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Old February 1st, 2006, 09:02 PM   #901
andysimo123
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27 January 2006
HIGH MARKS FOR A380 IN MEDELLIN

The A380 has reached another key milestone on the road to certification with the successful completion of high altitude tests in Medellin, Colombia, followed by further tests in Guadeloupe

The A380 has reached another key milestone on the road to certification with the successful completion of high altitude tests in Medellin, Colombia. The tests were part of the ongoing campaign to validate the performance of the aircraft’s engines, systems and materials under difficult conditions.

The second A380 test aircraft left Toulouse on January 10 and flew directly to [IMG]Medellin airport, which sits at an altitude 7,000 feet (2,134 metres). From January 11-13 a number of tests were conducted to determine how the aircraft performs at high altitude airports.

The aircraft’s four Rolls Royce Trent 900 engines were tested up to their maximum thrust and the aircraft successfully performed six take-offs. The flights also provided the opportunity to test autopilot landings at high altitude airports.

The auxiliary power unit (APU), which provides electrical and pneumatic power when the aircraft is on the ground before the main engines start, was also comprehensively tested to verify its performance at high altitude with maximum load conditions.

Following the Medellin tests the aircraft flew to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe for two days where it performed similar engine tests, including two take offs, at an altitude just above sea level. Emanuele Costanzo, flight test engineer, who traveled for the first time with the A380 outside of Toulouse, explained that further tests were conducted in Guadeloupe because although the altitude was comparable to Toulouse, the 27°C temperature was much hotter than conditions in Toulouse at this time of year.

“Overall we gathered some very encouraging results,” said Emanuele, adding that the flights to and from Toulouse, which are representative of what the aircraft will do when it enters into service, gave the team the opportunity to test such things as the aircraft flight management, fuel and weather radar systems.

A crew of six people from Airbus was onboard each specific flight test. A pilot and engineer representing the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) joined the crew for the high altitude tests.

The aircraft also made a short trip from Guadeloupe to Fort-de-France, Martinique for a ‘touch-and-go’ landing to display the aircraft to the eager crowds.

Just as with previous trips, the A380 drew huge public interest.

“The welcome that was given to us in Medellin was incredible,” Emanuele said. “Every day, from eight in the morning until the end of our tests at eight at night, there were a lot of people around the airport waiting to see the aircraft. They welcomed us as stars!”




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Old February 1st, 2006, 09:05 PM   #902
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31 January 2006
AIRBUS SELECTS SINGAPORE TECHNOLOGIES MARINE FOR ITS NEW A380 VESSELS

Airbus has selected Singapore Technologies Marine to build two new vessels for the sea transport of A380 sections to join the existing vessel “Ville de Bordeaux” in service since 2004.

Singapore Technologies Marine (ST Marine), a leading shipbuilder which is part of the Singapore Technologies Engineering Group, has been selected to build two large roll-on and roll-off vessels for the shipment of A380 sections. The two vessels are due for delivery in 2008 and will join the existing A380 Transport vessel “Ville de Bordeaux”, which entered service in 2004. The new vessels are being commissioned by FRET /Cetam, a subsidiary of Louis Dreyfuss Armateurs of France and Leif Hoegh of Norway. The value of the two vessels is €60 million.

Airbus will use the new vessels for the transportation of A380 sections from its sites in Hamburg, Germany, Broughton, UK, Puerto Real, Spain and Saint Nazaire, France to a port facility close to Bordeaux in France. Special barges then carry the aircraft sections along the River Garonne to Langon, where they are then transferred to road trailers for the final 250 km journey to the A380 final assembly line in Toulouse.

The 3,500 dwt Ro/Ro vessels measure approximately 127m long and 21m wide and are specially designed to transport aircraft sections efficiently and are equipped with highly automated ship control systems. To meet the special requirements for loading aircraft sections, the vessels will incorporate unique features such as a stern mooring system, cargo hold environment control and lashing arrangements. The vessels are designed with a cargo deck space of approximately 9,300 square meters and lanes totalling 3,100m.
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Old February 1st, 2006, 09:08 PM   #903
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1 February 2006
FIRST GP7200 ENGINE INSTALLED ON 5th A380 FLIGHT TEST AIRCRAFT

The first of four Engine Alliance GP7200 engines has been installed on the fifth A380 test aircraft at the Final Assembly Line in Toulouse, France. A380 customers can select either the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 or the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine.

