Bridging the gap from E-Jet E1 to E2

Facing a production gap of a year of more between today’s in-production airplane and the entry-into-service of its new model, Embraer is confident it can bridge this gap with little difficulty.

 

Bundling orders of the E-Jet E1 with the re-engined, re-winged E-Jet E2 will be one way, Claudio Camelier, vice president of market intelligence, told us during the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading conference in San Diego.

 

Chief Commercial Officer John Slattery told us he’s charged his sales force to pursue aggressive sales campaigns to add to the customer base, not only with new aircraft but also with used ones, to 100 by EIS of the E-190 E2 in the first half of 2018.

 

Sales last year to American Airlines, United Airlines and Republic Airways Holdings were important steps in bridging the production gap, Camelier told us. These three companies ordered 177 E-175 E1s, ending 2013 with a stronger position than EMB started the year with. EMB currently produces the E-Jet at a rate of about eight per month, a figure that will be more-or-less maintained for the foreseeable future.

 

EMB began this year with orders for 25 E-190 E2s and 25 E-195 E2s from India’s Air Costa. A stiff campaign with Bombardier at Air Canada faces off the E2 with the CS300, a contest that many expect will be decided by mid-year, perhaps in time for the Farnborough Air Show. The E2 has a common cockpit with the E1, but the engines, wings, many systems and aerodynamic improvements distinguish the airplanes from each other.

 

Additionally, the E-195 E2 has three more rows for 12 more passengers, putting some more distance between itself and the E-190. The E-190 and E-195 had only an eight passenger difference, resulting in generally slow sales for the E-195; now it’s 20+, a capacity that should make the E-195 E2 more attractive, Camelier told us.

 

The larger capacity is more attractive in Europe, where scope clauses in pilot union contracts have passenger capacity limits of 100-105 vs about 76 seats in the USA, Camelier says.

 

The E-190 E2 is at the end of its first design definition phase and will complete the Preliminary Design Review during the first half of this years.

Bombardier CSeries program update

Bombardier’s investors day last week covered a lot of ground across its entire business line, including rail, corporate aircraft, as well as commercial aerospace.

The area of most interest, of course, is on the CSeries, the all-new aircraft design that pits BBD for the first time directly against Airbus and Boeing and their small A319ceo, A319neo, 737-700 and 737-7.

The CSeries, in its current iteration, was launched in 2008 with an entry-into-service announced for December 2013. With three subsequent delays, EIS is now slated for the second half of 2015 (the CS100, followed by six months by the larger CS300).

Sales have been slower than desired, both by observers and by some within BBD, though executives say they are satisfied with sales to-date: there are 201 firm orders and 445 orders, options and LOIs, from nearly 20 customers. This compares with the announced goal of 300 firm orders and 20-30 customers by the previous EIS of 4Q2014. BBD has not reset the goal following the new 2015 EIS.

During the investors’ day, no “breaking” news was announced; no new orders were revealed and a broad update of the flight test program was discussed.

Sales campaigns revealed last year continue to be pursued: Monarch Airlines of the UK, Air Canada and, more recently, Ethiopian Airlines. A CSeries sales campaign in Russia, where Bombardier has had success for the CSeries and the Q400, may be sidetracked due to the recent events in Ukraine and selective international sanctions against Russia by the West. BBD already acknowledged its Q400 program in Russia has been affected.

CS100 Flight Test Vehicle 3 entered the program just before the investors’ day. FTV 4, the one that will concentrate on engine testing, had “power on” last week and should enter flight testing soon. FTV 5 follows at an unspecified date, with FTV 6 and 7–the CS300 aircraft–coming thereafter.

The following slides, from presentations at the investors’ day, represent some selected overviews of the BBD discussion.

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Bombardier and Embraer square off at ISTAT

Bombardier and Embraer squared off today at the ISTAT conference in San Diego. Rod Sheridan, VP sales and asset management, appeared for BBD and John Slattery, chiefr commercial officer, appeared for EMB.

The following synopsizes and paraphrases their presentations.

