November 2011 Archives
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But Prof Dowling's insight extends deep into commercial territory, too. Asked afterward what the critical technical challenges would be to realise the SAX-40 concept, she replied that while a great deal of development work needed doing, there appeared to be no particular technical hurdles.
Funding such a project, however, would be another matter altogether. Companies such as Airbus or Boeing - which has been involved, along with Rolls-Royce, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other partners in SAX-40 - are not really interested in starting such a venture any time soon. One reason, she notes, is that "nobody ever made any money introducing a new airframe". And, to succeed with an idea like SAX-40 would delight noise campaigners but would obsolete the existing fleet.
However, says Prof Dowling, when she outlines the concept to the Chinese, they are very interested, indeed.
For EADS/Airbus, working in euros makes a lot of sense. The strength of the euro versus the dollar has at times been very painful for eurozone-based businesses, and in any case exchange rate fluctuations, while a fact of life for any multinational, do need managing. One approach in aerospace is to base some operations in the US, or at least the North America "dollar zone", so as to have some costs and revenue in the same currency.
But the ongoing euro crisis raises the spectre of a thorny problem. A Greek departure from the euro may be on the cards, and wouldn't probably affect EADS beyond the impact of currency market turmoil. However, what if - and it's not a completely hypothetical if - the euro loses more members or is abandoned altogether?
In that case, what happens to euro-denominated contracts? Could either buyer or seller be forced to accept terms in a national currency?
The permutations are daunting, but one distinct possibility has got to be the dissolution of such contracts, for re-negotiation. In that case, buyers, surely, would be free to walk away?
No wonder Europe's leaders have been insisting the euro can't fail. The fact that they're starting to accept that they might not be able to hold back the tide should be prompting Airbus, its suppliers and its customers to prepare for the messy transition to a post-euro world - whatever that might look like.
A Qantas Airways Airbus A380 was forced to take a diversion from its scheduled flight from Singapore to London, due to an oil problem, causing one of its four Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines to shut down.
Flight QF31 flew for around two-and-a-half hours with only three functioning engines before landing safely in Dubai. The aircraft had 250 passengers and 25 members of staff who all disembarked safely.
Avid Twitter user Stephen Fry was a passenger onboard this flight tweeted his reactions: ''Bugger. Forced to land in Dubai. An engine has decided not to play.'' Adding: ''I should in all conscience add that staff are being wonderful & that morale is high and the passengers understanding & cheerful.''
He colourfully expressed anger at leaving his wallet on the grounded flight: "I've left my wallet on the sodding plane. Hell's teeth this really isn't my day."
This isn't the first time Qantas has had engine-related problems. Almost exactly one year ago, in November 2010, a fault in a Trent 900 oil feed tube caused the number two engine of a Qantas A380 to fail, resulting in an emergency landing in Singapore. Oddly similar to today's events.
Qantas isn't having much luck recently, as earlier this week it was forced to ground its fleet due to a dispute with its staff and unions, before resuming limited flights. All of these incidents are continuing to put a strain on Qantas' revenue.
Related blog posts
Airline Business: The Qantas A380 drama - QF32 a year on
This post was written by Rebecca Springfield
What Oldfield is anticipating is an increasing reliance by the airframers on what he calls "super tier 1s", who are responsible for major design work and become so integral to any programme as to be indispensible partners for the life of the programme. Electronic systems suppliers are a good example, he notes; already, much of what they provide is a "black box" as far as the airframers are concerned.
Aerostructures are reaching a similar stage, as production processes that are developed by, and belong to, suppliers become as much a part of the finished aircraft's performance as the shape and size of the components.
Thus, reckons Oldfield, companies will either become super tier 1s, or be tier 2s providing subsystems or individual components. The tier 1 as we
And, he says, there's no reason why any particular supplier can't operate on both levels. GKN already does that, he says, noting that its $500 million of business with Airbus makes it a partner, while at $70 million it is really a tier 2 to Boeing.
That Boeing business can certainly grow, he adds, based on capabilities being developed to supply Airbus.
Now in its fourth year, the calendar continues to attract much attention from enthusiasts around the world.
This year's edition features 13 members of Ryanair's cabin crew staff in swimwear and lingerie.
The calendar is helping to raise money for charity organization DEBRA, which provides patient support services and research into treatments and cures for children suffering from EB (epidermolysis bullosa) - a genetic skin condition.
Ryanair's 2012 cabin crew calendar will be available onboard Ryanair flights, on ryanair.com and from DEBRA's Irish and Spanish charity shops (and websites) for €10, with all proceeds going directly to help children and families living with the EB condition.
- Gallery of images from the Ryanair 2011 Charity Calendar
- Gallery of images from the Ryanair 2010 Charity Calendar
- Pictures & Video: UK charity to benefit from 2010 Ryanair Cabin Crew Charity Calendar sales
- Gallery of images from the Ryanair 2009 Charity Calendar
- Ryanair launches Girls of Ryanair 2009 Calendar
- PICTURES: Ryanair girls strip off (again) for 2009 charity calendar
- Gallery of images from the Ryanair 2008 Charity Calendar