Boom plans ‘supersonic hub’ in North Carolina




DENVER – Nearly 20 years after the Concorde made its last commercial flight, efforts to revive supersonic travel are gathering pace.

American startup Boom Supersonic said this week that it has chosen Greensboro, North Carolina, to build its Overture airliners.

The aircraft, with a capacity for up to 88 passengers, will fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuel at twice the speed of today’s fastest passenger jets, the company said.

“Selecting the site for Overture manufacturing is a significant step forward in bringing sustainable supersonic air travel to passengers and airlines,” said Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom.

“With some of the country’s best and brightest aviation talent, key suppliers and the state of North Carolina’s continued support, Boom is confident that Greensboro will emerge as the world’s supersonic manufacturing hub.”

The Overture Superfactory will be about 400,000 square feet and constructed on a 65-acre campus at the Piedmont Triad International Airport. Economists estimate that the factory will grow the state’s economy by at least $32.3 billion over 20 years, Boom said.

The company will break ground in Greensboro this year, with production slated to begin in 2024.

United Airlines will be the launch customer of the aircraft. In June, it agreed to buy 15 airliners, with an option for an additional 35 aircraft.

Boom will test a “demonstrator” airplane, the XB-1, this year. Both the Overture and the XB-1 will feature advanced, thermally stable carbon composite airframes, which are easier to fabricate and maximize fuel efficiency, the company said.

The first Overture commercial flight is scheduled for 2029.

The previous supersonic aircraft, the Concorde, was operated by Air France and British Airways during 1976-2003. A British Airways Concorde made the final commercial flight from New York to London on Oct. 24, 2003.

Boeing sets a lofty sustainability goal



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Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757
Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator 757

Boeing wants its commercial aircraft to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030, the company said Friday.

Is that doable? May be.

In 2018, the Boeing ecoDemonstrator flight-test program made the world’s first commercial airplane flight using 100% sustainable fuels with a 777 Freighter.

Citing various studies, the company said sustainable aviation fuels reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80% over the fuel’s life cycle with the potential to reach 100% in the future.

“Today, sustainable aviation fuels are mixed directly with conventional jet fuel up to a 50/50 blend — the maximum allowed under current fuel specifications,” it said.

“In order to meet aviation’s commitment for reducing carbon emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2050, airplanes need the capability to fly on 100% sustainable aviation fuels well before 2050.”

Boeing Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Stan Deal said the company is committed to working with regulators, engine manufacturers and other key stakeholders to ensure that airplanes can fly entirely on sustainable jet fuels.

Such fuels can be made from a wide variety of feedstocks, including non-edible plants, agricultural and forestry waste, non-recyclable household waste, industrial plant off-gassing and other sources, Boeing noted.

Airbus unveils concepts for zero-emission aircraft



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Airbus ZEROe

The blended-wing body design for up to 200 passengers.

Toulouse, France — Airbus has revealed three concepts for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft, which could enter service by 2035.

Each represents a different approach to achieving zero-emission flight, Airbus said Monday.

The three concepts — all codenamed ZEROe for climate-neutral zero-emission commercial aircraft — are:


The turbofan design for up to 200 passengers.

A turbofan design (120-200 passengers) with a range of 2,000+ nautical miles, capable of operating transcontinentally and powered by a modified gas-turbine engine running on hydrogen, rather than jet fuel, through combustion. The liquid hydrogen will be stored and distributed via tanks located behind the rear pressure bulkhead.

A turboprop design  (up to 100 passengers) using a  turboprop engine instead of a turbofan, and also powered by hydrogen combustion in modified gas-turbine engines, which would be capable of traveling more than 1,000 nautical miles, making it a perfect option for short-haul trips.

A blended-wing body design (up to 200 passengers) concept in which the wings merge with the main body of the aircraft with a range similar to that of the turbofan concept. The exceptionally wide fuselage opens up multiple options for hydrogen storage and distribution, and for cabin layout.


The turbofan design for up to 100 passengers.

All of these concepts rely on hydrogen as a primary power source, an option which Airbus believes holds exceptional promise as a clean aviation fuel.

“This is a historic moment for the commercial aviation sector as a whole and we intend to play a leading role in the most important transition this industry has ever seen,” said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury.

“I strongly believe that the use of  hydrogen, both in synthetic fuels and as a primary power source for commercial aircraft, has the potential to significantly reduce aviation’s climate impact.”

