CFM announces the RISE engine program

June 14, 2021, © Leeham News: GE and SAFRAN took to the stage today to announce the extension of their CFM joint venture to 2050 and the CFM technology program RISE.

RISE stands for Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engines, and it elevates previous work to new levels and introduces some news.

Figure 1. The RISE Open Rotor engine as presented by CFM. Source: CFM.

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Airbus program update tomorrow: what will officials reveal?

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By Scott Hamilton


June 14, 2021, © Leeham News: Airbus will provide a commercial program update tomorrow in Toulouse.

Will the Next Boeing Airplane be like the 757 with a composite new wing and new engines? Boeing photo.

But will officials announce Authority to Offer (ATO) an A350 freighter for sale?

Will they formally acknowledge development of an “A322”?

There is a plethora of articles, including LNA, in recent weeks discussed the prospect of Airbus launching an A350F this year. Potential customers have seen presentations from Airbus. Boeing’s overwhelming dominance in freighters is under threat.

If Airbus announces ATO tomorrow, Boeing may be forced to take its 777-8F concept out of mothballs. Boeing suspended development of the 777-8 and -8F during the 737 MAX and pandemic crises.

Then there is the prospect of the long-talked about “A322.”

This airplane, if launched, will have a new composite wing, more powerful engines and up to 24 more passengers. The wing is called the Wing of Tomorrow and has been under development for years.

If Airbus launches the A322, which also has a working name of A321 Plus Plus, Boeing will find it very tough to build a business case for its Next Boeing Airplane (NBA). The most recent iteration seems to be basically a reinvention of the 757-200/300: a metallic fuselage with a composite wing and new engines.

  • Airbus now has the leadership role held by Boeing for decades, says the industry’s most influential executive.
  • What does the Next Boeing Airplane look like?
  • Airbus thinks it can match the NBA with an A322 for a lot less money to the customer.
  • But will airlines want a 2025 technology or be satisfied with a makeover for an Airbus with roots in 1980s technology?

    Boeing’s CEO says the next airplane won’t be a response to just the Airbus A321XLR. Airbus photo.

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Pontification: It’s time to replace the 737, says industry leader

By Scott Hamilton

June 14, 2021, © Leeham News: One of commercial aviation’s most influential leaders said last week Boeing needs to replace the 737 with a new technology airplane.

Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease Corp., said in a CNBC interview June 9 the 737 is a good airplane, but the time has come for a replacement.

“Boeing has to look at the future. What kind of airplanes that airlines will need with all the environmental challenges, regulatory challenges? What is the airplane type airlines will need 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now?” Hazy said.

“Boeing needs to invest. The 737 is a wonderful airplane, but it’s been in operation since 1967. We have an airplane that its basic design has been around for 54 years. It’s time for a new technology airplane that will give airlines and the public greater efficiency, better economics, better environmental footprint so the airlines can make money with it and yet meet the challenges that we’re facing on the environmental front.”

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 7. Transport Category Aircraft

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca

June 11, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we scaled a nine-seat aircraft to a 19-seat aircraft and examined some of the pros and cons of such a change.  The aircraft are certified to the 14 CFR Part 23 rules in the US, labeled “Normal Category Aircraft“.

This week we scale the aircraft up one step further to understand product certification and operation rules for the larger Transport Category Aircraft (14 CFR Part 25) class.

The Bombardier Global 7500 is a Transport Category Aircraft (Part 25) as its gross weight is over 19,000lb. Source: Bombardier.

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Cheap aluminum widebodies may finally enable long-haul LCC profitability

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By Judson Rollins


June 10, 2021, © Leeham News: Residual values and lease rates have plummeted to record lows for previous-generation widebodies like the A330, 767, and 777. Inventories continue to build around the world, and prices appear set to fall even further.

At the same time, business travel ground to a near-halt in most regions. Even in countries where domestic leisure travel rebounded, like the US or China, average fares are down 20%-40%.

Southwest Airlines describes itself as a “low-fare carrier.” With business and premium-cabin traffic expected to take 3-4 years to return and be permanently impaired to some extent, every airline may be a low-fare carrier for years to come.

