31 October 2015

Does Cathay Pacific need additional A350 XWB?

Cathay´s A350 will arrive next Feb/2016 with 280-seat configuration featuring 38 New Business Class FB2+, 28 New Premium Economy and 214 New Long-haul Economy seats in addition to sporting a new corporate livery.

Source: Lee Halford

The New Business Class seat design customized by Porsche will incorporate a dimmable reading light.

The Panasonic eX3 inflight entertainment system (IFE) will have full-swipe capability similar to that seen on Qatar Airways’ and Finnair’s A350s.

Taking into consideration its tremendously successful Australian operation –at around 88% and 98% load factor during the Golden Week- the meaningful question is if Cathay needs more A350-900 than existing 22 units on order.

The A350 is uniquely suitable for replacing the 13 251-seat reconfigured A330-300s, with a 12.04% bigger Economy cabin.
Source: Travelling For Miles

This means that route groups are already clamouring for the 22 A350-900s, with the inaugural long-haul A350 service to Auckland in May/2016 taking up 2 aircraft, following regional familiarisation to Manila, Taipei, Singapore, Osaka Kansai, Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

Assuming 6 of the 13 long-haul A330-300s are replaced, this will already have taken up 8 A350-900s inclusive of the daily Auckland service, leaving 14 aircraft destined for the rationalisation of European network which currently takes precedence, or 7 destinations in both directions.

Source: andiation380

Further factoring in launches of new destinations such as Copenhagen and Seattle, as well as extra frequency opportunities such as making Düsseldorf or Manchester more than 4 times weekly with the smaller A350, it is very easy to see why the A350-900 is in high demand within Cathay. 

A potential workaround is to deploy the displaced 3-class 777-300ERs from Europe onto the Sydney and Melbourne routes, albeit the oneworld carrier is already studying the deployment of A350-900s to Australia in late-2016.

Based on the article “Cathay Pacific´s new livery signifies fresh direction” published in Aspire Aviation.

30 October 2015

Airbus delivers the A350 MSN11 and MSN8 to Qatar Airways. Finally!

Source: Jujug Spotting

The last A350 delivered to Qatar was on 11/June (MSN10) and after more than 4 months without deliveries to the launch customer, finally today Airbus has delivered the MSN11 and MSN8 to Qatar Airways.

Source: Jujug Spotting

These are the 5th and 6th aircraft delivered to Qatar Airways and the 9th and 10th A350 delivered to Customers.

Source: Jujug Spotting

The MSN8, registered A7-ALE, was airborne on 9/July and it's delivery has been postponed several times in August, September and October. It has performed 11 flight test in July (4), August (1) and October (6).
Source: A380_TLS_A350
The MSN11, registered A7-ALF, was airborne on 28/August and it has performed 5 flight test.
Source: A380_TLS_A350

The reasons behind these delays have not been populated neither by Airbus nor by Qatar Airways.
These two aircraft will allow Qatar to start on 1/Nov the Doha-Munich daily route.

29 October 2015

LATAM will be the 1st airline to jump over the Atlantic with the A350 XWB

LATAM will be the 1st airline to operate transoceanic routes from Madrid-Barajas to South-America with the Airbus A350.
Source: Clement Alloing

LATAM -the merge of LAN (Chile) and TAM (Brazil)- will bring the new Airbus A350 to Madrid in May/2016.
Source: Airbus

"We will be the 1st company to cross the Atlantic with this modern aircraft" said Rodrigo Contreras, General Director of LATAM Europe.

LATAM will be the 4th airline to receive the A350-900 end of December this year.

Source: Airbus

LATAM is in the struggle of various groups of airlines to dominate routes between Europe and South America.

Currently, Iberia –which has ordered the A350 too- is the absolute leader in this market, although LATAM will be the first deploying the A350 at Barajas, a few months before Iberia begins to receive their order.
Source: Airbus

LATAM has a important advantage: “the regional network of LATAM is unbeatable: 42 destinations in Brazil and 115 on the continent", said Contreras.

Based on the article “LATAM se adelanta a Iberia: traerá el A350 a Madrid-Barajas en mayo” published in 02B.com

28 October 2015

Malaysia Airlines planning to replace its A380s with A350-900s in 2017.

Malaysia Airlines is planning to use its incoming fleet of 4 A350-900s to replace its A380-800s on the Kuala Lumpur - London Heathrow route once the twinjets begin arriving during the last quarter of 2017.

Last month, Malaysia Airlines signed long-term lease agreements with Air Lease Corporation (ALC) for 4 new A350-900s with options for 2 additional jets of the same type as well as 2 A330-900neo aircraft.

The A350s are slated to arrive between the 4Q/2017 and 2Q/2018.

An airline official -speaking on condition of anonymity- said the Malaysian national carrier has struggled to attract sufficient loads for the double-decker quadjet.

