ISTAT Europe Conference in Istanbul: Boeing and Airbus slugging it out with some new twists

Airbus and Boeing squared off once again Monday, this time at the ISTAT Europe conference in Istanbul, once again pretty much over the entire product lines.
Boeing’s VP Marketing Randy Tinseth began with two focal points, the 737 with its latest developments and Boeing’s “superior” Twin Aisle line-up. Tinseth claimed Boeing has caught up to the A320neo with the 737 MAX.

After an A320neo head start of a year, Tinseth says Boeing has kept the same sales rate per year for the 737 MAX. The backlog of 737 MAX now stands at 2,300 aircraft and he described why Boeing thinks it is well positioned in this market segment.

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Farnborough Air Show, July 14: Orders Summary

Here are orders that were announced on the first official day of the Farnborough Air Show (at least the ones we’ve seen from Seattle–feel free to add to the list if we’ve missed any):

  • Airbus: from Air Lease Corp: 25 A330neos and 60 A321neos. British Airways converts 20 A320neo options to firm orders; 20 A320neos from AerCap.
  • ATR: NAC places firm order for 75 ATR 42-600s.
  • Boeing: Announced what had been leaked before the show–30 737-8s from Monarch Airlines, an important “flip” from incumbent Airbus; six 737 MAX 8s and four Next-Generation 737-800s from Okay Airlines; six 787-9 Dreamliners and five additional 737 MAX 9 from lessor Avolon.
  • Bombardier signed LOIs with: Chinese airline Loong Air for 20 CS100s; Petra Airlines of Jordon for two CS100s and two CS300s; and it converted a previously announced LOI for Falcon Air of Abu Dhabi for two CS300s to a firm order. BBD also revealed a previously unidentified follow-on order for three CS300s from Air Baltic. This was announced at the Singapore Air Show.
  • CFM International won the large engine order from American Airlines to power its A319neo/A321neo fleet. We reported June 19 that this deal would come down to commercial terms, according to American CFO Derek Kerr. Given CFM’s position on the Boeing 737-800, 737-8 and Airbus A319ceo; and GE Aviation’s presence on AA’s widebody fleet, plus whatever maintenance agreements also exist, CFM/GE was in a position to offer commercial terms that Pratt & Whitney could not when offering the GTF. Also as previously noted, CFM won the easyJet A320neo family order for 270 engines.
  • Embraer: 50 “reconfirmable” and 50 options for the E-175-E2 from Trans States Airlines of the USA.
  • Mitsubishi: Eastern Airlines signed an MOU for 20 firm and 20 purchase rights for this MRJ90. Parenthetically, we’re happy that Mitsubishi also announced it will test the MRJ in Moses Lake (WA).
  • Pratt & Whitney won the GTF order for VivaAerobus’s 40+40 A320 fleet and the V2500 for 12 A320ceos.

Things of note:

  • Airbus predicts sales of 1,000 A330neos, plans two year overlap in production of A330ceo. EIS 4Q2017.

The sniping between Airbus and Boeing continues:

  • “The only way a passenger will know he’s not on a 787 is that the seats will be bigger,” says John Leahy of the A330neo vs the Boeing 787. Leahy gives good quote.
  • Ray Conner, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, calls the A330 an airplane of the 1980s. (Careful, Ray: the 737 MAX and the 747-8 are airplanes of the 1960s….)

Airbus Innovation Days, Part 4: A330neo announcement at Farnborough not a sure bet; CEO questions market forecast

  • Bregier sees hundreds, not 1,100-1,200, market potential for A330neo–perhaps not enough to justify program.
  • A330neo needs to match operating cost of 787-8, officials say.
  • New engines will up maintenance costs.

Airbus officials say they are still evaluating whether to proceed with the A330neo, and that an announcement at the Farnborough Air Show next month is not a given.

John Leahy, COO-Customers, ticked off the considerations during the Airbus Innovation Days this week in Toulouse. These are corporate and strategic issues. A more tactical issue is what impact re-engining will have on maintenance costs, says Kiran Rao, EVP of Strategy and Marketing.

In his presentation, Rao said that the A330ceo has lower maintenance costs than the Boeing 787 (something Boeing would likely dispute), with engine maintenance costs being a notable factor.

In a sidebar press scrum after his presentation, we asked Rao about this. If the neo is equipped with either (or both) the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 TEN or GE Aviation GEnx, or derivatives, what would the impact be on the claim of maintenance cost advantage?

