Odds and Ends: wrap-up from ISTAT Europe Conference; Airbus Group joins Aerion to create biz-jet.

The European 2014 ISTAT conference took place in Istanbul Monday and Tuesday. We have reported elsewhere on the presentations by Airbus and Boeing, here follows three interesting tidbits from the rest of the conference. We also comment on the surprising news that Airbus Group will join the US company Aerion to develop the worlds first supersonic biz-jet.

Airline and passenger growth: The  ISTAT conference had an inspiring keynote by the CEO of Turkish Airlines, Dr. Temel Kotil. It was all about phenomenal passenger growth.

Turkish Airlines uses its location between east and west for a development in the scale of the Gulf airlines, Turkish is thereby a good example of the doubling of passenger traffic over 15 years as presented by Airbus. From its privatization in 2004 it has gone from 12 million passengers per year to 60 million 2014, spanning 250 destinations with 260 aircraft.

Turkish Airlines feels it is ideally placed at the cross roads to Asia and Africa, both continents with very high growth. They therefore foresee continued growth to 120 million passengers by 2033. They are fortunate that the Turkish state has played its part in enabling such expansion, leasing land to a 3rd major airport in the Istanbul area. This will be necessary should the majority of these passenger streams pass Istanbul, then the area will beat London Heathrow’s present 70 million passengers, calling for additional infrastructure.

Wizz Air CFO Mike Powell: In a discussion over the future of airlines, the development in USA and Europe was compared. In the US the consolidation has led to 4 airlines handling 90% of the traffic, in Europe the numbers are 40 airlines covering the same extent of the market. Wizz Air CFO Mike Powell (fifth largest LCC in Europe after Vueling) predicts that airlines which does not deliver returns on their assets or state-owned airlines not being able to operate without subsidies would be victims of European consolidation. The local traffic will to a large degree be taken over by LCCs whereas long-haul will move to the large hubs and networks in Western Europe like Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris etc.

Powell also explained what drove Wizz Air to go from taking delivery of A320 to A321 from next year. Their LCC traffic is very price sensitive but not so frequency sensitive, if they go from an average frequency over their destinations of 5 flights per week to 4 they would normally only loose a couple of percent in traffic margin. Flying the same load factor with a 321 and at lower frequency gains them around 6-7% in cost i.e. going to the larger aircraft will gain them something like 4-5% in margin.

Airbus Group teams up with Aerion: Airbus Group has joined Aerion, the supersonic biz-jet company from Reno, to help them develop the world’s first business jet which can fly at speeds up to Mach 1.6. The aircraft, called AS2, will seat 8 persons in typical biz-jet comfort and has transatlantic range.

Aerion AS2 supersonic Biz-Jet

Aerion AS2 supersonic Biz-Jet

Read more

Half time 2014 for Boeing and Airbus

The major OEM’s have published their half time 2014 results and we can make an analysis of their half year results together with orders / deliveries and the state of their product lines. We compare Boeing and Airbus on the high end and in a follow up article Embraer and Bombardier on the low end. To make orders and deliveries comparable we include the month of July as the OEMs collected business to be announced at Farnborough mid July.

Boeing had a strong first half 2014. Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA) business is now past the initial problems on the 787 program and delivered 48 units January to June 2014 (8 per month) which is the same numbers as for the 777 program. The 737 is now at rate 40 per month with a first half total of 239 deliveries. The 747-8 is at rate 1 with only 6 deliveries and the 767 has stopped as a commercial program with only 1 delivery during the first half year. The commercial deliveries of 342 aircraft drove a 4% increase in company overall revenue and a 5% increase in earnings compared to first half 2013 (both non-GAAP i.e. the core business performance), this despite a Defense, Space and Security side which was down 5% on revenue and down 15% on earnings.

777-9X, 787-9 and 777-300ER in ANA colours

777-9X, 787-9 and 777-300ER in ANA colors

The troubled unit is Boeing Military Aircraft (BMA) which is struggling with its 767 tanker program (KC46A charged BMA with $187 million and BCA with $238 million due to increased development costs) and it is also fighting to not have its major military airplane program, the F18, stop 3 years from now from lack of orders. The military aircraft order drought contrasts with BCA where first half orders was 783 aircraft, mainly 737 but also 777X, where Emirates and Qatar confirmed their orders for 200 777X. Read more

Odds and Ends: Airbus regional A330, IAG orders and Bombardier reviewing options

Airbus A330 regional might get sales after all, Airbus is negotiating a large order with China against local off-sets (assembly or final configuration, the experts are divided) according to Wall Street Journal. We reference Ben Sandilands writeup of the story to avoid the WSJ paywall. As we were told at Farnborough by Airbus the A330 regional is a de-papered A330ceo with an adapted interior. It does not make sense to wait for a neo variant for this aircraft as the fuel costs are a less important factor on sub 5 hour missions. It will be interesting to see if some other market will pick up on this 200 tonne aircraft, to some extent it is back to the roots for the A330-300, it started off as a medium haul complement to the long haul A340-200 and -300 at 206t maximum take-off weight.