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Bombardier CSeries delays have little impact vs competitors

Bombardier’s third CSeries Flight Test Vehicle finally became airborne March 3. FTV 3 focuses on avionics. FTV 4 will focus on the testing of the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbo Fan engine; Bombardier hasn’t announced a date when this airplane will join the test program.

Bombardier’s rescheduled flight test schedule, reflecting a 9-15 month additional delay to entry-into-service (now the second half of 2015), hasn’t been publicly detailed. BBD presents to the International Society of Transport Aircraft Traders (ISTAT) at its annual US meeting this week in San Diego, and there is an investors day later in the week. We expect one or both venues to provide program updates.

The new EIS narrows the gap between the CSeries and its competitors, the Airbus A319neo, the Embraer E-190/195 E2 and the Boeing 737-7 MAX. But the impact isn’t significant, in our view. Airbus’ A319neo—the direct competitor to the CS300—was to be the first of the re-engined challengers to the new-design CS300 with an EIS originally set for the first quarter of 2016 (six months after the A320neo EIS of October 2015). But Qatar Airways, the launch customer of the A319neo, dropped this order in favor of the larger A320neo. The A319neo EIS is now slated for the second half of 2017, for Avianca Airlines.

EIS 100-149

 

This means the original two-year gap between the CS300 and the A319neo remains the same, assuming no additional delays for the CSeries and none for the A319neo.

Parenthetically, we are unsure if Frontier Airlines will take its order for 20 A319neos, with first delivery scheduled in 2018. When we talked with CEO David Siegel two years ago, he expressed doubts about taking the airplane, preferring the larger A320 sibling. The only other announced customer is Avianca, with a firm order for nine. Will Avianca ultimately take the A319neo, particularly if Frontier swaps its order? We have our doubts. There is an unannounced customer for the A319neo for eight, according to the Ascend data base, but delivery dates currently are listed as “2500.”

The Embraer E-190 E2 nominally competes with the CS100; it’s barely within the 100-125 seat category in a one-class configuration, while the CS100 is comfortably within this sector. In two classes, the E-190 E2 is an 88 seat aircraft and the CS100 is 100 seats. The CS100 also has more range; arguably these are different classes of aircraft.

The E-195 E2 nominally competes with the CS-300. In one class, the E-195 E2 is a 132 seat airplane, but the CS-300 carriers 145-149 passengers, and as with the CS-100 has longer range. The E-195 E2 is a more direct competitor with the CS-100, but range is shorter and missions may be somewhat different. The EIS for the CSeries vs the E2s still has a gap of 2 ½-3 ½ years, assuming no delays to either program based on the currently announced schedules.

The 737-7 MAX EIS is slated for 2019, about four years after the CS-300.

Thus, we see little impact to Bombardier’s delay from a practical standpoint.

Despite the additional delay, Bombardier hasn’t yet updated its expectations for firm orders and customer numbers. It’s still reporting its goal to have 300 firm orders and 20-30 customers by EIS (previously fall of 2014). Moving the EIS to the right by 9-15 months should implicitly infer higher numbers. Perhaps new targets will be revealed in the program update this week.

The case for an NSA in 2025 — successor to 737-8 MAX — (continued)

 Editor’s Note: Given the amount of interest in the prospect of replacements for the single-aisle airplanes, including the Boeing 757, our Guest Columnist provided a follow-up think piece.

By James Krebs

With the reengined Boeing 737 MAX and Airbus A320 neo families selling like gangbusters, it may seem premature, before one even flies, to be considering a New Small Airplane (NSA) successor to enter service beginning in 2025. But I’m convinced the NSA will come before conventional wisdom expects. The marketplace will demand them.

A combination of market forces could make a compelling case for a NSA in service in 2025.

-   Continuing high fuel prices

-   Increasing urgency to reduce aviation carbon emissions

-   Availability of technology for 20% fuel savings vs 737-8 max and A320 neo (at same seat number) at acceptable risk

-   Traffic growth calling for more seats for 2025 and beyond.

