EVA Air and Boeing have finalized an order for five 777 Freighters. The order, valued at more than $1.5 billion at list prices, will represent the first 777 freighters to join EVA Air’s fleet, and the first to be delivered to a Taiwanese airline. Boeing first announced EVA Air’s intent to order triple seven cargo aircraft at the Paris Air Show last month.
EVA Air currently operates more than 35 Boeing airplanes, including 20 777-300ERs. With 13 additional 777-300ERs on order – both direct purchased and leased – EVA will become one of the largest 777 operators in the world. The carrier plans to grow its operational twin-aisle fleet to more than 60 airplanes by the end of 2025.
“We are pleased to be the first airline in Taiwan to introduce Boeing 777 freighters,” EVA President Austin Cheng said in his remarks. “EVA participated in development of the Boeing 777-300ER and became a launch customer. We now fly 21 Boeing 777-300ERs and have 13 more on order. We have made the right choice as our experience with this aircraft’s advanced technology and excellent performance indicates what we can expect from the Boeing 777 freighters. These freighters will be the backbone of our air cargo service for the next decade.”
According to the Boeing World Air Cargo Forecast, global air freight traffic is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 4.7 percent, doubling the cargo traffic over the next 20 years.
The Royal Air Force began flying its Airbus A400M aircraft again on Tuesday 16 June, five weeks after the fatal crash in Spain with a brand new A400M. Germany hasstated it will resume flying its single A400M again in July. Meanwhile, the Airbus transport aircraft features quite prominently in the current Paris Air Show.
The two A400M based at Brize Norton in the UK underwent a series of checks to ensure the aircraft and the procedures are safe. According to a statement, the RAF is satisfied that the A400M is now safe to resume flying.
UPDATED 19 June | As always its the orders for airliners that fight for attention at the Paris Air Show, but on the military side, things are happening as well. Most interesting little fact was the apparent first export order – announced on Monday – for the Pakistan-made JF-17 Thunder, although no country was mentioned. Let’s not be surprised however when it turns out to be Myanmar.
Pakistan Air Force officials only described the country that soon may add the JF-17 to its military inventory, as ‘Asian’. The same officials reported that current turmoil in the Middle East has slowed down export talks. The JF-17’s development meanwhile continues, with a possible two seat version on the way.
On the slower spectrum, Mali and Ghana agreed to buy six and five A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft respectively, while Saudi Arabia signed for four Airbus C295W medium transport and patrol aircraft. Perhaps the most prominent deal was the purchase of four Boeing C-17s for the Qatar Emiri Air Force.
As far as helicopters are concerned, Malaysia placed an order with Airbus Helicopters for two AS365 Dauphins for SAR duties.
Unnoticed by many was the first sale for Aero Vodochody of its new L-39NG aircraft. More on that is here.
Dassault’s Rafale was the most numerous aircraft. Three Rafales were on the ground, while a fourth gave a flying display. In the trade halls, models of Rafales in the colours of Qatar, India and Egypt were seen. Given the recent orders from those countries, further Rafale sales are unlikely.
Also in the halls, Alenia Aermacchi was pitching its M-345 jet trainer. France is reportedly interested in this trainer aircraft. Elsewhere, Antonov was pitching its new An178 transporter. The Ukrainian company also announced the An188, a military transport aircraft in the A400M and Boeing C-17 category, powered by four turbofan engines.
The seven L-39’s currently in use at Pardubice for training military pilots will be converted to L-39NG standard. LOM Praha has also taken an option for one newly built L-39NG.
Meanwhile, Aero Vodochody states that development of the new trainer aircraft is progressing nicely. First flight is set for later this year, with deliveries commencing in 2018. The new version sees the old AI-25TL engine exchanged for the new Williams FJ44-4M, but also involves many updates of both the airframe and avionics.
Talks are also ongoing with Breitling Jet Team, which could see the team’s L-39 replaced by L-39NGs. Furthermore, US company Draken International, known for buying surplus L-159s from the Czech Republic earlier, is interested in the L-39NG. The company will be responsible for all L-39NG work done in the US.
UPDATED 10 June | One week prior to the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, it’s clear that Pakistan stole everybody’s thunder by sending over three JF-17 Thunder fighter aircraft. The aircraft left Pakistan for France on Sunday 7 June. Le Bourget kicks off on Monday 15 June, with other high lights being the Bombardier CSeries and a sizable delegation from both Boeing and – remarkably – Qatar Airways.
Update 10 June: Airbus has confirmed an Airbus A400M will take part in the flying display. The company says it has complete confidence in the aircraft
The JF-17 is a joint endeavour by Pakistan and China, both already operating significant numbers of the type, although the Chinese prefer to call it the JC-1. Several countries have shown interest in the type, Argentina reportedly being one of them. One JF-17 will be on static display at Le Bourget, while the other two will be used for a solo flying display.
Bombardier The Paris Air Show marks the debut of the Bombardier CS100 and CS300 airliners, both still in development and in need of customers. Swiss was officialy announced as launch customer for the CS100 earlier this year, with deliveries commencing no sooner than next year.
Boeing On the military side of things, Boeing will bring a CH-47F Chinook, P-8A Poseidon and F-15E to Paris. The no-show of the F/A-18 Super Hornet is noteworthy, as the type is rumoured to have drawn interest from Kuwait. Other sources mention Kuwait is now eyeing the Eurofighter Typhoon, however. The P-8A is a serious contender for the UK, with an order on the cards in the not too distant future. Boeing will also present a 787-900 Dreamliner in Vietnam Airlines colours, plus a China Airlines 777-300ER.
For the US, an A-10C Thunderbolt tank killer should also pay a visit to Le Bourget. The type is currently deployed in Europe and the focus of a Boeing-effort of selling used airframes to interested nations.
Closer to home, Airbus is dispatching a A350XWB and an A380 to Le Bourget. It is uncertain if the Airbus A400M will be present at all after the fatal crash on 9 May in Seville, Spain. Airbus Helicopters will show a lot of its portfolio during the show
Quite remarkable is the presence of Qatar Airways at Le Bourget with an Airbus A380, A350, A320, A319 and a 787 Dreamliner. The major delegation fits into the current aggressive Qatar Airways marketing in Europe, which many European airlines see as a major threath to their business. It is said the recent order for 24 Dassault Rafale aircraft has opened many French doors for Qatar – the door of the Paris Air Show apparently being one of those doors.