Airbus has transferred A380 MSN4 to the Museum of Air and Space at Paris/Le Bourget. The jet is the first of four aircraft the European manufacturer has pledged to donate to museums, with A320 MSN1, A340-600 MSN360 and A380 MSN2 set to go Aeroscopia in Toulouse.
A380 MSN4 was delivered to Le Bourget on February 14 where it will be prepared for display at the museum. After undergoing technical work, including structural preservation, it will be refurbished to showcase its operational role with a special exhibit created inside to enable the greatest possible number of people to visit it. The attraction is set to open in 2018.
The aircraft destined for Aeroscopia will be maintained by Airbus Heritage in Toulouse, within the Airbus plant, and moved across to the museum over the next two years. An area in the northern part of the attraction has been made ready for them.
Record deliveries and a strong order intake marked a robust 2016 for Airbus. At the company’s annual year-end briefing it revealed it had delivered 688 aircraft to 82 customers, a new record. This is 53 more than the previous record of 635 set in 2015. The single-aisle A320 Family accounted for 85% of the total with 545 deliveries (including 68 A320neos). Over 40% of Airbus’ total deliveries were for the A321 model. In the widebody market, Airbus handed over 66 A330s, 49 A350 XWB (one short of the manufacturer’s target) and 28 A380s.
Meanwhile, it achieved 731 net orders from 51 customers, split between 607 single-aisle and 124 widebody aircraft. At the end of 2016, Airbus’ overall backlog stood at 6,874 aircraft valued at $1,018bn at list prices.
Fabrice Brégier, President of Airbus Commercial Aircraft and Chief Operating Officer of Airbus, remarked: “We have delivered on our objectives in a challenging environment, proving our ramp-up readiness for the future.” He went on to highlight some of the notable milestones the company achieved during 2016 including the delivery of Airbus’ 10,000th aeroplane and the first flight of the A350-1000. It also commenced deliveries of both engine variants of the A320neo, while the Pratt & Whitney powered A321neo was certified and the first US-assembled aircraft were delivered from its final assembly line in Mobile, Alabama.
Looking forward to 2017 the European manufacturer revealed it has raised the average list prices for its aircraft by 1% across its entire commercial product line, effective from January 1. It says the increase has been calculated per its standard escalation formula that considers the prices of materials and commodities.
John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers, Airbus Commercial Aircraft remarked: “Our new 2017 pricing affirms the value of Airbus’s modern comprehensive and fuel-efficient aircraft family. The price increase also reflects our customers’ satisfaction with the winning combination of performance, operating economics and passenger experience.”
Emirates has taken delivery of its first Rolls-Royce (RR)-powered Airbus A380s. The initial three examples, A6-EUM (c/n 225), A6-EUN (c/n 226), and A6-EUO (c/n 227), were handed over to the Dubai-based carrier in late December and are equipped with Trent 900 engines.
The super jumbos are the first of the 50-aircraft order signed by Emirates at the 2013 Dubai Air Show. The subsequent $9.2bn deal with RR, concluded in April 2015, was the biggest of its kind in the history of the British engine manufacturer. It also marked a significant departure for Emirates, for which the rival Engine Alliance GP7200 had been the powerplant of choice for its near 90-strong A380 fleet.
Elsewhere, Airbus has reached an agreement with the carrier and RR to defer outstanding deliveries of the A380. The European aerospace giant announced last summer it was slowing the rate of production of its flagship aircraft from the current 27 airframes per year to just 12 amid dwindling interest from potential customers and a decreasing order backlog. The Toulouse-based firm confirmed on December 27 that it will now postpone the delivery of six A380s to Emirates from 2017 to 2018, while a further six examples will slip from 2018 to 2019.
Etihad Airways Engineering and Airbus have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly develop new A380 MRO services capability. The partnership aims to establish A380 maintenance, engineering and upgrade capabilities in Abu Dhabi, providing third-party support for airlines’ A380 fleets.
Under the terms of the joint venture, heavy maintenance and upgrade installation will be performed concurrently under one roof in Abu Dhabi. In addition, all consumable and expendable parts required will be provided on-site by Airbus’ dedicated inventory management subsidiary, the Satair Group.