-   Growing pressure from the airlines later in this decade for cleaner, more economical short haul NSA’s

-   Huge global market potential for NSA families — with their performance improved through the years

-   A short haul market share by 2017-18 (neo’s and MAX in service) very disappointing to Boeing.

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Odds and Ends: Boeing’s bonus to Charleston workers; E-Jet E2 EIS; IAM and Airbus; Fending off A330neo

Boeing’s bonus to Charleston workers: We’ve ignored the continuing workmanship stories of Boeing’s Charleston plant on the 787 for the past months as Norwegian Air Shuttle, LOT and Air India continue to have problems with the airplane. We figured there has been more than enough written about the program difficulties, so we moved on.

But the stories that Boeing is offering bonuses to Charleston workers to get the job right is something we feel compelled to comment on. The Seattle Times has this story.

It’s a bit of wonderment that Boeing finds it necessary to incentivize workers to do their jobs correctly, providing a bonus that is greater than those given to the Everett workers who have to fix the poor workmanship of Charleston. Typically, bonuses are given to workers for going above-and-beyond, not for merely doing what they are supposed to do in the first place.

The continuing issues with Charleston are waved away as “things are going according to plan,” and “traveled work is expected.” If this is “according to plan,” then the planner should be canned. Of course, we know this is merely corporate rhetoric dodging the question and strains credibility.

And back at Everett, those early 787s, known as the “Terrible Teens,” are still problem children, according to this report on public radio station KUOW.

EMB E2 timeline: Embraer has clarified its entry-into-service for the E-Jet E2. Flight Global reports that an official said the E-195 E2′s EIS will be the first half of 2018 (which was previously specified) and the E-190 E2 and E-175 E2 will follow in the first half of 2019 and 2020 respectively. Previously, EMB hadn’t been this specific about the EIS of the sibling models, saying only EIS would be in 2019 and 2020.

Union attempt at Airbus: To absolutely no surprise, the International Association of Machinists will attempt to unionize the new Airbus Mobile (AL) plant, reports The Street. IAM will also attempt to re-organize Boeing’s Charleston plant, which was once an IAM shop but de-certified in advance of the second 787 assembly line being located there. The Charleston Post and Courier has this story about the union plans there.

Conspiracy theorists in the IAM 751 suggested a quid-pro-quo between the International IAM: Boeing neutrality of re-organizing Charleston in exchange for the 777X contract vote.

Fending off A330neo: Aspire Aviation has a long piece about the prospective Airbus A330neo and how Boeing can fend off this potential competition.

Icing Up: This isn’t aviation (unless you consider this a satellite photo), but we are just fascinated by this picture of the Great Lakes in the US Midwest. The Great Lakes are 80% iced over.

Odds and Ends: LEAP vs GTF; CSeries flight testing; MRJ FAL

LEAP vs GTF: Reuters has a story looking at the intense competition between CFM and Pratt & Whitney for the market dominance of the LEAP vs Geared Turbo Fan engines.

The only airplane where there is competition is on the Airbus A320neo family; CFM is exclusive on the Boeing 737 MAX and COMAC C919 and PW is exclusive on the Bombardier CSeries, Embraer E-Jet E2 and Mitsubishi MRJ. PW shares the platform of the Irkut MC-21 with a Russian engine. PW says it has sold more than 5,000 GTFs across the platforms. CFM has sold more than 6,000 across the three models it powers.

On the A320neo family, the competition is 50-50 at this point, with a large number of customers yet to decide on an engine choice. However, 60 A320neos (120 engines) ordered by lessor GECAS never were in contested (GECAS buys exclusively from CFM) and 80 A319/320neos from Republic Airways Holdings (160 engines) were part of a financial rescue package for then-ailing Frontier Airlines.

PW’s joint venture partner, International Aero Engines, shares the A320ceo family platform with CFM. Late to the market, IAE caught up to CFM in recent years.

On platforms where they compete, the sales figures so far show a neck-and-neck competition between CFM and PW.

Update, 12:30: The link has been fixed. Update, 9:30 am PST: Flight Global has this story reporting that PW plans a Performance Improvement Package on the GTF that will further cut fuel consumption by 3%.

