Odds and Ends: AirAsia on A330neo, A380; 777X specificiations; A380 engine PIPs

AirAsia on Airbus: AirAsia Group is one of Airbus’ largest customers, and its CEO Tony Fernandes is increasingly influential in the Asian sector. He’s also into car racing, often betting Virgin Group’s Richard Branson. This short interview details Fernandes’ view on the prospective A330neo–something Fernandes has been pushing for some time–and what he thinks Airbus should do with the A380.

Looking at the 777X: Aviation Week has a detailed look at the Boeing 777X “under the skin.” Fuel burn, engine thrust and general specifications are in the article. Aviation Week also has a series of videos from the Dubai Air Show here. Topics: 777X, Qatar Airways and A380 engines. On the latter, Emirates CEO Tim Clark suggests putting the new GE9X or Rolls-Royce Trent on the A380 to reduce fuel burn by 10%.

LionAir says CSeries order coming: Montreal Gazette

The Montreal Gazette reports that LionAir of Indonesia expects to place an order for the Bombardier CSeries next year.

Bloomberg has some additional detail.

LionAir already has hundreds of orders outstanding from Airbus and Boeing and is essentially attempting to replicate the business model of AirAsia, with subsidiaries in a number of countries.

Odds and Ends: 787 service return; LionAir’s A320 order; race to Paris; 777X v A350

787 to fly soon: Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, says the 787 will be back in service soon. Tests should be completed within days and he is confident in the fix.

LionAir’s A320 order: In case you wondered what LionAir is going to do with all those Airbus A320s now on order, this story tells you. As we suspected, LionAir will follow the AirAsia Group model of setting up airlines throughout Asia. Some will obviously compete with Tony Fernandes’ airline.

The race to Paris: AirInsight won the race by three minutes over Aviation Week. AirInsight posted at 1:24pm EDT and AvWeek at 1:27pm. That might be about the result between Bombardier and Airbus.

777X v A350: Aspire Aviation has an analysis of the forthcoming Boeing 777X and A350-1000 competition.

2012’s Most Influential Person in Commercial Aviation

In 2011 John Leahy of Airbus was voted the most influential person. Who do you think is the most influential this year? We’ll hide the results until the voting is complete.

A350-800 future: Airbus says it stays firm; here’s what customers tell us

Flight Global has this story in which Airbus says it remains committed to the A350-800, a sub-type that is the smallest of the A350 family and which has been the subject of much speculation that Airbus will choose not to proceed with it.

Airbus hasn’t helped matters because it’s been encouraging customers to switch to the larger A350-900. John Leahy, COO-Customers, some time ago told us the larger -900 is more profitable for Airbus and customers could get deliveries sooner.

But, according to customers we talk to, there are other reasons, too. First, according to one customer, is that Airbus is de-risking the program by getting customers to switch to the -900. The program has been delayed nearly two years and customers expect at least one more delay of three to six months to entry into service. Airbus is concentrating resources on the -900, and by switching customers from the -800, Airbus relieves the pressure on these resources.

This customer, which has switched its orders from the -800 to the -900, believes Airbus will build the -800.

Flight Global has this story which echoes what we’ve been told, citing Akbar Al-Baker of Qatar Airways: he switched from the -800 to the -900 because of the delays. But he now believes Airbus should discontinue offering the -800.

Airbus declined comment on the tie between delays and the switches.

Another customer switched its order did so simply because it likes the operating economics and revenue potential of the larger -900 better than the -800.

A key supplier, however, takes a dimmer view. The person we talked with believes Airbus will let the A350-800 go away, but this is his personal opinion and says that his company hasn’t heard anything to suggest this will be the case.

Eliminating the -800 would leave Airbus without a new technology competitor to the Boeing 787-9. Although some, including Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia, believe Airbus should proceed with an A330neo. Airbus so far dismisses such suggestions and it has not asked engine makers to consider such a possibility. But one airline fleet planner told us that he believes Airbus will one day proceed with the A330neo with an EIS of around 2020. This means Airbus would not have to ask engine makers to explore the possibility until next year or even 2014. So what is true today may or may not be true “tomorrow.”

New battle emerging in Asia

Our AirInsight affiliate has published a short report in its e-newsletter (subscription only) about a new battle emerging among LCCs in Asia.

An excerpt:

A new head-to-head battle appears to be shaping up in Asia.

Indonesia’s LionAir announced plans to create a new LCC, Malindo, which will be based in Malaysia and take on AirAsia.

AirAsia previously announced plans to acquire Indonesia’s Batavia Air—a deal that’s under regulator review and which may or may not consummate—in a bid to further penetrate the Indonesian market against LionAir.

AirAsia and LionAir are the two behemoths in the region, excluding flag carriers. AirAsia operates 100 Airbus A320s and has 272 more on order. It is poised to place an order for up to 100 more any day now. AirAsia was a launch customer for the A320neo and has been urging Airbus to proceed with a re-engining of the A330 to produce an A330neo—a move Airbus has so far resisted.

