Airbus SE is poised for a grand entrance at the Paris Air Show, where the European planemaker could announce a record 500-aircraft agreement with Indian carrier IndiGo on the first day. The proposed order, which would double the airline’s existing backlog, is for A320neo family aircraft, according to people familiar with the negotiations. IndiGo and Airbus are moving to announce the accord as early as Monday, said the people, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. This family consists of A320Neo, A321Neo and A321 XLR aircraft.
The value of the order, at the list price of these aircraft, will be around $500 billion, but the actual value is expected to be smaller as large orders enjoy heavy discounts. The order will be bigger than Air India's order of 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing placed in March. The report added that Indigo also has a pending delivery of 477 aircraft from the A320 family by 2030. Of the 500 planes in the order, 300 are expected to be A321Neo and A321 XLR aircraft. These planes can operate flights for up to eight hours and will be an important part of the airline's plan to expand in Europe.
IndiGo is also known to be in discussions with both Airbus and Boeing regarding a widebody order for around 25 new aircraft. From Boeing, the 787 Dreamliner is reportedly in the picture, while discussions with Airbus are said to revolve around the Airbus A330. At the recent IATA AGM, the airline's CEO Peter Elbers declined to comment on the rumours.
Airbus is also working to firm up talks with Saudi carrier Flynas Co. for a large narrowbody order that could become another marquee deal of the event alongside IndiGo, other people said, confirming negotiations previously reported by Bloomberg News. Negotiations for both transactions could still drag out and the final number might change, the people cautioned.
Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said that the show will demonstrate how the industry is returning “back to the good old times of excitement.” Even before the event, Airbus said it struck deals for 60 A320 family aircraft and 10 A350s from undisclosed customers, setting the pace for what stands to be a few busy days of orders.
Flynas said last year that it wants to raise the volume of its orders to 250 aircraft to become the leading low-cost airline in the Middle East. The company now has a fleet of about 50 aircraft, most of which are Airbus A320s. It also has about 50 orders pending with the European manufacturer.
IndiGo already has a backlog of about 500 planes as part of the previous accord, including a 300-plane order in 2019. Reuters reported this month that IndiGo was close to placing a record deal with Airbus. The airline is also working on a separate purchase of widebody aircraft, with both Airbus and Boeing Co. vying for a deal involving about 25 aircraft, other people said. Boeing may have the upper hand to secure that accord with its 787 Dreamliner, though negotiations remain in flux, said one of the people.
A purchase by IndiGo would top a recent agreement by Air India to buy 470 aircraft from Airbus and Boeing as the country’s former flag carrier rebuilds its operations with a modern fleet under new ownership. India is one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world with Indigo controlling close to 60% of domestic flying.
IndiGo has codeshare agreements with seven airlines, including Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, and KLM. Through its alliance with Turkish Airlines, IndiGo has expanded into Europe, a popular destination among Indian tourists. The budget carrier now flies to 33 European airports. IndiGo has begun international operations in Istanbul with its first wide-body aircraft, a Boeing 777, taken from codeshare partner Turkish Airlines which provides the pilots.
India & US Set to Collaborate as GE & HAL in Talks to Produce Fighter Jet Engines
India and the United States are set to collaborate on the production of fighter jet engines. Under the arrangement, General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) will transfer approximately 80% of the jet engine technology by value. The deal is for the co-production of General Electric's F414 fighter jet engine.
According to a report published by CNBC TV 18 that the highest political authorities in India and the United States have approved a co-production agreement, which will be officially announced during the state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This deal could be worth several billion dollars, according to whispers. Currently, both sides are negotiating payment mechanisms, machinery procurement, and tech transfer.
US engine technology has not been shared this widely with any other country, according to sources. Sources privy to the deal said that no country had ever received such a level of technology transfer from the US, the UK, or France. According to reports, this is likely to be a multi-billion dollar deal. Both sides are now in final negotiations on payment mechanisms, procurement of machinery and tech transfer modalities.
