22 November 2014

Once the development phase of the A350´s Trent XWB engine is finished, Rolls-Royce will cut thousands of engineers next year.

Rolls-Royce is planning to cut 2.600 positions over the next 18 months, mainly within its aerospace division.

The restructuring is intended to save $128 million per year, although it will result in an overcost until 2017.

Although its aerospace division is among its stronger businesses, the manufacturer says its engineering requirement has lessened as a result of its ending primary development of the Trent 1000and Trent XWB engines, both of which have entered production.

Source: flyteam.jp

Rolls-Royce plan to “reduce management layers” and improve efficiency through investment in new facilities and technology.

Source: Yumihiko Ogawa

Rolls-Royce chief John Rishton says that the company will aim to achieve the cuts through voluntary measures “where possible”. But he also warns that the new measures will “not be the last. We will continue to pursue further cost improvements in all areas” he says.

Based on the article “Restructuring Rolls-Royce cuts aerospace workforce” published in FlightGlobal.

21 November 2014

“Some additional surprises” by Qatar Airways CEO expected in the A350 hand-over ceremony.

Qatar Airways took delivery of its first A380 in September, following a 3-month standoff with Airbus over the quality of cabin fittings. "It cost us nearly three months ... In revenue over $200 million," said Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar Al Baker.

Source: Christian Preinl

Al Baker expressed confidence that the mid-sized A350 would be delivered on time before the end of the year and hinted at a possible new plane order.

Source: Jujug Spotting

"Qatar Airways has been very proactive with Airbus on the A350 program. This is a very fine airplane. The aircraft will - God willing - be delivered to us before the end of the year on schedule and we may have some additional surprises for you which I will not discuss with you now."

Source: Jujug Spotting

The A350 handover ceremony is scheduled for Friday 12/12 in Toulouse.

Based on the article “Qatar Airways lost $200m because of A380 delays, says Al Baker” published in Reuters.

20 November 2014

Delta orders 25 A350-900.

Airbus has won the competition for 50 wide-body airplanes and they will sell Delta 25 A350-900s and 25 A330-900s.

According to the information published as a global exclusive –Delta wanted to announce this at Investors’ Day on 11/December, the day before the A350 MSN6´s hand over by Qatar- Boeing hoped to sell Delta the 787-9 and also offered 5 new 777-200LRs as bridge lift until delivery slots for the 789 were available.

For Airbus, winning Delta is a major coup because of the sheer size of the deal, Delta’s status -this is one of the Big 3 US carriers- and because this gives a good boost to the A330neo program and adds a prestigious name to the customer list.

“When the most successful U.S. airline today – a company that has flown passengers around the world for more than 80 years, has 80-thousand employees and 165 million customers in a year – says ‘yes we want 50 more of your widebody planes’, you can’t debate the fact that it is a massive endorsement of your product line,” said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer – Customers.

 “Airbus is unique in offering an optimized long-range choice in aircraft that will allow Delta to continue to modernize its fleet and customize its use with the most efficient and comfortable aircraft available.”

As published by Leeham News, Delta wants the airplanes beginning in 2017 and Boeing couldn’t find early delivery slots for the 789. On the other hand Airbus was able to move the A350 skyline around enough to provide the airplane early.

The A350-900 is intended for the Pacific and the A330-900 for the Atlantic.

All pictures by Airbus.

Based on the article “Airbus wins Delta wide-body order” published in Leeham News and Comment.

19 November 2014

French Economy Minister visits A350 manufacturing line in Aerolia and says that Aerolia-Sogerma merger is a good decision.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has said that the merger of Sogerma and Aerolia, 100% subsidiaries of Airbus Group was "a good decision".

"This is really a good decision. The social partners, whom I have met, are also very positive", said the Minister at the end of a visit to Aerolia-site, employing nearly 1,600 people.

After visiting for an hour the 18,000 m2 site where parts for A350 front fuselage are manufactured –with automated fiber placement and tape laying “robots”- he explained: “Our country has not managed to full modernization in the 1980s, 90 and 2000 linked to the first automation. Many of our neighbors have overtaken us. The robots didn´t destroyed jobs and in Germany for example, companies have 5 times more robots and twice less unemployment".

The president of Aerolia Cédric Gautier, who accompanied Mr. Macron during the visit, estimated that the merger "presented itself very well" and that it would be legally effective before the end of the year. As early as 2/January, we will start under a new entity more important, more robust and more able to invest in R&D and to seek markets, including outside Airbus”.

