News Item A-1: “Boeing Begins 777x Static Testing” by John McDermott, Aeronautics Editor-In-Chief, Head of Aeronautics Americas.
Boeing (TBC) has started static testing of its new 777x. The 1st airplane of the type, which is being used for the static tests and may never fly, will be used to test design strength over the next year. The 2nd Boeing 777x will be revealed in January 2019 and will fly for the 1st time in March 2019. “We’ve been in tests for several years for different components of this airplane, starting with wind tunnels, into smaller component structure and the systems integration laboratory,” said Doreen Bingo, Boeing’s Director of Engineering and the 777x Test Program manager. “The static test really represents the home stretch of our test program because we build the full-scale articles for lab and flight test.”
A total of 6 test airplanes will be built as part of the 777x program.
Boeing is planning to make 2 variants of the 777x. The 777-8 will have a longer range than its counterpart, the 777-9, but will have capacity for fewer people. The 777-8 will have capacity for up to 350 passengers (depending on configuration) and a range of >9,300 nautical miles/17,220 km. Meanwhile, the 777-9 can have seating >400 passengers. It will have a range of 8200 nautical miles (about 15,185 km) and will have the lowest per seat operating cost of any commercial airplane.
Production of the 777x was sparked in part by Emirates Airline (EAD). (EAD) has an order for 150 777x airplanes, the largest order for the airplane at the time of writing. The 1st airplane should be delivered to (EAD) in 2020. Qantas (QAN) has also shown interest in the 777x. The 777x, along with the Airbus A350, meets requirements for operation between Sydney and both New York and London, both part of “Project Sunrise.” (QAN) (CEO) Alan Joyce challenged both (TBC) and Airbus (EDS) to create an airplane that could fly between the 2 points while carrying at least 300 passengers. While based on the current Boeing 777, the 777x will have a longer fuselage, updated engines, and a composite wing design similar to that of the 787 Dreamliner.
News Item A-2: NICE GIFT: Qatar gifts luxury jumbo jet to Turkey. This Boeing 747-8I BBJ, previously listed for sale, has been gifted by Qatar to Turkey. The luxury jet, for which the asking price was $377 million, is designed to carry 76 passengers and 18 crew members, a total of 94 people. The jet boasts an elaborate Panasonic in-flight entertainment system and a full camera and security system. The airplane is decked with various staterooms, lounges, boardrooms, first class seating areas, and even its own hospital.
The 747-8I Boeing Business Jet landed in Istanbul’s Sahiba Gökçen International Airport following a flight from the Basel Mulhouse Freiburg Airport in France. The jet, which served as part of the Qatar Amiri Flight fleet, has been described as the largest and most expensive private jet in the world.
News Item A-3: Boeing (TBC) announced assembly on Kunming Airlines (KMG)’s 1st 737 MAX 8 airplane has commenced. (KMG) and Boeing signed an (MoU) for 10 737 MAX airplanes at the 2016 Farnborough Airshow.
News Item A-4: Japan Airlines (JAL) announced it will offer nonstop Seattle to Tokyo service starting in March 2019. Delta (DAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan already serve that route.
The new daily service on a Boeing 787-8 will leave Narita airport each day at 6 pm and, because of the time shift, arrive at 11 am in Seattle , the same day after a 9-hour flight. Flights from Seattle will leave at 2.20 pm and arrive in Tokyo at 4:30 pm the next day. As a partner of Alaska Airlines (ASA), (JAL)’s move will help strengthen (ASA)’s global connection network.
News Item A-5: “Air Niugini Boeing 737 crashes into Lagoon after Runway Undershoot” by Adrian Schofield, September 28, 2018.
An Air Niugini (NIU) Boeing 737-8BK crashed into a lagoon on September 28 when attempting to land at Chuuk Island in the Federated States of Micronesia, with all passengers and crew evacuated safely. The 737-8BK (1688-33024, /05 P2-PXE) landed short of the runway at 10:10 am local time, (NIU) said. There were 35 passengers and 12 crew on board, and small boats helped evacuate them. The 737-8BK is mostly submerged in the lagoon. (NIU) said it “has been informed that the weather was very poor with heavy rain and reduced visibility at the time of the incident.”
The flight was inbound from Pohnpei, which is also in Micronesia. (NIU) operates a weekly Port Moresby, New Guinea to Chuuk to Pohnpei flight, returning on the same route. This flight was introduced in September 2016. (NIU) also introduced a flight between Chuuk and Tokyo Narita Airport on September 1 this year.
Air Niugini (NIU) operates a fleet of 26 airplanes, including 19 jets, according to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network fleet database. The jet fleet comprises 2 737-800s with an average age of about 14 years, 1 737-700, 2 767-300ERs, 7 Fokker 70s, and 7 Fokker 100s. The 737s and 767s are all leased.
News Item A-6: “Airline Now Says 1 Missing after Pacific Lagoon Plane Crash” by “China Daily” September 29, 2018.
Air Niugini (NIU) now says 1 man is missing, after earlier saying all 47 passengers and crew had safely evacuated the sinking plane. (NIU) said in a release that as of September 29 afternoon, it was unable to account for a male passenger. (NIU) said it was working with local authorities, hospitals and investigators to try to find the man. (NIU) did not immediately respond to requests for more details about the passenger, such as his age or nationality.
News Item A-7: “Everett’s Paine Field Set to Start Commercial Flights in 2019 after Updated (FAA) Review” by Matt Day, Seattle Times Staff Reporter, September 30, 2018.
A plan to bring passenger flights to Paine Field in Everett, Washington State, USA has cleared a regulatory hurdle, paving the way for services to start early next year. The (FAA) released an updated environmental assessment, finding that commercial flights proposed by 3 airlines would not have a significant impact on traffic or noise in the area. The report follows up on the (FAA)’ initial approval of commercial flights from Paine Field in 2012. Since then, Alaska Airlines (ASA), Southwest Airlines (SWA), and United Airlines (UAL) proposed flights (24 daily round trips, or double the number 1st proposed) that would bring more passengers than 1st anticipated. That triggered the 2nd review that delayed the start of commercial flights from this fall to 2019.
The (FAA)’s 2012 assessment estimated boarding 112,000 passengers in the airport’s 1st year of commercial service, a number it expected would rise to 238,200 5 years later. The updated assessment projected enplanements at about 656,000 in 2019, and 736,000 in 2024, should Alaska Airlines (ASA) and United Airlines (UAL) start using Boeing 737 jets for some flights initially assigned to smaller Embraer E175 planes. Southwest Airlines (SWA) uses 737s exclusively.
Paine Field is currently used by Boeing (TBC) for testing and delivery of wide body jets, as well as private owners of small planes, flight schools and commercial airline maintenance. Snohomish County, which owns the airport’s land, signed an agreement with a private developer in 2015 to build and operate a passenger terminal for up to 50 years, drawing criticism from some of its residents because of the project’s potential to increase pollution and traffic in the area. Others supported the plan, which the county said would help create jobs and boost local businesses.
Commercial flights would mean more traffic on adjacent roads and highways, the (FAA) said, but not enough to cause significant slowdowns. Areas that are already congested, including portions of Interstate 5 and Highways 99, 525, and 526, would remain clogged regardless of the addition of drivers making their way to the airport, the (FAA) said. The review also found “no significant noise impacts” from the additional flights.
News Item A-8: For plane watchers – see video of TUI 737 MAX departure from Funchai. Click here for video
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