March 7, 2019 - Airbus Helicopters (France) concluded the Heli-Expo 2019 with 43 new orders for its major civil product range, namely the H125, H130, H135, H145, H160, H175, and H225 aircraft across the globe. Of the 43 helicopters, 49% orders were from its longstanding customer, Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH) (US), for a mix of single-engine H125s and twin-engine H135s. Airbus also launched a new version of its H145 helicopter at the expo, resulting in orders for 10 units and 9 retrofits.
Boeing introduced the Boeing Airpower Teaming System, a new unmanned system which will be designed and developed by Boeing Australia with investment from the Australian Department of Defence. The unmanned aircraft model was introduced at the Australian International Airshow by the Australian Minister of Defence, Mr. Christopher Pyne. Boeing (US) and the Australian government will manufacture and demonstrate the concept aircraft. The prototype aircraft will offer major findings and insights for the development and production of Boeing Airpower Teaming System. The prototype, named Loyal Wingman, is Boeing’s biggest investment in new unmanned aircraft program outside of the US. According to Boeing, the aircraft will be integrated with advanced sensors to perform electronic warfare, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The aircraft will be enabled with artificial intelligence capability to fly alongside piloted aircraft during missions.
Boeing NeXt, which leads Boeing’s urban air mobility division, worked together with Boeing subsidiary Aurora Flight Sciences to design and develop the electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. The company successfully tested the aircraft’s autonomous functions and ground control systems of its autonomous Passenger Air Vehicle (PAV) on 22nd January, 2019.
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The test involved vertical lift off, hover, and landing operations. Boeing has progressed from the design concept to the first flight test within one year and it will be interesting to see how the company progresses to the next stages of flight testing. The next stages will be crucial as they will test the transition from hover to forward flight. The company has a long way to begin, however, this test is a stepping stone towards establishing and commercializing the concept of urban air mobility. Boeing being one of the market leaders in the aviation industry, with its extensive experience and resources, the company is a strong prospect to turn this vision into reality.
According to Vaibhav Dixit - Associate Vice President : Aerospace & Defense, at MarketsandMarkets™, The passenger air vehicle is suitable for urban city commute. The all electric engine will help in reducing the carbon footprint and the VTOL technology will support the take-off and landing almost anywhere with greater flexibility. Assuming the favorable regulatory framework, infrastructure development, technology advancements in terms of battery capability and power to weight ratio, and social acceptance, the autonomous passenger air vehicle is expected to be commercialized by 2023.
Impact on Market
In Jan 2019, FADEC Alliance signed a 25-year agreement with Lufthansa Technik to provide Full Authority Digital Engine Controls (FADEC) availability services for LEAP engines globally. LEAP engines are high by-pass turbofan engines which are highly reliable and high performance, enabling 15% lower fuel consumption as well as life cycle maintenance costs in comparison to the best CFM56 engines.
In a move that could change the way aircraft fly, Rolls-Royce, in January 2019, announced the development of the world’s fastest zero-emission all-electric aircraft by 2020. This green aircraft will be developed under the initiative “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight (ACCEL),” which involves players, such as Rolls-Royce, the Aerospace Technology Institute, YASA, an electric motor manufacturer, and Electroflight, an aviation start-up, and is partially supported by the UK government. Rolls-Royce, in its ambitious project, is aiming to reach 300+ mph and is expected to break the record of 210 mph among all-electric airplanes set by the Siemens airplane in 2017.
The Middle East is the world’s dynamic region when it comes to the rapid development of its resources, infrastructure, and growing its demand to the world. Once entirely dependent on the oil & gas sector, it is now home for the world’s third busiest airport with no signs of slowing down. As per IATA, the Middle East is expected to experience robust growth at 5% with an increase in 322 million passengers a year on routes to, from, and within the region by 2036. To cater this exponential demand, the Middle East needs to overcome the fragmented airspace structure and with efficient infrastructure.
Boeing is expected to further expand its business aviation segment with the strategic joint venture with Embraer - one of the major business jets and light jets manufacturers.