31 July 2015

Rolls Royce to maintain A350 XWB engines for Vietnam Airlines

Rolls-Royce has signed a £340 million deal to look after the engines on a fleet of aircraft flown by Vietnam Airlines.

The deal, known as a TotalCare long-term engine support contract, will see Rolls-Royce maintain the Trent XWB engines, which power the airline's fleet of 14 A350 aircraft.

The contract was signed at the Government Office in Hanoi in the presence of Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is visiting the country as part of a trade mission to South East Asia.

Source: Airbus

Mr Cameron said: "Rolls-Royce is the pinnacle of UK manufacturing excellence, exporting to fast-growing markets across Asia.

"I'm delighted that they are announcing this £340 million contract with Vietnam Airlines supporting UK manufacturing in Derby, Rolls-Royce's manufacturing hub for Trent XWB engines."

Dr Pham Ngoc Minh, Vietnam Airlines' president and chief executive, said: "As one of the first operators of the A350 XWB, we look forward to providing our passengers with outstanding service using state-of-the-art engines.
"This agreement will ensure we maximise the availability of these aircraft for service and enable us to become one of the leading airlines in South East Asia."

Tony Wood, Rolls-Royce's president of aerospace, said: "The Trent XWB is the latest example of our ability to take the best in technology to deliver new standards of excellence. We look forward to supporting Vietnam Airlines for many years to come."

Based on the article “Derby's Rolls-Royce signs £340m engine support deal with Vietnam Airlines” published in DerbyTelegraph

30 July 2015

Singapore Airlines cuts from 70 to 63 its order of A350 XWB

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has cut its order of A350s from 70 to 63 after a request by Airbus.

Source: Jujug Spotting

An Airbus spokesman said that the 7 aircraft that have been released will be delivered to another airline (not named) as “that such agreements are occasionally struck with customers.”
Source: Clement Ader

SIA, which expects to receive its first A350-900 wide-body aircraft early next year, said the change "will not materially" affect its fleet renewal or growth plans.

Source: Jérémy Le roch

The airline provided the update during its second-quarter results presentation.

Based on the article “SIA cuts A350 orders from 70 to 63 at Airbus' request” published in The Straits Times

29 July 2015

Orbital will also manufacture composite stringers and frames on A350-1000.

Orbital ATK has signed an agreement with Airbus to expand its current contract to include the manufacture of composite stringers and frames on the A350-1000.

Source: FranceBleu

Under the terms of the contract, the aerospace structures division of Orbital’s flight systems group will produce the parts at its facility in Clearfield, Utah.

Source: Airbus

It expands on the firm’s existing agreement with Airbus to make composite stringers and frames for the A350-900, which Eaton said it has delivered more than 44.000 parts for since the beginning of the program.

Based on the article “Orbital expands A350 composites agreement” published in MRO Network

28 July 2015

Gardner Aerospace UK supplier continues growing with A350 pylon plug.

Gardner Aerospace Derby aerospace components firm has secured a £35 million loan to support its expansion plans.

The cash has been secured from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

It will use the investment to fund growth across its manufacturing sites in Basildon, Broughton, Hull, Pershore and its headquarters in Derby.

A decade ago, Gardner was a UK firm employing 1,200 people in 11 obsolescing factories and with annual revenues of £40 million ($62.4 million). Today it is an international concern, employing 200 more and delivering revenues 3 times greater.

By acquiring and then investing in small companies in France, Poland and Toulouse, Gardner was able to survive and grow as the big OEMs turned to subcontractors in low-cost economies.

The company provides the pylon plug for the Airbus A350 XWB.

Source: Aviation Week

This is made from machined parts originating in Hull, England; and some from Bangalore, India; and is assembled at Mazères, conveniently close to the Airbus plant at Toulouse. International, indeed.

Paul Noel, director of asset-based lending at RBS, said: "Gardner has grown significantly over the last 5 years and has successfully secured a number of new long-term contracts for key aircraft components.

