Odds and Ends: A350, 737MAX, 787; ACG is #10; and more

Guessing Game: The mysterious nine customers for the 737 MAX continues to confound observers. Actually, there were nine before Aviation Capital Group signed up, so ACG was #10.

  • American Airlines
  • Lion Air
  • Aviation Capital Group
  • GECAS
  • COPA
  • GOL
  • Norwegian Air

Three more; we have three of the names but not confirmed.

Airbus A350 delay: Airbus announced a delay of six months; we think it prudent to add 3-6 more.

Aviation Week has a comprehensive table of neo vs MAX orders.

Boeing 787 Deliveries: All Things 787 reports there will be only two more deliveries this year and why.

Boeing 737 MAX: Note the wording in the Boeing press release about Aviation Capital Group’s commitment for the MAX: “ACG first leasing company to announce commitment for 737 MAX.” Not that ACG is the first lessor to commit; it is the first leasing company to announce its commitment. We understand two other lessors have committed. One is GECAS (no surprise, given the family-engine connection). We haven’t identified the other one with enough confidence to publish its name yet.

Bombardier: There remain three unidentified orders announced by BBD: one in Europe, two in the Middle East. The Middle Eastern ones should be revealed at the Bahrain Air Show. (This probably gives you a hint who they are and why they weren’t revealed at the rival Dubai show.)

Also, with some aerospace analysts increasingly speculating the CSeries entry-into-service will slip to 2014 (and, for the moment, BBD says ’tain’t so), we’ll remind everyone that the AirInsight CSeries Business Case report of December 2010 assumed a 2014 EIS.

Embraer: EMB has teamed with Alcoa to offerer advanced metals on the E-Jet RE, to lighten weights and reduce maintenance. EMB isn’t using composites (BBD’s CSeries has an aluminum-lithium fuselage and composite wings), but the E-Jets at 2×2 seating and 2,000 mile range are lighter than the CS-100 with which they will compete. Ninety percent of the US domestic flying is less than 2,000 miles (other areas of the world are likewise), so the operating costs vs the 2×3 seating, heavier CS100 will be interesting to watch.

YouTube: We’ve added a YouTube category in the right hand column, with links to OEM You Tube channels. So far we have Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier Aerospace, CFM and Embraer. As we find more, we’ll add them.

38 Comments on “Odds and Ends: A350, 737MAX, 787; ACG is #10; and more

  1. A350 EIS in the summer of 2014 seems reasonable, with first flight occuring in early spring 2013 and cold soak trials in Iqaluit set for January/February 2014.

    • another 3 to 6 months would put it in 3Q or 4Q 2014. All the announcements said they extended the EIS by 6 months, and they had been claiming by year end 2013. That puts their current claim at June 2014 more or less.

      There are other options for doing cold soak. Look at what the 787 did. We aren’t limited by a particular season anymore.

      • What EADS said last week was that Entry-into-Service is now in H1 2014. EADS doesn’t single out any particular month, hence A350 EIS could be early spring, or late spring, early summer 2014.

        Looking at the A380 as a point of “reference”, the static test article (MSN-5000) was the first airframe off the assembly line on May 27th, 2004. First flight on MSN-001 occurred 11 months later. Interestingly, the first centre wing box for MSN-001 (A380 prototype) was delivered by barge from Nantes to the St-Nazaire plant in August 2003. The static test article (MSN-5000) was the first airframe off the final assembly line on May 27th, 2004. MSN-001 entered the main assembly point for the FAL the same day, with fuselage, wings, empennage, gear and pylons all coming together in one move. First flight on MSN-001 occurred 11 months later.

        On the A350 programme, the centre wing box was delivered from Nantes to the St-Nazaire Section-15 final assembly line in early August of this year. Looking at the other section/wing-assembly milestones of the A380 programme, IMO it’s not unreasonable to extrapolate that as for the timeframe when the major sections of MSN-001 will start to come together at the FAL in Toulouse, April/May 2012 may look realistic, while first flight could reasonably occur in March/April 2013 while EIS occurring in June/July 2014 – after a 15 month flight test programme.

        Finally, the scope of the cold soak trial is to evaluate not only ground handling but both the APU and the engine start up sequence after an extended cold soak period of up to 24 hrs and at temperatures lower than –30°C. I don’t believe Boeing started up the 787’s engines indoors at the McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin AFB hence why additional real cold weather testing subsequently had to be undertaken.

        http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_story/11419919/article-Cold-weather-brings-Boeing-787-Dreamliner-to-Fairbanks-for-test

  2. I read it the EIS slip to 4Q2014 ir 1Q2015 for the A-350.

    Its too bad Boeing still hasn’t got its stuff together for the B-787 deliveries (just 2 more deliveries this year), but the B-747-8F deliveries are doing well (aboout 12 total deliveries this year).

