Airbus: 10,000 up

first_imgEuropean plane maker Airbus has celebrated its 10,000th delivery with a vow it will take just 10 years to deliver its next 10,000 aircraft.A long and spectacular journey beginning with the Airbus 300B  — the world’s first twin-aisle, twin engine aircraft – hit a major milestone on Friday with the delivery of a  fuel-efficient A350-900 to Singapore Airlines.The world needs more A380s.The European manufacturer’s 10,000th delivery came as production at Airbus is at record levels and its ubiquitous single-aisle A320 is taking off around the world every two seconds.The delivery milestone was celebrated today at a special ceremony in Toulouse attended by Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong and Airbus Group boss Tom Enders.Enders said Airbus’s founders five decades ago could not have foreseen that the company would be delivering its 10,000th aircraft as early as 2016.He said the company was producing at rate of just over half an aircraft a month in the 1970s.Almost 8000 of the 10,000 aircraft delivered had been delivered in the past 15 years and it was less than nine years ago that Airbus had delivered its 5000th aircraft. It took Airbus 19 years to deliver its first thousand aircraft and just 19 months for the last 1000.“There were years, I’m told, where we had more cancellations than new orders,’’ he said. “Today we deliver more than 600 aircraft a year and the ramp-up is continuing.’’Enders said the company now had the widest product line in the industry and its manufacturing footprint extended far beyond Europe to China and the US. “We’ve gone from only 15 per cent market share as recently as 1995 to standard market share of around 50 per cent over the last 10 years or so and there’s not that much more you can wish for in a duopoly.’’The Airbus boss said the manufacturer became faster and more efficient every year and the A350 gave a strong indication of what the next 10,000 aircraft would be.He predicted accelerating technology such as digitalisation would see the next 10,000 aircraft come in many more versions and variations.“I think we’ll continue to be smarter, we will definitely be more productive, we will be safer,’’ he said “The overall ingenuity our people and our many partners from all over the world can dream up will make them more fuel efficient, cleaner, easier to maintain, easier to operate… and able to carry more passengers hopefully in ever more comfort.“And when we develop new aircraft, I’m confident we will be able to design and develop them much faster and with much less cost than is still the case today.’’Goh was picking up the airline’s sixth A350-900 as part of an order that will see it take 67 of the fuel- efficient aircraft, including seven ultra long range planes that will be used on services from Singapore to Los Angeles, New York and an undisclosed third destination. It will be the launch customer for the A350-900ULR when deliveries begin in 2018.The A350 delivered Friday will be used to re-establish long-haul services between Singapore and San Francisco and Goh said it showed how far Airbus had come.“The A350s allow us to have more long haul destinations on a non-stop basis which helps to boost our network competitiveness and our connectivity and helps us further develop our home base, the Singapore hub,’’ he said, noting that customer feedback about the plane so far had been positive.Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Airbus have a long history and shared several milestones, including the first revenue flight of the double -decker A380 superjumbo in 2007.SIA placed its first order with Airbus in 1979 when it opted for the A300B4 and the group  has since operated aircraft from all of Airbus’ product lines – the A300, A310, A320, A330, A340, A350 and A380 families. The latest plane is adorned with  “10,000th Airbus Aircraft” decal  and will be used to launch non-stop flights between Singapore and San Francisco later this month. Singapore Airlines’ first A350-900 went into service in March and the aircraft type is now being used for Amsterdam, Dusseldorf and Johannesburg flights, with more destinations to be added as additional aircraft enter the fleet.Airbus has 810 firm orders for the aircraft from 43 customers, with Singapore’s order the second biggest after Qatar Airways’ 80 planes. Airbus is making two versions of the plane:  the A350-900, designed to carry 325 passengers in a three-class configuration, and the bigger 366- passenger A350-1000, due to have its first flight by the end of the year and enter service in the second half of next year.  Both are powered by Rolls Royce Trent engines: the Trent XWB-84 EP on the -900 and the more powerful Trent XWB-97 on the 1000.Seventy per cent of the A350 airframe is  composite Airbus says the aircraft offers a 25 per cent increase in fuel efficiency as well as significant reductions in noise, with exterior noise levels 21 effective perceived noise decibels below International Civil Aviation Organisation current standards.Airbus currently produces about seven A350s a month but plans to increase the rate to 10 a month in 2018.Steve Creedy travelled to Toulouse courtesy of Singapore Airlines.last_img

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