New ATR CEO favors clean-sheet design turboprop

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  • Part 1; Bombardier will appear next week.

March 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Economics simply don’t support development of a new turboprop any time soon, an analysis shows.

Low utilization by turboprop operators, the cost of development and the price to customers drive decision-making more than fuel prices.

LNC interviewed ATR and Bombardier officials for their views on development of a new turboprop. We also interviewed a key executive who knows the sector intimately. Their views diverge.

  • It will cost upwards of $5bn to develop a new turboprop.
  • The 20-year demand is limited, 2,000-2,500 depending on the forecaster.
  • The top-end price point is at best in the low-to-mid-$20m. Any more than this, and the price encroaches on small jets.
  • At least 90 seats are needed.
  • Fuel burn reduction of at least 30% is needed—a difficult target.

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Boeing plots support for 747-8

March 29, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: Boeing is going to build and buy its own 747-8Fs, then lease them as a way to keep the 747 line alive, reports Bloomberg News.

With the effective shutdown by Congress of the U.S. Export-Import Bank — which traditionally has helped overseas carriers purchase planes — Boeing lost a key sales tool. Making matters worse, leasing companies have been hesitant to finance a plane with a dwindling customer base,” Bloomberg writes.

There are already five white tails, aircraft built for customers that canceled or deferred deliveries indefinitely. Nippon Cargo Airlines just canceled two aircraft, scheduled for delivery this year, which takes this to seven. Others that have canceled or deferred: Arik Air and Transaero. A twice-announced “commitment” from Volga-Dnepr Airlines/Air Bridge Cargo 20 747-8Fs failed to materialize more than four.

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Wizz Air, the LCC of Central and Eastern Europe

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 29, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Wizz Air was formed in Hungary 2003 but its largest market is in Poland since operations began. Today, the airline is Europe’s fifth largest LCC, flying to 125 destinations spanning 39 countries.

The airline was established as a private company in Budapest with main investor, Indigo Partners, from USA.  Operations started in Poland 2004. Wizz Air, financially registered in Jersey, lost money at first. Gradually, traffic and load factors improved and the airline has posted profits since 2012.

Annual average growth of traffic and revenue in recent years has been around 20%. Wizz Air is listed on the London stock exchange since March 2015. Read more

Pontifications: Warlick’s Warriors support ALS research

March 27, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: It wasn’t the kind of presentation usually given at the ISTAT general meeting earlier this month. Peter Warlick, vice president of finance for American Airlines, announced to nearly 2,000 people that he has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Peter Warlick

ALS attacks the muscular system and is typically fatal within two-five years. There is no cure.

Warlick actually revealed his condition last year, but I missed the announcement in which American also pledged a $1m donation to ALS research.

Although Pete is only a casual business acquaintance, for me, Warlick’s ISTAT announcement hit home. In 2015, a very close friend and

By Scott Hamilton

colleague died of ALS several years after diagnosis. Stan Bump was a neighbor and I served with Stan on the planning commission in the Seattle suburb in which we lived.

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CSeries wrapping up London City certification

By Bjorn Fehrm

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March 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier (BBD) CSeries did the last flights of a six-month London City Airport certification last week. The CS100, when certified for London City, will more than double the available payload/range out of the airport. In fact, it can reach New York direct with 40 business passengers on-board, something it demonstrated when it left the airport for JFK on the Saturday.

Figure 1. CS100 taking off for a validation flight at London City Airport. Source: Bombardier.

The aircraft was designed for this performance level from the outset. By designing the CSeries with engines and aerodynamics for the larger CS300, the smaller CS100 became a stellar take-off performer, providing short-field capabilities for London City and other urban airports.

Despite the design for London City, it took Bombardier six months to certify CS100 for the airport. We spoke to CSeries VP Rob Dewar about the challenges and the changes needed to the aircraft to meet the demands of London City.


  • CS100 doubles the payload-range performance out of London City Airport (LCY)
  • Validation flights by SWISS pilots in the week confirmed CSeries suitability for LCY. SWISS should know; it has flown the CSeries predecessor (BAE 146) for years into London City.
  • The adaptation for the airport has not degraded normal performance. CSeries performance is better than announced and brochure performance will soon see its second upgrade.
  • To finish of the validation flights, BBD flew the difficult westward leg London City-New York JFK direct, with a payload representing 40 passengers in business class.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engine maintenance, Part 4


By Bjorn Fehrm

March 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: After covering the maintenance market for single-aisle engines, time has come for the engines used on wide-body aircraft. The engine maintenance for a wide-body engine is a bit different to the single-aisle engine. The difference is caused by the longer flight times for the wide-bodies. This makes the flight time wear a more dominant maintenance driver than it is for the single-aisle engines.

The changes in overhaul work caused by the difference in flight profiles and the lower number of engines in the market (compared to the single aisles) will affect how the overhaul market is structured and who are the dominant players.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a tri-shaft turbofan for the wide-body market. Source: GasTurb.

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Could an NMA be made good enough?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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March 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: After showing there exists an NMA (New Midrange Aircraft) gap, the next question follows: Can an aircraft be made for the segment that can carve out a big enough slice to make it a worthwhile effort?

It’s a tough question. Any new aircraft will cost at least $10bn to develop for the airframe alone. To this one shall add the engine development. There exists no suitable engine for such an aircraft. To motivate the investments, the aircraft has to bring a substantial performance improvement compared to existing aircraft. Can it?

Figure 1. The NMA takes more and more the shape of a 767 replacement (A United 767-200). Source: United

We go through the key areas that can bring improvements and check if enough progress can is made until an NMA entry into service in 2024 or 2025.


  • Existing aircraft are either too little or too much aircraft to fill an NMA role.
  • By careful design choices, especially for the fuselage, a new aircraft can achieve the required performance.

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easyJet, the Ryanair follower

By Bjorn Fehrm

-March 22, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: easyJet started 10 years after Ryanair, using the same Southwest Airlines derived Low Cost Carrier (LCC) business model.

easyJet has been expanding at the pace of Ryanair over the years, trailing the European LCC pioneer by around 20% to 30% of passengers carried each year.

For the last fiscal year ending 30 September 2016, easyJet carried 73 million passengers between 30 countries, flying 820 different routes.

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Is there an NMA gap?

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 21, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: The NMA (New Mid-range Aircraft), or, as it’s called more and more, the Boeing 797, is hot. The potential buyers at the recent ISTAT meeting in San Diego urged Boeing to take the decision and get it done.

At the same meeting Airbus responds, “Any NMA gap is covered. Our A321neo and A330-800 is available and and no new aircraft is needed.”

Time to look at who’s right. Is there an NMA gap or not? Is there a difference in how Airbus’ and Boeing’s product lineups cover the market? Read more

Major fleet decisions may not be positive for Airbus, Boeing

Pontifications is off this week.

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March 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: There are some major fleet decisions that will probably come down the pike this year at American, Delta and United airlines. Not all of them are going to be viewed positively by Airbus and Boeing.

There is also a serious warning sign emerging from the Middle East that could have serious, negative impacts on Airbus and Boeing.

  • American Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-900s any more. Consolidation with US Airways appears to have made these surplus.
  • Delta Air Lines, which so far eschewed any orders for the Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXes, is understood to be readying a Request for Proposals to be issued this year.
  • United Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-1000s any more. Picking up cheap Boeing 777-300ERs appear to have made these surplus.
  • Emirates Airlines, reacting to Brexit and Donald Trump’s travel bans, is undertaking a full business review in response to a sharp drop in bookings.

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