29 April 2013

“I’m lobbying internally to increase -1000 production.”

“I could sell many more if I had the production slots,” Airbus sales chief John Leahy said. “I’m lobbying internally to increase -1000 production.” Today he has almost sold out for the first three years of production.
Less than a year ago, Airbus was struggling to secure orders for A350-1000  as airlines decried the plane as flawed. Now the company is trying to figure out how to meet resurgent demand.

British Airways - the first European customer for the A350-1000- commitment to buying 18+18 aircraft, gets more than doubling the European aircraft maker’s backlog for the model in less than a year.
The turnaround comes after Etihad Airways last May canceled 6 A350-1000s, shrinking Airbus’s backlog to 62 orders on a plane that had failed to pick up a new customer for 4 years. Airbus staged a comeback 2 months later following a redesign, with Cathay Pacific Airways adding 26 jets to its fleet, a move followed by Qatar Airways, previously among the most vocal critics of the plane, which seats 350 passengers.


Demand is being driven by airlines looking at long-term replacement of 777-300ERs, Leahy said. Boeing’s bestselling wide-body aircraft, which seats 365 passengers, has been in service for 9 years, and Boeing executives are weighing a revamped version by the end of the decade, dubbed the 777X, that would be capable of rebuffing the A350 threat.

 “The engineering data is now becoming available that is giving carriers some comfort the Airbus airplane is there,” said Howard Rubel, a New York-based analyst at Jefferies Group Inc. “British Airways took some of the early planes and Boeing’s solution is a couple of years beyond that.”

Airbus plans to begin delivery of the A350-1000 in 2017 after it altered the design to add payload and range to help compete more directly with the 777-300ER.

British Airways will be among the first A350-1000 operators, with deliveries due from 2017 through 2023, according to IAG. Qatar Air, the inaugural operator of the A350-900 due next year, will also be the first to fly the -1000.

Based on the article “Airbus’s Biggest A350 Vindicated as Boeing Faithful Places Order” published in Bloomberg

28 April 2013

SriLankan Airlines close to announce an order for 4 A350 XWB

State-run Sri Lankan Airlines will acquire 6 Airbus A350-900 and 7 A330-300 aircraft to upgrade its product and cut costs starting from October 2014, chief executive Kapila Chandrasena said.

Sri Lankan will acquire 10 aircraft from Airbus through a mix of operating and finance leases in a deal which has a 'present value' of 1.2 billion US dollars and another 3 from an aircraft leasing firm, he said.

Cabinet approval has been given to sign a memorandum of understanding with Airbus for 10 purchase options and the first aircraft is expected to arrive starting from October 2014, he said.

2014-2022. The aircraft are to be delivered over 7 years.

Starting from 2014, 6 A340 aircraft which are up to 18 to 16 years old will be replaced by A330-300 aircraft.

7 A330-200 aircraft which are around 13 to 16 years old will be replaced starting from 2017 with A350-900 aircraft. 3 will come from an aviation leasing firm as there were no manufacturing slots available at Airbus in that period.

The balance 4 A350s will be acquired from Airbus Industries starting from 2019.

With several very old aircraft in the fleet, the airline could not give the same level of service to all passengers and operating costs were also high. "Fuel is 50 percent of our operating costs. With newer aircraft fuel is about 40 percent. That is a huge quantum of savings." Chandrasena said.

Based on the article “Le Sri Lanka va commander 10 Airbus” published in Le Figaro

27 April 2013

Virtual reality supports the A350 XWB’s design and development

The RHEA (Realistic Human Ergonomic Analysis) development tool, was conceived by EADS Innovation Works – the research and technology organization at EADS.  RHEA results from more than a decade of EADS work in creating virtual 3D environments that enable engineers to interact with computer-generated mock-ups, which are increasingly used in the aerospace sector.
RHEA enables operators to “enter” and interact with a full-scale 3D digital model by wearing special goggles, helmet-mounted displays, or even as an avatar artificial figure with human dimensions.

