Boeing and Airbus Debut New Airliners With First Flights on the Same Day

Boeing and Airbus Debut New Airliners With First Flights on the Same Day

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The maiden flights for both the Boeing 787-10 and the Airbus A319neo were carried out Friday, March 31. The two airplanes are the newest members of the 787 family for Boeing and the A320neo family for Airbus.

The two aircraft manufacturers both cite efficiency as their primary reason for building the new planes, but these two jets take radically different approaches. The 787-10 is the longest of the 787 family, holding 40 more passengers or 15 percent more cargo than the 787-9, while the A319neo is the smallest jet in the A320neo family and relies on the new CFM International LEAP-1A engines to achieve efficient flight.

Boeing's two-aisle 787-10 will fly transoceanic and other long-distance flights. The Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer has secured 149 orders for the twin-engine jet from nine airlines around the world. The longer fuselage and composite airframe are meant to improve fuel efficiency per seat, with capacity for up to 330 passengers.

The stretched fuselage does come with the cost of a shorter overall range, however. The 787-10 will have a range of about 7,400 miles compared to 8,800 miles for the 787-9 and the 8,450 miles that the 787-8 can fly. This means Boeing's newest jet airliner will be able to comfortably hop between Europe and the United States, Europa and Asia, and Asia and North America, but it won't quite have the legs for flights between Australia and the Americas.

The single-aisle Airbus A319neo will be capable of trans-Atlantic flights, but will primarily be used for shorter routes more suited to its range of about 4,300 miles—roughly 60 miles more than the other A320neo variants. The A319neo will have capacity for just 124 passengers compared to the 150 that can fly on an A320neo and 185 for an A321neo. Airbus plans to retain fuel efficiency in the A320neo family by leveraging new, high-efficiency engines and taking advantage of aerodynamic airframe designs.

The 787-10 flew for just under six hours over Boeing's South Carolina facilities, where the 787-10 will be manufactured, as the pilots tested flight controls, handling qualities and other systems on the aircraft. The A319neo flew from Hamburg-Finkenwerder Airport in Germany to Toulouse, France, staying aloft for five hours as the pilots tested the craft.

Boeings first 787-10s will be delivered sometime in the first half of 2018 to launch customers Singapore Airlines, British Airways, and United Airlines, among others. Airbus has yet to announce a launch customer for the A319neo, and only about 55 planes have been ordered thus far.

With a new long-haul airliner from Boeing and a new narrow-body jet from Airbus, these two aviation giants continue to duke it out for control of the skies.

Sources: Boeing and Airbus

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