The four GP7200 engines from American manufacturer Engine Alliance, a joint venture between General Electric Co. and Pratt & Whitney, arrived in Toulouse from Middletown, Connecticut in the United States in September ‘05 and the first has since been fitted with heavy test instrumentation to allow the measurement of some 1,000 parameters during flight test.

Once all four engines are installed in March the aircraft will join the flight test programme as part of the certification campaign by mid-2006.

The GP7200 engine will produce a 70,000 lbs (311 kilo Newton) power thrust on the A380 passenger version, against a 76,500 lbs (340kN) power thrust on the A380 freighter. A380 customers are offered a choice engines between the Rolls-Royce Trent 900 and the Engine Alliance GP7200 engine. Among the A380 customers who have chosen the Engine Alliance engines are Air France, Emirates, FedEx, ILFC and Korean Air.

To-date, three Rolls Royce powered A380 have taken to the air and have accumulated around 245 flights and 880- flight hours, yielded good results.

The first two aircraft have been successfully carrying out trials including aerodynamics, low speed and flight vibration tests. Cold weather trials are due to take place in Canada shortly, where the aircraft has to prove full functionality under extreme weather conditions of up to minus 40 degrees Celsius. The high altitude campaign successfully took place in Columbia earlier this month while the hot weather campaign will begin in the summer.

Meanwhile, the third A380, MSN002, has been flown to Hamburg, Germany, to be fitted out with the full cabin. It will be joined by a fourth aircraft which will also undergo cabin and noise tests, as well as performing the Early Long Flights and later the Route Proving, together with further airport compatibility checks.

The full A380 test programme represents more than 2,500 flight hours. Upon completion of the certification process the world’s largest commercial airliner will be delivered to the first operator Singapore Airlines in late 2006. The A380 is already a proven success story, with 159 orders from 16 customers.


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Old February 1st, 2006, 10:26 PM   #904
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andysimo123
12 January 2006
A380 LANDS IN COLOMBIA

The A380 has begun a series of high altitude tests in Medellin, Columbia, an airport at an altitude of 5,000 feet.
<snip>
Any chance that they'll do some "real" high altitude testing in La Paz, Bolivia? I know their runway is at an altitude of almost 14,000ft.
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Old February 4th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #905
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Airbus Team Likes Iqaluit’s Dry Cold For Huge A380

Arthur Johnson @ Nunatsiaq News - 3/2/06

If you have a lemon, the saying goes, make lemonade.

It’s a lesson that a team from Nunavut’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation and the Iqaluit Airport Authority took to heart last June when they went trolling for business at the Paris air show.

The delegation was hoping to sell major aircraft makers on Iqaluit as the perfect spot for testing their products in cold weather. They landed a whopper — the Airbus A380, an immense, 550-passenger airliner, which is due to arrive at Iqaluit airport, weather permitting, in the next few days for a week of tests.

Accompanying the aircraft will be about 50 pilots, engineers and other Airbus employees from across Europe, who will contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to the local economy by renting hotel rooms, dining and buying Inuit carvings and other keepsakes.

That’s impressive, but it’s only the beginning of the dividends from the air show, airport manager John Graham said this week.

Graham said that three other aircraft makers, including Brazil’s Embraer, have signed up to test their machines in Iqaluit. What’s more, he said, Canada’s National Research Council and General Electric Corp. are considering a plan to establish a facility in Iqaluit to test the effects of ice on aircraft engines.

“Until we went to the air show, the National Research Council had no idea that we were the premiere cold weather testing site,” Graham said. He went to Paris as part of a five-person delegation. The others included David Simailak, then Nunavut’s Minister of Economic Development and Transportation, Alex Campbell, the deputy minister, Methusalah Kunuk, the assistant deputy minister, and Kilabuk’s executive assistant.

That’s surprising, considering the Iqaluit has been a cold weather testing site for at least 10 years. In fact, said Graham, “I’d pretty well say we’ve got the cold weather market sewn up.”

He may be exaggerating a bit, but the Paris trip has certainly helped to put Iqaluit on the cold weather testing map. Still, no one is taking anything for granted. When the Airbus contingent arrives in Iqaluit, they’ll be feted by the GN.

The reason the Airbus people — and anyone else who will test their aircraft in Iqaluit — are getting the star treatment is that they are seen as crucial to the local economy. Not only do the test pilots and others boost profits for restaurants, hotels and artisans while they’re here, they also help to spread the word about Nunavut as a unique tourist destination.

Some of the test people have been coming to Iqaluit from France for years, said Graham, “and they rave about how fabulous it is to eat the fish here. They have a fascination with Nunavut and Iqaluit.” They also drop a bundle on Inuit art.