Following the successful introduction of RHEA at the Eurocopter helicopter business unit of EADS, this software was put into service by Airbus in supporting the A350 XWB’s design and development at French plants in Toulouse and St. Nazaire, as well as Hamburg, Germany.
The deployment of RHEA’s virtual reality world was further expanded at Airbus with its application at St. Nazaire to help train production workers as they move the A350 XWB into production

26 April 2013

The 3-3-3 seats configuration of the A350 XWB or the “middle seat” x 3.

Have you ever been told by a seatmate, "Excuse me; I need to go to the toilet"? Frequent travelers are almost doomed to a middle seat experience at some point.

In a survey at the USA (commissioned by 3M and run by the Global Strategy Group) they found that:

·         A majority of Americans would rather get stuck in traffic (56%) than sit in the middle seat on a full flight.

·         People dislike the middle seat so much that they go to great lengths to avoid it altogether. 50% of people say they would be likely to take an aisle seat being offered on the next available flight, while 20% say they would actually stay overnight at an airport hotel for an aisle seat on the first flight the next morning.

And why 3M is doing this survey? Because 3M sells computer privacy filters that are designed to hide your laptop screen from neighboring seatmates. With Wi-Fi being added to more planes all the time, the aircraft is more than ever before a place to work, watch movies and surf the web. Everyone will have a netbook, or smartphone, tablet or laptop. Imagine how many screens will you be able to watch in a A350 XWB 3-3-3 configuration...

Exceptions can be found (see this VIDEO) but as a general rule, no one wants a middle seat.

Skyscanner made a survey over 1000 airline passengers, questioning on their seat preferences: the survey found that the seat no-one wanted was 31E, a middle seat towards the back of the aircraft.

25 April 2013

Airbus considers offering dimmable windows for A350 but only when the technology is mature to block out 100% of the light.

After 787 Li-ion batteries issue, Airbus has adopted a “minimum-change approach”. So they may eventually offer electrochromic dimable windows on it’s the A350 but only when the technology is "sufficiently mature" to block out 100% of the light entering the cabin.

Zuzana Hrnkova, head of interiors marketing at Airbus, admited it had trialled the technology with airline customers but found there was "no market" for the windows at present.
Boeing has introduced the electrochromic glass, supplied by Gentex, on its new 787 but airlines have complained the technology does not allow the glass to become dark enough, with some Japanese carriers even issuing passengers with stick-on window blinds.

Hrnkova says Airbus worked with Gentex to produce a cabin mock-up to test with its customers. "They told us that it did not provide 100% darkness. Even if it achieves 99% darkness there is still a lot of light penetrating the cabin and that is a no-go for them, especially on long-haul flights," she says.
Although window blinds will be standard on the A350, Airbus has retained the space to integrate the electrochromic windows at a later date, says Hrnkova, once the technology has matured.

Based on the article “Airbus may offer dimmable windows on later A350s” published in Flight Daily News.

24 April 2013

FlightSafety International manufacturing A350 XWB simulators

FlightSafety International is designing and starting to manufacture full flight simulators and advanced training devices for the A350 XWB.

“Designing and developing Level D qualified simulators and other advanced training devices for the Airbus A350 aircraft will enable us to fully support the near and long-term training requirements of airlines that will operate the aircraft around the world. FlightSafety provides the high fidelity devices that airlines require and deliver them in accordance with their scheduling requirements,” said Rick Armstrong, Vice President, Simulation.

The Airbus A350 simulators built by FlightSafety will feature the company’s latest advances in technology including 60” electric motion and control loading technology, newly enhanced VITAL X visual system, and next generation flight instructor operating station.

Simulators equipped with FlightSafety’s electric motion and control loading technology offer the highest level of aircraft fidelity, enhanced performance, increased availability, and lower life cycle costs compared to previous-generation devices. They produce less heat, lower levels of ambient noise, and provide a safer environment. VITAL X offers 200 x 40 degree Field-of-View, features continuous global satellite high-resolution imagery, supports hundreds of six Degree of Freedom fully articulated moving models, and is capable of presenting a wide variety of environmental conditions.

