787 Year-End News

Much was made over the fact that 787 #2 landed with its main gear doors open and whether they scraped the runway. The doors did not, but it was close as these photos from the sidelines show. You may click on the photo to get a much larger image to really see the detail.

Photos by Scott Morton

Jon Ostrower has this detail about why the plane landed with the main gear door open.

Why US transport producers failed

Defense analyst Loren Thompson picks up the old refrain about Airbus subsidies running McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed out of the commercial airliner business. We add our thoughts at the end of his article.

By Loren Thompson

Airbus subsidies have destroyed thousands of US jobs

Monday, December 21, 2009

In a few days, the world’s two major producers of commercial transports (jet airliners) will release their order and delivery results for 2009. The results will show that European champion Airbus delivered slightly over 50% of all planes built, while greatly exceeding American champion Boeing in the number of new planes ordered. It’s been going this way pretty much since the decade began, because after 40 years of subsidies from European governments, Airbus now has a complete family of transports that can aggressively compete in virtually any capacity/range category with Boeing.

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Delta ousts American in JAL global alliance

We have learned for industry sources that Delta Air Lines has won the battle  and that Japan Air Lines will be leaving the oneworld alliance to join SkyTeam, reports Ernie Arvai of the AirInsight team of which Leeham Co. is a member.

This is a significant blow to American Airlines, which now lacks a Japanese partner, and boosts both United (Star Alliance partner with ANA) and Delta (with NW Japanese routes and now JAL) that can be well exploited, given the new open skies agreement between the two countries.

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Ryanair quits Boeing talks-for now

Ryanair terminated talks with Boeing for an order for 200 737-800s, ending a highly publicized negotiating tactic by the ever-talkative Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary.

Here is the Ryanair statement.

The Financial Times has this interesting take. (Free registration may be required.)

Bloomberg has this report.

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Albaugh as BCA head will be key to Boeing tanker bid

There has been more foo-faw going on with the KC-X tanker competition in the past week, largely overshadowed by the first flight of the Boeing 787. Supporters of Northrop Grumman met with Pentagon officials to urge that changes be made in the Draft RFP to assure a fair and open competition.

As soon as this became public, supporters of Boeing did the same.

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Airbus, Boeing nearing re-engining decision

Reuters has this report saying Airbus and Boeing will decide, probably next year, whether to re-engine the A320 and 737 families.

The AirInsight team of The Arvai Group, Innovation Analysis Group and Leeham Co., published the report below earlier this month that decisively predicted this will happen. The report may be purchased here.

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Dec. 15: First Flight is success

As everyone interested knows, the first flight of the Boeing 787 was a success. The flight time was cut short by nearly two hours due to deteriorating weather conditions at Boeing Field, the flight’s terminus. The airplane went over the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the body of water between Washington State and Canada, rather than Eastern Washington.

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787 First Flight

Update, December 15 0445 AM (Yawn): We’re up and have already done one radio interview for first flight set for 10 am today. Weather is iffy. The hourly forecast has 60% chance of rain at 8am and 50% at 9 and 10 am. As noted below, there can be no standing water on the runway. We were with Boeing last night and a 5,000 ft ceiling and 5 mile forward visibility are the set parameters for first flight.

We joked with Boeing that the ceiling could be down to the cockpit windows and the test pilots would say it was just fine for takeoff. Boeing, which sometimes isn’t known for its Corporate Sense of Humor, got the joke but still felt compelled to deny it!

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COMAC chooses LEAP-X, Russians pick GTF

China’s COMAC selected the CFM International LEAP-X engine to power its new challenge to Airbus and Boeing, the C919 150-200 seat jet, two sources tell us.

Now comes news that Russia’s Irkut selected the Pratt & Whitney P1000G Geared Turbo Fan (GTF) to power its 150-200 seat jet, the MS-21. Both planes have a projected EIS of 2016.

This has implications for Airbus and Boeing. Both companies are pondering whether to re-engine the A320 and 737 families and are holding talks with CFM (Airbus and Boeing), PW (Airbus and Boeing), International Aero Engines (Airbus) and Rolls-Royce (Airbus). We firmly believe Airbus and Boeing will decide next year to re-engine the airplanes.

AirInsight is about to release a report on the re-engine prospect.

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United splits wide-body buy

United Airlines today (Dec. 08) ordered 25 Airbus A350s and 25 Boeing 787s with options for an equal number.

It’s clear why UA did this: the A350 is too big to replace the Boeing 767-300 and the 787 is too small to replace the Boeing 777 and 747-400.

Here is the press release.

A conference call with UA is to begin shortly. We’ll provide a running log.

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