23 July 2014

A350-1000 update and manufacturing overview (3/4)

Airbus has started manufacturing forgings for the root joint on the centre wing-box of the A350-1000. Centre wing-box assembly will commence by the end of this year with the aim of delivering it to the St Nazaire plant in 2015.

A350 programme chief Didier Evrard, speaking during the Farnborough air show, added that Airbus started work on carbonfibre wing-box covers in June at Stade and Illescas.

He said these components have a long lead time on the A350-1000 and amount to “the longest pole in the tent”.

Based on the article “First A350-1000 parts take shape” published in Flightglobal.

22 July 2014

A350-1000 engine overview (2/4). 1st engine run carried out. Video.

Rolls-Royce has just carried out the first run of the higher-thrust Trent XWB-97 engine which will power the A350-1000. The powerplant is scheduled to fly on a testbed next year, with Airbus aiming to fly the A350-1000 by mid- to late 2016 ahead of service entry in the 2nd half of the following year.

Click the picture to watch the video.

The engine is the exclusive powerplant on the -1000, complementing the XWB-84 for the A350-900, and will begin test flights in 2016.

“All the experience we gained in the Trent XWB-84 test programme will help us optimise development of the XWB-97,” says Trent XWB programme director Simon Burr.

The A350-1000, which has accumulated 169 orders, is due to enter service in 2017 and Qatar Airways is also the launch customer for this version.

All pictures are video-captures via Rolls-Royce.

Based on the article “First A350-1000 parts take shape” published in Flightglobal

21 July 2014

A350-1000 update and engineering overview (1/4)

The first stretched variant of the A350XWB is likely to appear around MSN60 of the A350-900. Nevertheless, Program Executive Vice President Didier Evrard acknowledged that there is “a lot to do; nothing is taken for granted, nothing a given.”

Establishment of systems-installation design maturity is said to be “on plan,” while work continues on the variant’s structural design phase, which will permit the start of engineering drawing. Structural design maturity “incorporating all requirements” also was completed by mid-June.

The A350-1000 is already benefiting from the manufacturer’s experience with the A350-900. Evrard specifically cited 2 examples claimed to represent latest innovations: carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer door surrounds and engine-pylon composite spars.

Because Airbus needs to shorten the new variant’s overall testing time (relative to that for the initial model), it is making more extensive use of simulation, said Evrard.

Based on the article “Airbus Gives Update On A350-1000” published in AIN 

20 July 2014

Airbus takes total control of Premium Aerotec to avoid impacting A350 ramp-up

Airbus has nominated Andreas Fehring as the new COO of Premium Aerotec starting next 1/August. This important movement is part of the Intervention Plan in place in the German Tier1, only one year after Airbus nominated Christoph Hoppe as the CEO of Premium Aerotec.

Source: Premium Aerotec

In the case of the CEO, Christoph Hoppe was since 2009 the Head of Human Resources of Cassidian, and labour director of EADS Deutschland GmbH. He previously worked for Airbus; in 1999 as responsible of the strategy and corporate development of Airbus in Germany. Later, from summer 2000 he was in charge of development and production planning in the operations area of Airbus in Toulouse. At the end of 2002 he assumed operational responsibility for the development and series production of Airbus cabin equipment and simultaneously held the position of CEO of the then subsidiary Aircabin in Laupheim, Germany. From 2006 he represented the EADS Group as the Head of Political Affairs Germany.

In the case of the new COO, Andreas Fehring is currently A350 senior vice president, head of fuselage and cabin (K9) reporting directly to Didier Evrard. In this position he has been closely collaborating with the program management of Premium AEROTEC since several months. Andreas Fehring has a broad management experience in aviation industry: after mechanical engineering studies he started as a development engineer at Airbus at the age of 26. A wide range of tasks in development, sales and program management at Airbus followed. From 2006 onwards he was in charge of the A380 program management.

Günter Butschek, the chairman of the supervisory board of Premium AEROTEC, said: “With Andreas Fehring we have won an experienced aviation manager. Namely because of his successful work in the A350 program, he is the right person to ensure the production ramp-up of this programme, to which Premium Aerotec attaches great importance, and to stabilise the entire production and to make it more efficient.”

