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Thursday, June 20, 2013

2013 Paris Air Show Highlights

By Emily Feliz and Woodrow Bellamy III

The 2013 Paris Air Show has featured multi-billion dollar aircraft orders, groundbreaking partnerships and some innovative new technological concepts from some of the world's biggest aerospace companies. Although the show has not ended yet, Avionics Magazine has some of the biggest news from the show thus far, starting with commercial aircraft orders, followed by avionics news. 

Also, be sure to check out all of our Paris Air Show coverage at www.aviationtoday.com/paris2013.

 

Commercial Aircraft Highlights

Ryanair, CIT Give Boeing a 737 Boost, Orders Top $18 Billion

Boeing closed in on some of the early Airbus momentum at the Paris Air Show on Wednesday, announcing orders for more than 200 of its 737 family aircraft from Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair and leasing firm CIT Group worth a combined $18 billion. 

(Michael O'Leary, president and CEO of Ryanair--left--joined Ray Conner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO, at a signing ceremony in Paris.Photo, courtesy of Boeing.)
 
Ryanair finalized an order for 175 Next-Generation 737-800s, originally announced as a commitment in March. The order, worth $15.6 billion at current list prices, is the largest ever aircraft order Boeing has received from a European airline. 
 
"These 175 new airplanes will enable us to lower costs and airfares even further," Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary said, adding that his airline hopes to use the new aircraft to compete with European flag and regional airlines, many of whom are reducing their short-haul operations.
 
Also on Wednesday, CIT placed a $3 billion order for 30 of Boeing's 737 MAX 8 aircraft, in a deal comprised of 10 new aircraft and the conversion of 20 existing Next-Generation 737 orders into 737 MAX 8 orders.
 

CIT is also considering purchasing the 787-10 Dreamliner, the largest Dreamliner variant, launched by Boeing on Tuesday.  

 

Bombardier Wins $1.8 Billion in Business Jet Orders

Bombardier racked up $1.8 billion worth of orders for its large and mid-size business jets on the first two days of the Paris Air Show, receiving strong demand for its Challenger 350 and Global 8000 jets.

(Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft; Thomas Flohr, Founder & Chairman, VistaJet; and Bob Horner, Senior Vice President, Sales, Bombardier Business Aircraft at signing of contract for up to 40 Challenger 350 aircraft at the Paris Air Show. Photo, courtesy of Bombardier. )
 
Switzerland-based private jet operator VistaJet placed an order for 20 Challenger 350 jets, a $518 million order based on current list prices. The order includes options for 20 additional Challenger 350s, which would increase the value to $1 billion. 
 
In November, VistaJest placed the largest order in Bombardier's history, a $7.8 billion order for up to 142 Global business jets. 
 
Also on Tuesday, the Canadian manufacturer announced a firm $804 million order for 12 of its Global 8000 business jets from an "undisclosed customer." 
 

Last week Bombardier released its annual 20-year outlook for business jet demand, predicting operators will require a total of 24,000 business jet deliveries worth $650 billion from 2013 to 2032.  

 

Airbus Secures Orders for 50 A350s From Singapore, Air France, SriLankan Airlines

Airbus announced orders that could potentially top $20 billion for more than 50 of its new wide-body aircraft--the A350 XWB--at the Paris Air Show on Wednesday. 

 
(Air France A350 computer-generated rendering. Photo, courtesy of Airbus.)
 
Singapore Airlines placed a firm order for 30 A350-900s, worth $8.6 billion at current list prices. The order includes options for 20 additional A350s, which Airbus said the airline is considering converting into larger A350-1000s under the terms of the deal.
 
The carrier now has 70 firm orders for the A350, which made its first flight last week prior to the beginning of the Paris Air Show.
 
Additionally, Air France-KLM placed a $7.2 billion order for 25 A350-900s, with options for 25 additional A350 family aircraft. The airline has an agreement with Rolls-Royce to equip all 25 A350s with Trent XWB engines, worth $1.1 billion. 
 
