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Air Europa

Air Europa signed a seven-year, CHF20 million ($15.3 million) deal with SR Technics for component support for its new A330 fleet, which will number 6-8 aircraft. The Spanish carrier takes delivery of its first A330 this month. The pair also concluded an MRO agreement for the APUs on Air Europa's fleet of 737NGs, which it expects to enlarge from 28 aircraft at present to 40-50. Mar 13, 2006


A380 program reached the 1,000-flight-hr. milestone last week. Four A380s have been tested with Trent 900s. A fifth will join the program this year with Engine Alliance GP7200s. Mar 13, 2006

Airbus parent EADS considers Chinese plant. The parent of jetmaker Airbus is considering manufacturing some commercial jetliners in China. The company will not decide on a Chinese plant until the summer. Mar 14, 2006

Finnair announced the beginning of its transition to the "Airbus era" with the signing of an MOU with Virgin Atlantic Airways for acquisition of an A340-300. The aircraft will enter Finnair service in July. It ordered nine A350-900s and three A340-300Es late last year. Mar 13, 2006

TAP Portugal took delivery of its first A330-200 earlier this week, the next step in its long-haul fleet renewal plan launched at the Dubai Air Show with an order for seven dash 200s and 10 A350s. Delivery of the dash 200s originally was scheduled to begin next year. The new aircraft will replace an A310 and be used on routes to the US, Brazil and Africa. TAP will take two additional dash 200s at the end of this month and in April. Mar 16, 2006


Credit agency boosts Boeing's rating. Moody's Investors Service raised Boeing's credit rating for the first time in nearly nine years. Boeing has reduced its debt and boosted cash flow. Mar 16, 2006

Aer Lingus firms up A330 order as privatization looms. Aer Lingus signed a contract yesterday for the purchase of one A330-200 and one A330-300, confirming an announcement made last month.The aircraft will be delivered in mid-2007 and will be based at Dublin Airport. The dash 200 will seat 24 passengers in Premier and 245 in economy while the dash 300 will carry 24 in Premier and 303 in economy. Both will be powered by GE CF6-80E1s. The airline noted that the aircraft will be used for "new long-haul routes in anticipation of bilateral changes." The order brings the Irish flag carrier's long-haul fleet to nine A330s. Mar 15, 2006

Alaska to retire MD-80s early, transition to Boeing fleet. Alaska Airlines will speed up the retirement of its MD-80s and transition to an all-Boeing fleet by the end of 2008. Alaska Airlines will transition to an all-737 fleet by the end of 2008 by accelerating the retirement of the 26 MD-80s it planned to phase out over the next 11 years, replacing them with 39 737-800s in 2006-08 from an order placed last summer.In addition, the carrier has firm commitments for 13 737-800s, options for 24 and purchase rights for 27 in 2009 and beyond. It also is retiring its seven 737-200s by mid-2007 as well as two 737-700s that will be returned to lessors. The changes will result in a 114-aircraft fleet in December 2008 versus 110 today. The increased efficiency of the winglet-equipped dash 800s means, however, that it will grow ASMs 6% with a net gain of just four aircraft. Replacing the less fuel-efficient MD-80s will result in $118-$130 million in cost savings depending on the price of fuel, Tilden said. Cost per ASM excluding fuel will decline 0.30 cents and 0.45-0.50 cents if fuel is included. Additionally, the 737-800s seat 17 more than the MD-80s in Alaska's configuration and it expects to be able to fly them 11.05 hr. per day versus 9.86 hr. for the MD-80s, meaning 18 737-800s will do the work of 23 MD-80s. Mar 14, 2006

British Airways clarifies long-haul fleet renewal plans. British Airways denied it is at an advanced stage of negotiations with Boeing to acquire up to 20 777-300ERs that would replace some early delivery 747s from 2008, as reported on this website last week. "We have secured options on production slots with Boeing for up to 10 777s for delivery from the end of 2008 through to 2010," Planning Director Robert Boyle said, noting that at this point there is no preference for the dash 300ER. "The agreement does not specify which type. We can do this at a later date closer to the exercising of the options," he said. Boyle preferred not to disclose the financial terms of the agreement but admitted there is a "linkage" with a former option position BA held on 16 777-200ERs dating from 1998, which lapsed after 9/11. The securing of the slots came about "as we were having talks with both manufacturers on our future [long-haul] fleet requirements," he said. BA operates 43 777-200s, 21 767-300s and 57 747-400s on its long-haul routes. "We have to start thinking about the replacement of the latter two types," Boyle stated, while adding the need is "not imminent." Its oldest 747 came into service in 1989 and its first 767 in 1990. Mar 15, 2006

