The US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing’s B787-10 variant for commercial service, following 900 hours of tests involving three aircraft.
The move paves the way for Boeing to deliver the first B787-10 to launch customer Singapore Airlines in the first half of 2018 – the carrier has just under 50 of the aircraft on order.
Nine customers including Etihad Airways, EVA Air, United Airlines and British Airways have ordered a total of over 170 B787-10 Dreamliners. Emirates recently announced plans to order 40 of the next-generation aircraft.
The B787-10 is the longest in Boeing’s Dreamliner family and has a capacity of 330 passengers in a two-class configuration. It has been designed to compete with Airbus’ A350-900 aircraft.
It will join the B787-8 and B787-9 aircraft which are already in service – the Dreamliner family has a total of just under 1,300 orders.
After successfully completing test flights, Airbus’ new widebodied A350-1000 aircraft has been undertaking a three-week demonstration tour of the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
The first stop was Doha, home of Qatar Airways which is the global launch customer of the aircraft. The carrier is understood to be planning to take delivery of its first A350-1000 this month, although no official date has yet been set. The airline has a total of 37 of the aircraft on order.
The Airbus A350-1000 is the manufacturer’s largest ever twin-engined airliner, and can accommodate 40 more passengers than the existing A350-900.
There have been around 170 orders for the A350-1000 from 11 customers, including Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Etihad Airways, LATAM and Japan Airlines.
The aircraft is designed to replace Airbus’ A340-600, and compete with Boeing aircraft including the B777-300ER and forthcoming B777-9.
Boeing B737 Max 8
Designed to succeed Boeing’s B737NG (next-generation) aircraft, the B737 Max family will compete with Airbus’ A320 neo family – to date the B737 Max 8 has received over 2,000 firm orders.
The B737 Max 8 is the first variant of the aircraft (to be joined by the Max 7, Max 9, Max 10 and the high density Max 200), and debuted with launch customer Malindo Air (a subsidiary of Indonesian low-cost airline Lion Air) in 2017.
The aircraft has a range of 4,045 miles, enabling it to operate selected transatlantic routes – for example Norwegian has used the B737 Max to launch services between Ireland / Scotland and the US East Coast.
In January there was controversy surrounding the size of the toilets on American Airlines’ new B737 Max aircraft, with airline personnel reportedly telling the carrier’s CEO Doug Parker that the sinks in the restrooms are so small that passengers can only wash one hand at a time.
And low-cost carrier Ryanair confirmed last year that it will fit 197 seats on its B737 Max aircraft when it begins taking delivery of the aircraft in 2019.
Airbus A321 neo LR
Airbus has completed the first flight of its forthcoming A321LR aircraft, ahead of a targeted entry into service of the fourth quarter of 2018.
The flight lasted two hours and 36 minutes, and will now be followed by around 100 hours of flight tests, including transatlantic flights, in order to obtain its EASA and FAA certifications.
The A321LR features a new door configuration, enabling customers to operate the aircraft with up to 240 passengers. Airbus’ latest Airspace by Airbus cabin is also available on the aircraft.
The A321 neo family of aircraft has attracted over 1,900 orders from over 50 customers. Forthcoming operators of the A321LR include Norwegian, Air Transat, Aer Lingus, and all-business class carrier La Compagnie.
The single-aisled plane has a range of up to 4,600 nautical miles, thanks to a third Additional Centre Fuel Tank (ACT), allowing it to operate routes such as New York-Paris, Lisbon-Recife, Dubai-Beijing, Kuala Lumpur-Tokyo and Singapore-Sydney.
Airbus A330-900 neo
The A330-900 neo took its first flight in October 2017, and has been designed to be the lowest seat-mile-cost jetliner in the 300-passenger widebody category, competing with the B787-8 and B787-9 Dreamliners.
TAP Air Portugal will be the launch carrier for the A330-900 later this year, with ten of the aircraft on order (a further ten will be operated on a lease basis).
There have been a total of around 220 orders for the aircraft across 13 carriers, with major operators set to include Air Asia X, Iran Air, Delta, and Garuda Indonesia.
A -800 variant of the A330 neo is also under development, although there has so far only been one order for the aircraft, by Hawaiian Airlines.
The A330-900 neo will also be the launch aircraft for the Airspace by Airbus cabin design (pictured above) with features including larger overhead storage bins, “spacious and contemporary lavatories”, wider seats (18 inches in economy) and aisles, unobstructed under-seat foot space and LED technology ambient lighting.
The B777-9 – part of the B777X series of aircraft – is set to enter service around 2020, with Lufthansa being the launch customer.
The German carrier has 20 of the B777-9 on order, and will debut it latest fully-flat business class on the aircraft, featuring direct aisle access for all customers, and a staggered 1-2-1 / 1-1-1 configuration, resulting in impressive looking “throne seats” in the middle of the 1-1-1 rows.
Around 275 B777-9s have been ordered by seven airlines including Etihad, Singapore Airlines, ANA, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Emirates – the last of which has ordered 115 of the aircraft.
The B777-9 is 2.9 metres longer than the existing B777-300ER, and will typically seat 414 passengers – a shorter B777-8 variant is also under development, and the B777-10 has also been proposed which would stretch the B777-9 by a further four rows.