Odds and Ends: Entertaining recap on Leahy and NEO

1. Entertaining look at Leahy and A320neo

Max Kingsley-Jones, editor of Airline Business, has this amusing take on Airbus COO John Leahy and Leahy’s view of his latest toy, the A320neo.

Last week we received a couple of inquiries and comments about the investment Airbus has made in the NEO and whether this will be worth it. Figures publicly issued by Airbus were that the investment in NEO is about $1.5bn.

What is not discussed but which is widely known within insider circles is that the engine makers, Pratt & Whitney and CFM, are footing most of the bill. We don’t know the split between the engine OEMs and Airbus, but we understand the engine share is not insignificant. Thus, the actual financial risk to Airbus is, by R&D standards, pretty small. We remarked to one who inquired that NEO will probably have one of the best ROIs for Airbus of any program.

Aviation Week’s Robert Wall has this story about the NEO, emerging from the Airbus 320neo briefing last week.

2. Boeing 737NG vs A320neo

Keep this story from The Seattle PI in mind when we post something later this week on the topic.

3. Just when you thought the tanker was yesterday’s news

Amy Butler at Aviation Week scored a nice exclusive with this story about the KC-46A. Perhaps more interesting are Amy’s story about the winglets-or lack of them-and her blistering commentary.

Here’s our two cents:

When we first saw the Boeing artwork with winglets, right away we asked Boeing: in 2008, Boeing was promoting 24% fuel burn savings vs KC30 and this time it continued to promote 24% fuel savings despite pictures showing winglets—which should have given another 3.5% savings. Why wasn’t Boeing promoting the additional savings? This would have given Boeing the ability to promote 27.5% savings over the KC-30.

We felt Boeing certainly would not have missed a beat to do so. The answer we got was along the lines that Boeing was sticking with the 24% number.

The answer in retrospect would appear that they knew all along they weren’t putting winglets on the airplane. But perhaps we’re just too cynical.

4. Talking with Pratt & Whitney about the Geared Turbo Fan

We had conversations last week with Bob Saia, the head of the PW GTF program. We split the conversation into two podcasts of 15 minutes each: Part 1 and Part 2. Among the topics: scalability, noise, and the possibility of growth to 100,000 lbs of thrust.

5. How the Southwest fuselage issue went undetected

Popular Mechanics, which does a good job at this sort of thing, has an article examining how the fuselage flaw in the Southwest Airlines 737-300 went undetected.

6. An interview with Mike Bair

We did an interview last month with Boeing’s Mike Bair about the prospect of a new airplane in the 737/757 class. The report was for Aircraft Technology magazine, and the issue is now on line here. The story begins on PDF page 58.

7. Airbus: Mideast turmoil could cost lots of orders

Bloomberg has this report citing Airbus as saying the turmoil in the Middle East could cost the company a large number of orders.

Airbus’ customer concentration in the Middle East is particularly noteworthy for the A380 and A350. Fortunately for Airbus, much of this concentration is in the lower Gulf area where turmoil has, so far, been limited. According to Bloomberg, one quarter of the Airbus backlog by value is in the Middle East.

5 comments on “Odds and Ends: Entertaining recap on Leahy and NEO

  1. It seems the comments to Amy Butler’s piece in AW&ST don’t agree with poor Miss Amy. The artist concept drawing of the (then) KC-767NG was just that, a concept. The only thing that matters is what Boeing was showing to the USAF. Boeing’s drawings on the blended winglet equipped KC-767NG managed to hood wink EADS and all of us…..good job Boeing!

    Boeing managed to hide their real proposal from the public, and managed to sand-bag EADS in the final few days before the award by letting it slip they thought they would loose.

    Boeing does know how to play hard ball, and they just taught EADS a $40B lesson.

  2. BTW, your link to the Popular Mechanics story on why WN inspections did not catch the flaw in the B-737-300 does not work.

  3. You get what you pay for! :)

    Cost appears to have been the main concern throughout this round, rather than performance (in which case the other offering would have won).
    This is thus mathematical…until they say that after all performance do matter!

  4. Provided that Boeing only used non-winglet data in the actual proposal I think there is no restriction on what they said they were doing. The earlier round they provided a lot of data and it bit them. It is smart bidding to release misleading data to your competition.

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