The A380s were used on Malaysia Airlines' flagship European routes to London Heathrow as well as Paris CDG though the latter has since been replaced with a B777-200(ER).

All pictures. Source: Manuel Belleli.

Based on the article “Malaysia Airlines mulls A380 fleet options post-A350 arrival” published in ch-aviation

27 October 2015

1st A350 flight to Australia from May/2016 by Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways will begin flying to Adelaide in early May/2016 using its A350, just 2 months after it launches into Sydney.

Source: Airbus

The daily schedule will represent Australia's first Airbus A350 service.

Source: Airbus

The Oneworld member airline already flies the A350 from its hub at Doha to Frankfurt and Singapore.

Flight QR914 from Doha will depart at 8:55pm, arriving into Adelaide at 4:25pm the following day.

Source: Airbus

The return leg QR915 will be wheels-up from Adelaide at 9:30pm and reach Doha at 04:50am the next day, with onwards connections to the Europe and the UK.

Qatar already flies to Melbourne and Perth, with Sydney joining the network on March 1st.

Source: AirbusGroup

"2016 is going to be yet another exciting year for Qatar Airways and we are very pleased that Australia will figure prominently in our expansion plans with the launch of flights to Sydney from 1st/March and Adelaide from 2nd/May to further strengthen our operations in the country," commented Qatar Airways CEO Mr Akbar Al Baker, on the new route.

Based on the article “Qatar to fly Airbus A350 to Adelaide from May 2016” published in Australian Business Traveller.

26 October 2015

Spain continues its support to Alestis for the A350 XWB program

The Spanish Board of Ministers has authorized last Friday to the Industry-Ministry to grant support of 19 million euros to Alestis Aerospace for their participation in the development program of the A350 XWB aircraft.

Source: Rami Khanna-Prade

This financial help was originally planned for 2013 but it was not finally paid 2 years ago due to the bankruptcy situation of the company at that time.

According to the Industry -Ministry, the measures taken in relation to Alestis guarantee "the conclusion of their participation" in the program of the A350 XWB, which is considered by the Government as a strategic for aerospace industry established in Spain, and the fulfillment of the viability plan that allowed Alestis to get out of the bankruptcy situation in 2014.

Airbus was bound to recue Alestis when it was in bankruptcy as a consequence of several  problems in the development of A350 belly fairing components. Later, Airbus even entered its shareholders.

Alestis has currently 3 shareholders; Airbus with 61,91% of the representation, the Spanish public society of industrial participations (SEPI)  with 24%, and Andalusian bank Unicaja with 14%.

Based on the article “El Gobierno autoriza ayudas a Alestis por 19 millones para su participación en el programa del A350 XWB” published in Europa Press.

25 October 2015

… and Finnair will fly to Singapore with their A350 fleet.

Europe's first Airbus A350 XWB operator Finnair will begin Singapore Changi Airport flights using the aircraft in June/2016, and will also increase the frequency from those provided by its existing Airbus A330 services.

Source: paulplessius

The Finnish flag carrier operates 5X-weekly services to Singapore, but will increase those to 7 using a combination of A330 and A350 aircraft until the carrier takes delivery of more A350s.

Source: @Aviation_Pics

"We expect to take 3 more A350s this year, but until we have enough aircraft in the fleet to fully service the Singapore route we will use both aircraft—probably for the first month of operation," Finnair head of travel products Anssi Partanen said.

Source: @inFoRo

He said the new A350 service to Singapore would complement its newly announced services to Shanghai in November/2015, Fukuoka in early 2016 and Guangzhou in May/2016.

Source: @inFoRo

"These new services to Asia destinations like Fukuoka and Guangzhou won't be the last you will see from us," Anssi Partanen said.

Source: spp_k

"We will introduce more in future; we are looking both at new destinations and extensions of services to existing destinations."

Based on the article “Finnair to start Singapore A350 flights June 2016” published in Air Transport World

24 October 2015

Singapore Airlines will fly to Brazil with their 5th A350.

Singapore Airlines revealed its plans to fly to São Paulo (GRU) Brazil with the A350 in the 2nd half of next year.

Source: Airbus

During the Top Seller event in Barcelona Singapore Airlines  1st executive in Brazil Twee Min said that as soon as they receive the 5th aircraft they will launch the route to Brazil.

Currently this route from Singapore to Brazil is done 3 times per week with a stop in Barcelona.

Source: Spottéric

“Before arriving Barcelona, the passengers will receive 3 meals: dinner, snack and breakfast” said TM.

Based on the article “Singapore Airlines anuncia voos com o A350 para o Brasil” published in Aeroin.

23 October 2015

With how many seats will be configured the A350-900ULR?

Neither Singapore Airlines nor Airbus has disclosed the number of seats with which the A350-900ULR will be configured.

Source: Marina Lystseva

“Those details will only be announced closer to the start of the service”, said the airline.

The A340-500s previously used by Singapore Airlines for non-stop US flights were configured with 181-seats, including 64 in the business class cabin.

