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Saudi Arabian Airlines receives first directly bought Airbus A320

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A major step in fleet renewal

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia), Saudi Arabia’s national airline, has taken delivery of its first A320 directly bought from Airbus at a delivery ceremony in Toulouse with His Excellency Engineer Khalid Al Molhem, Director General of Saudi Arabian Airlines, and Airbus President and CEO, Tom Enders.

The delivery follows Saudia’s firm order for 22 A320s placed in December 2007. The contract marked the first time in more than two decades that the carrier had placed an order with Airbus. Earlier in October, Saudia took delivery of a leased A320, becoming the newest operator of the type.

“Our fleet modernisation plan is driven by a desire to operate the world’s best aircraft. The A320 is the right aircraft for our ambitious plans and offers unbeatable operational efficiency, proven reliability and the high cabin comfort our customers have come to expect,” said HE, Al Molhem.

The CFM56 powered A320 will be deployed on routes in the region, to Europe and to the Indian subcontinent, from Saudia’s hubs in Riyadh and Jeddah. Depending on configuration, the A320 fleet, will seat between 112 and 132 passengers in two-classes.

“We congratulate Saudi Arabian Airlines on taking delivery of their new A320, with 21 more directly purchased aircraft to follow. The A320 is and will remain for many years to come the benchmark in the single aisle aircraft category, which is why it is such an attractive asset for both our valued operators and lessors,” said Tom Enders.

Saudia’s A320 fleet will grow to 50 aircraft (22 directly purchased and 28 leased). Previously, Saudi Arabian Airlines were the launch customer for the Airbus A300-600, which was delivered in 1984.

Saudia’s A320s are the first to be equipped with a high bandwidth in-flight entertainment system. The system is now an option on all Airbus aircraft families for the first time. It means passengers can access high speed services such as full audio and video on demand.

The A320 Family, which includes the A318, A319, A320 and A321, is recognized as the benchmark single-aisle aircraft family. Each aircraft features fly by wire controls and all share a unique cockpit and operational commonality across the range. Around 6,400 Airbus A320 Family aircraft have been sold to some 300 customers and operators worldwide, making it the world’s best selling commercial jetliner ever. With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 Family has the lowest operating costs of any single aisle aircraft. Uniquely, the A320 Family offers a containerized cargo system, which is compatible with the world wide standard wide-body system.

Boeing Honored by Defense Department for Supporting Job Opportunity Program

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CHICAGO, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) earlier this month received the first U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Award for Exceptional Industry Contribution for support to the AbilityOne program, a federal initiative that works with private and public organizations to generate employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities.

For years Boeing has maintained long-term relationships with more than a dozen AbilityOne agencies. That includes working with the San Antonio Lighthouse for the Blind on manufacturing blankets used in the KC-135 aerial refueling aircraft and, for 50 years, the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, which makes a variety of parts for commercial airplane products.

“Boeing’s partnership with AbilityOne nonprofit agencies creates employment opportunities for people with disabilities while providing Boeing with high-quality goods and services,” said Joan Robinson-Berry, Boeing’s small business liaison and the director of Strategic Work Placement for the company’s Integrated Defense Systems unit. “We are proud to work with AbilityOne and committed to increasing our business with the program.”

More than 40,000 people work under the AbilityOne program, including 2,000 wounded military veterans.

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in the United States.


Boeing Receives Follow-on Contract to Upgrade B-1 Bomber’s Avionics Software

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LONG BEACH, Calif., Oct. 29, 2009 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] today announced it has received an $84 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for additional upgrades of the B-1 bomber fleet’s avionics software.

The award continues a software-sustainment program that has continually updated and improved the B-1’s operational capabilities since the aircraft entered service in 1989. This new contract authorizes Boeing to start work on Sustainment Block 16 (SB 16).

Each software sustainment block includes changes to navigation; weapon delivery; radar; electrical multiplexing; communication/navigation management system software; and controls and displays. Boeing engineers in Long Beach and Oklahoma City deliver the latest avionics software once a year for the Air Force’s fleet of 66 B-1s. SB 14 is in flight test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., and will be delivered to the Air Force in 2011. SB 15 will be delivered in 2012, and design and development work for SB 16 will begin immediately.

