This past week the Farnborough Air Show has been going on. This is one of the major shows, where the airlines and the vendors all show up to announce deals, developments and other fun stuff. I’m sure I’ll make it to a show like this eventually, but in the mean time I have to live vicariously through the other reporters/bloggers/fans there. Some of my favorite bits from the week…
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was a big topic of conversation. In their update to the press Boeing reiterated that things are looking pretty good on the most recent timetable. There is a small chance that the software that controls the braking system will have delays, but those delays are based on issues with traceability in the code and getting it certified, not in the brakes actually working. I guess that’s a good thing, though it’d be nice if the brakes word AND we can prove it. There also is a delay in some fuselage components in South Carolina, but thus far that delay can be handled with slack time built in to the schedule. Boeing still is pretty confident in their Q4 target for first flight. Boeing is also considering adding a second assembly line to help deal with the backlog.
“Going Green” is always a good way to get press, and for airliners it is pretty hard to claim to be going green when your product burns a lot of fuel. Bombardier, a Canadian airplane manufacturer, announced their CSeries, the “greenest” passenger jet ever at the show. The CSeries is designed to seat 110-130 passengers and use 20% less fuel than comparable sized planes. That being said, there are very few comparable sized planes in the market today. Some older 737 models (the –300 and –500) both qualify, but Boeing hasn’t been selling those new for a while now, preferring to focus on the slightly larger 150-180 seat 737NG models. On the plus side, there is a good chance that these CSeries and the similar Embrear 190s (100 seats) will start to replace the smallest regional jets that are particularly cramped and uncomfortable to ride in.
And, as I mentioned above, lots of deals announced as well. Embraer announced 22 planes sold. Etihad announced a huge purchase sheet: 35 Boeing 787-9 and 10 777-300ER aircraft, 20 Airbus A320s, 25 A350 XWBs and 10 A380s. That’s more capacity than a LOT of airlines out there these days, and they’re just up the Gulf from Dubai where Emirates has a ton of planes and more coming.
Lots more happened, but these are some of the highlights that I thought were useful.
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