Airline group to harmonise specifications for Airbus A350 and Boeing 7E7 via fleet commonality programme

The Star Alliance group of airlines will define its specifications for the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 7E7, following on from a joint definition of regional jet requirements.

The Lufthansa-led alliance's chief executive Jaan Albrecht says the 13 members agreed to extend the fleet commonality programme to the twin-engined widebody requirements at a meeting of the group's chief executives in Bangkok last week. The existing 7E7 customers within Star Alliance, All Nippon Airways and Air New Zealand, will first work together to harmonise their specifications, but around six or seven other airlines interested in one or both of the new twinjets will join the working group, he says. "If you have a single standard, you can reduce the inventory cost at all Star Alliance airports. This could include engines, brakes, avionics, or anything else that is customer-chosen," says Albrecht.

The joint specification is a voluntary programme, but is backed by all 13 airlines and two candidate carriers South African Airways and TAP Air Portugal, says Albrecht. "The group will not decide on the 7E7 versus the A350 but there will be a single specification for either aircraft," he adds.

The grouping will work with both manufacturers to agree a deal, but will not place a group order, Albrecht says. "Both Airbus and Boeing are totally behind this, as it means fewer technical drawings, shorter lead times and less inventory for them too," he adds.

Glenn Tilton, United Airlines president and chief executive, says his airline will participate in the study, adding: "We have a very young fleet so no immediate need to upgrade, but we're curious about the developments, so we will be engaged in the dialogue". Alliance sources say joint specification of the Airbus A380 ultra-large aircraft was rejected due to differing views on the aircraft's role.


Source: Flight International