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A record breaker retires

After a final celebration in Qantas’ Hangar 96 in a few hours Qantas’ first B747-438 VH-OJA ‘City of Canberra’ will touch down in Los Angeles ending 25 years, three months and 20 days of commercial service. Holding a distance record, only surpassed by Boeing’s 777-200LR record in 2005, and speed record that it still holds, -OJA […]

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50 years of Australian domestic jet services

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Australia’s domestic jet age. On October 16, 1964, Ansett’s B727-77 VH-RME and TAA’s B727-76 VH-TJA which had tailed each other across the Pacific operating Seattle – San Francisco – Honolulu – Canton Island – Nadi, arrived at Melbourne Essendon Airport. Having won a coin toss Ansett-ANA’s 727 had the honour of landing first. On […]

737 Max Confusion

Announcing the introduction of a 200-seat version of its 189 seat 737 Max 8 that will really only seat 199 caused Boeing’s Commercial Airplane team quite some confusion at Farnborough last week. The amusing exchange kicked off when a reporter asked, what should we call the new variant of Boeing’s re-engined narrowbody? “Max 8,” replied Ray Conner, president of […]

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Chasing the wind

After a year long flight test campaign involving five aircraft flying over 1,500 hours of flight testing, the US FAA and EASA certified the Boeing 787-9 for commercial service this week. Take look at the crosswind testing that formed part of the 787-9’s certification process.

B787-9 ZB002 at Alice Springs. Image: Alice Springs Airport.

The weekly rollerboard 5 January

Flying Knight

Her Majesty seems to have taken a keen interest in airline strategy, with Emirates President Tim Clark knighted in this year’s New Year honours for “services to British prosperity and to the aviation industry”. Clark is recognised as an “outstanding British business leader and premier airline strategist”. Clark worked for four years at Gulf Air as a route planner, before joining Emirates in 1985. In 2003 Clark was appointed president and under his stewardship Emirates has grown to become one of the top ten biggest carriers in the world. The Royal Aeronautical Society’s fascinating interview with him earlier in 2013 is well worth watching:

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Carry-on’s top 13 of 2013.

2013 was exceptional proof that aviation is far from sclerotic. Beginning with continued fixation on the 787 as Boeing’s amour propre was tested by further incidents and a grounding. Eyes turned skyward for the equal greatest number of first flights in history. Rarely appreciating the continued challenging conditions airlines and the industry faces, politicians continued to provide opaque interference, compounding an already fractured dichotomy. There was awe as the world’s largest airline was replaced with with an even larger carrier, rosy profit turnarounds turned into sickening loss projections, and a renewed geopolitical rivalry in everything from aerospace manufacturing to air traffic rights. Here’s our 13 of 2013:

1. The 787.

The most exciting new aircraft in years became known for one thing in 2013: fire. In January the worldwide fleet was grounded – only the second aircraft since the DC-10 to be grounded in this way – following a series of electrical faults and battery fires caused by thermal runaway. The batteries were pulled out, boxed, and additional venting at a cost of approximately $500,000 per aircraft. Back in the air confidence has grown, the 787-9 is now flying and there has only been a small fiery issue relating to a locator beacon. Image: Richard Deakin.

 

2. CSeries flies.

110 years later Bombardier did it again for the very first time. This time with the first completely new narrow-body design since the A320 family.

 

3. ICAO’s emissions agreement.

ICAO’s member states reached a landmark multilateral agreement to develop a market-based measure that would reduce carbon emissions by 2020. The agreement will allow countries and airlines to operate under a single global standard rather than competing carbon regimes. Governments’ individual plans will be approved at the next assembly in 2016.

 

 

 

 

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#keeptail or #switchtail? Doug Parker doesn’t care.

Debating the merits of certain aircraft liveries as much as anyone, I have always believed they are not particularly important to the success of an airline, and have yet to find a customer who based their purchase decision on the exterior design of the airplane. – Doug Parker, American Airlines CEO   Now, merger complete, employees of […]

Is there an opportunity for Australia to be a significant component supplier for the 777X programme. Image: Boeing.

Why Holden is an aerospace opportunity.

Politicians are scrounging for reasons to blame or deny the imminent demise of Australia’s automotive manufacturing industry. Automotive’s future script has been clear for over two decades since Dr John Hewson announced a zero tariff regime for automotive products in 1992.

Indeed, the writing has been on the wall for the majority of Australia’s manufacturing industries for sometime, yet one industry is a clear performer. Australia’s $4 billion aerospace manufacturing industry is a minnow when compared to the automotive industry, but it still employs more than 14,000 people. Subject to aviation’s global fiscal uncertainty, it still continues to grow delivering consistent profit and growth as other industries shrink.

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The weekly rollerboard 10 November

The first of our weekly rollerboard wraps, neatly packing up a broader and atypical perspective on the industry.

Going to ground

Air India’s Boeing 787 fleet has been in a bit of a pickle over the last few weeks leading to the airline’s decision to preemptively ground one aircraft at a time from the end of November.

Ostensibly for software upgrades, each grounding will last for an undetermined length of time giving AI time to conduct more general repairs across its fleet of ten 787-8s. What is wrong outside the airline’s own 787 minimum equipment list (MEL) Air India hasn’t confirmed, but there has been multiple incidents including the loss of a mid-underwing-to-body fairing located on the belly of the aeroplane on the right side at Bangalore Airport, a cracked windshield grounding an aircraft in Melbourne, another grounding in Sydney due to undisclosed issues, and a braking issue on a flight from London to Delhi.

An unofficial Air India source says “Boeing has put out certain service bulletins which the airline will implement. This is not mandatory. The airline is doing it on its own to increase reliability of the aircraft.”

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