This week in aviation news: GECAS arranges sale and leaseback with Qatar Airways, Boeing delivers ANA’s 50th 787, Qatar Airways flight makes emergency landing after bird strike
On Tuesday, GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) finalized a sale and leaseback agreement with Qatar Airways for five new Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The aircraft will be utilized to expand the carrier’s rapidly growing fleet, which currently consists of 190 aircraft flying to more than 150 destinations around the world. The Airbus A350-900, the first member of the A350 XWB to enter service, is the middle-sized member of the Airbus A350 XWB family. The A350 XWB, standing for “extra-wide body,” is Airbus’ newest family of long-range, wide-body aircraft, and reports increased efficiency compared to its predecessors. The A350-900 carries 325 passengers in a three-class configuration, and boasts a range of 8,100 nautical miles. The XWB family has achieved a total of more than 800 firm orders with 30 deliveries of the A350-900 to date.
On Thursday, Boeing delivered All-Nippon Airlines’ (ANA) 50th 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft during a ceremony at Boeing’s manufacturing facility in Everett, Washington. Headquartered in Shiodome City, Japan, ANA operates more Dreamliners than any other carrier in the world, totalling 11% of 787s currently in operation and an estimated 125,000 flights. The 787s will be used to expand ANA’s long-haul global routes from Tokyo to Cambodia this year and to Mexico City by next year. ANA became the 787’s launch customer when it placed the first order in 2004, and became the first carrier to operate the aircraft in 2011. The 787 “Dreamliner” is Boeing’s largest aircraft, and has received over 1,100 orders since its launch in 2004.
A Qatar Airways Airbus A330 was forced to make an emergency landing in Istanbul after a likely bird strike caused flames to shoot out of the aircraft’s left engine. Shortly after takeoff, the Doha-bound aircraft was diverted over the nearby Marmara Sea and then rerouted back to Ataturk Airport, where all 298 passengers and 14 crew members were evacuated safely. Mehmet Kirazoglu, a witness on the ground, reported that following a strange sound overhead the aircraft’s left engine could be seen ablaze. “When we looked up we saw that a Qatar plane’s left engine was flaming out. It turned round towards the sea, I suppose it drained its fuel. Afterwards we learnt it landed safely,” Kirazoglu said. One of the Middle East’s largest carriers, Qatar Airways’ fleet consists of 190 aircraft flying to over 150 destinations worldwide.
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