Airbus announced (15-Feb-2013) it will revert to nickel cadmium technology for the A350 XWB. The company stated it is confident the lithium ion (Li-ion) main battery architecture it has been developing with Saft and qualifying for the A350 XWB aircraft is robust and safe. The A350 XWB flight test programme will continue as planned with the qualified Li-ion main batteries. However, to date, the root causes of the two recent industry Li-ion main batteries incidents remain unexplained to the best of the company's knowledge. In this context, and with a view to ensuring the highest level of programme certainty, Airbus has decided to activate its “Plan B” and therefore to revert to the "proven and mastered" nickel cadmium main batteries for its A350 XWB programme at entry into service (EIS). Airbus considers this to be the most appropriate way forward in the interest of programme execution and A350 XWB reliability. In parallel, Airbus has also launched additional maturity studies on Li-ion main batteries behaviour in aerospace operations and will naturally take on board the findings of the ongoing official investigation. Airbus does not expect the decision to impact the A350 XWB entry into service schedule. [more - original PR]
Airbus moves away from lithium ion technology for A350 XWB batteries
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Global commercial aircraft deliveries fell in 2016 as Boeing again outsold Airbus; 2017 to be a peak
The global commercial aircraft fleet grew by 4% in 2016 and the year ended with an order backlog of more than nine years of production. Among the regions, North America still has the biggest and oldest fleet, but the lowest ratio of orders to aircraft in service. By contrast, Middle East has the fewest in service, but the highest ratio of orders to current fleet numbers.
This report gives an overview of the number of commercial aircraft deliveries in 2016 and the outlook into 2017 and beyond. It also looks at numbers in service and on order by region. It is based on preliminary numbers from the CAPA Fleet Database and guidance on 2016 deliveries from Airbus and Boeing, who have yet to announce final numbers.
The data indicate that total worldwide deliveries fell in 2016, the first such decline for six years, as a result of delays to new aircraft programmes. Boeing delivered more aircraft than Airbus for the fifth straight year, but its deliveries fell short of its 2015 level, while Airbus increased its numbers year-on-year. Total deliveries will likely rise again in 2017, but this may prove to be a peak year.
Bombardier C Series: record orders in 2016 as both variants finally enter service
The first commercial flight of the Bombardier CS300 on 14-Dec-2016, operated by airBaltic from Riga to Amsterdam, will be a major milestone for the Canadian manufacturer's new C Series aircraft programme. Three CS100 aircraft are already in service with SWISS, so the airBaltic flight will mean that both variants of the C Series are finally in commercial operation.
The programme is Bombardier's first wholly new aircraft development, aimed at the 100 to 150-seat market segment and offering advantages of fuel efficiency, cabin space, noise and emissions. Bombardier once targeted 2013 for entry into service, but has been dogged by problems and delays. In 2015, Bombardier seemed to have overstretched itself. The C Series received no new orders during the year and Bombardier was forced to seek investment from the Province of Québec to rescue the programme.
In 2016 the company has recovered to win a net 117 new orders, its highest annual total, bringing the programme total to 360. However, competition is cut-throat, with Airbus, Boeing and Embraer all having new developments of existing products in the same space as the C Series. Bombardier's breakthrough orders from Air Canada and Delta in 2016 required heavy price discounts.