Odds and Ends: Bernstein: no 777X before 2020; Alaska, Frontier and Competition; A380 repair costs; Boeing labor challenges

No 777X before 2020: Bernstein Research, in a note issued today, says it doesn’t see delivery of the Boeing 777X before 2020. Also: on a recently completed trip to Asia, Bernstein wrote this:

There’s clearly huge demand for the 787. There was a lot of excitement about it, but Boeing was heavily promoting the 747-8, for which the company is certainly seeking more orders, with few orders for the passenger version and the air freight market being very weak. To date, the majority of orders for that airplane have been freighter orders. This is a relatively small program, but we think it is the most difficult within Boeing’s portfolio right now. …[Y]ou’re probably not going to see the growth that Boeing had once hoped for there. That’s certainly how we have been making assumptions, as well.

Alaska, Frontier and Competition: The Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation has this analysis about Alaska and Frontier airlines, which aside from being a little geographically-challenged, is one of CAPA’s usual well-researched and thought-0ut looks at airlines. (In fairness, CAPA often strays from the Asia-Pacific, but we couldn’t resist the quip.) CAPA now actually calls itself Centre for Aviation.

A380 Repair Costs: Aviation Week has this article detailing the costs to Emirates Airlines for repairs to the Airbus A380 wing bracket cracks.

Boeing Labor Challenges: Boeing seems headed for war again with labor unions. Here’s an article from The Everett Herald with several links within it; one from MyNorthwest.com about SPEEA; and one from The Seattle Times about SPEEA.

Cargolux and Qatar: We posted some news about Cargolux and Qatar yesterday; The Seattle Times has this piece about the threat to the Boeing 747-8F from Cargolux’s problems.

24 Comments on “Odds and Ends: Bernstein: no 777X before 2020; Alaska, Frontier and Competition; A380 repair costs; Boeing labor challenges

  1. 747-8:
    31 from (111 ordered ) delivered ( in 13 month ) leaves less than 3 years backlog.
    New orders are a trickle.
    Selling more of those would provide very welcome capacitiy utilisation ( and cash flow ).

  2. If EIS is after 2020, probably Boeing can enhance the 777 evolutionary.

    The new wing obviously won’t be there before 2020 or later. Enhancing the cabin to make 10 abreast more feasible, moving e.g. galley equipment/ lavatories below deck, using 787 technology to enhance cockpits, replace the lowest mbtf aircraft components, GE implementing GENX materials in the GE90s etc.. If the 777-X is launched these can be transferred into the new aircraft.

    The 777-200ER/LR has been eclipsed by A330-300/A350-900 sales during the last 5 yrs, the backlog has evaporated now. This 300-320 seat issue is now apparently reduced by the imminent launch of the 787-10.

    If the 787-10 is a big success, and the 747-8i not, I wonder how motivated Boeing will be after 2015 to launch major upgrade of the 777, the 777 being heavy and early nineties technology.

    Maybe w’ll see beefed up (350 seat, 8k nm) rewinged 787s and a brand new 380-500 seat Y3 afterall ;)

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-Oqf_vOmanM/SuA6-VIp2_I/AAAAAAAAAH0/Sy1be7MiWns/s1600/AirFrance_Ecoliner.JPG

  3. According to the Aviation Week article: EK’s Clark:”“Are airlines stepping up to buy it (A380)at the pace Airbus would like? Probably not. “. It seems Boeing is having a bit of selling either version of the B748 as well. This is the problem with such large planes-its a big risk for any carrier purchasing it. Some carriers certainly do well with it but many of have been prognosticating for years the market for such large jets is rather limited.

    • Ahh, don’t you just love the “art” of selective quoting!

      No.” In his view, “there is a question mark over the large end” of the market. “But look at the state of the aviation industry. Look at the state of the liquidity and debt providers. I would like to think this is a temporary thing.” Once long-haul travel is restored after the current downturn, “the A380 is a very elegant, environmentally friendly and economically efficient way of meeting that demand.”

      The US-centric world view of these presumptive prognosticators don’t seem to be one of short-term pessimism and long-term optimism. ;-)

      Again, the global air transport market is set to double by the year 2030 and quadruple by the year 2050. The path most megaregions outside the contintal United States will follow in the future, is not likely to be ones that are driven by automobile-driven development; namely the path the United States has chosen to follow for more than 60 years; but rather development paths consisting of integrated transport hubs by way of seamlessly linking hub and spoke airports, high-speed rail networks, intercity rail networks, regional rail networks, commuter/suburban rail networks, city metro networks in addition to urban and suburban bus services. The megaregions themselves will be linked by both high speed rail networks (distances of less than 1000 km) and air transportation networks. Even today, there’s already a trend to slightly bigger aircraft everywhere in the world.

      Just over half the world now lives in cities, but by the year 2050, over 70 percent of the world will be urban dwellers. By then, only 14 percent of people in rich countries will live outside cities, and 33 percent in poor countries. IMO, it’s ludicrous therefore to subscribe to the notion that P2P wil overtake the hub and spoke system just because P2P somehow is corresponding to the reality in the United States.

