Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engines in operation, Part 6

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: After having analyzed how the engine gets stressed during different phases of flight, we now look into how engines are used. The de-rating of engines for takeoff is important, as not 100% thrust is needed for all takeoffs. If the aircraft is lightly loaded or is taking off from a long runway, with low temperatures or altitude, the engine can be thrust de-rated so that it experiences less stress.

Once in the air, the engine is run below maximum settings by use of cost-index. These actions will result in less fuel usage and also longer engine operation between overhauls. We will now finish the operations part of our engine clinic with how airlines keep the engines away from the workshops by swapping the engines between fleet aircraft.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a direct drive turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

A visit to the engine workshop costs in the millions of dollars, so the longer the engine can operate before a shop visit, the better. Read more

Boeing company uses A321 in website promo

Feb 23, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: A Boeing company, Inventory Locator Service, yesterday posted an Evolution of Boeing graphic on its website that traces key points in Boeing’s history.

There was a problem, however: the airplane at the top of the graphic, which was photo-shopped with Boeing 737 identification, was an Airbus A321.

A Twitter storm immediately commenced after one person saw the Evolution and posted it on his Facebook page.

It isn’t the first time an Airbus airplane showed up in a Boeing-focused promo piece. The promo piece was still up last night, but may not be when the company opens for business in the Midwest today.

The graphic is posted below the jump in this post.

The A321 wasn’t the only problem. A 747-8 was used to represent the first flight of the 747-100. A 737NG freighter represented the first flight of the 737, which was the -100 series. A 787–which didn’t even exist at the time–was used to represent the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas. And a 777F was used to represent the first flight o the 78.

This isn’t the first time an Airbus A320 was used to promote Boeing.

In November 2013, the Washington Aerospace Partnership (“WAP,” as in upside the head, somehow seemed fitting) used an A320 in a full page Seattle Times advert touting the state as the best place in the US to do aerospace business.

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CSeries trans-Atlantic capability

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We previously described how new generation engines make the Boeing 737 MAX 8 a trans-Atlantic aircraft. The MAX 8 is smaller than the Airbus A321LR, but not the smallest single-aisle with trans-Atlantic capability. This distinction goes to the Bombardier CSeries.

We wrote about the CS100 capability to cross the Atlantic from London City Airport last year. After the article, we received new and improved data from Bombardier. The CS100 can now fly directly to US East Coast on the difficult westward leg with a business cabin of 42 seats. The updated article is here.

When we look at the improved capabilities of the CS300 (announced at Farnborough Air show last summer), this aircraft can also cross the Atlantic with a full cabin of 130 passengers.

Bombardier arranged so we could discuss this deeper with the VP CSeries program, Rob Dewar.

Summary:
  • We use our aircraft performance model to compare the CS300’s suitability for long-haul to the Airbus and Boeing competition.
  • The aircraft have similar range and seat mile costs. The smaller aircraft have lower trip costs.
  • With Rob Dewar, we explored the potential for additional capability for the CS300.

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Airbus Group: the old Airbus haunts the new

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus Group (“Airbus”) presented results for 2016 in line with guidance. The Airbus CEO Tom Enders said, “This is the best Airbus, ever.”

Yet everything was not as expected; most of the press conference was spent on how the sins of the old Airbus still haunt the present company.

The problem areas, A400M and A380, both stem from the same time period, 2000-2003.

This was when the old, non-integrated Airbus wanted to show the world it could build the largest, most capable aircraft. The resulting lighthouse projects, A400M and A380, are still not out of the woods. Read more

Ryanair: cheapest and most profitable airline in Europe

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 22, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Ryanair is Europe’s airline with the lowest fares. And it’s the most profitable, despite growing faster than even the Middle East carriers (growth needs money).

