1. Airbus wants to advance NEO EIS six months
Airbus wants to advance the entry-into-service of the A320neo by six months, to October 2015, we have learned. Airbus plans to introduce the neo in six month increments (A320neo followed by A321neo followed by A319neo). Airbus has more than 300 orders and commitments for the 320/321 and none for the 319. With Boeing increasingly talking about a new airplane in 2019, any advance Airbus can get for EIS on the neo will be beneficial.
Pratt & Whitney can probably meet this requirement. It will have versions of the GTF in service with Bombardier in 2013 and with Mitsubishi in 2014. Testing on the Irkut MS-21, a competitor to the A320/321, is to begin in 2014 with an EIS planned for 2016 (though we believe the MS-21 will likely be later than 2016).
Whether CFM can have the LEAP-X ready for a NEO 2015 EIS is unknown. CFM has yet to be selected for a NEO order (this is only a matter of time, though). The LEAP-X is in development for the COMAC C919, also a competitor to the 320/321. Flight testing is planned for 2014 and EIS for 2016 but we think the C919 will run years late, just as did the ARJ-21. Can CFM shave six months off its flight testing to meet an advanced NEO EIS when it is disadvantaged to PW’s CSeries and MRJ operating experience? We don’t know.
Over at Boeing, Aspire Aviation has this think-piece about the “737X.”
2. Airbus ponders slight larger A350-1000
The A350-1000 is aimed directly at the Boeing 777-300ER, but it is slightly smaller at 350 passengers vs 365 in typical three-class. Boeing, and others, question whether Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engine is big enough for the -1000 (Airbus, not surprisingly, said that it is). But we learned that Airbus is considering a 380 passenger -1000 and 50 miles more range to make it sure to do Dubai-Los Angeles non-stop. For this, the Trent XWB needs 5,000 lbs more thrust, and Rolls has been asked to figure this out.
In our view, this is the airplane Airbus needs to take on the -300ER.