We’re off to Svalbard (we know: ‘where’s that?’)

One piece of business: AirInsight has a lot of videos from the Paris Air Show, interviews with key people. Go here for the full listing.

And we’re off….

Long-time readers know we like to do unusual things–like our trip to far north Alaska in 2010, photographing polar bears, musk ox, the Northern Lights and driving the 550 mile haul road (well, others did the actual driving) between Fairbanks and the oil fields. Or like our African photo safari trip in 2000. Or or DC-7B excursion. And more recently our DC-3 ride.

We’re at it again. We’re off to Svalbard.

The most common reaction we get is a blank stare, followed by “where’s that?”

The maps show where it is.

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Odds and Ends: Mike Mecham, aviation fixture, retires; 777 robotics

Mike Mecham is a fixture in aviation journalism. He is retiring after 26 years with Aviation Week.

We’ve known Mike only for a few of these 26 years. He’s a cantankerous curmudgeon infamous for his monopolizing press events as if he was doing a one-on-one, totally oblivious to two dozen other journalists waiting their turn to question the subject, and having a jaundiced view of just about everything.

And that’s what made him so likeable in spite of himself.

At Boeing’s media dinner at the end of Day One of the pre-Paris Air Show briefing, Boeing’s Commercial Corp Com arose to wish him well, tell some stories and give him an airplane. True to form, Cranky Mikey remarked he hoped it wasn’t a 787 with batteries. (It was a 747-8 model.)

Mike was virtually joined at the hip with Guy Norris, another AvWeek journalist. No matter what the event, Guy and Mike appeared together. This constant companionship inevitably inspired ribald commentary. We have to believe Guy will go through withdrawal.

We asked Mike as we were boarding our respective buses off the Boeing property at the end of Day 2 what he planned to do in retirement. Mike plans to eschew aviation and commune with nature. We shudder to think how Mother Nature will greet this news; she and her creations will never be the same.

AirInsight has this 3 1/2 minute video with Mike, who gives his unvarnished views of the industry.

We wish Mike all the best.

In Boeing News:

Boeing showed us some technological advances in building the 777, another step in the Lean process begun in 2005. King 5 TV has this story: 777 wing painting. The Seattle Times also has a report.

We don’t have much to add to these two reports, so we’ll leave this topic here.

Odds and Ends: 787 impact on Boeing; Pan Am Worldport follows the airline; KC-46A production

787 Impact on Boeing: Over at AirInsight, we write that the 787 grounding in the end has a small impact on Boeing. Find out why here.

Following Pan Am into oblivion: The famed Worldport will be demolished next year. Another piece of history will be gone, but our friend Benet Wilson thinks the demise is a good idea.

Speaking of history, did you realize Aloha Air Lines is still around, as Aloha Air Cargo?

KC-46A production begins: The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that production on the Boeing KC-46A USAF tanker begins shortly.

Plane Talking’s Air Show Preview: Ben Sandilands’ Plane Talking takes his look at the Paris Air Show preview today. Our Paris Air Show Preview will be coming next week. Tomorrow and Thursday we’re at Boeing all day for PAS briefings, all except program updates on the 737 MAX and today’s 777 under embargo until June 14 and the 2013 Current Market Outlook under embargo until June 11.

We’re particularly looking forward to the MAX briefing in light of the information linked yesterday to Daniel Tsang’s huge Boeing piece in which he touched on some MAX features.

Meantime, our colleague Addison Schonland will be going to the Airbus PAS briefing next week. We’ll link and follow his reports over at AirInsight.

Odds and Ends: Cybersecurity and aviation; lithium-ion batteries; WA worries about SC; Porter Airlines

Cybersecurity threat to aviation: Addison Schonland at AirInsight has been working on a project related to cybersecurity and the threat to aviation. He’s posted this article that raises serious issues.

Lithium-Ion Batteries: On the eve of the NTSB two-day forum on lithium-ion batteries, Reuters has a think-piece about these batteries in general: uses in cars and other products, for example. It’s been a 10-year research project by battery designers. Quite an interesting article.

WA worries about SC: The Seattle Times writes that Washington State officials are worried about the latest expansion by Boeing in South Carolina.

