Home' Asian Aviation : AAV May 2011 Contents General News
An Airbus A330-200 operated by Australia's
Qantas suffered a cockpit fire on 23 March,
forcing the aircraft to divert to Cairns from its
original destination, Sydney.
According to the airline, the incident
was caused by an electrical fault, which
triggered a small fire and smoke near the
left-hand windscreen in the cockpit. The pilots
extinguished the fire and landed safely about
50 minutes later.
There were no injuries among the 147
passengers and 11 crew on board the flight
from the Philippines' capital Manila. The
aircraft returned to Sydney the following day
to undergo repairs.
Both the Australian Transport Safety Board
(ATSB) and Qantas itself are now investigating
The latest occurrence has once again thrown
the spotlight on safety at the Oneworld carrier,
following recent problems affecting its Rolls-
Royce Trent 900-powered Airbus A380 fleet. In
two incidents on 15 and 24 February, Qantas
A380s experienced problems with one of the
aircraft's four engines.
The first incident occurred near New Delhi on
a flight from Singapore to London Heathrow,
with the crew observing a gradual drop in
oil quantity in the number four engine. The
engine's thrust was reduced to flight idle for
the remainder of the flight.
The second occurred on the same route, this
time near Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, affecting
the aircraft's number three engine. The crew
again reduced power on the affected engine.
The ATSB said that in the first case,
inspection had revealed that an oil-line fitting
had "less than the required torque".
Those incidents themselves followed the
uncontained failure in November of an A380
engine, which the ATSB attributed to fatigue-
cracking in a stub pipe feeding oil into the
structure, which caused an oil leak, then a fire.
-- Andrzej Jeziorski
Qantas A330 forced to divert by cockpit fire
Bombardier has started work at its Mirabel,
Quebec, production plant to make way for
final assembly of the first CSeries flight-test
The company says this is the latest step in a
five-phase development plan for the Mirabel
facility, which will ultimately double in size
to some 860,000 square feet (79,897 square
Space optimization and re-tooling at the
plant began last month. Construction of the
Complete Integrated Aircraft Systems Test Area
(CIASTA), the first area at Mirabel developed
for the CSeries programme, is progressing on
schedule, with the installation of systems rigs
New, dedicated buildings for the programme
will include: a supplier-satellite area; final
assembly structural-joining and pulse-line
areas; an area for pre-flight testing; paint
shops; and a delivery and administrative centre.
Bombardier says its approach to CSeries
final assembly is driven by production,
quality and ergonomic requirements.
Although the CSeries will be shorter than
the 39m-long CRJ1000 NextGen regional
jet, the largest aircraft now built at Mirabel,
the new jetliner will have a larger-diameter
fuselage, longer wings and a taller tail.
Bombardier will therefore have to adopt
different final assembly techniques from
those used for its regional jets.
For example, two pairs of robots will be
used to drill holes, apply sealant and install
fasteners to join the major sections of the
"Advanced robot technology will provide
predictable repeatability, enhance quality
and prevent ergonomic issues on the
assembly line," says Francois Minville,
Bombardier's vice-president, of CSeries
A moving production line is being
introduced at Bombardier's St-Laurent
Manufacturing Centre, where major CSeries
components, such as the cockpit and aft
fuselage, are being produced, and a moving
final assembly line is planned for Mirabel.
"The introduction of a moving
final assembly line creates a dynamic
environment that improves production
efficiency," Bombardier says.
The manufacturer hopes the CSeries will
capture about half of a predicted market
for 6,700 new aircraft in the 100- to 149-
seat class over the next 20 years -- Andrzej
Bombardier prepares for CSeries assembly NEWS IN BRIEF
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES (PAL) has signed a 12-
year contract with Air France Industries KLM
Engineering Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) for
maintenance repair and overhaul for its General
Electric (GE) GE90-115BL engines that power
the carrier's two Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The agreement also covers on-site and on-wing
maintenance, shop visits, component support and
spare engines. PAL has previously used AFI KLM's
services for GE CF6-80E engine maintenance. The
maintenance service provider has expanded its
engineering capabilities, enabling it to offer a range
of solutions for handling GE90 engines -- currently
the only comprehensive, reliable alternative to the
manufacturer's service offer.
AIR BAGAN, based in Yangon, Myanmar, is
considering adding more flights to Phuket,
Thailand, in July. The airline, which launched
twice-weekly services to the popular island resort
using its 92-seat Fokker 100 aircraft on 11 April will
assess market conditions before making a decision
at the end of May. The carrier also operates to
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Mandalay, Bagan, Kunming,
Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Seam Reap with a
fleet of two Fokker 100 regional jets, two ATR72
turboprops and two ATR42s.
Bombardier hopes to grab half the market
for 100- to 149-seat jetliners over the next
8 AsianAviation | MAY 2011
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