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How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 6:41 am

As you know, A320s, 319's, and 318's are not ETOPS rated. When aircraft are rolled out they are whole and painted. Are the planes then dismantled and shipped on larger planes? How do boeing's planes (717,737,727 etc.) get to Europe? Same way?
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RE: How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 6:57 am

Hi N766UA,

Aircraft are so expensive these days, that they have to earn revenue immediately. Usually they will be chartered out to carry passengers and/or freight from the airport nearest the manufacturer to the destination of the purchaser. The smaller airliners would definately not be dismantled, but would be flown on a ferry flight to their destination. I think that the aircraft you have mentioned probably are ETOPS rated, but would have a lesser rating of say 60mins rather than 180mins of some larger 4-engined aircraft.

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RE: How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 7:07 am

More commonly, though, those particular aircraft would be flown non-stop to the destination that the purchaser specifies, by adding additional fuel tanks in the cargo hold (take up all of the cargo hold), and taking out any un-necessary weight, such as seats, galleys, lavs, etc.

Another way the manufacturers do it is to leave the interiors intact and puddle jump from airport to airport across the Atlantic (ie: Toulouse, France-Dublin, Ireland-Rekjavik, Iceland-Goose Bay, Canada-US DESTINATION).

It is normal for Boeing (and therefore Airbus) to fly non-stop flights from Seattle to Germany with the 737, and other routes close to that same mileage.


RE: How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 7:52 am

Hi, I'm not sure how other airlines bring their planes across the pond, but with my airline, Air Canada, we make frequent stops. When we started taking delivery of our A320's in the early 1990's, and later our A319's, AC flight crews went to Airbus to fly the planes to Canada. The crews flew the planes from France to either the United Kingdom or Ireland or Norway, then to Iceland, then to Greenland, onto Goose Bay in Canada, and then onto our home base in Montreal. Of coarse, all these stops were refueling and technical stops. I would assume that most airlines ferry their planes in the same manner, both Airbus and Boeing customers. Phil
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Hopping The Pond With 737s

Sun Dec 19, 1999 8:02 am

We've bought a few 737s over from Europe, and we stop them at KEF and Frobisher Bay. We then continue to Seattle, where they go into overhaul.
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They Get Much Smaller Than An A320

Sun Dec 19, 1999 11:20 am

I doubt that ETOPS applies to non-revenue, non-passenger ferry flights. I assume ETOPS is for the protection of the flying public, not for the protection of airliners. Believe it or not, even small single-engine Cessnas are flown all around the world in this manner. I know of a man who ferried his Cessna 150 from North American to Africa by filling his rear area with gas tanks. Then he just did what you and I did, as kids, to get across a creek without getting wet, just jump from stone to stone. He risked only his own life, so he had permission to do so. Read about it at http://sportflyer.com/leon1.htm> In fact, small single-engine airplanes are also ferried to even the South Pacific in this manner, jumping from an appropriate island to another appropriate island systematically. Indeed there was an incident years back of a ferry pilot trying to get some guy's little putt-putt from Hawaii to New Zealand, I believe it was. When he lost his bearings and was running low on fuel, he was saved from certain ditching by an airliner captain who overheard the situation on radio and helped point the little guy in the right direction before he ran out of fuel and ended up like Amelia Earhart.
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RE: They Get Much Smaller Than An A320

Sun Dec 19, 1999 2:52 pm

That incident you mentioned (Hawaii to NZ); wasn't that made into a TV movie a few years ago? I think it starred Scott Bakula.

Fuel Stops

Sun Dec 19, 1999 3:14 pm

I was just curious why Goose Bay was chosen in some of the posts as a fuel stop instead of Gander. Any thoughts?


RE: How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 3:19 pm

They are flown and make whatever fuel stops are necessary along the way. SAS used to take delivery of MD-80s from MDC's Long Beach plant. They would make Copenhagen with just one stop. When they were taking delivery on the MD-90, the ferry flights were non-stop because of the 90's superior performance....In both cases however the aircraft had neither cargo or pax....
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RE: How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 4:32 pm

Get a map and try to follow the very popular UK/Ireland-Iceland-Canada corridor, the recent NW319s, AW319s, US319s were all delivered Hamburg-Goose Bay-final dest, some stop in Prestwick, Scotland or Shannon, Ireland. AC319s were delivered via Iqualuit.
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RE: How Does Airbus Get Planes To The US?

Sun Dec 19, 1999 9:43 pm

Despite myths you do not have to be 'ETOPS rated' to cross the atlantic, there are a variety of non-ETOPS routes which take aircraft further north than usual over Iceland and Greenland. A319s have very long range, some indeed are themselves ETOPS rated.

In November I ferried one of our airlines A320s from the UK to the USA for Skyservice or Ryan International to lease for this season. We stopped in Keflavik, Iceland and Toronto, Canada. On the way home when we took an aircraft of ours which they were returning to us for the Winter the tailwind was such that we made it Toronto to Manchester without stopping at all (A320-200).

ETOPS rules do still apply when passengers are not being carried, and deviating more than 60 minutes from a diversion field (which any non-ETOPS twinjet can) is illegal regardless of who is on board.

A320/330 pilot.