September 7, 2015
Mitsubishi Aircraft has set a first-flight date in late October for its prototype Mitsubishi Regional Jet. Powered by a verson of Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan(TM) engine, the MRJ has secured 223 firm orders to date, most in the United States.
Although Airbus' record sale to IndiGo dominated news reports surrounding sales for Airbus' new A320 NEO in August, Airbus also secured an order for 32 A320 NEO family aircraft to an undisclosed customer, and an order for three corporate-jet versions of the A320 NEO, to yet another undisclosed customer. The NEO features two, new-generation engine options: the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G Geared Turbofan(TM), and the CFM International LEAP-1A.
Industry analysts are beginning to warn that Boeing will face a production gap in 737 airliners, between the delivery of the final orders for the 737NG models now in production, and ramp-up for the 737 MAX. One analyst is currently predicting a gap of more than 100 aircraft before the MAX becomes available - or roughly a two- to three-month gap in deliveries. Part of the issue stems from Boeing plans to ramp-up 737 production from the current 42 aircraft per month to 52 aircraft per month by 2018.
Alaska Airlines' vice-president for planning, John Kirby has revealed that the airline expects to receive its first 737 MAX airplane in late 2017, roughly six months behind the launch customer for the 737 MAX - Southwest Airlines. The 737 MAX will be powered exclusively by the CFM International LEAP-1B engine. CFM International was formed out of a partnership between General Electric Aircraft Engines, and France's Snecma.
Chinese officials are reporting that the assembly of the first prototype C919 airline has been progressing much more smoothly than the assembly of the first ARJ21 regional jet only a few years ago. Whereas the final assembly of the smaller ARJ21 required six months to complete, the C919 is on course to be completed over a 3.5 month period. The official roll-out for the first C919 prototype is scheduled for October. The C919 is intended to compete head-to-head with the Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 NEO, and will feature CFM International's LEAP-1C engine.
Embraer is contemplating an increase in its production rate for its E-Jet regional airline to meet increased customer demand. A total of 92 E-Jets were delivered last year and the company is currently expected to deliver 95-100 this year. However, production has reached up to 150 aircraft per year in the past, and with a record backlog of 531 aircraft orders the manufacturer is contemplating a ramp-up as it approaches the introduction of the new E2 E-Jet version, which will feature Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan(TM) engine.