Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 13. Later in the Prelaunch Phase

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

July 23, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we went through the initial tasks in the Prelaunch Phase. We talked about Sales and Marketing activities, initial Concept development, and first Supplier contacts.

Now that time has passed, we are three quarters into our Program Plan (Figure 2), and we have to refine our Concept, select Suppliers, and dig deep into how to get Certification.

Figure 1. Windtunnel test of a half model of the wing and high lift devices. Source: ONERA.

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How good will an Airbus A350F be? Part 2.

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction  

July 22, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week, we compared the probable data for an Airbus A350 freighter with the market-leading Boeing 777F. We found the 777F is a heavy-duty freighter with a very high payload capability.

Airbus has to use the A350-1000 toolbox to design something similar. The aircraft would be shorter than a -1000, however, to optimize its efficiency. How much better in efficiency than the 777F would it be? We put both in our performance model and fly them from China to the US.

Summary
  • An Airbus A350 freighter has to come close to the 104t payload of the 777F.
  • Can it do that, it has convincing economics compared with the 777F.

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De-carbonisation of air transport is ON

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 20, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week was a game-changing week for air transport. Three events synchronized to trigger it.

EU presented 13 policies to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with concrete steps in-between. On the same day, the airframe and engine OEM’s CTOs said in a Farnborough Connect webcast: “It’s a commitment problem, not a technical problem to achieve the EU goals.”

This happened against a backdrop of European floodings, which made all discussions about climate change or not moot. Super-organized Germany lost over 100 persons to typhoon like rains, never seen before, that produced scenes like these: https://twitter.com/Aviation_Intel/status/1416215953080205321?s=20

Figure 1. Farnborough Connect, from top-left: Moderator Johnson, Boeing’s Hussein, GE’s Lorence, Rolls-Royce’s Stein, SAFRAN’s Dalbier, Raytheon Technologies’  Russel, and Airbus’ Klauke.

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Pontifications: Two re-fleeting campaign give Airbus and Boeing each an edge

By Scott Hamilton

July 19, 2021, © Leeham News: There are two re-fleeting campaigns coming up that are significant and in which Airbus and Boeing each have the incumbent advantage.

The successor to Alitalia, Italia Trasporti Aereo (ITA), will restructure with a single aircraft provider. Airfinance Journal reported last week that ITA will begin operations with 52 aircraft: 45 single-aisle airplanes and seven twin-aisle aircraft, drawn from the Alitalia fleet. Another 26 aircraft will be added in 2022.

Airbus is the dominant incumbent aircraft provider. There are 12 Boeing 777 Classics that were with Alitalia.

This competition should be Airbus’s to lose.

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Global airline recovery: LNA’s view shifts from traffic to revenue, but our timeline hasn’t changed

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By Judson Rollins

Introduction 

July 19, 2021, © Leeham News: A year ago last week, LNA published what might have seemed an apocalyptic call: global airline passenger traffic would not recover until 2024 at the earliest – and potentially not until 2028.

Early trends and forecast revisions by other parties point to the earlier half of our window. However, one major downside surprise has been an increasingly bifurcated world for airlines as demand returns at widely uneven rates by region and passenger segment.

Air travel is undergoing a “K-shaped recovery” like the global economy, with fairly obvious delineation between winners and losers. The upper leg of the “K” represents countries with large domestic markets, leisure travel, short-haul routes, and low-cost carriers.

The lower leg applies to developing countries, international traffic, business travel, long-haul routes, full-service airlines – and most airline suppliers.

Source: International Air Transport Association.

In hindsight, our prediction probably answered the wrong question, because the key driver of renewed profitability and future investment in commercial aviation isn’t the recovery of airline traffic, but revenue. The many changes to business and long-haul travel make revenue more difficult to forecast, but it will clearly be even slower to return than traffic.

Most industry forecasts don’t call for airline traffic to fully recover until 2024 or 2025, even if large domestic markets recover sooner. That means airline revenue – and profitability – will still be hampered until late this decade.

Summary
  • Advanced and developed economies are on widely divergent economic trajectories.
  • Global travel recovery statistics are distorted by a couple of large domestic markets.
  • Vaccine rollout and documentation issues are likely to keep borders closed for longer.
  • Revenue recovery matters more than volume, both to airlines and the aviation supply chain.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 12. The Prelaunch Phase.

