Airbus : “com­pet­i­tive­ness in­no­va­tion and di­ver­sity”

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - News -

Airbus marked 2016 with key mile­stones in­clud­ing ser­vice in­tro­duc­tion of the A320­neo, many of them to In­dian op­er­a­tors as also de­vel­op­ment of the A321­neo ( see cover). In a ma­jor break­through, Airbus made first de­liv­er­ies of a large num­ber of A320, A330, A350 and A380s to Iran Air even as the Com­pany ex­pect to de­liver more than 700 com­mer­cial air­craft through­out the world in 2017.

Airbus marked key mile­stones in 2016, in­clud­ing ser­vice in­tro­duc­tions of the A320­neo (new en­gine op­tion) jet­liner; first de­liv­er­ies of the lat­est A330 Fam­ily mem­ber tai­lored for regional routes; ex­pan­sion of the A350 XWB op­er­a­tor base; start of fi­nal assem­bly for the A330­neo; its 10,000th over­all de­liv­ery and broad­en­ing of the com­pany’s cus­tomer ser­vices sup­port. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing these achieve­ments were sig­nif­i­cant new com­mer­cial or­ders from around the world for Airbus’ prod­uct line of sin­gle-aisle and wide­body air­craft.

High­light­ing Airbus’ con­tin­ued growth, the air­craft man­u­fac­turer marked its 10,000th jet­liner de­liv­ery to global cus­tomers with the 14 Oc­to­ber 2016 han­dover of an A350- 900 jet­liner to Sin­ga­pore Air­lines. This ma­jor achieve­ment spans more than four decades with ev­ery mem­ber of the Airbus air­liner “fam­ily” con­tribut­ing – from the cor­ner­stone medium-haul A300 and A310 to the sin­gle-aisle A320 prod­uct line, long-range A330/340 Fam­ily, new­gen­er­a­tion A350 XWB and dou­ble-deck A380. As of the 10,000th han­dover, the global Airbus fleet had flown some 215 bil­lion kilo­me­tres and car­ried more than 12 bil­lion pas­sen­gers – a num­ber rep­re­sent­ing ap­prox­i­mately twice the Earth’s pop­u­la­tion.

His­tory was made in 2016 with the first-ever de­liv­ery of a jet­liner from the Airbus US man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Mo­bile, Alabama – a sin­gle-aisle A321 for op­er­a­tion by US-based car­rier Jet­Blue. Airbus’ sec­ond han­dover from the fi­nal assem­bly line oc­curred less than one month later with the de­liv­ery of Amer­i­can Air­lines’ very first US built Airbus air­craft – an A321. Tak­ing the Alabama site into ac­count, Airbus now has op­er­a­tional fi­nal assem­bly lines for the A320 jet­liner prod­uct line on three con­ti­nents: North Amer­ica, Europe ( at Toulouse, France and Ham­burg, Ger­many), and Asia (at Tian­jin, China).

Airbus mean­while reached im­por­tant pro­duc­tion mile­stones for its A350 XWB Fam­ily’s long­est- fuse­lage mem­ber, the A350-1000 for which Airbus is tar­get­ing a mid-2017 com­mer­cial ser­vice en­try. The com­pany has rolled out its the ini­tial two air­craft, the first of which made its maiden flight in Novem­ber last year. These jet­lin­ers were built at Airbus’ A350 XWB fi­nal assem­bly line in Toulouse, France con­cur­rently with the base­line A350-900 ver­sion. Un­der­scor­ing the high de­gree of com­mon­al­ity be­tween the A350-900 and A350-1000, all fi­nal assem­bly line sta­tions can ac­com­mo­date both air­craft types.

Last year also marked the start of com­mer­cial ser­vice for Airbus’ A320­neo (new en­gine op­tion) Fam­ily, which of­fers air­line op­er­a­tors ‘un­beat­able fuel ef­fi­ciency’

by in­cor­po­rat­ing the very lat­est tech­nolo­gies, in­clud­ing two new- gen­er­a­tion en­gine choices: Pratt & Whit­ney’s PurePower PW1100G-JM and the LEAP-1A from CFM In­ter­na­tional.

