Also, BMW To Design A350 Interior
It hasn't come down to
a recount -- yet -- but representatives from Airbus Industrie
report a surge of aircraft orders in December have brought it much
closer to matching Boeing's record 1,002 net orders for 2005.
"December is always a busy month in our industry," said Airbus
spokesman Rainer Ohler last week to the Associated Press. "In terms
of aircraft order intake, Airbus will be in a similar ballpark to
That competitor, of course, is Boeing, who happily reported last
week it secured over 1,000 net orders in 2005. That
total is the most orders in the company's history -- trumping the
previous record of 877 set in 1988.
Perhaps more importantly, however, was the unspoken assumption
the total had easily trumped Airbus for the sales title, for the
first time since 2001. But evidently, no one told Airbus.
And while industry analysts say it's unlikely Airbus will
surpass Boeing's overall total... the final tally may be much
closer than previously thought, as Airbus prepares to make its
final numbers available shortly.
An A350 With iDrive?
One of the reasons Boeing enjoyed such strong sales in 2005 was
the popularity of its upcoming 787 Dreamliner, with 291 firm
orders booked for the new medium-range airliner so far, according
to a Boeing spokesperson. Airbus's competitor, the A350, had only
gathered 49 so far through the end of November.
The European consortium, however, is pulling out all the stops
in its quest to better the Dreamliner... and is enlisting German
automaker BMW to help. No, that doesn't mean the A350 will be able
to scream around corners on its landing gear... but if A350
passengers feel like they're in one of the automaker's upscale
vehicles, that'd be okay with Airbus.
Under an agreement announced Friday, BMW will aid in the design
of the A350 cabin to provide passengers with greater comfort --
something the Dreamliner has touted, with larger windows and wider
seats than Airbus had previously announced.
This isn't the first aviation job for the Bavarian automaker. As was previously reported by
Aero-News, BMW DesignworksUSA has also been enlisted
by Embraer to design the interior accommodations of that
manufacturer's upcoming Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 light jets.
No word yet if A350 passengers will have to deal with iDrive --
the single-point user interface system found in BMW's upscale
automobiles, that has met with broad criticism from drivers for
being shockingly unintuitive -- to choose their IFE selection, call
the flight attendant, or adjust overhead airflow.