The following aspects of GE jet engines will be provided to India and HAL - Special coating for erosion and corrosion, Repair technology for the turbine, Compression disc and blades, Coating and machining of single crystal turbine blades, Machining & coating of hot end parts, Complete tech transfer for blisk machining, Machining of powder metallurgy, Polymer matrix composite, Laser drilling for combustion, and Bottle boring of shafts.
The collaboration on jet engine production will begin as soon as the deal between GE and HAL is signed. Technology transfer will likely take place in phases, with 80% of the value added to the engine occurring in India within three years.
GE-HAL Engine Deal
The Biden administration has given permission, for GE to co-produce the engines in India, ahead of PM Modi's visit to the US later this month. The American defence company will be agreeing with India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to co-produce jet engines in the South Asian nation. The technology will power India's fighter jet program once the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is operationalised.
GE and HAL had agreed to manufacture jet engines in 2012, but the deal could not take off as the government wanted higher levels of technology transfer, as per the report. It added that an agreement on higher levels of technology transfer has been agreed upon and no other ally has this kind of an agreement with the US. Modalities of technology transfer, timelines and payment mechanisms are being discussed before the final agreement is inked during the Prime Minister's visit to Washington DC between June 21 and 24, 2023, the report said.
The central government is yet to announce a site for the co-production of GE jet engines in India. However, HAL already has an engine division in Koraput, Odisha and this could be one of the locations under consideration. Sources have also said that 500-600 Indian Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) could benefit from this agreement.
Discussions on possible collaboration on jet engines took place in February during NSA Ajit Doval's meeting with his counterpart Jake Sullivan. While the deal will need the approval of the US Congress, an agreement has been reached at the highest political level. The deal contours were reviewed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Secretary for Defence Lloyd Austin, during the latter's visit to India this week.
(With Inputs from CNBC TV18)
United Airlines Select Pratt & Whitney’s GTF to Power A321neo and A321XLR
United Airlines, one of the world's leading airlines, has always been at the forefront of innovation and technological advancements in the aviation industry. With a commitment to providing exceptional service and efficiency, United Airlines continually seeks ways to improve its fleet. The Airbus A321neo and A321XLR are part of Airbus' highly successful A320 family, known for their fuel efficiency, range, and passenger comfort.
United and Pratt & Whitney
United and Pratt & Whitney first worked together more than 90 years ago as part of United Aircraft and Transport Corporation, operating Boeing Model 40 aircraft powered by a single Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine. Today, Pratt & Whitney engines power over 250 United Airlines aircraft, including the Airbus A320ceo series with V2500® engines and the Boeing 777 and 767 with PW4000 engines. "United and Pratt & Whitney share a celebrated history as pioneers of commercial air travel, as well as a commitment to more sustainable aviation as we look forward," stated Rick Deurloo, Pratt & Whitney's President of Commercial Engines. "GTF engines will enable United to get the most out of their A321neo and A321XLR aircraft, delivering industry-leading payload, range, and environmental performance for those aircraft types."
The Pratt & Whitney GTF Engine: An Overview
Selecting the right engine for an aircraft is crucial, as it significantly impacts its performance, fuel efficiency, and environmental footprint. Airlines carefully evaluate various engine options before deciding. For United Airlines, the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine emerged as the preferred choice due to its groundbreaking technology and exceptional capabilities. The Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine is a cutting-edge propulsion system that revolutionizes the way aircraft engines operate. Its innovative design incorporates a reduction gearbox, which allows the engine's fan and compressor to operate at different speeds, optimizing performance and fuel efficiency. The GTF engine delivers substantial benefits in terms of reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, and noise reduction.