But the real attraction, according to Graham, is the particular quality of Iqaluit’s cold weather. Test teams can usually count on the right temperature range — it must be at least -25 or -30. And, he added, “They really like the dryness of our cold.”

It doesn’t hurt that Iqaluit’s airport is unusually large and has one of the longest runways in Canada, especially when something as enormous as the A380 is being tested.

The aircraft will make a couple of flights during its week in Iqaluit, and, since it’s several times the size of the aircraft used by First Air or Canadian North, will be hard to miss. But most of the testing will actually take place on the ground.

The A380, built in Toulouse, France, is to start hauling passengers Singapore Airlines and other carriers later this year. The airliner has already been tested for high altitudes in South American and for high temperatures in the Middle East.

But anyone hoping to get a trial flight aboard the monster aircraft while it’s in Iqaluit is out of luck.

Graham, the airport manager, has already tried to wangle a ride himself, and was turned down — Airbus’s insurance coverage prohibits outsiders on board until the aircraft is actually certified to carry passengers.
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Old February 5th, 2006, 10:33 AM   #906
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That's quite interesting, since these airplanes are already able to withstand -40C temperatures flying at high altitudes for long periods of time.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 04:40 PM   #907
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Airbus expects more orders for A380 from China, India

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6, 2006 (AFP) - Booming Asian economies led by China and India are expected to fuel demand for the world's largest commercial aircraft, the A380, an Airbus official said Monday.

"From the start of the (A380) programme, the fastest growth rates for air traffic in terms of passenger and in freight traffic are seen in Asia," Anthony Phillips, Singapore-based Airbus regional communications representative said.

Phillips, in Kuala Lumpur to brief on the company's regional outlook for 2006, said Airbus expects especially significant growth in in China and India.

"The expectation is two new customers every year (for the A380) ... It would not be unreasonable to say that at least one new customer could come from the Asia-Pacific region, in particular from high growth markets like China or India," he told AFP.

Seven of the 16 current customers for the A380 are in the region -- China's Southern Airlines, India's Kingfisher, Korean Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways which together account for some 49 of the 159 aircraft now on order.

Philips said fuel efficiency savings of up to 20 percent made the A380 an alternative to Boeing's flagship 747 jet.

"Airlines globally are under enormous pressure to control their costs. For an airline that today is operating a fleet of Boeing 747s, by introducing the A380, it will lower their operating cost by up to 20 percent," he said.

Phillips said Airbus was confident of penetrating the Japanese market, a traditional bastion for Boeing, with the A380 super-jumbo jet.

"It has been a traditionally challenging market. There is clearly a strong industrial link between the US and Japan," he said, noting that Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways count the largest fleets of 747s in the world.

"Quite clearly, with that in mind, Airbus hopes that they will become operators of A380s in due course," he said.

Phillips said by 2008, there would be 8-10 carriers flying into Japan using the A380s and this would put competitive pressure on the local companies.

"Obviously, they will face a lot of head-on competition. It is not unreasonable to expect that eventually Japan Airlines and ANA being large operators of 747 aircraft to become customers of the A380," he said.

The first A380 will be delivered in November to Singapore Airlines (SIA), which has ordered 10 A380s with another 15 on option for 8.6 billion dollars.

Phillips said the test programmes for the A380s was going very well. "There are no major concerns," he said.

The new giant of the skies was due for delivery to SIA in early 2006 but this was steadily put back due to production problems.

Phillips also said that the issue of late delivery of the A380 had been resolved.

"The issue of delays for the A380 has been settled with the customers," he told reporters.

But Phillip declined to disclose the details of the settlements, nor would he confirm if compensation was paid.

Phillips said Airbus expects another good year in sales this year.

"Airbus enjoyed a good 2005. Forty-five percent global orders came from the Asia-Pacific region with China and India contributing very significantly.

"For 2006, market conditions are still very bright and positive. Airbus is looking for another good year in Asia," he said.
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Old February 6th, 2006, 10:37 PM   #908
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^ China and India orders would be nice, but I'd REALLY like to see the A380 break the Japan market.
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Old February 7th, 2006, 04:51 AM   #909
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I just want to see Cathay Pacific Order some A380's
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Old February 7th, 2006, 06:08 AM   #910
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wonderful updates and pic guys. Thanks
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Old February 8th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #911
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Airbus cold testers find Arctic site warm: Temperatures in Iqaluit 10 degrees above normal
Robyn Doolittle
CanWest News Service
8 February 2006

Airbus engineers are confident they will be able to continue cold-weather testing the company's new super-jumbo jet in Iqaluit this week, even though the Nunavut capital is experiencing abnormally mild weather.