IAG has given Airbus a cheer up signal after the bad news around SkyMark. In their second quarter report call IAG CEO Willie Walsh declare their A380 as “fantastic aircraft when you can fill it”, they see 98% load factors on their most popular routes (e.g. LHR-LAX). IAG also announced better results in their Spanish daughter Iberia, consequently it is allowed to order 8 A330-200 (ceos as the neo comes to late) and convert 8 of IAGs A350-900 options to firm orders for their airline.  Right now IAG is satisfied with the 12 A380 they have on order for BA according to Walsh.

Bombardier is re-examining its options for the recently created Aerospace divisions according to FlightGlobal; they want to leverage the Aerostructures divisions capabilities more when Boeing and Airbus looks for further partners for their booming supply chains. They also need to guard their bets on Russia as partner to drive sales of Q400 and Cseries, given the mounting political problems between Russia and the west. This results in renewed activity in the China / Comac discussions, initially for cooperation on the after sales side in addition to the present fuselage deliveries, but come a worsened situation with Russia such talks could find new depth we think.

GE analysis post Farnborough

Our wrap up of Farnborough would be incomplete without looking closer at the world’s leading engine supplier, GE Aviation, which together with partners (like SAFRAN in CFM joint venture) garnered more than $36 Billion in orders and commitments during the show. This figure was only significantly bettered by Airbus ($75 Billion) and it came close to Boeing’s $40 Billion. With such level of business the claim by GE Aviation CEO, David Joyce, that the Airbus A330neo engine business was not the right thing for GE as they have more business than then they know what to do with, was certainly no case of “sour grapes”. Read more

Airbus A330-800 and -900neo, first analysis

Airbus cleared the air about the A330neo, which we concluded was a must last December, and made the 2014 Farnborough Airshow go off to an exciting start. A lot has been speculated about the A330neo, and in the end it did come out bit stronger than what most had anticipated. Some of that is marketing but a lot is real, and here we give a first assessment of what was launched.

Let’s start with the specifics as given by Airbus and Rolls-Royce today in presentations and discussions. Here are the A330-800neo and -900neo’s main features: Read more

Thoughts for Seattle’s KOMO TV

Personal note:

I’m down at ISTAT in San Diego and have just learned of the crash of a KOMO TV News helicopter in Seattle, killing two and critically injuring one. The names haven’t been released yet, so I don’t know if I know them.

But I do know many of the people at KOMO. Being based in Seattle, I occasionally appear on KOMO as a talking head on aerospace issues.

My thoughts go out to the KOMO family.

Scott Hamilton

Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl!!!!

Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl!!!!

Odds and Ends: 787 Update; SPEEA Council meets for membership vote; Asian caution

787 Update: The Wall Street Journal has this lengthy article on the twin-investigations of the US and Japanese authorities into the Boeing 787 incidents. (Subscription required.) Bloomberg News this long article profiling Boeing CEO Jim McNerney’s oversight of the Boeing probe. The Seattle Times has this article about the probe.

This story takes a different angle on the 787 challenges, focusing instead on the coming shortage of engineers.

SPEEA Council Meets Today: The top officials of SPEEA, Boeing’s engineers’ union, meets today to decide on sending the Best and Final Boeing offer to members for a vote to approve or disapprove the contract. A strike vote is also likely to be included.

Caution on Asian Airlines: Germany’s DVB Bank, a major player in commercial aerospace financing and analysis, raises caution about the growth plans of the new Asian airlines, according to this article by Reuters.

American logo reaction mixed: Forbes has this story about the new American Airlines livery, quoting a number of design professionals. This link has a number of suggestions, almost of which which we like better than the tail paint American purchased for God knows how much money.

Predict: What will be the most momentous event of 2013?

2013 stands to be a pretty eventful year, and we’ve listed thoughts for you to vote on. We’ll hide results until voting is complete.

Now a key question: SPEEA and Boeing are on a collision course. Talks resume Jan. 9, but SPEEA already is on record believing talks will immediately collapse. A strike date of Feb. 1 is targeted, but membership has to take a strike vote before a walk out can occur. It’s your turn to vote:

If a contract agreement is not reached, will SPEEA actually go on strike or will talks continue?

TSA move to replace body invaders a good one

The news that the Transportation Security Administration is swapping out the invasive body x-ray scanners with other equipment is good news indeed.

Setting aside the debate over whether the levels of radiation to produce x-rays is a health risk, the images created were truly invasive to personal privacy. We went out of our way to look for TSA lines where only magnomitors were in use in order to avoid the x-ray body invaders and as often as not requested a pat down if only the body invader was in use.

Europe has long used machines that produce stick figures of the person going through the machine, and little round dots to highlight areas that required pat downs. We had no issue with these machines.

The stick figure machines will reduce the number of invasive pat downs as well. Hopefully this will speed the entire security process.

And another: