March 30, 2012

Japan Airlines receives first two Boeing 787-8s

Photo Credit: Boeing/Flight Global
Japan Airlines (JAL) has taken delivery of its first two Boeing 787-8s, becoming the first airline to receive a 787 powered by the General Electric GEnx-1B engine.

The delivery also marks the first time two 787s have been delivered simultaneously, Boeing said in a statement.
"Today is an important moment in our 60-year relationship with Japan Airlines as we celebrate the deliveries of not one, but two Dreamliners," says Jim Albaugh, president and chief executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 787 will provide the fuel-efficient airplane needed to serve Japan Airlines' growing international operations."

The delivery took place at Boeing's Everett production facility on 25 March. On 21 March, JAL said the aircraft would be flown to Tokyo by JAL pilots, arriving at 18:30 hours local time on 27 March.
On 22 April, the carrier will start non-stop services between Tokyo and Boston with the 787. Later this year, JAL will launch a non-stop Tokyo-San Diego service with the 787.

The carrier, which has 25 firm orders for the 787-8 and 20 for the 787-9, plans to deploy the aircraft on routes between Tokyo and Beijing, Moscow, New Delhi and Singapore.

Flight Global

March 29, 2012

Cessna Uses China To Move Into Large Jet Segment

Picture Credit: The Cessna Corp.
Cessna is teaming with China’s state-owned aerospace conglomerate Avic, a further sign that western aircraft makers wishing to gain greater access to a burgeoning consumer market will be manufacturing in China.

The U.S. aircraft maker has signed two separate agreements with Avic and its related companies. The first is to establish joint ventures “that will pursue various activities pertaining to the development of general aviation businesses in China, including the establishment of an aircraft service network in China,” says Cessna.
The second is an agreement with the Chengdu Municipal Government and Avic’s Aviation Techniques Co. “to enter into negotiations to establish a joint venture to produce mid-size Cessna business jet models, as well as a potential new product for the business jet market”.

The medium-sized business jet that will be made in China is the Cessna Citation Sovereign, followed by the Cessna Citation Latitude, Cessna CEO Scott Ernest tells Aviation Week at the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition yesterday in Shanghai. The Latitude is a new aircraft in development that is smaller than the Sovereign and is due to receive U.S. FAA certification in 2015.

Cessna is hoping the number of Sovereign aircraft on order from China will be so strong that the Chinese factory will be kept busy fulfilling Chinese customer deliveries, leaving its North American factories to fulfill Sovereign aircraft orders for customers elsewhere in the world, confirms Ernest.

Also the whole airframe for the China-bound Sovereigns at first will be made in North America. “Initially, it will be a case of bringing in the ‘green aircraft’ and then doing the interiors and paint work in China,” says Ernest. Cessna may later consider bringing in the wings and fuselage separately, so that China has the task of attaching the wings, he says. Eventually Cessna may make the main fuselage in China for Sovereigns sold in China, but that will be the extent of it, he adds.

Cessna already has experience in China on final assembly of aircraft. It has Avic’s Shenyang Commercial Aircraft Co. making Cessna 162 Skycatchers for the global market. Skycatcher is a light-sport, single-engine, piston aircraft. Cessna chose to make Skycatchers in China because the low cost base enables it to achieve the cheaper price point consumers demand for such a small entry-level aircraft.
“We’ve been working with Shenyang Aircraft for four years now and it has taught us that you have to be very good at working with people on the ground. That you need to have good technical support people on the ground to explain the different processes and that you have to have a good supply chain and logistics, so that the right products are coming in [to the factory] to ensure that it’s a succinct [manufacturing] process”, says Ernest.
Many of Cessna’s suppliers already are making components and parts in China, says Ernest, adding that he anticipates more will be made in future, especially now that Cessna has disclosed it will be assembling and later developing business jets in China.

Ernest downplays the cost benefits of China by saying that labor accounts for only 15% of the total cost of a business jet. But manufacturing in China does have its tax advantages. Business jets imported into the country are subject to value added tax of 17% and import duty of around 5%. One of Cessna’s challenges will be ensuring parts and components imported for the assembly of aircraft in China avoid these taxes. Ernest says this is one of the issues that will need to be addressed.

The project that is far more significant is Cessna’s deal to jointly develop and build a new, larger jet with help from Avic, which had spent more than a year searching for a partner to share this initiative.
“We were in a competition with several other aircraft manufacturers for the opportunity to work with Avic on this,” says Ernest, adding that “we feel we have a strong brand and the ability to develop business aviation, and general aviation for that matter, throughout China.”

This deal is important to Cessna because it gives it greater access to the China market and helps expand its product line-up. “My experience working at GE Aviation taught me it is always good to get in on the ground floor,” says Ernest, who became CEO of Cessna last May and was previously GE Aviation VP and general manager of global supply chain. He says, “China is a very good market that continues to grow. Having a local partner in that market gives you incredible market access.”

Flight Global

FIDAE: Embraer confirms new African buyers for Super Tucano

Embraer Defense and Security has announced its receipt of orders for the sale of EMB-314/A-29 Super Tucanos to African countries Angola, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. The total value of the deals comes to $180 million, the company says, while declining to specify the exact number of aircraft involved.

Three aircraft have already been delivered to the Burkina Faso air force, which is using them on border patrol missions, Embraer says. Angola has ordered six for the same mission and will receive its first three examples this year. Mauritania will get its first of an undisclosed number of the aircaft in 2013, and will operate its aircraft on counter-insurgency missions.

"The Super Tucano is highly efficient and presents low operating costs. Its capability for surveillance and counter-insurgency missions makes it ideal for service on the continent of Africa," says Embraer Defense and Security president Luiz Carlos Aguiar. With the new orders nine air forces have chosen the Super Tucano, with six currently operating it, Embraer says.

The Brazilian airframer is also confident of winning the second incarnation of a US Air Force competition for a light attack aircraft, which will be repeated after the service said there were problems with the original tender process. Embraer and Sierra Nevada won the initial competition late last year with the Super Tucano, after the air force eliminated a rival AT-6 proposal from Hawker Beechcraft and Lockheed Martin. The contest is to supply an initial 20 armed turboprops to the Afghan air force

Flight Global

Airbus to exhibit corporate jet for first time in Shanghai

An Airbus ACJ318, the corporate jet version of the A318 airliner, will be the highlight of the company’s presence at the ABACE show, marking the first time that any of the company’s bizjets is exhibited in Shanghai.
The Airbus ACJ318 on display is operated by Abu Dhabi-based Al Jaber Aviation, which offers it for VVIP charters in a spacious and comfortable arrangement with seating for 19. 