"The newly agreed facilities will further support continued growth."

Based on the article “Derby firm secures £35m loan” published in Derby  Telegraph

27 July 2015

1st Spanish crew onboard A350.

Qatar Airways´ Captain Ramón Íñiguez García and Copilot Antonio Godia is the first Spanish crew to be in charge of an Airbus 350-900.

Source: tablondenoticias.com

Iniguez started his career in Spain in 1989 as a copilot in a Spanair´s MD80. Later he also flew a Boeing 767.

Since 1994 he took the controls as captain of an MD80 and in 2001 did the same with a Boeing 767, until Spanair was closed.

He joint Qatar Airways as captain of an A320 and today is the first Spanish captain of an A350.

Ramón Íñiguez went to USA to learn to fly after being graduated in Biology in Spain.

His passion for flying at his born-town Huesca became him pilot of cargo aircraft, general aviation and finally  commercial planes in Spanair.

Based on the article “Íñiguez y Godia es la primera tripulación española en la historia en pilotar un A350-951” published in Tablondenoticias.com

26 July 2015

No First Class planned in Cathay Pacific´s A350s

Cathay Pacific has decided against installing first class on its Airbus A350-1000 jets, opting instead for a larger premium cabin featuring its new international business class seats.

Source: Australian Business Traveller

The move, which a spokesperson for Cathay Pacific has confirmed to Australian Business Traveller, will see both the A350-900 – due to debut in February/2016 – and the slightly larger and longer-range A350-1000 flying in a 3-class configuration of business class, premium economy (featuring an all-new design) and economy seating, although not an inflight bar.

Source: Airbus

Cathay Pacific's current first class seat was introduced in 2007 and after receiving a 'mid-life refresh' in 2013 is still regarded as among the world's better first class seats.

Source: FlightRadar24

The airline's A350-900 is expected to sport 38 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats and 214 in economy. 

It will also be kitted out with satellite Internet to run technology and pricing trials.

Based on the article “Cathay Pacific nixes first class for Airbus A350-1000” published in Australian Business Traveller

A350 4th generation inflight entertainment system IFE.

A350 marketing director Mike Bausor pointed out that the embedded inflight entertainment system on board has been greatly approved.

“IFE is a basic feature on board the A350 XWB.” 

“What the customer gets is a choice between 2 providers; one which is Panasonic and the other Thales.“

“Both of those systems are what we call 4th generation IFE, and the beauty of that is that we actually multiple the bandwidth by 5, so that means that even in coach all screens are wide-screen and high-definition, which couldn’t be achieved before.”

“On top of that, the aircraft comes with connectivity – wifi, GSM, live TV and all of these good things.”

“The other good thing about 4th generation IFE is the electronic box that used to be at your feet under the seat, has now been … integrated completely into the seat-back, so that there again you provide more comfort for the passengers by providing a totally unencumbered foot space.”
“Even the cable that goes from seat to seat now runs under the floor so you don’t get that plastic strip…it’s a completely flat floor which is unique to the A350.”

Based on the article “Airlines have not yet picked 10-abreast layout for A350: Airbus” published in Runway Girl Network.

24 July 2015

No customer has actually frozen 10-abreast layout for A350. Not yet.

Have any Airbus A350 XWB customers selected a 10-abreast economy class seating configuration for the new widebody? The answer to that question depends on whom you ask at Airbus.

Last week, while the A350-900 was in New York Newark, the question was posed by Runway Girl Network to A350 marketing director Mike Bausor.

“So far no customer has actually selected 10-abreast,” Bausor said definitively.

Source: @airbus

Bausor said airline customers “need to freeze their definition around about … 18 months to 24 months before delivery so as we go forward, I think we’ll see a lot more configurations being frozen”, but no customer has locked down a plan for 10-abreast. “Not yet,” he confirmed. “I think we will see that.”

