Airbus Innovation Days, Part 2: No order bubble and a lot more

Airbus lifted the embargo on John Leahy’s presentation, allowing immediate publication.

There is no aircraft order bubble, says John Leahy, COO-Customers of Airbus. Emerging markets and passenger traffic doubling every 15 years, bolstered by GDP growth, means orders will hold up, he said, leading off the Airbus Innovation Days Tuesday.

Highlights of Leahy’s address:

  • There are 42 mega cities accounting for 99% of the long-haul traffic. Aircraft size is moving up and in 15 years, Leahy says RPKs will double, requiring aircraft like the A380.
  • Leahy predicted the A320neo will maintain a greater market share than the Boeing 737 MAX of about 60%-40%.
  • He claims the A320neo is 1.6 tons lighter than the 737 MAX.
  • Leahy said the A320neo and A321neo now seat 189 and 240 seats respectively (in maximum capacity configuration). The former matches the 737 MAX and the latter has 25 more seats than the 737-9.
  • He predicts China will become a competitor in 25 years.
  • The competitor to the 787-10 is the A350-900 at 331 pax vs 315 pax with more range and cargo capability or derating the A359 gives a lighter aircraft at the same range.
  • The 35 more seats of the 777X means the larger airplane than the A350-1000 is 35t heavier than the latter aircraft.
  • The A380 hasn’t been fully optimized by many airlines; it could easily take 50 more seats.
  • The A330neo is an interesting idea; we have to look at the money we have to spend and cannibalizing our A350 program. It will be the same size as the 787-9, which will have 1,000 mi more range. We could cover 92% of the routes with a wider seat and much lower capital cost. We have to look at the resources. It may not happen by Farnborough.
  • No A350 slots are available until 2019-2020. Effectively sold out through 2019 though could move some positions around.
  • In a walking press “scrum,” we asked Leahy, “if there is a potential market for 1,100-1,200 A330neos, why wouldn’t you do the airplane?” Leahy replied that the answer may be self-evident but once more noted that cost and resources will be important considerations. Talks with the engine makers, Rolls-Royce and GE, continue to determine the potential cost split between Airbus and them.

15 Comments on “Airbus Innovation Days, Part 2: No order bubble and a lot more

  1. “He claims the A320neo is 1.6 tons lighter than the 737 MAX.”
    The 737NG is lighter than the A320 and now the MAX suddenly is much heavier than the NEO? I think it’s not likely that the weight delta of the engines is *that* huge.

  2. “No A350 slots are available until 2019-2020.”

    Was that before or after the cancellation by Emirates ?
    I’ve read somewhere, delivery was scheduled beginning in 2019.

  3. John Leahy: “We have to look at the resources.”
    What kind of resources? Engineering capacity or production capacity or engines?
    What is Airbus engineering today? A350-1000 and what next else? A400M, A380 and A350-900 are finished.

    • They still have the A-32X-NEO, A-400M tanker and spec ops versions, the A-358, and the boom problems on the A-330MRTT their engineers still need to work on. JL would like another 50 seats on the A-380, that will take some work.
      But, if Airbus does do the A-330NEO, they already know that both the proposed RR Trent-1000 and GEnx-2B engines weigh as much as 4,000 lbs. (each) more than the current GE CF-6-80E engine does.

      • The 50 extra seats are 11-abreast in A380 economy class with still 18-inch-wide seats.
        The MRTT boom is certified. Maybe not mentioned in the US news.
        The A400M tanker (without a dash) is a rather small work due to the fact that every A400M is ready to accept a refueling pod.
        The first A320NEO was already put together:
        That leaves just the A350-1000 and A350-800 (without a dash after the “A”). I still believe the -800 will be trashed in favor of the A330-200NEO. Mr. Leahy has just to convince a few costumers.

        NEO means “New ENGINE option” and not “This product is so f…p. We need new engines, new larger wings, new interior fuselage, new …”

        • The A-330 boom is not operational with the RAAF yet, the WARPs are operational. As you know, the RAAF is the launch customer for the A-330MRTT, which they call the KC-30A.
          The A-400M tanker version has not yet mounted the WARPs yet, or conducted flight testing.
          There has been no work on the spec. ops version of the A-400M yet. Only the pure cargo version is operational.
          The A-320NEO has not entered flight testing.

  4. The difference in how the two compare empty weights has been recently discussed. Airbus excludes little things like seats/galleys I think.

    • No, they don’t. The author who claimed that cited a source, and that source apparently had some issues or no idea. No-one knows.

      • They do seems to need different trust requirements (30K for A320 – 28K for B737-8), why is that?

    • The weight in question is called Operational Empty Weight (OEW). That is the weight for a complete aircraft without fuel, people and food.

  5. The MAX is straining against the limits of the engine with the smaller fan. It could well do with more thrust (especially the -9), this appears not to be feasible to CFM or Boeing.

    • Are you sure about that? The current B-737NGs have the CFM-56-7B engines with thrust ratings up to 27,300 lbs. That is very close to the to the LEAP-1B engines current max thrust of 28,000 lbs.
      GE is also working on an engine for RJs that will use the LEAP-1B core. The engine is called the GE PASSPORT, and has a 52″ fan with thrust capabilities up to 20,000 lbs. Scaling the PASSPORT up with a (up to) 69″ fan could bring the thrust up to about 32,000 lbs.

  6. “Are you sure about that? The current B-737NGs have the CFM-56-7B engines with thrust ratings up to 27,300 lbs. That is very close to the to the LEAP-1B engines current max thrust of 28,000 lbs.”
    Yebb, thats 700 lbs of additional thrust for an airplane that is 7000 lbs heavier at MTOW (both -8 and -9) for a crude calculation, the MAXes get 2,5% more thrust, but are 4% heavier at MTOW. That hurts the MAX in a typical 737 soft spot, field performance. But not every operator is using MTOW, but it is cruical to some.

  7. Pingback: Airbus Innovation Days, Part 4: A330neo announcement at Farnborough not a sure bet; CEO questions market forecast | Leeham News and Comment

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