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

July 16, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we showed the first cut of an overall Program Plan for our 19 seat airliner project.

Now we discuss the Prelaunch Phase activities in more detail, including what type of knowledge, tools and resources we need to get on board for the project.

Figure 1. The Viking Twin-Otter utility-oriented unpressurized 19 seater. Source: Wikipedia.

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How good is an Airbus A350 freighter?

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction  

July 15, 2021, © Leeham News: Airbus is working on a freighter of the A350 to compete with Boeing’s larger freighters, such as the 777F.

The 777F is quite a different aircraft than the 777-200LR, which shares its external dimensions, and the 777-300ER that has donated a lot of the internal structure. So will the A350 freighter be based on the A350-900, as the rumors say, or A350-1000? And how good will it be compared to the 777F?

We use our performance model to find out.

Summary
  • The A350-900 is the rumored base for the new Airbus freighter that shall compete with the Boeing 777F.
  • Is it the correct assumption? When we look under the hood with our performance model, we see it isn’t.

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HOTR: Boeing’s backlog market share vs Airbus falls below 40%

By the Leeham News Team

July 14, 2021, © Leeham News: Six months into 2021, Boeing is delivering 737 MAXes, clearing MAX inventory, and taking orders.

Airbus isn’t matching Boeing orders for the A320 family, so far. But as the industry struggles to return to normal, it’s worth taking a six month look at how Airbus and Boeing compare.

In terms of total backlog, Airbus has a 62% market share vs. Boeing’s 38% share.

This includes all single- and twin-aisle aircraft. It also includes freighters—a Boeing exclusive right now—and air force tankers, where Boeing also has an advantage.

Airbus has a 65% share of the single-aisle backlog vs Boeing’s 35% share. Airbus includes the A220 and A320 families.

Boeing has a slim lead in the wide-body sector, boosted by its exclusive backlog in freighters and the larger backlog for the KC-46A tanker vs the A330 MRTT: 52% to 48%.

Boeing’s backlog is adjusted for the accounting rule ASC 606, which eliminates orders no longer considered firm but which aren’t canceled. Airbus doesn’t publish the European equivalent of iffy orders, so the market share is somewhat skewed. Regardless, it isn’t an encouraging picture for Boeing.

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Updated: Porter confirms E195-E2 after persistent denials in May

By Scott Hamilton

July 12, 2021, © Leeham News: Canada’s Porter Airlines today announced an order for 30 Embraer E195-E2s. The move comes shortly after the Canadian government agreed to loan hundreds of millions of dollars to Porter in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Porter ceased operations shortly into the start of the pandemic in March 2020. It resumes service in September.

Embraer announced the order, from an unidentified customer, on April 23. Airfinance Journal first reported that the customer was Porter Airlines, which the company denied. LNA confirmed May 19 that the airplanes were going to Porter. Porter declined to directly comment on LNA’s confirmation.

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Is the Redhawk Development process the future at Boeing?

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By the Leeham News Team

Boeing wants to converge advanced design and production processes from across the 7-Series platforms and the Defense unit into one commercial airplane–its Next Boeing Airplane, or NBA. Photo: Boeing.

 July 12, 2021, © Leeham News: It may be an overstatement to say that Boeing CEO David Calhoun will be the future of Boeing Commercial Airplanes on a radical production makeover.

But it’s not an understatement to say that the production moonshot contemplated is critical to BCA.

However, advanced production processes are only part of the challenge facing Boeing. A radical shift in employee culture is also required for success.

Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) is doing good things with respect to the T-7 Redhawk Trainer Integration. BDS slid the first fuselage together in 30 minutes. But the question before us is this. Is this 30 minute join process a revolutionary process change that Boeing can scale for transport category aircraft, or a byproduct of Great Hardware Variability Control in a simple non-variable end item. Fighter-sized aircraft are simple to build. Highly variable Commercial aircraft are another story completely.

Calhoun, and before him CEOs Dennis Muilenburg and Jim McNerney, would lead you to believe that some new magic occurred in the digital design and that this new magic will transfer to the next Boeing airliner and new engines are not necessary. That’s a bold position to take, so let’s look at what might be involved behind his thinking.

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