Leahy gets lifetime achievement award; CSeries could be delayed again

March 23, 2015: John Leahy, Aviation Week Lifetime Achievement Award: John Leahy, the chief operating officer-commercial for Airbus, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Aviation Week. It’s a well-deserved award.

John Leahy. Airbus photo.

As the AvWeek write up details, Leahy has been instrumental in bringing Airbus to the market position it is today. We’ve known Leahy nearly the entire time he’s been at Airbus. He’s one of those love-him or hate-him kind of guys (or, in my case, like-him). Whether loved or hated, his industry accomplishments deserve respect and admiration. Joe Sutter, who is still around in his 90s as a consultant to Boeing, would be Boeing’s counter-part for the impact of his influence on the industry. We certainly can’t think of a Boeing salesman or any other contemporary in the front office who would match Leahy’s tenure and influence. In his day, Bill Allen, the long-time CEO, certainly would qualify.

Leahy’s current contract is up soon and he’s 65 this year. Whether he’ll retire is a good question. Leahy loves this business, he loves the hunt for sales and he loves besting Boeing. Boeing would undoubtedly breath a big sigh of relief if Leahy packed it in. If he does, it certainly would be start of a new era for the Big Two.

CSeries reschedule? Flight Global reports that the Bombardier CSeries might be rescheduled, citing the new CEO Alain Bellemare.

BBD has been saying its certification will come before the end of the year, but some (including this column) have suggested for some time that timing may slip into next year, most likely the first quarter. Bellemare’s comments are the first acknowledgement from a BBD official this could be the case.

We have the CSeries EIS for late 1Q2016, with a more remote chance of it slipping to 2Q.

CFM becoming a bit ambiguous: CFM won’t talk about specific LEAP engine sub-types, an official told LNC.


We’re not much into engine photos, but this one is pretty artsy. The CFM LEAP. Source: CFM. Click on image to enlarge.

“Because we are at the point in the program where anything we say that is model specific could reflect on the aircraft program, we are only talking LEAP total program,” an official says.

The official says the all three models of the LEAP program have “accumulated a total of 2,680 hours and 4,315 cycles of ground and flight testing. We are really pleased with the results we are seeing and we are ticking through the certification test list. We have submitted more than 50 percent of the required reports.”

ME3 v US3: The battle between the Middle East Big 3 and the US Big 3 continues, with most US media largely repeating what’s been briefed to them by the US3 and reporting the counter-statements by the ME3.

SkyWriterAviation is an exception. It’s taken a four part, in-depth look at the 50+ page document prepared and briefed by the US3. SkyWriter has yet to publish its final conclusions.

34 Comments on “Leahy gets lifetime achievement award; CSeries could be delayed again

  1. “.. We have submitted more than 50 percent of the required reports.”

    Is there actually any link between contractual engine sfc and the required certification items?

    • This statement was released for the benefit of investors. Failure to gain certification is infinitely more alarming than a potential 1-2% sfc problem.P&w seems to believe that there are at least some difficulties, as they increased their list prices and talked of “increasing confidence last week.

  2. What’s the real reason behind the ME3 vs US3 and european legacy carriers is tht the latter carriers cannot compete with the formers due to the fact that they are controlled by the wall street and the street wants profit. And when they cant compete with something they try as hard as they can to destroy the competion The only that stand in their way is that uae are a massive contributor of the us armed forces and the us cannot afford to lose their only ally in the middle east so from a diplomatical standpoint this would be a terrible mistake for the us

    • Issue is, the USA won’t allow a Foreign Carrier/s to decide and control who flies in and out of the Country.

      Yes, the Poorly managed and Decadent Legacy Carriers want to win(Decades old Monopoly before Deregulation,etc)……….but it’s a National Security Issue at hand too.

      Foreign Carrier/s could come-in and undercut every US Carrier and wipe them out.

      UAE/Europe/UK is far more dependent on us………….WE PROTECT THEM from enemies on all sides

  3. My congratulations to John Leahy. It’s really a very well-deserved award. He will stay as one of the key Airbus guy for many years to come.

  4. If Leahy turns 65, Enders will go around the table and see under which condition Leahy wants to extend. And look for a replacement.

    A Frenchman or German wouldn’t probably fit the requirement. Is there a suitable Brit or another American around? Long term indept industry knowledge and existing network required. Maybe someone at GE, RR, RC or their own ranks?

    Side note: interesting A330 article on Flight global today. Tinseth also give his prognosis, probably as accurate as the A330 forecasts he did before. The A330 seems his bad dream that won’t go away.


    • Keesje, aww……pay wall! Can you provide summary of the article?