Airbus has notched sev­eral im­por­tant mile­stones that will con­tinue the suc­cess story for the pop­u­lar and ver­sa­tile A330 Fam­ily. In late 2016, the com­pany an­nounced the start of fi­nal assem­bly for the very first A330­neo (new en­gine op­tion) jet­liner. Airbus’ first wide­body NEO is a longer- fuse­lage A330- 900 ver­sion, which along­side the A330-800 com­prises this ‘highly-ef­fi­cient’ prod­uct line’s two ver­sions. The A330­neo Fam­ily builds on the A330’s proven eco­nomics of­fer­ing a fur­ther 14 per­cent re­duc­tion in fuel burn per seat. Another sig­nif­i­cant de­vel­op­ment last year was han­dover for the first A330300 Regional jet­liner, which was re­ceived by Saudi Ara­bian Air­lines. Tai­lored for regional and do­mes­tic op­er­a­tions, this A330 ver­sion is op­ti­mised for routes up to

2,700 nm cov­er­ing short- to medium-haul routes with up to five hours’ flight time. As the A330-300 Regional’s launch op­er­a­tor, Saudi Ara­bian Air­lines is to op­er­ate a fleet of 20 jet­lin­ers, de­ploy­ing the air­craft to boost ca­pac­ity on some of its most in-de­mand regional/do­mes­tic routes.

Airbus also for­mally launched its in­no­va­tive new jet­liner cabin con­cept – Airspace by Airbus – which con­nects the com­pany’s com­mit­ment to pas­sen­ger well- be­ing and air­line op­er­a­tional per­for­mance. Based on four key pil­lars, com­fort, am­bi­ence, ser­vice and de­sign, Airspace by Airbus cab­ins of­fer a more re­lax­ing, in­spir­ing, at­trac­tive and func­tional en­vi­ron­ment for trav­ellers. This so­phis­ti­cated, flex­i­ble con­cept also will op­ti­mise cabin space for op­er­a­tors, while al­low­ing them to project their brands and cre­ate next-gen­er­a­tion fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for pas­sen­gers. The Airspace by Airbus cabin will be in­tro­duced with the wide­body A330­neo (new en­gine op­tion) and in­cor­po­rated onto the A350 XWB Fam­ily.

High­light­ing the con­tin­ued growth in com­mer­cial avi­a­tion af­ter­mar­ket, Airbus is com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing even more value- adding ser­vices on par with the qual­ity of its mar­ket-lead­ing jet­lin­ers. Un­der­scor­ing this grow­ing fo­cus was the an­nounce­ment of the com­pany’s first-ever global ser­vices fore­cast – which projects $ 3 tril­lion in af­ter­mar­ket ser­vices spend­ing over the next 20 years. The com­pany also un­veiled its new NAVBLUE flight op­er­a­tions and air traf­fic man­age­ment com­pany that com­bines the port­fo­lios of Navtech (ac­quired by Airbus), Airbus ProSky and Airbus Flight Op­er­a­tions Ser­vices. NAVBLUE is reach­ing for the skies fu­eled by the agility of Navtech and the ‘pi­o­neer­ing spirit of Airbus’.