CSeries flight testing: Bombardier’s CSeries flight testing has been slow to this point, but it’s beginning to ramp up. Aviation Week reports that FTV 3 should be in the air by the end of this month and FTV 4 should follow in April. FTV 3 is the avionics airplane and FTV 4 focuses on GTF engine testing.

Mitsubishi MRJ: Aviation Week also reports that the Mitsubishi MRJ airplane #1 is nearing final assembly.

Odds and Ends: A350 state loan; Bridging 777 Classic sales; Embraer nabs E2 order; IAM chief speaks out

A350 Loan: The Wall Street Journal reports that Airbus and Germany ended talks about a state loan for the A350 program. Good. Airbus doesn’t need the loan and “divorcing” from state aid frees Airbus to make decisions for the production based on commercial considerations and not politically-driven jobs requirements.

Airbus is considering a second A350 production line to open up slots for the -1000 model. Germany made no secret that this line had to be in Hamburg in exchange for the loan. Our Market Intelligence indicates Airbus may want to locate the line outside Germany and perhaps outside Europe. Ridding itself of continue German meddling is a good thing for Airbus; now it “only” has the unions to deal with.

  • In a Guest Column in Aviation Week, Richard Aboulafia continues his A380-bashing, but what he has to say about challenges facing Airbus in the twin-aisle, heart-of-the-market sector bears reading.

Bridging 777s: Jon Ostrower at The Wall Street Journal published this story today about Boeing’s plans to support the 777 Classic sales in advance of the 777X. He reports that Boeing will try to pair 777 Classic orders with the 777X (something we forecast months ago). Boeing is also going to launch a 777 P2F program, persuading airlines to sell their older 777s to cargo carriers and replace them with new 777 Classic orders. This is a challenge because of the continuing softness in the cargo market and plenty of 747-400s available for conversion and 747-400Fs parked in the desert. Such a plan will make it increasingly difficult to support sales of the new-build 747-8F as well.

Although Boeing said it won’t shave the price on the 777 Classic to stimulate sales, we think it will (as it has on the 737 NG).

Embraer nabs E2 customer: Embraer today announced it won an order from an Indian airline for 50 E190 E2s and 50 E195 E2s with options for 50 each. The airline, Air Costa, is a current E1 customer. This is the first E2 order since the launch of the program at the Paris Air Show last June.

Reuters has an article from the Singapore Air Show quoting the Air Costa CEO. The article takes a look at the “small” aircraft market.

IAM chief speaks out: The president of the International Association of Machinists, Tom Buffenbarger, called the Puget Sound Business Journal to talk about the controversial Boeing 777X contract vote.

Why would Buffenbarger do this? He’s facing his first contested election since 1961 and his opponent is from IAM District 751 right here in Seattle. The article makes fascinating reading.

MC-21 profile: A Russian newspaper provides a profile of the Irkut MC-21 (or MS-21 or Yak-242). Talk about confused branding.

Filling the production gap at three OEMs

HawksWinHawksWinHawksWin!!!

Airbus, Boeing and Embraer face production gaps of several years in three key product lines. Two of these, Boeing and Embraer, relate to transitions from current generation airplanes to new derivatives. Airbus faces a large gap for its ambition to continue one popular airliner well into the 2020 decade.

Airbus wants to continue production of the A330 at least to 2022 and perhaps later. Boeing last year launched the 777X to succeed the 777 Classic. Embraer also launched a new derivative, the E-Jet E2, to succeed the E-Jet E1. Based on current production rates, the OEMs’ current backlogs produce the following picture:

Airplane

Backlog

At 12/31/13

Production

Rate Today

Per Month

Current Backlog Ends

EIS of New

Airplane

Production

Gap

A330

267

10

May 2016

2022*

6 yrs

777 Classic

314

8.3

Feb 2017

2020**

3 ½ yrs

E-Jet E1

279

8

Nov 2016

1H2018

1 ¼-1 ½ yrs

* Publicly identified continued production goal

** Boeing says 2020;we assume 1H2020; Market Intelligence indicates Boeing would like to achieve a 2019 EIS.

Leeham Co. Chart. Sources: OEMs.

