17 April 2015

Cathay Pacific will fly the A350 on Barcelona, Zurich and Dusseldorf routes from Feb/2016.

Network-wise, the focus will shift to Europe in the gear-up for the first Airbus A350-900 delivery in February 2016.

In Europe, after having launched the 4 times weekly Manchester flights in December/2014 and daily Zurich flights in March/2015, as well as 4 times weekly Dusseldorf flights in September/2014, the next big opportunity would come with the Airbus A350, which enables Cathay to launch secondary destinations such as Barcelona in Spain and very likely to replace the 4-class 777-300ERs on the Zurich and Dusseldorf routes with 3-class A350-900s, thus right-sizing the capacity offered on these routes.

On the fleet development side, the arrival of the A350 will mean part of the A330 fleet, most likely the 13 long-haul ones with high maximum take-off weight (MTOW) rating performing missions to Australia, will be displaced, on top of replacing the A340-300 on the Auckland route now that the Moscow route is being suspended from 1/June onwards.

Deploying the A350 and replacing the 3-class A330-300 on routes to the Australian capital cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth make much sense, as the 280-seat A350-900 has a 12.04% bigger Economy cabin than a 251-seat A330-300.

This makes the A350-900 arguably more suitable to the Australian market as the 12% bigger economy cabin leads to an around 6% point jump in the economy ratio from 76.1% to 82.3%.

That said, with the frequencies to the 4 Australian capital cities being capped, there will very likely be a combination of 777-300ERs and A350-900s serving the market to cope with growth in the future.

Based on the article “Cathay Pacific begins the next chapter of growth” published in Aspire Aviation

16 April 2015

More demand for high-density seat layout in A350. Now called “BudgetEconomy" or "Max Abreast".

Airbus plans to offer airlines more choice in the way they configure their planes, and sees carriers opting for different levels of comfort within their economy cabins, said a senior Airbus executive.

It also plans to redefine the capacity of its wide-body jets to add premium economy to the traditional economy and business classes to recognise market trends, said Chris Emerson, head of marketing at Airbus.
Airbus now offers 9-abreast seating as the standard coach-class layout on its A350, but “there is interest in a 10-abreast layout to airlines who want to offer a leaner product in exchange for lower fares” Emerson said.

"90% of global air traffic is in the economy segment," he said.
Emerson said that airlines would increasingly look at offering differing comfort levels withinthe economy cabin. "We see more and more segmentation in the market."
Besides offering choices to passengers, seats have long been the centre of a deeper PR battle between Airbus and Boeing.

Each accuses the other of squeezing in passengers to make their planes seem more efficient on paper.
Although it still says 18 inches is the standard, Airbus is giving more weight to the option to have higher density seating to give airlines flexibility.

It has coined the terms "BudgetEconomy" or "Max Abreast" seating versus Comfort Economy.
Currently, 10% of Airbus wide-body planes are in the "Max Abreast" configuration, Emerson said.

Based in the article “Airbus eyes new seat choices as economy traffic booms” published in Reuters.

15 April 2015

The factory of the future. Daher getting ready for A350 ramp-up.

To achieve the ramp up of the A350, Daher (970 million euros of turnover) works in a "flexible and automated line for aeronautical pieces of small dimensions". The factory of the future.

The challenge is to ensure that the production of thousands of composite junction-clips for the A350 fuselage that are carried out in the Nantes-site of Daher, is in line with required production ramp-up.

"We will have to move from a production of 5.000 clips/month to a monthly rate of 50.000 in only 3 years”, summarized Nicolas Orance, Director of Strategy and Development at Daher.

Daher is going to robotize the current manual operations in order to pass it to series phase.

Since early 2014, a first clip-production line is already equipped with a stamping-robot.

But this is only a first step: the line will be soon equipped with a dedicated equipment for automated machining, currently under qualification.

"Between 2016 and 2017, we should achieve to implement, in total, 3 lines to Nantes," said Nicolas Orance.

Additionally to the automation,  the line will have also to be much more flexible.

Among the thousands of  clips, there are hundreds of variants and at any time new references could be required. There is a 3D printer used to manufacture control-templates for clips.

Based on the article “Usine du Futur : des projets pilotes à la peine” published in Usine-digitale.fr

14 April 2015

Cathay Pacific A350 interior configuration with seats customized by Porsche.

The 280-seat A350-900s of Cathay Pacific will be configured with 38 FB2+ New Business Class seats customised by Germany’s Porsche Design Group and based on a new-generation Cirrus seat by Zodiac Aerospace, which will feature incremental upgrades on the existing award-winning Business Class design such as improved table and personal television positions, whereas the existing Business Class seats will receive a mid-life refresh.

Source: Airbus

The A350 will also come with 28 and 214 New Premium Economy Class and New Economy Class seats, respectively, of which Cathay Pacific general manager Toby Smith remarked on the New Economy Class seat design, “No shell seats”.

