Leeham News and Comment is now Leeham News and Analysis

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: As Leeham News begins its 11th year, we’ve undertaken some changes consistent with the rebranding of our affiliate, Leeham Co. Leeham Co. celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

Our rebranding research last year illuminated an important distinction that led to a name change. Leeham News and Comment is now Leeham News and Analysis (LNA).

The new name more accurately reflects Leeham News’ approach to covering commercial aviation news by drawing on our expertise to tell you what it means.

Because we believe there’s more to real news than publishing a news release, we serve our readers with higher value news by spotting emerging trends, adding historical perspective and delving into the analysis behind the headlines.

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Celebrating 20 years for Leeham Co.

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: It was 20 years ago, 1999, that Leeham Co. was founded and nine years later, Leeham News published its first blog.

What a time it’s been.

Creating Leeham Company.

Leeham Co. was created after my partner and I sold a British company, Linkraven Ltd., publisher of Commercial Aviation Report, Commercial Aviation Value Report and organizer of international conferences under the Commercial Aviation Events brand. Linkraven had been in business for 10 years.

As a certified aviation addict (once you have kerosene in the blood, you’re addicted for life), I couldn’t walk away from an industry in which I got my start in 1979 with the first Midway Airlines.

Leeham Co. began as a consulting company to leasing companies. Eventually it evolved and expanded into the supply chain. Today, Leeham Co. serves the supply chain, lessors, advisors and manufacturers, just to name a few. We evaluate aircraft economics, develop product and market strategies, analyze market demand and serve other areas related to the industry.

A full list of Leeham Co.’s services may be found here.

Time to Rebrand

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Countdown to decision on Boeing’s NMA, Part 3: Engine selection

By Dan Catchpole

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Introduction

January 21 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing number crunchers are feverishly working through engine bids from Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and CFM International, the partnership of Safran and General Electric (GE), the three competitors vying to power Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane (NMA). Boeing is expected to ask for a best and final offer by the end of January, with engine selection planned in February.

That gives Boeing enough time to get authority to offer from the board of directors, likely in March or April, and to launch the NMA (likely as the 797) at the Paris Air Show in June.

Boeing faces big challenges in closing the business case, though. The process has slogged on far longer than company leaders had expected. Even so, Boeing executives’ relentless optimism about the NMA business case stands in sharp contrast to the skepticism of many industry insiders. At least two of the engine makers, for example, think market demand is about half of Boeing’s public forecast.

Each of the three engine makers vying to get on the NMA have some significant liability. The industry insiders and analysts interviewed for this article say is the decision really comes down to Pratt and CFM. Given the pressures on NMA business case, many see a scaled-up CFM Leap as the front runner. It offers the least risk, even if it also has the least upside.

Summary:
  • CFM: The LEAP has performed well since going into service, but GE’s financial troubles could weigh down its bid.
  • Pratt & Whitney: PW’s GTF is a great fit for NMA requirements, but the engine maker has a full plate with the GTF on five new airplane programs.
  • Rolls-Royce: The NMA would be an opportunity to launch Rolls’ UltraFan, but does Boeing want to bet on a completely new engine?

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Pontifications: The Airbus North America Tour

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s Airbus North America Tour (#AirbusNATour on Twitter) was a whirlwind 2 ½ days encompassing Montreal Mirabel, Columbus (MS) and Mobile (AL).

To those who don’t follow Airbus Americas closely, the Mississippi stop might be a puzzle. I’ll come back to this to explain why an international group of media, including me, made this trek.

Let’s start with Montreal.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Pitch stability, Part 6

Jan. 18, 2019, ©. Leeham News: We have now covered the basics of pitch stability for an airliner and how a stable or unstable pitch moment curve looks. Now we look at different trouble areas.

Straight and stable pitch moment curves are difficult to achieve at all flight situations. We will discuss some well-known problems, how these were detected and what the solutions were.

Figure 1. The pitch moment coefficient curve of an early DC-9 candidate. Source: Stanford University.

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PIPs planned for A220 to improve operating costs

Airbus A220-300, ordered by JetBlue last year. Source: Airbus.

Jan. 17, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is planning performance improvement packages for the A220, intended to shave operating costs off an airplane that already beat performance promises.

The PIPs, as the upgrades are known, are common among all airliners. In this case, the PIPs were under study by Bombardier long before Airbus acquired a 50.01% stake in the C Series program last year.

While financially-strapped Bombardier may have been able to find the money to execute, giant Airbus has no problem doing so.

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Airbus new A220 is more of a match for the A320neo than Airbus says

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 17, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s all about the new Airbus A220 on the North America press tour Airbus is hosting this week. Airbus got this top modern aircraft as a windfall after Boeing tried to block its sale on the US Market in 2017.

While the tour presents the A220 in the best of lights, it can’t shine brighter than Airbus’ own A320neo. The graph from the tour which positions them in capacity and range shows a clear little brother-large brother relationship. The reality, when comparing apples to apples, is another.

Figure 1. Airbus payload-range chart with the new A220-100 and -300 placed as shorter ranged than the A320neo and A321neo.

Summary:

  • The ideal positioning of the A220 and A320 is when the larger models are higher in capacity and flies further. They cost more and shall, therefore, be better.
  • But the comparison is not made with the same yardsticks. Use the same rules and the result is another.
  • The more modern A220-300 can then give the A320neo a match both in range and fuel consumption per passenger.

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Bombardier CEO “proud” at A220 FAL groundbreaking

Jan. 16, 2019, © Leeham News, Mobile (AL): Groundbreaking for the Airbus A220 final assembly line today might be viewed as a bittersweet moment for Alain Bellemare, CEO on Bombardier, designer of the C Series.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders at the A220 FAL groundbreaking in Mobile (AL). It’s his last one with Airbus., He retires in April. (Scott Hamilton photo.)

The program nearly bankrupted Bombardier. A sale of 50.01% of the CSLAP limited partnership to Airbus was necessary to save the program and Bombardier.

Bombardier’s share in the program was reduced to about a third after the Airbus sale. (A quasi-government Quebec pension fund owns the rest.)

But in an interview following the groundbreaking, Bellemare was almost giddy with excitement.

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Airbus eyes fighters, MRTT, satellites for Canada

Jan. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus Canada worked 10 years to position itself to win an order for 16 C295 FWSAR airplanes from the Canadian government.

Officials hope it won’t be this long for the next big order.

The CASA C295 Fixed Wing Search and Rescue aircraft order was won after a stiff competition. It will replace an aging fleet of SAR aircraft that are long overdue for retirement.

Up next: a replacement for Canada’s air force jet fighters and the fleet of Airbus A310 MRTT tanker-transports.

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A220 wins 180 ETOPS

Jan. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus announced today that its A220 received certification for 180- minute ETOPS from the Canadian regulatory authorities.*

The announcement came at the first Airbus North American Tour, a three-day event that kicked off at the Montreal, Canada, Mirabel Airport facilities created by Bombardier.

Bombardier, of course, created the C Series, which is now the A220.

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