US 5G roll out ignores concerns for Air Transport safety

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 18, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Despite year-long protests from the World’s airlines and the FAA, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) allows Verizon and ATT to roll out 5G base stations underneath the approach paths of landing aircraft in the US.

In 2020 the RTCA (Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics) did tests that established the risk of 5G Base stations affecting the critical Radio Altimeters needed for bad weather landings as real.

After FAA issues a 2021 December 23 AD (Airworthiness Directive) about the danger, airlines must now decide what flights must be canceled during bad weather spells on affected airports.

Figure 1. The way the US 5G C-band base stations can affect a Radar Altimeter. Source: RTCA.

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2022 Forecast: C919 EIS unlikely before 2023-24

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By Scott Hamilton

Introduction

Jan. 17, 2022, © Leeham News: COMAC, the Chinese aerospace company developing the C919, suffered yet another setback last year.

It hoped to deliver the first aircraft, designed to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737-800/8, to China Eastern Airlines by year end. Not only didn’t this delivery take place, but the program is also only about 15% through the certification flight testing.

COMAC C919. Source: China Factor.

At this rate, certification, and delivery this year is questionable. LNA’s forecast for EIS is in 2023 or 2024.

COMAC’s other airplane, the regional jet ARJ21, landed its first order outside China (other than from lessor GECAS years ago).

Summary

  • C919 is overweight, shortening range, and adversely affecting fuel economy.
  • Commercial success of the C919 won’t be possible.
  • ARJ21 lands first foreign operator, but it’s not an arm’s length deal.

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Pontifications: COTS and the KC-46A Aircraft Production Systems

Part 1 in a Boeing series about the USAF refueling tanker

By the Leeham News Team

January 17, 2022, © Leeham News: COTS is an acronym meaning Commercial Off the Shelf. It’s often a requirement for certain types of aircraft to be used by the US Air Force.

The title is a bit misleading in that in most cases, there is no directly usable off-the-shelf product, but instead, a jumping-off point that saves a tremendous amount of development. In aircraft procurement, many things have been bought this way. The advantage to the Air Force is that they get a known flyable aircraft that is for the most part debugged and has an operational history that allows the Air Force to estimate the maintenance burden and training requirements. It shaves years off the acquisition process and can be a very cost-effective way to gain new capabilities.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 2. The problem to solve?

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 14, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Before we dig into the different alternatives we have for more Sustainable Air Transport, let’s look at the problem and its sources.

Figure 1 shows the emissions of CO2 per person since 1900 and the rise of the world temperature. The increase in world temperature changes the weather, with increased weather-related emergencies in recent years.

Figure 1. The increase in CO2 emission per capita and the rise of the world temperature from 1900 to 2018. Source: Wikipedia.

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Air freight growth: one-hit wonder or long-term trend?

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By Judson Rollins

Introduction

January 13, 2022, © Leeham News: COVID-19 has upended the freight world, with air delivery now becoming relatively economical versus the high premium they previously commanded over sea freight. While air freight yields on most trade lanes are 2-3x their pre-pandemic levels, sea freight yields are 8-10x their 2019 levels in lanes like Asia to North America and Asia to Europe.

Sea freight schedule reliability has fallen sharply over the past 18 months driven by a spectrum of port, labor, and container availability issues. Shippers are increasingly frustrated by the large and growing number of “blank sailings,” the industry’s term for canceled departures.

To offer customers backup options – and increase their value capture – ocean freight carriers are starting to buy their own aircraft. Maersk announced its purchase of two Boeing 777Fs in November, while CMA CGM Group said in December that it would order four Airbus A350Fs to complement its existing fleet of five Airbus A330Fs.

As the COVID crisis extends into its third year, will air freight demand prove sustainable at today’s levels? To what extent will capacity increase to match?

Summary
  • Sea freight capacity will remain tight for the foreseeable future.
  • New-build freighter availability is limited at present.
  • Today’s air freight demand spike is unlikely to last beyond mid-decade.

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Pontifications: Teaming with Lockheed Martin for the KC-Y tanker competition

Last in a Series

Jan. 10, 2022, © Leeham News: Sean O’Keefe retired from EADS/Airbus in 2014. Boeing won the re-bid contract for the US Air Force aerial refueling tanker in 2011. The third round of the tanker competitions was every bit as bitter as the second round, which Northrop Grumman/EADS won.