  • All images are courtesy of Airbus


Boeing-Embraer bid to challenge Airbus fizzles



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EmbraerBoeingCHICAGOBoeing announced Saturday that it has terminated its Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) with Embraer.

Under the deal announced in late 2018, the two companies had planned to create a joint venture comprising Embraer’s commercial aviation business.

The $4.2-billion tie-up was mainly aimed at challenging Airbus in the market for midsize planes.

The two companies also planned a second joint venture to develop new markets for the C-390 Millennium military aircraft.

“Under the MTA, April 24, 2020, was the initial termination date, subject to extension by either party if certain conditions were met. Boeing exercised its rights to terminate after Embraer did not satisfy the necessary conditions,” Boeing said in a statement.

“Boeing has worked diligently over more than two years to finalize its transaction with Embraer. Over the past several months, we had productive but ultimately unsuccessful negotiations about unsatisfied MTA conditions.”

The planned partnership had received approval from all regulatory authorities, with the exception of the European Commission, Boeing said.

There was no immediate comment from Embraer.

The image is courtesy of Embraer.

Air New Zealand unveils ‘a game changer’



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ANZANZ2AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Air New Zealand has unveiled sleeping pods for longhaul economy passengers, calling it “a game changer”.

The Economy Skynest, which would provide six full length lie-flat sleeping spaces, is the result of three years of research and development, the airline said Wednesday.

The company has filed patent and trademark applications for the Skynest.

Air New Zealand plans to make Skynest available on longhaul flights, but the airline said a decision will only be made after it assesses the success of the upcoming Auckland-New York service. That flight would take 17 hours and 40 minutes.

“We have a tremendous amount of development work underway looking at product innovations we can bring across all cabins of the aircraft,” said chief marketing and customer officer Mike Tod.

“A clear pain point for economy travelers on longhaul flights is the inability to stretch out. The development of the Economy Skynest is a direct response to that challenge.”

ANZ 3Customer and cabin crew feedback on the Skynest during its final phase of development has been outstanding, said Nikki Goodman, general manager of customer experience.

“We see a future flying experience where an economy-class customer on longhaul flights would be able to book the Economy Skynest in addition to their economy seat, get some quality rest and arrive at their destination ready to go. This is a game changer on so many levels,” said Goodman.

All images are courtesy of Air New Zealand.

Boeing 777X takes to the skies



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The Boeing 777X takes off from Everett, Wash., on Saturday.

SEATTLE, Wash. — “The 777X flew beautifully,” said Capt. Van Chaney after successfully flying Boeing’s newest aircraft Saturday.

“Thank you to all the teams who made today possible. I can’t wait to go fly your airplane again,” added the chief pilot for 777X test and evaluation

With that first flight, the world’s longest and largest twin-engine airliner entered the next phase of its test program.

The 777-9X is based on the popular 777.

777XThe aircraft took off in front of thousands at Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 10:09 a.m. local time for a three-hour, 51-minute flight over Washington state before landing at Seattle’s Boeing Field, the company said.

Chaney called the flight very productive.

The first of four dedicated 777-9 flight test airplanes, WH001 will now undergo checks before resuming testing in the coming days, Boeing said.

“Our Boeing team has taken the most successful twin-aisle jet of all time and made it even more efficient, more capable and more comfortable for all,” said Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

“Today’s safe first flight of the 777X is a tribute to the years of hard work and dedication from our teammates, our suppliers and our community partners in Washington state and across the globe.”

Boeing has won 340 orders and commitments for the 777X from leading carriers, including Emirates, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

The first delivery is expected in 2021.

Images are courtesy of Boeing.


Etihad raises funds for eco residence


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Andy Cairns of First Abu Dhabi Bank, Khaled Khalfan Al Suwaidi of Abu Dhabi Global Market and Adam Boukadida of Etihad Aviation Group at the signing ceremony.

Etihad Airways has raised 100 million euros to support the expansion of its eco residence in Abu Dhabi, a sustainable residential complex for the airline’s cabin crew.

In doing so, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates has become the first airline to secure funding for a project based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, the company said Sunday.

First Abu Dhabi Bank and Abu Dhabi Global Market will finance the project.

“We are proud to be the first airline globally, and one of the first companies in the UAE, to obtain commercial funding based on our commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations,” said Adam Boukadida, senior vice-president, treasury, tax and finance at Etihad Aviation Group.

