17 April 2014

Airbus updates the control over its subsidiary Aerolia with new CEO and new Head of Méaulte plant.

Current Aerolia CEO Christian Cornille will be appointed EVP - Industry of Airbus Helicopters. For the last 5 years, Christian Cornille has been leading Aerolia, a subsidiary of Airbus Group, during which time its revenues increased by 69% to € 1.140 billion.
(© Airbus Group)

Christian Cornille will be replaced at Aerolia by Cédric Gautier. Cédric Gautier (53), was nominated Senior Vice President, Head of the A400M program in Airbus in 2011 where he achieved the civil and military certifications and first aircraft deliveries to the customers in 2013.

 Before joining the A400M program, Cédric Gautier led EADS Sogerma as President and CEO for 4 years implementing an extensive restructuring plan and succeeding in the turn-around of the company. His wide experience in the aerospace sector will allow Aerolia to continue its strategy of profitable growth and open up new markets in the future

In parallel, Thierry Rouault has taken leadership of Aerolia’s Méaulte site with the objective of supporting site developments, its ramp-up on series and new programs.

“After more than 7 years in Toulouse as Head of Program Centre Fuselage A350 at Airbus I chose to complement this extraordinary adventure of the development of a new aircraft with a challenge as ambitious as my coming back to Méaulte as the head of this site. Méaulte is a site I know well and love” he said

Based on the article “Thierry Rouault prend la direction du site d’Aerolia à Méaulte” published in Le Journal D'Aviation

16 April 2014

A350 Cathay's new business class: designed by Porsche.

Cathay Pacific will launch all-new designs for its business class and economy seats on its Airbus A350 fleet from early 2016.

Business Class in MSN2

The airline has hired Porsche Design Group to craft its new business class seats, codenamed ‘FB3’ as it will be Cathay’s third flatbed business class.

Also on the roster is London-based Tangerine, perhaps best known as the former home of Apple design guru Jony Ive, which is responsible for Cathay's new economy seats. In addition Tangerine has won a ‘tip to tail’ brief to design the cabin interiors for all three classes on the Airbus A350.

The first of Cathay Pacific’s order of 20 A350-900 is slated for delivery in early 2016 and will sport a 3-class configuration with business, premium economy and economy class.

Based on the article “Cathay Pacific confirms next-gen business class for Airbus A350” published in Australian Business Traveller.

15 April 2014

Lufthansa Technik preparing for A350 R-R powerplant maintenance support.

Lufthansa Technik (LHT) is in discussions with Rolls-Royce over engine maintenance, repair and overhaul operations for the A350 fleet.  Last September Lufthansa placed firm orders for 25 A350-900s which are to be delivered from 2016.

Source: Rolls Royce

The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB is the unique engine for the A350 XWB. LHT is planning to build up "comprehensive MRO services" for the A350 for both the parent airline and third-party customers, chief executive
 August Wilhelm Henningsen said during the results briefing in Hamburg on 18/March.

Source: N3 Engine Overhaul Services

The UK manufacturer and LHT already have a joint venture engine shop. N3 Engine Overhaul Services, is situated in Arnstadt, Thuringia, near Erfurt (germany), where it has 41,000 square meters of floor space and a workforce of 480 and supports Trent 500, 700 and 900 powerplants (for A340, A330 and A380 respectively). 

The partners are evaluating whether to introduce the Trent XWB to the facility. However, as yet, no decision has been made, said Henningsen. 

Source: Rolls Royce

A central question is whether the N3 is large enough to accommodate the expected volume of the Trent XWB support work. The greenfield facility is already utilizing about half its capacity of about 200 engines a year, N3 said in December 2013.

Source: N3 Engine Overhaul Services

The site consists of a 25,000 square meters production facility and the biggest and most modern engine test facility in the world, 110 meters long and with a cross-section of 14m x 14m.

Based on the article "LHT lines up new engine capabilities" published in Flight International.

14 April 2014

VMU test repeated with MSN3 prototype in March

As explained in the article published in Flug Revue, in early March the VMU tests were repeated with MSN3 prototype. 

These tests with the minimum take-off speed were done last September with the MSN1 prototype in Paris-Vatry Airport.

Based on the article “Airbus A350: Testflotte erreicht 1400 Flugstunden” published in Flug Revue.

13 April 2014

A350 Fuel System tests done in UK.

The MSN3 flight test prototype has been used to perform fuel system tests during it´s visit to Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire last week.