“When companies, individuals and governments use corporate jets, such as the Airbus ACJ318, they empower their leaders to accomplish more, helping them to bring home new business, safeguard jobs, and contribute to overall economic growth,” points out Airbus COO, Customers, John Leahy. “With the widest and tallest cabin of any bizjet, Airbus corporate jets can also carry larger groups than traditional business jets,” he adds.
Airbus’ ACJ318 is similar in size externally to traditional large-bizjets, but has a cabin that is about twice as wide, delivering new standards in comfort, space, and freedom of movement.

It features lounge-style seating for passengers in several different zones, as well as an office with ensuite bathroom, which can be converted into a bedroom. The Airbus corporate jet on display at ABACE in Shanghai thus gives potential customers the chance to experience for themselves the best business jet cabin in the world. Airbus corporate jets are derived from the world’s most modern aircraft family, and offer the broadest range of sizes and ranges of any bizjet manufacturer, including VIP widebodies.

They have won some 170 orders since Airbus delivered its first corporate jet in the mid-Eighties, and are the only bizjets flying on every continent, including Antarctica. Airbus corporate jets have a widespread presence in Asia-Pacific, and especially China, which is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for business jets.

Boeing Delivers First 737-800 to Aerosvit

“Delivery of the first Next Generation 737 out of 11 airplanes that we have arranged to deliver marks the beginning of our airline’s narrow body fleet renewal,” said Gregory Gurtovoy, Chairman of Supervisory Board of AeroSvit Airlines. “Execution of this large scale program will help Aerosvit to increase our operating efficiency and offer passengers unprecedented comfort levels provided by the Boeing Sky Interior that will be introduced for the first time in Ukraine.”

"Boeing is delighted to deliver Aerosvit’s first Next-Generation 737-800," said Marty Bentrott, vice president of Sales for Ukraine, Russia, Central Asia and Middle East for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are honored to transfer this great airplane to our important customer and are confident that Aerosvit employees and passengers will enjoy its efficiency, reliability and comfort. We look forward to strengthening our partnership and supporting Aerosvit’s fleet growth and business expansion."

All Next-Generation 737 airplanes will be delivered with the new Boeing Sky Interior that offers unprecedented passenger appeal and comfort which such features as spacious cabin headroom, overhead bins that disappear into the ceiling yet carry more bags and LED lighting that brings any color into the cabin.

AeroSvit Ukrainian Airlines was established in 1994, has its hub at Kyiv-Boryspil Airport. AeroSvit serves 80 international routes to 34 countries, and provides passenger carriages to major regional centres of Ukraine.
AeroSvit is a member of International Air Transport Association (IATA) since 1996 and Association of European Airlines since 2008. The airline was among the first carriers in Eastern Europe that satisfied IOSA requirements (IATA Operational Safety Audit) and successfully confirms every second year its safety standards through independent IOSA audits including the last one in 2011.

March 23, 2012

Norway strengthens plan to acquire 'best value' F-35

Norway has reaffirmed its plans to buy the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, with its new defence White Paper also outlining a possible acceleration in first deliveries of the type. Oslo in 2008 selected the conventional take-off and landing F-35A to replace its Lockheed F-16AM/BM fighters, and has already ordered an initial four to support its future training requirements. The first two of these could be delivered a year early, in 2015, according to the 23 March document.

"The ambition remains for a total acquisition of 52 aircraft, including four training aircraft, and despite changes made by other partner nations Norway finds that its previous and robust real-cost estimates remain accurate," says defense minister Espen Barth Eide. "We remain confident that the F-35 represents the best capability for the best value possible."

With the F-35 acquisition to represent a major undertaking, the defence ministry's plan for the 2013 to 2016 period includes a "temporary strengthening" of its budget equating to a 7% increase in spending. Oslo also wants to bring forward and extend its planned expenditure on the combat aircraft to spread its costs.

"A new start date of 2017 is being considered, while the final procurement year may be extended to 2023 or 2024," Eide says. Each annual acquisition will require approval from the Norwegian parliament, as will a decision on whether to acquire the final six planned production examples.

Once fielded, the Royal Norwegian Air Force's F-35s will be operated from ├śrland air base, in addition to providing quick reaction alert cover from Evenes in the north of the country.

Norway's continued confidence in the F-35 will come as welcome news to Lockheed, following widespread reports of concerns over cost and schedule delays among other future operators Australia, Canada and Japan. US Air Force secretary Michael Donley also said on 20 March that future problems with delivering the aircraft would "be paid for by tails" against the service's stated intention to buy 1,763 examples.

Also contained within Oslo's new White Paper is a plan to introduce the maritime version of NH Industries' NH90 utility helicopter to service in the 2013-16 period. Eight of the aircraft are already on order for the Royal Norwegian Navy.

Flight Global

Embraer confident of Light Air Support victory

Embraer remains confident its EMB-314/A-29 Super Tucano will be speedily reselected for the US Air Force's Light Air Support (LAS) programme, so long as requirements remain unchanged.  The choice of the Brazilian-built trainer/light attack aircraft - which Embraer had bid alongside US partner Sierra Nevada - was overturned earlier this year after rival Hawker Beechcraft filed a lawsuit, following the rejection of the Wichita-based airframer's AT-6.

"If they don't change the requirements, we are 100% sure they will decide again for our aircraft," says Luiz Carlos Aguiar, the head of Embraer's defence business. "It is the only solution for this mission. If they need additional information, we will provide that." He says Embraer expects to receive word from the USAF "within weeks".

The USAF planned to buy 20 Super Tucanos as an urgent operational requirement to provide the Afghan air force with a counter-insurgency aircraft fleet, and the decision to overturn the selection was received with fury in Brazil. "It was a great surprise for us. We did not expect the reversal," says Aguiar.

"The US needs something off the shelf, and we have the solution," he says. "The difference between the two programmes is quite deep." Embraer and Sierra Nevada had committed to creating 1,200 jobs in the US supply chain as a result of the contract, he adds.