By adding the A350, Air France-KLM will feature every family of Airbus commercial aircraft within its fleet. 
 

Also on Wednesday, SriLankan Airlines signed an agreement for six A330-300s and four A350-900s, a deal worth $2.6 billion. According to Airbus, the Sri Lanka national carrier will finalize the A350 order by the end of the month.  

 

Airbus, Easyjet Agree to Deal for 135 New A320s

Airbus continued its early success at the 2013 Paris Air Show Tuesday, announcing an agreement with U.K.-based budget carrier Easyjet for 135 A320 family aircraft, potentially worth up to $12 billion. 
 
The decision was made based on the airline's growth forecasts and is subject to shareholder approval, according to Airbus. Easyjet's agreement includes an order for 100 new engine option (neo) A320neo aircraft, and 35 current generation A320s equipped with Sharklets. The first 35 A320s will be delivered between 2015 and 2017, with the remainder scheduled for delivery from 2017-2022. 
 
"Airbus offered us the best deal, and at a price with a greater discount to the list price than their landmark fleet purchase with EasyJet in 2002," said Carolyn McCall, chief executive of Easyjet. 
 
McCall said Easyjet was also considering purchasing single-aisle aircraft from Boeing, and price was the deciding factor in the new agreement.
 
The majority of the A320s – 85 of the 135 – will be used to replace aging aircraft from the carrier's current fleet. 
 

Easyjet released a statement indicating expected approval of the new agreement from shareholders in July.  

 

Nordic Aviation Inks $2.1 Billion Deal for 90 ATR-600s

Danish aircraft lessor Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) signed an agreement for the purchase of up to 90 ATR-600 regional turboprop aircraft, worth $2.1-billion. 
 
ATR, a joint venture between EADS and Finmeccanica, said the agreement includes 35 firm orders for 30 ATR 72-600s and five ATR 42-600s, with the remaining aircraft included as future options.  The agreement was signed on the second day of the 2013 Paris Air Show. 
 

NAC Chairman Martin Moller said the ATR 600 series aircraft are in "strong demand" with regional airlines. ATR has sold one in four of its turboprop planes to leasing companies over the past three years.

 

Avionics Highlights

Thales Introduces Future Cockpit Avionics Concept

Thales introduced the international aviation community to its future cockpit avionics concept on the first day of the Paris Air Show, the "Avionics 2020" cockpit.
 
 
 
(Thales 2020 Avionics Cockpit. Photo, courtesy of Thales.)
 
The cockpit is evolved from the one display for a cockpit interactive solution (ODICIS) demonstrator that Thales unveiled at the 2011 Paris Air Show. Avionics 2020 is a next-generation cockpit with customization options for airlines and operators, touchscreen displays with NextGen and Sesar functionality and a feature that allows pilots to adjust aircraft takeoff and climb profile for optimal CO2 emissions and fuel burn. 
 
Also included in the 2020 cockpit are I4D operations, which allow pilots to better sequence air traffic with time constraints at metering point to each aircraft converging to a certain point, and digital-taxi functionality, enabling real-time uplink of taxi routes with controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC). 
 
Pilots will also be able to drag data across cockpit displays with the touchscreen functionality, and can use the cockpit's Airborne Separation Assistance Systems (ASAS) to adjust aircraft speed relevant to spacing for other nearby aircraft.  The displays merge data from the aircraft's most critical avionics and non-avionics systems, similar to the merge capabilities of some the latest fighter jet cockpits, such as the French Rafale fighter cockpit, which was also designed by Thales. 
 
"We are showing the world that a cockpit designed around more seamless interaction between the pilot and the electronics is no longer a purely intellectual concept, but a viable commercial application which, as more and more functionalities and tasks are added to a pilot’s workload, will become essential for the future of air transport," said Denis Bonnet, head of innovation for the cockpit competence center at Thales.
 
