Flight International - 26 June 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1

AIR TRANSPORT


12 | Flight International | 26 June-2 July 2018 flightglobal.com

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movements, purchases and retirements:
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M


alaysia Airlines has dropped
plans to reconfigure its six
Airbus A380s to a high-density
layout for pilgrimage flights.
The Oneworld carrier says the
decision to maintain the current
configuration was taken after a
through review of the likely cost
to refit the double-deckers.
Under the carrier’s previous
plan, each of the superjumbos
would have been able to accom-
modate around 700 passengers in
an all-economy cabin, an in-
crease of 204 on their current
496-seat capacity.
“The decision to stick to the
current configuration follows a
comprehensive cost-benefit analy-
sis, coupled with a deeper under-
standing of our core customer
segment on Hajj and Umrah pil-
grimages that tend to be more
senior and elderly,” says MAS.
The Malaysian flag-carrier
says that as it will also continue
to deploy the A380s during peak
periods in its main network,
having multiple seat configura-
tions “may not be optimal”.

Former MAS chief executive
Peter Bellew had indicated that
the seat replacement on its A380s
would be carried out by Airbus,
but MAS says no contract was in
place. “There were no signed
agreements with Airbus; however,
we constantly have discussions
with them on the optimal solu-
tions for the aircraft in view of
changing market developments.”
It believes the A380s will offer
“a product that is superior to
other Umrah and Hajj operators”.

The high cost of reconfigura-
tion on the double-decker is one
of the reasons for the difficulty
in establishing a secondary mar-
ket for A380s. The only con-
firmed customer for a second-
hand example, Portugal’s Hi Fly,
has elected to retain the seating
of its previous operator, Singa-
pore Airlines.
Other early-build superjumbo
airframes are due to be parted
out, owner Dr Peters Group re-
cently announced. ■

S


afety regulators are requiring
a second round of inspections
on Engine Alliance GP7200 tur-
bofans as a French investigation
continues into the cause of a dra-
matic engine failure over Green-
land last September.
In addition to visual inspec-
tions mandated by the US Federal
Aviation Administration last Oc-
tober, operators of Airbus A380s
equipped with GP7200s must per-
form an eddy current inspection,
the FAA says in an airworthiness
directive published on 15 June.
The electromagnetic proce-
dure is required to look for cracks
in the fan hub blade slot bottom
and blade slot front edge, the di-
rective states, and must be com-
pleted within 120 days of 2 July.
The directive is based on a rec-
ommendation in a service bulletin
published by Engine Alliance, a
joint venture between GE Aviation
and Pratt & Whitney, on 17 April,
the FAA states.
As the investigation continues,
operators with GP7200 engines
may be required to take addition-
al actions, the directive adds. ■

F


edEx Express will buy 24 new
widebody freighters – split
equally between 767-300ERFs
and 777Fs – as continued growth
in the freight market fuels a fleet
replacement cycle.
The orders, worth $6.6 billion
at list prices, will be added to
Boeing’s backlog once a set of un-
specified contingencies are met,
the airframer says.
Memphis-based FedEx’s order-
book already includes 58 767
freighters and five 777Fs, accord-
ing to Flight Fleets Analyzer,
adding to an operational fleet of
58 767-300ERFs and 35 777Fs.

Air cargo traffic rose by 10%
last year and is expected to grow
by 4-5% in 2018, Boeing says.
Including the likely orders
from FedEx, Boeing has signed
commitments for more than 50
widebody freighters this year.
The deal also helps Boeing
keep production stable on the
777 line: as of 31 May, its backlog
for the current generation of the
widebody twin stood at 88 air-
craft. A confirmed deal with
FedEx would raise that total to
100, which is equivalent to 20
months of production at the cur-
rent rate. ■

Boeing
Purchase of 24 aircraft will be split between 767-300ERFs and 777Fs

ORDER STEPHEN TRIMBLE WASHINGTON DC

FedEx signs for package of widebody freighters


SAFETY
STEPHEN TRIMBLE
WASHINGTON DC

FAA mandates


further GP


engine scrutiny


STRATEGY AARON CHONG SINGAPORE

MAS renounces faith in A


as high-density pilgrim plane


Malaysian carrier drops plans to reconfigure cabin for 700 passengers after cost analysis

Airline had planned an all-economy layout for Hajj and Umrah flights

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