Boeing 777X
Boeing 777X

Aviation Weekly: News and Highlights 20-26 December

Top News and Stories this week:

  • Boeing Resumes 777X Test Flights After GE9X Issue
  • Malaysia Airlines Gets Rid of Airbus A380s
  • Final Boeing 747 Completes Its First Flight
  • Condor Takes Delivery Of Its 1st Airbus A330neo
  • Finnair To Restart Flights To Osaka
  • India Begins COVID Testing Of Arriving International Passengers
  • flydubai Celebrates Argentina’s Win With A Special Livery
  • Boeing 747-8 Scrapped For The First Time

Boeing Resumes 777X Test Flights After GE9X Issue

Boeing has resumed flight testing of its 777X aircraft after an inspection in October found an issue with its GE9X engine. Last month, the engine manufacturer asked Boeing to remove the engine and send it to a test facility for engineering test runs. GE Aerospace confirmed that it was working closely with Boeing to support the 777X flight test programme.

“We had a finding during a borescope inspection of a flight-test engine and decided with Boeing to remove the engine and send it to our test facility in Peebles, Ohio for engineering test runs. During these runs, a temperature alert was observed and the operator shut the engine down normally,” GE Aerospace told FlightGlobal.

The 777X has been in development since 2013 and has faced several delays. Last Saturday’s test flight was the first test flight in over two months. Boeing said that it had mitigated the occurrence while waiting for GE to continue to investigate its causes.

“We have resumed airplane testing following our comprehensive safety process and appropriate mitigations while our supplier and technical teams continue their work. We’re supporting GE Aerospace as they continue to assess a recent GE9X engine issue.”

Boeing told FlightGlobal

Malaysia Airlines Gets Rid of Airbus A380s

Malaysia Airlines has got rid of its entire fleet of A380s for the time being as all six of its superjumbos are now in storage in France. Five of those A380s were sent to Tarbes-Lourdes Airport in the south of France earlier during November and December, whereas the last one with registration 9M-MNF joined them last week.

With the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the entire fleet of A380s was grounded. However, as part of the ongoing restructuring of Malaysia Airlines, the airline’s management later decided to take all six A380s out of service.

a map of the world with a plane and a flight path
9M-MNF’s Final Flight To Tarbes

Last year, Malaysia Airlines tried to sell its superjumbos, but its offer did not attract any interest. As part of its recent restructuring, the company ordered new Airbus A330neo aircraft earlier in August this year. Malaysia Airlines welcomed its first Airbus A380, in May 2012, whereas its sixth superjumbo arrived in March 2013.

Final Boeing 747 Completes Its First Flight

After being rolled out of Boeing’s assembly line in Everett, the very last Boeing 747 – which has been an iconic symbol of both Boeing and the commercial aviation industry has completed its first test flight.

The Boeing 747-8 freighter with registration N863GT, destined for Atlas Air became the 1,574th and final 747 aircraft to roll off the manufacturer’s production line. For the first time in these many decades, there’s not a single jumbo jet found in the manufacturer’s Everett factory. During its first test flight, the test pilots were heard saying:

“Boeing Everett, flight seven zero four, last seven four seven for airworthy.”

a map of a plane with a route
Final Boeing 747 Completes Its First Flight

The completion of the test programme, painting and delivery of the final 747 would mark the end of an iconic era alongside the official ending of the entire “Queen of the Skies” project. The Boeing 747’s assembly line will reportedly be repurposed to build the 787 Dreamliners.

Condor Takes Delivery Of Its 1st Airbus A330neo

Condor has taken delivery of its first A330neo aircraft despite the plane’s collision with a building at Airbus facilities in Toulouse last week. The Airbus A330-900 with registration D-ANRA is the first A330neo out of an order of 16 A330neo aircraft, which would eventually replace its ageing Boeing 767s and some A330ceos that it currently has on lease.

Last week, the aircraft was involved in a minor incident in Toulouse when its winglet collided with a building, most probably a hanger during the operation of a routine trailer on the ground.

