Airbus Military’s new-generation A400M airlifter programme marked a key milestone with an unveiling of the no. 1 production aircraft in colours of the French Air Force – the initial customer scheduled to receive an A400M. This aircraft was shown at Seville, Spain, which is home to the A400M’s final assembly line. First delivery of the A400M is scheduled in the second quarter of this year.
News in brief
The first production A400M shows off its French Air Force colours
India selects Airbus Military as preferred bidder to supply its A330 MRTT
India has selected Airbus Military as the country’s preferred bidder to supply A330 MRTT Multi Role Tanker Transport aircraft, following a selection process that included the refuelling of multiple Indian Air Force fighter types and operations from the high-altitude base at Leh. Detailed negotiations are expected to conclude with a final production contract in 2013 for an envisaged six aircraft. This selection makes India the fifth nation committing to the A330 MRTT, following Australia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom – which together have ordered a total of 28 aircraft.
The A400M is on track for full certification following its latest critical flight test activity
Airbus Military’s A400M has achieved the last major requirement for its full type certification with completion of Function & Reliability (F&R) flight testing – which evaluated this new-generation military airlifter’s behavior in conditions representative of normal in-flight operations. The testing was completed in 32 days using the first production-representative A400M, involving 52 flights and visits to 10 different airfields. The A400M is expected to receive its full civil type and military Initial Operating Capability certifications during the first quarter of 2013, with delivery of the French Air Force’s initial aircraft planned for later in the year.
The A380 “chills out” with a new supplementary cooling system
Malaysia Airlines is the first operator to receive an A380 equipped with a new-generation supplementary cooling system, which keeps certain aircraft systems – along with stored food and drinks – at optimum temperatures, particularly in hot regions of the world. Developed with Liebherr, the new cooling system is being fitted on all new production A380s and may be offered as a retrofit option for in-service aircraft.
Sharklets flight testing expands to include the A319
Airbus has widened the flight test programme for its Sharklets-equipped A320 Family with today’s maiden flight of the initial A319 incorporating these fuel-saving, performance-enhancing wingtip devices. The A319 joins A320 and A321 aircraft that have been validating the Sharklets’ efficiency, with their evaluations already demonstrating fuel consumption savings better than the original target.
A350 XWB MSN001 wing join-up
Shortly after the arrival of the second fully equipped wing for the A350 XWB MSN001 aircraft, the wing join-up started in the Roger Béteille Final Assembly Line (FAL) in Toulouse. The wings will be attached to the fuselage and other finishing activities such as the spoilers will also be installed.
MSN001's 32 metre long & six metre wide wings went through wing integration in the Broughton North Factory before arriving in Bremen for equipping prior to being delivered to the FAL.
Korean students design livery and win a trip to Airbus
Two lucky students – Kim Min-seo (age 12) and Park Kyung-lin (13) – have won a trip to visit Airbus in France as well as having their painting featured as a special livery on a Korean Air A330-200. The two were winners of Korean Air’s Future Artist Olympiad competition, which was co-sponsored by Korean Air and Airbus. They will be flown to Paris in December and, after taking in the sights, will fly on to Toulouse to visit Airbus’ headquarters for a “junior” product briefing programme, tours and a visit to the A380 final assembly line.
Sharklet-equipped A321 takes off on maiden test flight
The first flight of a Sharklets-equipped A321 was performed today as this aircraft flew from Airbus’ Hamburg, Germany production site to the company’s Toulouse, France headquarters facility. It joins the on-going certification flight test campaign of these large fuel-saving wing tip devices, which are offered as an option on A320ceo (current engine option) Family jetliners and are standard on A320neo (new engine option) Family aircraft.
A new international destination for China Southern Airlines A380s
China Southern Airlines has expanded the route network for its A380 fleet with the start-up of operations on international routes. This achievement was marked by a trans-Pacific flight between China’s Guangzhou Baiyun airport and Los Angeles International in the United States during October. The three initial A380 flights on this route – which also were the first China-U.S. services for China Southern A380s – were a popular ticket for customers, with over 90 per cent of seats sold.
Electrical “genius” is on display at the ILA Berlin Air Show
The Airbus-sponsored e-Genius electrically-powered aircraft – which is being utilised to examine the long-term potential of electricity as a major onboard energy source for commercial aviation applications – is on display at the 2012 ILA Berlin Air Show. Data collected from operation of the University of Stuttgart-developed e-Genius aircraft will be analysed by Airbus’ Future Projects teams to further pursue the technology and better understand its opportunities.