The four major commercial aircraft manufacturers are well on their way toward certification of their next-generation single-aisle commercial airliners. The Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 MAX and Embraer E2 families are producing major makeovers and Bombardier is offering its all-new CSeries.
Chroniclers of the air transportation industry last year were cautiously optimistic that an economic recovery in the airline business had arrived finally as large orders for new commercial aircraft from airlines and lessors rolled in. Orders for new equipment continued this year at a brisk pace but there is a debate within the industry about too many planes chasing too little traffic.
"Our government is subsidizing foreign state-owned airlines and giving them an economic advantage over US carriers."
What is surprising about the quote, which relates to the call for reform of lending policies of the US Export-Import Bank, is that it comes not from an airline CEO, but from Lee Moak, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), which represents 50,000 airline pilots in the US and Canada.
Where the new Bombardier CSeries and Embraer E2 jets fit in the air transportation business is an open question. Is this new breed of next-generation small airliners considered to be at the top end of the regional jet market or the low end of the mainline narrowbody market, nudging into Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 territory?
IFE is fast becoming a must-have product for any airline wanting to maintain a competitive edge. What was once an added benefit for only business- and first-class passengers has become an integral part of inflight service in all cabins.
Technology has played a major role in enhancing safety over the last 50 years in the air transportation system. A look at the more recent developments proves that the evolution of safety related technology, procedures and training continue.
An improving economy worldwide, record orders for new commercial airliners, plus an emerging market for used equipment is for now improving the aircraft leasing business. But industry analysts worry about overcapacity of new aircraft with marginal airline growth expected in some areas for the foreseeable future.
Air France’s recent unveiling in Paris of a new coach class seat and other onboard enhancements is emblematic of the airline’s long-term strategic plan to better compete against domestic and international carriers in a tough operating environment.
When the Boeing 737-100 first flew in 1967, the single-aisle, short-haul twinjet was equipped with only basic avionics. No so-called “glass cockpits” were available at the time. And 737 customers would likely not have bought them if they were. Times have changed.