 

Teledyne Controls Signs Contracts with Norwegian Air Shuttle, Boeing

Teledyne Controls returned to the Paris Air Show in 2013 after a 10-year absence with a big presence, announcing a series of new products and contracts with international customers.

The company signed a Technical Services Agreement (TSA) with Boeing to certify its Terminal Cellular System (TCS) on the Boeing 787. This will give operators an option for effectively providing each aircraft with an IP connection to speed the flow of flight data to the airline once the aircraft is on the ground.

The TCS provides an off-board high-speed communication link for the 787 Core Network, supplementing the existing Wi-Fi TWLU (Terminal Wireless LAN Unit) communication link by providing economical high-speed connectivity at virtually every airport location world-wide. Onboard applications will utilize the TCS link to transfer data (uplink and downlink files) using standard IP protocols.

Data transferred by the TCS will include the downlink of continuous Flight Operations Quality Assurance and maintenance data, the uplink of Loadable Software Application Parts (LSAP) such as the monthly navigation database updates, support for Electronic Flight Bag applications, and the transfer of more than 100 types of reports generated by the engine and other on-board systems.

The TCS is a derivative of Teledyne's Aircraft Wireless LAN Unit product, which was recently certified for line-fit installation on the Boeing 777, and which is contracted to be certified on the 747 and 737 in the near future. The Teledyne TCS is scheduled to be introduced for the 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft in mid-2014.

"With the TCS and Teledyne's Aircraft Wireless LAN Unit, airlines can enjoy the benefits of a common supplier and a near common hardware platform, providing cellular capability for their entire Boeing fleet of 737, 777, 747 and 787 aircraft," says Larry Levine, vice president of marketing and sales at Teledyne Controls.

Additionally, the company is deploying its enhanced data loader (eADL) technology on the new Boeing 737NG fleet being delivered to Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. Senior executives at Norwegian say having the equipment installed on a fleet of 42 737NGs translates into a savings of approximately $11,700 per month.

According to Teledyne, its eADL simplifies the distribution, onboard storage and management of loadable software applications and databases. In a single action, software parts can be quickly uploaded to the eADL with a single USB memory stick, alleviating repetitive manual methods. The distribution process can be automated even further with Teledyne's Wireless GroundLink Data Loading (WGL-Dataloading) system, according to the company.

Other Teledyne announcements at the show include:

-- The company's Wireless GroundLink Comm+ achieved certification to be retrofitted to all major commercial aircraft types. The system automates and accelerates the data exchange between aircraft and ground systems using 3G/4G, allowing larger volumes of data to be transferred more quickly than previous Wireless GroundLink Quick Access Recorder (WQAR) solutions. The system can now be installed on the Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777 and MD-80 aircraft, and the Airbus A318/A319/A320/A321, A330 and A340 aircraft to deliver improvements in operational and flight safety performance.

Levine said the company is "dipping its toes" into the cabin connectivity market, exploring ways the company's data transfer infrastructure could be used as part of a system integrator's system.

-- The company said TUI Airlines - including TUIfly, Jetairfly, and TUIfly Nordic is now operating Teledyne's wireless system for electronic Software Part distribution and loading for the airline's entire Next Generation (NG) 737 fleet.

The package being used includes Teledyne's LoadStar Server Enterprise (LSE) software application, the eADL, the Portable Maintenance Terminal 2000 and the Wireless GroundLink Comm+ system. 

 

Honeywell, Safran Introduce Green Taxi System

Safran, in partnership with Honeywell, introduced an electronic green taxi system (EGTS) for commercial aircraft at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday. The system is designed to improve operational efficiency, save fuel and reduce delays. Air France signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to study the technology.
 
Carl Esposito, vice president of sales and marketing at Honeywell, told Avionics Magazine  the technology, which utilizes Honeywell's auxiliary power units (APU) and onboard avionics systems, has the potential to save airlines $200,000 per aircraft per year in fuel costs. Additionally, the company said the potential market for this technology is about 80 percent of the world's 10,000 single-aisle aircraft. 
 
