Quick news

December 2014 edition

Airbus Sharklet demonstrator validates in-service retrofit programme

Airbus’ Sharklet In-Service Retrofit solution has been finalised following the successful completion of a full-scale “Embodiment Demonstrator” in Cardiff UK using an actual aircraft. The exercise, which was attended by Customers and Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul organisations (MROs), allowed Airbus to optimise the embodiment sequence as well as to perform fuel and wing-alignment certification tests. Customers selecting the Sharklet retrofit option will purchase the full kit and service bulletin from Airbus Upgrade Services, and have the installation performed by their chosen MRO. Approximately 3,500 A320 Family aircraft in service can benefit from reduced fuel-burn and increased performance by taking advantage of the retrofit which includes the associated wing reinforcement for the Sharklets. The backlog for the in-service retrofit kits is growing, now ordered by customers in all regions. The first is expected to be completed in 2Q 2015 with production of 20 kits per month projected in 2016.

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A350 XWB lighting mock-up commissioned at Customer Definition Centre

The A350 XWB Customer Definition Centre (CDC) at Hamburg recently commissioned into operation its newest cabin definition tool: the lighting mock-up. Called “Illuminate,” the device represents an interior section of the A350 XWB cabin which is fitted with the A350’s controllable mood-lighting technology. Here customers can make decisions about the appearance of their cabin, and thanks to the cutting-edge LED technologies, they can choose from 16.7 million colour combinations and the light strips in the cabin can be controlled individually in 12.5 inch sections. The process begins with the technical and design preparation, after which the lighting is defined, using the mock-up to create scenarios in the different classes, rooms, and door areas. Finnair was the first airline customer to use the lighting mock-up to define the lighting for its A350 XWB cabin offering.

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Airbus develops portable inflatable hangar for engine maintenance

Airbus Customer Services is offering an inflatable weatherproof turbofan engine maintenance tent which would allow customers or working parties to perform engine maintenance in adverse weather when there is no conventional hangar available. The solution enables “indoor” engine maintenance to allow the work to be performed with optimal environmental conditions and is available for all Airbus widebody aircraft including the A330, A340, A350 and A380.

The equipment which is both lightweight and portable and also oil, acid and hydraulic fluid resistant, comprises an inflatable dome tent with integral heating, ventilating, and air conditioning which can be used on all Airbus aircraft engines. The system effectively allows maintenance teams to work anywhere, bringing the hangar to the aircraft, rather than the aircraft to the hangar. Not only can operators avoid waiting for available hangar space – reducing AOG time – but they can also avoid costly hangar fees.

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New process optimises scheduled maintenance requirements

Airbus Customer Services has developed and introduced a new process to optimize scheduled maintenance requirements. The process, which refines the task intervals, was put into place following in-service experience feedback from scheduled and unscheduled maintenance tasks. The process can be implemented at fleet level (via the Maintenance Review Board Report) as it complies with international regulation standards. It can also be customized by each operator for the optimization of their own maintenance programme. Airbus continues improving the efficiency and flexibility of the scheduled maintenance requirements in order to increase aircraft availability at optimized costs. In addition and following operators’ feedback, Airbus has adapted the production process of scheduled maintenance documents. All documents are now released in a synchronized way and published in a unique environment on the AirbusWorld portal.

Airbus’ Satair division introduces used spare parts services

Satair Group, the dedicated Airbus spares management subsidiary, has introduced a new initiative: ‘Used Equipment and Component Management’ (UESG). The new unit marks Airbus’ entry into the used parts business for an end-to-end lifecycle solution which complements Satair’s ‘new spare parts’ business. Almost 600 overhauled structural parts can now be purchased via the AirbusSpares portal or ordered directly through the Customer Order Desk. These used parts are immediately available, have full traceability, competitive prices and cover a wide scope of parts across the Airbus fleet, maximizing aircraft value throughout its entire life, from production to residual value optimisation through material re-use. 

Airbus tests new “thermoplastic automatic fibre placement” composite manufacture technique for simpler and faster production

Airbus is developing a new manufacturing technique: “thermoplastic automatic fibre placement,” - which promises to accelerate the production of composite components. As Airbus prepares to ramp-up production for the A350 XWB, the manufacturing team in Nantes, France which currently uses the thermoset (heat-curing) technique, has been evaluating the new thermoplastic lay-up process which uses heat to soften the material for placement and adhesion, after which the tows (fibres and resin) cool to ambient temperature, at which point the part hardens to be ready for the step (curing). One of the main advantages the using thermoplastic composite layup technique is that it can work at speed of one metre per second. Another advantage over thermoset is that thermoplastic increases process and technology performance as it reduces the need for cleaning and maintenance of machines – as there is less waste material. Storing the raw material is also simpler as thermoplastic is inert, it has an infinite life and there is no need to freeze it.

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Airbus extends cold weather limits for the A320 Family operations

Airbus has received approval from the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee to operate the A320 Family in extreme cold weather conditions – down to minus 54° Celsius. This certification by the Russian aviation authorities is a major milestone for the extension of the A320 network in Russia enabling the airlines to have more flexibility with regards to their fleet planning, while connecting major central hubs to very important northern destinations in the region. The extension is applicable to the A319, A320 and A321 aircraft equipped with CFM 56-5B engines, and allows up to 120 minutes turnaround time. Today there are over 270 A320 Family aircraft currently in operation with 11 Russian carriers. 

