1. Airbus wants to advance NEO EIS six months
Airbus wants to advance the entry-into-service of the A320neo by six months, to October 2015, we have learned. Airbus plans to introduce the neo in six month increments (A320neo followed by A321neo followed by A319neo). Airbus has more than 300 orders and commitments for the 320/321 and none for the 319. With Boeing increasingly talking about a new airplane in 2019, any advance Airbus can get for EIS on the neo will be beneficial.
Pratt & Whitney can probably meet this requirement. It will have versions of the GTF in service with Bombardier in 2013 and with Mitsubishi in 2014. Testing on the Irkut MS-21, a competitor to the A320/321, is to begin in 2014 with an EIS planned for 2016 (though we believe the MS-21 will likely be later than 2016).
Whether CFM can have the LEAP-X ready for a NEO 2015 EIS is unknown. CFM has yet to be selected for a NEO order (this is only a matter of time, though). The LEAP-X is in development for the COMAC C919, also a competitor to the 320/321. Flight testing is planned for 2014 and EIS for 2016 but we think the C919 will run years late, just as did the ARJ-21. Can CFM shave six months off its flight testing to meet an advanced NEO EIS when it is disadvantaged to PW’s CSeries and MRJ operating experience? We don’t know.
Over at Boeing, Aspire Aviation has this think-piece about the “737X.”
2. Airbus ponders slight larger A350-1000
The A350-1000 is aimed directly at the Boeing 777-300ER, but it is slightly smaller at 350 passengers vs 365 in typical three-class. Boeing, and others, question whether Rolls-Royce’s Trent XWB engine is big enough for the -1000 (Airbus, not surprisingly, said that it is). But we learned that Airbus is considering a 380 passenger -1000 and 50 miles more range to make it sure to do Dubai-Los Angeles non-stop. For this, the Trent XWB needs 5,000 lbs more thrust, and Rolls has been asked to figure this out.
In our view, this is the airplane Airbus needs to take on the -300ER.
3. Bombardier exec says 300 CSeries orders by EIS
Gary Scott, CEO on Bombardier Aerospace, told the ISTAT crowd last week the company will have 300 orders for the CSeries by the time it enters service in 2013, the same number that Airbus had for the A320 at EIS.
We were truly surprised to hear Scott be this definitive–not because we don’t think BBD can do it, but rather because BBD is ordinarily very, very reserved about making forward-looking predictions.
4. You can’t fool physics
Airbus likes to say that its A319neo equals the economics of the Bombardier CSeries, but the airplane is 12,000 lbs heavier than the competing CS300 and this means more fuel is burned relative to a lighter airplane. How much is 12,000 lbs? It is the equivalent of 69 passengers at 175 lbs per passenger.
In the Airbus presentation at ISTAT, Airbus also said the A320neo family (it wasn’t more specific than this) is Stage 4 minus 15db, which is very quiet indeed. But Bombardier says the CSeries is Stage 4 minus 20 db. This makes the CSeries significantly quieter.
Lest one dismiss the physics argument, Airbus itself made this case when comparing the A330-300 to the Boeing 777-200.
Boeing’s Randy Tinseth accused Airbus of manipulating numbers for economics between the two airplanes; the Seattle PI picked up Randy’s assertions here. Airbus provided a rebuttal to the PI, and it is reported here.
If the laws of physics work for the A330, one presumes they also work for the CSeries.
5. Japan’s tragedy affects more than 787 supply chain
People naturally are focusing on the impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on Boeing’s 787, as typified in this Wall Street Journal article, but Boeing gets stuff for its other 7-Series programs from Japan as well. Buckingham Research outlined this in a recent research note. Aviation Week has this article.
6. The story behind the Korean 747 order
Korean Air Lines’ order last week for two Boeing 747-8Fs merely pick up the two orders canceled by Guggenheim Aviation. Guggenheim was going to lease the airplanes to KAL but canceled when it could not reach agreement with Boeing on penalties for being late. At the same time, KAL was negotiating with Boeing over penalties for the late deliveries of the 787s and 747-8F ordered directly from Boeing. In a “global” settlement, KAL swapped the 787-8 orders for 787-9s and ordered the Guggenheim 747-8Fs at a bargain-basement price.
Watch for Guggenheim to do a sale-leaseback with KAL on the freighters.
7. World’s scariest airports
8. DOD to provide “microscopic” oversight on KC-46A
The Defense Department, perhaps just a tad sensitive over the tanker award and statements by loser EADS that Boeing is unlikely to deliver as promised, says it will provide microscopic oversight on the KC-46A, according to this article. Further, Heidi Wood at Morgan Stanley says Boeing management admitted that the profit margins on its bid are below company average. Military.com’s Line of Departure has this interesting analysis of the procurement process.
Flight Global has this long piece about the EADS ambitions in the US following its loss of the tanker contract.
9. Name that tanker
The Air Force is getting nominations for the name of the KC-46A, according to this article in the Air Force Times.
What do our readers think the name of the tanker should be? Submit your nominations in the Comments; after a while we will compile them and hold a vote of the best choices.
With apologies to Boeing, we just can’t resist including this one.