“We are honored to continue providing these upgrades to the Air Force and are excited about all the B-1 potential that will be provided with SB 16,” said Mahesh Reddy, B-1 program director for Boeing. “This major block will enhance the aircraft’s color cockpit displays, data link, radar and navigation in ways that will significantly improve B-1 aircrews’ ability to execute their missions.”

Another B-1 milestone that Boeing accomplished this year was the July 30 first flight of a B-1 upgraded with the Fully Integrated Data Link (FIDL). This upgrade includes new processors, color displays and communications architecture, enhancing B-1 crews’ situational awareness and communications capability. The FIDL aircraft is also in flight test at Edwards.

The multi-mission B-1 has been carrying the largest strike payload in the Air Force inventory since its combat debut. Its low radar cross-section, variable-geometry wings, advanced avionics, and afterburning engines combine to provide long range, maneuverability, high speed and survivability.


Boeing to Place Second 787 Assembly Line in North Charleston, SC

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SEATTLE, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) today announced that it has chosen its North Charleston, S.C., facility as the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program. Boeing evaluated criteria that were designed to find the final assembly location within the company that would best support the 787 business plan as the program increases production rates. In addition to serving as a location for final assembly of 787 Dreamliners, the facility also will have the capability to support the testing and delivery of the airplanes.

“Establishing a second 787 assembly line in Charleston will expand our production capability to meet the market demand for the airplane,” said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “This decision allows us to continue building on the synergies we have established in South Carolina with Boeing Charleston and Global Aeronautica,” he said, adding that this move will strengthen the company’s competitiveness and sustainability and help it grow for the long term.

Boeing Charleston performs fabrication, assembly and systems installation for the 787 aft fuselage sections. Across the street, Global Aeronautica, which is 50 percent owned by Boeing, is responsible for joining and integrating 787 fuselage sections from other structural partners.

Until the second 787 assembly line is brought on line in North Charleston, Boeing will establish transitional surge capability at its Everett, Wash., location to ensure the successful introduction of the 787-9, the first derivative model of the 787. When the second line in Charleston is up and operating, the surge capability in Everett will be phased out.

“We’re taking prudent steps to protect the interests of our customers as we introduce the 787-9 and ramp up overall production to 10 twin-aisle 787 jets per month,” said Albaugh.

“While we welcome the development of this expanded capability at Boeing Charleston, the Puget Sound region is the headquarters of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Everett will continue to design and produce airplanes, including the 787, and there is tremendous opportunity for our current and future products here,” Albaugh emphasized. “We remain committed to Puget Sound.”

Approximately 55 airlines have ordered around 840 787 airplanes since the program was launched in 2003. The 787 family of airplanes will carry 200 to 250 passengers on flights up to 8,200 nautical miles (15,200 km). The 787 will be more efficient, quieter and have lower emissions than other airplanes while offering passengers greater comfort and the convenience of direct, nonstop flights between more cities around the world.

“The 787 will provide airlines with unprecedented operating economics and efficiencies. It also will take passengers where they want to go, when they want to go, and do it more comfortably and affordably than ever before,” Albaugh said. “This airplane will allow us to continue to set the standard for commercial aviation in the second century of flight.”


Boeing Statement on Test Launch of Ares I-X Rocket

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KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Oct. 28, 2009 — The Boeing Company today released the following statement on NASA’s successful test launch of the Ares I-X rocket from Kennedy Space Center:

“Boeing congratulates NASA and its industry team on the successful launch of Ares I-X. The success of this mission demonstrates that Ares is a safe, reliable and affordable rocket to launch astronauts into low Earth orbit once the space shuttle fleet retires. NASA’s Constellation Program is making great strides in realizing America’s goal of exploring the universe as it creates the spacecraft and systems that will reach distant planets. Boeing is proud to be a part of the Ares and Constellation teams.

“The Review of U.S. Human Spaceflight Plans Committee, composed of industry and academic experts as well as former NASA astronauts, recognized the value of the United States’ human spaceflight program when its Oct. 22 final report identified the need to increase funding by about $3 billion a year so that NASA could fully realize its mission.

“Boeing believes human space exploration is a potent technological and economic stimulus as well as a key aspect of national security. Even in these troubled financial times, it is an investment that America must make. The committee’s report said it best: ‘The opportunity now exists to provide for the future human spaceflight program worthy of a great nation.'”