American Airlines makes largest purchase in airline history

There was deep speculation in the airline nerdery about whether American Airlines was going to be making a purchase at the Paris Air Show, and though the event came and went without a spark of activity, a palpable sense of excitement has been humming ever since. After all, with one of the oldest fleets on the planet, there was no doubt that American needs to freshen up — it was just a matter of when.

American Airlines broke that tension that week in a big way by announcing the order of a whopping 460 new medium and narrow body aircraft, the largest order in aviation history.

Perhaps more surprising was the way in which the order was split. For the first time, American begin flying equipment from European manufacturer Airbus, causing several in the community to question the “American” value of American Airlines. But the bottom line is the bottom line in this economy, and the official Flyertalk entity of @AmericanAir probably put it best:

“ we are operating in a global economy, this investment makes the most sense for our airline and is in the best interest of our employees and customers. We are very proud of our heritage and home in the U.S.”

If you want to learn more you can check out the official release over at American’s news page. Otherwise, AP did a great job of wrapping up the events in the below video.

ANA’s 787 Dreamliner Interior Revealed

Boeing has unveiled interior designs for its 787 Dreamliner at the Paris Air Show earlier this week, and we must admit, we’re intrigued. There’s a WINDOW in the bathroom!

The 787-8 will sit 210 to 250 passengers, have a 7,650 to 8,200 nautical mile flying range, and an array of high tech enhancements. The 787-9 will seat 250 to 290 and have a range of 8,000 to 8,500 NMI.

In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today’s similarly sized airplane. It will also travel at speeds similar to today’s fastest wide bodies, Mach 0.85. Airlines will enjoy more cargo revenue capacity.

In the cabin space, the 787 will have larger windows with an adjustable tint, more spacious overhead storage (images show four bags fitting comfortably), and large, lay-flat beds in First and Business classes. Economy will feature a 2-4-2 design and reclining seats. To improve overall comfort in flights, the airplane will employ improved air filtration system, higher humidity levels (to prevent dehydration), a lower cabin altitude (ensuring a more comfortable flight) and design innovations to ensure a less bumpy ride and quieter in-cabin experience.

Find more about the technical specifications of the 787 Dreamliner here.

In more news from Boeing, the company also announced that they will move the flight attendant call button, eliminating hassles for the crew and travelers alike.

Boeing’s 787: Engineering a quieter airplane

It has long been rumored that Boeing‘s new 787 Dreamliner will be the quietest commercial jumbo jet in its class. Take a look at the back of select engine nacelles on the airframe and you can see an obvious difference. That egg crate design is in place for improved acoustic performance, which means a better experience for not only passengers but the people living near airports and flight paths.

Boeing just published a video showing some of the other improvements and the testing that they’re working on. Take a look at the show above.

The story behind Air New Zealand’s new seats (with video)

Typically when an airline makes an advancement in their seat technology, a press release is sent out along with a few pictures. This week, Air New Zealand has given us a behind the scenes look at what went into their latest product.

They started the process using four design firms and narrowed their options down to a handful of layouts.

It was fascinating to see the research that went into the effort and sneak a peak at some of the abandoned layouts at their “Hangar 9” facility in Auckland where the prototype work took place.

When Gadling heard mumblings of these game-changing designs, we dropped everything to see for ourselves if Air New Zealand could match the early hype generated by the rumors. We were certainly impressed, and judging from the response of the media that attended the event, it seems they’ve set a new standard in airline innovation.
There’s a chance that other airlines who ordered the 787 have come up with similarly innovative designs that we just haven’t seen yet. But because Air New Zealand ordered 777-300s and 787s at the same time, we’re now seeing a tip of their hand as the 777s are approaching their November in-service date.

CEO Rob Fyfe and Project Manager Ed Sims briefed the crowds on Tuesdays event in Auckland, and demonstrated what makes the Skycouch economy seats so remarkable, and also showed us one of the designs that was rejected after nearly making the cut.

To see our more about the Skycoach seats, check out the coverage we did on Monday.


Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner finally flies

After over two years of reporting on the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s long awaited aircraft has arrived. Yesterday morning, the aircraft took off on a three hour historic flight over Washington, landing successfully in Boeing field just outside of Seattle, Washington.

And now, the data analysis begins. A full year of testing as well as multiple test flights follow this first step, all towards making the final delivery to Boeing’s first customer, ANA at the end of next year. We’re looking forward to getting onboard.