    The AW&ST table of the NEO vs. the MAX still doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, except to identify some customers.

  3. KC135TopBoom :
    I read it the EIS slip to 4Q2014 ir 1Q2015 for the A-350. .

    Well what a surprise 🙂
    The EIS was originally planned for end of 2013, adding 3-6 months delay gives you… mid 2014. Simple.

    If Airbus keep to the revised schedule, I think they should be happy, considering the complexities of the programme. They really need to step up a gear…

    So the prediction of less than 5 787 deliveries was correct. Flightblogger reported 8 months conversion span for one of the planes. How is that going to impact the 2012 production plan?

    • Actually, if you go back to the 2007 launch, EIS was supposed to be mid 2013 at first. There have been several slides before they got to “by year end 2013”, which has now slid yet again.

      • Yes Howard, that’s correct. However that does not change the current guidance of mid 2014 and not Q1 2015 as suggested by TopBoom.

      • UKair,
        Yes, but if you add the 3 to 6 months that Scott is saying in the article here to the mid 2014, you arrive at nearly the same time frame.

      • Howard, delayed from late H2, 2013 to H1, 2014 doesn’t necessarily mean delayed to late in Q2, 2014, does it?

      • Howard, i mentioned only the confirmed delay for EIS in mid 2014, which in my view is more achievable now. You and everybody else is free to add whatever delta on top to make it 2015 or 2016. I’d rather stick with the official statements.

  4. Going by all things 787 my long awaited expansion of production capabilities at MHI is in the works ( second autoclave for wingbox production).
    That would indicate that MHI thinks more than 6 produced per month is in reach. Good for Boeing.

  5. The 787 was 7.5 years from launch to first revenue flight. To equal that time frame, the A350 would fly its first revenue flight by January 14, 2015.

  6. I understand Alaska, Delta, and Southwest have been ruled out of the first commitments and apologies if I’ve missed it… but what about United?

    It will be interesting to see if they’ve managed to snag any A320 operators. The NEO has left quite a scar with the likes of American, Garuda, Transaero, and (arguably) SAS.

  7. UKair :
    Howard, i mentioned only the confirmed delay for EIS in mid 2014, which in my view is more achievable now. You and everybody else is free to add whatever delta on top to make it 2015 or 2016. I’d rather stick with the official statements.

    We’ve been “fooled” by both OEM’s (as well as others) the past few years. Until the plane is flying and one of them have been handed over, I’ll take “official statements” with a grain of salt.

    • As for the A350, I don’t believe Airbus is fooling anybody by announcing a programme delay because the development period has been stretched out, for various reasons. Based on 40 years experience of shipping nearly completed fuselage and wing assemblies to the final assembly lines and based, of course, on their experience from the A380 programme where the costly mistake of using a CATIA 4/5 mix led to a clogging up of the A380 final assembly line, IMO it’s prudent on the part of EADS not to accept fuselage assemblies on the final assembly line that are not complete, or nearly complete, and that would later need to be heavily modified. In fact, it’s much cheaper for an OEM to accept development delays up front during the period of development and testing than before the final assembly line is active. In fact, that’s part of the syllabus of Manufacturing 101. 😉

      Also, since the A350 programme already is a conservative development programme schedule wise, and looking at the initial A350 production milestones, it’s not that unrealistic to assume that Airbus should have a very good chance of entering the A359 into service in the summer of 2014.

      Finally, I’m curious as to why so many people seem to have been fooled by Boeing on the 787. For example, Section-41 rolled out in April 2007, but at the time was just basically an empty barrel seemingly devoid of any systems:

      http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/pictures-spirit-aerosystems-rolls-out-first-nose-section-for-boeing-787-213327/

      Curiously enough, Boeing was able to fool enough people telling them that the aircraft was to fly in August of that year……

      Only after 7 successive delay announcements and 3.5 years of delays did the 787 enter into service.

      On the A380 on the other hand, not even the fuselage sections of the prototype aircraft (MSN-001) arrived at the FAL in Toulouse that empty. Many major systems had already been installed before shipment to the FAL. Still, it took another 11 months before first flight occurred.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

      POTUS 16

      • Addendum

        ….but at the time was just basically an empty barrel seemingly devoid of any major systems.

    • Jacobin777 :

      We’ve been “fooled” by both OEM’s… I’ll take “official statements” with a grain of salt.