By Scott Hamilton

Boeing is in the process of producing 179 KC-46A tankers, with about half delivered. Beset by delays, technical issues, and cost overruns, Boeing nevertheless has the presumed advantage of being the incumbent supplier.

Lockheed Martin/Airbus will offer the A330-200-based MRTT tanker. Most have Rolls-Royce engines. The remainder has GE Aviation power plants. The LMXT, as the new tanker version is currently called, will be assembled in the US. If RR engines are chosen, these, too, will be assembled in the US, Lockheed says.

Although O’Keefe is no longer associated with Airbus and he is not a consultant to or otherwise advising Lockheed and Airbus, LNA asked him what he would advise if asked after benefitting from the Round 3 competition.

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Forecast 2022: Embraer

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

January 10, 2022, © Leeham News: Embraer is the dominant regional jet aircraft supplier with a worldwide footprint and faces little competition to its products below 100 seats.

Between 100 to 150 seats, the situation is another after Bombardier “sold” its CSeries project to Airbus. Airbus’ might as aircraft OEM rekindled the CSeries as Airbus A220, and it’s now a vivid competitor to Embraer over 100 seats.

With a market it dominates and another where competition increases, we look at what’s in store for Embraer for 2022 as it hopes to exit the COVID pandemic for better times.

Embraer’s revised Turboprop. Source: Embraer.

Summary
  • Embraer is a complete supplier with capable development, production, and worldwide support for its regional jets.
  • Everything would be good had Bombardier, a player the size of Embraer, slugged it out with CSeries. The hand-over of the modern aircraft to Airbus changed the competitive landscape.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 1. A deeper look.

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 7, 2021, ©. Leeham News: We finished a 34 article series before Christmas about the enormous work involved to get a new aircraft certified for passenger transport.

It was a background article series to the one we start now, a deeper series on what’s involved in designing air transport vehicles that are less polluting for our environment. We have seen a landslide of such projects in the last years, and from an experienced aircraft designer’s desk, most of these are doomed for failure.

Figure 1. The Embraer Energia concept aircraft. A credible Sustainable Air Transport research program. Source: Embraer.

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Boeing was “hungry” for deal, says Allegiant CEO

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 6, 2022, © Leeham News: Allegiant Airlines CEO Maury Gallagher said Boeing was “hungry” and the carrier “got a good deal all the way around” with its first order from the manufacturer.

In an interview with LNA yesterday, Gallagher confirmed that early delivery positions from Boeing were also important in placing an order for 30 737-7 and 20 737-8-200 MAXes. Deliveries begin in 2023 and continue through 2025.

Allegiant currently is exclusively operating Airbus A319ceos and A320ceos. Airbus didn’t have enough delivery slots for the A220-300 to cover the smaller end of Allegiant’s needs. Additionally, the A220-300 hasn’t yet been certified for its maximum potential capacity of 160 passengers. Nor was Airbus willing to provide any assurances that a larger A220-500 would be launched. The A220-300 also has a shorter time to maintenance checks than the 737, reflecting the new aircraft type vs the 737-7’s derivative status.

There were no slots for the larger A320neo family until 2026-2038, Gallagher said.

Fleet transition support from Boeing also was a key element of the order, which includes options for 50 more airplanes.

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Estimating the A330neo replacement market

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Jan. 6, 2022, © Leeham News: Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries have been halted for 15 months, except for about a dozen early last year. There is still no clarity on when deliveries will resume, other than it may be in April.

When Boeing encountered severe Dreamliner delays in 2008, Airbus capitalized with a surge in A330ceo orders and deliveries. While long-haul traffic is far less buoyant than in the aftermath of the financial crisis, sustainability concerns mean that airlines will need to renew their twin-aisle fleets in future years.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the A330neo program faced slow sales. With a significant portion of its order book with airlines in precarious financial conditions, Airbus had to slow production on the A330 line to two per month last year.

To LNA’s surprise, Airbus announced plans to increase A330 production to three per month later this year. The recent A330neo orders by Condor and ITA Airways could give Airbus confidence it can gather more fleet replacement orders next year.

In light of the Dreamliner production problems, LNA assesses the size of the replacement market for the A330neo to capitalize on Boeing’s production problems.

Summary
  • Estimating the addressable replacement market;
  • Ruling out some potential customers;
  • Highlighting possible but unlikely customers;
  • A reduced list for plausible near-term orders;
  • Program sales potential.

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