/2016.

Based on the article "TAM inicia processo de certificação operacional do primeiro A350 XWB" published in

25 March 2015

Airline 1 concept welcomed by A350 customers.

When the A350-900 entered commercial service on 15/Jan/2015 with Qatar Airways, it did so with an unprecedented maturity level thanks to the multi-functional, collaborative platform called Airline 1.

Launched on the A350’s June/2013 maiden flight, Airbus’ Airline 1 mirrored airline-like operations and maintenance for each of the 5 A350 flight test aircraft – incorporating all documentation and tools used by actual airlines, with the objective of reducing technical issues that typically surface after entry-to-service.

At the heart of Airline 1 is the Maintenance Control Centre (MCC), which followed all flight test aircraft in real time, performing actual aircraft data capture.

Source: Airbus

In a flowing process, the next steps are planned while the preceding steps are still being implemented – securing all maintenance activities in due time.

Among the elements tested by Airline 1 are: technical documentation that is provided to airlines, various maintenance tools, the e-Ops interface between aircraft/airline ground facilities to manage flight operations/maintenance activities, and communications with the associated ground tools.

This time-saving test method and its rapid set-up has been recognised by the top management of Airbus customers – who are enthusiastic about the concept, considering it a major change and a key enabler to secure their aircraft's route to maturity.

Due to its success, Airline 1 has continued to function after the A350-900 service entry by being connected with the customer airline tracking system AIRTAC.

Based on the press release “Airline 1: supporting a smooth A350 XWB commercial service entry”

24 March 2015

Finnair Business Class in A350.

Finnair's A350 XWB will seat 297 passengers in a 2-class configuration, however it is the Business Class cabin which will get most attention.

Source: LuxTraveller

For the Finnair A350 business class the airline will fit 46 Zodiac Cirrus seats.

If it looks familiar, it is: it is the much loved business class seat initially flown by Cathay Pacific, and now adopted by American Airlines and Air France, however Finnair have chosen the newly up-rated third version of the seat.

All the Finnair Business Class seats will have direct aisle access, which is now regarded as must in the premium cabins. The seat comes riddled with cubby holes for keeping tablets, books, water bottles and headphones, as well as your shoes.

There are also two tables: again, regarded as vital with business travellers wanting to both work and eat. There is a large fold out meal table, and a smaller cocktail side table on which you can keep a tablet.

Source: LuxTraveller

There is a fairly standard 16 inch touchscreen TV screen with AVOD, and USB plus mains (universal including UK) power sockets.

Source: Airbus

There will be 2 business class cabins, both with seats in a 1-2-1 layout. The front cabin has 8 rows of business class seats, while the rear business class cabin has just 3. However, this 'mini' cabin can also be converted to Finnair's Premium Economy class, called Economy Comfort.

Based on the article “Finnair A350 shows new business cabin” published inLux-Traveller.com

23 March 2015

Spanish Government supports Alestis tier1 in A350 program.

The Spanish Government has approved a Royal Decree which expands in a year the temporal scope of the term of the loans which the Ministry of Industry granted the companies established in Spain to participate in the A350 XWB program.

Source: Jorge Guardia

Thus, loans shall be granted during the period 2009-2015; i.e., extends one year rather than referred to initially without altering the amount of the loan.

Modification, which affects a previous 2009 rule, occurs after the restructuring by one of these companies, the Andalusian Alestis, which presented creditors contest in 2012 and that is subject to a feasibility plan to secure its future once been rescued by Airbus.
Source: Jorge Guardia

Spanish Government provides that the loans will have a greater lack and duration than initially anticipated (15 years) when there are extraordinary circumstances, such as restructuring.

The measure adopted by Spanish Government guarantee the fruition of the participation of Alestis in the A350  XWB, seen by the Government as "strategic" for the industry established in Spain.
Source: Iberia

The Spanish industry has achieved a participation of around 11% in the A350 program. In 2013 the Spanish aeronautical market reached a turnover of 7.400 million euros, providing direct employment to 40.984 people, to which must be added indirect employment.