      • I think you are missing a key point about hubs – a hub is used to consolidate people from other cities and then fly them to other cites, *without* actually going to the city in question. The largest hub of all is Atlanta, which 80% of the passengers don’t ever see the city. I thought I heard that 50% of the people flying to Heathrow are not going to London. The scenario you lay out works fine without “hubs”, in fact it may even work better with well integrated rail feeders to P2P type airports. With good high speed links, there is less need for for airports near city centers.

      • “I thought I heard that 50% of the people flying to Heathrow are not going to London.”

        Actually, more than 80 percent of passengers at London Heathrow are O&D passengers (Origin & Destination).

        “The scenario you lay out works fine without “hubs”, in fact it may even work better with well integrated rail feeders to P2P type airports. With good high speed links, there is less need for for airports near city centers.”

        True, the availability of an integrated rail network and high speed rail, an airport can be easily be located more than 50 miles away from the city centre.

        As for a P2P airport competing with a larger hub airports when both are connected to the same high speed rail network; well, the picture may not look all that rosy for the P2P airport.

        Source: High-speed Train as a Feeder for Air Transport

        http://www.google.no/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBsQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aerlines.nl%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2011%2F01%2F49_Terpstra_HST_AMS_BRU-1.pdf&ei=JAasUJr0Fcrl4QTBtIGYBA&usg=AFQjCNFOBM5HtiRovgG7ZiCEQpitEamIcg&sig2=oXNxYbiJab_MPglYmiSf2w

        The pattern we see here is fairly similar to the results we had for Spain. By improving the connection between two airports, the larger airport gains market share at the expense of the smaller one(s). The intuition behind this result is that the expansion of the combined catchment area works in the favor of the airport with the higher level of service (frequency in this case). Passengers who were previously captives are now in a position to choose, and they are more likely to choose the airport with the higher service level. Note that this is not only beneficial to the larger airport, but also to the customers, as their freedom of choice increases. The resulting welfare increase may lead to an increase in the total number of passengers using the airports, but this is beyond the scope of our model. In addition, people living in Belgium or the South of the Netherlands who currently travel to CDG, DUS or FRA may switch to Amsterdam, as it has become easier to reach. Keep in mind that the HST between Brussels and Paris is already running, and access times between those places remained the same.

      • Very interesting article, thanks for the link. I think the scenario we are discussing here is when an airport approaches it’s maximum handling capacity which I think changes the dynamic. In that case, the alternative is for passengers to shift to the less saturated airports. LCC’s prefer these airports and reduce the smaller airplane loads on the major airport. Schipol is what I thought was a good example of an airport that reduced load on major hubs (Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt). As Heathrow gets overloaded, Gatwick becomes more attractive. With long range mid-sized aircraft, these airports can offer more flights to more destinations that would not be economical for VLA’s to service.

        One other thought about more seamless integration would be for the train to become a “mobile terminal” where passengers can pass through security checks, get boarding passes, and check bags while on route. The passengers could then enter directly into secured parts of the airport and bags go directly into the baggage handling system, thus avoiding much of the hassle of traveling by plane.

  4. Reading from the article Clark says:
    There is at the moment _zero_ interest for the 748
    and less than expected by Airbus interest for the A388.

      • Half for nothing? ;-)

        As planned it could have worked out.
        As executed it was a very expensive roadblock and is an ongoing liability. ( nobody seems to have found interest in the cost overruns for the 747-8, too much 787 snake for the rabbits ;-)
        More focus on the 787 would have improved performance over all.

  5. The artical also says the WhaleJet is a 90,000 hour airplane. Meanwhile LH is finally retiring B-744s with 105,000 to 120,000 hours. About the same number of flying hours they got from their B-742s. Maybe a B-748 can fly around to all the scrapping yards to pick up the A-380 flight crews after they bring their airplane in to be converted into beer cans. At a utilization rate of about 5,000 hours per year, that means the A-380 only has a life of about 18 years, compared to 20, 25, or more years for the B-741/2/3/4.

    • You are, as ever a fount of immutable truth, my dear ;-)

      Boeing seems to have printed the wrong data, though:
      http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeromagazine/aero_07/corrosn_sb_table01.html

      Looks like Boeing initially ceeds 20.000 cycles and 60.000 hours, later expanded.
      The A380 fatique frame did 47.500 cycles corresponding to 19.000 cycles and
      ( as we now seem to have been informed ) 90.000 hours.

      Does this indicate that the A380 ( or the modern longrangers in general ) is/are expected to do longer flights on average?

      • What, does the 747-8 lasts only 60.000 hrs ?! I’m shocked. Does it have to do with poor design, building quality, what is it? I’ll posts it everywhere and repeat it a few times.