The Airbus A380 crew touched down at Iqaluit airport on Monday from Toulouse, France, hoping to be greeted by the Arctic's typical -30C temperatures. Instead, the team was met with -20C weather, which is expected to continue until the weekend. That's five degrees warmer than the necessary temperature the engineers require to study the aircraft's mechanical capabilities in cold climates.

The 50-member team has been able to continue testing because night temperatures have been dipping below -27C, said Claudia Mueller, Airbus's French spokeswoman.

"So far, the conditions are perfect and the tests are going quite well," Ms. Mueller said. "The forecasts are also quite positive."

Airbus's new double-decker jet, which weighs in at 273 tonnes with an 80-metre wingspan, is the largest passenger plane in the world. It will seat 555 passengers -- a Boeing 747 seats about 400 -- and is expected to go into service with Singapore Airlines in November. High-altitude testing has already been carried out, and warm-weather trials are scheduled for this summer.

Several hundred spectators crowded along the Iqaluit airport's fence to see the A380 touch down at 10:14 a.m. on Monday.

"It generated a lot of local interest. It's a milestone for the airport in that this is the world's first new-generation aircraft in the 21st century," airport manager John Graham said.

Yesterday, the team continued with its cold-soak testing, meaning they park the aircraft on the apron and let all the equipment freeze to the outdoor temperature, including the cockpit.

"The aircraft is cooled down to a maximum point -- everything's frozen -- then you can see how the aircraft reacts when it's started up. All the equipment has to react normally, as if the weather was 20C outside," Ms. Mueller said.

These cold-start up tests can be done several times a day, for the team's week-long stay. Different parts of the plane, such as the engine and cockpit electronics, are monitored during each run. Flight vibrations and patterns are also monitored. Variables such as weight, speed and temperature are also changed during each trial.

"All of these conditions are tested so that there are no surprises in the end. From the flaps to the landing gear to the cockpit electronics, which are linked to the wings, basically everything that makes an aircraft work is checked," Ms. Mueller said.

The interior of the A380 is stocked with cold-weather data-gathering equipment and instrumentation. Wires are exposed along unfinished walls. Airbus will not add the cabin and seats until after most of the other testing is completed.

Airbus's superjumbo will return to the Arctic once the cabin is added, to measure the internal heating system and cabin air pressure.

The plane's manufacturer in Toulouse, France, is analyzing three test A380 aircraft right now. The first two jets made their first flights on April 27 and Oct. 18. The third took to the skies on Nov. 3. Airbus is developing two more development aircraft. Each of the jets is designed to test different things, such as environmental issues, mechanical functions and airport compatibility.

Airbus has conducted several other cold-weather tests in Iqaluit with other models, although Ms. Mueller could not confirm whether the company will return to test the cabin.

Mr. Graham said he has been too busy keeping the runways and taxi area clear to really look at the superjumbo, although he received an intimate look at the plane during a Paris air show last summer.

"There's nothing really that compares with it," he said. "When I see it across the runway, it looks like a normal jet. The only way to see that it's big is when something else drives beside it."
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:55 PM   #912
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Giant Airbus learns to be cool

February 09 2006 at 01:22PM

Canada - Frozen smiles have returned to the faces of engineers putting the world's largest passenger aircraft through its cold-weather paces after typical Arctic weather returned to Baffin Island and ended concerns about a warm spell. Warm, however, is relative.

"Earlier this week, temperatures were very unseasonably mild - down around the -15C mark," said John Graham, the manager of the Iqaluit Airport, on Tuesday. Technicians are cold-weather
testing the 555-passenger Airbus A380 this week at the small airport in the Nunavut capital.

"It all worked out. We got down to about -29C when the airplane landed at Iqaluit airport," on Monday, Graham said. About 55 Airbus engineers are now working on the giant jet, which has a take-off weight of 155 metric tons and a wingspan of 78,6m.

Its eight-storey-high tail fin is now one of the tallest structures in Iqaluit. The town, on the tundra just south of the Arctic Circle, won the tender for testing the jet last year at the Paris Air Show.

'We got down to about -29C when the airplane landed'

In addition to an abundance of cold weather, the northern capital also boasts uncluttered airspace and vast expanses of runway. In the 1950s and 1960s, the US air force built facilities capable of handling its giant Cold War-era bombers.

The Canadian air force continues to maintain an airstrip capable of landing CF-18s. Airbus has tested planes in Iqaluit before, as have other aerospace giants such as Raytheon, Boeing and Eurocopter.