For the Airbus A320neo family, the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine featuring the Collins Aerospace nacelle and engine accessories offers the greatest fuel efficiency and lowest greenhouse gas emissions. GTF-powered aircraft reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 16% to 20%, NOx emissions by 50%, and noise by 75%. GTF engines, which have been certified for operation on 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and successfully tested on 100% SAF, are poised to enable additional carbon footprint reductions, assisting the aviation industry in meeting its objective of net zero emissions by 2050. The engine's unique geared fan architecture lays the groundwork for even more efficient and sustainable propulsion technologies in the next few decades, with improvements such as the Pratt & Whitney GTF Advantage Engine and beyond.
Advantages of the GTF Engine for United Airlines
United Airlines' decision to select the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine for its Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft is driven by several key advantages.
Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Benefits
The GTF engine offers unmatched fuel efficiency, enabling airlines to reduce operating costs and environmental impact. With improved fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions, United Airlines demonstrates its commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly operations.
Enhanced Performance and Reliability
The GTF engine's advanced design provides increased thrust, resulting in improved performance and enhanced operational flexibility for United Airlines. The engine's state-of-the-art technology ensures high reliability, minimizes disruptions, and enhances overall flight efficiency.
Commitment to Passenger Comfort
United Airlines places great emphasis on passenger comfort, and the GTF engine aligns perfectly with this goal. The engine's reduced noise levels contribute to a quieter and more pleasant flying experience for passengers, making their journey with United Airlines even more enjoyable.
Delivery and Implementation Plans
United Airlines eagerly anticipates the delivery of its first GTF-powered Airbus A321neo later this year. The subsequent deliveries of the remaining aircraft will follow, enabling United Airlines to gradually introduce these advanced aircraft into its fleet. Rigorous testing and certification processes will be conducted to ensure a seamless transition and adherence to the highest safety standards.
Impact on United Airlines' Operations and Future Prospects
The introduction of the Pratt & Whitney GTF-powered Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft will have a transformative impact on United Airlines' operations. The enhanced fuel efficiency and performance will allow the airline to expand its route network, offer non-stop flights to new destinations, and optimize its flight schedules to provide greater convenience for passengers. With its commitment to innovation and excellence, United Airlines is well-positioned to leverage the advantages of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine and further expand its fleet in the future. The airline's decision to embrace advanced technology underscores its dedication to delivering unparalleled service and staying at the forefront of the aviation industry.
United Airlines' selection of the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine for its upcoming Airbus A321neo and A321XLR aircraft represents a significant step forward in aviation technology. The GTF engine's fuel efficiency, enhanced performance, and passenger comfort align perfectly with United Airlines' goals and commitment to sustainability. This partnership between United Airlines and Pratt & Whitney sets the stage for an exciting future of air travel, where innovation and excellence combine to redefine the passenger experience.
With Inputs from Pratt & Whitney
With its advanced features and improved fuel efficiency, the Airbus A330neo, a modernized version of the successful A330 aircraft, was supposed to revolutionize the long-haul industry. Despite initial excitement and great expectations, the A330neo has suffered considerable obstacles and failed to fulfil expectations.
Europe's response to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was the Airbus A330neo. Instead of developing an entirely distinctive aircraft from the ground up, like Boeing did with the Dreamliner, Airbus chose to optimize the existing Airbus A330ceo or "current engine option" plane, which has been in service since the mid-1990s. At the Farnborough Airshow in 2014, Airbus introduced the revised A330neo or “new engine option”.
Overview of the Airbus A330neo
The Airbus A330neo is an upgraded variant of the A330 aircraft, incorporating new engines and aerodynamic improvements. It was designed to compete with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner and offer airlines a more cost-effective and fuel-efficient option for long-haul flights. The A330neo promised reduced operating costs, improved range, and enhanced passenger comfort, making it an attractive choice for airlines seeking to modernize their fleets. Its two variants are based on the A330-200 and 330-300: the 330-800 has a range of 8,150 nautical miles (15,090 kilometers; 9,380 miles) with 257 passengers, while the 330-900 has a range of 7,200 nautical miles (13,330 kilometers; 8,290 miles) with 287 passengers.
