Boeing wins airshow battle, Qantas Dreamliners for Hong Kong and more

Other business travel news includes the extenion of Pier B at Auckland Airport, more Emirates flights to France and Qatar's second Swedish gateway.
Airbus sales chief Eric Schulz says global trade tensions are making some buyers reluctant to reveal themselves.
Nevil Gibson wraps up the Farnborough Airshow highlights and discusses latest aviation developments.

Boeing wins airshow battle
In the Farnborough Airshow washup, Boeing says it has 528 orders and commitments against Airbus’ 431 new deals, including the recently acquired Bombardier CSeries, now rebranded A220.

But the tally was overshadowed by some 400 deals where the names of the buyers were withheld – unusual at an event mainly designed to attract publicity.

Airbus blamed the incognito wave on trade tensions that had made some firms nervous about appearing to side with the US or other economic powers amid heated trade rhetoric.

“The fact that the world is waking up to see which tweet has hit which part of the world doesn’t really help,” Airbus sales chief Eric Schulz says.

But the publicity-shy trend was also widely seen as evidence that both giants were anxious to boost their tallies even if airlines to commit are not ready to be named.

Leasors, freighters join fray
A couple of new trends at Farnborough were the big orders for freighters and leasing companies as direct buyers. These included some that have not previously been purchasers at airshows, preferring instead to buy newly-built aircraft from airlines and then rent them back.

Boeing enjoyed a surge in demand for freighters despite global trade tensions, thwarting for now efforts by Airbus to find a customer ready to launch a freighter version of its A330neo. “Cargo is coming back strong,” Boeing sales chief Ihssane Mounir says, highlighting the strength of e-commerce package freight globally.

Self-flying planes, aerial taxis are coming
New technology from self-flying planes to electrically-powered aerial taxis was also on display at Farnborough, possibly the industry’s biggest tech surge since the dawn of the jet age in the late 1950s. 
Until now, the industry’s has focused on designing and building more fuel-efficient planes, such as Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’ A350, or the top-selling single-aisled models. Boeing’s chief technology officer Greg Hyslop predicted urban flying vehicles would be able to transport passengers and goods relatively soon, while Mitch Snyder, president of Textron’s Bell helicopter unit, said he expected fully autonomous models would serve military and commercial customers within a few years. 

Auckland Airport completes Pier B
Auckland Airport has completed the international terminal’s Pier B extension. The 190m, 12,240sq m facility effectively doubles capacity of Pier B with two additional gate lounges and four airbridges. These cater for four A380s or eight smaller aircraft at the same time. Gates 17 and 18 are now fully operational, while Gate 15 and 16 have new carpet and lounge seating.

“The Pier B extension is a modern and open space that will leave travellers with a strong final impression of Auckland Airport and New Zealand,” general manager airport development and delivery André Lovatt says.

It was initially built in 2008 with four aircraft stands, two gate lounges and two airbridges. The improvements have reduced the need to bus passengers to aircraft from 10% to 3% of traffic. Other renovations in the international terminal are expected to be completed in early 2019,

Qantas to fly Dreamliners to Hong Kong
Qantas will launch its new fleet of Boeing 787-9  Dreamliners on routes to Hong Kong, starting with Brisbane and Melbourne from December and Sydney from March. Dreamliners will operate Melbourne-Hong Kong five days a week from December 13, increasing to six days a week from January 28-March 29. Other flights will still be operated by Airbus A330s. Sydney-Hong Kong will get Dreamliners six days a week from March 30 in conjunction with A330s and a peak-season A380 that will replace a Boeing 747 from early to December to the end of March. Brisbane-Hong Kong will get a one-day-a-week Dreamliner from December 19, increasing to two days from January 30. A330s will continue to operate on other days.

Air baltic

Canadian aircraft for the Baltic
Latvian carrier Air Baltic has officially received its first Airbus A220-branded aircraft (pictured at the Farnborough Airshow). It will nine others, delivered as Bombardier CS300s. The airline expects to have 14 in service by the end of 2018. It has 40 outstanding orders for the A220-300, plus 15 options and a letter of intent to order 15 more.

Emirates adds flights to France
Emirates will add three more flights a week between Dubai and France. The Dubai-Paris route will get an extra A380 service on Tuesdays, boosting the total to three daily services a week. Two flights will be added to the Dubai-Lyons route, making it a daily service. A three-class Boeing 777-300ER is used on this service. Travellers won’t have to wait long as the additional Lyon flight will start on the August 2 and the Paris addition on the August 7.

Qatar adds second Swedish gateway
Qatar Airways will launch a Doha-Gothenburg service from December 12 using a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner with 22 seats in business class and 232 in economy.  It will be the airline’s second Swedish gateway after Stockholm and will operate five times a week.

Singapore-Japan flights increased
Singapore Airlines will add a fourth daily service to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from December 28, This will increase SIA’s daily services to Tokyo, including two daily flights to Narita Airport, to six a day, Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will operate the new service, adding more than 1800 seats a week.

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