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Analyzing the Emirates order cancellations

The cancelled order for 70 Airbus A350s before the company’s annual Innovation Days was a surprise and an embarrassment that took the edge off what was intended to be a two day promotion of Airbus programs.

The cancellation by Emirates Airlines was certainly not good news. But it probably should not have been a total surprise. That it was had more to do with people not paying attention. Emirates had been signaling for some time it had issues with the program ever since Airbus rejigged the A350-1000 a few years ago, without consulting Emirates in the process.

Headlines were bad and while most analysts were measured and reporting balanced, there were a few exceptions of hand-wringing disaster for breathless stories.

Airbus tried to downplay the cancellation, without much success. But an objective analysis suggests Airbus and the rationale analysts are correct: while a blow, it’s hardly a program-defining moment, any more than the Bombardier CSeries-Pratt & Whitney engine failure last month was a defining moment in that program.

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Airbus Innovation Days, Part 2: No order bubble and a lot more

Airbus lifted the embargo on John Leahy’s presentation, allowing immediate publication.

There is no aircraft order bubble, says John Leahy, COO-Customers of Airbus. Emerging markets and passenger traffic doubling every 15 years, bolstered by GDP growth, means orders will hold up, he said, leading off the Airbus Innovation Days Tuesday.

Highlights of Leahy’s address:

  • There are 42 mega cities accounting for 99% of the long-haul traffic. Aircraft size is moving up and in 15 years, Leahy says RPKs will double, requiring aircraft like the A380.
  • Leahy predicted the A320neo will maintain a greater market share than the Boeing 737 MAX of about 60%-40%.
  • He claims the A320neo is 1.6 tons lighter than the 737 MAX.
  • Leahy said the A320neo and A321neo now seat 189 and 240 seats respectively (in maximum capacity configuration). The former matches the 737 MAX and the latter has 25 more seats than the 737-9.
  • He predicts China will become a competitor in 25 years.
  • The competitor to the 787-10 is the A350-900 at 331 pax vs 315 pax with more range and cargo capability or derating the A359 gives a lighter aircraft at the same range.
  • The 35 more seats of the 777X means the larger airplane than the A350-1000 is 35t heavier than the latter aircraft.
  • The A380 hasn’t been fully optimized by many airlines; it could easily take 50 more seats.
  • The A330neo is an interesting idea; we have to look at the money we have to spend and cannibalizing our A350 program. It will be the same size as the 787-9, which will have 1,000 mi more range. We could cover 92% of the routes with a wider seat and much lower capital cost. We have to look at the resources. It may not happen by Farnborough.
  • No A350 slots are available until 2019-2020. Effectively sold out through 2019 though could move some positions around.
  • In a walking press “scrum,” we asked Leahy, “if there is a potential market for 1,100-1,200 A330neos, why wouldn’t you do the airplane?” Leahy replied that the answer may be self-evident but once more noted that cost and resources will be important considerations. Talks with the engine makers, Rolls-Royce and GE, continue to determine the potential cost split between Airbus and them.

Airbus Innovation Days, Part 1: Leahy speaks about Emirates A350 order cancellation

We’re at the Airbus Innovation Days Wednesday-Thursday, with most of the information embargoed until Thursday evening. However, the following was not embargoed.

John Leahy, COO-Customers of Airbus, called the Emirates Airlines cancellation “not good news commercially,” but noted that there have been fewer cancellations of the A350 than the Boeing 787 program.

He noted that the deliveries were scheduled from 2019, so there is time to place new orders.

Leahy declined to comment on any connection between last year’s EK order for the A380 and this cancellation. He noted that EK is ordering more A380s and has been urging Airbus to re-engine the airplane, which Airbus is studying.

War of Words between Airbus and Boeing over A330neo, 787

By Leeham Co EU

We’ve seen it for decades: the War of Words between Airbus and Boeing around their competing aircraft. It hasn’t taken long for the WOW to emerge over the prospective A330neo. Only a few months ago, Boeing was muted in its assessment about the NEO and its response. No longer.

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For the 200- to 300-seat segment the WOW warning was raised Sunday at Doha, Qatar, in advance of the IATA Annual General Meeting, and no doubt it will stay aloft until this year’s Farnborough Air Show, where the formal launch of the A330neo is expected (as if anyone is doubting after Sunday).