It’s time to dive deep in this locomotive. I even flew their business class before writing the report, to understand what is going on. Read more

Assessing the SSJ100 future

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Introduction

Feb. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Sukhoi is Russia’s attempt at reentering the commercial airliner business. The SSJ100 regional jet is, by most accounts, an attractive

SSJ100 in CityJet colors. CityJet is one of two Western operators for the Russian-made airplane. Photo: Superjet International.

and efficient aircraft.

But it’s hampered by erratic production and questionable product support (largely due to the overhang of the Putin politics).

The aircraft was grounded briefly in December when a fatigue issue was found in the tail section during a routine inspection.

Summary
  • Nearly 100 SSJ100s are in service.
  • Two key Western customers.
  • Small customers base.
  • Captive Russian customers.

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ExIm Bank still at risk despite Boeing effort with Trump

US Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama.

Feb. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing may have won over President Trump about the virtues of ExIm Bank (it’s not entirely clear), but he’s the wrong target.

It’s US Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) who’s been holding up appointments to the ExIm Board of Directors, blocking a quorum needed to approve aircraft financing guarantees on anything more than $10m.

Shifting support

Shelby was the chairman of a key US Senate committee which had direct authority over ExIm Bank appointments. Shelby blocked appointments under President Obama, claiming ExIm is an agency of corporate welfare, of which Boeing was the principal beneficiary.

However, Shelby was once a supporter of ExIm. After Obama was elected, the rise of the so-called Tea Party (largely to oppose all things Obama) targeted ExIm as a wasteful government agency. (Never mind that ExIm returned a surplus to the Treasury since its Depression-era inception though its fees.)

More to the point: Boeing rival Airbus selected Mobile (AL) for a new assembly site, first for the planned US Air Force tanker, the KC-330 based on the Airbus A330-200. The contract award was vitiated after it was determined the USAF treated Boeing unfairly.

Boeing won the re-bid. Airbus then chose Mobile as its US assembly site for the A320 commercial jet family.

As LNC reported in November, it’s hardly a coincidence that Shelby—a supporter of Airbus in Mobile—blocked the ExIm appointments ever since.

New position, same blocking action

With the elections last year, Shelby moved on from his chairmanship of the Senate committee oversight of ExIm.

But he still will block ExIm Board appointments, an Alabama city official who knows Shelby told LNC.

Under US Senate rules, a Senator can put a “hold” on nominations for any reason that require Senate approval.

Shelby appears ready to continue his hold.

Ironically, Boeing is a big employer in Alabama—but in defense, not commercial aerospace.

Pontifications: Boeing’s long-term message doesn’t resonate

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s long-term messaging that all is well isn’t resonating with a number of industry analysts and observers.

To be sure, today and in the short-term, Boeing’s stock is on a steady upward trajectory.

But aerospace analysts are not buying into the long-term message.

Neither did three speakers at last week’s annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) conference in Lynnwood (WA), including me.

Consider:

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engines in operation, Part 5

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 17, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In our journey of an airline engine’s life, we will now look at the maintenance which is necessary to keep it fit for flight.

An engine is only in top condition once in its life, at delivery. As soon as it’s operated on the aircraft, in-service wear of its different parts will reduce its performance.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a direct drive turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

The engine manufacturer’s prescribed maintenance is designed to keep the engine in good health during its life, despite all its hardship. Read more

Bombardier YE2016 results better than expected

Alain Bellemare, CEO of Bombardier.

Feb. 16, 2017: Bombardier today posted better than expected results (even on lower revenue) for the fourth quarter and full year.

Goldman Sachs was first out with reaction among the analyst reports LNC receives:

Bombardier (Neutral) reported stronger-than-expected 4Q16 operating results. Revenue is below consensus and our expectations, but adjusted EBIT is well ahead of our estimate on better operating margins. Free cash flow is a larger source of cash than we expected. 2017 guidance is unchanged. Post the quarter end, Bombardier announced the Government of Canada will provide the company $283mn over four years in repayable contributions related to the Global 7000 and 8000, and the C Series. This investment will be repaid through royalties upon aircraft delivery.

BBD’s press release is here. The financial presentation from today’s earnings call is here.

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