Business & GA, Commercial

2017 Could Bring 9 New Aircraft to the Skies

By S.L. Fuller | February 6, 2017

A321neo Flooded Test

Photo: V. Ricco / Airbus

The 2017 sky could play host to some new airliners, CNN says. Airbus, Boeing, Comac, United Aircraft Corporation and Embraer have their own projects in the works. Here’s what to expect:

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Airbus New Engine Options (NEO)

The A330neo, A321neo and A319neo are expected to reach milestones in 2017.

Comprising the A330-800neo and A330-900neo, the first A330neo delivery is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2017. The new line is set to show improvements in efficiency and cabin capabilities. The Airspace by Airbus cabin is planned for launch on the A330neo line. Based on the A330-200, the A330-800neo has been designed with a range of 7,500 nautical miles and seats 257 passengers (or 406 in a high-density configuration). The A330-900neo accommodates 287 (or 440 in a high-density configuration).

A maximum certified capacity of 240 seats, the A321neo’s Cabin-Flex configuration option gives the jetliner the increased exit limits and a new cabin door configuration. The aircraft is expected to enter into service this year. All A320neo family members incorporate Airbus’ Sharklets, which includes reinforced wing structures and wingtip devices and two new engine options. Options include the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM and CFM International CFMI Leap-1A.

CNN says market demand isn’t where Airbus wants it to be for the A319neo because of its small size, but it is expected to take its maiden flight this year. It can seat 140 passengers (or 160 in a high-density configuration), and has a maximum payload of 13.2 tons. The jet can also be powered by the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM and CFM International CFMI Leap-1A.

Airbus A350-1000

It isn’t a NEO, but the A350-1000 offers improved efficiency, lower noise levels and long-range capabilities similar to the A330neo. The aircraft is a member of the widebody family and can accommodate 40 more passengers than the A350-900. It is on schedule for entry into service during the second half of 2017, benefiting from the original A350-900 test campaign in 2014. Qatar Airways is set as the launch customer, with an outstanding order for 37.

Boeing 737 Max

Both the Boeing 737 Max 8 and Boeing 737 Max 9 programs plan for delivery this year. The Max line offers 8% lower operating costs than its main competitor, Boeing says, with the 737 MAX Advanced Technology winglet increasing fuel efficiency by 1.8%. Carbon emissions are reduced and the aircraft has a 40% smaller noise footprint than other single-aisle airplanes. The 737 Max also boasts 99.7% dispatch reliability and a new Boeing Sky Interior.

While Southwest Airlines was originally set to be the launch customer for the 737 Max 8, Bloomerberg says that role will go to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. The company should receive its first of the aircraft in May, with flights starting the following month. The 737 Max 8 can seat 162 passengers in a two-class configuration (189 passengers at maximum seating). It is the first family member produced.

The 737 Max 9 can seat 178 in a two-class configuration (or 220 at maximum seating). Boeing says it is set to make its first flight this year, as the first 737 Max 9 fuselage arrived at final assembly last December. The fuselage is 8 feet 8 inches longer than the 737 Max 8. Entry into service is expected for 2018.

Boeing 787-10

Expected to fly this year with entry into service next year, final assembly of the Boeing 787-10 started at the beginning of last December. It is the third member of the 787 Dreamliner family and is an elongated version of the 787-9. The 787-10 offers more seats and cargo capacity. Boeing has received more than 150 orders for the aircraft. It can seat 330 passengers in a two-class configuration and has a range of 6,430 nautical miles.

Comac C919

The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China Ltd. (COMAC) C919 is a short-medium range commercial trunk liner. This is reportedly China’s first big airliner, which is to blame for its slow development — first flight was originally set for 2014. The C919 was delivered to Flight Test Center of COMAC (FTCC) at the end of last December and is expected to fly this year.

With a basic and enhanced version, according to COMAC’s website, the aircraft has a range of either about 2,532 miles or about 3,451 miles. It can seat 160 in a one-class configuration, or 156 in a multi-class configuration.

United Aircraft Corporation MC-21

The United Aircraft Corporation Irkut MC-21 is ready to fly this year, CNN says. Although the company says on its product website that testing and launch deliveries are to occur “within the timeframes set in the respective delivery contracts.” As of the end of December, the aircraft was at the final assembly shop, readying for its maiden flight. The MC-21 has two varients: the MC-21-300 (160-211 seats) and the MC-21-200 (2310-176 seats).

In its program status report, United Aircraft Corporation said the MC-21’s fuselage had been tested for airtightness, onboard measurement systems and equipment had been installed and systems were undergoing adjust procedures. The aircraft also had been switched to electric power, and frequency response tests had begun. Assembly works for the MC-21-300-0002 aircraft for static tests were near completion at that time.

Embraer E195-E2

The largest airliner Embraer has ever built is set to fly for the first time in 2017. Mid-January, Embraer announced that the joint wing-fuselage had been completed.

Compared to current-generation E-jets, the company says its E195-E2 achieves double digit-lower fuel consumption. It has a payload of 35,506 pounds and can seat 120 seats in a multi-class configuration (or 132 seats in a single-class configuration).

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