Condor’s A330neos are configured with a brand new interior that will accommodate 310 passengers, featuring 30 seats in Business, 64 seats in Premium Economy and 216 seats in Economy class.

Finnair To Restart Flights To Osaka

Finnair has announced that it will restart its service between Helsinki and Osaka from March 2023 after suspending the route for more than a year following the closure of the Russian airspace. The carrier will offer three flights per week from 26 March, using an Airbus A350-900 aircraft.

As Finnair continues to rebuild its network in Japan, the carrier also announced an increase in frequency to Tokyo Narita from twice a week to four times per week, in addition to its existing daily service to Tokyo Haneda.

“We are happy to be able to respond to the increasing travel demand between Europe and key Asian destinations. In summer 2023, we will be operating 14 weekly connections between Finland and Japan, and we have daily connections to Delhi and Hong Kong,” Ole Orver, Finnair’s chief commercial officer said.

India Begins COVID Testing Of Arriving International Passengers

Following the surge of COVID-19 cases in China and some other countries, India has re-introduced COVID-19 testing for some of the incoming international passengers. Recently, the Indian health ministry said that all passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand must provide a negative test report.

However, if those passengers arriving from these five countries showed symptoms of COVID-19 or tested positive they would be put under quarantine.

A few cases of BF.7 – the Omicron subvariant that is driving a dramatic surge in China and some other countries have also been found in India. According to local media reports, the health minister has urged state governments to increase surveillance for any new variants and send samples of all positive cases to genome sequencing laboratories.

flydubai Celebrates Argentina’s Win With A Special Livery

flyDubai unveiled a special Boeing 737 MAX livery to celebrate Argentina’s World Cup win. Being a regional partner for the Argentine Football Association (AFA), the low-cost carrier carried the world champions from Abu Dhabi to Doha on 18th November, marking the start of their race to the glorious cup.

The two Boeing 737 MAX jets with registration A6-FKA and A6-FKB feature the new livery. The new livery features the iconic World Cup trophy alongside the Argentina national flag over the winning team including captain Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Julian Alvarez, Rodrigo De Paul, Lautaro Martinez, Nicolas Otamendi and Paulo Dybala. Furthermore, the “Campeón” decal and the three-starred AFA logo are also featured in the livery.

a group of people in blue uniforms standing in front of a plane
flydubai Celebrates Argentina’s Win With A Special Livery Image: flyDubai

flyDubai transported more than 170,000 fans to Doha since the launch of the Match Day Shuttle Flights, with the airline operating over 30 daily flights. Commenting on the Argentina national football team’s win and the new special liveries, Ghaith Al Ghaith, chief executive officer at flydubai, said:

“What a fantastic fun-filled month of football it has been. To be able to partner with the winning team was a momentous achievement in flydubai’s history. Congratulations to our partner, the Argentina national football team, and well done to all the teams who participated in this year’s tournament that will surely go down in history as one of the most memorable editions of the World Cup to date.”

a white airplane with images on it
flydubai Celebrates Argentina’s Win With A Special Livery Image: flyDubai

Boeing 747-8 Scrapped For The First Time

A Boeing 747-8 BBJ is being part out and scrapped – as the first Boeing 747-8 ever in Arizona with the jumbo jet reportedly flying for less than 30 hours of total flight with its owner.

The rarely used 747 with registration N458BJ is being dismantled just 10 years after it was delivered. The luxurious Queen was purchased by the Saudi Crown Prince Sultan Abdul Aziz, who passed away in 2011 before the delivery of the aircraft. Multiple unsuccessful attempts were made to sell the jumbo jet for $95 million. In the documents provided, only 29 flight hours and only 16 flights were highlighted as a big plus.

a large white airplane on a tarmac
Image: Javier Rodriguez

As seen in footage shared on the internet, its rudder and elevator, flaps on the wings, and parts of the tail cone and fuselage panels have already been dismantled. Furthermore, the engines have also been disassembled.