Chinese investor buys German airport

(China Daily) A Chinese investor has paid one billion yuan (US$130 million) to buy Parchim Airport in Germany, and the unprecedented deal has opened a new investment chapter in Chinese aviation history, reported the Orient Today Thursday.


This is the first time a Chinese company wholly owns a European airport. Pang Yuliang, chairman of the board for LinkGlobal Logistics announced the news after beating out 10 other global competitors, including Hamburg Airport and Emirates Airline in an international tender.

Brought up in the poverty-stricken Shangcai County, Central China’s Henan Province, Pang’s logistics business covers more than 800 cities in mainland China and some 90 countries worldwide.

“There will be no need for my fellow-villagers heading towards Germany to transfer in Beijing or Shanghai once a charter flight is organized,” Pang said. He is already in negotiations with aviation officials to link Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province to Parchim Airport.

“We will make full use of the tariff free zone and bonded logistic distribution centers attached to the airport where we can foster the growth of our provincial automakers, aviation industry and high-tech enterprises,” Pang added.

The purchase was confirmed by a German representative from Schwerin who was attending a meeting in Zhengzhou on economic links between Henan Province, Lagos in Nigeria and southern Germany.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) also welcomes the acquisition, and will develop its European transferring network based on the China-owned Parchim Airport.

According to the report, Parchim Airport has an annual capacity of 180,000 flights and can handle all kinds of civil aircrafts, including the Airbus A380. It is close to Hamburg and Berlin.

Qantas’ Airbus A380 gets suites, flat beds and revolutionary economy class seats

QANTAS’ first-class passengers will have private suites and business customers will get flat beds in the world’s biggest jetliner, industry sources said yesterday.

Economy passengers can also look forward to more comfort in new seats on the Airbus A380 aircraft, which is due to start flying to Melbourne late next year.

Airbus has announced an A380 demonstration model would visit Australia next month.

Qantas has ordered 20 super jumbos, which, typically, will have 525 seats over three classes.

It is believed first-class passengers will have private cubicles, while business class will feature a new Skybed that is fully horizontal.

The current Skybed is not completely flat.

Qantas executive general manager John Borghetti said yesterday his airline’s A380 would have between 450 and 500 seats, allowing more room for passengers.

Mr Borghetti would not comment on the first and business-class plans, but said economy passengers could look forward to a more comfortable seat.

“It’s got unique features in it that currently don’t exist,” he said.

“The economy class seat probably has the biggest change that’s happened to such seats for two decades.”

Qantas expects to start A380 passenger services in October next year, with a Melbourne to Los Angeles flight.

The plane will also be used on the Sydney-LA route and on the Kangaroo route to London.


British Airways jet put under quarantine

The British Airways Airbus A319, flight #767, came from London Heathrow to Oslo with around 100 passengers.

Hans Holmgrunn of the Gardermoen police station told local newspaper Eidsvoll Ullensaker Blad that around 20 of the passengers were ill with nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Jo Kobro of Oslo Lufthavn Gardermoen said that a public health official was heading for the airport to go on board the fight and evaluate the situation.

In the meantime, all passengers were held on board.

Holmgrunn indicated that many of the passengers had come from Burma and had landed in both Thailand and England on their way to Oslo.


Boeing begins 787 Dreamliner final assembly

Final assembly of the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner began yesterday, May 21, with a ceremony in Everett, Wash.

“Today we begin assembling the first airplane of a new generation,” said Scott Strode, 787 vice president of Airplane Definition and Production. “The 787 not only will revolutionize air travel, it represents a new way of building airplanes.”

With 568 firm orders from 44 airlines, the 787 is the fastest-selling new airplane in aviation history. The 787 production system was designed using Lean manufacturing techniques in a simplified final assembly process.

“The 787 production system is the culmination of the lessons we’ve learned building previous airplanes,” said Steve Westby, 787 vice president of Manufacturing and Quality. “Using composites on the 787 airframe has a number of manufacturing advantages. We are able to build huge structure in just one piece, which means we essentially have six major end items coming together in final assembly — the forward, center and aft fuselage sections, the wings, the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical fin. ”

Since the 787 is assembled from these large assemblies rather than many smaller pieces, traditional monument assembly tools are not necessary. Portable tools, designed with ergonomics in mind, move the assemblies into place. No overhead cranes are used to move airplane structure.

“A composite airframe also means less waste in production and fewer hazardous materials used during the assembly process,” Westby said. “This is good news for the environment and for our team of manufacturing technicians building the airplane.”

Although the first airplane will take about seven weeks to assemble, the 787 team looks to continuously improve flow time as production ramps up. Ultimately, a 787 will roll out of the factory every three days.