Nunavut hoped to build on those successes as part of its economic development strategy, said Economic Development Minister Olayuk Akesuk.

# Construction at the Johannesburg International Airport to accommodate the A380 Airbus would be completed by the end of 2008, the Airports Company SA said on day. Chief Airports Planner Erik Kriel said the massive rehabilitation project, to cost about R10-billion over the next few years, had already begun.

"Due to the 2010 Soccer World Cup the upgrading began about three years ago, but there will be more massive upgrades to the runways and terminals".
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Old February 9th, 2006, 10:59 PM   #913
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The new A380--it even makes a US airport fire truck look like a Matchbox toy.

If you thought an Oshkosh Airport Crash Truck was 'big' (pictured above is a four-axle version of Oshkosh's 'Striker' model) then take a look at the following pictures. Compared to the latest Airbus 380 show even the biggest fire trucks and ambulances look like matchbox toys.

These pictures were taken at Iqaluit airport (yes I had to look it up too!) an artic settlement (and the largest community in Nunavut) located in the southeast part of Baffin Island. The former military airport at Iqaluit, at an elevation of 34 meters, has the longest runway in the Canadian Arctic (8,000 feet). As for the fire truck my guess is that it's probably also an Oshkosh although I could be wrong-but whatever it is there's no doubt that the A380 is one hell of a 'Jumbo' jet. Meanwhile as ever I'm grateful to Colin Barnett for the pictures.


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Old February 14th, 2006, 11:02 PM   #914
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SA Airports Gearing Up For A380

iAfrica Business News - 8/2/06

Construction at the Johannesburg International Airport to accommodate the A380 Airbus will be completed by the end of 2008, the Airports Company of SA said on Wednesday.

Chief airports planner Erik Kriel said the massive rehabilitation project, to cost about R10-billion over the next few years, had already begun.

"Due to the 2010 Soccer World Cup the upgrading began about three years ago, but there will be more massive upgrades to the runways and terminals," Kriel said at a press conference at the airport.

"We expect traffic at the airport to double in the next nine to ten years. The Airbus will carry about 550 passengers so we have to accommodate for the arrival and departure of 550 passengers at a time."

Existing arrival and departure terminals will be completely reconstructed over the next five years, with development of the retail mall and sleeping area to be completed by the end of next year.

Cape Town International Airport was the preferred diversion for the A380, and two more runways would be constructed there, Kriel said.
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Old February 14th, 2006, 11:49 PM   #915
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Dubai is Middle East hub for Airbus operations
Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Dubai


Airbus has created a subsidiary called Airbus Middle East, which will be in charge of all commercial activities, including marketing, sales, contracts and customer relations.

Headquartered at the Dubai Airport Free Zone, the unit will also cover all customer service activities, such as spare parts, training, and technical support.

Habib Fekih, currently CEO of Dubai-based Total Airline Services Company (TASC), has been appointed president of Airbus Middle East.

Airbus Middle East will cover GCC countries, as well as Yemen, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

It is the fourth such subsidiary Airbus has established, following those based in the US, China and Japan, and its creation underlines the region’s global importance to Airbus as an aviation market.

Airbus is also establishing a new spare parts centre for the Middle East, adding to its worldwide network of spares, training and technical-support teams.

“With traffic predicted to be multiplied by four over the next 20 years, the Middle East is one of the fastest developing regions in the world,” says Airbus president and CEO Gustav Humbert.

“We have a long-standing relationship with all airlines of the regions and we are very proud of the role our products have played in the development of these fast growing carriers, being in most cases the cornerstone of their fleet expansions and modernisations.

“The trust and confidence these carriers have placed in Airbus leads us today to further expand our presence in the region.

“Our objective in doing so is to even better serve our valued customers and be in an even better position to give them full satisfaction, which is our top priority,” he added.

The spares centre, for which work has already begun at Dubai Airport Free Zone, is due to become operational in April 2007.

The spares centre will stock parts made by Airbus and major-equipment suppliers, and will be built on a 5,100 sq m site.

It will have direct access to the airport apron for maximum speed and efficiency.

Dubai is one of the world’s most modern and fastest-growing airports, serving more than 90 airlines flying to more than 136 destinations worldwide, and hence an ideal location for such an additional spares centre.

The company’s worldwide support network already includes spare centres in Beijing, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Singapore and near Washington DC, plus training centres in Beijing, Miami and Toulouse.

It also includes more than130 field service teams around the world.

Airbus is an EADS joint company with BAE Systems.



