Air New Zealand Signs $1.6b Deal for New Airbus Fleet
It follows the airline’s 2009 order and comprises three A321neo, 10 A320 neo and one additional A320neo aircraft.
The agreement marks the first time Air New Zealand has ordered the larger A321 aircraft and the NEO. Engine selection and cabin configuration will be made at a later date.
The A321 is the largest member of the A320 family offering the best seat mile costs of any single aisle. The A320 family fuselages is seven inches wider than competing aircraft and with a cargo hold designed for industry standard containers and pallets.
Air New Zeland’s Chief Executive Christopher Luxon said the purchase confirmed the airline’s intention to have an Airbus narrow body fleet.
He said: “Opertating our narrow body aircraft type will bring important efficiencies in training maintenance and operating costs.
“The new Airbus NEO will help ensure we continue to operate one of the world’s youngest jet fleets and will further drive fuel efficiency allowing us to minimise our carbon footprint.”
“The NEO offers even further gains – a 15 per cent fuel burn reduction or up to 950 kilometres added range, and significantly reduced noise.
John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers, said: “Passengers appreciate the A320 Family has the widest and most comfortable cabin, and this re-order is proof that it also offers unmatched performance and productivity.”
The A320 Family is the world’s best-selling single aisle product line with more than 10,200 orders to date and over 6,000 aircraft delivered. The latest version A320neo incorporates new engines and "Sharklet" wing tip devices which together deliver up to 15 percent in fuel savings.
At the end of April 2014, firm orders for the NEO reached over 2,700 aircraft from 50 customers, representing a 60 per cent share market share in its category.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.