23 April 2013

Airbus is more interested to sell A350 to Turkish Airlines than vice versa. Price negotiations being held.

Turkish Airlines is interested in buying Airbus A380 superjumbo and A350 wide-body aircraft provided Airbus comes up with "good opportunities", chairman Hamdi Topcu told Les Echos newspaper.

Turkish Airlines recently ordered 117 narrow-body passenger planes from Airbus, including 82 firm orders and options to buy a further 35 aircraft in 2015-2020.

Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier said during a visit to Turkey that he expected Turkish Airlines to order A380s eventually, while airline CEO Temel Kotil said he did not see a need at present.

"We've ordered what the company needs until 2020," Topcu said. "For beyond that, we are going to finalize all our purchase plans towards the end of the year.

"But we are still interested in the A380 and the A350. And if Airbus offers us good opportunities, we will take them, making decisions in a few days. It depends on Airbus."

Based on the article “Turkish Interested In A380s, A350s“ published in Reuters.

22 April 2013

British Airways parent IAG ordering 18 A350-1000s plus 18 options.

After a thorough selection process, International Airline Group (IAG), and British Airways have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to buy 18 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft plus 18 options, as part of the airline’s on-going long-haul aircraft fleet renewal and modernization strategy.
IAG, owner of both British Airways and Iberia, has also secured commercial terms and delivery slots that could lead to firm orders for Iberia. Firm orders will only be made when Iberia is in a position to grow profitably, having restructured and reduced its cost base.
 “The A350-1000 will bring many benefits to our fleet. Its size and range will be an excellent fit for our existing network and, with lower unit costs, there is an opportunity to operate a new range of destinations profitably. This will not only bring greater flexibility to our network but also more choice for our customer,” said Willie Walsh, IAG Chief Executive.

The aircraft are to be operated by British Airways and, in combination with 42 Boeing 787s on firm order, will replace 30 Boeing 747s between 2017 and 2023.
The order for the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-powered aircraft includes the engine manufacturer's Total Care maintenance package. Air France order for 25 A350 is pending on engine maintenance agreement since 2011.

In terms of its current long-haul business however, the airline is almost entirely Boeing-centric with a fleet comprising 747-400, 777-300, 777-200, 767-300 & 757-200 (operated by Open Skies). Most impressively, British Airways still has the world’s largest fleet of 747s (52).
This near total dominance by Boeing will come to an end in July 2013 when British Airways takes delivery of the first of its 12 A380s on order. All 12 aircraft will be based at Heathrow and operate to the airline’s premium destinations beginning with Los Angeles in October 2013 followed by Hong Kong in November 2013. Operating the A380 and A350 together delivers real value to the world’s leading airlines because it allows them to match aircraft capacity to traffic demand on any route.

“This is an important announcement from one of the world’s most respected and influential airline brands,” said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “The A380 and the A350 are perfectly matched for greener long haul operations and demonstrate environmental leadership. We are simply delighted that British Airways has chosen the A350 to spread its global wings and its iconic livery.” 

Jobs in Britain and Spain
Airbus’s A350 aircraft will be powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines and IAG chief executive Willie Walsh claimed the order will secure jobs, both in Britain and Spain. “The A350’s wings are made in Britain while its horizontal tail plane, horizontal tail plane boxes and lower wing covers are made in Spain. Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines are assembled in Britain,” the airlines chief said.

Based on the press release “IAG and British Airways select the A350”

21 April 2013

Lessons learnt from 787 grounding; Maturity. Batteries are not the unique issue. Video

When the FAA has approved the 787 fix and Boeing's action is focused in the return-to-service as soon as possible, it is interesting to know that behind the batteries issue there have been other topics that have been tested by Boeing to correct (or improve) the lack of maturity for some systems.