His revelation contrasts to a recent statement made by Airbus executive VP, strategy and marketing Dr. Kiran Rao, who said that while he was not at liberty to provide the names of customers that have chosen 10-abreast, there are “probably less than a handful of airlines on 10-abreast”.

Rao also revealed that Airbus is working to make the 10-abreast layout more comfortable, by playing with angles on the sidewalls, tweaking the armrests, and employing other clever modifications to achieve a seat width that could be just 16.9” versus the 16.4” seat width originally advertised for the high-density 3-4-3 option.

Asian airlines and Air Caraïbes are most likely to be first adopters.
“Obviously for operators that plan to do longhaul, low-cost – the kind of thing we see emerging very much today in Asia, where we’ve got to remember that people are smaller there as well – there we can actually do 10-abreast configuration: 3-4-3,” said Bausor.



Based on the article “Airlines have not yet picked 10-abreast layout for A350: Airbus” published in Runway Girl Network.

23 July 2015

A350 debuts at Oshkosh.

Airbus experimental test pilot Captain Frank Chapman flew his dynamic Paris Air Show demonstration routine of 7 minutes in the Airbus A350 as it made its EAA AirVenture debut on Monday 21/July.

Source: Airbus

Chapman said he was less constrained by airspace boundaries than he was at the Paris Air Show last month because there is no nearby airport to Wittman that could create a traffic conflict.

Source: @delanman

At Paris Le Bourget, demo pilots have to be very careful not to intrude into nearby Charles de Gaulle’s Class D airspace.

Source: Airbus

For the demo at EAA AirVenture, he set Config 3 [drooped nose devices, slats and flaps extended] because the A350’s digital fly-by-wire flight control system provides crisper roll response in that configuration.

Source: Airbus

“I couldn’t believe the sea of airplanes and campers on the ground. It just blew me away. When we landed, everybody was so enthusiastic. The welcome was just overwhelming.”

Source: Airbus

Landing weight for the aircraft was 430,000 lb and VREF final approach speed was 135 knots indicated. Landing rollout on Runway 36 was less than 5,000 ft.

Source: @macjp

Based on the article “Airbus’s Chapman Flies A350 Paris Air Show Routine At Oshkosh” published in Aviation Week.

22 July 2015

You can be an A350 pilot in 8 days … if you are already an A330 pilot.

With the A350 conceived as the natural replacement in the Airbus product line for the A330 family, the manufacturer had to ensure the desire to introduce advanced technology into the new twinjet did not create too big a step for pilots transitioning from the earlier type.

Source: Airbus

While on the face of it, the new cockpit with its 6 huge glass display screens looks a world apart from its predecessor, the reality is that once crews have undergone conversion training the 2 environments feel very similar, said Christian Norden, head of A350 flight crew training at Airbus.

“When A330 pilots first enter the A350 cockpit they say ‘that’s totally different, that won’t work’, because this is not the A330,” said Norden.
“At the end of the conversion course (4-day ground course + 4 days of systems training), they make their first take-off and first landing in the A350, and everyone so far has said ‘it’s an A330’.”

Source: Alexander Hassestein 

The A330 and A350 have approval from the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration for a common type rating. “So every A330 pilot can say ‘hey, I’m an A350 pilot already,’” quips Norden.

“From September onwards Finnair plans to make A330/A340/A350 common rating.”

Airbus is currently working on the differences program between the A380 and A350, with a 5-day course being targeted, said Norden.

“We have to make a little bit of manoeuvring training because coming from a quad to a twin, engine-out handling is different. So we have to make use of a full-flight simulator.”

The program is likely to comprise a 2-day ground course, 2 days in the simulator and a 1-day skills test, he added.

Based on the article “Airbus keeps pilot conversion to A350 from A330 simple” published in FlightGlobal.

21 July 2015

Airbus studying A350 production rates higher than 13 per month.