The aircraft, was flown by London-born experimental test pilot, Frank Chapman. “The A350 XWB has significant UK input, as the wings and fuel systems are designed at the Airbus facilities in Filton, Bristol and assembled at the company’s Broughton plant in North Wales while the engines are made by Rolls-Royce in Derby and the landing gear by Messier-Bugatti-Dowty in Gloucestershire.”

“I’m immensely proud to be flying the first A350 XWB to land in the UK and look forward to this aircraft being a regular feature in British skies over the coming years.”

This visit is part of the aircraft’s certification.  Experts from the nearby Airbus Filton facility have played a key role in supporting the fuel system tests.

The A350 XWB has a simplified fuel system with fewer pumps and valves. Simplified but still quite sophisticated fuel management system that handles fueling and defueling operations on the ground, as well as fuel flow to engines and between tanks while airborne. The system can move fuel between tanks to optimize the aircraft’s center of gravity, reduce wing bending, and keep fuel within the acceptable temperature range.

Design and supply of fuel systems is a key responsibility of Airbus in the UK, complementing its role as the centre for wing design (with the wings having a dual role as the main fuel tanks). Fuel system design ensures that the fuel management and operations are safe, efficient, reliable and offer the best operational performance for the aircraft and the customer.

Source: Airbus

Challenges in fuel systems design include ensuring ground staff can carry out safe, rapid, ergonomic and accurate refuelling; reliably pumping fuel to the engines; redistribution of the fuel around the aircraft tanks during flight to achieve optimum aerodynamic efficiency and performance; and ensuring clear, reliable and comprehensive data is available to pilots on the flight-deck.

Based on the press release “A350 XWB makes first touchdown in UK”

12 April 2014

Delta has issued the RFP for 50 aircraft as planned. A350-900 and A350-1000 will be considered.

Delta Air Lines said it is considering buying up to 50 widebody jetliners to replace its aging long-haul aircraft (Boeing 747-400s and some 767-300ERs).

The airline confirmed last week that it has requested sales offers from Boeing and Airbus for the jets. The two plane makers have benefited from a wave of replacement demand from U.S. carriers who have moved to renew their fleets with more fuel-efficient models.

The Boeing and Airbus aircraft that Delta is evaluating seat between 250 and 380 passengers. A Delta spokesman said it expects to decide on a potential order -worth well over $10 billion at list prices- in the second half of 2014.

Delta, the third biggest U.S. airline by traffic, is evaluating the Airbus A350-900, A350-1000, A330-200 and A330-300, as well as the current-generation Boeing 777-300ER and all models of the 787.

The airline is "only interested in proven technology aircraft," said a spokesman, ruling out Boeing's recently-launched 777X (which is due in 2020) and probably the A330neo –if not launched in few months- as Delta spokesman said it is only considering "what is out there currently," not models yet to be launched. Nothing new; Delta is widely seen as one of the most conservative buyers of new capacity, they eschew new technology, preferring “proven” technology buying aircraft toward the end of their production cycle when prices are lower.

Interest from Delta could be decisive for the A330neo decision.

Delta currently has 18 of the 787s on order with Boeing, which Northwest Airlines ordered prior to the carriers' 2008 merger.

Based on the article “Delta Seeks Offers from Boeing and Airbus for New Jets” published in The Wall Street Journal and on the article “Delta says may buy up to 50 wide-body jets to update fleet” published in Reuters

11 April 2014

Rolls Royce begins assembly of first A350-1000 engine

Rolls Royce has begun the assembly of first Trent XWB test-powerplant with the higher-thrust capability required for the A350-1000 model. The components for the powerplant arrived in the Rolls-Royce finished parts stores from January to March.

The move follows last year’s Trent XWB-97 critical design review (CDR) and prototype demonstration runs. Progress since last November’s Dubai Airshow has included fabrication of early components, welding of the stator-vane assembly and completion of the intermediate-pressure compressor stage 1 “blisk” (bladed disc).

The Trent XWB-97 engine will be able to generate 97.000 lb (433kN) of thrust compared with the 84.000 lb for the A350-900 model.

It is expected the initial engine run in the second quarter of this year, and the first flight is scheduled for the end of 2016 before the A350-1000 enters service in 2017.

Rolls-Royce is still constructing the first production Trent XWB for the Qatar Airways A350-900 (MSN6) which will be the first customer aircraft to be delivered.

To ensure manufacturing fluency while the new variant is introduced, Rolls Royce will build initial flight-test Trent XWB-97s (at least 8 engines) in a preproduction “factory,” not on current Trent XWB assembly lines.

Based on the article “Build work starts on first A350-1000 engine” published in FlightGlobal