Boeing is working hard to fix the issues with its 787 Dreamliner, and says that the process of undertaking the rework is getting more efficient every day. With this, the planemaker says that it intends to deliver the majority of the 100 aircraft in its inventory before the end of the year. But with COVID-induced border restrictions causing logistical problems, is this a realistic target?
100 Dreamliner deliveries before 2022
The 787 Dreamliner has been something of a thorn in the side of planemaker Boeing, particularly in recent months. The problems with the fit and finish with its fuselage joins have seen deliveries halted, something Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun described during the planemaker’s earnings call today as “nagging problems.”
However, Boeing has worked hard to get these issues fixed once and for all. With deliveries restarted last month, the Dreamliner output is back online. Speaking at today’s earnings call, Calhoun set out his ambitions for the stored inventory of 787 Dreamliners. He said,
“We have delivered a total of nine 787s since restarting deliveries last month with potentially a couple more by the end of this week. What we know today is that we still expect to deliver the majority of the 787 aircraft currently in inventory by the end of the year.”
The stored inventory of 787s is not insubstantial. Boeing estimates that around 100 aircraft are awaiting delivery to customers. While that’s nothing like the number of 737 MAX the manufacturer is working on getting out of the door, it still represents a substantial backlog.
Outgoing CFO Greg Smith added some color to the target of getting all these Dreamliners delivered by year-end, saying,
“Right now, we’ve got a schedule lined up with by tail number, by month, by customer that gets the majority of the 100 inventoried aircraft delivered by the end of the year.
“That could move around from customer to customer, but we’re trying to stay ahead of that and stay in very engaged with our customers around very specific time frames in which we will be making our delivery and all that have lined up with how we do the rework and … complete the final deliveries.”
Although airlines are likely less than keen to take additional widebodies in the present environment, these are orders that have been outstanding for some time. Airlines may be able to negotiate deferrals on unbuilt orders relatively easily, but to put off deliveries for an aircraft already built will be much more difficult.
The fix is not holding up deliveries
The rate at which Boeing can get these Dreamliners out to its customers is not being dictated by the time taken to fix the aircraft. Indeed, Smith said that the teams completing the rework are getting more efficient with every aircraft, something he described as “coming down a learning curve.”
What will potentially scupper the plan for this high rate of deliveries is the situation with travel and getting crews in to take the airplanes. Calhoun explained,
“This is more about how the airplanes move from position to position as opposed to the applied work itself. At the end of the day, we’re going to be at a rate probably this month of 10 or 12 airplanes and that just demonstrates that that’s what we can do. We will hold that rate for as long as we can, depending on customers and their ability to get in and take deliveries.
“The trick in this one is the logistics of all of the customers coming in and out and then how we move these planes through position. The applied work itself, that’s pretty clear and it’s getting more productive every day. So, we’re in a pretty good place on that front.”
Pandemic factors notwithstanding, Boeing seems to be in a good position to accelerate the release of these widebody aircraft. With eight months left in the year, Boeing will need to maintain a delivery rate of at least 12 aircraft per month, on average, if it is to meet its 100 aircraft goal.
PLAY Receives Air Operators Certificate Ahead Of June Flight Launch
Icelandic low-cost carrier PLAY has received its Air Operators Certificate (AOC) today. The airline is preparing to commence flights on June 24th, so this update is a significant step for the company.
Another step closer
Simple Flying reported earlier today that the first service for the new airline will be to Stansted. The carrier is keen to serve popular markets around Europe from this summer before expanding to the United States East Coast in 2022. So, the securement of the AOC from the Icelandic Transport Authority will undoubtedly bring joy to the executives of the company as they can tick this significant task off the list.
Altogether, an AOC is the approval granted by the aviation authority of a country to an operator to allow it to deploy aircraft for commercial activity. Notably, a prospective airline has to have the right personnel, equipment, and structure in place to be given the green light.