The key, and obvious, question is what do the three OEMs do to bridge this production gap.

 Embraer arguably is in the best shape. EMB’s chief executive officer told Bloomberg News last week that he sees about 150 E-Jet orders through 2015—but the news report didn’t specify how many might be today’s E-Jet E1 or the re-engined, next generation E-Jet E2. If these 150 turn out to be the E1, the production gap is basically filled. If these 150 are a mix of E1s and E2s, EMB could still have challenges. EMB could, like Airbus and Boeing, combine current and next generation deals into one.

 EMB officials have also gone on record that they won’t cut prices to spur sales of the E1. What else can they say publicly? They are certainly not going to say they’re open to bidding wars, and we’re not at all convinced there isn’t sharp discounting in EMB’s future. Bombardier has famously refused to offer discounts demanded by potential customers and mediocre CSeries sales reflect this. Boeing and Airbus claimed they would maintain pricing on the 737NG and A320ceo families in advance of the re-engined derivatives, but both complained about price cutting by the Other Guy and our Market Intelligence certainly tells us each has engaged in sharp, sharp discounting against each other (and in Airbus’ case, against Bombardier’s Cseries).

 We fully expect Boeing to offer discounted package deals to customers to sell the 777 Classic with the 777X and Airbus certainly expects Boeing will cut the price of the 777 Classic to close the production gap.

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Click this link: Airlines beginning to push for discounts on 777 Classic.

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 Airbus has the greatest challenge: currently a six year gap between today’s backlog and the previously stated goal to maintain production to at least 2022. Airbus has been more successful with the A330 than officials ever expected (helped in no small measure by the 787 program debacle). With a production line long-since paid off (which is also true for the 777 Classic), Airbus has a lot of pricing flexibility (as does Boeing). But while Boeing has a successor product for the Classic, Airbus positions the A330 as a complementary airplane to the A350, not a successor. The launch last year of the A330 Regional is an effort to refresh the line and add sales, but so far none has been announced. Proceeding with an A330neo would breath new life into the program, probably adding 10-15 years to production.

 Another way to bridge the production gap is to reduce rates and spread out delivery dates. But this repositions cash flows and profits, and it’s something we don’t think the OEMs will want to do.

 We think price discounting, as with the 737NG and A320ceo, will be the more likely solution.

 

Odds and Ends: A350-800 stretch; Mixed results on P-8A; BBD takes hit; Hot seat

A350-800 Stretch: The idea of an A350-800 stretch, to around 300 seats, was floated at the Airbus annual press conference January 13. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to us. This would put the airplane almost on a par with the A350-900  at 316 seats. Typically the seating differences between minor model variants range from 10% to 15% to 20%–not a mere 5% as would be the case with the suggested 800-to-900. The operating results would be the following, according to Leeham Co EU’s analysis:

  • On  6,000nm trip, ie a 12.5 hour flight the fuel burns would be:
  • - 900, 65.4t      datum    2.33l per seat and 100km
  • - 800l 63.9t       97.7%  2.44l
  • - 800  62.4t       95.4%  2.53l

The -800 would have slightly lower trip costs but per-seat costs would be somewhat higher.

Mixed results: Bloomberg News reports mixed operational results for Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon, the replacement for the 1950s-era Lockheed P-3 Orion sub-hunter and surveillance airplane.

Bombardier takes hit: Bombardier takes a harsh hit in this column in the Toronto Globe and Mail, coming on the heels of 1,700 layoffs.’s CEO gave this interview to Bloomberg News.

Hot seat: Runway Girl Network reports that magnesium might be used for airplane seats. Let’s hope the plane is evacuated in the mandatory 90 seconds in an emergency and fire.

Embraer forecast: Embraer sees 150 orders through 2015 for its E-Jets, according to this Bloomberg News report. EMB needs the orders, if they include the E-Jet E1; there is a production gap between the E1 and E2. Boeing has a gap for its 777 Classic to 777X and Airbus has one between its current A330 orders and expectations that it will continue production into the 2020 decade.