The first 787 will roll out of the factory on July 8, 2007.

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X-48B – Boeing works with airlines on commercial blended wing body freighter

According to Flightglobal, Boeing is working with two potential customers to define a commercial freighter variant of its blended wing body large transport aircraft X-48B as it prepares to fly a subscale model of the flying-wing design at NASA Dryden in California.

Boeing X-48B Prototype

“We have been working with a couple of customers,” says George Muellner, president, advanced systems, for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “We have a customer, we have finalised what they want, and it is now an issue of customer funding and our desire to invest. The basic design is not a tube, it’s a rectangular pressure vessel, so material design is an issue,” Muellner says. “The internal structure is like an array of ISO containers,” he says, which is one part of its appeal to freight operators. “It’s fuel efficient and it’s easy to load.”

Boeing has been working on the BWB concept for years, but the design is still at an early stage.

“The earliest it could be out there is eight to 10 years, initially as a commercial freighter and beyond that for military applications,” says Muellner.

Boeing X-48B Prototype

The X-48B cooperative agreement by Boeing, NASA and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) culminates years of BWB research by NASA and Boeing. AFRL is interested in the concept for its potential future military applications.

“We believe the BWB concept has the potential to cost effectively fill many roles required by the Air Force, such as tanking, weapons carriage, and command and control,” said Capt. Scott Bjorge, AFRL X-48B program manager. “This research is a great cooperative effort, and a major step in the development of the BWB. AFRL is inspired to be involved in this critical test program.”

NASA also is committed to advancing the BWB concept. NASA and its partners have tested six different blended wing body models of various sizes over the last decade in four wind tunnels at the Langley Research Center.

“One big difference between this airplane and the traditional tube and wing aircraft is that — instead of a conventional tail — the blended wing body relies solely on multiple control surfaces on the wing for stability and control,” said Dan Vicroy, NASA senior research engineer at the Langley Research Center. “What we want to do with this wind-tunnel test is to look at how these surfaces can be best used to maneuver the aircraft.”

Boeing X-48B Prototype
Boeing X-48B Prototype

The two X-48B prototypes were built for Boeing Phantom Works by Cranfield Aerospace Ltd., in the United Kingdom in accordance with Boeing requirements and specifications. Made primarily of advanced lightweight composite materials, the prototypes weigh about 400 pounds each. Powered by three turbojet engines, they will be capable of flying up to 120 knots and 10,000 feet in altitude during flight testing.

India stops Russian flights in Indian airspace

Indian officials have ordered Russian airlines to stop flying in Indian airspace amid a dispute over air rights.

The order goes into effect immediately, said Moushami Chakravarty, spokeswoman for India’s civil aviation ministry.
The order came after Russian aviation officials notified the Indian government that Indian airlines would not be able to fly in Russian airspace after June 15, Chakravarty said.

The two nations’ agreement on the use of each others’ airspace expires on that date, and talks to renew it have yet to be scheduled, Chakravarty said.

Indian officials appeared to be angry that the communique was sent through the Russian national airline Aeroflot.

“We are surprised that the Russian civil aviation authorities sent a letter through Aeroflot rather than dealing directly with their Indian counterparts,” Chakravarty said.

Russian officials and airline officials could not be immediately reached for comment.


Finnair sells last MD-11s to Aeroflot

Finnair is selling the last two Boeing MD-11 aircraft in its ownership to Russian airline Aeroflot. The aircraft which are currently serving in Finnair’s long-haul traffic will be transferred to the new owner in November 2008 and July 2009. The value of the sale is several tens of millions of euros.

Finnair operates altogether seven MD-11 aircraft, five of which have leasing agreements ending in the next few years. Finnair is retiring the aircraft type by the end of 2010 after which the long-haul fleet will consist of Airbus A330 and A340 aircraft exclusively.

“There is great demand for MD-11 aircraft in the market now, so the time of the sale was fortunate. We have timed the sale as well as the end of the leases of the MD-11s with the orders of new Airbuses. We will move to a new type of aircraft in our long-haul seamlessly and at a quickened pace. The new aircraft significantly improve fuel and eco-efficiency as well as the passenger comfort,” says Finnair CFO Lasse Heinonen.

Finnair has orders for four new Airbus A340 aircraft, the first of which will arrive already at the end of May. In 2009-10 the long-haul fleet will grow with a further six new A340s or A330s. In addition Finnair has four options for Airbus wide body aircraft. In 2014-16 part of the long-haul fleet will be renewed with new technology Airbus A350XWB aircraft, 11 of which are on order with a further four options.

Finnair’s long-haul network will have ten Asian destinations in the coming summer, six of which will be operated daily. Finnair’s Asian traffic is expected to grow by over 30 per cent this year.