Cargolux emerged as the unidentified customer that placed an order for two new 747-400Fs this month. The Luxembourg-based all-cargo airline simultaneously confirmed it canceled the introduction of a used dash 400F scheduled to join its fleet this year, as that aircraft has been sold in the meantime. The new aircraft, valued at $450 million at list prices, will be delivered in summer 2007 and summer 2008 and will fill the gap until delivery of the carrier's 747-8F fleet starting in September 2009. Cargolux is the new freighter's launch customer and has announced firm orders for 10 and purchase rights for an additional 10. It currently operates 14 747-400Fs. "The 747 freighters play an important part in our business model," President and CEO Ulrich Ogiermann said. "The performance level of the 747-400 freighter within our worldwide network is a cornerstone of our results these last years. With the introduction of the 747-8 freighter by the end of 2009, Cargolux will enter a new era of increased operational efficiency, of further improved environmental performance and of an enlarged potential for better products to benefit our customers." Mar 13, 2006

Etihad Airways has introduced the first of its new fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the carrier's daily Gatwick - Abu Dhabi service. Launched on 1 September 2004 the route has been served by leased Airbus A330s and A340s. The twin aisle aircraft is configured 28 in what the airline calls Pearl Zone, featuring 180 degree fully flat beds, and 350 in Coral Zone, which offers a seat pitch of up to 33". In both zones guests can access live television and the internet via their laptop computers, allowing them to send and receive emails using Boeing's Connexions system. The aircraft is also fitted with in-flight mood lighting which aids in reducing the draining effects of jet lag to help guests feel revitalized. Just what passengers on the new Gatwick 'bridge' made of the water spraying for the inaugural. We only hope that some took the time to explain. Mar 19, 2006

Boeing and Japan Airlines signed an Integrated Material Management agreement giving the airframer responsibility for purchasing, inventory and logistics for JAL's expendable aircraft parts. Boeing and other suppliers own the parts, which are stored at a location convenient to the customer. JAL will pay for parts on an as-needed basis. Mar 16, 2006

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines acquired two 747-400s previously operated by Singapore Airlines. Aircraft will be delivered in July and enter service later this year on the Hong Kong-London Gatwick route. "They are in excellent condition and perfect for our exclusive new long-haul, nonstop services priced for the budget-conscious traveler," CEO Stephen Miller said. Mar 17, 2006

Cathay Pacific Airways is looking at a variety of options for its growing freighter fleet, according to COO Tony Tyler, who said that the airline likes the 747-400BCF and may convert six options to firm orders. "If and when we do, we are likely to convert some of our own 747-400s but not all, because we will still need the passenger lift," he said. In the longer term, he said Cathay will "look at the 747-8F as well as other options such as the A380F and the 777-200F." The carrier has been considered a prime candidate for the 747-8, although its interest in the intercontinental version appears to have waned somewhat in favor of the 777-300ER. Mar 14, 2006


Costs Key In Bombardier's Considerations To Stretch Planes. Bombardier is pressing ahead with building a business case for stretching its two largest commercial planes, the CRJ-900 and the Q400 turboprop, and keeping a close watch on maintaining what it says is the operating cost advantage over rival Embraer's 170 and 190 airplanes. The Canadian airframer publicized its focus on stretching the planes after deciding to shelve the launch of its 100-plus-seat, clean-sheet C-Series aircraft. Bombardier is eyeing a 90-seat version of the 70- to 76-seat Q400 turboprop that would give current Q400 operators a 10%-15% CASM improvement, said Steve Ridolfi, president of the airframer's regional aircraft division, on the sidelines yesterday of a ceremony commemorating the 250th CRJ-700 delivery to SkyWest. Mar 16, 2006

Bombardier Regional Aircraft has confirmed it is planning further enhancements to its successful Q400 high-speed turboprop and also the CRJ900 85-90 seat regional jet (left). Speaking at the manufacturer's facilities in Belfast, VP marketing and communications Trung Ngo highlighted that the Q400 has a "lot of legs left". He stopped short of saying what the seating would extend to. Flybe, Bombardier's largest operator of the type, flies the aircraft in a 78-seat configuration. Ngo also indicated that plans for a larger CRJ900, dubbed the CRJ900X, seating up to 100 passengers, was also a serious consideration. Ngo noted that Bombardier has not stopped marketing its (stillborn?) CSeries, which would compete mainly with the small Airbus and Boeing products and any stretch of the Embraer190/195. Mar 19, 2006


Delta Air Lines expanded its maintenance support agreement with Royal Air Maroc. Delta TechOps will provide MRO work and inventory exchange services covering an additional RAM 767-300ER, the PW2000 engines on a 757 and GTCP331-200 and 131-9B APUs on aircraft operated by RAM subsidiaries. Delta TechOps already services RAM's dash 300ERs, PW2000s and 767-300, 757 and 737-800 APUs. Mar 16, 2006

Embraer, AeroRepublica

AeroRepublica purchases five Embraer 190s. AeroRepublica, the Colombian subsidiary of Copa Holdings, announced a firm order for five GE CF34-powered Embraer 190s worth a combined $175 million at list prices.The order includes 20 options. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in November. The aircraft will seat 108 in a single-class configuration. Mar 16, 2006

Island Air

Hawaii's Island Air chose the Free2Fly concept from SAS Component to cover material supply programs for its Q400 fleet. The airline has taken delivery of its first Q400 from Bombardier and another two are scheduled to arrive by summer. Mar 16, 2006
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Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:4EUSP
Date:Mar 20, 2006
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