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2016: This Year in Commercial Aviation

Graphic: Raisch Studios

At AirlineGeeks, this past year was one of growth, as the staff increased 50 percent and pageviews continued to increase. This piece encompasses all the major airline industry events that took place in 2016.

Major Iran Orders

In January, Airbus, Boeing, and Iran Air announced that there was a commitment for a major order of aircraft. In December, both Boeing and Airbus confirmed orders from Iran Air. Over the next decade, the airline is expected to receive more than 180 aircraft from the two manufacturing giants.

First Airbus A320neo Delivery

January 20 was an important day for Airbus as it marked the first delivery of the A320neo to German carrier Lufthansa. The A320neo is the next generation of narrowbody aircraft for Airbus and is the major competitor to the Boeing 737MAX. Later in 2016, the first A320neo was delivered in the United States with Spirit Airlines taking delivery. 

First Boeing 737MAX Flight

January 29 marked the start of the next generation for Boeing, with the first flight of the Boeing 737MAX, the successor to the best-selling Boeing 737. The new aircraft is currently finishing testing and production in Boeing’s facility in Washington state. The first delivery is scheduled to be in the first half of 2017.

FlyDubai 981 Crash

On March 18, it was reported that FlyDubai 981 experienced an accident in southern Russia. The Boeing 737-800 was reported to have crashed upon landing, killing all 62 onboard the flight. The incident occurred at 00:50 GMT and poor weather conditions were reported at the time of the accident.

Brussels Airport Attack

On March 22, Brussels Airport was shaken by suicide bombings, two of which occurred at the airport. The two bombs went off in the departures hall with a third failing to detonate. The airport was closed until April 3. The attack is the deadliest terrorist act in Belgium’s history.

EgyptAir 804 Accident

May 19 saw the disappearance of EgyptAir 804 lost radar contact enroute from Paris (CDG) to Cairo. The airline confirmed the disappearance that same day. The aircraft was later found crashed in the Mediterranean Sea after a suspected fire. All 66 on board the flight perished in the incident.

Cuba Opens Its Doors

June 10 marked a very important date for the United States and Cuba. The United States Department of Transportation approved six airlines to start offering flights to Cuba from the United States. This announcement, albeit just for applications was a very historic moment in U.S./Cuba aviation. On August 31, the first flight took place, with JetBlue operating an A320 from Fort Lauderdale.

First CSeries Delivery

June 29 saw the delivery of the first Bombardier CSeries CS100 aircraft. This delivery came after many program delays and over a billion dollars of extra costs. The C Series is slated to be one of the main stays in the regional sector of aviation. Swiss International Airlines was the first customer to take delivery.

Boeing Centennial

Boeing marked its 100th Anniversary with a special event at Boeing Field in Seattle on July 15. What started as a small single airplane company has since evolved into one of the largest multinational corporations in aerospace and defense. The special event featured a line-up of all Boeing 7 series jets that have been produced along with speeches from company CEO and division presidents.

Airbus A350-1000 First Flight

In November, Airbus’ first A350-1000 completed its maiden flight at their manufacturing facility in Toulouse. The extended A350 variant is set to compete with Boeing’s 777-300ER. The aircraft is slated to enter into operation in late 2017 with Qatar Airways.

AAviationDay 2016

AAviation Day was a very special event for AirlineGeeks.com and American Airlines. For those that were involved, it was a great special event. From special tours to inside information to having logos on the NASDAQ tower in New York City, it will not be forgotten anytime soon.

Airbus’ 10,000th Delivery

October 14 marked the delivery of Airbus’ 10,000th aircraft. The airplane was an Airbus A350-900XWB and was delivered to Singapore Airlines. At the special delivery event, there were speeches given by Airbus’ CEO and other executives within the companies. Airbus expects to deliver another 10,000 aircraft within the next decade.

First 787-10 Enters Production

On November 30, the first Boeing 787-10, the largest variant of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner entered production at Boeing’s North Charleston (S.C.) production facility. The first aircraft is expected to be used as a test aircraft with flights starting in 2017. The first airline slated to receive the 787-10 is Singapore Airlines with delivery currently scheduled for May 2018.

United Launches New Business Class Product

While this did not receive a whole lot of international news time, it was a major day for United Airlines. On November 30, at a special event in Chicago, the Polaris lounge was opened for the first time to media. The international hard product is slated to launch on the Boeing 777-300ER on flights to Hong Kong in March 2017. The soft product has already launched on all international flights.

Alaska/Virgin America Merger Finalized

In April, it was announced that Alaska Airlines set out to acquire Virgin America in a multi-billion dollar deal. In December, the United States Department of Justice officially cleared the merger allowing the acquisition by Alaska. Just a few days later, Alaska announced the closure of the acquisition with special events in Seattle and San Francisco, with the unveiling of a new joint, special livery.

AirlineGeeks thanks you all for your support and we are looking forward to a bigger and better year in 2017. Happy New Year!

AirlineGeeks.com Staff


  • Jace Moseley

    Being from Seattle, Jace was bitten by the aviation bug at a young age and never outgrew it. Although none of his family is in the industry, he has always wanted to work in aviation in some capacity. He currently in college studying air traffic management.

    View all posts

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