Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 17, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In the last Corner we outlined several challenges facing a supersonic airliner or business jet.

We will now go through these challenges one by one. We start with the aerodynamic challenge.

Figure 1. The last Supersonic transport, the Concorde. Source: Wikipedia.

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Can an Airbus A321XLR kill NMA’s business case?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 16, 2018, © Leeham News.: Airbus is working on improving the A321LR so it can fly more of the missions Boeing’s NMA is aimed for, according to Aviation Week. By it, Airbus could ideally make the NMA business case a No-Go.

To understand how much of the NMA market an A321XLR can address we need to understand the limitations of the A321LR and what can be done about them. And how fast such improvements could be implemented.

Summary:

  • The A321LR is limited in both Take-Off Weight and fuel capacity to fly further than today’s aircraft.
  • How to lift these limitations without imposing large changes is the subject of this week’s article and a follow-up article next week.

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Some suppliers consider sitting out Boeing’s NMA program

By Dan Catchpole

August 15, 2018, © Leeham News: If Boeing launches its New Midsize Airplane (NMA or 797), it is expected to use the cleansheet program to force new contract terms on suppliers. And that has some suppliers wondering if it is worth participating in the program at all.

Speaking on background, executives from several suppliers told LNC in recent months that they might not bid on NMA work if it means greater price concessions up front, as well as surrendering lucrative aftermarket sales to Boeing.

Bidding will depend, in part, on whether suppliers can pass cost cuts down to their own suppliers,  and if Boeing takes on more risk and development costs to offset lost aftermarket revenue. One exec wondered what it could mean for the company’s engineering capabilities if they have to bid for essentially procurement orders with Boeing holding onto the IP.

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Stopping airliner theft

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 15, 2018, © Leeham News.: The theft of the Horizon Air Bombardier Q400 Friday brings the question how easy airliners are to steal and what can be made about it.

Having never flown an airliner before, I recently learned how to start one from cold and get it into the air. Here’s my take on how easy (or not) it is to get an airliner in the air by a novice and what can be done to make it harder.

The Dash 8 Q400 involved in the Friday incident. Source: Wikipedia.

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Airbus Business Line Services ramping up

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Introduction

Aug. 13, 2018, © Leeham News: While Boeing aggressively pushes its new business unit, Boeing Global Services (BGS), on a trajectory for a $50bn revenue target in 10 years, Airbus quietly has its own services operation.

Airbus services has a goal to reach $10bn in revenue over the next decade for its commercial services. In 2017, the Airbus Group revenue of $9bn was split roughly evenly between commercial, helicopters and defense.

BGS’ revenue target includes all services.

Unlike BGS, Airbus services are not a separate business unit/profit center. Ironically, the Airbus website describes the airliner-part as “commercial aircraft services.” Boeing’s airliner services operation was called Commercial Aviation Services, or CAS, before CAS merged with the Boeing defense operation to form BGS. The business line is promoted as Services by Airbus in collateral material.

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Pontifications: Horizon Q400 theft spurs thoughts about solo pilot idea

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 13, 2018, © Leeham News: The bizarre theft of a Horizon Airlines Bombardier Q400 at Sea-Tac Airport Friday night by a 29-year old employee will take some time for investigators to unravel.

The employee, a ramp agent, appeared to have no other motive in mind other than a last joy ride before ending his life.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 10, 2018, ©. Leeham News: The interest in civil supersonic flight has been revived in the last years. Aerion Supersonic is well advanced with its AS2 supersonic business jet and there are several projects looking at restarting supersonic airliner service, 15 years after the Concorde stopped flying.

We will examine the unique challenges facing these projects in a series of Corners.

Figure 1. The latest rendering of the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet. Source: Aerion Supersonic.

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Will rising fuel prices revitalize new aircraft sales? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 9, 2018, © Leeham News.: We continue last week’s article about how changing fuel prizes affects fleet plans. Last week we studied how long-term rising fuel prices will favour new, more fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft.

Now we make the analysis with Widebody aircraft in the segment 250 to 300 seats.

Summary:

  • The crossover fuel price where a new generation Widebody is a good investment is slightly different than for the Narrowbody.
  • As for the Narrowbody, the maintenance costs for a half-life Widebody and how these are handled influence the crossover fuel price.

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777F, 747-8F orders help former’s bridge, solidify Boeing as freighter king

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Introduction

Aug. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: The surge of orders at the Farnborough Air Show for Boeing 777 and 747-8 freighters is welcome news for Boeing, which still had production gaps to bridge between the 777 Classic and the 777X.

The 747-8F orders, for five, helps breathe life into this struggling program.

The orders also add to Boeing’s virtual monopoly in new-build cargo aircraft backlogs.

Summary
  • 777F orders and commitments now nearly double the remaining 777-300ER backlog.
  • Three new-build freighter models swamp Airbus offering of just the A330-200F.
  • Airbus pitching UPS for A330-800F.

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Pontifications: Supply chain meltdown

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 6, 2018 © Leeham News: It happened to Airbus. It sort of happened to Boeing. It was bound to happen in a much bigger way to Boeing, and it has.

Some 40 737s are now sitting around the Renton assembly plant in a major supply-chain meltdown.

This follows the highly publicized, two-year long supplier meltdown at Airbus as Pratt & Whitney and CFM fell down on engine deliveries and technical problems for their GTF and LEAP-1A engines, respectively.

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