Redefining the 757 replacement: Requirement for the 225/5000 Sector, Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription required


04 March 2015, c. Leeham Co: In the first and second part of the article series around the need for a more capable solution for 180-240 seats and 5000 nautical miles, which we have labeled the 225/5000 Sector, we went through the derivatives we have analyzed as competitors to Airbus A321LR and showed why none of them are effective as a Boeing solution.

We also looked at the wetted area and weight for our common single and dual aisle aircraft. These parameters are the principal components that determine an aircraft’s efficiency given a certain engine efficiency. We also developed the market picture, outlining a substantial market by the time of entry into service of a clean sheet design by 2025, given that certain market requirements could be fulfilled.

We will now project different solutions to the requirements, thereby utilizing the preliminary design part of our proprietary aircraft model. We will look at three different cabin configurations in four different size classes between 180 to 240 seats and calculate size and weights and the resulting efficiency of the different variants. Against the key data for these different aircraft and their operational efficiency we will be able to postulate what will be the next move from Boeing and Airbus in this segment.


The findings in this our third article include:

  • Aircraft capacity and size for 12 different possible aircraft, named NAS6, NLT6 and NLT7 each in the variants 180, 200, 220 and 240 passengers.
  • With this collection of characteristics it will be possible to compare the efficiency and costs for the different sizes and to see how competitive a wider dual aisle aircraft will be in this segment compared to a single aisle.
  • In a subsequent article will be compare the operational characteristics of these aircraft thereby also covering the increased revenue potential with a dual aisle aircraft compared to a single aisle.

Read more

Production rates on single-aisles keep going up, up

A320_737 Production Rates March 2015

Figure 1. Airbus and Boeing production rates for the A320 and 737 lines are going up as announced rates and rates under consideration go to lofty levels. Click on image to enlarge.

Subscription Required


March 3, 2015: c. Leeham Co. Production rates for single aisle airplanes continue to go up for the Big Two, following the Airbus announcement last week that the A320 rates will go to 50/mo in 2017 and officials are considering going to more than 60/mo.

We’ve previously reported that Airbus already has notified the supply chain to be prepared to go to 54/mo in 2018.

Rate 50 will propel Airbus ahead of Boeing, which will briefly be ahead of Airbus when the 737 production rate goes to 47/mo next year, compared with the Airbus plan to take A320 rates to 46/mo next year. The two companies are at parity this year. (Figure 1.)


  • Bombardier, COMAC and Irkut add to supply by 2020, but impact will be minimal.
  • No 747-8 deliveries scheduled in 2018. We see program termination coming very soon.
  • A330ceo production rate reduced, higher rate for 787 than announced.
  • We see short-term Airbus advantage coming in wide-body production rates as A350 ramps up. We stick with our call that 777 Classic rates have to come down.
  • We reduce A380 production rates in our estimates.

Read more

Exclusive: CSeries performance better than guarantees, “favorable” to brochure; range better than advertised

Rob Dewar

Rob Dewar, program head of the Bombardier CSeries.

March 3, 2015: c. Leeham Co. Flight test results for the Bombardier CSeries show that the economics of the airplane not only are meeting the economic and performance guarantees, they are “favorable” to the marketing brochures that have promised 15% better operating costs and 20% better fuel burn than today’s in-production Airbus A319s and Boeing 737-700s, Leeham News and Comment confirmed.

Three sources told us the CSeries flight tests were turning in better-than-guarantee results. Rob Dewer, vice president and general manager, CSeries Program, confirmed the information today in an exclusive interview.

Read more

CEO Interview: ATR chiefs says no 90-seater without Airbus support

ATR - Patrick de Castelbajac-4

ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac. Source: ATR.

March 3, 2015, c. Leeham Co: ATR, the turbo-prop OEM 50% owned by Airbus and 50% by Finmeccanica, wants to develop a new airplane to replace the venerable ATR 42/72 series that entered service in 1985 and 1989 respectively..

Airbus, as half owner, has the power to block the plan–and it has, saying that because ATR has 85%-90% of the market, a new airplane isn’t needed.

Despite this huge market share, ATR CEO Patrick de Castelbajac says ATR doesn’t “own” the market. The need for a larger, 90-seat turbo-prop mirrors an industry trend toward up-gauging and the ATR 72 has been stretched probably as far as it can go, says de Castelbajac.

But if Airbus isn’t on board, development of a new airplane isn’t possible, he says.

Read more

Redefining the 757 replacement: Requirement for the 225/5000 Sector, Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription required


01 March 2015, c. Leeham Co: In the first part of the article series around the need for a more capable solution for 180-240 seats and 5,000 nautical miles, we went through the derivative aircraft that Boeing could field as competitors to Airbus A321LR and showed why none of them are effective. We also established the market requirements and the likely market size for aircraft that shall cover this segment and the required efficiency and overall cost improvement needed.

We will now look at different solutions to the requirements, first by analyzing what key characteristics does single and dual aisle aircraft have and what consequences will they have for the aircraft’s efficiency parameters like weight, size and drag. Once we have these characteristics we can design adapted aircraft types and calculate their economics such as fuel costs and other costs and we can also establish their operational ground handling times and thereby the consequences single or dual aisle will have on the aircraft utilization.

Having developed and presented these facts it will be possible to forecast what will be the most likely results of Boeing’s New Airplane Study, NAS that we presented 2 November last year. Boeing now uses the name, Middle of the Market (MOM) in place of the NAS.