PLAY’s COO, Arnar Már Magnússon shares that there was great cooperation with Icelandic authorities to acquire the certificate. He adds that the firm also received support from major industry figures such as AerCap and Airbus, which has been valuable since these institutions know the market inside out.
The right time
The airline’s CEO, Birgir Jónsson, shares that this progress marks a turnaround for the travel sector in Iceland. Overall, the whole board is grateful for the efforts that the staff of the company and its stakeholders have put in since the airline’s founding in 2019. The work put in has led to the airline being well positioned in the new climate.
“After the pandemic, the opportunity actually just got a lot bigger. If you’re well funded like we are now with $50 million in the pocket, you can actually do it on your own terms. I mean, it’s a very good time to lease aircraft, and you can basically pick and choose the right kind of aircraft, in our case, the A321neos. Additionally, you have great access to a lot of highly qualified and trained staff crew,” Jónsson told Simple Flying this weekend.
“Also, a lot of the competition is weak. It’s damaged. I mean we can see here, our competition like Icelandair, and other airlines, are having huge operational and business problems. So to come into that market well funded with no burden of debt, you can basically set up a company, at a point in time, where everything is beneficial to you. That’s a huge reason why we think we will succeed.”
The next stage
Altogether, PLAY is excited to welcome its passengers on board its new A321neos, which are arriving from the beginning of next month. There will be three units of these narrowbodies with the airline this summer to transport passengers across the skies with what are billed to be highly competitive prices.
What are your thoughts about PLAY’s progress over the last few months? Are you looking forward to flying with the airline after services commence? Let us know what you think of the carrier and its plans in the comment section.
American Airlines welcomes all customers on quarantine-free flights to Italy
American Airlines has offered customers quarantine-free flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Milan (MXP) since April 2 and on flights from JFK to Rome (FCO) as of May 8. With the recent change in Italy’s travel restrictions, any customers, whether traveling for leisure or essential business, are eligible to fly on American’s flights from New York to Italy starting May 16.
Prior to travel, customers will need to provide proof of the required negative COVID-19 test and also upon arrival in Milan or Rome. After taking a second test at the airport producing a negative result, travelers will not need to quarantine in Italy.
American currently offers daily flights between JFK and MXP and three-times weekly service to FCO. American also operates four-times weekly service between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and FCO and expects those flights to become quarantine-free and open to all travelers in the coming days.
Top Copyright Photo: American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner N829AN (msn 40651) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 944766.
American aircraft slide show (Boeing):
British Airways Facing Difficulties In Getting Crews To Fly To India
India is presently facing a devastating wave of coronavirus. This has seen case numbers spike to record-high levels. Amid concerns about the increased transmissibility of a new variant of the virus present in India, UK flag carrier British Airways is reportedly struggling to get crews onboard when it comes to its flights to the country.
Apprehension regarding flights to India
According to The Independent, fears regarding the present health crisis in India have been causing British Airways cabin crew to refuse to work on flights to and from the country. Employees are reportedly “scared of working on the flights” to India. To put its staff’s mind at ease, BA has removed overnight stays in India from its working itineraries.
This will allow staff to remain in the controlled environment of the airport boundaries between their outbound and return flights. Furthermore, in a letter to its crew, the airline has also told employees that, if they do not feel comfortable, they can opt out of such flights by signing a form. British Airways told The Independent that:
“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority, and we follow and comply with all international regulations.”
Added to the red list last month
The UK government recently added the country to its ‘red list.’ This came about due to India’s high infection rates, and fears about the presence of a mutant coronavirus strain in the country. Arrivals from such countries are obliged to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense upon arrival. Meanwhile, ‘amber list’ arrivals may quarantine in their homes.
Officials hoped that this classification would reduce the possibility of the mutated strain being transmitted. Furthermore, it could act as a deterrent against people traveling from India to the UK in general. However, the government has come under fire for its lack of urgency in adding the country to its most serious category.
While it announced India’s reclassification on April 19th, this didn’t come into effect until April 23rd. This caused a surge of India-UK bookings as passengers rushed to beat the deadline. As such, in the short term, it may not have served as a deterrent as hoped.