Airbus seeks a production rate of 10 aircraft per month by 2018. Beyond that, Airbus is studying to increase the rate “in less than 5 additional aircraft per month". The decision will be made in 2016.

While Airbus has in place a ramp up with a rate of 10 aircraft per month by the year 2018, the group will decide next year on the possibility of increasing the rate after 2018.

"John Leahy and the market would like that we increase our production rate faster. We have already defined the first 4 years of the ramp-up.

It is similar to what our competitor. We already try to achieve this goal.

We will decide by 2016 to review upwards our planning. But we are not talking about very high ratios. It is less than 5 additional aircraft per month", said Didier Evrard, Head of Programs.

Source: Airbus

A production increase of 3 or 4 aircraft per month for example would allow Airbus to deliver 36 or 48 additional aircraft per year, or 156 to 168 aircraft annually.

Based on the article “Airbus étudie le projet de construire près de 150 A350 par an” published in La Tribune.

20 July 2015

TAP Portugal´s full circle. A350-800, A350 XWB and A330neo.

A majority stake in TAP was recently sold by the Portuguese government to a consortium of investors that includes Azul (and JetBlue) founder David Neeleman.

Source: Carlos Ortega

TAP originally placed an order for 10 Airbus A350-800s in 2005, when the aircraft was still supposed to have a traditional metallic fuselage but new engines.
The airline later converted the order to the XWB and increased the number of aircraft from 10 to 12 in 2007.
Source: Carlos Ortega

4 years after that, TAP agreed to change the order again and moved from the -800 to the new baseline -900 after Airbus opted to shrink the smaller variant, which affected its economic efficiency.
Now another 4 years have passed, and TAP may be close to dumping the A350 order altogether in favor of the A330neo.
Source: Carlos Ortega

If industry insiders’ predictions are correct, TAP will have gone full circle—an ironic twist to its widebody plans, because the A330neo comes relatively close to what the airline originally wanted to order: an A330 with better engines and better range.

From the airline’s perspective, the about-face makes perfect sense. The A330neo is cheaper than the A350 and seems to almost perfectly match TAP’s requirements.

The carrier’s long-haul network is focused on destinations in Brazil, and stage lengths typically do not exceed 10 hr., which is close to the ideal operating range of the A330neo and below what the A350 has been designed for. Given the options, the A350 seems like too much aircraft for the mission.

Based on the article “Going Full Circle” published in Aviation Week.

19 July 2015

A350-1000´s engine TrentXWB-97 en route to the USA for its noise & crosswind testing

The Trent XWB -97 is undergoing a rigorous test regime right now as it prepares for first flight later this year on an Airbus A380 flying test bed (FTB) and subsequent entry into service on the A350-1000 in 2017.

According to Simon Burr, COO for Civil Large Engines in Rolls-Royce: “The Trent XWB-97 will be the highest thrust engine we have ever certified, the highest operating temperatures and the most advanced cooling systems we have ever designed in a civil engine. We are working at the leading edge of technology but that is what you do to produce the world’s most efficient engines.”

As of today, there are 4 engines running in the development program for the -97.

The 1st development engine conducted proving runs up until September/2014. It provided a lot of useful data to the development team and that engine will now go on and do major tests such as ‘bird strike’.

A 2nd engine is in Canada completing its cold weather and icing running.

A 3rd engine has been performing endurance work and has also been x-rayed on a test bed in Derby, UK. Dynamic x-rays show the behavior of the components inside the engine as it operates, which can help prove the design theories by effectively giving the engineers ‘eyes-on’ the inside as the engine runs.

The 4th engine in the development program will be used for performance work. 

All of this is in the build up to the 5th engine being employed on the Airbus A380 flying test bed(FTB).

Airbus is due to fly the first A350-1000 for the first time at the end of Q3/2016. Rolls-Royce is currently building the first flight engines for that event.

Based on the article “High powered Trent XWB-97” published by Rolls-Royce