The 330-900 flew for the first time on October 19, 2017, and acquired its EASA type certificate on September 26, 2018. It was delivered to TAP Air Portugal on November 26, 2018, and entered service on December 15, 2018. The 330-800 flew for the first time on November 6, 2018, and gained EASA type certification on February 13, 2020; the first two 330-800s were delivered to Kuwait Airways on October 29, 2020, and entered service on November 20, 2020. As of May 2023, a total of 289 A330neo family aircraft had been ordered by more than 25 customers, of which 102 had been delivered.
Initial Expectations and Hopes
When the Airbus A330neo was first announced, there was considerable excitement and anticipation within the aviation industry. It was seen as a potential game-changer capable of challenging Boeing's dominance in the long-haul market. The aircraft boasted a significant increase in fuel efficiency, thanks to its new Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and improved aerodynamics. Many industry experts believed that the A330neo would be a commercial success and gain substantial market share. The Trent is the exclusive powertrain, since Rolls-Royce offered better terms in exchange for exclusivity. Customers complain about the lack of competition among engine manufacturers. Air Lease Corporation CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy has stated that he wants a choice of engines, but Airbus has stated that equipping a commercial aircraft to handle more than one type of engine adds several hundred million dollars to the development cost. Pratt & Whitney's CEO stated, "Engines are no longer commodities...the optimization of the engine and the aircraft becomes more relevant."
Features and Benefits of the A330neo
Advanced Aerodynamics: Fuel Efficiency at Its Best
The A330neo incorporates advanced aerodynamic features, including optimized winglets and new engine nacelles. These enhancements reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency by up to 14% compared to previous models. The reduced fuel consumption not only benefits the environment but also helps airlines lower operational costs.
Extended Range: Connecting More Destinations
With the A330neo, Airbus has extended the aircraft's range, allowing airlines to serve more destinations. The improved fuel efficiency and increased maximum takeoff weight enable the A330neo to fly longer distances. This feature opens up new possibilities for airlines to expand their routes and connect passengers across the globe.
Cabin Comfort: Improving the Passenger Experience
Airbus prioritizes passenger comfort, and the A330neo succeeds on that front. The cabin has been rebuilt to include modern conveniences, bigger overhead storage bins, and more expansive seating combinations. Passengers will have a nice and relaxed ride thanks to the calm and tranquil cabin atmosphere, enhanced air quality, and mood lighting.
Lower Operating Costs: A Financial Benefit
Airlines want to reduce their operational expenses, and the A330neo helps them achieve that goal. Lower fuel expenditures result from the aircraft's better fuel economy, which may have a substantial influence on an airline's bottom line. Furthermore, the A330neo's shared architecture with the A330 family lowers training and maintenance expenses for airlines that currently operate prior versions.
Flexibility and Commonality: An Asset for Airlines
One of the key advantages of the A330neo is its flexibility and commonality with the A330 family. Airlines that already operate the A330 can seamlessly integrate the A330neo into their fleet, benefiting from a common type rating for pilots and shared spare parts inventory. This compatibility allows airlines to maximize operational efficiency and optimize their resources.
Challenges and Competitive Landscape
Despite the initial optimism surrounding the A330neo, it faced several challenges that hindered its success. One of the main obstacles was the strong competition posed by Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Boeing had already gained a head start in the market, and its well-established reputation and customer relationships made it challenging for Airbus to secure new orders. Additionally, Boeing's 787 offered better fuel efficiency and advanced technological features, giving it a competitive edge over the A330neo.
One of the significant setbacks for the Airbus A330neo was the issue with its engines. Rolls-Royce, the engine manufacturer, faced delays in delivering the Trent 7000 engines, impacting the aircraft's production and delivery schedule. Furthermore, some airlines reported performance issues with the engines, including higher fuel consumption than initially anticipated. These problems undermined the A330neo's promised efficiency gains and cost savings, making it less attractive to potential customers.