LionAir operates about 70 Boeing 737NGs and has an astounding 337 on order. It is the launch customer for the 737-9 MAX and was the first customer to sign a firm contract for the airplane. LionAir is poised to order 100 Airbus A320/A321 neos, presumably for the new venture.

Odds and Ends: Boeing responds to SPEEA; Enders’ mystery injury revealed; AirAsia

Boeing v SPEEA, con’t: As ballots are mailed by SPEEA to its members to vote on the Boeing contract offer, Boeing issued this response to SPEEA executive claims about the offer.

Enders’ mystery injury: EADS CEO Tom Enders was supposed to accompany the German chancellor to China on a recent trip but had to cancel due to an undisclosed injury. This Bloomberg article reveals what happened in a profile of his efforts to get the French and German governments out of EADS.

AirAsia: Long-written about plans to buy 100 Airbus A320s are headed to the board for approval, according to this article.

Odds and Ends: Airbus & Boeing White Elephants; BABC conference; CSeries stalking horse

White Elephants: Bloomberg News doesn’t pull any punches in this article.

747 No. 1 needs help: The Seattle Times has this long story about the first 747-100 that needs restoration.

BABC Conference: The British American Business Council has a conference Sept. 27 in Seattle, with focus on the Middle East. (Go figure.) Here is the link. Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates Airlines, is a key speaker.

CSeries Customers: Here’s a complete listing from Bombardier, the most detailed we’ve seen: The CSeries aircraft order book includes firm orders for 138 CSeries airliners from Braathens Aviation (five CS100 and five CS300 aircraft), Deutsche Lufthansa AG (30 CS100 aircraft), Korean Air (10 CS300 aircraft), Lease Corporation International Group (17 CS300 and three CS100 aircraft), PrivatAir (five CS100 aircraft), Republic Airways (40 CS300 aircraft), an unidentified major network carrier (10 CS100 aircraft), an unidentified European customer (10 CS100 aircraft) and a well-established, unidentified airline (three CS100 aircraft). The CSeries aircraft program has also booked options for 124 aircraft and purchase rights for 10 aircraft from these customers. In addition, the CSeries aircraft program has also achieved a conditional order placed by an unidentified customer for five CS100 and 10 CS300 airliners, as well as three letters of intent: for up to 30 CSeries aircraft from Ilyushin Finance Co; for up to 15 CS300 aircraft from Atlasjet; and for up to 20 CS300 aircraft from airBaltic.

AirAsia and CSeries: CAPA (Centre for Asia Pacific Aerospace) writes what we also figured: the buzz from the Farnborough Air Show about AirAsia and the CSeries seems to be more a ploy than a serious effort. Setting that aside, the CAPA piece is a pretty good analysis of the CSeries potential for low cost carriers.

The Sporty Game: AirInsight has an analysis on Boeing’s product strategy.

Odds and Ends: Random thoughts, Seinfeld style (i.e., about nothing)

We’re feeling irreverent today….

From Twitter: Boeing Defense@BoeingDefense In Sept issue of #Boeing Frontiers: With #Apollo roots, Boeing has grown to be largest #aerospace employer in #Alabama http://ow.ly/dB0Ef

Comment: We remember when Boeing said Alabamans couldn’t build a tricycle (during the bitter competition for the KC-X tanker).

Hunker Down: We’re going into the bunker on this one–Washington should become a right-to-work state. In 2008, IAM 751 (during its strike) boasted WA is the fourth most-unionized state in the country. We know this inhibits expanding aerospace here. We’ve heard it from companies. We’ve heard it from the head of one of the Economic Development Commissions here that unions are the first topic to come up when he is recruiting companies to expand here. We don’t object to unions per se but we don’t think someone should be forced to join one. (That’s how we feel about Republicans, too….)

Take two Viagra and try again: The refueling boom was being extended when it fell off an Airbus KC-30 during a test flight.

Thank you for smoking: Airbus is really pushing Europe to delay implementation of its emissions trading scheme, which jeaopardizes orders from China. Despite the sarcasm, we agree with Airbus–any regulations through be through ICAO, not on Europe’s own, ill-advised hook.

Macht nichts: No AirAsia order at the Berlin Air Show after all. The airline will be the first to operate the A320neo and the airplane with sharklets.

Macht nichts, II: MTU is a partner with Pratt & Whitney on the Geared Turbo Fan for the Mistubishi MRJ, the Bombardier CSeries, Irkut MS-21 and the A320neo but looks to join GE for the new engine for the Boeing 777X.

 

LCC airline news: AirAsia bid draws scrutiny; WestJet goes upscale; M&A potential

There are two items of note for low-cost carriers that we find interesting:

  • AirAsia’s bid to buy Batavia Air looks like it is to become a political football, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal.
  • Canada’s WestJet is adding premium coach class to its long-standing single-class service. We find this one particularly interesting.

Then there is this analytical piece from Seeking Alpha about a variety of potential mergers.