16 April 2015, C. Leeham Co: As described last week, I was asked if I wanted to fly an modern airliner later in the spring and you can guess my answer! Having accepted the challenge, it was time to think about how to get ready. Even though the flying I once learned would sit, modern airliner flying is 90% about the procedures and how these make the transportation of passengers safer and more reliable.
This is something different than just flying the around in the aircraft. It is all about how the aircraft manufacturer has created an environment for consistency, economy and safety and how the goalposts in these dimensions gets moved further and further out. That is what we should test.
I cannot reveal what aircraft it will be, but my tools for training will give away the general type. I am right now using Airbus flight simulators and manuals to refresh my flying and learn the procedures used. Read more
Rolls-Royce, in a major upset, won the Emirates Airlines order to power 50 Airbus A380s ordered in November 2013. The win displaces Engine Alliance, which to now has been the sole-source provider for EK’s A380s.
Two sources confirmed the RR win. RR and Airbus did not comment on the win. EK and RR have not made any announcement. EA also did not comment.
According to one source, EK determined the RR Trent 900 was determined to be up to 4% more efficient than EA. But it’s unclear if there were other factors involved. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
14 April 2015, C. Leeham Co: There have been persistent reports that the CFM LEAP engines should be behind their fuel consumption targets. We commented on these rumors recently and have since got further Market Intelligence from those with direct knowledge confirming that the LEAP-1B for 737 MAX is behind target Specific Fuel Consumption (SFC).
As we commented before, the key is to what degree any deficit will be ameliorated before Entry Into Service (EIS) and how remaining gaps, if any, are handled. It would not be the first time an engine series would be behind in SFC at an aircrafts EIS. Numbers where targets are met from day one are rather in the minority. As we are in the unique situation to have a complete airliner performance model, we have modeled how any engine performance gaps would actually affect aircraft performance.
April 14, 2015: Several airlines operate the Boeing 757 across the Atlantic on “thin” routes but sometimes have to do refueling tech stops when high westerly winds
The 757s are aging, with engine maintenance, repair and overhaul costs increasing under the tightly-controlled contract with Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney.
Some airlines want a “757 replacement.” Boeing and Airbus don’t see a market for “just” a 757 replacement and argue the 737-900ER/9 and A321neo/LR are the replacements. Even these fall somewhat short.
Industry observers and pontificators nonetheless are obsessed with a “757 replacement” (except us—we’ve redefined the replacement as one needed for the 225/5000 Sector [225-250 seats, 5,000 miles] and concluded an airplane very similar to the 767-200 is needed).
While all this debate is going on, Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) is close to seeking board approval to offer a scimitar option for the 757 that will improve efficiency by about another 1.5%. A scimitar for the Boeing 767 may not be far behind.
April 13, 2015: Boeing surprised aerospace analysts at the year end earnings call with far higher cash flow than had been expected.
Analysts beat up Boeing pretty badly on the 3Q2014 earnings call and were taken aback by the dramatic upswing in the fourth quarter.
We began to hear as early as January that Boeing achieved the marked improvement by getting accelerated advances from customers who had placed commercial airplane orders, resulting in the dramatic upswing. The reason was to respond to the beating Boeing took on the third quarter earnings call, several Wall Street analysts told us.
In advance of the first quarter earnings call April 22, UBS aerospace analyst David Strauss issued a detailed report about Boeing’s Free Cash Flow (FCF) that outlines just how dramatically Boeing pulled forward customer advances.
Below are selected excerpts from the April 13 note. Read more
April 13, 2015: A campaign that began last year between Airbus and Boeing for a large order of 100 airplanes at Europe’s Low Cost Carrier, Wizz Air, could be the first face off between the “A320neo 195″ (our name) and the 737 MAX 200 (Boeing’s name).
Note I said “could be.” I know Boeing is offering the MAX 200. I know Airbus is offering the A320neo. What I don’t know is if Airbus is offering the A320 195.
We first discussed the A320neo 195 last week, after a tip off by Mary Kirby of Runway Girl Network.
Wizz Air, of Hungary, currently operates only A320s and A321s. The competition is for 100 aircraft of the re-engined generation. This is a hot contest, with Boeing looking not only to flip Wizz from the A320 to the 737 but also to get a second customer for the MAX 200. Ryanair was the launch customer for the airplane last year, but no new orders have been landed since. Boeing touts the MAX 200 as the perfect solution for LCCs.