Market Demand and Timing
The low market demand for new long-haul aircraft was another element that led to the A330neo's failure. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, the aviation sector saw a slowdown in passenger traffic growth. Many airlines were concentrating their efforts on optimizing their existing fleets and investing in smaller, more fuel-efficient aircraft for shorter flights. The A330neo struggled to find buyers in this challenging market environment. The timing of the A330neo's debut also contributed to its downfall. The aircraft entered the market during a period of reduced demand for new planes. Due to economic uncertainty and the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic, airlines were hesitant to invest in new aircraft. This lack of demand, coupled with timing challenges, made it difficult for the A330neo to gain momentum. While Airbus anticipated a market of over 1,000 A330neos, one pessimistic projection revealed in 2018 predicted just 400 sales, owing to the fact that the A330neo was late to market and fuel prices had dropped significantly over the years, lowering demand. Although some A330 operators have dual sourced from Boeing and Airbus, 19% of A330 operators are already 787 clients.
Customer Preferences and Feedback
Customer feedback and preferences are crucial in determining the success of an aircraft. While the A330neo offered certain improvements, it failed to capture the attention and preference of many airlines. Some carriers expressed concerns over the limited differentiation between the A330neo and the existing A330, which made it less compelling for fleet expansion or replacement. Additionally, airlines often prioritize passenger experience and amenities, and the A330neo did not offer significant advancements in this regard. Despite Airbus's efforts to promote the A330neo, many airlines showed a lack of interest in adopting the aircraft. Airlines preferred other models, such as the Boeing 787 or the Airbus A350, which offered superior fuel efficiency, range, and passenger comfort. Moreover, the A330neo's high purchase price and limited operational benefits compared to its competitors deterred airlines from placing significant orders. The lack of customer interest and orders further contributed to the failure of the A330neo.
Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 epidemic had a severe effect on the entire aircraft sector, including the A330neo. Airlines were compelled to rethink their fleet strategy due to travel limitations, decreased passenger demand, and budgetary restraints. Many airlines shifted their attention to short-haul operations in order to save expenses wherever feasible. As a result, investments in future long-haul aircraft like the A330neo were downgraded or cancelled entirely, worsening the aircraft's failure.
In recent years, environmental sustainability has become a significant focus within the aviation industry. Aircraft manufacturers are expected to develop greener and more fuel-efficient planes to reduce carbon emissions. While the A330neo offers improved fuel efficiency compared to its predecessor, it still lags behind the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in terms of environmental performance. This aspect has affected the A330neo's market appeal as airlines seek to align with sustainability goals.
In conclusion, the failure of the Airbus A330neo can be attributed to an assortment of root causes. The A330neo's success has been hampered by fierce competition from Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, delays and production issues, high operating costs, a lack of significant innovations, insufficient market demand, customer preferences, reliance on the previous A330 model, limited range capability, maintenance and training challenges, and environmental concerns. Manufacturers must adapt and overcome these problems as the aviation industry evolves in order to develop viable and market-leading aircraft types.
The aviation industry plays a crucial role in connecting people and fostering economic growth. As Bulgaria's national carrier, Bulgaria Air has consistently strived to provide exceptional services to its passengers. With the recent acquisition of its first A220 aircraft, the airline is set to embark on a new era of enhanced connectivity and travel experience.
The Arrival of Bulgaria Air's First A220
Bulgaria Air's first A220 aircraft marks a significant milestone in the airline's history. The delivery took place at the Airbus facility in Mirabel, Canada, where the aircraft was meticulously prepared for its debut in Bulgaria. This momentous occasion signifies the airline's commitment to modernizing its fleet and offering passengers a superior level of comfort and efficiency.