Boeing's 787 could be back in service as early as next month after the FAA has approved the package of battery modifications the manufacturer devised. In this video Boeing shows how they are managing the retrofit campaign that involves 300 employees and parts-kits for the 50 aircraft grounded. 10 teams have been deployed in the customers´ facilities in Japan, Qatar, Chile and the U.S, in parallel to the installation of the changes on the new planes at 2 787 FALs, in order to resume soon deliveries.
The approval from the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) is pending.

Boeing is also using the 787 downtime to develop, test and certify a series of other systems improvements to areas that proved troublesome during the aircraft's initial service period. The work included testing a revised power panel design, an improved engine anti-ice system and upgrades to the back-up standby instrument displays and crew information system (CIS), a Honeywell-developed aircraft health-monitoring feature that forms part of the 787's central maintenance computer.

Boeing said that it has been conducting “routine test flights designed to address some of the component reliability projects we have been working. One such flight last week was to conduct testing to address some of the power panel improvements we have been working. We are always working to improve component reliability, and a new airplane program always has some start up issues. This work never stopped. In fact, during the return to flight work we're doing with the airlines, we will be addressing several improvements that should help further improve the 787's overall reliability and performance, including screening of power panels and several other activities.”
Ground tests of new software for the aircraft's power electronics cooling system (PECS) were also undertaken. The PECS dissipates the heat created by the large, high-voltage motor controllers that condition the variable-frequency power generated by the engines and auxiliary power unit (APU) for use by aircraft systems. Although portions of the large motor power system are energized by the APU battery, the changes are related to the overall electrical system upgrades rather than being associated with the battery modification.

The power panel was the source of early in-service issues with the 787, at least one of which on an ANA aircraft in April was traced to a short circuit in one of the units. Power panel malfunctions were also behind a string of events in December that triggered error messages indicating failures of the aircraft's starter-generators.

Based on the article “Keeping Busy” published in Aviation Week.

20 April 2013

Lufthansa will buy at the end of the year “several dozen” of long-range aircraft. A350 XWB is under an exhaustive technical analysis, jointly with the 787 and the 777s.

 Weeks after approving $12 billion in plane orders with 100 A320´s and 2 A380s , Lufthansa is studying a further purchase of "several dozen" long-distance twin-engined jets as it continues to modernize its fleet, a senior executive said last week.
"We have addressed the large-capacity single-aisle requirement and also have the top end of the spectrum with the A380 and 747-8 pretty well covered," said Nico Buchholz, executive vice president of group fleet management.
"We will be focusing next on the 200-300 seat segment with the aim of making a decision by the end of the year," he said.

"The total size of our fleet operated in that segment is around 100 aircraft. We wouldn't replace all of them at once. We are always conservative with our orders and don't like to overcommit," he said in an interview on the sidelines of an AFCA air finance conference.
Lufthansa's options include Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Airbus A350 XWB and Boeing 777s for the order, which is likely to be fiercely contested between Boeing and Airbus.

"We have not yet decided how many aircraft would be involved," Buchholz said, but agreed with a suggestion it could be "several dozen" jets.
The Lufthansa group, which includes SWISS and Austrian Airlines, has a reputation for exhaustive technical analysis. It is the Airbus´s largest airline customer and Airbus’ biggest operator worldwide with 385 Airbus aircraft currently in service. But Lufthansa is emerging as one of the possible launch customers for Boeing’s proposed 777X.

Based on the article “Lufthansa aims to buy "several dozen" long-range twinjets” published in Reuters

19 April 2013

A new seat model manufactured by EADS Sogerma for the A350 XWB catalogue of Premium Economy Seating

Airbus plans to further enrich its Premium Economy Seating offering available in the A350 XWB Catalogue, working in partnership with EADS Sogerma. This will result in even more choice for future operators of the A350 XWB family of airliners.
As presented in Hamburg during the “Aircraft Interiors Expo 2013”, EADS-Sogerma, who is an Airbus Contracted Supplier, is optimizing its new ‘Celeste’ seat for the A350 XWB’s wide fuselage. Celeste is an innovative cradle seat which provides premium economy passengers with a high level of comfort at an efficient pitch. Privacy options enhance the passenger experience.

