Ryanair becomes launch customer for 737 MAX 200

This has some additional information from our e-newsletter of Sept. 8. Additionally, Airbus has offered some observations about the 737 MAX 200 (as Boeing often does about Airbus products). We’ve initially confined this critique to our e-newsletter; this will be posted on this website next Monday.

Boeing Sept. 8 announced its launch customer for the 737 MAX 200, the 200-seat version of the 737-8: Ireland’s Ultra Low Cost Carrier, Ryanair.

Boeing announced the program at the Farnborough Air Show and it was only a matter of time before Ryanair, which had yet to order the 737-8, became a customer. The carrier’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, had been agitating for a 199-seat version of the 737-800/8 for more than a year. (At 200 seats, another flight attendant is required.)

The 737 MAX 200 is Boeing’s response to Airbus’ move to reconfigure the A320neo to seat 189 passengers, matching the standard layout of the 737-8. The A320neo-189 is at 28 inch seat pitch, and so is the MAX 200.

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O’Leary clowns around with acceptance of 349th 737-800

In an industry where dull MBAs now dominate and the likes of Herb Kelleher have long since retired, Michael O’Leary is a breath of fresh air.

O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, was in Seattle Tuesday for the delivery of the carrier’s 349th Boeing 737-800 and the first one of a massive 737NG order announced last year at the Paris Air Show.

O’Leary, wearing a set of 737 MAX winglets made out of 3D printing by Boeing engineers, nearly pranced around a crowd of Boeing employees before accepting delivery of the aircraft.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary clowns around with Boeing employees at the delivery of the carrier's 389th 737-800, 9/9/14. Photo by Scott Hamilton

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary clowns around with Boeing employees at the delivery of the carrier’s 349th 737-800, 9/9/14. Photo by Scott Hamilton

Repeating much of what he said Monday upon announcing an order for up to 200 737 MAX 200s, O’Leary said he had been hounding Boeing for 15 years (on Monday it was 10) to add more seats to the 737-800.

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Odds and Ends: Air France/KLM trims cargo fleet; ExIm Bank countdown; BBD v EMB; More

Air France-KLM trims cargo fleet: Steve Wilhelm of The Puget Sound Business Journal reports that Air France-KLM group is sharply trimming its cargo fleet, with the company declaring the capacity continues to shift to the belly capacity of passenger airplanes. This further validates what we have been writing for some time and, in our view, further bolsters our argument that the demand for new-build, dedicated freighters continues to fall. This in turn means Airbus won’t see recovery for the A330-200F nor will Boeing see recovery in demand for the 747-8F or 777-200LRF.

ExIm Bank Countdown: September 30 is the date the US ExIm Bank runs out of money. Although there is talk of a short-term extension of a few months (conveniently taking it past the election and perhaps defusing some of the Tea Party angst over the agency), Emirates Airlines said it will still buy Boeing airplanes even if ExIm isn’t renewed.

This can’t help Boeing’s argument that ExIm should be retained.

Left unsaid in Emirates’ statement, however, is something we heard in the market: Boeing’s deal for the 150 777Xs with Emirates nearly fell apart over the ambiguity over the Bank. We’re also told Boeing agreed to backstop the Emirates deal.

Neither Boeing nor Emirates comment on financing support.

Bombardier vs Embraer: Here is an interesting thought piece on the financial returns of Bombardier vs Embraer. One obvious error in the article: Malmo Aviation didn’t cancel its order for the CS100; it just decided not to be the launch operator.

Neither do you: Flight Global writes this about the end of plans between COMAC and Bombardier to have a common cockpit between the C919 and the CSeries:

“Basically in the development of the C919, Bombardier is not involved,” says [CAAC}. “They have experience in building regional jets, but not so much in narrowbodies.”

We can’t help but think the Chinese learned what they wanted to learn and moved on.

787 safety: This is one of those stories for which we have skepticism but which is already getting enough press that we don’t feel we can ignore it. Al Jazeera America has a special Wednesday night about the safety of the Boeing 787. AJM previously did an investigation of the safety of the Boeing 737. The Seattle Times has an early review. We’ll hold our opinion until after watching the program.

