BREAKING | Bombardier sells CRJ program to Mitsubishi

Bombardier has entered into a definitive agreement with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries regarding the sale of the CRJ regional aircraft program for $550 million.

Under the agreement, announced on June 25, 2019, the Japanese manufacturer will acquire maintenance, support, upgrade, marketing and sales activities for the CRJ Series aircraft, also including service and support network activities located in Montreal and Toronto, as well as in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona. Mitsubishi will also take over liabilities amounting to approximately $200 million.

Bombardier will keep the CRJ production facility in Mirabel, Québec, and should continue to supply components and spare parts and build CRJ aircraft from the current order book on behalf of Mitsubishi. According to the Canadian manufacturer, CRJ production is expected to conclude in the second half of 2020, following the delivery of the current backlog of aircraft.

The sale of the CRJ program means that in a little bit more than a year, Bombardier has almost completely withdrawn from commercial aviation industry. Indeed, on June 8, 2018, the company sold the majority of its shares in the CSeries program to Airbus, which since renamed the aircraft A220. In November 2018, Viking Air, which had previously acquired Bombardier’s Amphibious Aircraft program in 2016, took over the Q400 for $300 million.

On October 19, 2018, Bombardier sued Mitsubishi Aircraft in the United States, accusing the Japanese company of illegally acquiring some secret documents by hiring former employees of the Canadian plane maker. The Japanese manufacturer counterattacked with its own legal action accusing its Canadian competitor of wanting to delay or even prevent the development and certification of its regional aircraft, the MRJ.



Image: Bombardier

Turkish Airlines charms with new Boeing 787 Dreamliner interior

Turkish Airlines is getting ready to introduce the first Boeing Dreamliner to its fleet. While the airliner will officially take off on behalf of Turkish later on, in July 2019, the first photos already reveal what flyers can expect to find onboard.

The first flight of Turkish Airlines’ brand-new Dreamliner is expected on July 8, 2019, taking off from Istanbul to Antalya. The first international flight, from Istanbul to Denpasar, is to follow on July 17, 2019. All tickets have been sold out for the latter flight, Turkish Airlines website indicates.

Ahead of the upcoming first flight, Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi took to social media to share some sneak-peaks of the interior of the Boeing 787-9. “This plane is different,” Ekşi said about the newest member of Turkish Airlines fleet.

Turkish Airlines’ Dreamliner has seating capacity for 300 passengers, including 30 seats in the business class and 270 seats in the economy class.

Boeing and Turkish Airlines finalized a firm order for 25 Boeing 787-9s on March 10, 2018, Boeing announced at the time.



Image: Boeing

Rolls Royce acquires Siemens e Aircraft

“We are at the dawn of the third era of aviation,” proclaims Rolls-Royce as it announces the acquisition of Siemens’ electric and hybrid-electric aerospace propulsion business, marking a clear step further into making greener engines.

The eAircraft is Siemens’ business branch which is developing all-electric and hybrid electric propulsion solutions for the aerospace industry. Rolls-Royce expects to finalize the acquisition of eAircraft in “late 2019”, depending on acquiring needed approvals.

The company broke the news on June 18, 2019, with high hopes the move will help the company to jump ahead of the competition of what it sees as a future for aviation. “We believe that pure electric, or all-electric, propulsion will power smaller aircraft in the foreseeable future, while larger aircraft will rely upon hybrid electric solutions that combine electrification with evolutions of the gas turbine,” explains Paul Stein, Rolls-Royce Chief Technology Officer.

“Electrification is set to have as dramatic an impact on aviation as the replacement of piston engines by gas turbines,” Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical believes. “We are at the dawn of the third era of aviation, which will bring a new class of quieter and cleaner air transport to the skies”.

Rolls-Royce already collaborated with eAircraft (as well as Airbus) working on the E-Fan X demonstrator project. However, in June 2019, Siemens ended the collaboration after achieving agreed goals, Airbus explained at the time, while Rolls-Royce maintains simply that it was a “business decision” on Siemens’ part.

E-Fan X is a complex hybrid-electric aircraft demonstrator. In the test aircraft, one of four jet engines are replaced by a 2MW electric motor, roughly equivalent to that of 10 medium-sized cars, as Airbus explains it. “The electric propulsion unit is powered by a power-generation system and battery. When high power is required—at take-off, for example—the generator and battery supply energy together”. The first flight is expected for 2021.