Airbus and Etihad Airways Engineering have a long-standing history of successful collaboration on delivering A380 MRO services. The Abu Dhabi-based company also recently delivered Etihad Airways’ first A380 heavy maintenance C-check, along with an extensive cabin refresh.
Emirates has phased out its final Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft, consolidating its fleet on the Boeing 777 and A380.
A330-243 A6-EAK (c/n 452 ) was the last of the airline’s 29 examples to be withdrawn from service, leaving the fleet on October 29. The jet had logged 60,000 hours since joining the Dubai-based carrier in 2002.
The final A340 to be retired was A6-ERN (c/n 166), which had joined the airline in 2004 and was also withdrawn on October 29.
Emirates has phased out 18 A330s and five A340s since January 2015, and plans to remove a further 25 aircraft from its fleet over the course of 2017 and 2018 as part of its ongoing renewal programme. This has seen the UAE carrier take delivery of 36 new airframes this year alone, consisting of 20 A380s and 16 777s. From November, the airline will be receiving what it dubs “next generation” 777-300ERs, featuring upgraded Business Class seats.
Emirates has confirmed plans to upgrade its Manchester route to an all-Airbus A380 service from next year. The Dubai-based carrier will switch the last of its thrice-daily links from a Boeing 777-300ER on January 1, increasing capacity to the British airport by 11% and adding 2,198 extra seats per week.
Stephen Turner, Commercial Director for Manchester Airport remarked; “It’s fantastic news that Emirates has chosen to increase capacity at the airport by using an A380 on its morning service. It’s an iconic aircraft that is hugely popular with passengers across the region. Emirates has seen consistent growth since it was first introduced on the Manchester route in 2010.”
Elsewhere, Emirates is also amending the timing of its current A380 service into Birmingham from a morning to an afternoon departure slot. It said the move will offer its customers even more connections beyond Dubai with other A380 destinations – ensuring a “seamless A380 to A380” experience. The super jumbo will now operate the last of the airline’s three daily Birmingham flights, EK37/38 (currently EK39/40), arriving in the UK at 18:45 and departing at 20:45.
Emirates will continue to employ its high-density A380s, configured in a two-class, 615 seat layout, on the route.
Emirates is now flying twice a day between its Dubai International Airport hub and Los Angeles.
The first service of flight EK217 departed the UAE on July 1 and was operated by Airbus A380-861 A6-EON, which wore a specially-designed Los Angeles Dodgers livery. The scheme was applied to celebrate the new service as well as the airline’s sponsorship of the baseball team.
“We’re thrilled to continue growing our footprint in Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States, and to be able to provide more flight choices to more customers daily as well as doubling the economic benefits Emirates’ flights provide to Southern California,” said Rob Gurney Senior Vice President of Commercial Operations, The Americas.
The new flight, departs Dubai daily at 1500hrs and arrives in Los Angeles at 2000hrs. The return service – EK218 – departs Los Angeles daily at 2230hrs and arrives in Dubai approximately 16 hours later at 0130hrs.
A three-class Airbus A380 will be used on the flights, providing 14 private suites in First Class, 76 seats in Business and 401 seats in Economy.
July 1 also saw Emirates introduce the A380 on its flights to Vienna, making it the 41st destination to be served by the airline’s flagship.
The carrier operates two flights a day to the Austrian capital with EK127/128 operated by a three-class A380 and EK125/126 flown with a 360-seat Boeing 777-300ER.
Monarch Aircraft Engineering Limited (MAEL) has received regulatory approval to add the Airbus A380 to its line maintenance capabilities. The four-engine super jumbo has been added to the company’s European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) Part 145 approvals, allowing MAEL to provide line maintenance support for airlines operating the type into and out of Birmingham Airport.
Derek Gibson, Commercial Director at MAEL, said: “Adding the Airbus A380 to our Part 145 certificates gives us an even wider scope of airframe capabilities. The investment made provides further evidence of our commitment to expand and support customers operating the next generation of aircraft.”