Why is BA still flying to India?
Fears about India’s latest surge in coronavirus could cause the question to arise as to whether such flights should or need to operate. However, British and Irish residents may still legally enter the UK from the country under red list conditions if they are prepared to comply with a 10-day quarantine in a hotel for £1,750 ($2,470).
For now, there seems to be sufficient demand from this demographic for such flights to go ahead. Indeed, Air India is also continuing to operate passenger flights to the UK. Furthermore, BA has also been flying to the country on humanitarian missions amid the current crisis. Earlier this month, it flew 27 tonnes of medical aid on a Boeing 777 to Delhi.
FAA Investigating Near Miss Runway Incident At San Diego
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating an incident at San Diego International Airport after an apparent near-miss between an aircraft coming into land and one that was preparing to take off. The incident happened on Thursday night a little after 22:30 when an inbound Skywest Alaska Airlines flight from Portland International Airport (PDX) was on final approach.
As the aircraft was on final approach at an altitude of 300 feet, air traffic control instructed the crew of flight AS 3446 to abort the landing on runway 27 and perform a go-around due to a departing aircraft being on the airport’s only runway. According to ABC News reporter Sam Sweeny, a Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-200 operating as flight number DL2249 was preparing to take off for Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTR) when it was delayed due to mechanical issues.
BREAKING: The FAA is investigating a near miss collision between a Delta A330 jumbo jet and a Skywest Embraer 175 on approach to the San Diego Airport Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/bQGOVoyIuA
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) May 14, 2021
The plane landed safely 12 minutes later
According to aviation tracking website RadarBox.com, the incoming Skywest Embraer ERJ-175 immediately pulled up and climbed to 4,800 feet as it passed over Pacific Beach before landing in San Diego 12 minutes later. When contacted regarding what could have been a major disaster by NBC 7 News, San Diego, SkyWest Airlines published a statement from which read:
“Alaska Airlines Flight 3446, traveling from Portland to San Diego, landed without incident at 10:55 p.m. last night. Air traffic control issued a ‘go-around’ to give further separation between aircraft. That’s a standard procedure. Our pilots are highly trained and skilled at responding to these types of situations.”
A statement from the FAA who is investigating the incident read:
“Air traffic controllers at San Diego International Airport instructed the crew of SkyWest Flight 3446 to discontinue their approach to Runway 27 Thursday evening because another aircraft was on the runway preparing for departure,” an FAA representative emailed NBC 7. “The other aircraft, Delta Air Lines Flight 2249, departed safely, and the SkyWest aircraft landed later. The FAA is investigating.”
About the planes
While we do not know how many passengers and crew were aboard each aircraft, we know that Skywest Airlines Brazilian-built Embraer ERJ-175 was a three-year-old aircraft with the registration N193SY configured to carry 76 passengers. The Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-200 that was waiting on the runway is a 16-year-old aircraft with the registration N851NW. Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-200s are configured to carry 234 passengers in three classes of service.
At the time of the near-miss, the weather was a little overcast but with perfect visibility for the incoming Skywest Embraer.
About San Diego Airport
San Diego International Airport (SAN) was first called San Diego Municipal Airport – Lindbergh Field when it opened in 1928. Charles Lindbergh flight-tested the Spirit of St. Louis at the nearby Ryan Airlines factory where the plane was built.
Today SAN claims to be the busiest single-runway airport globally, with almost 500 daily flights pre-COVID-19. In August 2019, Forbes Magazine called SAN the best airport in the United States due to the amenities on offer, minimal delays, and its closeness to downtown.
Being located three miles (4.8 km) northwest of downtown does not come without its drawbacks. The approach into SAN is known for its proximity to skyscrapers and steep descent over Bankers Hill.
We do not yet know how near the miss was and will wait for the FAA report on the incident.
What do you think about the near-miss, and why did ATC wait for so long to tell AS3446 to go around? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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