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March 2016

Boeing launches 737-800BCF bookmark

Boeing has launched the Next-Generation 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighter (BCF) with orders and commitments for up to 55 conversions from seven customers. It is the first Next-Generation 737 that Boeing has offered for conversion. While large freighters carry high-density cargo on long-range routes, the 737-800BCF will primarily be used to carry express cargo on domestic routes.


The 737-800BCF carries up to 23.9 tonnes of cargo, flying routes of nearly 2,000nm. 12 pallet positions – 11 standard pallets and one half-pallet – provide 5,000ft3(141.5m3) of cargo space on the main deck. This will be supplemented by two lower-lobe compartments, combined providing more than 1,540ft3(43.7m3) of space for revenue-generating cargo.


Boeing has won a total of 30 firm orders and 25 commitments for the 737-800BCF:

  • YTO Airlines, based in Hangzhou, China, has ordered 10 conversions with commitments for 10 more
  • China Postal Airlines, based in Beijing, has ordered 10 conversions
  • GE Capital Aviation (GECAS), which will provide the initial aircraft for conversion, scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2017, has ordered five conversions
  • An unannounced customer has ordered five conversions with two commitments.


In addition, Boeing has secured 13 commitments for conversions from:

  • SF Airlines, based in Shenzhen, China,
  • Cargo Air, based in Sofia, Bulgaria
  • An unannounced customer.


Aircraft will be modified at select facilities located near conversion demand, including Boeing Shanghai. Modifications include installing a large main-deck cargo door, a cargo-handling system and accommodation for up to four non-flying crew members or passengers.

Bombardier, Air Canada and Quebec sort C Series MRO bookmark

Air Canada, following the signing of a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Bombardier for the acquisition of up to 75 Bombardier C Series 300 aircraft, has agreed to have its C Series airframe heavy maintenance work performed in Quebec by a recognised maintenance provider for a minimum of 20 years from first delivery in 2019. It is expected that Air Canada’s commitment in this regard will help establish a Centre of Excellence for C Series aircraft maintenance in the province. As a result, subject to completion of final agreements, the Government of Quebec has agreed to discontinue the litigation related to Air Canada’s obligations regarding the maintenance of an overhaul and operational centre. This followed the closure of AVEOS in 2012.


The LoI contemplates 45 firm orders, plus options to purchase up to an additional 30 aircraft. It also includes substitution rights to CS100 aircraft in certain circumstances. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2019 and extend to 2022. The first 25 aircraft on delivery will replace Air Canada’s existing mainline fleet of Embraer E190 aircraft, with the incremental aircraft supporting Air Canada’s hub and network growths.


The C Series purchase is subject to completion of final documentation and satisfaction of certain other closing conditions.

CFM strong in 2015 bookmark

CFM booked orders for 2,154 engines in 2015, including 736 CFM56 (commercial, military and spares) and 1,418 LEAP engines (including spares). It received nearly 600 orders in January 2016. At the same time, the LEAP engine has now surpassed 10,000 total engine orders and commitments (excluding options) at a value of $140 billion at list price.


CFM continues to achieve historic production rates for the CFM56 product line. The company produced 1,638 CFM56 engines in 2016, compared to 1,560 engines in 2014 and 1,502 in 2013. CFM maintains the highest production rate in the industry and has consistently built more than 1,000 CFM56 engines per year since 2006.


Orders in 2015 bring the current backlog to more than 13,400 engines with the biggest challenge now being able to build them all. To meet that challenge, GE and Snecma have invested nearly $1 billion to date in new and upgraded facilities that incorporate advanced manufacturing technology.


This year marks the start of the transition to LEAP engine production, with more than 140 units in the plan. The company expects to complete the transition by 2020 with an annual production rate of more than 2,000 engines. CFM will continue to build CFM56 spare engines for many years to support the in-service fleet and plans to produce spare parts for the programme until around the year 2045.


On 9 February, the first Airbus A321neo equipped with CFM International LEAP-1A engines completed its maiden flight from Hamburg. The flight lasted five hours and 29 minutes, during which time tests were performed on the engine speed variation (low/high), systems behaviour and to validate the aircraft’s flight envelope. The A321neo will join the neo flight test fleet and perform a partial flight test programme to validate the impact on handling qualities, performance and systems. The first A321neo is due to be delivered at the end of 2016.

