The Ultra Long Range version of the A350 XWB, MSN 216, has successfully completed its first flight. The latest variant of the best-selling A350 XWB Family will be able to fly further than any other commercial airliner and will enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines in second half 2018.
The aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines has embarked on a short flight test programme to certify the changes over the standard A350-900 that will extend its range capability to 9,700 nautical miles. These changes include a modified fuel system that increases fuel carrying capacity by 24,000 litres, without the need for additional fuel tanks. The test phase will also measure enhanced performance from aerodynamic improvements, including extended winglets.
With a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 280 tonnes, the Ultra Long Range A350 XWB is capable of flying over 20 hours non-stop, combining the highest levels of passenger and crew comfort with unbeatable economics for such distances.
Altogether, Singapore Airlines has ordered seven A350-900 Ultra Long Range aircraft, which it will use on non-stop flights between Singapore and the US, including the world’s longest commercial service between Singapore and New York.
The A350 XWB is an all new family of widebody long-haul airliners shaping the future of air travel. The A350 XWB features the latest aerodynamic design, carbon fibre fuselage and wings, plus new fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce engines. Together, these latest technologies translate into unrivalled levels of operational efficiency, with a 25 per cent reduction in fuel burn and emissions, and significantly lower maintenance costs. The A350 XWB features an Airspace by Airbus cabin offering absolute well-being on board with the quietest twin-aisle cabin and new air systems.
At the end of March 2018, Airbus has recorded a total of 854 firm orders for the A350 XWB from 45 customers worldwide, already making it one of the most successful widebody aircraft ever.
Singapore Airlines is one of the largest customers for the A350 XWB Family, having ordered a total of 67 A350-900s, including the seven Ultra Long Range models. The carrier has already taken delivery of 21 A350-900s.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasts global industry net profit to rise to $38.4 billion in 2018, an improvement from the $34.5 billion expected net profit in 2017 (revised from a $31.4 billion forecast in June).
“These are good times for the global air transport industry. Safety performance is solid. We have a clear strategy that is delivering results on environmental performance. More people than ever are traveling. The demand for air cargo is at its strongest level in over a decade. Employment is growing. More routes are being opened. Airlines are achieving sustainable levels of profitability. It’s still, however, a tough business, and we are being challenged on the cost front by rising fuel, labor and infrastructure expenses,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
“The industry also faces longer-term challenges. Many of them are in the hands of governments. Aviation is the business of freedom and a catalyst for growth and development. To continue to deliver on our full potential, governments need to raise their game—implementing global standards on security, finding a reasonable level of taxation, delivering smarter regulation and building the cost-efficient infrastructure to accommodate growing demand. The benefits of aviation are compelling—2.7 million direct jobs and critical support for 3.5% of global economic activity. And the industry is ready to partner with governments to reinforce the foundations for global connectivity that are vital to modern life,” said de Juniac.
Passenger numbers are expected to increase to 4.3 billion in 2018, while the cargo business continues to benefit from a strong cyclical upturn in volumes, with some recovery in yields.
The biggest challenge to profitability in 2018 is rising costs, particularly in terms of oil prices, labour costs and overall unit costs.
All regions are expected to report improved profitability in 2018 and all regions are expected to see demand growth outpace capacity expansion. Carriers in North America continue to lead on financial performance, accounting for nearly half of the industry’s total profits. Airlines in this region are forecast to generate the strongest financial performance with net profits of $16.4 billion in 2018 (up from $15.6 billion in 2017). Market conditions are expected to continue to be strong, with announced capacity growth (3.4%) likely to be slightly less than our traffic forecast of 3.5%.
North American airlines have generated more than half of the industry’s profits produced in the past three years, but rising cost pressures have slowed further improvements. Low hedging ratios mean rising fuel prices have hit this region first and labor cost pressures have been an issue, though the expectation is that this pressure will diminish in 2018.
On March 25, Boeing and Singapore Airlines celebrated the delivery of the first 787-10 airplane, the newest and largest member of the Dreamliner family. About 3,000 people marked the milestone at Boeing's facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, where the latest 787 model is manufactured.
Like the other 787 Dreamliners, the 787-10 is designed with strong, lightweight composites, the most advanced systems, and comfortable cabin features. The 787-10, though, features a longer fuselage which allows it to carry about 40 more passengers or a total of 330 seats in a standard two-class configuration.
With the additional capacity, the 787-10 provides airlines the lowest operating cost per seat of any widebody airplane in service today.
"It is an honour for us to be the world's first airline to take delivery of this amazing aircraft," said Mr. Goh Choon Phong, chief executive officer of Singapore Airlines, the 787-10 launch customer. "The 787-10 is a magnificent piece of engineering and truly a work of art. It will be an important element in our overall growth strategy, enabling us to expand our network and strengthen our operations."
Goh added that "the 787-10 underscores Singapore Airlines' longstanding commitment to operate a modern fleet, and marks the start of a new chapter in our shared story with Boeing."
Singapore Airlines – through its subsidiary Scoot – already flies the 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners. With today's delivery the group will be the first to operate all three Dreamliner models. Singapore Airlines has 68 additional Boeing widebody jets on order, including 48 additional 787-10s, and 20 of the new 777-9s.
"This is a big day for all of us at Boeing and for our global supplier partners. We are thrilled to deliver the first 787-10 Dreamliner to Singapore Airlines, one of the world's leading carriers. And we are honored by Singapore's partnership and trust, as reflected by their repeated orders for the Dreamliner," said Kevin McAllister, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and chief executive officer. "The 787-10 will extend the Dreamliner effect that we are seeing across commercial aviation as the 787's superior passenger experience and unmatched fuel efficiency helps airlines open new routes and achieve significant fuel savings and emission reduction."
The 787-10's superior performance and high commonality with its Dreamliner siblings have attracted strong interest from around the world, including in Asia where the jet can connect all points within the region. The 787-10 also offers Asian operators the flexibility to fly to Europe, Africa and Oceania.
Singapore Airlines plans to puts its 787-10s into scheduled service in May, with flights from Singapore to Osaka, Japan and Perth, Australia. Prior to the introduction of these services, the aircraft will be operated on selected flights to Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for crew training purposes.
Thousands of Boeing employees gathered at the company's Renton, Wash. factory today to celebrate the 10,000th 737 to come off the production line. With this airplane, a 737 MAX 8 for Southwest Airlines, the 737 has broken the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for the most produced commercial jet aircraft model.
"This incredible milestone is a testament to the work we do every day to build the most reliable and efficient single-aisle airplane in the world," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Kevin McAllister. "It represents more than 50 years of success and achievement on the part of thousands of Boeing employees past and present, our supplier partners, and our airline customers around the globe who put their confidence in the 737."
The 737 previously held this GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title in 2006 for the 5,000th airplane to come out of the Renton factory, a mark that took almost four decades to reach. Due to growing market demand and higher production rates, the 737 program reached the 10,000th airplane milestone only 12 years later.
"The speed at which Boeing achieved this new milestone is very impressive," said Michael Empric, official adjudicator for GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. "We are excited to once again recognize the 737 and the important role it plays in commercial aviation."
Boeing will increase 737 production from the current rate of 47 airplanes per month to 52 airplanes per month later this year. The 737 program has more than 4,600 airplanes still on order fueled by sales of the newest version of the 737, the 737 MAX.
• A 737 takes off or lands every 1.5 seconds
• On average, more than 2,800 737s are in the air at any given time
• More than 22 billion people have flown on a 737
• The 737 has flown more than 122 billion miles, the equivalent of 5 million times around Earth