Flight International, January 2022

Our first issue of the year’s forecasts package sees our writers review some of the hottest aviation topics likely to grab the headlines over the coming 12 months. From the pandemic-driven challenges facing airlines around the globe to the health of future defence programmes and Boeing’s corporate recovery, we have it covered.

2021 drew to a close with major procurement decisions made by two fighter buyers – the United Arab Emirates and Finland, which respectively picked the Dassault Rafale and Lockheed Martin F-35 – plus Air-France-KLM and Qantas, both shifting their allegiance from the 737NG to rival Airbus narrowbodies.

Leonardo Helicopters chief executive Gian Piero Cutillo outlines his optimism for the coming year, and a belief that its traditional rotorcraft will be in high demand for many more years. Plus, we visit 2Excel Aviation, and cover its rapid journey from The Blades aerobatic display team to preparing the Excalibur testbed in support of the UK’s Tempest future combat air system.

Also this issue, we ask whether single-pilot operations could become reality on commercial flights, and get an insight into the work of Jenny Tung – an “aircraft whisperer” supporting Air Canada’s corporate charter fleet.

Use the links below to access our latest issue’s content in web-optimised format, or scroll down further to view our “page-turner” digital replica of the magazine, download a pdf version, and access archived issues.

Cover Jan 2210241024_1

Cover story

Rafale for UAE

UAE, Finnish orders intensify fighter rivalry

A late flurry of fighter competition activity as 2021 drew to a close saw the United Arab Emirates (UAE) sign a surprise deal to acquire 80 Dassault Rafales and Lockheed Martin triumph in Finland’s 64-aircraft HX process.

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Qantas A321XLR-c-Qantas

Loss of Qantas and Air France-KLM deals to Airbus highlights Boeing’s competitive gaps

Defections of two long-time narrowbody customers – Air France-KLM and Qantas – to Boeing’s arch-rival in Toulouse does not mean the 737 Max is a worse aircraft than the A320neo, but the comparative strength of Airbus’s single-aisle strategy appears to be a winning formula.

Analysis

P&W's updated GTF, the GTF Advantage

P&W unveils upgraded ’GTF Advantage’ geared turbofan for A320neos

Pratt & Whitney in 2024 will begin delivering an updated version of its PW1100G geared turbofan (GTF) that the company says has more power and is 1% more fuel efficient than the current variant.

Excalibur 757 testbed

From The Blades to Excalibur: how 2Excel became a ‘mini-prime’

UK engineering services provider 2Excel Aviation has signed a new five-year strategic partnership with Leonardo, with the pact including joint work on a flying testbed to support the nation’s Tempest future combat air system programme.

Interview

Gian Piero Cutillo - Leonardo Helicopters MD

Why sums add up for Leonardo Helicopters boss Gian Piero Cutillo

Gian Piero Cutillo has been in charge of the Italian aerospace firm’s helicopter division since 2017 and over that time has delivered steady growth and acquisitions. But with the rotorcraft market set to be shaken up by the arrival of new competitors and technologies, how is the manufacturer preparing for the future? 

2022 forecast
2022 forecast

What awaits the aviation sector in 2022?

Our special package of forecast articles looks at a dozen topics which are likely to be in the headlines during the coming 12 months.

Read story

MC-21-310 Dubai 2021

Will Russia’s MC-21 break Airbus/Boeing narrowbody duopoly?

Can the MC-21, set to enter service in the next year, break the Airbus/Boeing narrowbody duopoly in an era of increasing Western hostility to Moscow?

Artist rendering of Lockheed Martin NGAD

US Air Force to advance stealthy successor for F-22

Details of the US Air Force’s Next-Generation Air Dominance fighter are top secret, but some hints about its key technologies are beginning to appear.

777X

Is Boeing heading for much-needed recovery?

After more than 30 miserable months, could the airframer be about to put the Max grounding behind it and restore its prior formidable reputation?

Merger stock photo

Why aerospace industry mergers could take off again in 2022

Covid-19 put a halt to a feast of mergers over recent years, but signs are that appetites for acquisitions are growing as the industry recovers.

Singapore Airlines A380

Asia-Pacific airlines weigh up reviving parked superjumbos

Singapore Airlines may have launched the type – and is slowly bringing it back into service – but does the superjumbo have a future in the Asia-Pacific?

KAI KF-21 assembly line

Is Seoul’s KF-21 fighter an export star in waiting?

The KF-21 is South Korea’s boldest aerospace development. Can Seoul turn the home-grown fighter into a key defence asset and export success?

Bell X-1

Supersonic anniversary will drive on developers with a need for speed

It will soon be 75 years since mankind broke the sound barrier. With a huge focus on cutting carbon, is there a market for supersonic commercial jets?

Volaris A320

Latin American airlines facing long road to recovery

Latin America’s airlines had a tougher pandemic than most, with little direct government support despite tight travel restrictions. Can they build back?

Features

KLM 787 pilots

Will airlines change course and explore single-pilot operations?

Could single-pilot commercial airliner operations become reality? Manufacturers and regulators want to know if removing a crew member from the cockpit is feasible – but unions are unconvinced.

Women in aviation

Jenny Tung of Air Canada

How Jenny Tung brings an expert’s touch to Air Canada

A deployed maintenance engineer supporting Air Canada’s corporate charter fleet, Jenny Tung is an ‘aircraft whisperer’ able to fix any fault – a skill developed from her early experience repairing cars