As has become a tradition, for last year also a winner has been announced in the annual rivalry between Boeing and Airbus for the status of world n° 1 aircraft manufacturer. For the third year in a row, Airbus wins for the number of orders: 1,022 at the end of December, against 743 for Boeing. Actually, this is only half a success, because the American group would be ahead if only consignments were counted. On the subject of Boeing, the end of January saw the first flight of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, powered by the LEAP-1B engine. During this first flight, the first Boeing 737 MAX prototype carried out various tests, achieving a medium cruise height of roughly 15,000 feet (c. 4.5 km), with peaks at 25,000 feet (7.5 km). At the end of the inaugural flight, Boeing’s European rival Airbus sent its congratulations, having recently consigned Lufthansa its new Airbus 320neo (new engine option), the B737 MAX’s principal market competitor in the single corridor market.
From the left: Federica Guidi, Italian Economic Development Minister, Enrico Rossi, President of Tuscany region, and Riccardo Procacci, Avio Aero President and CEO
But the most important news for us – because its involves us directly – is GE’s commitment to consolidate its presence in Italy, as testified to in the speech by Jeff Immelt, President and CEO of General Electric, during the annual meeting of GE Oil & Gas in Florence. The prospective investments announced on that occasion amount to over 800 million dollars, and of these, 200 million will be destined for Avio Aero in Puglia, Campania and Piedmont.
The investments in manufacturing process innovation are aimed at maintaining our plants’ high levels of technological competitiveness, while the funding for Research & Development will ensure that the company can extend the importance of its role in the aeronautical programs of the future. “Over the next twenty years we forecast that air passenger traffic will rise by 5% annually, and cargo traffic by 5.2%”, stated Riccardo Procacci, during the same meeting. “In order to exploit all the potential opportunities that this growth will bring with it, for companies like ours it is fundamental that we invest in research & development and in the technological innovation of manufacturing processes, in order to maintain our competitive edge and contribute to the growth of Italy’s industrial system. It is thanks to the efforts of the Italian Government and its Ministries, along with the Regional Governments of Piedmont, Campania and Puglia, if we have found the right conditions for continuing to invest in Italy and helping to make it attractive in the global competitive context of the aeronautical sector.” Jeff Immelt, President and CEO of General Electric, highlighted the fact that “GE has been operating in Italy for roughly 100 years, and this latest step confirms our deep commitment to investing and expanding our business in this country.
A major step forward for Avio Aero.