Rochefort (France) based Sogerma joins Zodiac Seats (formerly Weber Aircraft Seats) in enriching the A350 XWB’s Premium Economy Seating offer.
Celeste seats have a fixed back shell and slide down into a more relaxed "cradle" position, either by a single electric actuator or gravity-based mechanism. The seat can be angled to 35 degrees, and the seat can be installed with a 38-40in separation between seat rows. Weight has not been finalized for the former, but should be at 20-25kg, says Sogerma.

No customers have yet been recruited for the seat, but when they have been ordered, it will take around 18 months until the delivery.

Based on the press release “Airbus to further expand the A350 XWB’s Catalogue offering for Premium Economy Seating”

18 April 2013

MSN1 finishing Flight Test Installation

There are new pictures of the MSN1 in the FAL, seems to be during it's stay in the C63 hangar.

They have been published in an Italian web named Libero.

After engine installation, FAL teams are currently finishing Flight Test Installation

Activity in the cockpit is hard, working on the last fittings.

Ground Vibration Tests team is working on the preparation

Based on the article "Avete mai visto l'assemblaggio di un Aribus? Eccolo..." published in Libero.

17 April 2013

Duqueine Group French supplier plans to increase the composite manufacturing capacity to be prepared for the ramp-up.

  • Duqueine 

    The aerospace subcontractor Duqueine Group has announced an investment of 10 million € by ACE Management to increase the production capacity at the three sites of the group.

    Created in 1982 by Gilles Duqueine, DUQUEINE has become a recognized French player in the design and manufacturing of composite parts and sub-assemblies, with 750 employees.
    The company works on 3 line of business: Aerospace, Industry, Sports & Leisure and owns adapted means in three manufacturing plants (DUQUEINE Rhône-Alpes DUQUEINE Atlantique in France and   DUQUEINE Romania in Romania).

    The DUQUEINE group was selected as an Airbus partner on 3 major Work Packages to manufacture structural parts for the A350 XWB aircraft:

    • 1. Fuselage frames : sections 11-12 (Aerolia) and sections 13-14 (Premium Aerotec)
    • 2. Window frames : sections 11-12 (Aerolia) and section 15 (Spirit AeroSystems)
    • 3. Acoustic panels for air inlets (Airbus Nantes)

    DUQUEINE Atlantique site at Malville, which already employs 220 people, will extend 4,000 square meter the industrial building; clean room, autoclaves and digital machines will be installed during 2013 with an investment of 7 million €.

    Window frames for Fuselage S.11-12 and S.15

    "We have worked to become a referent in the composite structural parts´ manufacturing. The acquisition of composite site in Malville has helped us maling Duqueine more visible in the Airbus perimeter" said the Chairman of the group, Gilles Duqueine. "Then we have answered to many Request for Quotation which has forced us to enhance our creativity and our industrial processes." Today the site of Malville works on acoustic panels and structural parts for the nose fuselage. The group is involved on the A320, A330, A380 and A350 programs.

    "The piping work in Malville will be transferred to Romania," said Gilles Duqueine. "This is not a relocation but our low cost solution for low value-added parts"  Malville site will absorb the ramp-up of the composite parts. “In next two years, the number of new jobs will increase by 25 to 35 people based on productivity new lines." The group is aiming to reach a €100m turnover within the next three years.
    Ace Management has invested in Duqueine via the Aerofund II vehicle, as well as the fund's predecessors Aerofund I and Financière de Brienne.

    Based on the article “Duqueine se déploie à Malville” published in Enterprises Ouest France web




    16 April 2013

    A350 XWB MSN3 final assembly progresses as planned without special issues

    MSN3 is currently in the station 40 in the FAL where the wings have been joined up to the fuselage and the Vertical and Horizontal Stabilizers have been already installed without any special issue.

