Farnborough Air Show, July 15: Orders summary

Here are the orders and commitments announced today that we saw–there could be others we haven’t seen:

  • Airbus: Avolon (a lessor) ordered 15 A330neos; CIT Aerospace, MOU for 16 A330-900s, five A321neos; SMBC Aviation (lessor), 110 A320neo and five A320ceo aircraft; BOC Aviation, 36 Airbus A320ceo and seven A320neo family 17 of which will be fore the A321 family; AirAsiaX, MOU 50 A330-900s.
  • ATR: Air Lease Corp. purchased seven ATR-72-600s.
  • Boeing: Intrepid Aviation, 6+4 777-300ERs; Air Lease Corp, six 777-300ERs, 20 737-8s; CIT Aerospace, 10 787-9s.
  • Bombardier: One Q400 from Horizon Air; revealed an unidentied customer, Abu Dhabi Aviation, for two Q400s; LOI from Falcon Aviation for five Q400s.
  • CFM: Air Lease Corp. ordered the LEAP-1A for 20 A320neo family aircraft.
  • Embraer: Azul Air, LOI for 30+20 E-195 E2 (and becomes launch customer for this sub-type); Fuji’s Dream Airlines, 3+3 E-175s, a previously unidentified customer.
  • Mitsubishi: six MRJ90s from Air Mandalay.
  • Pratt & Whitney: SaudiGulf Airlines orders the V2500 to power four A320ceos; Philippine Airlines executes a previous LOI to a firm order for the GTF for 10 A320neos; BOC Aviation, V2500 for eight of the A320ceo family listed above; International Airlines Group (Vueling Airlines), V2500 for 30 A320ceo family.
  • Viking Air: Air Seychelles, two Twin Otters.

Items of note:

  • Airbus’ John Leahy says he expects a total of 100 A330neo orders from FAS;
  • BOC Aviation endorsed the launch of the A330neo but didn’t (yet) order any.
  • Boeing said its new 777X will have a cabin altitude of 6,000 ft, the same as the 787, larger windows than its 777 Classic and the A350; features borrowed from the 787 and many that go beyond the 787 passenger experience; and lower noise.
  • Bombardier launched its Q400 Combi, seating 50 passengers and carrying 8,200 lbs of cargo.
  • Steven Udvar-Hazy, CEO of Air Lease Corp, which has a large order book for the ATR-72-600, says, the Q400 is a good aircraft, but “much more expensive to operate” vs ATR. [However, that's at the Q400's high cruising speed. If it's throttled back, the operating costs are said by BBD to be comparable.--Editor.]

New airplanes nearing fruition? A330neo, 757RS buzz increasing

Development of two airplanes–the Airbus A330neo and a replacement for the Boeing 757–may be pushing to the forefront, according to two news articles yesterday.

Reuters reports that a decision whether to proceed with the Airbus A330neo could come before the Farnborough Air Show, even if a formal launch isn’t announced at the international event next month.

Bloomberg reports that Boeing may be nearing the launch of a 757 replacement sooner than expected.

A330neo

We’ve written extensively about both prospective airplanes, with the A330neo concept one of many subjects from the Airbus Innovation Days. The Reuters article reports what we have been hearing for some time: the airplane could be announced at Farnborough–but it might not be, either. What is new is the increasing likelihood Rolls-Royce will become the sole-source supplier. Aviation Week originally reported this prospect.

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PW Media Day: Real-time monitoring, combining IAE/PW service

This is the next in our series of reports from the Pratt & Whitney Media Days, May 19-20. This interview with Robert Saia, VP Next Generation Product Family, occurred before the Bombardier CSeries-PW GTF engine issue occurred.

Real time tracking information tracking came to the forefront because of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Much was written about ACARS, which apparently was turned off shortly after 370’s last radio transmission. ACARS provides hourly updates to the airline, or to the engine/airframe makers, about the aircraft’s health monitoring system. ACARS was also important in the Air France 447 investigation in which the Airbus A330 disappeared over the South Atlantic.

We sat down with Saia to discuss, among other things, real-time engine tracking transmissions.