Image: Airbus

Airbus A320NEO: the big winner at Paris Air Show with 250+ orders

“NEO” has been the operating word for Airbus at the Paris Air Show 2019. Having launched its brand-new A321XLR jet, the longest range variant of the A320 Family, the company has not only racked up 226 demand for the new plane, but also expanded the A320 NEO orders and commitments to just over 250 worldwide.

The biggest deals and commitments

The biggest order for Airbus came on the very first day of the airshow, June 17, 2019, from Air Lease Corporation (ALC). The Los Angeles-based aircraft leasing company, signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for 100 Airbus jets, comprising of 27 A321XLRs and an incremental order for 23 A321neos. The company also ordered 50 A220-300s.

Also using the opportunities of the airshow, Saudi Arabian Airlines, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, expanded its existing A320neo Family order from 35 to 100 Neo aircraft, including 35 options. Saudia’s additional firm order for 65 A320neo Family planes incorporates 15 for the XLR version.

Then came the Arizona-based private equity fund Indigo Partners: the company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to purchase 50 A321XLR. The deal includes new orders for 32 A321XLR jets and the conversion of 18 existing A320neo Family orders.

The new aircraft will be operated by Indigo Partner’s three of four low-cost airlines: Wizz Air (Hungary) will 20 XLRs; 18 will go to Frontier Airlines (U.S.); and to 12 to JetSMART (Chile). Indigo Partners also has ownership stakes in Volaris (Mexico). The four carriers operate a combined 295 Airbus planes, Airbus orders and deliveries log, ending May 31, 2019, shows.

Joining in on the hype surrounding the A321XLR, U.S. giant American Airlines also inked a deal to acquire 50 of the newly-launched aircraft. The purchase agreement includes the conversion of 30 of American’s existing A321neo orders to the new XLRs as well as incremental orders for additional 20 XLR jets.

Meanwhile, the biggest conversion deal was signed with Air Asia (Malaysia) – the carrier decided to convert its 253 outstanding A320neo orders to the larger A321neo version. With that, the airline becomes the world’s largest customer for the A321neo: in total, AirAsia has placed orders for 592 A320 Family planes and taken delivery of 224 of them.

Keeping up with the big boys

Lebanese flag carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA), was quick to place a firm order for four XLRs on the first day of the airshow, becoming the launch airline customer for the new aircraft for now.

The following day, Philippines-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Cebu Pacific became another launch customer for the new aircraft by signing a MoU for 31 Airbus planes: 16 A330neos, 10 XLRs and five A320neo jets.

Also at the Paris Airshow was the Qantas Airways, which stepped in with a deal for 36 XLR jets: the Australian carrier decided to convert 26 of its existing A320neo Family orders and place a new firm order for 10 XLRs.

China Airlines (CAL) opted for 25 A321neos, signing a MoU for 11 of these jets; the other 14 will be added on lease. Similarly, the Dublin-based leasing company Accipiter Holdings signed a purchase agreement to acquire 20 A320neos.

At Le Bourget, JetBlue Airways decided to add the XLR and increase its existing order for A220s: the U.S. low-cost carrier will convert 13 current A321neo orders into firm orders for the new XLR version; the airline also firmed up an order for an additional 10 A220-300 aircraft from existing options.

Aside of announcing intent to buy 200 Boeing 737 MAX, on the very same day, International Airlines Group (IAG) also placed a firm order for 14 A321XLRs. The planes are destined to go to the group’s subsidiaries: eight planes for Iberia (Spain) and six for Aer Lingus (Ireland).

Following Saudia’s order, Flynas, Saudi Arabia’s first low-cost airline, inked a MoU for 10 XLRs. The airline will also upsize 10 of the A320neo it currently has on order to the A321neo. Aiming modestly, Atlantic Airways, Faroe Islands flag carrier, closed a purchase agreement for two A320neo jets.



Image: Gyrostat (Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0)

American, Qantas deals lift Airbus A321XLR to 191 orders already

Three days after it was officially presented to the public at Paris Air Show, the A321XLR already racks up 191 orders.

Qantas was the first to place an order on June 19, 2019, for 36 A321XLR, including 26 as a reconversion of an existing order of A321neo. In total, the Australian company has an ongoing order of 45 A320neo, 28 A321LR and 36 A321XLR with Airbus.

On the same day, the youngest member of Airbus’ family has convinced another company. Indigo Partners group announced it would convert 18 of its previous A320neo order into A321XLR, and add another 32, for a total order of 50 of the new aircraft. Twenty of the A321XLRs should be allocated to Wizz Air, 18 to Frontier, and 12 to JetSMART. Including the latest deal, Indigo Partners has 636 aircraft on order with Airbus.