Airbus RNP-AR retrofit selected by Delta Air Lines for A320 Family fleet

Delta Air Lines has signed an agreement with Airbus Upgrade Services to enhance its A320 Family fleet with “Required Navigation Performance Authorisation Required” capability (RNP-AR). 126 aircraft will be upgraded during 2015. The enhancement to the aircraft will allow Delta’s operations to take advantage of the increasing number of RNP procedures available within and outside the USA. RNP-AR offers benefits in terms of efficient approaches and departures, bringing significant fuel savings, time savings and overall efficiency. Delta joins the growing number of operators taking advantage of Airbus’ latest navigation systems upgrade.

Airbus to lead SESAR’s Extended Projected Profile (EPP) flight trials

SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) recently awarded Airbus the contract to lead the newly-launched PEGASE consortium (“Providing Effective Ground & Air Data Sharing via Extended Projected Profile”, including larger-scale flight trials. The project will pave the way for the exchange of aircraft trajectory information between all ATM actors, thereby enhancing air traffic and flight predictability, optimizing traffic-flow management with fewer delays, thus improving passenger comfort, reducing fuel consumption and costs. Beginning in 2015, A320 ferry flights between Hamburg and Toulouse will be used to continuously transmit the aircraft’s predicted trajectory information to the ground in real air traffic situations. Known as “Extended Projected Profile” (EPP), this capability enables trajectories to be continuously synchronised between air and ground. After completion of the first phase this year using flight simulators, approximately 100 real flights will be performed and analysed throughout 2015. Technical evaluations of EPP performance and behaviour will be conducted by Eurocontrol and a final analysis report will be issued in March 2016.

Airbus ProSky to manage airspace efficiency project with SESAR partners

Airbus ProSky (APS) and its SESAR Joint Undertaking (SJU) partners are launching the “RISE” Project (RNP Implementation Synchronized in Europe) which aims to enhance safety, improve flight efficiency and airport accessibility. RISE will implement Performance Based Navigation (PBN) procedures at eight airports located in southern Europe. Led and co-financed by SJU, the project is managed by Airbus ProSky, in collaboration with four air navigation service providers (ANSPs) – DCAC, NAV Portugal, DSNA, HCAA – and three airline operators - Air France, Novair and TAP Portugal. The two year project will conduct over 160 flight trials starting in 2015, demonstrating a range of PBN procedures, such as Required Navigation Performance (RNP) Approach, RNP Arrival, Visual RNAV, and RNP to Instrument Landing System (ILS) procedures. The initiative will improve airport access and enhance safety of operations by removing the ‘Circle-to-Land’ approaches, without having to rely on the ground navigation infrastructure, lowering the weather minima and allowing shorter tracks resulting in track miles savings and Continuous Descent operations, less fuelburn & emissions and reduced noise.

Making a waste reduction difference at Airbus

Airbus’ significant efforts to help reduce waste at work were highlighted during the recent European Week for Waste Reduction. The project, funded by the LIFE+ programme of the European Commission, promotes awareness-raising actions around sustainable resources and waste management. At Airbus, the quantity of non-recycled waste has been reduced by 24.8 per cent between 2011 and 2013 as the result of projects launched across the company, while the amount of mixed municipal waste was lowered by 16.3 per cent during the same timeframe. Ongoing projects range from the improvement of titanium scrap management at Airbus’ St Eloi, France industrial facility and increased metal recycling in the UK at Broughton, to carbon fibre recycling research at the Stade, Germany site and the return of cardboard packaging from the Illescas, Spain manufacturing location to its manufacturer. 

‘FlySmart with Airbus’ EFB optimized for Windows touchscreen devices

Building on the ongoing success of the Airbus’ iPad Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution introduced in July 2012 – known through the “FlySmart with Airbus” brand, Airbus has now also developed new Windows 8 tablet-based EFB applications which, for the first time, brings touchscreen and ‘swipe’ interface functionality to its EFB apps specially optimised for the latest Windows-based devices. To this end, the new FlySmart for Windows 8 will present a user interface similar to that of the FlySmart on iPad EFB, and will also adapt to the particular screen resolutions and aspect ratio proportions offered by the various Windows-based tablet screens. It will be available beginning of 2015.

Recent appointments

· Alain DE-ZOTTI has been appointed as Airbus’ Chief Engineer for A350 XWB programme. Previously Chief Engineer for the A330/A340 programme, Alain succeeds Gordon McCONNELL, who has retired from the company after 39 years with Airbus and its predecessor companies. PHOTO

· Axel FLAIG has been nominated as Airbus’ Head of Research & Technology (R&T) and succeeds Axel KREIN in this position. Axel Flaig was previously head of Airbus’ Centre of Competence (CoC) for Flight Physics. Meanwhile Axel Krein takes up a new role as Head of Cyber Security Program for Airbus Group. PHOTO

· Sebastien BOREL is appointed as General Manager of Airbus ProSky (APS), Airbus’ dedicated ATM subsidiary. Sebastien was previously APS Vice President for Commercial Affairs, managing sales integration between Airbus ProSky, Metron Aviation and Quovadis, as well as communications and marketing. PHOTO

· Paul LOCHAB has been appointed as Head of Commercial, Satair Group, Airbus’ dedicated material & logistics management subsidiary. Paul was previously with GA Telesis and brings with him experience at airlines, MRO and the aftermarket.

· Tim ORR has joined Airbus as Head of Branding & Business Communications. Tim was previously Head of Exhibitions Events & Branding for Thales Group. PHOTO

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