Butschek also thanked the former head of production: “Michael Colberg has shown great commitment and personal participation and has set important foundations on which Andreas Fehring can build now.”

Based on the press released “Andreas Fehring wird neuer Produktionschef von Premium AEROTEC”

19 July 2014

Spirit outsources A350 fuselage-floor manufacturing to its new “French neighbor” Figeac

Figeac Aero will open a factory in Saint-Nazaire after winning a $60 million contract with Spirit AeroSystems for the manufacturing of 2 fuselage-floor-structures for the A350 XWB.

Source: Figeac Aero

Deliveries will begin at the end of this year and will continue until 2019, when the contract should be extended.

The Work Package consist of 2 metal subassemblies (8x6 meters and 6x4.5 meters each) for the floor of the central fuselage section of the A350.

"We are already manufacturing the floors for the A320 and A330, but this one has a record size for us" welcomes Jean-Claude Maillard, CEO and founder of Figeac Aero.

The metallic detail parts will be manufactured in its plants in Figeac (Lot) and Tunisia, and the final assembly of the fuselage floors will be done in a new site at Montoir-de-Bretagne near Saint-Nazaire, where Spirit Aerosystems assembles the central section of the A350 fuselage.

The new site -3000 sqm- will be available by 2017 and meantime Figeac Aero will rent a building. «Our strategy to build a factory near Spirit AeroSystems makes the difference compared to competitors who produced in exotic locations», adds the CEO. «We install subsidiaries near our customers to limit transportation costs. »

Based on the article “Figeac Aéro va fabriquer les planchers de l’Airbus A350” published in Les Echos.

18 July 2014

Only 4 A350 XWB commitments in Airbus 'Best Ever Farnborough Air Show'.

Airbus signed firm orders for a total of 358 aircraft and MoUs (memorandum of understanding) for a further 138 at the Farnborough Air Show.

The A330neo, that was formally launched last Monday, has secured orders and commitments for 121 A330neos. (Including an important order for 50 A330neos from Air Asia X)

Concerning the A350 XWB family, unique customer announcement has been a MoU for 4 A350-900s with Air Mauritius. Poor balance comparing Boeing's figures and those 121 commitments for the new A330neo, presented as "the perfect complement of the A350 XWB family".

Boeing has signed orders & commitments for 201 airplanes, but for the wide-body segment, it has secured 18 Boeing 787-9s and 50 777-9Xs for Qatar. Only one week after the huge order of 150 777-9X by Emirates. 

Source: Boeing

Based on the article "Airbus Has Had 'Best Ever Farnborough Air Show' " published in Aviation Week.

17 July 2014

Air Mauritius orders 4 A350-900s. Total of 746 orders as of today for A350 family.

Air Mauritius, the flag carrier of Mauritius has decided to expand and modernise its long-haul fleet with a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for 4 A350-900 aircraft. 

The agreement was announced during the Farnborough International Airshow 2014. The airline has also announced that it is leasing 2 more A350-900s. The 6 A350 XWB will be operated on European, Asian and Australian routes.

Air Mauritius, recently awarded a 4-STAR Skytrax rating, currently operates 10 Airbus aircraft including two A330-200s and two A319s.

 “The A350 XWB combined with the A330 suits Air Mauritius’ entire long-range network and will be key to modernising our fleet while significantly reducing our operational costs and environmental footprint. It is the game-changer we were looking for,” said Andries Viljoen, Air Mauritius’ Chief Executive Officer.

“We are honoured that Air Mauritius, a long-standing customer for 20 years, is ordering more Airbus aircraft,” said Fabrice Brégier, Airbus President and CEO. “The fleet commonality unique to Airbus will maximise operational efficiency for the airline, and passengers will benefit from unmatched comfort levels on the world’s most modern aircraft.”

All photos © Airbus

Based on the press release by Airbus “Air Mauritius orders six A350 XWB”