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BRITISH AIRWAYS WELCOMES ITS FIRST BOEING 787-9 DREAMLINER

British Airways Resumes Daily Flights to Abu Dhabi, After 4-Year hiatus

British Airways’ first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner arrived at Heathrow this morning to take its place in the airline’s fleet.

Following an eight hour 45 minute flight from Seattle, the aircraft (registration G-ZBKA) touched down at its new home at 8.50am local time. It is the first of 22 787-9s the airline is set to receive from Boeing, with the next due to arrive in mid-October and a further two expected by the end of the year.

To mark the arrival of the new Dreamliner, British Airways has released a time-lapse video of the aircraft being built in Seattle: http://ba.uk/787timelapse

Mitch Preston, British Airways’ flight technical manager for the Boeing 787 fleet and the pilot who flew the aircraft to Heathrow, said: “It’s always a privilege to be the first pilot to fly an aircraft on its delivery flight. I was lucky enough to bring our first 787-8 to Heathrow in 2013 too.

“Flying with just the small delivery team on board is a very different experience to a normal flight with customers on board. I’m really looking forward the first one of those – I think our customers will really enjoy the latest addition to our fleet.”

The new aircraft will start flying to Delhi from October 25, 2015 followed by Abu Dhabi and Muscat from November 5, 2015. The 787-9 will also fly to Kuala Lumpur in December and in February the aircraft will start flights to Austin.

The 787-9 is 20ft longer that its 787-8 predecessor (of which the airline has eight), so as well as offering World Traveller (economy), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and Club World (business class), there’s also room for a new First cabin – a first for the airline’s 787 fleet.

The First cabin has just eight seats in comparison to the 14 seats* available on other British Airways long-haul aircraft, giving even more exclusivity and privacy to customers.
Created specifically for the Boeing 787-9, the new cabin has been painstakingly designed based on feedback from First customers, to put comfort at the heart of the experience and make the very best use of the more intimate space.

The suites now include four new storage areas. A new ottoman next to the adjustable footstool has enough room for shoes, handbags and personal items, while the personal suiter for jackets and coats is now accessible without the customer having to move from their seat.

A new locker positioned at eye-level is perfect for smaller personal effects such as tablets, spectacles, passport and wash-bags. A handy mirror has also been fitted to the inside of the locker door for personal grooming.

Customers who need to charge any devices can now do so in a discreet stowage area next to their armrest.
Great attention to detail has also been paid to how the customer uses their suite, with each function being controlled by simple, intuitive touch.

The seat and in-flight entertainment console has been updated with a new handset, much like a smartphone, integrated into the seat from which travellers can control their in-flight entertainment. During flight, the handset can be docked so that customers are also able to watch one item, such as the moving map, on the handset and another, such as a film, on the 23inch fixed screen. This also means travellers will be able to enjoy gate-to-gate entertainment, without having to stow their television for take-off and landing.

The smart ‘jog-dial’, that previously controlled the seat’s recline, now manages five additional functions including the headrest and lumbar inflate and a ‘global’ lighting control to set both ambient and reading lighting.

The airline also has a short video of the new First to give customers a feel for the cabin: 787-9 Dreamliner First
The aircraft will now go in to an intensive ‘entry into service’ programme, which will include ground trials and familiarisation trips, before it begins flying to Delhi on October 25.
The 787s are the most technologically advanced aircraft in British Airways’ fleet. Different pressurisation means the internal cabin altitude is the equivalent of 6,000ft, which is 2,000ft lower than on other aircraft. This leads to greater humidity, reducing the drying effect of the cabin air, so customers arrive feeling more refreshed. The aircraft’s smooth ride technology also provides extra comfort during any turbulence.

With a total of 42 787s destined to join British Airways, the aircraft is to become the mainstay of the airline’s fleet.

He is an aviation journalist and the founder of Jetline Marvel. Dawal gained a comprehensive understanding of the commercial aviation industry.  He has worked in a range of roles for more than 9 years in the aviation and aerospace industry. He has written more than 1700 articles in the aerospace industry. When he was 19 years old, he received a national award for his general innovations and holds the patent. He completed two postgraduate degrees simultaneously, one in Aerospace and the other in Management. Additionally, he authored nearly six textbooks on aviation and aerospace tailored for students in various educational institutions. jetlinem4(at)gmail.com

Aviation

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

China’s Indigenous HH-100 UAS Successfully Completes First Flight

In a significant milestone for China’s aviation industry, the HH-100 aerial commercial unmanned transportation system successfully completed its maiden flight, as announced by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) on Wednesday.

The HH-100 demonstrator took to the skies for its inaugural flight at a general aviation airport in Xi’an, located in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province. This successful test was conducted by AVIC, China’s leading aircraft manufacturer, marking a pivotal step in the development of the country’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capabilities.

Developed independently by AVIC XAC Commercial Aircraft Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of AVIC based in Xi’an, the HH-100 consists of two main components: an unmanned aerial vehicle and a ground-based command-and-control station. This innovative system is designed to offer a cost-effective, high-payload solution for various transportation and logistical needs.

The HH-100 is notable for its low cost and large tonnage capabilities. With a designed maximum take-off weight of 2,000 kilograms and a payload capacity of 700 kilograms, it can transport approximately 4 cubic meters of cargo over a range of 520 kilometers. The drone’s maximum cruise speed is 300 kilometers per hour, and it can operate at altitudes up to 5,000 meters.

