A330neo backlog faces challenging skyline

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Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: With the first flight of the Airbus A330-800, it’s time to take a new look at the status of the A330 program.


  • Additional orders have been recorded, but the skyline remains challenged.
  • Iran Air’s order for 30 ceos and neos is still on the books.
  • AirAsia X has yet to confirm Farnborough’s MOU for 34 A330-900s and reportedly looks for convert some to single-aisles.
  • Lessors have a big chunk.

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Pontifications: Writing had been on the wall for years for Q400 sale; CRJ is next

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: The writing had really been on the wall for the past few years, regardless what the corporate line was: Bombardier was one day going to sell the Q400 program or shut it down.

Better to sell it and get at least some money out of it, no matter how small.

Bombardier agreed to sell the program to British Columbia-based Viking Air for a mere $300m–$250m, net of fees.

Ditto the CRJ program. It’s on life support. It’s a design dating to the 1980s, the passenger experience has long been eclipsed by the Embraer E-Jet and it will be also by Mitsubishi’s MRJ when this jet finally comes on line in 2020. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Supersonic transport revival, Part 14

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 9, 2018, ©. Leeham News: In last week’s Corner we compared the GE Affinity, the Mach 1.4 engine for the Arion AS2, to the engine of the Concorde when both propel a Mach 2 Supersonic Transport.

We could see an engine must be designed for working at Mach 2. The Olympus, now a 50-year-old design, was more efficient in propelling a Mach 2 SST than the hypermodern Affinity. Now we design a custom Mach 2.2 engine.

Figure 1. A Mach 2.2 suitable SST turbofan modeled with GasTurb. Source: GasTurb.

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Bombardier announces sale of Q400 program, exploring options for CRJ

Nov. 8, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier today announced the sale of its slow-selling, aging Q400 turboprop program to Canada’s Viking Air.

  • The press release from Viking’s parent company is here.

Viking previously purchased out-of-production Bombardier/de Havilland aircraft programs, including the Twin Otter, Beaver and CL-415 firefighting bomber.

Viking Air previously purchased the Bombardier de Havilland Twin Otter program and restarted production. Now, it’s buying the slow-selling Q400 program for a mere $300m. Photo via Google images.

Twin Otter production was restarted. The Beaver was not an is not in the cards to be restarted. The CL-415 was limping along, and no longer a contributor to Bombardier’s cash flow and profits.

“The Company entered into definitive agreements for the sale of the Q Series aircraft program and de Havilland trademark to a wholly owned subsidiary of Longview Aviation Capital Corp. for approximately $300m,” Bombardier said in a press release. It also announced the sale of other assets for $800m. The two deals are expected to close in the second half of 2019.

The low price reflects the struggles the Q400 has had for years. Bombardier lost money on the Q400 in recent years.

Bombardier also said it is considering its options for the aging, struggling CRJ program. Read more

How useful is an NMA, Part 5

By Bjorn Fehrm

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November 8, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we flew a Boeing NMA from the Middle East. We found the aircraft would be well suited to serve this market.

Now we finish the coverage part of the series with checking how useful the NMA would be for North American based carriers.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

  • The North American carriers will have a useful aircraft in the NMA. It will cover the domestic US and Canadian markets, including Alaska and Hawaii.
  • The smaller 797-6 will cover wide parts of South America and Europe dependent on the hub. The larger NMA has more of a coverage problem outside the North and Central American markets. Read more

Boeing issues 737 Operations Manual Bulletin after Lion Air accident

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 7, 2018, © Leeham News.: Boeing issued a message to the operators of 737 MAX aircraft yesterday to remind their pilots of the procedures if an unreliable Angle Of Attack (AOA) information is suspected while flying.

Below we describe what these procedures are and why Boeing is reminding its customers about what to do when suspecting a false AOA reading.

Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX 8. Source: Wikipedia.

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Airbus A330-800 first flight

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 6, 2018, © Leeham News in Toulouse. The Airbus A330-800, the smaller of the A330neo variants, took off for its first flight in Toulouse today. It’s the fourth member of the A330neo flight test campaign and it will add another 350 Flight Hours to the 1,400 hours flown with the A330-900.

Airbus used the occasion to make a review of the A330neo program.

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Accounting Standards Call Out Airplane Orders with Questionable Credit

By Dan Catchpole


Nov. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: Like countless other businesses, Boeing this year adopted new accounting standards, known by the acronym ASC 606. The new rules did not significantly affect the company’s balance sheet. However, it did result in some noticeable changes to its orders and deliveries page.

Boeing added a line—dubbed ASC 606 Adjustment—to its total order table. It also moved some orders around within the order book, shifting them from the operators to Boeing Capital Corp., the aerospace giant’s financing arm.

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737-based Wedgetail to be assembled in UK, Defence official says

Update, Nov. 6: Boeing said the Wedgetail will be assembled in Renton, as it has in the past. Discussions are underway with the UK to perform final modifications there (similar to how KC-46A tankers move from final assembly to the Everett Modification Center for installation of military equipment). However, no agreement has been reached yet.

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Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: A UK defense publication reported late today (US time) that Boeing agreed to final assembly of the 737-based Wedgetail radar and surveillance airplane in the UK.

This marks the first time a 7-Series commercial-based airplane will be assembled outside the US.

Boeing 737-based Wedgetail. Boeing photo.

The 737 finishing center in China, which opens this year, installs interiors and paints the airplane of finished 737s.

If the report is confirmed by Boeing, this marks a huge strategic and psychological step in how Boeing Commercial Airplanes approaches final assembly in the future.

  • Boeing has considered locating 737 line overseas in the past, but always rejected it.
  • Union knowledge, reaction, unknown at this writing.
  • Major implications for Boeing NMA (797).

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WOW-Icelandair combo may help Airbus, hurt Boeing in A321LR/XLR-NMA campaigns

Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: The announcement that Icelandair will acquire competing low cost airline WOW Air seemed the inevitable conclusion to the financially-strapped WOW, which aggressively expanded against the entrenched incumbent.

The combined carriers may help Airbus and hurt Boeing in current campaigns to sell the A321LR/XLR and NMA to Icelandair.

The combined carriers will serve 63 cities from their home base in Iceland. Icelandair serves 46 cities. WOW serves 40 and recently announced expansion to its 41st, Vancouver.

There will be 19 common cities and routes (see Chart). Read more