Aguiar says that any change to the terms of the competition could alter things. "If they do that, well, we would have to wait and see, but I cannot understand why they would do that," he says. He says the upheaval has not changed Embraer's commitment to establishing a foothold in the "most important defence market in the world", which the manufacturer believes would be a platform for establishing further deals with NATO allies. The LAS contest was one of the defence unit's first breakthroughs in a country where Embraer has enjoyed considerable success with its regional and business jet products.

Flight Global

March 22, 2012

Boeing, Airbus and Embraer to Collaborate on Aviation Biofuel Commercialization

GENEVA, March 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA), Airbus and Embraer today signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on the development of drop-in, affordable aviation biofuels. The three leading airframe manufacturers agreed to seek collaborative opportunities to speak in unity to government, biofuel producers and other key stakeholders to support, promote and accelerate the availability of sustainable new jet fuel sources.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh, Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders, and Embraer Commercial Aviation President Paulo Cesar Silva, signed the agreement at the Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva.

"There are times to compete and there are times to cooperate," said Jim Albaugh. "Two of the biggest threats to our industry are the price of oil and the impact of commercial air travel on our environment. By working with Airbus and Embraer on sustainable biofuels, we can accelerate their availability and reduce our industry's impacts on the planet we share."

"We've achieved a lot in the last ten years in reducing our industry's CO2 footprint - a 45 percent traffic growth with only three percent more fuel consumption," said Tom Enders. "The production and use of sustainable quantities of aviation biofuels is key to meeting our industry's ambitious CO2 reduction targets and we are helping to do this through Research and Technology our expanding network of worldwide value chains and supporting the EU commission towards its target of four percent of biofuel for aviation by 2020."

"We are all committed to take a leading role in the development of technology programs that will facilitate aviation biofuels development and actual application faster than if we were doing it independently," said Paulo Cesar Silva. "Few people know that Brazil's well known automotive biofuels program started within our aeronautical research community, back in the seventies, and we will keep on making history."

The collaboration agreement supports the industry's multi-pronged approach to continuously reduce the industry's carbon emissions. Continuous innovation, spurred by competitive market dynamics that push each manufacturer to continuously improve product performance, and air traffic modernization, are other critical elements to achieving carbon-neutral growth beyond 2020 and halving industry emissions by 2050 based on 2005 levels.

"Having these three aviation leaders set aside their competitive differences and work together in support of biofuel development, underscores the importance and focus the industry is placing on sustainable practices," said ATAG Executive Director Paul Steele. "Through these types of broad industry collaboration agreements, aviation is doing all it can to drive measurable reductions in carbon emissions, while continuing to provide strong global economic and social value."

All three companies are affiliate members of the Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (, which includes 23 leading airlines responsible for approximately 25 percent of annual aviation fuel use. Boeing and Embraer are already collaborating on how to establish a sustainable aviation biofuels industry in Brazil and exploring new technology pathways to broaden biofuel sourcing and availability. Boeing and Airbus are also active around the globe in helping to establish regional supply chains, while the three manufacturers have all supported numerous biofuel flights since global fuel standards bodies granted their approval for commercial use in 2011.

PR Newswire

March 21, 2012

Bombardier Signs PrivatAir for up to 10 CSeries Aircraft


Photo Credit: Bombardier Aerospace

Full-service provider to airline partners to receive all-business class CSeries aircraft

Bombardier Aerospace announced today that Geneva-based PrivatAir has placed a firm order for five CS100 airliners and has taken options on an additional five CS100 aircraft. Based on the list price for the CS100 aircraft, the firm order contract is valued at approximately $309 million US, and could increase to $636 million US if the five options are exercised.

PrivatAir was founded more than 30 years ago and operates a large fleet of commercial and business aircraft to provide private charter and private airline services. Its specialized services include exclusively business class flights on behalf of several major network airlines. As a superb example of the versatility of the world’s only all-new aircraft in its segment, the
CSeries aircraft acquired by PrivatAir will be delivered in an all-business class configuration.
“The CSeries aircraft represent cutting-edge technology and are true 21st century jetliners,” said Greg Thomas, President and Chief Executive Officer, PrivatAir. “The CS100 jetliner is very well suited for our route expansion plans and we look forward to introducing this very modern aircraft into our fleet.”

“The CSeries aircraft program keeps growing and we have now announced our 11th customer,” said Guy C. Hachey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Bombardier Aerospace. “The CSeries family of aircraft is designed for operational flexibility and many airlines around the world, like PrivatAir, are very much aware of how the aircraft can meet their future plans. Our global push, as well as the superior performance benefits of the CSeries aircraft, will ensure that Bombardier will capture a significant portion of the 100- to 149-seat market segment over the next twenty years.”

 “Included among the 11 customers that have selected the CSeries aircraft are major network carriers, national carriers, premium airlines serving city centre airports, a low-cost airline, leasing companies and now, with the order from PrivatAir announced today, a full service provider to airline partners,” said Philippe Poutissou, Vice President, Marketing, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft. “This diversity of customers speaks volumes about the flexibility of the CSeries aircraft family to meet air transport requirements worldwide.”

Designed for the growing 100- to 149-seat market, the 100 per cent new CSeries family of aircraft combines advanced materials, leading-edge technology and proven methods to meet commercial airline requirements in 2013 and beyond.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney Pure Power PW1500G engines, the CSeries aircraft family will offer a 15* per cent cash operating cost advantage and a 20* per cent fuel burn advantage. The CSeries family of aircraft’s clean-sheet design will enable the aircraft to achieve greatly reduced noise and emissions, as well as superior operational flexibility, exceptional airfield performance and a range of 2,950 nm (5,463 km). The CSeries aircraft will be up to 12,000 lbs (5,443 kg) lighter than other aircraft in the same seat category and will provide passengers with a best-in-class, widebody cabin environment in a single-aisle aircraft.

Including the order from PrivatAir announced today, Bombardier has booked firm orders for 138 CSeries airliners. Other customers include Republic Airways (40 CS300 aircraft), Deutsche Lufthansa AG (30 CS100 aircraft), Lease Corporation International Group(17 CS300 and three CS100 aircraft), Korean Air (10 CS300 aircraft), Braathens Aviation (five CS100 and five CS300 aircraft), an unidentified major network carrier (10 CS100 aircraft), an unidentified European customer (10 CS100 aircraft) and a well-established, unidentified airline (three CS100 aircraft).

The CSeries aircraft program has also booked options for 124 aircraft and purchase rights for 10 aircraft from these customers, as well as Letters of Intent for up to 30 CSeries aircraft from Ilyushin Finance Co, and for up to 15 CS300 aircraft from Atlasjet.