ERB signs with Airbus and SIAEC bookmark

Airbus Group has signed an MoU with Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) to establish a programme to develop technologies that will improve the efficiency of aircraft maintenance. The result of the agreement will be a unique demonstration platform and test bed for developing solutions to the challenges and trends facing aircraft MRO entities. These challenges include cost pressures, increasing competition and a rapidly changing business environment.


Airbus Group will assemble a 10-strong team of experts to collaborate with local institutions to adapt state-of-the-art technologies to the particular needs of the highly regulated aircraft maintenance industry. Dubbing the project the ‘Future Hangar Initiative’, Airbus Group and its research partners will explore technologies for improving the efficacy and speed of aircraft maintenance and repair – everything from performing a complete scan of an aircraft when it rolls into the hangar through to digitalised inspections and the use of 3D printers to make spare parts on site.

SIAEC signs agreements bookmark

SIA Engineering Company (SIAEC) will invest up to $50 million over the next few years on innovation initiatives and technology adoption projects in aerospace MRO, with the support of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). SIAEC will collaborate with airlines, research institutions and technology partners to develop new innovations and solutions to serve the future MRO needs of airline customers. Key areas of technologies to be explored include additive manufacturing, robotics and data analytics.


SIAEC has also signed an agreement with Airbus to form a joint venture based in Singapore, which will provide airframe maintenance, cabin upgrade and modification services for Airbus A380, A350 and A330 aircraft to airlines in Asia-Pacific and beyond. This joint venture marks SIAEC’s first collaboration with a major aircraft manufacturer for airframe maintenance. The agreement is subject to regulatory approvals being obtained in the relevant jurisdictions. Under the agreement, SIAEC will hold a 65% equity stake in the joint venture, with Airbus holding the remaining 35%. Airbus will develop the joint venture as its Centre of Excellence for A380 and A350 heavy maintenance in Asia, which will strengthen SIAEC’s airframe service offerings in Singapore and the Philippines. The joint venture will lease two hangar bays from SIAEC for its operations, with plans to add another two over the next six years.


Elsewhere, SIAEC has signed an agreement with Rolls-Royce to become a Rolls-Royce approved On-Wing Services provider within its Trent Service Network. With this appointment for the Trent family of engines, including the Trent 1000 and Trent XWB, SIAEC will be supporting an increasing number of Rolls-Royce civil engines fuelled by the growing fleets of new-generation aircraft, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A350 XWB. The On-Wing Services programme will offer a range of engine line maintenance support services to Trent engine operators.


SIAEC has furthermore signed an MoU with Moog to establish a joint venture to provide MRO services for Moog’s products on Airbus A350, Boeing 787 and other new generation aircraft. Moog will have a 51% stake in the joint venture, with SIAEC holding 49%. The Singapore-based joint venture will be the Centre of Excellence in Asia Pacific for Moog’s products on both the A350 and 787 aircraft.

US/Singapore maintenance agreement bookmark

The FAA and the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) have concluded a Maintenance Implementation Procedures (MIP) agreement. This agreement allows for reciprocal acceptance of safety oversight requirements, as well as the mutual recognition of procedures for the approval and monitoring of aircraft maintenance organisations. The MIP was concluded under the wider ambit of the US-Singapore Bilateral Safety Agreement (BASA) signed in 2004. The BASA is a government-to-government umbrella agreement that provides the framework for the FAA and CAAS to develop implementation procedures for reciprocal acceptance in areas including, but not limited to, approval and monitoring of maintenance facilities and maintenance personnel, flight operations and flight crew members, as well as aviation training establishments.


This is the second agreement under the BASA, the first being the Implementation Procedures for Airworthiness (IPA) signed in 2004 between the FAA and CAAS, and further enhanced in 2007. The IPA provides for the mutual recognition of airworthiness of civil aeronautical products. It has benefitted both countries’ aeronautical design and manufacturing industries through significant time and cost savings, as well as deepened expertise of personnel as a result of the mutual cooperation and technical assistance rendered by both parties. The MIP is expected to reap similar benefits. In particular, the MIP will significantly reduce regulatory burdens and compliance costs for the aviation industry. It will also eliminate duplication of inspections and audits on aircraft maintenance organisations in Singapore and the US.

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