        ;)

      • @Uwe: Some people only take the facts they like or spin them until they fit (i.e. K.Rove, to name a prominent example). You are right with your cycle number on the fatigue test frame. It is very likely that the DSG (Design Service Goal) of the A380 will be exceeded in future. No big deal in fact and nothing to brag about. Thats just normal business.

  6. I wouldn’t say zero interest… CAPA has the following piece running now.

    http://centreforaviation.com/news/hainan-airlines-expects-787-delivery-to-be-delayed-to-2q2013-188654

    Quoting:

    “Hainan Airlines reportedly stated the carrier’s first Boeing 787, initially scheduled for delivery at the end of 2012, will be delayed to 2Q2013 adding China Southern Airlines’ first 787 also faces similar delays, according to a National Business Daily report. HNA Group chairman Chen Feng previously said the carrier may change its 787 order to the 747-8 aircraft. As previously reported, Mr Chen stated the company is in talks with Airbus and may cancel its order for 10 A380 aircraft due to weak market conditions.”

  7. I see it in several places. It is slowly becoming clear the 747-8, specially the -8i isn’t really the king of the hill in VLA land. So it is stated more generally VLA’s aren’t selling well.

    In reality A380 #100 is in sight and in the next 2 yrs British Airways, Air Austral, Asiana Airlines, Etihad, Qatar and Skymark Airlines will join global A380 operations.

    The economy is down now, but follow up orders of the legacies will come as well as orders from Airlines that were on the fence so far (CX, UA, ANA, CA). They will need new VLA’s (yes) and the choice isn’t as difficult as many think.

    Re 748, we need to bring the message slowly, it’s a US icon.

  8. OV-099 is spot on about the economy, when it picks up,it will drive the market for two great reasons, firstly, as everyone appreciates, it will be easier for airlines to fill the beasts, and secondly, and for me it is quite scary, fuel prices:
    We are in one of the deepest worldwide recessions ever, and fuel at around $110, when the economies pick up, where is that going to go?! Any airline with older aircraft (if that be 744, A330, 767’s) are going to suffer.

  9. I wonder if United, BA, Emirates, Air France/KLM and Singapore Airlines will be willing to wait for 777X to hopefully start becoming available after 2020.

    In 2011 Boeing talked to their customers and concluded they would wait for the NSA. A faulty conclusion as became clear in a hot Dallas July.

    Will we see Boeing pulling a MAX on the 777? Smisek asking Conner to come over for a coffee this afternoon. Bring Tracy with you & clean up your agenda.

  10. HST to Schipol has not to the best of my knowledge reduced traffic to Heathrow. Now, estimates of passenger traffic substitution from airplanes to High Speed Trains (HST) on the Amsterdam to Paris, London and Frankfurt corridors range from 16 to 40 percent resulting in a total reduction of approximately 2.5 percent of all flights that will be handled in 2020 at Schipol

    Source: http://www.aerlines.nl/issue_43/43_Jorritsma_AiRail_Substitution.pdf

    “As Heathrow gets overloaded, Gatwick becomes more attractive. With long range mid-sized aircraft, these airports can offer more flights to more destinations that would not be economical for VLA’s to service.”

    Gatwick does not have a strong enough inherent hinterland and cannot be connected well enough to be as effective as Heathrow. This holds especially true for business travellers and premium fare passengers who seemingly overwhelmingly prefer Heathrow. That’s why Heathrow is set to become the worlds third — or even second — busiest airport for A380 frequencies by 2020.

    Returning to the topic of high-speed trains working as feeders for air transport, one should keep in mind that high speed trains will work as spokes for the major hubs. As the high speed rail networks are being expanded while the average and top speeds are increased, the catchment areas of the major hubs will increase. For example, the maximum service speed of the next generation AGV (AGV-II) will be around 400 km/h and new lines will likely be constructed in order to accommodate such high speed levels. With average speeds of around 300 km/h, the catchment area radius for a major hub could be as much as 1000 km.

    “With long range mid-sized aircraft, these airports can offer more flights to more destinations that would not be economical for VLA’s to service.”

    IMO, you’ll see intercontinental hub to point routes in the future such as HKG to BBI and DXB to virtually anywhere, but true intercontinetal P2P routes will IMO be few and far between. A hub airport draws in passengers from a range of places in order to reach a critical mass of passengers to make flights to other destinations economic. IMO, what is set to transpire in the future, is that outside the United States, theintegrated mega transport hubs of the future will reduce many secondary airports to mainly providers for LCCs. Also, LCCs have primarily been successful on intracontinental routes. It remains to be seen if the LCC model will work on intercontintal routes. This would seem to indicate that secondary airports will loose ever more market share to the bigger and far more profitable mega hubs.

    “One other thought about more seamless integration would be for the train to become a “mobile terminal” where passengers can pass through security checks, get boarding passes, and check bags while on route”

    On the Frankfurt to Cologne route AIRail will allow you to do that. However, you’ll have to go through airport security if you’re going to fly out from Frankfurt.

    http://www.ausbt.com.au/lufthansa-s-high-speed-rail-flight-from-frankfurt-to-cologne

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