A Remarkable Addition to the Fleet
The A220 is a cutting-edge aircraft manufactured by Airbus. It boasts several innovative features and advanced technologies that make it a game-changer in the aviation industry. With its sleek design, spacious cabin, and state-of-the-art systems, the A220 promises an unparalleled flying experience for both business and leisure travelers. The A220 is the most recent generation of Airbus aircraft to enter Bulgaria Air's fleet. The airline already flies seven A320 aircraft, proving the A220 and A320 Family's fleet complementarity. With a range of up to 3,450 nautical miles (6,390 km), the A220 gives carriers like Bulgaria Air more operating flexibility. Bulgaria Air's first A220 configuration will include 143 dual-class seats, including eight Business class seats. The A220 is the first aircraft designed specifically for the 100-150 seat market, with cutting-edge aerodynamics, innovative materials, and Pratt & Whitney's latest-generation engines. The aircraft provides unrivalled comfort in a compact single-aisle configuration, with the largest windows, largest seats, and overhead storage, as well as the widest and quietest cabin in its class.
Features and Advantages of the A220
The A220 offers numerous features and advantages that set it apart from other aircraft in its class. Here are some notable highlights:
Fuel Efficiency and Environmental Consciousness
The A220 incorporates the latest advancements in aerodynamics and engine technology, resulting in exceptional fuel efficiency. This not only reduces operating costs for airlines but also minimizes their environmental impact by decreasing carbon emissions.
The A220 contributes to Bulgaria Air's commitment to aviation decarbonization by delivering up to 25% lower fuel burn and CO2 emissions per seat than previous generation aircraft, as well as 50% lower NOx emissions than industry requirements. Furthermore, the aircraft's noise footprint is reduced by half when compared to previous-generation aircraft.
Spacious and Comfortable Cabin
Passenger comfort is a top priority for Bulgaria Air. The A220's cabin design provides generous legroom, wider seats, and large overhead bins, ensuring a pleasant journey for passengers. The aircraft's noise-reducing technology also contributes to a quieter and more relaxing in-flight experience.
Equipped with advanced avionics systems, the A220 offers enhanced safety, navigation, and communication capabilities. Pilots benefit from a comprehensive flight deck that includes intuitive displays and controls, facilitating smooth operations and precise flight management.
Regional Connectivity Improvements & Expanding International Presence
With the addition of the A220 to its fleet, Bulgaria Air aims to strengthen its regional connectivity within Europe. The aircraft's optimal size and range make it ideal for operating on shorter routes, connecting cities and regions efficiently. Passengers can look forward to more frequent flights and improved travel options within the continent. Beyond regional operations, the A220 enables Bulgaria Air to expand its international reach. By leveraging the aircraft's range capabilities, the airline can venture into new markets and connect with destinations outside of Europe. This presents exciting opportunities for both business and leisure travelers, who can explore a broader range of destinations with Bulgaria Air.
Air Lease Corporation Collaboration
Bulgaria Air's successful procurement of the A220 is made possible by a partnership with Air Lease Corporation (ALC). ALC, a major aircraft leasing firm, offers airlines throughout the world flexible and customized lease solutions. This collaboration not only provides Bulgaria Air with access to the most recent aircraft types, but it also helps the airline's expansion ambitions and strategic objectives.
The Future of Bulgaria Air
With the introduction of the A220 and ongoing fleet modernization efforts, Bulgaria Air is well-positioned for a bright future. The airline's dedication to providing superior service, along with the capabilities of the A220, guarantees that customers have a fantastic travel experience. As Bulgaria Air expands its route network and strengthens its position as a premier carrier, travelers can expect even more convenience and comfort on their journeys.
The arrival of Bulgaria Air's first A220 aircraft represents a significant milestone for the airline and the Bulgarian aviation industry. This state-of-the-art aircraft brings numerous benefits, including enhanced fuel efficiency, spacious cabin design, and advanced avionics. With expanded regional connectivity and increased international reach, Bulgaria Air is poised to provide exceptional travel experiences to passengers across Europe and beyond.
With Inputs from Airbus