February 23 – The Week Ahead Open Thread

IATA Numbers
A key economic indicator is set to be released by IATA this week, when the organization tells us just how big the drop in passenger and cargo traffic was for the month of January. This is definitely a indicator of the health of the economy and could give way to another airline crisis, which is arguably being held off right now with oil trading around $40.

Embraer and Gulfstream Production Cuts
After last week’s announcement of significant layoffs, Embraer has released its expected breakdown of aircraft deliveries for the remainder of the year. The Brazilian airframer now expects to deliver 115 commercial aircraft (E170/190) instead of the originally planned 162, a roughly 30% drop in production from 2008. The remainder of the 242 aircraft are expected to be 110 Phenom 100s, as well as 17 Legacy and Lineage aircraft.

Gulfstream, the Savannah-based business jet producer, plans to slash production by 20% in 2009. The airframer expects to deliver 124 aircraft this year. Gulfstream will reduce midsize jet (G150, G200) production from 69 to 30 and increase large aircraft (G350, G450, G500, G550) production from 97 to 94.

A350 XWB Wing Spars
GKN, which is based in the UK, has begun prototype fabrication of the composite rear wing spars for the A350 XWB wing box demonstrator at its facility in Yeovil. The company expects to start manufacturing the rear wing spars within the next 12 months at its Filton plant, where production parts will be made for the XWB.

As the Cro(ft) Flies
My colleague John Croft, who serves as Americas Editor for Flight, is covering Heli-Expo this week in California and has launched his own blog (after much prodding from yours truly). John is a CFI and aviation safety expert who is more the eager to share his unique viewpoint on aviation. Make sure to keep an eye on his regular video updates from on location. This is one blog worth bookmarking.

10th for SIA flies
The 10th, yes the 10th, A380 for Singapore Airlines has now left the nest in Toulouse for its new home in Hamburg. The aircraft, MSN045, departed Toulouse this morning enroute to Germany for painting and cabin outfitting. This superjumbo will eventually be 9V-SKJ.

777F Fly Away
Air France Cargo took delivery of the first 777F last week and after receiving a water cannon salute on Friday before its departure from Everett.

777 Take-off from Liz Matzelle on Vimeo.