Odds and Ends: Volcano protection; Airbus trims guidance on A350; More on Boeing

Volcano protection: No, we’re not talking about any eruptions from IAM 751. Instead, Airbus and Europe’s easyJet created some man-made volcano ash to conduct tests for detecting the real thing.

Airbus trims guidance: EADS/Airbus trimmed its financial guidance on A350 development costs, according to The Financial Times (free registration required). According to The Times, the entry-into-service of the A350–slated for 3Q2014–”is at risk.” We have EIS in 1Q2015. EADS for now is sticking with the 2014 EIS.

Boeing 777X: As might be expected, there continues to be a lot of news on the 777X.

Odds and Ends: easyJet’s ‘neutral’ engine; Airbus, Boeing futures in Puget Sound

easyJet’s ‘neutral’ engine: We were amused at the Airbus photo release concerning easyJet firming up its orders for 100 A320neos, announced at the Paris Air Show. In the past, aviation geeks scrutinized the photos to see what engines were depicted to gain a clue if an engine order wasn’t announced with the airframe order. With the easyJet photo release, Airbus entitled it, Airbus “A320neo easyJet Neutral engines.”

EASYJET A320neo_NEUTRAL ENGINE_

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Airbus in Puget Sound: Next week the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance and the Washington Department of Commerce are hosting the first Airbus suppliers fair here in the State.

  • This is something near to our heart. We’ve been working on getting Airbus here for a suppliers fair since 2009 as part of the “Beyond Boeing” strategy we outlined in an October 2009 speech at a conference in Spokane (WA). When we began consulting to the Washington Department of Commerce the following year, Commerce (which previously had expressed interest) also took up the cause. The whole thing fell apart at the height of the vitriolic USAF tanker competition, when the Washington Congressional delegation became so political about the affair. Since then, Commerce and the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance took up the cause and next week is the culmination of this effort. According to the State, 40 percent of the Washington suppliers it surveyed already serve Airbus, and the State is the Number 2 supplier in the US to Airbus by company count. Airbus wants to increase its US dollar-based footprint and is even talking about opening an engineering center in Washington during the next 10 years.
  • The Puget Sound Business Journal article linked above has several links within it with more background.

Boeing in Puget Sound: Meantime, the Puget Sound Business Journal has several articles about Boeing’s future here:

The South is Winning: Why Puget Sound keeps losing jobs

The South is Winning: New composites could hasten drift

The south is Winning: Could Washington become a Right-to-Work State?

  • In this one, we note that the unions “saved Boeing’s ass” during the 747-8 and 787 debacles but if Washington wants to truly be competitive with the South, it needs to become a right-to-work state. Fat chance.

There is also this editorial comment from The Everett Herald.

Paris Air Show, Day 2

To us the biggest news coming out of Day 2 was not the launch of the Boeing 787-10–this was widely expected–but the suggestion by Boeing CEO Jim McNerney that he might seek a waiver to the mandatory age 65 retirement to hang around a bit more.

We comment on this in another post.

Otherwise, today was pretty anti-climactic: Airbus won easyJet–this had been reported as likely. Boeing launched the 787-10 with the expected launch customers. Boeing added five sales to the largely dormant 747-8I program. The Wall Street Journal has a somewhat cheeky view of Airbus’ sales targets, with Boeing’s Randy Tinseth predictably churlish.

And it rained and rained and rained. We’re glad we’re in Seattle.

It’s official: Boeing launches 787-10 with 102 orders, commitments

Here’s the Boeing press release.

Boeing expects the 787-10 to perhaps be the best selling model of the family over time. With a range of 7,000nm, it will have the ability to do most airline missions; 8,000nm-8,500nm range airplanes (let alone the proposed 9,400nm range of the 777X) is really more than most carriers need. We expect the orders to double by the end of the year.

In other Paris Air Show news, easyJet chose to stay with Airbus for its fleet renewal ordering a combination of 35 A320ceos and 100 neos. This was hard-fought competition. Boeing thought it won the deal on price, and Bombardier was ready to go with its own contract when Airbus came in at the last minute with a low price of its own, blowing both competitors out of the water.

Bombardier: This story explains in part why Bombardier has been challenged in selling the CSeries. The US Scope Clause inhibits sales to regional airlines; and lessors want to see a broader customer base. This is in addition to Airbus under-pricing Bombardier in key campaigns to block sales.

ATR landed an order for up to 90 ATR-72-600s.

Boeing will market the Embraer KC-390 to the Pentagon. After all the Boeing campaign about the Pentagon buying a foreign airplane for a tanker, this really takes the cake.

Odds and Ends: A320 Sharklet tests better than forecast; Emirates and A350-1000

Back to work:
Airbus flight tests reveal that its Sharklet is one-half percent better on long-range operations than had been forecast.
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The company revealed that the A320 Sharklet 4% better fuel burn than the current airplane on long-range flight tests, vs. the 3.5% forecast. EIS is next month.
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The company also had the maiden flight of the A319 Sharklet on November 23. EIS is second quarter 2013.
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Airbus Photo
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Emirates and A350-1000: Aviation Week has this piece about the A350-1000 and Emirates Airlines. We’ve also been told the aircraft is overweight at this stage and field performance is a concern, we’re confident Airbus will be able to address the issues. (We’d note that field performance for the Boeing 737 MAX has also been a concern, but we also believe Boeing will overcome this. The point is that weight and performance are also concerns of new airplane programs, including the Boeing 787 and 747-8.)
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EasyJet looks at Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier: easyJet is considering all three OEMs for its next round of aircraft, considering the A320, the 737 and the CSeries.

Allegiant Air selects A319

Allegiant Air, an Ultra-Low Cost Carrier in the US, announced that it will lease Airbus A319s from GECAS and purchase more from The Philippines’ Cebu Air.

Update: Here is the Allegiant presentation. This confirms Allegiant is getting the four-exit, 156-passenger airplane.

Notably, Allegiant had this to say:

“The A319 is a new aircraft type for Allegiant, but we otherwise see this as a continuation of our existing business model,” said Andrew C. Levy, Allegiant President. “A319 asset values have significantly declined and now mirror the environment we saw when we first began buying MD-80s.”

Airbus issued this statement:

“A new operator is always great news, but it’s a grand endorsement of the Airbus product line when that operator is a growing low-cost carrier in one of the strongest markets in the world,” said Barry Eccleston, Airbus Americas President and Chief Executive Officer. “Allegiant is hyper conscious of both cost and comfort, and the fact they are turning to the A320 Family proves we have the aircraft the airline knows it needs to fly them successfully into the future.”

Our take:

Allegiant has been operating the MD-80 with 150 seats and is increasing capacity to 160 (or 162). The A319 with wall-to-wall seating is around 150 and somewhat more if a second overwing exit were installed (as with easyJet).

Values of A319s have, as Allegiant noted, been falling in the last few years (so have those for Boeing 737-700s, though not quite as much). Lease rates, according to one lessor, hovers in the $100,000-$120,000 range for older A319s and 737-700s and even less for the oldest ones.