With higher-density seat configurations, more flexible scheduling – and, most importantly, the lower capital costs of used aircraft – new low-cost carriers (LCCs) could break even on long-haul routes with materially lower revenue than their predecessors.

This confluence of events has created a once-in-a-generation, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity for new airlines to achieve a sustainable cost advantage over legacy carriers weighed down by capital-intensive aircraft, expensive crew contracts, and record-high debt service costs.

  • Previous long-haul LCC startups failed due to insufficient capital, overextended operations, fares too low to cover costs.
  • Ultra-low lease rates make used A330s cheaper to fly than new-technology aircraft.
  • Lower costs, surgical route selection level the long-haul playing field.
  • Legacy hub-and-spoke model will be weakened by “overflight” routes.
  • Low capital costs mean used airplanes need only be flown when demand warrants.

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Podcast: 10 Minutes About the United-Boom SST agreement

June 8, 2021, © Leeham News: United Airlines and the start-up company, Boom, last week announced an agreement by which UAL will acquire up to 50 Boom Overture SSTs.

There are some conditions Boom must meet before United will accept any airplanes. Furthermore, Boom must raise a lot of money to complete development.

In today’s episode of 10 Minutes About, LNA discusses the commercial agreement and just a few of the issues facing development of the Overture.

Related articles:

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The impact of higher inflation on OEMs and Airlines

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By Vincent Valery


June 7, 2021, © Leeham News: As the world economy recovers from its sharpest shock since World War II, an unwelcome side effect started appearing: higher inflation rates.

One Hundred Trillion Zimbabwean Dollars Note, issued during a period of hyperinflation in the country

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in the USA increased by 4.2% year-over-year in April 2021. The leading causes of the increase are higher commodity prices and worker and material shortages in the US economy.

Aside from temporary commodity-induced spikes, inflation rates have stayed moderate over the last 30 years. However, numerous countries (including the USA and Europe) experienced persistently high inflation rates throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.

It is premature to say whether the latest spike is temporary or will persist. Should the latter happen, it would have profound consequences for the commercial aviation ecosystem. LNA analyzes the potential implications for OEMs, airlines, and lessors of such a scenario.

  • Inflation 101;
  • Winners and losers in high inflation environments;
  • Consequences for OEMs;
  • Impact on airlines and lessors.

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Pontifications: Qatar, United, Boom, Airbus and Aerion

By Scott Hamilton

June 7, 2021, © Leeham News: It’s been a busy couple of weeks in commercial aviation, with several reports last week alone.

  • Qatar Airways expresses interest in Boeing 777X-F and Airbus A350F.
  • United Airlines announces a “commercial agreement” with Boom Supersonic to purchase 15 Overture jets and option 35.
  • Boeing exploring reinventing the 757.
  • Airbus moves toward a new wing for A320 family.
  • Aerion Aviation terminates program, shuts down. May 21.

Some of these reports were new and interesting Others were over-hyped and fluff.

Let’s run them down.

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HOTR: 500 “destinations” for Boom goes bust

June 4, 2021, © Leeham News: “Overture can connect more than 500 destinations.”

That’s what United Airlines said in its press release this week about its “commercial agreement” with Boom Supersonic. UAL “ordered” 15 Overture airplanes with an option for 35 more.

“More than 500 destinations” leaves a lot of room for interpretation. LNA understands this to mean 500 cities. If UAL and Boom meant “city pairs,” then this commonly used term should have been used.

The common dictionary definition is “the place where someone is going or where something is being sent or taken.”

Examples used in the definition are, “The Virgin Islands are a popular tourist destination,” or a “holiday destination.” More on point, one example used is quite common in airline lingo: the term “final destination.”

So, this lends to the interpretation “500 destinations” means 500 “cities.”


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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of airliner development. Part 6. Adding seats.

By Bjorn Fehrm, Henry Tam, and Andrew Telesca.

June 04, 2021, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we examined operating and product certification rules related to 9-seater air taxis and commuters. We took the example of the new Tecnam P2012 Traveller to study the certification rules for a 9-seater. Now we upsize the aircraft to understand the pros and cons of adding extra seats.

The Viking Twin Otter, the only in-production 19-seater. Source: Viking Air

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