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don't know if you have seen them already:

[IMG]http://i1.************/nqxope.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1.************/nqxpbp.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://i1.************/nqxpio.jpg[/IMG]


Last edited by dubaiflo; February 14th, 2006 at 11:59 PM.
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Old February 15th, 2006, 07:21 AM   #916
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^ the last photo is pretty iconic!
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Old February 15th, 2006, 07:31 AM   #917
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Thanks for the news and pics 'flo!

I love that last picture too, very beautiful. Dubai's going to be seeing a LOT of A380s in the near future.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 02:06 AM   #918
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Boeing 747-8 Vs A380: A Titanic Tussle
What is the better option – the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 747-8? We consider the two giants’ pros and cons as the airframers square up at Asian Aerospace

Max Kingsley-Jones @ Flight International - 14/2/06


The Boeing 747-8 (back) and the Airbus A380 (front). Which is the better option for airlines? © Flight International

With Asia set to be a key driver of ultra-large-aircraft demand, Airbus and Boeing will be using next week’s Asian Aerospace as the ideal showcase for their offerings. Until the emergence of Boeing’s 747-8 as a firm programme last year, Airbus had the 400-plus-seat market all to itself with its 550-seat A380, but now faces a serious challenge in both the passenger and freighter sectors from the 450-seat 747-8, so expect the two sides to exchange blows as they explain why their offering is the right solution for the world’s congested passenger and freight routes.

The 747-8 family was launched in November as a major derivative of the 747-400, on the back of 34 orders from cargo carriers Cargolux and Nippon Cargo Airlines. Powered by a bleed-enabled version of the 787’s General Electric GEnx, the new family incorporates a slight stretch, increased weights, revised wing with raked wingtips and upgrades to the cabin and flightdeck. Compared with the 747-400, the changes provide the 747-8 Intercontinental passenger model with 34 more seats in a three-class layout (to 450 seats), increased range – to 14,800km (8,000nm) – and improved efficiency, with a 16% lower fuel burn per seat and 8% lower operating cost per seat. The -8 Freighter provides 16% more revenue volume than the 747-400ERF, while revenue payload increases by almost 20% to 133.9t (294,900lb).

Cargo leads

Although all orders so far have been for the cargo model, Boeing is confident it will also garner sales for the 747-8I passenger version, which plugs the “200-seat gap” between the A380 and large widebodies like the A340-600, 777-300ER and 747-400. Boeing believes this gap is wide enough to enable it to penetrate the existing A380 customer base with the new 747, and lists 39 “candidate customers” (including passenger and freight divisions of airlines). Almost all these carriers are existing 747 operators, and 12 are airlines or cargo carriers that have already ordered the A380. The list of potential customers include 21 Asian carriers/cargo airlines (see table), and Boeing is convinced it has a good chance of picking off some A380 customers.



Airbus appears undisturbed by the arrival of competition from Seattle, dismissing it as nothing more than a warmed-over 747. “Boeing is stretching a 40-year-old design to the limit,” says director of product marketing A380, Richard Carcaillet.

“The new model enters service 40 years after the 747-100, and has the same old wing, same old cockpit as the -400, and same old cabin – there is no improvement from the 1960s comfort standard,” says Carcaillet. “There is no development potential, and no engine choice,” he adds.





Boeing obviously has a slightly different take on the 747 legacy. Randy Baseler, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice-president, marketing, believes the connections to the 747 give the new model an important commonality advantage with the in-service fleet. He also says that the derivative design has not compromised the 747-8’s efficiency. “If you look at the efficiency measures of aircraft design, we’ve an advantage over the A380 despite being a derivative,” he says, pointing to the later generation engines and claimed lower empty weight per seat of the 747-8 compared to its Airbus rival. These factors mean that the 747-8I burns 13% less fuel per seat than the A380, he says (see table).



While acknowledging that the A380’s all-new wing – versus a modified version of the 747-400’s on the -8 – gives it an aerodynamic advantage, Baseler says that in other measures it is advantage Boeing.

“The A380 is between 10% and 16% per seat heavier than the 747-8. The 747-8’s OEW [operating empty weight] per seat is 453kg [998lb] compared with 498kg per seat [using Airbus’s brochure weight numbers] for the A380,” says Baseler. He says Boeing calculates the A380 is over 20% heavier per seat than the 747-400, and to match its structural efficiency “the A380 needs to be stretched to over 650 seats”.

The net result of these efficiencies is that the 747-8I’s operating costs are 22% lower than the A380’s per trip and 6% lower per seat, says Baseler.



