How competitive is Airbus’ A330neo?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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May 24, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s 787-9 has won some important fights against the Airbus A330neo. After Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines and a possible loss at United, one asks: Is the A330-900 not competitive against a 787-9? The aircraft are similar in size and use the same engines.

We take a deeper look at the A330-900 compared with the 787-9 to understand what’s behind this trend.


  • The A330-900 and 787-9 are virtually identical in size.
  • They are also aerodynamically closely matched.
  • Their primary difference is the method of construction, with the Carbon Fiber structure of the 787 giving a lower empty weight.

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Jet Airways, India’s second largest airline

By Bjorn Fehrm 

May 23, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Jet Airways is India’s second-largest airline after IndiGo and India’s largest Full-Service carrier, transporting 4 million passengers more than AIr India during 2017.

After years of ups and downs, the carrier has re-established growth and profitability over the last year’s operation.

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Embraer skyline has serious challenges

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May 21, 2018, © Leeham News: As Boeing and Embraer continue merger discussions for the latter’s commercial airplanes unit, the EJet skyline has some serious challenges.

The only order for the E175-E2 is a conditional sale.

Lessors account for half the orders of the E195-E2 and most of the E190-E2 deals.

More than half the orders for the E190-E1 may be canceled.

The data, from the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker, is as of April 15 and doesn’t include options, MOUs or LOIs. The firm order from American Airlines, for 15 E175-E1s, announced after this date, has been added by LNC.

  • Slow sales hamper the backlog.
  • The E2 hasn’t taken off as expected.
  • The E175-E1 remains the staple of the six-member family.
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Pontifications: An in-depth assessment that people matter at Airbus

By Scott Hamilton

May 21, 2018, © Leeham News: In February, consultant Richard Aboulafia colorfully said Airbus was plagued by “decapitation” of its executive ranks as retirements and resignations came one after another after another.

In April, LNC raised the prospect of déjà vu all over again, discussing the Airbus departures and product turmoil beginning in 2016, recalling another one 2006 and comparing it with Boeing’s era of upheaval from 2007.

Last week, industry leader Steve Udvar-Hazy remarked at the 38th annual Airfinance Journal conference in Miami that “Airbus has its hands full with senior management leaving. Airbus has got to refocus to maintain market share.”

One day later, Carter Copeland of the Melius Research firm published a note devoted to the upheaval at Airbus.

I found the note to be of particular interest.

With Copeland’s permission, the entire note is reprinted below.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft stability, Part 6

By Bjorn Fehrm.

May 18, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we discussed the autopilots one finds in Turboprops and entry-level Business jets. Our example was the autopilot for the Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck.

Now we will step up to the airliner level. We will look at the autopilot and its supporting avionics for the Bombardier CSeries. This is a modern, state of the art system, and a good example of the autopilots for an Airliner or top of the line Business jet.

Figure 1. The CSeries flight deck. I have marked the autopilot panel with a red border. Source: Bombardier.

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Boeing 777-9 or Airbus A350-1000 for the Gulf carriers?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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May 17, 2018, © Leeham News: The recent agreement between the US and the Gulf carriers limits the expansion of the carriers on the US market. As the premier long-range destination area from the Gulf is the US market, this will influence the lift needed by the three.

All three carriers, Emirates, Qatar Airways (Qatar) and Etihad, have decided on the 777-9 as the mainstay for their long-haul needs. With the change, the question arises, will Qatar increase the buy of the A350-1000 instead of taking the 777-9 and will any of the others reconsider?

To understand what’s involved we compare the capacity and the costs of the 777-9 and A350-1000. How large is the difference? Is the A350 the better choice if the extreme long-haul capacity needs decline?

  • The maximum range and per seat costs of the 777-9 and A350-1000 are close when compared apples to apples.
  • The advantage for the 777-9 at full aircraft disappears quickly as load factors decline.
  • If the needed capacity of the long-haul US routes declines, the 777-9 can be too much aircraft for the Gulf carriers.
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GTF better, says one airline; engine OEMs need 12-18 months to solve issues, says lessor

May 16, 2018, © Leeham News: Pratt & Whitney has a long way to go to fix all its problems on the Geared Turbo Fan engine, but one airline customer says the situation is getting better.

Ted Christie, CFO of Spirit Airlines, said all five A320neos it’s received are now operating. These famously were pictured parked and months at the D/FW International Airport with covers on the engines.

The fuel burn is better than the advertised 15% reduction, Christie said, without specifying how much better. Industry scuttlebutt indicates the GTF is 1%-2% better than advertised.

Christie made his remarks yesterday at the 38th annual Airfinance Journal conference in Miami.

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A330neo sales off to slow start: Air Lease Corp

May 16, 2018, © Leeham News: There is “intense” price competition between Airbus and Boeing on the A330neo and 787, says an industry leader.

Sales of the A330neo are “off to a slow start,” says Steven Udvar-Hazy, executive chairman of Air Lease Corp. Hazy expressed confidence in the neo, which ALC has ordered, seeing it as a “natural replacement” for the aging A330ceo, the Airbus A340 and the Boeing 767.

Hazy made his remarks at the 38th annual Airfinance Journal conference yesterday in Miami.

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Air India, the struggling flag carrier

By Bjorn Fehrm 

May 16, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Air India was started by the famous Entrepreneur and Pilot, JDR Tata, in 1932 as Tata Airlines. After WW2, it was renamed Air India and was made the flag carrier for India. In 1953 it was nationalized and a domestic carrier, Indian Airlines, was spun off.

Air India and Indian Airlines were both profitable before re-merging in 2007. Since the merger, the combined airline has been unprofitable as deregulation has increased the competitive pressure both Internationally and Domestically.

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WTO issues ruling on EU appeal in Airbus-Boeing complaint

May 15, 2018, © Leeham News: The World Trade Organization today issued its ruling on the European Union appeal of WTO findings that Airbus received illegal subsidies for its commercial airplane programs.

The WTO appeal decision affirmed that the A380 and A350 received improper subsidies. However, all previous Airbus aircraft have repaid subsidies or cured improperly low interest rates, according to a lawyer who has seen the decision.

A summary of the WTO decision is here.

A Seattle Times report is here.

“The A350 got included on an acceleration factor based on low interest rates,” the lawyer told LNC.

Airbus could have proceeded with the A350 without launch aid, he said the WTO concluded.

Airbus claimed 94% of the Boeing complaints were rejected on appeal or through the process, said the lawyer. Six percent of the claims were upheld, involving the A350 and A380. LNC has not done an independent calculation on these figures.

“Boeing is left with a real thin victory,” the lawyer said.

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