Ira­nian of­fi­cials took a sig­nif­i­cant step in mod­ernising their coun­try’s com­mer­cial avi­a­tion sec­tor by sign­ing two agree­ments with Airbus. These ac­cords cov­ered the ac­qui­si­tion of 118 new air­craft, along with a com­pre­hen­sive co- op­er­a­tion for de­vel­op­ing Ira­nian air trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture. With one agree­ment, Iran Air would ac­quire a full range of new Airbus jet­lin­ers (21 A320ceo Fam­ily air­craft, 24 A320­neo fam­ily jet­lin­ers, 27 A330ceo fam­ily air­lines, 18 A330-900neo ver­sions, 16 A350- 1000s and 12 A380s), while ben­e­fit­ing from Airbus’ ex­ten­sive re­sources in pi­lot and main­te­nance train­ing, as well as cus­tomer sup­port and ser­vices. The other ac­cord was a com­pre­hen­sive co­op­er­a­tion agree­ment for de­vel­op­ment of air nav­i­ga­tion ser­vices, air­port and air­craft op­er­a­tions, har­monised air reg­u­la­tions, tech­ni­cal and aca­demic train­ing, main­te­nance and re­pair op­er­a­tions, as well as in­dus­trial co­op­er­a­tion.

On 11 Jan­uary 2017, Iran Air took de­liv­ery of its first new air­craft, an A321, in a han­dover cer­e­mony in Toulouse at­tended by Farhad Par­varesh, Iran Air Chair­man and CEO, and Fabrice Bregier, Pres­i­dent, Airbus Com­mer­cial Air­craft and Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Airbus, in the pres­ence of Gael Me­heust, SVP Sales and Mar­ket­ing CFM, Tom En­ders, Airbus Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer, and in­ter­na­tional me­dia.

In a demon­stra­tion of Airbus’ grow­ing pres­ence in the Asia- Pa­cific re­gion, the com­pany be­gan con­struc­tion of its A330 Com­ple­tion and De­liv­ery Cen­tre (C&DC) at Tian­jin, China where ac­tiv­i­ties will in­clude cabin in­stal­la­tion, fuse­lage paint­ing, en­gine run, pro­duc­tion flights, as well as de­liv­ery to cus­tomers. The Tian­jin-based C& DC will ben­e­fit from its colo­ca­tion with the ex­ist­ing A320 Fam­ily fi­nal assem­bly line in this north­ern Chi­nese city. Air­craft pro­cessed at the Chi­nese

Com­ple­tion and De­liv­ery Cen­tre will be built at Airbus’ A330 fi­nal assem­bly line in Toulouse, France, and then flown to Tian­jin. Cus­tomer de­liv­er­ies of fin­ished A330s from Tian­jin are sched­uled to be­gin in Septem­ber 2017.

Com­ment­ing on the com­pany’s progress, Tom En­ders, Airbus Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer stated: “We have de­liv­ered on the com­mit­ments that we gave a year ago and achieved our guid­ance and ob­jec­tives, with one ex­cep­tion, the A400M, where we had to take another sig­nif­i­cant charge to­talling 2.2 bil­lion eu­ros in 2016. De- risk­ing the pro­gramme and strength­en­ing pro­gramme ex­e­cu­tion are our top pri­or­i­ties for this air­craft in 2017. We recorded a net book-to-bill above one in a year we de­liv­ered more com­mer­cial air­craft than ever be­fore. The record or­der back­log is sup­port­ing the ramp-up plans and our per­for­mance in 2016 shows we can de­liver on that. We suc­cess­fully man­aged the ramp- up of the sin­gle-aisle and A350 pro­grammes while at the same time tran­si­tion­ing to the more ef­fi­cient ver­sion of the A320. Our com­mer­cial per­for­mance in he­li­copters was good de­spite a dif­fi­cult mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment and we con­tin­ued to strengthen and re­shape the de­fence and space port­fo­lio. We are tak­ing ad­di­tional steps to in­crease ef­fi­ciency through the in­te­gra­tion project, while in­vest­ments in dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion will fur­ther im­prove our com­pet­i­tive­ness. Over­all, the progress we made last year gives us con­fi­dence that we have the build­ing blocks in place to achieve our earn­ings and cash flow growth po­ten­tial.”

As the ba­sis for its 2017 tar­gets, Airbus ex­pects to de­liver more than 700 com­mer­cial air­craft.

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