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November 2019



Airbus and Delta Air Lines are forming a digital alliance to develop new predictive maintenance and health-monitoring solutions for airline customers worldwide from 2020. To be accessed via a unified portal through the Skywise platform, the cross-fleet solutions will harness each member’s expertise in airframes, systems and engines. Delta Air Lines will be the first user of the enriched predictive maintenance solution.


            This partnership builds on an already successful platform of technical collaboration between Airbus and Delta: In 2015, Delta TechOps began working with Airbus to develop its initial predictive program, Prognostic Risk Management (PRM), by co-designing, testing and making improvement recommendations about some of its key features. In October 2018, Delta entered into a multi-year contract with Airbus to apply Skywise Predictive Maintenance to its A320 and A330 fleets – covering around 400 aircraft. Moreover, in June this year, Airbus and Delta joined forces to offer A220 component repair and material services for Airbus’ A220 Flight Hour Services (FHS) programme.


            Today, Delta has an internal team of over 20 employees who assure accuracy of the predictions through the bench testing of parts and components for the predicted fault, with a success rate of over 95% for pending failure predictions. In 2010, Delta had more than 5,600 cancelations due to maintenance versus 2018, where Delta logged only 55 maintenance-related cancellations.


GECAS and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) have announced the launch of the Boeing 777-300ERSF, and the establishment of a passenger to freighter conversion programme. Dubbed ‘The Big Twin’ – denoting its status as the largest ever twin-engine freighter – the initiative is jointly funded by GECAS and IAI. With agreements signed in July 2019 and a prototype aircraft to be provided by GECAS, the 777-300ERSF Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) Development Program has now been launched. Entry into service is expected in 2022.


As launch customer and co-funder of the programme, GECAS has committed to 15 firm orders and has 15 additional options for the 777-300ERSF from its’ owned portfolio (including the prototype aircraft). The conversion of initial aircraft is expected to take place in Tel Aviv with further conversion lines contemplated in other locations outside of Israel from 2023. The program will also see IAI enter into conversion agreements for the 777-300ERSF directly with airlines as well as other lessors around the world. 


The 777-300ERSF STC development and prototype conversion is estimated to take over three years from the start to achieving CAAI/FAA STC Approval, while subsequent aircraft will average four to five months to convert.

The Big Twin will offer operators 25% more capacity than today’s smaller twin-engine long haul freighters and it is anticipated that it will achieve up to 21% lower fuel burn per tonne than ageing four-engine freighters. The 777-300ERSF will carry 18 more tonnes than the 777-200LRF and nine more than the 747-400BCF on every single sector. Over a weekly round the world trip, the 777-300ERSF will burn 191 less tonnes of fuel and carries 99 tonnes of additional goods when compared to the 747-400BCF.


The aircraft is being proposed in four configurations:

-           11 96in x 238.5in ULDs, four 96in x 125in ULDs, one 88in x 108in ULD placed laterally

-           13 96in x 238.5in ULDs, four 96in x 125in ULDs, one 96in x 125in ULD placed laterally

-           21 96in x 196in ULDs placed laterally

-           36 side by side 88in x 108in ULDs, one 88in x 108in ULD placed laterally (this is a US military Civil Reserve Air Fleet configuration. The government makes peacetime airlift business available to civilian airlines that offer aircraft to the Civil Reserve Air Fleet).


As the fuselage cross section is identical to the 777-200F, the main deck door measuring 146.5in wide x 124in high has been retained.

There doesn’t seem to be a difference in fuselage diameter so it would seem to make sense to keep the same size and construction.


The crew compartment includes a double bunk crew rest, wet galley with chiller and a lavatory with a vacuum toilet. Two double business class or nine economy class supernumerary seats can be installed.

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