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Russian airline, Transaero, deep in financial difficulties, was supposed to be taken over by Aeroflot.  Turns out Aeroflot won’t be doing that because the company cannot get the 75%+1 share of Transaero it had expected.  The takeover has fallen through.

Transportation Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters yesterday that the government will not allow the airline to even sell tickets.  With its debts unable to be paid, and no state bailout, Transaero looks doomed.  Yesterday a report in Russia said the state moved on a bankruptcy.  The share price is down to 20 rubles (about $0.31).  Could there be some shareholders holding out for something?

It would appear a power play is in the works. Aeroflot has no need to rush to rescue Transaero.  Once the state withdrew a parachute, Transaero debt and shareholders were left hanging.  Whereas they might have been given a severe haircut before, now it looks far… Continue reading

Airbus’ A320neo fleet started flight tests outside France last month, with the LEAP-engined aircraft going to Bolivia and the GTF-engined aircraft going to the UAE.  Airbus is pushing its tests hard because it has publicly said it will deliver its first aircraft by year end.

There are big kudos for accomplishing this.  Making such a delivery is a poke at Bombardier and Boeing.  That alone makes the pressure worthwhile.  But along with the aggressive schedule comes risk.

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Today F-WNEO, also known as MSN6101, powered by P&W GTFs is off to the Middle East for flight tests.   This is the first A320neo to fly as was the one which experienced the GTF replacement after a part failed.   Through last month end, this aircraft has the most flights of the test program (43%) and most block time (45%).  Since its first flight MSN6101 has averaged one hour per day while MSN6419 (LEAP power) has averaged 2.3 hours per day although it has only been flying for 125 days compared to 361 for MSN6101.

Airbus advises that: At Al Ain we perform the hot weather tests, whereas in Bolivia we have performed the high altitude tests. With regards to your question on the noise, we still have to perform some tests so we are not in a position to share further data info, however we target the same… Continue reading

Airbus has formally opened its final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama, and conducted a media tour on Sunday 13 September before the formal opening ceremony tomorrow.  The facility is impressive, and has the capability to build eight narrow-body aircraft per month operating at full capacity, although current plans are to ramp up to four per month by the end of 2018.

The facility is situated on a 116 acre site, and Airbus holds an option on an adjacent 116 acres should it wish to later expand the facility.  About half of the 116 acres are occupied by buildings and tarmac, including four major buildings – the Trans-Shipment Hangar where parts are received, the final assembly line building, where initial construction begins on four stations, the finalization and testing hangar, where aircraft are completed and testing is completed, and the delivery center where they are handed over to customers.

Two aircraft… Continue reading

2015-09-11_12-22-13It might come as a surprise to many to know the LEAP-powered A320neo is already doing tests outside Europe.  The aircraft is now in Bolivia.  This comes after flying into French Guiana on September 9.

It looks like Airbus has accelerated the LEAP testing, with no public statements.

After a request Airbus shared this with us: The A320neo is performing high altitude tests in Bolivia in La Paz and Cochabamba for a bit more than a week. The route the A320neo took was from Toulouse to Cap Verde, Cayenne and then Cochabamba. With regards to your questions on orders of tests, what happens is that we take opportunities in flight testing when they arise while ensuring our targets on certification and delivery.

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