Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of hydrogen. Part 32. Wrap-up: Going forward

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 9, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week we made a summary of the history of initiatives for sustainable aviation, now we look at the likely developments over the next 10 years.

What is the likely development for different classes of airliners and what technologies will be popular?

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Analyzing the trades between a single- and twin-aisle NMA

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By the Leeham News Team

Introduction

April 8, 2021, © Leeham News: Some people believe Boeing should launch a new single-aisle airplane about the size of the 757-200/300 to compete with the Airbus 321neo.

Others believe the new airplane should be a twin-aisle aircraft. A few, including LNA, believe the new airplane must be a three-member family and must be a twin-aisle.

The largest member of a single-aisle Boeing NMA would be longer than the Boeing 757-300. Photo: Delta Air Lines.

Whatever the new airplane is, the general specifications are aircraft up to 250 passengers in two classes and a range of up to 5,000nm.

There is also agreement the airplane must start across from the A321neo. Configurations vary widely, but 190-200 seats in two classes are common.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun said on an earnings call that the next new airplane will compete with the A321 and cover the Middle of the Market.

Summary
  • A single-aisle, 250-passenger airplane would be longer than the 757-300.
  • Technical build challenges, while not insurmountable, exist with long, thin airplane.
  • Gate and ramp space constraints accompany a long airplane.
  • Other trades exist for a twin-aisle design.

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Boeing’s freighter dominance threatened

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By Scott Hamilton

April 6, 2021, © Leeham News: As if Boeing didn’t have enough challenges these days, its near-exclusive dominance for new-build freighter may be threatened.

Boeing continues to see the 767-300ERF, which proved to be a popular freighter. Photo: FedEx.

Airbus is showing airlines and lessors a freight version of the A350 that is midway in length between the -900 and -1000 passenger versions. If enough orders are lined up—50 is said to be the magic number—Airbus could launch the program as early as this year.

Reuters first reported the effort.

But the Airbus threat isn’t the only one to Boeing’s decades’ long leadership in new-build freighters.

International regulations that take effect in 2027 mean the 777-200LRF and 767-300ERF that Boeing builds today can no longer be produced from 2027. The two aircraft won’t meet new, strict noise and emissions regulations. The engine designs and technology on the 777F date to the 1990s. Those on the 767s date to the 1980s.

The 777-8F was to be Boeing’s next generation freighter. However, program delays, financial pressures, and certification challenges cast doubts whether the -8F will be launched.

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Diverging financial fortunes for Airlines and Lessors

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Air Lease Corporation A321 XLR Rendering Credit: Airbus

April 5, 2021, © Leeham News: Most airlines and lessors that publish their financial results publicly have done so for 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic harmed all stakeholders’ financials in the commercial aviation industry. However, the impact varies significantly from one group to another. There are also significant differences between companies within a group.

LNA collected financial information on airlines and lessors to assess the pandemic’s economic damage. The differences in financial impact have altered the balance of power within the commercial aviation ecosystem. The varying fortunes will impact each stakeholder’s say in current and future aircraft programs.

Summary
  • A financial bloodbath for airlines;
  • Financial outliers;
  • Lessors mostly ok for now;
  • Impact on future OEM programs.

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Pontifications: Southwest didn’t invite Airbus to bid

By Scott Hamilton

April 5, 2021, © Leeham News: Southwest Airlines didn’t ask Airbus to submit a commercial bid for the A220-300, three knowledgeable sources tell Leeham News.

Southwest conducted an internal technical analysis of the A220-300 vs. the 737-7 MAX. The A220-300 offered better economics. But this competed against the costs of retaining a common 737 fleet.

“Southwest acknowledged the merits of the A220, but there was no competition” for a commercially-based bid, LNA is told.

The airline placed an order on March 29 for 100 737-7s. Southwest said the order was an outgrowth of talks with Boeing for compensation due to the 20-month grounding of the MAX.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of hydrogen. Part 31. Wrap-up: Where we stand

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 2, 2021, ©. Leeham News: It’s time to wrap up our series on the hydrogen airliner alternative for Sustainable Commercial Aviation.

We review the status for sustainable aviation as of today, then look at the future next week.

Figure 1. The first certified electric aircraft, the Pipistrel Velis Electro. Source: Pipistrel.

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The A350, Part 12 Wrap Up

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By Bjorn Fehrm and Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Apr. 1, 2021, © Leeham News: After extensively discussing the A350 family and comparing it with its main competitors, it is now time to wrap up the series.

Summary

  • Success after a few false starts;
  • Equal share in the twin-aisle market within reach;
  • Lineup strengths and weaknesses;
  • Looking ahead.

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HOTR: Compensation wins Southwest order for MAX

By the Leeham News Team

March 29, 2021, © Leeham News: Southwest Airlines today announced an order for 100 Boeing 737-7 MAXes.

The order was expected. The carrier also considered the Airbus A220-300. But any prospect of diverging from the 50-year relationship with Boeing was at best a crapshoot.

Despite the flowering language in the press release, the key reasons are buried.

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Pontifications: Recovery plans from the pandemic at ATR, De Havilland

By Scott Hamilton

March 29, 2021, © Leeham News: Aviation stakeholders’ attention understandably focuses on Airbus and Boeing as the industry works its way through the COVID-19 pandemic. Embraer gets less attention than the Big Two.

But two other OEMs must be considered as well: ATR and De Havilland Canada.

Outside of China and Russia, whose home-grown industries sell only to these markets, ATR and DHC are the only manufacturers of turboprops in the 50-90 seat sectors.

LNA revealed on Jan. 12 that DHC would suspend Dash 8-400 production after the small backlog rolled off the assembly line. The privately held company delivered 11 airplanes last year due to the pandemic.

About 900 aging regional turboprop aircraft need to be replaced in the coming years.

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Airbus trails Boeing in US in-service airplanes but leads with backlog

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By Scott Hamilton

Introduction

March 29, 2021, © Leeham News: As airlines across the global struggle to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbus faces a weakened Boeing.

Some might argue Airbus has the advantage over Boeing, which is beset by a huge inventory of 737 MAXes and a growing number of undelivered 787s.

Others might argue that Boeing, desperate for cash, faced with billions of dollars of customer compensation claims and MAX whitetails, is willing to cut prices below levels Airbus will match.

There is anecdotal evidence Boeing is slashing MAX prices. Two high-profile campaigns in the US are illustrative. Last week, LNA examined bake-offs between Airbus and Boeing for Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. United Airlines appeared to place an opportunistic order for 25 MAX 9 whitetails.

This week, LNA takes a deep dive into the competitive situation between Airbus and Boeing in the US.

Summary
  • Adjusting for pre-pandemic in-service fleets, Airbus trails Boeing in the US but not by much for in the narrowbody sector.
  • However, Boeing overwhelms Airbus in the widebody sector.
  • Airbus currently has a lopsided lead in backlog orders for narrowbodies, but this lead is unlikely to hold.
  • Airbus also currently leads in backlog orders for widebodies, but one large order is squishy.

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