Our second article shows:

  • Drag and weight per seat for today’s short and mid-range aircraft vary significantly between single and dual aisle aircraft
  • There is a strong correlation between aircraft wetted area and aircraft weight.
  • Dual aisle designs in the 180-240 seat segment will have to be highly optimized to be able to compete with single aisle, if at all.

Read more

CS300 first flight


The first flight of the Bombardier CS300 occurred Feb. 27, 2015. The five hour flight was in cold but clear weather, with the moon joining the event. Source: Sylvain Faust in a Special to Leeham News. Click on image to enlarge.

The first flight of the Bombardier CS300, the 149-160 version of the new generation aircraft, came off without a hitch on Feb. 27. The flight lasted five hours.

The CS300 is a direct challenge to the Airbus A319ceo/neo and Boeing 737-700/7 and comfortably outsells the A319neo and 737-7. The economics of the CS300 are substantially better than the Airbus or Boeing, according to Bombardier claims and validated by our analysis.

This CS300 is Flight Test Vehicle 7 (FTV 7) but actually precedes FTV 5 and FTV 6 into the BBD test fleet.


Airbus Group 2014, analysis after press conference

By Bjorn Fehrm

Munich 27 Feb. 2015: The team from Airbus Group that met the press in Munich today consisted of Tom Enders, Airbus Group Chief Executive Officer, Harald Wilhelm, Airbus Group Chief Financial Officer and Marwan Lahoud, Head of Airbus Group strategy and M&A.

It was a team in good spirits that met around 150 on-site journalists from mainly Europe, with both Tom Enders and Harald Wilhelm clearly at ease with the groups improving results and giving Marwan Lahoud compliments for his restructuring work in the groups remaining problem areas.

Before we go into the areas with work in progress, lets focus on why these gentlemen felt at ease with presenting the state of Airbus Group after its first year operating under the new name. Read more

Airbus Group publishes results for 2014

By Bjorn Fehrm

Feb 27 2015: Airbus Group has released its 2014 results before a press conference in Munich later today. The group which is active in civil airliners, helicopters, defense and space posted the following results:

  • Revenue increased 5% to € 60.7 billion
  • Earnings before interest and tax increased 54% to € 4.0 billion, return on sales was 6.4%
  • Earnings per share up 61% to € 2.99 after A400M charge
  • Free cash flow of € 2.0 billion whereof € 0.9 billion from divestments
  • Dividend up to € 2.10 per share from € 0.75
  • Production rate of A320 raised to 50 per month from Q1 2017,
    UPDATE from press conference; Airbus is studying rate 60.
  • Production rate of A330 further reduced to 6 per month from Q1 2016

Airbus group has a civil aviation side which is generating record sales and deliveries, it constitutes the majority of an annual order intake of € 166.4 billion and backlog is at € 857.4 billion. Problem area is defense where the A400M delays caused a charge of € 551 million, revised delivery schedules and functionality commitments are in negotiation with customers.

Airbus helicopters is experiencing a bleak year with deliveries down from 497 to 471 units, revenues increased slightly with 4% mainly due to military deliveries, the civil side is weak in a down market. EBIT was € 417 million.

Only positive area in Defense and Space is space which contributed to a stable EBIT at € 920 million.

More from the press conference in a couple of hours.

Trip report: flying the A350 to Airbus Group annual press conference

By Bjorn Fehrm


Feb. 26, 2015: As part of the invitation to cover Airbus group press conference in Munich on Feb. 27 where the annual results are presented, Airbus offered the journalists joining from South of France to fly there in one of the A350 test aircraft, the cabin test specimen MSN002. They did not have to ask twice, Figure 1.


Figure 1. Media entering MSN002 at Airbus flight test center in Toulouse. Source: Leeham Co.

The flight was done as a combined transportation of media from Toulouse and Paris to Munich and test flight for the cabin area. It was also the first time A350 landed on Charles De Gaulle (CDG) and Munich airports, which added to the excitement. The aircraft still carried full test equipment and there were measurement probes on windows and different parts of the cabin.

The crew was the normal test crew reinforced with Airbus cabin personnel who cared for the attending journalists. The advantage of this was there was plenty of time to talk to the test engineers and pilots both in flight and while waiting for joining media at CDG. Here the story of the development workday for test people where the actual aircraft has just entered service with the first customer. But first how it was to fly: Read more

Odds and Ends: CS300 first flight delayed; PW GTF; Boeing enters MidEast fray

Baby, it’s cold out there! Bombardier delayed the first flight of its CSeries due to the cold. Click on image to enlarge. Source: Sylvain Faust.

CS300 first flight delayed: When Bombardier says it’s too cold for the CS300 first flight, you know it’s cold up in Montreal. It’s -21C at Mirabel (-6F) and partly cloudy, but that was too cold for the guests, according to our man on the scene, Sylvain Faust. Canadians know how to dress for this cold but visitors don’t. A rescheduled time hasn’t been definitively announced.

Bombardier doesn’t have an open-faced tent and outdoor heaters set up, according to Faust.

PW GTF: Flight Global has a report about Pratt & Whitney’s “new aggressiveness” in competing with CFM International in the battle of the Pure Power Geared Turbo Fan vs the LEAP-1A. These engines power the Airbus A320neo family.

Boeing enters MidEast fray: American, Delta and United airlines want Open Skies revisited in order to curb competition by the Big Three Middle Eastern carriers. Boeing, FedEx and JetBlue, have entered the fray, opposing any such action. Here is the story.