Bombardier Aerospace Media


Boeing Receives Certification for 787 Dreamliner With GE Engines

EVERETT, Wash., March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) received an amended type certificate today from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the 787-8 Dreamliner equipped with General Electric GEnx engines.

"This is a great day for our customers and for our team who worked tirelessly to ensure the Dreamliner offers breakthrough fuel efficiency, unprecedented performance and new levels of comfort," said Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We are pleased to accept the FAA's confirmation of the safety and reliability of this airplane."

The amended type certificate from the FAA formally recognizes that the 787 with GE engines has demonstrated compliance with rigorous federal regulations. The achievement caps off the most robust flight and ground test program ever conducted in the company's history.

"This milestone completes the certification of the 787-8 airplane, and allows airlines to now operate the GE engine-powered 787 with both the baseline Block 4 engine and the PIP1 engine upgrade," said Mike Sinnett, vice president and chief project engineer for the 787 program. "It also represents the success of a remarkable partnership with the regulatory agencies around the world."

"This is the culmination of extraordinary work by teams from GE and Boeing," said Chuck Nugent, general manager of the GEnx engine program for General Electric. "GE Aviation is honored to power the Boeing 787 Dreamliner with its new GEnx-1B engine, and we look forward to seeing the aircraft-engine combination flying the skies around the world."

Initial type certification of the 787 with Rolls-Royce engines took place in August 2011. Each new combination of an airframe type and engine requires additional certification to validate the integrity of the design. 60 customers around the world have ordered more than 870 Dreamliners.

Boeing Media

Airbus and Virgin Australia study new alternative fuel process

Airbus has joined a consortium including Virgin Australia to study a new pathway to produce sustainable aviation fuels. Eucalyptus mallee trees, grown in Western Australia’s wheat belt are sustainably harvested and converted to a feedstock for refining into alternative aviation fuel via a process called Pyrolysis.

Mallee is indigenous to Australia and is well adapted to the environment. It is a suitable sustainable crop because it helps return salt-affected land to a productive state. Mallee can be planted on farms alongside crops, and provide a range of environmental benefits and contribute to the long term sustainability of the overall farming operation. Growing these trees to make alternative fuels encourages large scale planting, which is expected to bring a range of environmental and social benefits to farmers and rural communities.   

The Pyrolysis thermal conversion process has yet to be recognized by the world’s fuels standards authorities. Airbus’ role includes supporting the approval and certification process so that Pyrolysis based fuels can be used for the first time in commercial aviation.

The consortium also includes Future Farm Industries CRC, which is developing sustainable farming systems as part of the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) program.
The project objective is to have a pilot alternative fuel production plant operating in Australia in the next year. The sustainability analysis is managed by the CRC, Airbus and the UK’s Manchester Metropolitan University.

“Alternative fuels are a crucial part of the roadmap for sustainable aviation and to help meet our ambitious CO2 reduction targets. We are privileged to be working with our Australian partners in this exciting value chain project,” said Tom Enders, Airbus President and CEO.

Virgin Australia Group Executive of Operations Sean Donohue said: “In order to produce a bio-fuel that can be used sustainably in our current aircraft, it is important to have members from every part of the supply chain involved. Airbus will bring vast expertise in aircraft manufacturing to the consortium and we are very pleased to have a company of its calibre joining this promising Australian project”.

The partnership agreement aims to develop a complete sustainable aviation bio-fuel production capability in Australia, using only sustainable resources and is part of the Airbus goal to have in place a value chain in every continent by 2012. So far Airbus has value chains in Latin America, Europe the Middle East, and now Australia.

March 15, 2012

Eclipse 500-based air taxi operation set to launch before mid-year

Photo Credit: Eclipse Aviation
EA Aerospace, the Turkish founding partner of Eclipse Aerospace, is planning to launch an air taxi service in the second quarter using two Eclipse 500 very light jets (VLJ) and a de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter.

The move is the first stage of a wider strategy by the Istanbul-based company to offer an air taxi services in the Middle East and Europe. The decision to launch Seabird Airlines comes around four years after EA president and Eclipse shareholder Ekim Alptekin was forced to abandon plans to launch his original air taxi offering, Myjet Aviation, following the collapse of Eclipse Aviation.

"I, along with a host of other people, had their fingers badly burned when Eclipse went bankrupt," he says. Fewer than 260 of the VLJs had been delivered from an order book of more than 1,200 aircraft. According to Flightglobal's Ascend database, only 11 Eclipse 500s are registered in countries outside the US. Turkey, Spain and Germany account for five of these.

"I lost a great deal of money but I never lost faith in the product," Alptekin adds. "I decided to become a shareholder and board member in the new company so I could help bring the product back to market."
Alptekin says there is huge pent-up demand in Turkey for an aircraft such as the Eclipse. "Demand for air travel is booming here and people are looking for affordable and flexible transportation, which the Eclipse can provide with operating costs of only $600 an hour."

Many travelers are "not well served" by the airlines, he says. "There are 54 airfields and airports available but 80% of these are under-utilized," he adds. Seabird will initially operate two Eclipse 500s - one owned by Alptekin and the other a privately owned aircraft - but another three aircraft will be added to the fleet by the end of the year. The 19-seat Twin Otter will serve Turkey's coastal resorts.

Alptekin says the "new" $2.7 million Eclipse 550 - featuring synthetic vision and auto throttles - remains on target for service entry in the third quarter of 2013. Eclipse Aerospace, which is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has already secured enough orders to fulfil the first year's production, he adds.

Flight Global

Cessna M2 makes its maiden flight

Photo Credit: Cessna Aviation
Cessna's latest Citation business jet, the M2, took to the skies for the first time on 9 March. The flight, from Cessna's facility in Wichita, Kansas, lasted around 1h 30min during which the light cabin jet's G3000 avionics, autopilot, instrument approaches, engine and aircraft systems were tested. The Williams International FJ44-powered twinjet is based on the out-of-production CJ1 (Model 525) featuring a 400kt (740km/h) maximum cruise speed. The eight-seat M2 is priced at $4.2 million.

