A Commercial Aviation Consultancy


Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation (MITAC) resumed flight tests of the FTA-1 for the MRJ.  During about a 1.5-hour flight test off the Pacific coast, MITAC confirmed upgrades carried out on the aircraft.

MRJ 4th flight Test_4The importance of this event cannot be overstated.  Aircraft program delays are the bane of the industry.  MITAC is under pressure to deliver on its promise.  The program has seen a number of delays and each one keeps new orders on hold.  Every test flight is a source of program confidence.  MITAC’s customers have been quietly supportive.  It is crucial the program hasten through its flight test program without any more disruptions.

Airbus started final assembly of the first A350-1000 on schedule at the A350 XWB FAL in Toulouse. The first A350-1000, one of three flight test aircraft to be built, will do its maiden flight before the end of 2016.  Airbus plans deliveries of the A350-1000 will start in mid-2017.

A350-1000_FAL Start_ (1)_To ensure the smooth integration of the A350-1000 into the FAL while A350-900 production is ramping-up,
Airbus has added three additional final assembly stations. For maximum flexibility, all stations in the A350
XWB FAL can be used for either model.

Currently at “Station 50” for fuselage join-up and nose landing gear installation, the first A350-1000 will next
move to “Station 40” where the wings, main landing gear, pylons and tail planes will be installed. To save
time and optimize the A350 assembly process, Airbus starts the cabin furnishing and first electrical power-on
in parallel to the structural assembly work. After… Continue reading

It has been slow going for Boeing so far this year with its stock under performing the S&P500 by 9%.  Over the past year, Boeing’s stock has been a Dow darling.  Here is a chart of the past ten years showing Boeing outperforming the Dow from 2013.

2016-02-10_9-03-45What is going on that investors seem more wary?

Commercial aviation concerns may be the driver here.  The industry has been having a tremendous period of market support.  High oil prices helped drive demand for new, more fuel efficient, aircraft.  But now oil prices are slumping.  There is no sign that oil prices are going to go back up any time soon.  The demand for those newer aircraft now look much softer.  Hundreds of aircraft that were likely to be retired are now going to soldier on for a few more years.  The reason… Continue reading

Speaking in a meeting with the officials from Ministry of Roads and Urban Development in Tehran, Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said the first delivery of 20 ATRs to Iran will start in November and will last through 2018.  Iran Air finalized a contract with ATR on February 1 to purchase 20 aircraft.

Managing Director of Iran Air Farhad Parvaresh said earlier that Iran Air will receive two to four aircraft in 2016. The ATRs accommodate 70 passengers and will be flown on short routes, he explained.

So “first blood” to ATR.  However we await to see how the rest of the recent Iranian aircraft order plays out.  It appears the aircraft are all headed to the national airline.  Clearly it has ambitions to match regional competitors.  This will be a tough challenge.  But another item getting scant attention – what about the various… Continue reading

The first A321neo, equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines, completed its maiden flight on today in Hamburg, Germany. The aircraft, registered D-AVXB, was flown by Test Pilots Martin Scheuermann and Bernardo Saez Benito Hernandez. Accompanying them in the cockpit was Test-Flight Engineer Gérard Leskerpit and monitoring the flight’s progress were Flight-Test Engineers Sandra Bour Schaeffer and Emiliano Requena Esteban.

csm_A321neo_CFM_engine_First_Flight_take_off_fe86dee22dThe flight lasted five hours and 29 minutes during which tests were performed on the engine speed variation (low/high), systems behavior and to validate the aircraft’s flight envelope. The A321neo will join the NEO flight test fleet and perform a partial flight test program to validate the impact on handling qualities, performance and systems. The first A321neo will be delivered at the end of 2016.

Based on reader feedback we decided to add another 787 post today – this one focused on deliveries.  Let’s get to the data. As the first chart shows, most (89%) deliveries have gone to airlines directly.  Lessors account for 15% of orders and 9% of deliveries.  Airlines customers are very important to this aircraft program and lessors, while important, less so. Continue reading

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