The contest is hot enough that our Market Intelligence indicates the pricing is already comfortably below $40m.
Airbus hasn’t announced a marketing name for its high-density version of the 195-seat A320neo, which last month won regulatory approval of the 195-seat concept. This is at 27-inch seat pitch. The MAX 200, which Ryanair said it will configure for 197 seats, will have a mixture of 30-inch and 29-inch pitch. Airbus believes galley cart requirements means Ryanair will have to go to 194 seats. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
12 April, 2015: In our study of the options for Boeing’s market study called Middle of the Market (MOM), we could conclude that the most likely aircraft to cover their 200-250 seat 4750nm range requirement would be a seven abreast twin aisle aircraft using their patented new oval construction, thereby saving weight and drag.
After finishing the series, Readers requested that we conclude the work by showing what market segment a family of such airliners would cover and how they would relate to the Boeing 787-8. As it is pretty straight forward to see with our aircraft performance model how much of a range of aircraft variants one can make from one base development of aircraft and engine, we decided to fulfill the wish from our Readers.
We have therefore looked at how far the concept MOM airliner could be stretched and what segment in the market would be covered by it. We also studied how much such a family would encroach on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner market.
April 09, 2015; I’m up for a challenge in the next weeks: I’ve been invited to fly an airliner. Having flown 14 aircraft types before it shouldn’t be so big news if it wasn’t for none of those types being close to the aircraft I will fly now, a modern civil airliner.
The previous types were military trainers, fighters and later civil sports and business aircraft. They are all more or less the same. Flying is like cycling and driving a car: it is something one learns and then doesn’t unlearn. So the flying part should be no problem.
It is not what makes me undertake weeks of preparations. It is that other thing, the aircraft’s computerized soul, that expects to be operated in a certain way. The buttons should be pressed and handles moved in the right order or the aircraft will tell me it doesn’t understand what I want.
So now I am reading through thousands of pages and flying civil airliner procedures day and night. We will dwell on how and why in a couple of Bjorn’s Corners. Read more
The shake-up continues at Bombardier, with new CEO Alain Bellemare replacing Mike Arcamone, the president of the commercial aerospace unit, with the former president of mega-lessor International Lease Finance Corp., Fred Cromer.
Bellemare also retained the consulting firm Plane View Partners, whose CEO, Henri Coupron, was the former CEO of ILFC. Both men lost their jobs when AerCap purchased ILFC, making AerCap the second largest lessor in the world (behind GECAS).
Arcamone’s days were considered numbered once Bellemare was named CEO in February.
Landing Cromer is a major positive for Bombardier. Arcamone’s strength was production, for which the CSeries program benefited as it was challenged by supply chain issues. But Arcamone, who came from the auto industry, didn’t have aviation sales experience. Cromer’s experience as president of ILFC brings sorely needed direct commercial aviation know-how to Bombardier, complimenting Bellemare’s background from Pratt & Whitney.
Coupron’s involvement is also a major positive. In addition to his time as CEO of ILFC, Coupron had a long career at Airbus, followed by a short tenure at consultantcy Seabury Group before joining ILFC.
These are major steps that will help remake Bombardier’s commercial unit and give support to the CSeries.
Bellemare is expected to complete his studies and recommendations how to remake Bombardier and the aerospace programs in advance of the Paris Air Show in June.
April 8, 2015: Airbus will unveil a new concept at the international Hamburg interiors convention next week call “Choice” for the economy cabin.
The concept is intended to further segment the traveling public demand and increase revenue for airlines.
While the concept isn’t entirely new—it’s a four-class configuration, including business class, and some airlines are moving in this direction already—Airbus is formalizing the marketing concept, which officials believe give it a competitive advantage over Boeing’s wide-body products.
The Choice concept includes Budget Economy, Comfort Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class.
Christopher Emerson, Senior Vice President-Marketing, said that 10% of Airbus operators use maximum capacity in the Airbus wide-body fleet vs 60% for Boeing’s wide-bodies. This gives Airbus operators flexibility to configure cabins in a way to cater to different passenger demands and maximize revenue, he said. Read more