Airbus Military’s A330-based aerial refuelling programme marked a new milestone as the first A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) for the Royal Saudi Air Force completed its maiden flight on 15 March. The aircraft now enters its final certification and qualification phase for this version of the A330 MRTT, leading to contractual delivery later in the year. A second A330 MRTT for the Royal Saudi Air Force is now being converted to its tanker configuration at Airbus Military’s Getafe facility near Madrid, Spain, and a third will enter the process during 2011.
News in brief
A first flight of the A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport for Saudi Arabia
A milestone first flight for China Southern Airlines' initial A380
The first of five A380s for China Southern Airlines has completed its maiden flight, during which this double-deck aircraft travelled from Toulouse, France – where it was assembled – to Hamburg, Germany for cabin installation and painting. China Southern Airlines is scheduled to receive its initial A380 later this year, bringing the total number of carriers with Airbus’ 21st flagship jetliner to seven.
Visit the Airbus video gallery for highlights from this maiden flight.
The A400M marks a new milestone on its way to civil type certification
Full-scale fatigue testing for Airbus Military’s A400M has been completed, meeting a requirement for this new-generation airlifter’s civil type certification by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). To date, the A400M test airframe at Dresden, Germany has undergone 1,665 simulated flight-cycles – which is approximately five-times greater than the number of flights expected to be performed annually by each A400M in operational service. By mid-2012, a total of 25,000 simulated flights will be performed with the test airframe.
Korean Air’s first A380 is rolled out of the paint shop
The first A380 for Korean Air has been rolled out of the Airbus paint shop in Hamburg, Germany, where it was completed with the airline's livery. Korean Air has 10 A380s on order, and will become the sixth A380 operator after taking delivery of its first aircraft in the second quarter of 2011.
The A400M showcases its mission flexibility with start-up of aerial refuelling trials
Airbus Military has opened air-to-air refuelling trials for its A400M airlifter, beginning with a series of dry contacts performed today by the no. 1 development aircraft – Grizzly 1 – and a UK Royal Air Force VC10 tanker. These test flights underscore the A400M’s advanced multi-role capabilities, which allow this new-generation aircraft to perform aerial refuelling in addition to its airlift missions. The A400 also can serve as a receiver aircraft to take on fuel while in flight – further extending its operating range.
The A400M begins cold weather trials in Sweden
The second development Airbus Military A400M airlifter – referred to as “Grizzly 2” – has successfully opened its cold weather testing at Kiruna in northern Sweden, where temperatures reached minus-21 degrees Celsius over a four-day period earlier this month. These initial trials focussed on evaluating the A400M’s powerplants, and are to be followed by additional tests in more extreme temperatures at Kiruna this winter and next.
New service support for the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre
The Airbus Corporate Jet Centre, which specialises in Airbus Corporate Jet VIP cabin completion and associated services, has signed two agreements to expand its service solutions for operators of Airbus Corporate Jetliners. An accord with Snecma covers full engine service support for CFM International CFM56-5B engines, while the agreement with Sabena technics is for comprehensive airframe spare parts support.
Looking to the future at Aeromart Toulouse 2010
Airbus underscored its commitment to eco-efficiency with a leading role at the recent Aeromart Toulouse 2010 forum and exhibition, which attracted participants from 1,100 companies and 41 countries to spotlight sustainable development in aviation. The company’s presence included discussions on research and technology’s role in environmental improvement, as well as its support of the event’s “Green Aviation Village” – where Airbus offered a glimpse of air transport’s future with its model Concept Plane.
Production underway for Airbus’ initial A350 XWB fuselage barrel section
Airbus’ first carbon fibre fuselage barrel for the A350 XWB jetliner is now in production at the company’s Illescas, Spain facility. This 5.5-metre-long, 56-square-metre rear fuselage section is tapered, making its production as a barrel section the optimum solution, compared to a majority of the A350 XWB fuselage – which is made from long carbon fibre panels that are easier to manufacture and assemble than barrel sections.
Emirates' A380 fleet continues to grow
Dubai-based Emirates received its 15th A380 on 30 November, with the handover occurring at Airbus’ delivery centre in Hamburg, Germany. It is the 40th A380 provided to customers so far, and the 17th delivered this year. More than 7.5 million passengers have flown on A380s in revenue service to 20 international destinations.