Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wide Body Report - September 8, 2015

September 8, 2015

As currently planned, the Boeing 777X will boast a wingspan of 235 ft, 5 in (71.8 m), giving it the largest wingspan of any aircraft built to date - even greater than that of the Boeing 747 or Airbus A380.  To help accommodate this wingspan, the wing tips will need to fold after landing, to allow the airplane to maneuver through existing airports.

Boeing's production line for the 787 Dreamliner has been been running smoother than expected, with the manufacturer now expected to exceed the target for 120 new aircraft deliveries previously projected for 2015.  More importantly, the manufacturer is expected to reach the break-even point on per-aircraft manufacturing costs by year-end, allowing Boeing to begin to recoup its research and development costs for the program.  Previously, each 787 delivered has been delivered at a loss, as the manufacturer worked its way through the production learning curve for the new design.

Air India continues to struggle with technical glitches in its newly delivered 787-8 fleet, including engine troubles, as well as problems with the cooling valves for the AC system, cabin air compressor, battery fire warnings, cracks in the windshield, galley food cooling system, spoiler actuation, and lavatory doors, among others.  Air India has reportedly been cannibalizing parts from one 787 to the next to keep their fleet flying.  Similar problems have been reported by JAL and ANA, although apparently have been less severe, and with less public comment.

Boeing officials have reaffirmed their planned production rate for the 747 airline, despite a 20-month drought in new sales.  The manufacturer currently has only 25 firm orders still to fulfill for its legacy jumbo airliner, after Nippon Cargo Airlines cancelled their order for four 747 freighters.  At current production rates, and without new orders, the 747 production line will shut down within two years.

Airbus has begun machining the first components for its prototype A330 NEO aircraft.  The A330 NEO (new engine option) incorporates a number of refinements over its predecessor, including composite fairings, and a new Rolls-Ryoce Trent 7000 engine - a derivative of the Trent 1000 which powers the larger Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Airbus has secured orders for 145 A330 NEOs, which is aimed at competing with the smaller models of the 787, while the all-new A350-900 will compete with the larger versions of the 787 Dreamliner.

Emirates has launched non-stop service between Orlando and Dubai this past week, flying an A380 super-jumbo airliner into Florida for the first time.

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