Finally, American Airlines also converted an existing order for 30 A321neo into A321 XLR and 20 additional orders. American, the largest Airbus operator in the world with 422 aircraft, has now ongoing orders for 65 A321neos and 50 A321XLRs from Airbus.

Airbus presented the A321 XLR, new version of the A321, on the first day of Paris Air Show, on June 17, 2019. This single-aisle aircraft with an extended range is able to operate many long-haul routes and is designed to appeal to low-cost airlines wishing to develop their business on the long haul.

In the first two days, it accumulated 27 orders from Air Lease Corporation, 4 from Middle East Airlines, 10 from Cebu Pacific and 14 from International Airlines Group. In total, 191 A321XLRs were ordered in the first three days of Paris Air Show.



Image: Airbus

Korean Air to acquire 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Boeing, Korean Air and Air Lease Corporation announced on June 18, 2019, at the Paris Air Show the airline plans to add 30 new 787 Dreamliner airplanes to its fleet, with a commitment to purchase 10 new 787-10s and 10 additional 787-9 airplanes valued at $6.3 billion at current list prices.

As part of this agreement, Korean Air will also lease 10 787-10s from ALC.

The airline will introduce the larger 787-10 to complement its long-haul fleet of 787-9 and 777 airplanes.

With this order, Korea’s flag carrier will quadruple its 787 fleet to 40 airplanes as it looks to strengthen its long-haul fleet.

The 787-10 is the largest member of Dreamliner family. At 224 feet long (68 meters), the 787-10 can serve up to 330 passengers in a standard two-class configuration, about 40 more than Korean Air’s existing fleet of 787-9 airplanes.

The Korean national carrier operates a fleet of 96 Boeing passenger airplanes, including the Next-Generation 737, 747, 777 and 787 airplanes. The airline also operates an all-Boeing cargo fleet with the 747-400, 747-8 and 777 Freighters.

Korean Air selected the GEnx engine to power its 30 additional Boeing 787 Dreamliners. This selection will increase Korean Air’s GEnx-powered Dreamliner fleet to 40 aircraft.

With a fleet of 168 aircraft, Korean Air serves 126 destinations in 44 countries worldwide. It is a founding member of the SkyTeam alliance and recently formed a Joint Venture partnership with Delta Air Lines.

In addition to supporting Korean Air, ALC committed to purchase an additional five 787-9 Dreamliners, valued at $1.5 billion at list prices, during the Paris Air Show.

“Demand for reliable, versatile, and fuel-efficient airplanes is at an all-time high,” said Steven Udvar-Házy, Executive Chairman of Air Lease Corporation. “These five Boeing 787-9 aircraft are required by our airline customers to satisfy strong ALC lease placements of the 787.”



Airbus steals the show with 118 orders on first day

Half a day after the opening of the Paris Air Show, Airbus already accumulates three orders for its aircraft, including the launch customer for its newly-launched A321XLR, the long-range version of its best-selling A321neo.

Air Lease Corporation reiterates its commitment to Airbus

Air Lease Corporation signed a letter of intent to purchase 100 Airbus aircraft during the Paris Air Show, on June 17, 2019.

This order includes 50 A220-300s and 27 of the newly-launched A321XLRs as well as an incremental order for an additional 23 A321neos.

The aircraft should be delivered between 2021 and 2026. This contract brings cumulative orders of Air Lease Corporation to 387 planes, making it Airbus’ third largest lessor customer. At list price, the order amounts to more than $10 billion.

Virgin Atlantic selects Airbus to renew its wide-body fleet

Virgin Atlantic has selected 14 A330-900s to replace its A330ceos from 2021, with options to further expand its fleet of wide-body aircraft. The firm order for eight aircraft and six additional on lease from Air Lease Corporation was signed at the Paris Air Show.

Virgin Atlantic currently operates a fleet of 40 wide-body aircraft and will soon take delivery of its first of 12 A350-1000s.

Airbus could expect more than 200 orders for its A321XLR this week, including from Norwegian and JetBlue Airways.

The A321XLR found its launch customer: Middle East Airlines

Middle East Airlines (MEA), the flag carrier of Lebanon, has signed a firm order for four A321XLRs, thus becoming the launch airline customer of Airbus latest evolution of the A321neo family.