      Sure, Jacobin777, fair point. On the other hand I would not want to base an opinion on when the EIS will occur on the direction in which the wind blows… extra 3 months, 6, 12, 24. Mostly based on nothing and is just a guess. However there are indicators you can see other than just official statement of a delay in the EIS of the -900. The push back of the -800 is significant, freeing up resources in the short term. Delivery of the first sections more than two years before the EIS, wing assembly has already started. Focus on the system maturity before they proceed further. Plus it seems they have given themselves an extra bit of buffer for the flight test programme. I think the new schedule should be achievable but you never know of course…

  8. Re the EMB 190 vs C series its worth noting that my airline which is a major 190 operator has found that we can’t make money flying the aircraft more than 1000 miles because we can’t pull the revenue to offset the seat mile costs. And the driver isn’t fuel it’s maintenance costs that are many times higher than what Embrarer promised. As far as we are concerned the aircraft is a failure.

  9. TC :
    The 787 was 7.5 years from launch to first revenue flight. To equal that time frame, the A350 would fly its first revenue flight by January 14, 2015.

    Interesting observation. But the official launch is in my knowledge not the true date where work starts. Some long lead items might be started much earlier. B787 was in development since late 1990ies, so are many other projects at Airbus and Boeing. But probably the launch is the time when major funds are released for preparation of production.

    Alu versus plastic on the “regionals”:
    Mitsubishi also decided to go metal on the fuselage, although they planned plastic in the beginning. They learned that doing a CFRP fuselage is a big challenge and doesn’t yield much weight-wise on a small jet.
    The decision of BBD to have a CFRP wing probably saves them some weight, but I wouldn’t overestimate that. The C-Series has an empty weight between 30 and 35t (my personal – educated – guess), and the resulting wing structural weight (including all the secondary structure should be at 6-7t. CFRP probably saves them 300 to 500kg. 1% of OEW. Not bad, but you can go without is when you scratch 500nm off the range spec.

  10. OV-099 :
    Addendum
    ….but at the time was just basically an empty barrel seemingly devoid of any major systems.

    To make the connection to NOW: The A350 sections or part-sets for sections
    we have been shown in the last weeks are unstuffed and obviously so.

    To take the grain of salt from Jacobin: what you have to sprincle sparingly on Airbus press releases you have to submerge the Boeing ones in.

    To conclude: Boeing didn’t fool the public on their own.
    All the media and all the Boeinginista pushed that mirage along.
    A crusade of the “rightminded” slashing with tongue left and right to dismember the ( in hindsight rightfull ) doubters.

    • ISTR that around the time when Airbus announced the 2nd delay to A380 EIS in June 2006, usurprisingly, the noise and repetitive uttering from many of those who had already jumped on the 787 bandwagon and who had loudly been castigating Airbus for taking so long in developing new aircraft, reached a crescendo. Somewhat, it went like this: Not only is Boeing able to do the job of developing an all new aircraft in just 4 years — while Airbus seemingly needs at least 50 percent more time doing it — but that euro-subsidized aircraft manufacturer is bloody well incompetent as well, doing the job. 😉

      • That is true, OV-099. Many of us did. But Airbus is still having production problems with theWhaleJet. Airbus still isn’t at the annual production levels they would like to be. The first A-380 was delivered, IIRC, in Oct. 2007, but it took nearly 6 months to deliver the second one. Four years after that first A-380 delivery, to the month, Boeing delivered the first B-787. There are already 2 B-787s in service, delivered about 3 weeks apart. Boeing should be able to deliver at least two more by the end of the year.

        There is a big difference between a leading edge technology airplane like the B-787 and simply a bigger airplane than a B-747 the A-380 is. Everything about the B-787 is new from the engines to the fancy passenger windows. The A-350 will have the benefit of newer technology engines over the B-787, but that’s about it. It will still have hydraulic systems, etc. that were engineered out of the B-787.

        The A-350, overall, will not bee as advanced an airplne as the B-787. It is simply a grown up A-330 with new engines and a plastic fuslage.

  11. Schorsch :
    Alu versus plastic on the “regionals”:
    Mitsubishi also decided to go metal on the fuselage, although they planned plastic in the beginning. They learned that doing a CFRP fuselage is a big challenge and doesn’t yield much weight-wise on a small jet.
    The decision of BBD to have a CFRP wing probably saves them some weight, but I wouldn’t overestimate that. The C-Series has an empty weight between 30 and 35t (my personal – educated – guess), and the resulting wing structural weight (including all the secondary structure should be at 6-7t. CFRP probably saves them 300 to 500kg. 1% of OEW. Not bad, but you can go without is when you scratch 500nm off the range spec.