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The start
As Aviation Week reports from the eve of the IATA AGM, John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating office-customers, threw down the gauntlet by claiming an A330neo economics would be “unbeatable” and its “cash operating cost would equal 787-9.” Boeings counterpart John Wojick countered “at no price can it compete with the 787-10”.

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Of course, that’s not what Leahy claimed. Comparisons have been between the A330-300 and 787-9, not the 787-10.

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What it is all about
After our New Year’s analysis showed that there was a real case for an A330neo (A330neo prospect gains traction) we spent a further four months on the case, digging deeper and deeper. The result was put in our report The Business Case about the A330neo, a 60-page study which took a deep dive into the economics of the A330neo vs the A330 Classic and the Boeing 787-8/9. We did not examine the neo vs the 787-10 because these are different category airplanes, as Boeing’s Wojick should know full well.

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In an apples-to-apples comparison, we found the A330neo significantly narrows, but does not entirely close, the operating cost gap between the A330 Classic and Boeing’s new airplane. Airbus can close the gap and achieve an advantage, however, if it lowers the price of the A330neo to a level the 787 can‘t give. This is central to Leahy’s argument, which is used for the A330 Classic but achieved only with the most favorable assumptions for the Airbus airplane

To summarize:

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Airbus wins annual results, trails Boeing in deliveries

Airbus announced 1,619 gross orders for 2013–1,503 net orders–and a backlog of 5,559 aircraft. The company delivered 626 aircraft for the year. It ended the year with 51% of the market vs. Boeing.

Boeing won the delivery race but came in second in orders.

CEO Fabrice Bregier said that 10 years ago Airbus delivered only half the aircraft it did in 2013.

Bregier, at the annual press conference, says “re-engining [the A330] is always an option, but not only option,” reports Reuters. “[Airbus COO-Customers John]  Leahy says Airbus could eventually add 1-2 rows to A350-800.”

Aviation Week reports the A350-800 EIS could be moved back a couple of years, also reporting it could be enlarged by two rows.

Bregier says A320 production could increase, reports say from the press conference. (We report in our e-mail distribution today what the production rates will be over the next few years–this will be published on this website next Monday.)

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Odds and Ends: Airbus’ 5th quarter; 777X RFP responses

Airbus’ 5th quarter: John Leahy, COO-Customers of Airbus, is so well known for announcing a whole bunch of orders at the company’s annual review press conference (January 13 this time) that Boeing dubbed it the “5th quarter,” and the quip has stuck. Aeroturbopower has a wrap up of how many orders could be announced at the 5th quarter.

Boeing, IAM Meet: Dominic Gates of The Seattle Times reports that Boeing and the IAM met for the first time since the 2-1 vote rejection November 13 of the contract offer in connection with the 777X site selection.

777X responses to RFP: The following news articles try to detail some of the responses by states to Boeing’s 777X site selection RFP:

Alabama

California and another California

Missouri: The county votes to add $1.8bn in tax breaks to the State’s $1.7bn.

Washington: The State adds Spokane to the list of alternative sites, according to Glenn Farley at KING5 (NBC, Seattle). (No link available.)

New York Times: Losing 777X would start a death spiral for WA State.

On Tuesday, the day the RFPs were due to Boeing, the Washington Congressional delegation released a letter to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney urging that the 777X be assembled in the state. The letter is below the jump.

This follows an Open Letter to Boeing on December 6 from Snohomish County officials (Everett is in this county), published in The Everett Herald.

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Latest twin-aisle orders shift market share; Plus Odds and Ends

The flurry of orders in September and this month from Lufthansa Airlines and Japan Air Lines tightens the wide body race between Airbus and Boeing.

Airbus and JAL on Monday announced a firm order for 31 A350s and options for 25 more. Last month, Lufthansa announced a firm order for 34 777-9Xs and 25 A350-900s.

Twin Aisle Market Share 093013Sources: Airbus and Boeing

Airbus traditionally has significantly trailed Boeing in the twin-aisle sector, but so far this year the race is running about even through September. The Lufthansa orders for the Boeing 777-9X and the Airbus A350-900, announced in September, are not reflected yet, nor is the Japan Air Lines order for A350-900s and -1000s. None of these orders has been booked yet by either OEM. Airbus would take the lead.

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