Flight Global

Boeing in 'advanced discussions' over 777s for China

Boeing says it is in "advanced discussions for a significant number of 777s in greater China", elaborating on commercial airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh's comments regarding having sold 30 777s to Chinese carriers in recent weeks.
"I think you're going to see sales of narrow-bodies and wide-bodies continue to grow. I'm pretty excited about it. I sold 30 777s over [in China] last week and have a lot of discussions with other customers about more," said Albaugh at the JP Morgan Aviation, Transportation and Defense conference in New York.

Boeing clarified that its discussions are being held with "all airlines in Greater China for 777s", and the 28 February order for 10 777-300ERs for China Southern Airlines was likely to be included in the total for 30.
Orders by state-owned Chinese carriers require government approval before being officially added to Boeing's backlog.

Albaugh expects Boeing to earn more than 84 orders for 777s this year, as he anticipates bookings for the wide-body to exceed deliveries. Boeing's 777 production rate is currently running at seven 777s per month, with plans to go to 8.3 later in the year.

The 777 is expected to follow a wider trend for Boeing orders in 2012 with Albaugh's expectation of a book-to-bill ratio above one as it looks to firm the more than 1000 commitments it holds for the re-engined 737 Max. Additionally, Albaugh said to expect 747-8 Freighter orders in the "next several months" despite softening in the global air freight market. Boeing forecasts delivering between 585 and 600 aircraft in 2012.

Flight Global

India needs over 1,040 aircraft worth US$145 billion in next 20 years

Demand for larger Eco-efficient aircraft
 According to Airbus’ latest market forecast, Indian carriers will require 1,043 new passenger (1,020) and freighter (23) aircraft valued at US$145 billion between now and 2030 to satisfy surging annual demand. India’s market for new aircraft makes it the world’s fourth largest in both number of aircraft and value.
Indian annual passenger traffic growth rates of 7.2 per cent are well above the regional Asia Pacific average growth rate of 5.9 per cent and the world average 4.8 per cent.

Of the requirement for 1,020 new passenger aircraft, some 860 will be for growth and 160 to replace the eldest aircraft in the existing fleet of 327. By 2030, this means that India’s passenger fleet will more than triple to some 1,180 aircraft. The new passenger aircraft include 646 single aisles like the A320 and A320neo Family, 308 twin aisles like the A350 XWB and A330, and 66 very large aircraft such as the A380.

Growing urbanization and population concentrations combined with a growing middle class and dynamic economic growth are driving demand and this trend is expected to continue. Despite near term challenges, the Indian economy is forecast to continue expanding, helping India’s growth in domestic air travel to reach even higher growth rates of nearly 10 per cent annually, making it one of the fastest growing aviation markets anywhere in the world.

“By 2030, India’s economy is forecast to be the fourth largest in the world creating exceptional potential for growth in the aviation sector. Through our Indian industrial partnerships we are proud to boast that every A320 today is partly made in India,” said Dr. Kiran Rao, Airbus Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing, and President of Airbus India. “Our engineering and industrial footprint in India supports over 2,000 highly skilled Indian jobs throughout our supply chain, and this figure is growing.”

Airbus’ partnership with India dates back almost 40 years. Today, half of all A320 forward doors and all flap track beams are produced in India. Established in 2006, the Airbus Engineering Centre India (AECI) in Bangalore employs over 270 highly skilled local engineers working in high end analysis and design on all Airbus products. The center is expected to grow to 450 over the next three years. Airbus recently established a second pilot training center in Noida (this one in cooperation with CAE and Interglobe) to complement the existing facility in Bangalore. Combined, they will have the capacity to train up to 5,000 pilots and maintenance engineers per year. Airbus’ market share of new aircraft orders in India is over 70 per cent.

March 14, 2012

I-4D receives the “Enabling Technology Award” for air traffic management excellence

The Airbus-developed I-4D (initial four-dimensional) system has been recognised for technological excellence by leading information provider IHS Jane's, underscoring its capabilities for improving the efficiency of air traffic management operations worldwide. I-4D - which is a cornerstone of the SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) programme - utilises a new-generation system for enhanced arrival flow management, improved flight punctuality and more capacity, and its first flight tests were completed in February using an A320 test aircraft. The "Enabling Technology Award" was received by Airbus and its partners Eurocontrol Maastricht and Noracon at the Canso Air Traffic Management dinner this month in Amsterdam.

Airbus Media

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Wins Coveted Collier Trophy

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing's (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner has won the 2011 Robert J. Collier Trophy, one of the aerospace industry's most prestigious honors for excellence. The award places the ultra fuel-efficient Dreamliner in an exclusive group of pioneers that revolutionized air travel.

"We were very pleased with this year's slate of nominations - all of them were impressive, inspirational, and innovative and certainly represent the future of aviation and aerospace," said Walter Boyne, Chairman of the National Aeronautic Association and Chairman of the Selection Committee. "We congratulate Boeing on their great accomplishment with the 787."

The NAA awards the prize to the air or space vehicle that represents the greatest aeronautic achievement in America, the value of which was demonstrated by actual use during the previous year. The 787 Dreamliner, the first mid-size commercial airplane capable of flying long-range routes, completed a rigorous flight testing effort to earn certification in 2011. The 787 was then delivered to ANA of Japan and put into service on daily routes. The Dreamliner wrapped up 2011 by setting two world records in its class, one for speed and one for distance.

"It's not often in a career that we have the chance to make history – to do something big and bold that will change the world in untold ways and endure long after we are gone," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The men and women of Boeing, working with our partners around the world, poured their hearts into designing, building and delivering the 787 Dreamliner. It was a long and sometimes difficult journey.  We're deeply honored to receive this award."

The Collier Trophy, first awarded in 1911, was designed to encourage innovation in aerospace by emphasizing improved performance, efficiency and safety. Past winners include Orville Wright; the Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11 Moon mission team; Boeing for several airplanes, including the 747 and the 777; Boeing and partners for the F/A-18E/F, the International Space Station; and Bell Boeing for the V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor.

Built largely with lightweight composite materials, combined with a host of breakthrough technologies, the 787 Dreamliner is 20 percent more fuel efficient than similarly-sized airplanes, allowing airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public. The airplane is also much easier for airlines to maintain and sets new standards in environmental performance. 60 customers have ordered 868 Dreamliners, making it the fastest-selling wide-body airplane in commercial aviation history.

Boeing Media

Air India to receive seven 787s by March 2013

State-owned carrier Air India will take delivery of seven Boeing 787s by March 2013. The carrier expects to receive the first aircraft in May and the second in June, Air India chairman Rohit Nandan told reporters at the sidelines of the India Aviation air show in Hyderabad. The deliveries come after more than four years of delay and the carrier is now in negotiations with Boeing about possible compensation.

