Welcome to the PaxEx Update with the top passenger experience headlines for the week ending 13 December 2019.
The first commercial electric aircraft took to the skies on Tuesday marking a milestone in the industry. The Harbour Air Beaver replaced its regular piston engine with an electric motor from MagniX and a whole bunch of batteries to power the four minute journey. A long way yet to go, but the companies expect that battery density and charging technology could see the system in passenger service within a couple years.
Keeping on the topic of first flights, Embraer‘s E2 family is now fully flying. The E175-E2 made its inaugural sortie in Brazil, kicking off a 24 month flight test campaign. With the flight program underway the company will also be seeking customers. The launch order from US regional carrier SkyWest cancelled in the face of US pilot scope clause challenges. Africa could offer potential, however, as Congo Airways signed for two of the first gen E175s and indicated that the E2 could play a role in a follow-on order.
The A321XLR will soon fly for United Airlines and Chile’s SKY. The former ordered 50 of the type to replace its aging 757 fleet while the latter picked up 10 to grow its operations, including potentially nonstop service to Miami from Chile. But Boeing‘s NMA program isn’t completely dead yet, as Delta CEO Ed Bastian hinted his company is still awaiting a twin-aisle option to fill that segment gap during the company’s Investor Day briefing.
Moving to larger aircraft, the A350 received ringing endorsements from two airlines this week. Air France added 10 more of the –900 series to its order book, accelerating retirement of the A340s and replacing the A380s by the end of 2022. Qantas is also keen on the A350, announcing that a slightly modified version of the –1000 series will be the aircraft of choice for its Project Sunrise efforts, though still no guarantees that program flies.
Finally, Panasonic Avionics confirmed that it is a customer on Eutelsat 10B, a new satellite slated to launch in 2022. It is the second component of the company’s eXtreme Throughput Satellite (XTS) program and should boost inflight connectivity performance across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Keep up with these stories and more all week long at PaxEx.Aero and have a great trip.