“We have developed in the past, the ability to monitor the engine in service, taking snapshots or continuous monitoring why the airplane was flying and downloading that when the aircraft landed. Either the airline or PW could analyze that data to look at what we call health monitoring to manage the serviceability of that engine.

“In addition to looking to solve problems, PW can also simulate characteristics to predict whether problems might arise based on prior flights,” Saia says. “The intent was to help the airline or PW, if it was providing the maintenance service, to troubleshoot, especially for an AOG (aircraft on ground) situations.

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CSeries setback as PW GTF has reported uncontained failure

  • Exclusive interview with Robert Saia, vice president of the Next Generation Product Family at Pratt & Whitney.
  • PW believes it has a “good understanding” of what happened.
  • Flight testing might resume quickly, reducing risk of program delay.
  • Customers coming to previously scheduled Bombardier meeting, will be permitted to see the airplane.
  • CSeries EIS delay not expected.

Bombardier, already facing an 18-24 month delay for its CSeries, may face another delay, some fear, following Friday’s reported uncontained engine failure of the Pratt & Whitney P1500G Geared Turbo Fan engine.

BBD grounded its four test airplanes while an investigation gets underway. The engine failure also damaged the fuselage of FTV 1. FTV 4, the airplane in airline configuration that is to validate economic promises of the GTF, had only been on three or four test flights in the slow-moving testing program. FTVs 2 and 3 have been flying for some time. FTV 5, 6 and 7 had not yet taken to the air.

There was a reported fire associated with the failure, but this is unconfirmed. Smoke was filmed during the event, but based on information Saturday, it’s unclear if a fire actually occurred, according to a person close to the investigation. The airplane was on the ground in Montreal at the time, and the four crew members were uninjured.

BBD, PW and Transport Canada are all investigating.

Engine failures during testing are rare but not unknown.

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Can a cheap 767-300ER replace the 757W?

As some customers press Airbus and Boeing for a replacement for the Boeing 757-200W used on selected trans-Atlantic, long-thin routes, Flightglobal floated a suggestion that that the Boeing 767-300ER might be a possible replacement.

The last passenger 767 was delivered this month. The line remains open with the 767-300ERF and the early stages of the USAF KC-46A tanker. A cut-price 763ER might be cheap enough to offset the operating cost disadvantage, or so the theory goes.

The 763ER is the right size in a three-class configuration—218 seats–and will be in production for many years to come due to the KC46 production line. We know Boeing sold the 763ER for a very low price in connection with compensation for the 787 delays, and we know that at a very low price, the 763ER economics do match the 787’s operating costs. But how does this stack up against the 757 in Flightglobal’s hypothesis?

Not very well. We did a quick economical analysis with our proprietary model.

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PW Media Day 2: GTF gets 35,000 lb thrust rating

Pratt & Whitney today confirmed that it will offer a Pure Power Geared Turbo Fan engine with 35,000 lbs of thrust, an increase of two thousand pounds from the previously announced model that powers the Airbus A321neo.

Officials declined to confirm our previously reported thrust bump for the Bombardier CSeries GTF, continuing to stick with its prepared statement.

Thrust bumps are largely considered for hot-and-high operations, where the extra boost is needed to get off the runway with maximum payload. In most operations, the extra thrust isn’t needed. The trade for the extra thrust is higher maintenance costs.

Airlines, according to one engineer, tell engine OEMs that they don’t want the extra thrust as the engine is being designed because of the associated extra costs, but then invariably later say they do.

Market Intelligence tells us CFM is going to provide a 35,000 lb model of the LEAP that powers the A321neo and the Boeing 737-9 MAX.

Separately, PW announced:

  • Six prototype V2500 engines built by affiliate International Aero Engines were shipped to Embraer for its KC-390 MRTT tanker. Flight testing will begin this year and certification is expected in the third quarter.
  • PW is “significantly” increasing capacity in advance of increased engine production demands for the civil and military markets.
  • PW signed $10bn in long-term supplier agreements with 90 companies globally for civil and military engines.

Airbus, Boeing face pricing pressure

Airbus and Boeing face pricing squeezes that are the result of their continuing price wars and two products that need price cuts to maintain sales.