"The issue of compensation is between us and the carrier," said Dinesh Keskar, president of Boeing India, when asked to confirm whether a $500 million sum had been agreed on. Delays in the delivery of the 787s have caused Air India "a lot of problems in their plans and expansion", said the country's civil aviation minister Ajit Singh at a press conference.

He added that a financial-restructuring package for the loss-making carrier has been sent to the cabinet for a formal approval. The government is expected to pump rupees (Rs) 650 million ($13 million) into the carrier.
The loss-making carrier's restructuring will also include converting some of its short-term loans to long term ones and turning some debt into non-convertible deposits with interest guaranteed by the government.

"We will bail out Air India but not indefinitely. We can't keep paying unless they improve," said the minister.
He added that the government "cannot and will not bail out Kingfisher" and said some of the country's other private airlines are in dire straits. Air India will use the equity infusion from the government to pay for employee salaries, dues to fuel companies and airport operators and other debts, said Nandan.

Flight Global

Russia working on quiet supersonic business jet

Photo Credit: Flight Global
A major Russian aeronautical research agency has launched preliminary design work for a quiet supersonic business jet that could fly over populated areas.

The Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI) will develop the preliminary design in partnership with several Russian companies, including aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi and engine maker NPO Saturn, TsAGI says.

An official conceptual image of the aircraft shows it with a long, pointed nose and as many as four engines mounted on top of the aft fuselage. The aircraft also features twin vertical tails and long, thin wings.

The goal of the project is to establish Russia's aeronautics industry as a technology leader in a potential new market for business aviation, TsAGI says. Sergei Lyapunov, deputy director general of TsAGI, says the broad spectrum of industry and research organisations involved in the project is unprecedented in Russian aeronautics.
TsAGI says a preliminary assessment suggests the supersonic aircraft should generate the same noise level as future subsonic aircraft for the civil market. In addition to completing the design, the research team will also assess the "promising domestic engines" that could power the new aircraft.

The concept of a Russian supersonic business jet has been on the drawing board for decades. In the early 1990s, Sukhoi partnered Gulfstream to develop a design of the S-21. Sukhoi continues to list a "supersonic business jet" on its website as an ongoing project, without elaborating further. Tupolev has also proposed the Tu-444 supersonic business jet, advertising 4h flight times between Moscow and New York.

Flight Global

March 13, 2012

Airbus, Boeing both claim victory in latest round of WTO dispute

The ongoing transatlantic spat over government subsidies to Airbus and Boeing appears to have taken a turn against the US airframer. The World Trade Organisation has dismissed at least some of Boeing's appeal against a March 2011 ruling that found that it could not have launched an aircraft as sophisticated as the 787 for delivery as early as 2008 without subsidies that fall foul of WTO rules. That earlier ruling also found that the resulting quality of the 787 did serious damage to sales of the Airbus A330 and the original A350.

However, while the European Union suit against US support for Boeing claimed adverse subsidies amounting to $19.1 billion over the 1989-2006 period, the WTO appeals panel determined the value of the subsidies to be at least $5.3 billion. As at previous junctures in the two tit-for-tat disputes - the USA-Boeing originally filed a suit in 2004 against European governments for subsidizing Airbus, and the European side responded in kind - both sides are claiming victory in the WTO's latest pronouncement over billions of dollars of US federal and local taxpayer money spent to aid Boeing.

According to Airbus head of communications, Rainer Ohler, who stressed that the WTO has already found European governments' lending of A380 development funds to Airbus to be legal, today's ruling was a "sweeping loss for Boeing" that makes the 787 "the most heavily subsidised aircraft in aviation history".
Boeing, however, says that the ruling "slashed earlier findings of harm to Airbus from US subsidies", adding: "In sum, the WTO decisions in the two cases establish conclusively and finally that European subsidies competitively disadvantage Boeing and American workers and will continue to do so until launch aid is eliminated."

WTO rules now give Boeing and the United States, which is technically the respondent in this case, six months to comply. Meanwhile, Airbus and the European Union claimed on 1 December 2011 to have put themselves in compliance with the WTO ruling in the US-Boeing case against the EU-Airbus that some aspects of launch aid from France, Germany, Spain and the UK for the development of some earlier Airbus models should not have been allowed.

However, one lawyer familiar with the cases notes that unless the two sides either walk away from the dispute or press for resolution via a global agreement on airliner subsidies, the next likely series of moves will involve several years of compliance arbitration and subsequent appeals.

Flight Global

Boeing 787 Dreamliner for Air India Debuts in New Delhi

Photo Credit: Boeing Media
NEW DELHI, March 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- After a 14-hour non-stop flight from Seattle, a Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner in Air India's colors touched down at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi today.

"We're proud to bring the world's most advanced commercial airplane to India, especially when it proudly displays the colors of national flag carrier Air India," said Dinesh Keskar, senior vice president of Asia Pacific and India Sales for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This week even more of our airline customers will experience the game-changing technologies and innovations the 787 has to offer."

The 787 will be on static display in New Delhi before debuting at India Aviation 2012 in Hyderabad on March 14. The Dreamliner that will be showcased is outfitted in Air India's livery and an inviting passenger interior featuring full business and economy-class cabins.

Made from composite materials, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first airplane to provide both long distance capabilities with mid-size capacity. This capability will allow airlines like Air India to profitably operate non-stop routes to many more distant cities, providing choices preferred by the traveling public.

As a result of innovative technologies, the airplane offers unparalleled operating economics, fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. More than 800 787s are on order by 60 customers, a testament to the airplane's unique capabilities.

Boeing Media

March 9, 2012

US finalises $11.4 billion Saudi order for F-15s

Photo Credit: Flight Global
Boeing has received a previously announced contract worth $11.4 billion to supply Saudi Arabia with 84 F-15SA Strike Eagle fighters, the US military announced on 8 March. "This particular undefinitsed contract action covers development efforts for the new aircraft and retrofit as well as procurement of the 84 new production aircraft," the announcement reads. "Work is expected to be completed October 2020."

The sale was finalized last December when the Saudis signed a letter of offer and acceptance for a package of 84 new jets, upgrades to 70 older F-15S fighters, and associated weapons systems and sensors.
The F-15SA is one of the most advanced variants of the Eagle ever built. The aircraft are equipped with a Raytheon APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array radar and twin General Electric F110-129 turbofans, among a host other advanced hardware.

The F-15SA is also the first version of the Eagle with a fly-by-wire flight control system

Flight Global 

Related News: Boeing self-funds F-15E production in anticipation of Saudi deal

Qantas ends talks with Malaysia Airlines over premium carrier

Qantas Airways has ceased its discussions with Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to set up a new premium carrier.
In a stock exchange filing, the carrier said this was because both parties were "unable to reach mutually agreeable commercial terms". Asia, being the world's fastest growing region, will remain a priority for the Australian carrier. Qantas will continue to explore opportunities in the region, including through joint ventures and alliances, its chief executive Alan Joyce says.

"However, mindful of global economic uncertainty, and consistent with Qantas' focus on disciplined financial management, the group will allocate minimal capital to such ventures," Joyce says. "The transformation of Qantas' international business remains vital, with plans to return the international business to profitability in the short term on track. In the medium term, the Qantas flying businesses, both domestic and international combined, will exceed the cost of capital on a sustainable basis," Joyce adds.

Last year, Qantas announced a five-year plan to tackle challenges in its international business, part of which was the setting up of the premium carrier.Other strategies include restructuring the international network to create a "sustainable business model", improving customer experience and to focus more on Asia because of strong growth in the region. The carrier previously said it wanted to establish a hub in Singapore and Malaysia, and was in talks with key stakeholders in both markets. With this setback, it unclear whether talks with Singapore remain ongoing.

Qantas posted a 52% decline in its profits in the first half of financial year of 2011/12 to Australian dollars (A$)202 million ($215 million), while MAS incurred a net loss of M$2.5 billion last year.

Flight Global

FAA readying drone test programme

The FAA is soliciting public comment on the selection of test sites in the agency's ongoing effort to integrate unmanned air vehicles (UAV) into national airspace. The FY2013 re-authorization, the Congressional funding bill that keeps the FAA running, mandates that the organization set up six UAV test sites by early February, 2013."What we're trying to do right now is get public comment," says the FAA. "We're saying, ok, here's how we figure things should work. Are we right, should we add anything else?"

Neither the test regime nor the test site locations have been decided, but language within the bill stipulates that the test programme will run for five years. UAVs operating in US airspace are restricted to small operating areas set aside specifically for their use. While heavy UAV users include the Department of Defense, various law enforcement agencies and research institutions, stringent airspace regulations prevent the commercial operations long forecast for unmanned aircraft.

The FY2013 FAA reauthorisation bill mandates that the agency draw up a comprehensive plan to integrate UAVs into the national airspace within 270 days of enactment, or September 2013. A proposed rulemaking plan for UAVs weighing under 2kg (4.4lb), operated by government or law enforcement entities, is due "in late spring."

Other language in the reauthorisation states that UAVs are to be integrated into national airspace by September, 2015, but details remain open for interpretation.
"The act mandates that we have safe integration, not full integration, into the NAS by 2015," says the FAA.

Flight Global

March 8, 2012

Boeing 787 Team Honored for Extraordinary Accomplishment With Aviation Week Laureate Award

EVERETT, Wash., March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing's (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner team has been honored with a 2012 Aviation Week Laureate Award in Aeronautics/Propulsion. The award was bestowed by the editors of Aviation Week to recognize the team's extraordinary accomplishments.

"Boeing made a bold decision to combine advanced aerodynamics, new composite materials, more-electric systems, fuel-efficient engines and a totally new production paradigm," said Graham Warwick, Aviation Week senior editor, Technology, in presenting the award. "And now it's paying off for both the manufacturer and the operator."

For the past 55 years, Aviation Week has recognized pioneers and leaders in aviation, aerospace and defense with this prestigious award. Past winners in the Aeronautics/Propulsion category include the X-51A Waverider Hypersonic Vehicle Team and the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan development team.  

"On behalf of the men and women around the world who worked tirelessly to ensure the 787 Dreamliner is an amazing airplane that embodies our customers' and passengers' hopes and dreams, we deeply appreciate this prestigious honor," said Scott Fancher, who led the 787 program for more than three years and represented the team in accepting the award.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first airplane to provide both long distance capabilities with mid-size capacity, allowing airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public. The airplane is 20 percent more fuel efficient than similarly sized airplanes. Sixty customers have 868 Dreamliners on order, making the 787 the fastest-selling widebody airplane in commercial aviation history.

Boeing Media

The Dreamliner Lands in Mexico City for World Tour Stop

MEXICO CITY, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing's (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner landed for the first time in Mexico City today as part of its World Tour. Over the next day-and-a-half, Aeromexico executives, employees, and special invited guests will get a chance to tour and experience much of the airplane's cutting-edge technological advancements.

Aeromexico was the first carrier in Latin America to commit to the Dreamliner when it announced it would lease three 787s from ILFC in June 2006 and then the first carrier in the region to order the airplane with a firm order for two Dreamliners in August of that same year.  This is the airplane's first visit to Mexico City - the world's third largest metropolitan area. Sitting higher than 7,300 ft (2,225 meters), Mexico City has always played an integral part in Boeing's flight test programs for high altitude testing.

The airplane, ZA003, was originally used for flight testing but has been elegantly refurbished to showcase the standard capabilities and features of the 787 including an interior that highlights the many passenger-preferred features of the airplane.

Made from composite materials, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes and will allow airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public. As a result of innovative technologies, the airplane offers unparalleled operating economics, fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. More than 800 787s are on order by more than 60 carriers, a testament to the airplane's unique capabilities.

Boeing Media

Malaysia Airlines provides first glimpse of A380 in new livery

Photo Credit: Flight Global
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) today revealed the design and specifications for its new A380, featuring a bright new livery and luxurious cabin layout. The aircraft will accommodate 494 passengers in a three class configuration, seating eight passengers in First Class, 66 in Business Class and 420 in Economy. All seats are fitted with the latest individual in-flight entertainment systems, USB ports and satellite telephone facilities.

Photo Credit: Flight Global

MAS Group CHief Executive Office, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said, ' The A380 will showcase our latest premium offering in products and services. This will be our flagship aircraft to launch our exciting new levels of comfort, luxury and convenience in long haul travel'. Altogether, MAS has order six A380s. The carrier is set to become the eighth operator of the aircraft when it begins commercial service with the type between Kuala Lumpur and London in July.