Applying a similar rate of 60% of the total capacity, would give it some 180 seats.

Source: MaxiAir

Other inside sources say it will feature 170 in a 3-class layout; economy, premium economy and business. 

Singapore Airlines converted its A340-500s in 2008 to carry just 100 all-business seats to take advantage of premium demand on the non-stop US routes.

Source: Marina Lystseva

The A350-900ULR will be able to fly  for around 19 hours with a range of 8.700nm (16.100km).

Based on the article “Extending A350-900 range may be easy win for Airbus” published in Flight International.

22 October 2015

Boeing also expects an A350-1100.

Qatar Airways CEO is not alone when expecting Airbus to launch a “A350-1100”.

Source: Airbus

Boeing marketing vice-president Mike Tinseth expect Airbus to add a further, large derivative to its A350 widebody family.

“Based on the A350-1000, it would be hard to believe they wouldn´t do something” he said.

Tinseth labeled the in-development A350-1000 a “disaster”, arguing it has “compromised”  engines and wings.

This, he said, is partly down to the decision to increase thrust through changes in the Trent XWB engine core without enlargement of the powerplant´s nacelle when Airbus redesigned the variant in 2011.
Source: Marina Lystseva

“I don´t think they can live long with being outsold … in that segment”, said Tinseth.

But he believes that a A350-1100 would not pose a threat, because such a move would be “something we contemplated early in the 777X development process”.

Source: Getty images

At the Paris Air show, Airbus COO Customers John Leahy said the A350-900 was not the programs centre of reference, with it´s middle point moving “toward A350-1000”.

Based on the article “Seattle expects successor to “compromised” A350-1000” published in Flight International.

21 October 2015

Qatar interested in A350-1100 but only if it beats 777X

Qatar Airways would be interested in buying a stretched A350-1000 derivative should Airbus decide to build one, but only if it offers enough of a step over the rival Boeing 777-9X.
Source: Airbus

Qatar Airways is the launch operator for both the A350-900 and A350-1000 and a major customer for the A350 -holding orders for 80 aircraft- although 2 years ago at the Dubai air show signed orders for 60 Boeing 777X (10 -8X and 50 -9X) for delivery from 2020.


Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker told Flightglobal that he believes Airbus must develop a larger A350 to compete effectively with Boeing and his airline is a potential customer.
Source: Airbus

“We would be interested in a stretch of the A350-1000. Airbus has no alternative – to be competitive it will have to do something that is bigger and better than the 777-9X,” he said.

Source: Airbus

To achieve this, Al Baker said the A350 stretch will need to incorporate “new engine technology” and doubted that the existing Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine could be adapted for the larger variant as the powerplant “is already at its fullest” for the A350-1000.

Source: Airbus

Despite the large 777X commitment, Al Baker would still see a role for a larger A350 in the Qatar Airways fleet, should it offer sufficient performance: “It would be bigger than the -9X and we believe it will have a superior fuel burn,” he said.


Based on the article “Qatar interested in A350 stretch: Al Baker” published in FlightGlobal

20 October 2015

Vietnam Airlines receives their 3rd A350.

Airbus has delivered today the A350-900 MSN16 with register number VN-A888 to Vietnam Airlines
This aircraft which airborne on 10/Sep –it was the 14th aircraft to fly- was registered for flight tests as F-WZFK.
Airbus has delivered as of today 8 A350-900s, with Qatar Airways operating 4, Vietnam Airlines 3 and Finnair 1.
Source: A380_TLS_A350
Vietnam is currently operating Tokyo, Seoul and Paris routes and this MSN16 will probably start in coming days with some of these routes from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh bases.
Although it was initially planned that MSN8 and MSN11 were going to be delivered to Qatar Airways before this MSN16, Vietnam Airlines has finally bypassed both mentioned aircraft.
Neither Airbus nor Qatar Airways have disclosed the reasons behind this delay.

19 October 2015

How will Airbus increase A350-900 fuel capacity to become A350-900ULR?

Airbus expects to make only minor modifications to the A350-900´s fuel system in order to develop the longer-range version launched by Singapore Airlines.

Source: Schiphol airport

The usable fuel capacity of the A350-900 is 141.000 litres (although in the A350 characteristic document gives a capacity of 138.000 l.) and the modification for the A350-900ULR will increase it to 165.000l.

Source: Getty-images

To develop the A350-900ULR the main changes will centre on adapting fuel systems computers to increase the accessible capacity of the -900´s existing fuel tanks.

Airbus states that will also amend inert-gas distribution pipes in the wing and air-venting.
The overall modification will enable the fuel volume to rise by some 25.000l.

Source: Manuel Belleli

Some modifications will also be made to the aircraft´s aerodynamic performance, although Airbus has yet to unveil details. Maximum take-off weight will rise to 280t.

Based on the article “Extending A350-900 range may be easy win for Airbus” published in Flight International.