Additionally to Airbus –manufacturing Wing Lower Cover at Illescas, manufacturing and doing the assembly of the Rear Fuselage S19 at Illescas & Getafe and doing the assembly of the Horizontal Stabilizers first in Puerto Real (boxes) and later in Getafe- main Tier1 in Spain are Alestis (Belly fairing and S19.1), Aernnova (HTP fixed parts, Elevators, Rudders and MLG Bukhead), Aciturri (VTP fixed parts and S19 metallic parts) and ITP for the Trent XWB engine components.

Based on the article “El Gobierno amplía en un año el plazo de los préstamos para el programa A350XWB” published by Europa Press

22 March 2015

Didier Evrard, Airbus’ A350 Magician

Getting the A350 right was hugely important for Airbus, which was locked in a fierce competition for market share with the Boeing 787.

The 787 had a head start, and that lead widened when Airbus was forced to redesign the A350 after its initial design was panned by customers.

But when the 787 program ran into its own delays, Evrard and his team seized the opportunity to narrow the gap.

The A350 development track was fraught. Like the 787 program, problems with suppliers threatened to upend schedules. But Evrard stayed on top of those challenges, dispatching fix-it teams to supplier sites.

The A350 program will continue to be vetted in 2015 and 2016 as production ramps up, but its 780 firm orders attest to the aircraft’s commercial success.

Thus it was no small feat when Airbus handed over the first A350 widebody on time to Qatar Airways last 22/Dec/2014.

The delivery capped a nearly flawless test-flight program that met its targets of flying the 1st prototype before the 2013 Paris air-show and winning certification in the Q3 of 2014.

The guiding hand behind the successful A350 XWB campaign was Didier Evrard, a veteran aerospace engineer/program manager who joined Airbus as A350 program manager in 2007, several months before the first A380 was delivered after a daunting series of delays.

His time leading programs at MBDA served him well in his new job.

On 1/Jan/2015, Evrard was promoted to executive vice president and head of all of Airbus’s civil aircraft programs. 

Based on the article “Civil Aviation Laureate: Didier Evrard, Airbus’s A350 Magician” published in Aviation Week.

21 March 2015

Another supplier from USA onboard A350-1000: Exelis.

Exelis has been awarded a multimillion dollar contract from to produce center wing box struts for the A350-1000 aircraft.

This contract marks the 2nd award for the new Exelis STaR (Struts, Tubes and Rods) product line following the A380 award announcement last year.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2016 and will continue through 2020. 

Source: Manuel Belleli

Critical to the aircraft’s structure, the struts help distribute loads from the wings and fuselage into the center wing box providing structural support for the airframe.

Exelis STaR products, through the use of patented manufacturing technology licensed from Bodair S.A. and a unique strut design, provide a high strength-to-weight ratio alternative to metallic struts and deliver greater weight savings compared with competing composite production methods. 

“With significant weight savings and reduced maintainance costs, composite structures and components continue to replace traditional metallic structures on next-generation aircraft, and the Airbus A350 XWB is a prime example,” said Mike Blair, vice president and general manager of Exelis Aerostructures.

Based on the press release “Exelis wins Airbus A350 XWB composite strut contract”

20 March 2015

Airbus COO Customers John Leahy about the A350 XWB.

Las 9/Marh, John Leahy, COO customer of Airbus, presented at ISTAT. Regarding the A350 XWB, these are some phrases summarized by Leeham News and comment.

“We want to put our money in R&D. We don’t want to finance customers. 50% of all aircraft are now being financed by lessors, either through direct purchase or sale-leasebacks.”

The example is the first A350s delivered to Qatar and Finnair that has been financed by GECAS.

Source: FranceBleu

We’ve looked at stretching the A350-1000 but it’s not obvious to us the market is screaming for it. Boeing added 35t for 35 extra seats for 777-9. A350-1000 has lower risk. If you do need those extra seats, we build the A380.”

Source: Lee Halford

“Airbus will deliver 10-15 A350s this year. Going slow to get it right. It’s the most mature airplane we have ever delivered.”

Based on the article “ISTAT: John Leahy: No bubble for at least the next five years” published in Leeham News and comment