The agreement takes Middle East Airlines’ cumulative single-aisle orders with Airbus to 15 A321neo family aircraft, including 11 A321neos and 4 A321XLRs with deliveries starting in 2020. MEA will use the A321XLR to strengthen its network in Africa and Asia.



Image: Virgin Atlantic

Norwegian 737 MAX denied entry into Germany, lands in France

German authorities have refused entry of a Norwegian Boeing 737 MAX 8 into their airspace. The aircraft, which was performing a ferry flight, eventually landed in a Parisian airport.

The Boeing 737 MAX 8 registered SE-RTB of the low-cost carrier Norwegian departed on June 11, 2019, from Malaga airport (AGP), in Spain, to return to the company’s base in Stockholm (ARN), Sweden.

However, as it was about to reach the German border, the aircraft was put on hold and started flying in circles above the French eastern region of Moselle, Flightradar24 data shows. Germany had refused entry into its airspace.

The flight was eventually aborted, and the aircraft had to land in Paris-Vatry airport (XCR) for refueling.

After the two crashes of Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines involving a Boeing 737 MAX 8, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has forbidden the aircraft from operating commercial flights within its airspace. Ferry flights to reposition the planes are still allowed.

However, each European country remains sovereign of its airspace. Unlike France, which allows specific authorizations for ferry flights, Germany’s NOTAM is unequivocal: “any flight with the types Boeing 737 MAX 8 and Boeing 837 MAX 9 within the airspace of the Federal Republic of Germany is prohibited”.

Thus, while Norwegian claims that the flight had been approved by Eurocontrol, it will now have to rethink the flight route for its Boeing 737 MAX to reach Stockholm.

Such occurrences are rare, as flight routes are planned ahead. But on November 1, 2018, the entrance of Air France flight AF258 into the Russian airspace had been denied forcing the plane to turn back and, after unsuccessful landing attempt in Warsaw, return to Paris.



Image: Edward Russell

American Airlines extends flight cancellations on Boeing 737 MAX through 3 September

“American Airlines remains confident that impending software updates to the Boeing 737 MAX, along with the new training elements Boeing is developing in coordination with our union partners, will lead to recertification of the aircraft soon“, the airline said in a statement. “We have been in continuous contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Department of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other regulatory authorities, and we are pleased with the progress to date.”

In April, American extended cancellations for the MAX through 19 August and has now decided to extend those cancellations through Sept. 3: “By extending the cancellations, our customers and team members can more reliably plan their upcoming travel on American. In total, approximately 115 flights per day will be cancelled through Sept. 3.

Our Reservations and Sales teams will continue to work closely with customers who are impacted by these cancellations.”

Frequently asked questions

Question: My flight was previously scheduled on a MAX. Will it be cancelled?
Answer: Not all flights that were previously scheduled on a MAX will be cancelled, as we plan to substitute other aircraft types. In total, approximately 115 flights will be cancelled per day.

Question: My flight wasn’t scheduled to be on a MAX. Why has it been cancelled?
Answer: A flight that was not scheduled as a MAX flight might be cancelled to enable our team to cover a MAX route with a different aircraft. Our goal is to minimise the impact to the smallest number of customers.

Question: How will customers know if they are impacted?
Answer: American’s Reservations team will contact affected customers directly by email or telephone. Customers who booked through a travel agent will be contacted by their agency directly.

Question: My flight was cancelled and I don’t want to rebook. Can I get a refund?
Answer: Yes. If a flight is cancelled and a customer chooses to not be rebooked, they may request a full refund by visiting



Image: American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX

IATA hopes for coordinated return of the Boeing 737 MAX

IATA renewed its call to global aviation regulators for a coordinated approval of Boeing 737 MAX navigation system changes.

Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO, voiced his concern on the damaging effects that the two Boeing 737 MAX crashes had on the trust in the aviation industry, in the air transport industry report dated June 2, 2019.

“The recent Boeing 737 MAX accidents have put our reputation in the spotlight,” states de Juniac, adding that “trust in the certification system has been damaged—among regulators, between regulators and the industry and with the flying public. […] To be clear, I am not advocating for knee-jerk reactions. But governments and industry must find a way to maintain public confidence in safety with fast and coordinated responses”.

Indeed, suspicion of alleged collusion between the FAA and Boeing during the certification process of the Boeing 737 MAX has led several regulators to express will for conducting their independent certification.

Transport Canada (the Canadian transport safety authority) was the first to announce it would run its own investigation. “When the software update will be done within a few weeks, we will do our own certification in Canada, even though it has been certified by the FAA,” Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, told the press.


Image: PJS2005