    MSN3 is the third aircraft being assembled. As MSN1, it does not have a cabin and is full of Heavy Flight Test Instrumentation (FTI). The flight test program of MSN3 includes a high and medium altitude campaign, a cold weather campaign, a hot weather campaign and long system flights.  
    After completing the pylon and the main landing gear installation, the MSN3 will be transferred in coming weeks to the station 30 for indoor ground tests. All the movable surfaces (flaps, spoilers, etc) have to be installed before going to the next station.

    Next aircraft, the MSN2 (the 4th in the FAL and the 3rd flight-test aircraft) will be the first aircraft to have a cabin. As the fuselage assembly will start in few weeks, the main interior suppliers´ staff is starting to increase in the FAL, although the cabin equipment is done in station 30. Diehl Aerosystems and its suppliers are in charge of most of the A350 interior work.  

    15 April 2013

    Concerning the batteries, “A350 XWB is on the safe side” while the 787 remains grounded. The A350 XWB will be certified with a nickel-cadmium battery rather than try a lithium-ion battery like 787s.

     As the A350 XWB gets certified, Airbus decided in February to stick with a nickel-cadmium battery rather than try a lithium-ion battery like the ones that have left the 787 Dreamliner grounded since mid-January.
    Airbus CEO Mr. Bregier said lithium-ion batteries are still attractive for aviation because they weigh less for the same power, but that putting them on Airbus planes may come two years or more down the road. He said that there are too many uncertainties surrounding the new batteries.

    "I'm on the safe side. I'm not saying Boeing is not on the safe side – this is not up to me. This is (up) to FAA and other agencies," Bregier said.
    The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the Dreamliner on 16/January/2013, after an All Nippon Airways flight made an emergency landing in Japan with a smoldering battery. The incident came after a 7/January battery fire in a Japan Airlines plane parked in Boston.

    Boeing redesigned the battery, with greater insulation between the cells, a fireproof steel shell and a titanium tube to carry electrolytes and smoke off a plane if there were a fire. The FAA is evaluating whether to certify the new design, after Boeing completed a certification flight last week.
    "It's not to make Boeing's life more difficult," Bregier said of the battery decision. "Their life is difficult enough right now."

    Based on the article “Airbus CEO touts A350, tweaks Boeing” published in USA Today.

    14 April 2013

    Airbus sales chief expects to see "80 or so orders being booked for the A350 XWB" in 2013.

    John Leahy, chief operating officer for customers said he expects to see "80 or so orders being booked for the A350" in 2013. In the sidelines of the groundbreaking ceremony for a $600 millionAirbus factory in Mobile (Alabama-USA), he added that he expected "a good year but not a great year in terms of orders" in 2013. "I'm still standing by my target of 750 planes sold this year," said John Leahy.

    This figure seems not to be too optimistic; at the end of March there were sold 431 aircraft.  Additionally, it is known that Lufthansa will buy another 100 A320 and 2 A380, Turkish will buy 83 A320 and Mandala 18 A320 through Tiger Airways exercising options (although Mandala will probably then cancel their old order for 25 A320's). Before cancellations this would be then 633 orders.

    Based on the article “Airbus sales chief aims to hit 750 plane orders in 2013” published in Reuters

    13 April 2013

    Only 3 operators needed to install a complete engine in the A350 XWB. Video.

    In this video clip of 4 minutes, the electrical hoist kit developed by Airbus’ Ground Support Equipment (GSE) team is used to install a Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine on the A350 XWB flight testbed aircraft. The hoist kit aims to significantly reduce time and labour expenditure and increase flexibility during engine removal and installation.
    Click on the image to watch the video
    This electrical hoist kit allows installing a complete engine with only 3 operators, improving their safety because there is no physical action during the lift, the buzzer informs about the limit load and the supervision system prevents any overload.
    This kit, validated in the A380 testbed where the Trent XXWB is flying, is compatible with the complete Airbus family so it will start to be used on the other FALs in coming months.