The turnover of Aerolia, employing 3.500 employees worldwide, has reached 1.1 billion euros in 2013, with an annual production of more than 650 fuselages and more than 6 million elementary parts and panels.

On the other side Sogerma, which is the specialist in business class seats, has about 2.000 employees worldwide and has 2 sites (Rochefort, Mérignac), as well as a design office in Toulouse.

All photos by F.Douchet

Based on the article “Aéronautique: fusion Sogerma-Aerolia, "une bonne décision" (Macron)” published by AFP

18 November 2014

First A350 delivery to Qatar scheduled on 12/12

Qatar Airways will take delivery of its first Airbus A350 on schedule next month, said Akbar Al Baker, the airlines chief executive in Dubai today.

Source: Airbus

The Doha-based airline recently rejected its first Airbus A380 over it said was concerns with the quality of the cabin fittings. Qatar Airways took delivery of the A380 in September, 3-months after schedule.

Al Baker told reporters “everything is perfect” with the A350 and that the airline is likely to receive the widebody between 12-15/December.

Source: Jujug Spotting

Al Baker spoke to reporters following a closed-door meeting with airline executives as part of the 47th Arab Air Carriers Organisation Annual General Meet that is being held in Dubai this week.

Based on the article “Qatar Airways to receive A350 on time: CEO” published in Gulf News.

17 November 2014

A350 starts an 11-day Asian Demo-Tour.

The MSN5 flight prototype of the Airbus A350-900 has started today from Toulouse its very first demo tour taking it on an 11-day trip around Asia. 

This Asian Demo Tour comes just after the EASA and FAA type certification milestones. After visiting Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia in August during the route proving certification exercise, the A350-900 will now visit more airports and customers in Asia Pacific.

The region is one of the fastest growing markets for air transport and represents 1/3 of the 750 A350 XWB orders won to date. 

The journey will take the aircraft to Seoul, Tokyo, Hanoi, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur during a period of 11 days, from 17 to 28/November. These A350 flights will be operated by Airbus flight crews.

The MSN5 is one of two A350-900 prototypes with a fully functional cabin (42 business class and 223 economy class seats). This demonstration exercise comes as we near the first airline delivery, to Qatar Airways, by the end of the year. 

“Based on the press release “The A350 XWB embarks on demonstration tour of Asia”

16 November 2014

A350 lithium-ion batteries comparing with 787 system: double number of batteries but with more conservative power output and energy levels.

Airbus and supplier Saft have confirmed several key details of the A350-900’s rechargeable lithium-ion batteries which are soon to become the production standard.

Though incomplete, the details show Airbus and Saft designed the batteries with more conservative power output and energy levels than found on the 787 batteries that caused a 4-month grounding in 2013.

The grounding was lifted in May 2013 only after Boeing revised the installation design, although the architecture of the GS Yuasa-designed system remained the same.

Source: FlightGlobal 

Though much heavier than the Boeing design, the Airbus approach is more cautious. Instead of the 787’s 2 batteries, Airbus will install 4 lithium-ion batteries in each A350-900. Each of the Saft batteries consists of 14 cells storing a combined 45Ah of energy and running at 3.6V. Yuasa batteries onboard the 787 consists of 8 cells storing a combined 72Ah of energy and running at 3.7V.


One of the 4 batteries is dedicated to starting the APU, and the 3 others will provide power to other components in the A350 electrical system, Airbus said.

Details of the A350’s lithium-ion batteries have been a closely held secret since Saft was identified as the supplier 6 years ago.

As the 787 entered the battery-induced grounding, Airbus said the A350 would first be certificated with more traditional nickel-cadmium batteries that would be replaced by the lithium-ion batteries by early next year, around MSN21 for Qatar Airways.

Unlike GS Yuasa, which has released a specification sheet on the 787 batteries (it uses a lithium cobalt oxide chemistry – which is considered the most reactive and inherently volatile electrolytes in lithium ion-based systems), Saft had never revealed the technical characteristics of the A350-900 battery; the voltage of the A350 battery appears to rule out lithium iron phosphate, which is the least volatile lithium-based chemistry. But Airbus could still be using other chemistries considered safer than lithium cobalt oxide, such as lithium nickel manganese oxide.

The A350 installation includes an “overboard venting system”. That system is now being reviewed by the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration.

“We are progressing well with EASA and FAA – also considering recommendations from the US National Transportation Safety Board – to certify the li-ion main batteries in order to offer them to our customers at a later stage,” Airbus said.

Based on the article “Airbus cautious on lithium battery design for A350” published in Flight Global.