Ryanair finally orders 737 MAX: Once Boeing announced the launch of the 200-seat 737-8 MAX at the Farnborough Air Show, an order from Ireland’s Ryanair was only a matter of time. It became official today: Ryanair ordered 100+100 of the new version, the 737 MAX 200.


Airlines, not passengers, at fault for recline wars

A third incident of “recline wars” has been reported, this time on a Delta Air Lines flight in which a dispute broke out between a passenger who reclined his seat and the passenger behind him who didn’t like it.

The New York Times has an article on the entire issue.

While the focus and debate has, so far, centered around who has rights–the passenger to recline or the passenger claiming reclining violates his space–the real issue, and blame, ought to rest with the airlines squeezing down legroom to a seat pitch of 28 inches (in the case of Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air) to an increasingly common 30 inches on legacy carriers.

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Farnborough Air Show, July 13: 737 program analysis

Michael O’Leary got his airplane.

Boeing today announced it will offer a 200-seat version of the 737-8, all but assuring that O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair, will become a customer of the MAX model. O’Leary has yet to order the MAX and has been pushing Boeing for some time to expand the capacity of the 737 to 199 passengers, one shy of the 200 that would require another flight attendant.

Just as Airbus previously announced revisions to the interiors of the A320 andA321 to push to 189 and 240 passengers respectively, Boeing had been studying similar changes.

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Odds and Ends: CNBC reporter says Boeing’s McNerney among top 25 CEOs; 757 replacement; BBD earnings; Spirit Air

CNBC and Boeing’s McNerney: CNBC reporter Phil LeBeau, who covers aerospace and automobiles among other topics, thinks Boeing CEO Jim McNerney deserves a place in CNBC’s Top 25 CEO list. Here’s why. Aaron Karp at Air Transport World has his own take on Boeing’s position in the market today.

757 replacement: Airchive has an analysis on the need fora Boeing 757 replacement that is well worth reading. Our analysis was last October. Richard Aboulafia of The Teal Group said last week he also believes a 757 replacement is on its way (with a launch in 2018, as we previously suggested). Bloomberg has this article from the Singapore Air Show on the topic.

Bombardier earnings call: BBD reports its fourth quarter and year-end financial results Thursday. It will be interesting to hear of the impact of the latest CSERiesdelay, of 9-15 months. Here is a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail on what analysts thought in advance of the call.

Spirit Air CEO profile: The Associated Press has an entertaining profile of the CEO of Spirit Airlines, the notoriously unfriendly US airline that rivals Ireland’s Ryanair for fees and an apparent dedication for pissing passengers off.

Odds and Ends: Middle East carriers high on 777X; Airbus’ Japan ambitions; Low fare airlines

Boeing 777X: Reuters has this article on negotiations between Boeing and Etihad Airlines for the new 777X.  Reuters reports that up to 30 777Xs could be ordered, along with a follow-on order for the 787. Emirates Airlines is expected to order between 75-100 777X. Qatar Airways will almost certainly place a 777X at some point.

The Boeing Board of Directors is expected to give the go-ahead for the 777X this month, with a public launch at the Dubai Air Show next month. Emirates is widely anticipated to place its order there, though its president, Tim Clark, has been quoted in the press that it’s possible he won’t be ready by the air show. Because this air show is in Dubai and the home base for Emirates, it’s quite possible the Etihad and potential Qatar orders would come outside the air show.

Lufthansa Airlines has already ordered the 777X, subject to formal program launch.

Airbus in Japan: Having achieved a major breakthrough with a large order for the A350 from Japan Airlines, Airbus has set some ambitious goals to increase its market share in this country, reports Bloomberg News.

Low Fare Airlines: Images and myths surround low fare airlines. We’ve written many times in the past that the USA’s Southwest Airlines, which built its image since its founding in 1971 at the low fare airline, often isn’t any more. (In fact, we were years ahead of the mainstream media in discovering this.) You can usually get lower fares on the legacy airlines, though bag fees and change fees, if you have check bags or change your flight, destroy the savings. If you don’t have to do either, it’s usually cheaper to fly the legacy airline than Southwest.