Cathay Pacific will debut inflight Wi-Fi on the flagship A350-900 as well, doing some trials on its pricing model, despite it is not yet reassured by the technology and it cannot be switched on while in the Chinese airspace at the moment.

A new Economy meal tray will also be introduced aboard the A350, Smith said.

Based on the article “Cathay Pacific begins the next chapter of growth” published in Aspire Aviation

13 April 2015

Airbus CEO F.Brégier : "With two A350 in service, no news is good news"

In an interview to Airbus CEO Fabrice Brégier at Les Echos, when asked about the A350, Fabrice Brégier said that "after 2 months of operations and 2 aircraft in service, having no bad news is good news."

Source: Airbus

This proves that the A350 is a well-born aircraft. I am also confident about our ability to meet our objectives of the production ramp-up.

It's a challenge, but we should be able to deliver 15 A350 in 2015 and then go up to 10 aircraft per month in 2018."

Based on the article "Fabrice Brégier : « Il faut retrouver l’esprit des grands projets »" published in Les Echos.

12 April 2015

A350 Europe-Tour by Finnair in October/2015. Booking opened.

Finnair will make short haul familiarization flights all around Europe in October before starting their Long-Haul operation in Asia.

A350 First flights will be domestic flights on 5/October: from Helsinki to Oulu and to Rovaniemi.

And starting on 6/October, London Heathrow and Paris CDG.

In Germany there will be many alternatives to flight in the A350 from Helsinki to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin Tegel, Munich and Dusseldorf.

Other European flights will join Helsinki with Brussels, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Oslo, Gothenburg and Barcelona.

Source: Clement Alloing

These are the flight numbers and dates published by Finnair:
05/Oct Helsinki – Oulu AY369
05/Oct Helsinki – Rovaniemi AY421/428
06/Oct Helsinki – London Heathrow AY831. A350 also operates AY995/996 from 15OCT15 to 15NOV15 on daily basis (except certain dates in Oct 2015)
07/Oct Helsinki – Frankfurt AY821/822 on 07OCT15, 19OCT15, 22OCT15, 09NOV15, 12NOV15,16NOV15
07/Oct Helsinki – Stockholm AY645/650
08/Oct Helsinki – Copenhagen AY667/668. A350 also operates on 18OCT15
08/Oct Helsinki – Paris CDG AY871
09/Oct Helsinki – Amsterdam AY841/842
09/Oct Helsinki – Oslo AY659/660
10/Oct Helsinki – Barcelona AY3271/3270 on 10OCT15, 17OCT15, 24OCT15; AY3269/3272 on 11OCT15, 18OCT15
11/Oct Helsinki – Hamburg AY851/852
12/Oct Helsinki – Brussels AY811/812 Service on 12OCT15, 16OCT15, 20OCT15, 21OCT15,06NOV15, 10NOV15, 13NOV15, 17NOV15, 20NOV15, and Day 34 from 03FEB16
13/Oct Helsinki – Berlin Tegel AY911/912
13/Oct Helsinki – Gothenburg AY677/674
14/Oct Helsinki – Dusseldorf AY703/704
/Oct Helsinki – Munich AY803/804

And the Long-Haul Operation will start on 25/October with a daily service from Helsinki to Shanghai Pu Dong.

And after that, Beijing, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Singapore:

eff 21NOV15 Helsinki – Beijing 1 daily
eff 01DEC15 Helsinki – Bangkok AY089/090 1 daily (Except selected dates in December)
eff 01FEB16 Helsinki – Hong Kong 1 daily
eff 28MAR16 Helsinki – Singapore Initially 4 of 7 weekly

11 April 2015

Delivery from Premium Aerotec of the Composite Door-Frame for A350-1000.

Premium Aerotec has delivered the first door-frame made of  carbon fiber composite material (CFRP) for the A350-1000.

Compared to the conventional door-frame made of metal, the new composite door-frames save weight and costs. 

The production of the door-frame structure involved approximately 65 employees in the site of Varel in Premium Aerotec. 

The CFRP portion of the door-frame is 85%, whith titanium and aluminium detail parts for remaining 15%.

"We are pleased, that the door-frame is delivered on time and on quality. This door frame was developed in a completely new technology, a special challenge for all involved", said Gerd Weber, site manager of Premium Aerotec in Varel, at a ceremony. Also the staff of the Varel site attended the event jointly with representatives of Airbus as a customer.

Oliver Theilken, head of the door-frame installation in Varel highlighted also the excellent performance of his team and the good cooperation with the other involved areas: "the all-new design was a challenging task. But we succeeded to develop a viable industrial concept, thanks to the relevant expertise that is established on the site of Varel."

After it´s delivery, the 7 door-frames will be installed at Premium Aerotec in Nordenham on the fuselage section 13/14.

Based on the press release "Premium AEROTEC liefert ersten aus CFK gefertigten Türrahmen für A350-1000 aus"