Airbus Media 

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Boeing Completes Awaited Flight Testing for Certification of 787s With GE Engines

EVERETT, Wash., March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed all flight tests expected to be required for type certification of the 787-8 Dreamliner with General Electric GEnx engines. This marks the end of all certification flight testing associated with the baseline model of the 787. Testing on engine and airframe improvements will continue as needed, as it does for all airplane programs.

Ground testing to complete certification requirements has also concluded.

"The last phase of testing focused on extended operations on-board a production airplane," said Mike Sinnett, vice president and chief project engineer, 787 program. "The airplane performed beautifully during this testing, further demonstrating its reliability." The final flight concluded late last month with the landing of the 35th 787 built.
Flight testing is one of many elements reviewed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration before it certifies a new airplane type. Certification of the 787 Dreamliner with Rolls-Royce engines was completed in August 2011. Each new combination of airframe type and engine requires additional certification.

"I want to congratulate all of the men and women of Boeing and our partners who helped support our flight test program," Sinnett said. "They have completed the most robust, thorough flight test program in our history."
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner features a wide array of passenger amenities including larger windows, cleaner air, higher humidity and a lower cabin altitude.

Boeing Media

Lufthansa A321 passenger flights demonstrate the practicality of bio-fuels

The wide-reaching benefits of alternative aviation fuels were underscored in the world’s first long-term passenger service evaluations performed by Lufthansa using a bio-fuel/kerosene mix with an A321 jetliner, and supported by Airbus.

Conducted during a six-month period through last December, the over 1,000 commercial flights between Hamburg and Frankfurt operated with a bio-fuel blend of 50 per cent Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) and kerosene jet fuel in one engine, while the other powerplant was supplied conventional kerosene.

Bio-fuels such as HVO represent an eco-efficient solution to reduce the air transport sector’s environmental impact, thanks to their significantly smaller carbon footprints and lower levels of other airborne pollutants.
Follow-up inspections confirmed that the A321’s engine operating with bio-fuel experienced no adverse effects, while pilots did not see differences in performance or operations on the four daily round-trips between Hamburg and Frankfurt.

“It was a very successful test overall,” said Paul Nash, Airbus’ Head of New Energies, who added that all parameters were within the limits, and no problems with  the bio-fuel blend occurred during the evaluations connecting what Lufthansa calls the first “green city pair” of destinations worldwide.
These flights involved the joint research activity of 12 industry partners and universities under Lufthansa leadership, and were partly financed by the German Ministry of Economics and Technology.

Airbus is continuously working with international partners to fully explore the potential benefits of alternative fuels. As part of this effort, the company acts as a catalyst to speed up the commercialization of aviation bio-fuel production – bringing together such industry stakeholders as farmers, oil refiners, distribution networks, airports and airlines.

March 7, 2012

Airbus aims to hire at least 25 per cent women among its 4,000 new recruits in 2012


On International Women's Day (8th March) Airbus encourages more women to join the aeronautic industry.

Airbus, the worlds leading aircraft manufacturer, is committed to ensuring that at least 25 per cent of its new recruits in 2012 will be women despite the low number of women studying engineering subjects. With the aim to hire 4000 people worldwide this year, Airbus is calling for more women to apply for jobs in sectors that are traditionally seen as male dominated.

Airbus is developing women’s careers at all levels of the company with the objective to broaden its know-how and soft skills on managerial capabilities, by increasing the number of women in management positions. To support this, a number of specific actions have been introduced to prepare and promote women at different levels by identifying female talents and their career path through internal development programs such as mentoring, coaching, and leadership development amongst others.

“Airbus wants to attract more women and it is not simply about achieving quotas and targets. I am convinced that a more balanced proportion of women at all levels of the company can only improve Airbus’ performance”, explained Thierry Baril, Airbus Executive Vice President, Human Resources. “Offering equal chances is an essential corner stone of the Airbus corporate culture” he added. 

 Employing more than 55,000 people worldwide, of over 100 nationalities, Airbus is the leading aircraft manufacturer with design and manufacturing facilities in France, Germany, the UK, and Spain, as well as subsidiaries in the U.S., China, Japan and in the Middle East.
Some 4,500 new employees were recruited in 2011, driven by an order backlog equivalent to 7-8 years production and the continued development of aircraft programs such as A320neo (new engine option), and the A350 XWB Family. Airbus has sold close to 11,500 aircraft and delivered over 7,000 since its first airliner entered service. 

Southwest Airlines Reports February Traffic

DALLAS, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) today reported February 2012 combined traffic results for Southwest Airlines and AirTran.  AirTran became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co. ("the Company") on May 2, 2011.  For purposes of comparability, the Company is providing combined traffic results for Southwest Airlines and AirTran for periods prior to the acquisition date.  See the accompanying tables for combined results.

The Company flew 7.2 billion revenue passenger miles (RPMs) in February 2012, compared to 7.0 billion combined RPMs flown in February 2011, an increase of 3.9 percent.  Available seat mile (ASMs) increased 6.2 percent to 9.6 billion from the February 2011 combined level of 9.1 billion.  The load factor for February 2012 was 75.2 percent, compared to the combined load factor of 76.9 percent in February 2011.  For February 2012, passenger revenue per ASM (PRASM) is estimated to have increased approximately four percent as compared to February 2011's combined PRASM.

For the first two months of 2012, the Company flew 14.6 billion RPMs, which was comparable to the combined RPMs flown in the same period in 2011.  The year-to-date ASMs increased 2.5 percent to 19.6 billion from the combined level of 19.1 billion for the same period in 2011.  The year-to-date load factor was 74.8 percent, compared to the combined load factor of 76.3 percent for the same period in 2011. 
This release, as well as past news releases about Southwest Airlines Co., is available online at 

                         PRELIMINARY COMPARATIVE TRAFFIC STATISTICS                        





Revenue passengers carried 



4.3 %

Enplaned passengers



4.1 %

Revenue passenger miles (000)



3.9 %

Available seat miles (000)



6.2 %

Load factor



 (1.7) pts.

Average length of haul




Trips flown



4.5 %





Revenue passengers carried 



0.7 %

Enplaned passengers



0.8 %

Revenue passenger miles (000)



0.4 %

Available seat miles (000)



2.5 %

Load factor



(1.5) pts.

Average length of haul




Trips flown



1.6 %

SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.

PR Newswire