However, Carcaillet claims that the 747-8 will be faster on approach – 160kt (296km/h) vs 138kt for the A380 – and despite a 20% higher thrust-to-weight ratio it will be a poor climber, as unlike the A380 it will require a one-step climb to FL330 (33,000ft/10,100m). He says that the new Boeing can only be made to “look good by bending the facts” with the claims based on “a gross exaggeration of the A380’s weight and fuel burn. The reality is that the A380’s fuel burn per seat is 2% lower than the 747-8’s. The 747-8’s cost per trip is just 12% lower than the A380’s, while the cost per seat is 9% higher – the A380 is still the most fuel-efficient large widebody ever.”

Wherever the truth lies within these operating cost claims, few would dispute Airbus’s view that the all-new A380 design with its double widebody-deck configuration will provide airlines with “game-changing” opportunities. “The A380 has 35% more capacity than the 747-400, and a 21st century seat width [18.5in/47cm],” says Carcaillet (see graphic). “The 747-8I provides just an 8% increase in capacity – this is less than two years’ growth – has 40% less floor space than the A380 and a seat width from the 1970s [17.2in].”

But Baseler expects the relatively small size increase of the 747-8 will play to Boeing’s advantage. “The 747-8 is the only airliner in the 400- to 500-seat category, and here our operating cost advantage offers a significant improvement over the A380,” he says. “But if you really need a 550-seater, then you’ll need the A380 as the revenue from the additional passengers outweighs the seat-mile cost advantage of the 747-8. That’s why we forecast a market for 300 aircraft in that [500-seat plus] category over the next 20 years.”

Boeing says the fact that the -8 is smaller than the A380 and has commonality with the current 747 fleet makes it a “significantly lower market risk” as it can use “existing infrastructure and ground equipment at more than 210 airports worldwide”, but Airbus believes 747-8 operators could find things otherwise. “With its 68.5m wingspan, the 747-8 is a Code F aircraft [airport handling classification] like the A380,” says Carcaillet, adding that the span limit for Code E (the 747-400’s class), is 65m.

Taking the lead

“This means the 747-8 has to meet the same requirements as the A380,” he says, “more perhaps as it has the same number of wheels as the 747-400, but increased weight, so it will have a very high ACN,” (Aircraft Classification Number, which measures the load footprint on a runway).

But arguments about the pros and cons of the 747-8I and the A380-800 are academic at the moment, as Boeing has yet to sell a passenger model. This is a point Airbus chief operating officer customers John Leahy is quick to make, and he is unconvinced that his rival will manage to break out from the freight market. “Our competitor sold a few 747-8 freighters. This’ll be the first time in the history of aviation that anyone has made a successful programme out of just freighters,” he says.



But Baseler says that, while Boeing has the “option to do the -8 programme as a freighter only”, he is confident the first orders for the 747-8I passenger model are close. “We expect we will have some orders for the -8I this year,” he says.

Boeing points out that, despite the lack of success so far with the 747-8 passenger model, the freighter outsold its Airbus rival handsomely last year. The manufacturer claims that, although it gives away around 18t in payload to its rival and has less cargo volume, the 747-8F has a 15% lower operating cost per tonne over the A380, and a 20% lower trip cost.

An important carry-over from the existing 747Fs, which has appeal to the general cargo operators, is the upward hinging nose cargo door that allows outsize loads to be carried. Boeing also highlights the fact that the new 747 can slot into existing 747-400F schedules, as it uses existing 747 cargo-handling equipment, whereas the A380 requires a unique high-loader to access its upper deck, which will make it difficult to operate “off route”.

Airbus’s Carcaillet says the huge cost advantages Boeing claims for the 747-8F are again due to “gross exaggeration” of the A380’s fuel burn and weight – the latter to the tune of 13t. “The reality is that the A380F’s cost per tonne is comparable to that of the 747-8 on short ranges,” he says, adding that “comparisons at short range ignore the unique non-stop range of the A380F”. He says that on long-range flights with maximum structural payload, the A380F’s cost per tonne is 15% lower.

Airbus has conceded that, while it does not see the 747-8I as a threat, the freighter could dilute the A380’s sales in the cargo sector, but believes an airliner programme cannot have a solid business case built purely around cargo demand. “Of course the 747 is a good a freighter – all they’re selling are freighters,” says Leahy. “But you can’t make an aircraft programme around an aircraft that is just a freighter. If you want a balanced aircraft programme like we have with the A380 you will sell probably about three-quarters of your models as passenger aircraft and the rest as freighters.”

