Posts Tagged 'Airbus A350'

First Flight of the Airbus A350

The brand new Airbus A350 aircraft has taken to the skies for the first time ever on June 14, 2013 (earlier today). A very much awaited moment for the aviation world – and the 33 customers who have firm orders for the type – has happened, and the plane worked flawlessly. The first flying fuselage is an A350-900 version (the medium size of the type).

Airbus A350 XWB First flight (Live from Airbus.com)

The Extra Wide Body (XWB) plane took off (see video) from Tolouse-Blagnac airport at 10:00 am local time. The first flight is a very important milestone in the life of a new aircraft type, that has been preceded by the manufacturing of different parts, transporting them to Toulouse, building the actual airplane, installing the wires, connecting the engines, running ground tests, engine power up (happened on June 2nd) and also taxi tests, when the plane rolled-up and down the runway by its own power. The fuel efficient Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines on MSN1 are also new, and this flight marks the first flight of those engines as well. The A350 is planned to be more fuel efficient and have operation costs up to 8% lower than the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Airbus A350 XWB First flight (Live from Airbus.com)

Nearly two hours into the flight, above the Northern part of the Pyrenees  Mountains Peter Chandler has confirmed over radio in the Airbus.com live coverage that “All is going pretty well, the weather is beautiful up here and the plane behaves wonderful. We are climbing up higher to do some higher speed tests“. The first flight took nearly 4 hours altogether and ended with a smooth landing (see video).

Airbus A350 XWB First flight Path (from flightradar24.com)

The flight path on flightradar24.com

The A350 XWB is the all-new mid-size long range product line comprising three versions and seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The new family will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 per cent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions. Scheduled for entry-into-service in second half of 2014, the A350 XWB has already won 613 firm orders from 33 customers worldwide as mentioned above.

A350 XWB First flight crew - by Airbus

The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon fibre-reinfoced polymer. The launch customer is Qatar Airways (who is soon to take its first Airbus A380 as well) with 80 pieces of the plane on firm order.

Besides this first test aircraft, two more of the type are soon to join the test fleet as they are already on the final assembly line. The third fuselage will be the first one to feature a full internal cabin as well, the other two are equipped with in-flight test lab computers on most of their deck and water tanks for heavy flight tests.

by balint01

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Air Comet Shuts Down

Air Comet, the second biggest Spanish airline operating between Spain and Latin America has shut down on December 22, just before the 2009 Christmas holidays – leaving thousands of holiday passengers at airports around the Spanish speaking part of the World.

Established in 1996, Air Comet started operations in March, 1997 as Air Plus Comet, and was based at Madrid Barajas Airport in Spain, at Terminal 1. In 2007 it took over the routes of the bankrupt Air Madrid, that (also) left thousands of Holiday passengers behind over the Christmas period of 2006 and that’s when it simplified its name to Air Comet.

It operated scheduled flights to a number of Central and South American destinations, including Havana (Cuba), Bogota (Colombia), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Lima (Peru), Quito and Guayaquil (Ecuador) as well as Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) – just to name a few. It temporarily suspended its flight Santiago de Chile earlier in 2009 due to focusing on other markets.

Air Comet’s parent company, Grupo Marsans had ordered a number of new planes, including four Airbus A380 superjumbos that were to have 620 seats and were to be operated on the most popular routes to South-America. Besides the big A380’s, Grupo Marsans also ordered 10 A350’s and 17 new Airbus A330’s, the first of which was already delivered in August, 2008. It now looks like, the A380’s will never be operated under the Air Comet brand and livery…

The problems came in early 2009, when in February, IATA has suspended Air Comet from the IATA Clearing House system, as it failed to pay its January balance. Then since April it failed to pay the salaries to a number of its employees. Then on December 22 it announced that it ceases operations immediately. This announcement came after the German HSH Nordbank – the owner of the Air Comet fleet – requested a court order as the airline has not been paying its leasing fees for some time (summing up to EUR 17 million by now). According to the Bank, they offered Air Comet the option to continue operating the aircraft for a few more days to be able to bring Christmas holidaymakers to their destinations. But according to the Spanish transport ministry, the airline did not even have enough money left to pay for fuel and fees, thus it has withdrawn Air Comet’s Operating License immediately.

The airline said it plans to lay off all 640 employees and file for bankruptcy. In the meantime, the plans to take over Air Comet by the US Air Transport Group Private Equity firm have failed, due to the repossession of the whole fleet – see the HSH Nordbank reference above.

Dozens of angry Air Comet customers blocked the entrance to Barajas’s Terminal 1 on December 23. They described the company’s management as “thieves”, according to the AFP news agency.

The Spanish Government is spending 6.3 million Euros on renting 4 airplanes to bring home about 7000 stranded passengers of Air Comet.

by balint01


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