Stories by Chris Sloan

Aviation Journalist, TV Producer, Pursuer of First & Last Flights, Proud Miamian, Intrepid Traveler, and Did I Mention Av-Geek? I've Been Sniffing Jet Fuel Since I was 5, and running the Airchive, Since 2003. Now, I Sit in the Right Seat as Co-Pilot of Airways Magazine and My favorite Airlines are National and Braniff, and My favorite Airport is Miami, L-1011 Tristar Lover. My Mantra is Lifted From Delta's Ad Campaign from the 1980s "I Love To Fly And It Shows." / @airchive
United and Flexport covid collaboration

In just a few weeks, because of a lethal invisible enemy, all the world”s airlines and aircraft manufacturers have abruptly gone from the best of times to the worst of times. This devastating free fall is the worst in their history of the industry. The culprit, Covid-19, has not only nearly paralyzed the world”s economy but has bought the industry to its knees with a near shutdown situation. Indeed, airlines were the first to be afflicted so severely.

The words ”good news” and ”aviation” now don”t ever appear in the same sentence or even story. But there is good news to report in this Aviation Airpocalypse. In the spirit of the AirlineReporter brand, we”re going to focus on the positive and in many case life-saving efforts airlines and airframers, are making even as they fight for their own very survival.

The worst of times bring out the best in people. And in this dire time airlines as well. For starters, airline, airport employees, and many from the supporting industries have literally become first if not second responders, continuing to provide vital air services: Repatriation and humanitarian flights bringing people home to their own coupled with transporting essential cargo. They do this while putting them at risk of becoming infected by Covid-19. For that, we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. It”s no exaggeration to call them heroes too, even as they face an uncertain future. Here”s a roundup of what these companies and their employees are doing to give back in this global time of war.

And at the end of this story, I let you know how you can also help make a real change!

The first A321, going to jetBlue, in the final assembly line station - Photo: Chris Sloan | AirwaysNews

With top level delegations from Airbus and the State of Alabama, Airbus Group today threw open the doors to its first U.S. Final Assembly Line in Mobile, Alabama at the Brookley Aeroplex — The first time a foreign manufacturer has built jets on U.S. soil.

This new production facility, specifically constructed to build Airbus A320 family aircraft destined for delivery to United States and Canadian customers, joins sister factories in Toulouse, Hamburg, and the northeastern Chinese city of Tianjin, where the company recently announced A330s would be constructed beginning in 2018.

The Mobile final assembly line opens with ambitious goals, befitting the A320 family program. First aircraft assembly began in July with the first U.S.-produced airframe, a JetBlue A321ceo (MSN6512), which is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2016, with delivery set in the second quarter. The second aircraft, also an A321ceo for American Airlines, is set to be delivered by the third quarter of the next year.

Plans call for an initial production rate of four A320 family ceos per month by the end of 2017, following an initial start of two aircraft per month. With the A321 being ”the heart of the U.S. market”, the initial deliveries on the horizon are for the stretched variant. A320neo family deliveries are scheduled to begin in late 2017 / early 2018 with no drop in production rate.

Qatar's first Airbus A350 at Toulouse, ready to fly to Doha - Photo: Chris Sloan | AirwaysNews

This story was written by Chris Sloan and originally published on AirwaysNews.  At 9:28 PM LT on Tuesday, December 23, Qatar’s first A350 XWB landed in Doha’“under the cover of darkness’“with approximately 70 Qatar employees, VIP’s and media on-board the delivery flight from Toulouse, France. On Monday, Airbus handed over the first A350 XWB to launch customer Qatar […]