The aviation industry had plenty of stories to tell in 2022. In addition to massive aircraft orders, Boeing produced and delivered the final 747, the legal cases between Airbus and Qatar Airways reached new heights, the Russian invasion of Ukraine affected the aviation industry directly, and many more. In 2022, these were the top ten stories dominating the aviation industry.
1. The destruction of Antonov An-225
Although only a plane, the Antonov An-225 Mriya destroyed by Russian forces in Ukraine was one of the most read stories this year. The Russian army destroyed the only Antonov An-225 ever to be built during the battle of Antonov Airport near Kyiv on February 27.
2. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine’s impact on civil aviation
In February, the Russian government launched a military invasion of Ukraine. World economies, including the civil aviation industry, have been directly impacted by the Ukrainian war.
Several countries, including the European Union, Canada, the United States, and others, closed their airspace to Russian aircraft and airlines in March. In response, Russia retaliated with similar measures, affecting both sides’ routes.
Moreover, in response to its isolation, Russia has led a wave of nationalization, claiming many leased aircraft from local airlines.
3. China introduces the C919
On December 9, 2022, China’s Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, or COMAC, delivered the world’s first C919 aircraft, registration B-919A. China Eastern Airlines received the aircraft, which was delivered to the Shanghai-based carrier.
4. JetBlue and Spirit’s merger
The merger between JetBlue and Spirit is valued at US$3.8 billion. The combined airline could challenge the dominance of the “Big Four” carriers in the US as it would be the fifth-largest.
Regulatory approval is currently pending for the merger. By the first half of 2024, Spirit and JetBlue expect the regulatory process to be completed and the transaction closed.
5. The Overture
Boom Supersonic, the company behind the possible next supersonic passenger aircraft, Overture, has not had an easy year. Rolls-Royce quit the program, leaving Boom alone after two years, and looking to secure a new engine OEM to join the project.
It was announced in December that Boom Supersonic had found a new engine manufacturer. Overture’s engines will be developed by Florida Turbine Technologies, StandardAero, and GE Additive, a unit of GE Aerospace.
6. Boeing is moving away from Chicago
Boeing announced this year that it is moving its headquarters from Chicago to Virginia. As a result of this decision, Boeing will move its corporate headquarters to Arlington, creating a more convenient location near the Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration.
7. China Eastern Flight 5735 and other accidents
The year 2022 was unfortunately marked by several aviation accidents. The China Eastern Airlines flight 5735 was one of the most tragic and with the highest death toll.
On April 7, a DHL Boeing 757-200 freighter touched down at San José International Airport (SJO), Costa Rica, and skidded on a collapsed left-landing gear. In the aftermath of the crash, the airport was forced to close for several hours because the plane broke in two. This accident, however, did not result in any casualties.
On November 18, a LATAM Peru Airbus A320neo was taking off from Lima International Airport when it collided with a firetruck crossing the runway
8. Boeing and Airbus got big orders in 2022
Boeing and Airbus had a good year. Until November 2022, Boeing had delivered 411 aircraft, while its European counterpart had delivered 565. Their combined gross orders were 1,747.
According to Boeing’s website, the company has received 685 grand orders this year. Due to United’s massive order for up to 200 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, this number will significantly increase by the end of the year.
9. Goodbye to the Boeing 747
It is the end of an era. Boeing rolled off its 1,574th and final Boeing 747 in November 2022. This plane, registered N863GT, will be delivered to Atlas Air, a freighter US company. The Boeing 747 is currently operated by 56 airlines worldwide, with 362 of them active.
10. Airbus and Qatar Airways’ legal case
In a lawsuit filed against Airbus, Qatar Airways claims that its A350 jets are damaged by paint and the underlying anti-lightning system. In response to a potential safety threat, Qatar Airways grounded 29 planes, backed by its Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA).
What do you think was the biggest story of the year in 2022?