    Mitsubishi was initially planning to build the wing out of CFRP, not the fuselage. It was probably a wise decision considering the relatively small advantage of CFRP over metal at that scale. And it was maybe a bit too much to undertake all at once for a manufacturer with limited experience.

    In regards to the CSeries, the benefits of CFRP are more tangible because it’s a bigger aircraft. To limit its use to the wing makes sense. It saves more weight on the wing (and empennage) than it would have on the fuselage. Yet the fuselage is still lighter because of the AL-Li alloy used, and is a more conventional material to deal with when structural repairs are required.

    A less obvious benefit of using CFRP on the CSeries wing is that Bombardier gains valuable experience with the material. The engineering knowledge and industrial experience acquired on the program could be used on future product developments.

  12. Bernstein Research is predicting more A350 delays.

    ““The A350 situation at Airbus looks increasingly challenging, particularly after Emirates elected to order delivery of 777s spread over 2015-20,” the report said. “Based on our airline discussions in Dubai, we believe that A350 delays could extend beyond the current schedule, with the need for substantial weight reduction.”

    Bernstein has pushed back its forecast of the A350-900 first delivery by six months to mid 2015.”

    http://atwonline.com/aircraft-engines-components/news/bernstein-predicts-more-a350-delays-1118

  13. @OV-099 & UKair:

    The post/link from Observer isn’t adding any confidence to the mix here.

    • http://atwonline.com/aircraft-engines-components/news/emirates-777-order-was-insurance-against-a350-delays-urges-a380-str

      Not sure Bernstein makes the right connections from the clark interview ( and the 777 order )

      KCTB:
      You will carry that missconception with you till your cold clammy fingers can’t hold it anymore, right 😉

      In contrast I do have this little feeling that Airbus has slightly better understanding about where things will go, what is a good and usefull innovation and what is done for the sake of being different, a cul de sac or just not ready yet.

    • Jacobin777, the article added nothing to what we already know, rather it appears to be a nice advert for the 777. Bernstein also seems to be confused about the revised EIS date. I have given you my beliefs and the reasons for them. This debate will not get us any further.

      • @UKair – I guess we’ll have to “weight”…pun intended…:-)

        On a serious note, Bernstein is probably saying that the A350 is a bit more overweight at this time even for delivery.That being said, I’m sure Airbus will be able to shave a lot of weight off before delivery.

        I also don’t see how Bernstein is doing an “advert” for the B777. They have been known to “rip” on Boeing as well.

        Regardless, I guess we’ll see how everything “unfolds” the next 6-12 months – we’ll have a better picture by then.

      • Jacobin777 :
        … Bernstein is probably saying that the A350 is a bit more overweight at this time even for delivery…

        The weight is an issue on this programme (as acknowledged by Airbus), just like it is on any other new development but it would not be the reason behind an additional 1 year delay.

        Jacobin777 :
        I also don’t see how Bernstein is doing an “advert” for the B777. They have been known to “rip” on Boeing as well.

        That’s how it reads to me.

        Jacobin777 :
        Regardless, I guess we’ll see how everything “unfolds” the next 6-12 months – we’ll have a better picture by then.

        In full agreement, give it 12 months. If they roll out an empty shell instead of a systems ready MSN1, you know what’s coming 🙂

    • Further thoughts on the article…
      It states that the primary reason, behind the extra delay they see, is the weight reduction effort required. But this hasn’t stopped 787 being delivered, has it?

      Then this “The A350 situation at Airbus looks increasingly challenging, particularly after Emirates elected to order delivery of 777s…”. How is the A350 technical development being threatened by the EK purchase decision of the 777?

      A lot of the A350 predictions, in the bloggershpere, seem to be based on the experience of the 787, which in terms of the overall programme point of view, are two different cases, in my opinion.

  14. Lets be honest here, many hope the A350 gets seriously delayed / under spec to ease the Boeing Dreamliner embarrasment, the Iphone of aviation that’ll teach ‘m.

    Little suprize the A350 gets delayed, even with the long devlopment scheme Airbus made. The industrial conversion developping, building and integrating black sections has been enormous.

    Airbus has the benefit of recently completing two similar huge projects though, the A380 and A400M. Both are meeting requirements from aircraft #1. The A380 first flight & type cetificate were nearly on schedule.

    • I still would like to know about how the Dreamliner bruhaha impacts
      the supplier situation for Airbus. I would be surprised if there weren’t
      any (negative) effects at all.

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