The fierce single-aisle battle between Airbus and Boeing, and to a much lesser extent, between Airbus and Bombardier, puts pricing pressure on the A320ceo and to some degree the A320neo.

Airbus and Boeing each blame the other for a price war that has put pressure on margins for the in-production airplanes, but market share battles are only part of the issue. There is the need to keep the production lines humming for these airplanes in advance of the transition to the re-engined A320neo and 737 MAX, particularly as the Big Two up production rates over the next few years.

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757 replacement not in the cards any time soon

The unexpected attention earlier this month on the prospect of a Boeing 757 replacement, possibly in the form of a 777X-style concept of composite wings and wingbox, new engines and some system upgrades, brings into focus the Boeing 737-9 and the Airbus A321neo.

  • Aspire Aviation has its analysis of the next New Small Airplane here.

Boeing quickly denied, in an unusually firm manner, that it was planning on a “757 MAX” and reiterated it doesn’t currently plan to bring another new airplane to market until the middle of the next decade. We’ve previously reported that based on our information, Boeing will wait until the 777X enters flight testing, estimated for 2018, before launching a new family of airplanes to replace the 757 and 737 MAX—with entry-into-service of the 757 replacement around 2025 and the MAX replacement about two years later.

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Odds and Ends: Composites in future airplanes; Boeing and Hillary Clinton; 757 MAX; AA swaps A321neo orders; Delta RFP

Composites in future airplanes: Composites World has a post about the use of composites in the future, with a good graphic detailing the increasing use of this material in airliners.

Boeing and Hillary Clinton: The Washington Post has a long story about the relationship between Boeing and Hillary Clinton, while she was US Secretary of State. While the story raises some interesting issues with respect to the prospective presidential candidate in 2016, the points focusing on her advocating for Boeing aircraft purchases doesn’t bother us a bit: that’s what politicians do on behalf of Airbus. As far as we’re concerned, our government should be supporting our industries, too.

757 MAX: The Motley Fool raises the prospect of a Boeing “757 MAX,” which is a restart of the 757 line but with a composite wing and new engines–something along the lines of the 777X in concept.  We’ve been hearing rumblings about this, too.

American swaps A321neo orders: American Airlines swapped 30 A321neo firm orders into options, leaving 100 firm orders for this sub-type left. The deliveries were for 2021/22. American told us it retained this flexibility in the original contract and the new management elected to do so in order “to maintain flexibility.”

Delta’s RFP: Airchive has a good analysis of the Delta Air Lines Request for Proposals to replace its wide-body fleet. We were especially interested in the cost analysis of the 787 vs the A330, which is close to our own numbers (there was no collaboration between Airchive and Leeham).

Odds and Ends: Airbus neos; 757RS/A320RS; charity efforts

Airbus neos: The conversation continues, with Tom Williams, EVP of programmes, giving an interview to Flight Global about the A330neo and the A380neo. Plane Talking has another version of the Williams interview. Notable in Plane Talking’s report is the indication Williams said it will be a year before a decision is made on the A330neo. Our information is that a decision, whether yes or no, is due this year. PT also reports Williams indicated an A380neo would be a 2020s product. This suggests the prospect of a new engine from Rolls-Royce, which is under development, or conceivably a Big Engine Pratt & Whitney GTF could be considered.

757RS/A320RS: Aerotubropower, whose expertise is engines, discusses the implications of the planned improvements in fuel burn on the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan and what this means for the replacement of the Boeing 757, 737 and Airbus A320 families.

Charity efforts: IAM 751, the touch-labor union for Boeing, is often portrayed as a bunch greedy members who feel a sense of entitlement. One can certainly debate this point, but what isn’t debatable is 751′s efforts at charity throughout the year. Every once in a while, we pop over to 751′s blog. Today (Feb. 19) the first four items are about philanthropic efforts in Pierce and King counties.

Just as 751 members are often cast as greedy, so is Boeing, so it is only proper in this context to point out that Boeing also engages in philanthropic endeavors throughout the US (we don’t know about abroad). Here’s a link to some of Boeing’s efforts.