In Europe, Ryanair is viewed as the cheapest airline to fly. The base fare is ridiculously low but fees are imposed for everything except using the loo, though CEO Michael O’Leary would like to charge for this, too. This article calculates that in fact Ryanair isn’t the cheapest way to travel. The article rates the top 20 low fare carriers and Ryanair comes in #4.

Mid-size, Twin-Aisle forecasts: the changing numbers; more Odds and Ends

MId-Size, Twin-Aisle Forecasts: The Blog by Javier has an interesting post about the changing mix in twin-aisle, mid-size aircraft from the Boeing Current Market Outlook over the years.

The author works for Airbus, but his opinions and his alone and we find his stuff quite analytical and balanced.

Ryanair and MAX: Talks between the Irish discount carrier and Boeing for a 737 MAX order may go into next year.

Boeing workers hurt by outsourcing: The government agreed with the IAM 751, Boeing’s local Seattle union, that workers laid off by the company have been hurt by outsourcing.

Odds and Ends: Change fees; Two ex-NTSB members rap Boeing, FAA, current NTSB

About those change fees: Last week we reported from the US Airways Media Day and among the topics was that of change fees. US Airways matched United Airlines to charge $200 if you change your ticket. Here’s an article about how to deal with these fees.

Here’s another article about change fees, and how they’ve soared in recent times. If you think fees in the US are bad, look at the table and note in particular Ryanair’s fees–this carrier is notorious for charge for everything, and at steep prices, something subject to this funny video:

Why are fees becoming so prevalent? Because this is where airlines are largely making their profits. US Airways said last week it expects to earn $600m from fees this year. This is more than its entire profit from 2012. This means airline operations lose money and profits come from the fees.

Also on US Airways: we also reported last week about some outstanding labor issues between the IAM at US Air and the TWU and American Airlines. An agreement over the weekend was reached about merging these two workforces under one union banner, according to Terry Maxon at the Dallas Morning News.

Ex-Members Rap FAA, NTSB: We bet they won’t be invited to a reunion. James Hall and John Goglia, former members of the National Transportation Safety Board, had harsh words to say about the FAA, Boeing and the NTSB over the certification of the Boeing 787 and the subsequent fix. Hall said the FAA needed to recertify the airplane, not just the battery.

Ethiopian Airlines resumed service with the 787 over the weekend, while Japan’s ANA engaged in a proving flight. This Wall Street Journal article (via Google News, so everyone should be able to read it) references additional measures required by Japan.

Odds and Ends: Post-SPEEA Vote; LionAir and RyanAir; ANA skeptical of Boeing timeline

Post-SPEEA Vote: The ratification of the contract offer by Boeing by the SPEEA technical workers is welcome news. It gives Boeing and its stakeholders certainty at a time when the 787 issues remain outstanding and the developmental programs of the 777X, the 787-9 and 10, the 737 MAX and the KC-46A are at important stages. Although SPEEA took a loss over the pension issue, the union was able to extend the previous contract provisions over economic issues for another four years. Call this a draw for the two sides.

LionAir and RyanAir: On Monday Airbus announced an order for 234 A320ceo/neo family members from LionAir, previously an all-Boeing customer. Today Boeing announced an order for 175 737-800s from RyanAir, an exclusive Boeing customer. There were no MAXes in the order, however. RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary has not been a fan of the re-engined 737.

ANA skeptical of 787 timeline: Reuters has an interview with All Nippon Airways in which it expresses some skepticism about the Boeing timeline of returning the 787 to service within weeks. ANA calls this a “best case” scenario.

On the other hand, LOT, which took the 787 out of its schedule through September, now says the airplanes could be back in service by summer.

Vote in the Polls: All Nippon Airlines has begun its effort to rebuild the 787 brand flying in its colors. Boeing began its effort last week. Is the view of the 787 turning? If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to vote in these polls (scroll down after clicking the link).

Paine Field Pleads its Case: Targeted for closure in Sequester, with a decision to be announced this week, the director of Everett Paine Field pleaded his case to remain open in this letter:  FAA Tower Closure – Paine Field (1).

Well wishes: Daniel Tsang, founder of Aspire Aviation, has been hospitalized in Sydney, Australia, with an unknown ailment first thought to be measles but it’s not. Well wishes to him.