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March 2 - The Week Ahead Open Thread (Snowed In Edition)

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Snowed in!
My trip to Boston this weekend has been extended a bit as I've found myself sitting under about a foot or more of fresh snow this morning. I'm heading back to DC tomorrow and really, I should be more careful about what I wish for. I have a feeling I'll be leaning on Twitter the next few days.

Korean Air A330s
On Friday, Korean booked an order with Airbus for six new A330-200s, bringing their total -200 fleet to nine. The order is the first for the longer ranger WV058 (Weight Variant) A330-200 with a 238 tonne MTOW, providing it a range of 7,200 nm. The variant was intended to take on early 787-8s coming off the line in terms of performance. To speculate, this order says much more about how Korean views the 787 performance and the delivery timeline much more than it raises any spectre of the airline not taking its order for 10 787-8s.

Korean Aerospace has significant content on the 787 including the wingtips, aft tail cone, nose gear wheel well and flap fairings, so changing any order is not in the nation's overall economic interest. Though perhaps those -8s become -9s to replace the 16 296-seat A330-300s that the airlines operate. Only time will tell.

Air Austral 77W
Somewhere along the 777 moving line in Everett is the first of two 777-300ERs for Air Austral. The Reunion-based airline is leasing the aircraft from ILFC and made headlines recently with the purchase of two A380 aircraft which are expected to seat - wait for it, wait for it - 840 passengers! Before the airline receives those aircraft in 2014, Air Austral will take delivery of its first 777-300ER with a whopping 442 seats (18/40/384), amongst the highest capacity configurations selected for the aircraft type.

Also, Boeing should be celebrating its 777th 777 very, very soon.

What's next for NextGen?

With the Obama FY10 budget unveiled, funding has been allocated to pay for the development of the revised US air traffic control system for the 21st century. WIRED magazine also penned an interesting feature article tracing the fragile, if not already broken, ATC system to the New York ARTCC. Make sure to explore the visual elements of this piece as well, including amazing animations depicting air travel over the US during the course of a normal day.

Fun with IFe™
I was joking around with IFE Guru Mary Kirby (Runway Girl) earlier today and I officially coined the term IFe™ to signify in-flight internet as a feature for in-flight entertainment. So, I'm on record saying it started here, folks.

Programming Note
I haven't had a formal 787 update since late January and there is quite a bit to cover in the next edition (no. 23?) that will be released soon.

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