Airbus updates: Emirates A380 MSN017, 500th A321, Korean Air A330 order

A380 MSN017
The 5th A380 for Emirates Airlines, A6-EDE, is on the flight line at Hamburg and expected to be delivered in April. Thanks to the folks at the Hamburg Airport forum, enjoy the picture. Given the slowdown at Singapore Airlines, there is some debate on whether the next A380 out will be MSN026 (Qantas’ 4th A380 VH-QQD) or MSN019 (Singapore Airlines’ 7th A380 9V-SKG). I suggest following the knowledgeable folks at the A380 production forum.

Airbus delivers 500th A321 MSN3814
Last Friday, Airbus achieved a milestone and delivered the 500th A321 to Air France, who coincidentally received the first A321 delivered in 1994. As of date, Airbus has sold more than 750 A321s to about 65 customers all around the world.

Philippe Durand of Air France (left) and Uwe Schunke, Director Contractual Acceptance at Airbus

Korean Air order for six Airbus A330-200 WV058
Last September, Airbus fired a shot across the bows of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, when it announced a new longer range A330-200. Weight Variant (WV058) A330-200 has a 238 tonne MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight) providing it a range of 7,200 nm, and thus allowing Airbus a product to take on the first batch of Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners, till the A350XWB came on line.

Korean Air (KAL) has placed a new firm order with Airbus for six more A330-200 aircraft for the WV058 variant. The 7,200 nm range allows the airline to connect its home base at Incheon to almost all continents in the world non-stop with the exception of South America. KAL will use these new aircraft for medium density non-stop routes to North America and Europe.

The aircraft will be in a three-class cabin layout, and is scheduled for delivery from 2010. The new order increases the total number of A330s ordered by Korean Air to 25, comprising 16 A330-300s and nine A330-200s.

One can speculate plenty, but this appears a preventive measure, and part of an on-going trend, due to the delivery delays on the 787, rather than a cancellation of KAL’s 10 787-8 order. With significant vendor involvement in the 787, Korea will not risk economic repercussions a cancellation might bring.

It is possible that the ordered 10 787-8’s will get converted to 787-9’s, which are expected to commence delivery in 2013, and these will replace the existing KAL A330 fleet, but this is idle speculation for now.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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