In advance of Porter CSeries order: A lot of Tweeting from an aerospace writer in Canada:

  1. Source says Porter feels city of toronto and Feds willing to revisit tripartite agreement.

  2. Unclear at this point where the Porters CSeries will fly from when its delivered in 2016

  3. Porter Airlines adding Calgary, Vancouver. LA, Miami, and Orlando using CSeries. From where remains the question.

  4. @scottdeveau Porter is seeking a lift on jet aircraft bans at Billy Bishop and aims to add 180 m on either end of the runway for CSeries

Typo or Freudian slip? Brendan Kearney@Kearney_Brendan 16m

Now @NikkiHaley‘s comments on #Boring SC growth plan… (1/?)

Brendan Kearney@Kearney_Brendan 13m

@LeehamNews @nikkihaley ha, typo — and one that I fear making. Usually I catch myself when my thumb strays right on the keyboard.

Noise contours for the Bombardier CS100 and the Porter Airlines expected order

The news that Canada’s Porter Airlines is the Unidentified North American customer that signed a Letter of Intent for up to 30 Bombardier CSeries for use at Toronto City Airport sparked a lot of noise (pun intended).

Late yesterday The Wall Street Journal reported that Porter will announce its order tomorrow.

Key to the order is the fact that BBD and engine provider Pratt & Whitney promise a low noise footprint and just 70 decibels approaching the airport. Toronto City Airport is a highly noise-sensitive airport.

As yesterday’s post about all this noted, Porter and the OEMs will argue the CS100 is no louder than the Bombardier Q400 now serving the airport. This leads to a small noise contour, or foot print, as illustrated in this BBD chart:

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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.

Odds and Ends: Bombardier lands Delta’s RJ deal; 787 events in perspective; Airbus/China; Enders victory

Delta Air Lines: Bombardier, in a welcome development, landed a major order with Delta for 40+30 CRJ900s, beating out Embraer’s E-Jet proposal. Delta has a large, installed base of CRJs and EMB wasn’t too optimistic, in management-analysts meetings last week, according to research notes. But BBD liked its odds, considering the CRJ is more fuel efficient than the E-Jet (being a small airplane), even if the E-Jet is far more comfortable.

For BBD, the order is important for two reasons. First, the CRJ backlog is shrinking. Deliveries begin 2H2013, and this illustrates the point. Second, with BBD sucking up cash in advance of CSeries first flight in 1H2013, the deposits, progress payments and delivery payments are welcome, indeed.

The next face-off between the two OEMs is American Airlines, where both have large installed RJ fleets of aging aircraft.

Boeing 787 events: Airworthiness Directive. “Emergency” landing. AirInsight puts things into perspective.

Airbus lands China orders: Hmm. EU suspends plans to impose ETS tax. Airbus lands orders for 60 A320s and 10 A330s. What do you make of that…

Enders now 1-1, sort of: Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, lost his bid to acquire BAE Systems due to German government interference. The merger would have reduced government meddling, balanced EADS commercial and military business, put EADS on a more equal footing with Boeing and positioned EADS better for US DOD contract bids. But Enders has now won a corporate governance restructuring that ends government meddling in daily operations. He still hasn’t achieved his other goals, but this one is so huge that we rate Enders’ won-lost record 1-1.

Comparing the 747-8I and the A380 after the advertising battle commenced

Notation: Aeroturbopower weighs in on the controversy with his usual data-driven analysis.

With the commencement of the advertising battle between Boeing and Airbus, it is useful to make some additional comparisons prepared by AirInsight.

Here is the offending Boeing ad that set off the ad wars. It’s a two-page spread and sorry, we couldn’t scan it into one advert. Click each image to englarge.

From AirInsight:

The 747-8I and A380 are quite different aircraft, and while some view them as direct competitors, they are more properly lone players in different segments of the VLA market. Nonetheless, an airline will likely evaluate both aircraft as it maps its growth strategy, and two carriers, Lufthansa and Korean Air, have chosen to fly both aircraft types for different route structures.  Each of those airlines have indicated that the 747-8I fills a gap between their 300 seat aircraft and 525 seat A380 aircraft, and will deploy the aircraft appropriately to traffic demand and traffic growth in different markets.

While the two aircraft are quite different, they are still compared to each other and both aircraft mile and seat mile economics.  Of course, in comparing these aircraft, seating configurations make quite a difference, and the two aircraft manufacturers utilize markedly different assumptions in that regard.  Boeing indicates that standard 3-class seating configuration for its 747-8I is 467 seats, but Lufthansa is currently using 362 in its aircraft, compared with 334 in a 747-400, and 526 for its A380.  Each of these layouts is oriented heavily towards premium class seating, an essential element for many carriers these days.

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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: 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.