American to firm up 787 order, add two 777s and firm up MAX

American Airlines will firm up 42 orders for the Boeing 787, its 737 MAX order and add two 777 orders upon bankruptcy court approval, according to an SEC filing today.

American’s plans to acquire 75 787s had always been contingent on a new pilot contract–which has come through the bankruptcy process. The MAX orders, placed in July 2011, also were never firmed up due to the bankruptcy filing the next month.

Two new 777 orders were unconnected to the 787 and MAX orders.

From the SEC filing:

The Restructured Aircraft Purchase Agreements will provide for certain concessions and savings to American in connection with the acquisition by American of the 737 aircraft, the 787 aircraft and aircraft spare parts. The Restructured Aircraft Purchase Agreements will also provide for the substitution of up to 20 787-8 aircraft for 787-9 aircraft, an accelerated delivery schedule for the 787 aircraft with deliveries scheduled to commence in November 2014 and to continue in each calendar year through September 2018, and the confirmation of the purchase of the Boeing 787 aircraft, which previously had been subject to certain reconfirmation rights.
Under the Restructured Aircraft Purchase Agreements, as of January 31, 2013, American will have firm aircraft orders for 111 737 aircraft, 18 777 aircraft and 42 787 aircraft, with the option to purchase 40 737 aircraft, 13 777 aircraft and 58 787 aircraft.
MAX Aircraft Purchase Agreement. The Restructuring Agreement further provides that, upon approval by the Court, American will enter into a definitive purchase agreement (the MAX purchase agreement) pursuant to which American will acquire 100 MAX aircraft, equipped with new, more fuel efficient engines. The MAX purchase agreement will constitute the definitive purchase agreement contemplated by and will supersede the agreement entered into by American and Boeing on July 19, 2011 (the 2011 MAX order) that provided for the commitment of American to purchase such MAX aircraft (referred to in the 2011 MAX order as 737RE aircraft). The 2011 MAX order was subject to a number of contingencies, including the parties entering into a definitive purchase agreement and Boeing’s approval of the launch of the Boeing 737 re-engined aircraft program, which was approved in August 2011. Under the MAX purchase agreement, the MAX aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in each of the years 2018 through 2022. In addition, under the MAX purchase agreement, American will have the option to purchase 60 additional MAX aircraft in the years 2022-2025.

A380 has, A350 will have lithium-ion batteries

Focus on the Boeing 787’s mishap last Monday comes, naturally, on the fire involving the lithium-ion battery. The battery, or Li-ion for short, is considered hazardous in many applications and in air cargo shipping.

Two Boeing 747-400 cargo planes were carrying a large shipment of Li-ions. One for sure–UPS in Doha–crashed after these batteries caught fire. Another, a Korean Air Cargo flight, was carrying a large shipment. The airplane crashed into the ocean and if the cause was traced to these, we haven’t seen it–but the suspicious arose early.

While the 787’s use of Li-ion has attracted headlines, the use in airplane applications is more common than has been recognized.

The Airbus A380 uses lithium batteries to power its emergency lighting system. The US FAA set special conditions when certifying the aircraft. Airbus says “the batteries are small, limited, and are not in a frequently-active charging/discharging function.”

The Airbus A350 will have Lit-ion batteries. Airbus touts this plan on its A350XWB website:

Airbus also has looked at new ways to generate electricity aboard the aircraft itself. The A350 XWB features a new lithium-ion battery that marks a significant improvement on the Cd-Ni unit used in other models.

The battery contains less hazardous material, which makes it safer to handle. Adding to the benefits, it has a higher power and energy density, and low maintenance requirements, all while lasting up to three times longer than the Cd-Ni.

Aviation International News looked at issues surrounding Lit-Ion batteries last October. Acting upon the recommendation of Cessna, the FAA ordered removal of Lit-ion batteries from the CJ4 corporate jet. A couple of other corporate jets have these batteries.

AIN had this story about stricter rules transporting Li-ion batteries, in which the hazards are discussed.

One of our regular readers and commenters notes that “the A350 architecture… has four 28v Li-ion batteries, meaning there are 28 Li-ion cells on-board…, compared with only 14 on the 787…. Clearly a huge cause for concern… unless Airbus designs the A350 to properly manage this known failure mode, which I am sure they have done.”

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