    12 April 2013

    Airbus is starting to “market more aggressively” the A350-1000 to compete with the 777X

    Airbus CEO Mr. Bregier is not professing much concern about Boeing’s consideration of a 777X, which he describes as a “nice paper tiger aircraft” at this point because of the lack of details. 

    Airbus believes it has the lead in that area of the market with its A350-1000 plans. His belief is that the A350-1000, which Airbus is starting to “market more aggressively,” can match the range of the 777-300ER with 25% less fuel burn.

    “The ball is now in Boeing’s camp, not in our camp,” he says. Airbus will wait to find out details of the offer and guarantees Boeing makes to potential customers regarding the 777X before deciding whether it needs to come up with any response, Bregier says.

    The A350-1000 was launched to replace A340-600s and to compete with the 777-300ER. The 777X will be in the future a big competence and Airbus could launch a bigger stretch as a response, instead of the A350-800 that was planned to compete with the 787-9 (already being manufactured) and to replace the A330-200.

    Bregier said he remains satisfied with Airbus' decision to extend the range and increase the maximum takeoff weight of the A330 to make it more competitive on routes such as London to Southeast Asia, rather than opting for an A330NEO.

    Based on the article "Airbus CEO Stands By Mid-Year First Flight For A350 Widebody" published in Aviation Daily

    11 April 2013

    French Tier1 Daher-Socata issues the strategic plan “Performance 2017” assuring on-time deliveries, preparing for the ramp-up and targeting an increase of a 60% in the turnover.

    French aerostructure specialist Daher-Socata appears determined to reduce lead times in an effort to accommodate demand from OEMs. It predicts its ongoing production rate increases will contribute to a major jump in revenues, as outlined in Daher’s recently announced “Performance 2017” strategic plan.

    “Performance 2017” calls for a turnover increase from €925 million in 2012 to €1.5 billion in 2017. Aerospace and defense activities, under the Daher-Socata brand, account for 60% of the group revenues. Daher-Socata CEO Stéphane Mayer expressed confidence that growing demand from Airbus and other airframers will help the company attain its “Performance 2017” goals. However, meeting delivery schedules has proved challenging. 

    “We are implementing a plan, following Airbus’s and other customers’ recommendations, to improve our delivery performance,” said Mayer. Daher-Socata has already made significant progress over the past 2 years, as on-time delivery rates improved to between 95 and 97%, according to Mayer. “We are investing in monitoring our supply chain,” he added.

    Difficulties also sometimes arise with new technologies. For example, it took longer than expected to reach peak efficiency in producing some fasteners that the company started delivering last year for the Airbus A350 XWB. Made of thermoplastic composites, initial examples arrived at Airbus’s factory late. This year, Daher-Socata has committed to delivering fasteners, landing-gear doors, air intakes and engine pylons for 5 A350s (as per the article in AIN).

    The company has decided to move away from a previous trend in which it outsourced aerostructures work to countries with low labor costs. “Delivering on time is paramount; if your low-cost partner has problems and you have to send a go-team to solve them, the bottom line will not be that cheap,” Mayer emphasized. He cited a bad experience with Mexican production of low-pressure ducts. Nevertheless, Daher-Socata maintains suppliers and even a factory in such countries.

    As part of its expansion plan, Daher-Socata aims to become a tier-one supplier for Boeing. “If I am ambitious, I say we will succeed by 2015,” Mayer said. He would also like to secure Bombardier as a customer at last, he added. While Daher-Socata hasn’t identified any particular acquisition target, a supplier that already works for Boeing or Bombardier might prove a nice fit, Mayer said.
    Some months ago Spanish Tier1 Alestis, who is also working for Boeing, Embraer, Dassault and Sikorsky, was temporarily hand over by Airbus and it was reported that it could be sold to another Tier-1 with enough financial capacity. Alestis won to Daher-Socata during the A350 plateau phase on the summer of 2008 the Belly Fairing workpackage.

    Based on the article “Daher-Socata Strives to Meet Delivery Challenge” published in AIN