Primarily intended for feeder logistics, the HH-100 is also equipped to participate in a variety of other roles, including forest and grassland firefighting, fire monitoring, transportation and delivery of rescue materials, relay communication, and artificial rain enhancement. This versatility makes it a valuable asset in both commercial and emergency response operations.

Looking ahead, AVIC plans to develop a series of products based on the HH-100 platform, with models capable of carrying 5 tons, 10 tons, and even larger payloads. These future developments aim to meet the growing demand for large-scale, intelligent, low-cost, and highly reliable unmanned cargo planes.

The HH-100’s successful first flight marks an important achievement for AVIC and China’s aviation sector, showcasing the potential of homegrown technology to advance the country’s capabilities in unmanned aerial transportation. With its impressive range of features and applications, the HH-100 is poised to play a significant role in enhancing air-ground transportation connectivity and addressing various logistical challenges in the region.

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Aviation

Russia’s Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

Russia's Venture into Spare Parts Production for Western-Made Jets

In a strategic move to mitigate the challenges posed by the shortage of spare parts for foreign-made passenger aircraft, Russian carriers are charting a new course by turning to domestic alternatives. At the forefront of this shift are two groundbreaking projects unveiled at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 6.

Leading the charge is Protektor Group, a prominent Russian MRO provider, which has committed a substantial investment of RUB3.5 billion ($39 million) to establish a cutting-edge facility near Moscow Domodedovo airport.

This facility is slated to specialize in the production of spare parts tailored for Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 narrowbody jets, with operations expected to commence in 2026. With a projected workforce of 800 employees, the facility aims to address the pressing demand for critical components in the aviation sector.

This initiative aligns seamlessly with broader governmental endeavors outlined in June 2022, which envisioned the manufacture of 1,036 airplanes using solely Russian parts by 2030. Bolstering this ambition, the state allocated a substantial sum of 283 billion rubles (U.S. $3.1 billion) in January 2024 to propel the production of 609 aircraft, with a particular emphasis on medium-haul models.

Protektor’s trajectory towards this pivotal milestone has been marked by notable achievements, including receiving production organization approval from Rosaviatsia in 2024. Prior to this, the company had earned certification for the overhaul of landing gear for Boeing 737s, solidifying its position as a trusted entity in aircraft maintenance.

Beyond the realm of spare parts production, the Russian aviation industry is poised for a significant transformation as it gears up to redefine its identity. Sergey Chemezov, the head of Rostec, the state-owned conglomerate overseeing aerospace, engineering, and defense sectors, has unveiled ambitious plans to resurrect the renowned ‘Yakovlev‘ brand. This rebranding initiative extends across the spectrum of Russian-made airliners, signaling a new era of innovation and prominence.

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Aviation

Airbus Welcomes Sixth and Final BelugaXL to Complete Fleet

Airbus Welcomes Sixth and Final BelugaXL to Complete Fleet

In June 2024, Airbus marked a significant milestone with the induction of the last of six BelugaXL aircraft into its fleet.

This completion heralds a new era for Airbus Transport International (ATI), the company’s internal airline, enhancing its industrial capabilities with a new generation of heavy-lift aircraft. The BelugaXL, successor to the iconic A300-600ST ‘Beluga’, has been pivotal in this transformation since its first introduction as a test platform in 2018.

The BelugaXL program was initiated in 2014, bringing together a centralized development team of around 1,000 engineers and suppliers. This consolidation of expertise allowed for more streamlined decision-making and process simplification, accelerating the aircraft’s development timeline. By reusing parts, equipment, and design principles from other Airbus platforms, the BelugaXL was able to move from the drawing board to its maiden flight in just five years.

Built on the A330-200 freighter platform, each BelugaXL boasts a payload capacity of 51 tonnes and a range of 2,200 nautical miles, offering 30% more payload capacity than its predecessor. Its cavernous hold can accommodate the largest A350 fuselage sections or two 30-metre long wings, doubling the capacity of the original Beluga. This enhanced capability is central to Airbus’ strategy of ramping up production across its commercial aircraft programs in 2024.

ATI, an Airbus subsidiary since 1996, will now operate the complete fleet of six BelugaXLs. These specially commissioned airlifters, built in Toulouse, France, are integral to Airbus’ logistics, transporting sub-assemblies and components between manufacturing sites in France, Germany, Spain, and the UK. Each mission features a remarkable turnaround time of just 70 minutes, facilitated by specially designed loading facilities.

The inaugural BelugaXL, after serving as the test aircraft, has undergone a major refurbishment and is now ready to contribute to the fleet’s heavy lifting. This addition is timely as Airbus gears up for increased production across all its commercial aircraft lines. By 2027, the BelugaXL fleet is expected to reach 9,500 flight hours annually, up from a planned 6,500 flight hours in 2024.

Sustainability is a key focus for Airbus. The BelugaXL can operate on a blend of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), supporting Airbus’ goal to gradually increase SAF use in its operations. By 2030, Airbus aims for the fleet to operate entirely on SAF, aligning with its broader sustainability roadmap.

The greater capacity of the BelugaXL also means fewer flights are needed, reducing carbon emissions. ATI projects that in 2024, the fleet will transport approximately 5% more payload compared to 2019’s mixed fleet of BelugaXLs and Beluga STs, while emitting 20% fewer carbon emissions.

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