Package popularity

Express package carriers have ordered the bulk of the A380Fs to date, while the 747-8F was launched by two general cargo airlines, which Boeing says indicates the Airbus freighter’s configuration is suited to carrying the heavier, higher-density loads normally associated with general freight carriage. But Carcaillet disputes this: “The A380F will fly 150t non-stop, whatever the density,” he says. “At a similar range, according to Boeing, the 747-8F will carry 113t only, which is less than today’s 747-400ERF with a stop.”

Given Boeing’s long-standing pessimism about the size of the ultra-large-aircraft market, Airbus could be forgiven for mocking the fact that its rival has now apparently “seen the light”. Shortly after the 747-8 programme was launched last year, Airbus chief executive Gustav Humbert congratulated his rival “for following the Airbus market view on large-aircraft demand”.

The fact is that Boeing has consistently in recent years been pessimistic about the market for aircraft in the 500-seat-plus category – the A380’s bracket – where its 20-year forecast is currently put at 300 passenger aircraft. In comparison, Airbus has continued to be firm in the belief that 20-year demand for ultra-large aircraft (450-seats plus) is in excess of 1,000 aircraft – its latest forecast putting demand at 1,250 aircraft (excluding freighters).

However, Boeing’s long-term forecast for overall demand in the “747 and larger” sector (400-seat-plus passenger aircraft and large freighters) has varied dramatically over the last decade from a high of 1,600 in 1996, when it was poised to launch a 550-seat 747 stretch family, to a low of 790 in 2004. Significantly, last year Boeing bucked the recent trend by increasing its forecast (by 15%) to 907 units as it prepared the ground for the 747-8 launch, having consistently reduced its outlook each year in the period 2001-4.

“Airbus’s ultra-large-aircraft forecast is consistent, Boeing’s follows every twist and turn,” says Carcaillet.

Boeing’s decision to finally join its rival in the ultra-large-aircraft sector has livened up the proceedings, after Airbus had things its own way for five years. It will be another five years at least until it becomes clear who has got it right, but one thing is for certain – the airlines at last have what they always wanted and that is a choice of supplier at the top end of the size spectrum.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 02:11 AM   #919
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That's some really interesting information. Especially the cabin size comparison.
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Old February 16th, 2006, 10:00 PM   #920
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Airbus A380 Test Wing Breaks Just Below Ultimate Load Target

Max Kingsley-Jones @ Flight International - 16/2/06

The wing of the Airbus A380 static test specimen suffered a structural failure below the ultimate load target during trials in Toulouse earlier this week, but Airbus is confident that it will not need to modify production aircraft.

The airframer has been running load trials on a full scale A380 static test specimen in Toulouse since late 2004 (pictured below). After completing “limit load” tests (ie the maximum loads likely to experienced by the aircraft during normal service), progressively greater loads have been applied to the specimen towards the required 1.5 times the limit load. Engineers develop finite element models (FEM) to calculate the load requirements.

“The failure occurred last Tuesday between 1.45 and 1.5 times the limit load at a point between the inboard and outboard engines,” says Airbus executive vice president engineering Alain Garcia. “This is within 3% of the 1.5 target, which shows the accuracy of the FEM.” He adds that the ultimate load trial is an “extremely severe test during which a wing deflection of 7.4m (24.3ft) was recorded”.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says that the maximum loading conditions are defined in the A380 certification basis. “The aircraft structure is analysed and tested to demonstrate that the structure can withstand the maximum loads, including a factor of safety of 1.5. This process is ongoing and will be completed before type certification.”

However Garcia says that the failure of the wing below the 1.5 target will require “essentially no modifications” to production aircraft: “This static test airframe has the first set of wings built, and we have refined the structural design for subsequent aircraft due to increased weights etc. We will use this calibration of the FEM to prove the adequacy of the structure on production aircraft.”

EASA says that it is aware of the structural failure but "cannot make a statement about the specific failure as it has not been officially briefed by Airbus on what the cause was, and the certification process is ongoing".

Garcia says that the FEM calculations had already established that the A380’s wing had “no margin at ultimate load. We had a weight saving programme and ‘played the game’ to achieve ultimate load.” However in earlier briefings, Airbus structural engineers had stated that it planned to carry out “a residual strength and margin research test” in 2006 after completing ultimate load trials.

The results gleaned from the static testing will be extrapolated for the future aircraft developments over the next 40 to 50 years says Garcia. “It is normal to refine and strengthen the structure of new heavier or longer range variants,” he says.




Photos © Airbus
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