"We're trying to make operations greener in the air and on the ground," Esposito said. The EGTS allows aircraft to taxi without requiring the use of aircraft engines by using the APU generator to power motors in the main wheels.  Each of the aircraft’s powered wheels is equipped with an electromechanical actuator, while unique power electronics and system controllers give pilots total control of the aircraft’s speed, direction and braking during taxi operations. 
 
Honeywell and Safran are targeting EGTS entry into service on new aircraft in 2016, shortly followed by a retrofit option on existing aircraft.  The MOU with Air France will analyze the potential technical, operational and financial benefits of the EGTS. 
 

In turn, Air France will provide assistance to Safran and Honeywell in refining estimated savings of the system and quantifying other operational benefits, the companies said.

 

Rockwell Collins Inks Avionics Deals With Bristow, Xiamen, China Southern

Rockwell Collins had a busy second day at the 2013 Paris Air Show, announcing deals for its avionics systems with Houston, Texas-based helicopter operator Bristow Group, Xiamen Airlines and China Southern Airlines. 
 
 
(Rockwell Collins launched its new HeliSure situational awareness system at the Paris Air Show on Monday. Photo, courtesy of Rockwell Collins.)
 
Bristow has a new agreement to retrofit a fleet of 44 helicopters--including Sikorsky S-76 C++ and Sikorsky S-92A aircraft--with Rockwell Collins' Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance (TCAS II) system. In addition, the group is also adding Rockwell Collins traffic computer functions and ADS-B In applications to 20 of its helicopters. Installations are scheduled to be complete within the next year, the company said. 
 
Xiamen Airlines signed an agreement to acquire a package of avionics systems including the Head-up Guidance System (HGS), MultiScan Threat Detection SYstem, GLU-925 Multi-Mode Receiver and SATCOM for 12 of its new Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft. Rockwell Collins said deliveries of the packages will begin next year. 
 
China Southern Airlines selected the same avionics package--excluding SATCOM--for 66 of its new aircraft, a fleet consisting of Airbus A320s, Boeing 777s and Next-Generation 737s. 
 

The three deals followed a first day in Paris where Rockwell Collins launched its new onboard 3D visualization interface--HeliSure--for helicopter pilots. AgustaWestland was confirmed as the launch customer for the new system, choosing to install the HeliSure system on its AW149, AW189, AW101 and AW169 helicopters. 

 

Thales Looks to IFE Future

Thales demonstrated the results of its in-flight entertainment (IFE) research and development efforts at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday, displaying flat-screen displays designed for aircraft cabins with eye-tracking and gesture-control capabilities.
 
 
(Stuart Dunleavy of Thales, demonstrating the in-flight gesture control system. Photo: Avionics Magazine)
 
Stuart Dunleavy, Thales vice president of media and connectivity business, said the two functions are the result of more than 18 months of work. The eye-tracking system allows users to select movies, games, television shows and moving map applications by looking at the screen and moving the cursor with their eyes. 
 
"To be honest, we're not sure this will ever see the inside of an aircraft cabin, but there may be some other uses for this in the future," Dunleavy said, adding military, particularly on the company's TopOwl head-up guidance system, may be an application of the technology.
 
The gesture-control system, which utilizes the company's next-generation AVANT system—along with two additional cameras—works similarly to home gaming systems, allowing users to control the system with the wave of a hand. 
 
"The model here is you're sitting in a first-class seat and you're able to control the system from a long way away," Dunleavy said. 
 
The application within this system could include digital magazines, 360 degree views of destinations, interactive maps, movies, television shows and games, according to Dunleavy. 
 

Development of the system is further advanced than the eye-tracking system, as the company has already seen interest from airlines for their premium cabins. This capability could be installed in aircraft cabins in 12-18 months, Dunleavy said.

 

 

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