He said the process to secure the loan hinged on a detailed international verification of the airline’s sustainability credentials.

“This assessment will enable us to fund long-term leases of the new eco residence complex, located in Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City innovation precinct, and will serve as the foundation for Etihad to fund future sustainable initiatives.”

Financing for these type projects must be linked to one or more of the goals, and the Etihad project met two, the company said.

To support the financing, Etihad established a framework.

The airline then engaged Sustainalytics to review the framework, and confirm alignment with the Sustainability Bond Principles of the International Capital Markets Association.

The company issued a Second Party Opinion verifying Etihad’s sustainability credentials, a key condition to raising capital, Etihad said.

Images are courtesy of Etihad.


Global lands at Pearson Airport


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An artists’s impression of the new Global Manufacturing Centre.

GlobalBombardier is building a new final assembly facility at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport for its Global business jets.

The company has signed a long-term lease agreement with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the operator of Pearson, to build its new state-of-the art Global Manufacturing Centre at the airport, Bombardier announced Wednesday.

The current Global completion center is in Downsview, about 20 kilometres east of the new site in Mississauga, Ont., where first production activities are expected to begin in 2023.

The site will optimize final assembly operations for all Global business jets, including the flagship Global 7500, Bombardier said.

“This is a strategic move for Bombardier and a strong commitment to Ontario’s aerospace industry,” said Alain Bellemare, president and chief executive officer of Bombardier Inc.

“It will allow us to offer world-class career opportunities and continue fueling the economic development of the region for years to come.”

The 1-million sq-ft facility will combine thousands of highly-skilled employees with 21st century production and tooling innovation, the company said.

The Global 7500 forms a major portion of Bombardier’s aircraft order backlog of $15.3 billion.

Images are courtesy of Bombardier.

Air Canada flying high with new honors


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Air Canada

Calin Rovinescu

Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu

Just last week, Air Canada president and CEO Calin Rovinescu was named the CEO of the Year by the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business magazine.

This week, the airline is celebrating another achievement – it has been recognized as the 2019 Airline of the Year by industry publication Global Traveler.

“The success we have had transforming our airline into a leading global carrier is being recognized worldwide and we continue to invest in new aircraft, onboard services, airport amenities and a new loyalty program to build on our leading position,” Rovinescu said.

“Mostly, however, this award recognizes the hard work of our employees and their commitment to deliver customer service excellence every day, for which I thank them,” he added.

The airline said Global Traveler’s advisory board weighed the nominees’ financial data, safety records, product offerings, onboard menus and overall image as a brand before selecting Air Canada as Airline of the Year.

Maple Leaf Lounge

Maple Leaf Lounge offers dishes prepared by celebrity chefs.

Since 2010, Rovinescu has presided over a rapid expansion of the airline, investing $12 billion on new aircraft and routes.

Rovinescu’s fleet renewal program has seen the deployment of new Boeing 777s and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The airline’s popular Maple Leaf Lounge, featuring dishes prepared by celebrity chefs, is also part of his program to elevate the travel experience.

Rovinescu has been at the helm of Air Canada since early 2009.

Images are courtesy of Air Canada.

Airbus completes 100th A220


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Airbus A220

Employees celebrate the completion of the 100th Airbus A220 in Mirabel, Que.

The 100th aircraft in the Airbus A220 family, formerly known as the Bombardier C Series, will soon be delivered to the Latvian airline airBaltic. It will be the carrier’s 21st A220-300.

A ceremony was held this week at the aircraft program’s headquarters in Mirabel, Que., to mark its production.

The 149-seat A220-300 features a new livery and cabin layout, Airbus said.

SWISSThe A220s are assembled in Mirabel as well as in Mobile, Ala.

The first aircraft in the family, an A220-100, was delivered in 2016 to launch operator SWISS.

AirBaltic, which received its first A220-300 three years ago, was the launch customer for that version of the aircraft.

It has 20 aircraft in its all-A220 fleet, and has ordered 30 more.

“We are truly proud to be the launch operator of the Airbus A220-300 aircraft which, being an integral part of airBaltic’s fleet over the last three years has demonstrated an outstanding performance,” said Martin Gauss, chief executive officer of airBaltic.

“To introduce this aircraft was a forward-thinking decision that has most certainly paid off as A220 family aircraft are not only considerably more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly, but also more convenient for both passengers and staff.”

The A220 is powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.

As of October, Airbus had received 530 firm orders for the aircraft.