      • Not a paywall. Just registration.
        As to content:
        Tinseth and Vero Venia seem to have the same ghostwriter 😉

        • To be honest keesje, Randy does say that Boeing had basically nothing available to sell to customer (and that the A330 is a good plane) in the small wide bodies category while the B787 was getting is delays after delays. Sure they had the B767 but most airlines had already ordered the 787 and were stuck waiting for it.
          Once the B787 entered service with airlines, now things look a little differently. Airbus had to counter with the A330neo. It will be interesting to see from the moment the A330neo enter service which will sell more, the B787 or the A330neo.

        • “The most interesting picture, apart from a A330 features picture, is the one Randy avoids like plague. Airbus tried to stop the 87 and miserably failed with the warmed over A350 Mk1.
          And sold 900″

          Great job avoiding the fact that if not for the delays of the 787, the A330 would not be where it is. Think of where the A330 NEO would be. While the past can’t be rewound, if the 787 had only a quarter of the delays it sustained, the A350 and A330 would both be on much different paths. I’ll let your imagination decide where.

          I invite you to watch the movie “the words”.

          • Boeing needed the super (performance, price, time) product floated on the surf of the supertech sonic cruiser product to achieve that sales success.

            But they had a snowballs chance in hell to actually deliver.
            Thinking away the delays and issues is a moot exercise. You’d have to think away the overstated product properties to begin with.
            In that environment the A350Mk1 would have had a very good position. It didn’t sell badly to begin with 😉

    • There is no “crown prince” following Leahy?
      I’d have expected that on a strongly networked job like this one.

  5. Congrats to leahy…
    Europe’s favorite adopted son.
    Oh how we’re going to miss all the comedic quips on your rival…
    Perhaps a new career awaits. .

      • The fact that he went from Piper directly to Airbus says a lot about where Airbus was in the eighties. It says in Wikipedia that “he has outlasted five Airbus CEOs, and seven Boeing sales chiefs.”

  6. CFM: “Because we are at the point in the program where anything we say that is model specific could reflect on the aircraft program, we are only talking LEAP total program.”

    I guess CFM does not want to damage the reputation of the 737 MAX. I can understand that. 😉

    • Isnt CFM helping to pay for the Max ?. In return they get exclusive rights, which continue from what they had previously.
      Which brings us back to what used to be the first rule on plane development, dont get stuck with one engine maker.
      Boeing had massive problems with the JT9 from PW which was at first the only engine for the 747. It was as big an issue as the 787 has been today. Everett was full of new 747s with concrete blocks under their wings instead of engines

      • The 747 is an excellent example. Boeing indeed learned its lesson then (so did Lockheed) and started this new trend of offering several engine types for the same airframe. The 787 is the most spectacular example of this as Boeing forced the two engine manufacturers to design their engines with the same pylon interface so that engine types could be swapped in 24 hours. That was a request from aircraft lessors.

        In the case of the 737 the situation is a little different however. For the airframe cannot easily accept ultra large fan designs like Pratt & Whitney’s GTF. My understanding is that P&W offered the GTF for the 737 but it was rejected because it was not practical for Boeing to adapt the 737 for it. Provided this was possible in the first place. The Boeing/CFMI exclusive association obviously played a key role here as well.

        • ” .. as Boeing forced the two engine manufacturers to design their engines with the same pylon interface …”

          IMU that is said to be the historic arrangement at Airbus.
          Common pylon/engine interface.

          The manufacturer agnostic engine quick chance hasn’t survived on the 787. Takes a couple++ of days more and the pylon needs swapping too 😉

  7. CFM: “We are really pleased with the results we are seeing and we are ticking through the certification test list. We have submitted more than 50 percent of the required reports.”

    Since it’s about the two programmes taken together it could translate as follow: LEAP1A: 75%; LEAP1B: 25% (75%+25%=50%). Just guessing…

  8. CFM is building both the Leap-A and -B. On the Leap-A they have fierce competition, not on the -B.

    If both engine cores are as good, the -A version enjoys a 4-5% better sfc because it significantly better ByPassRatio.

    “The reason to improve the propulsive efficency thorugh an increase in BPR is the gains in specific fuel consumption (SFC) this brings. The amount of fuel necessary for a given thrust is lower thanks to the improved turbofan-cycle at higher BPR.”


    Half the world doesn’t want to know.

  9. Leahy is undoubtedly the most successful airplane salesman of his generation. But let’s face it – who would not want to be a salesman for a state controlled enterprise focused on buying market share at any cost. If you don’t believe that statement, compare Airbus profit margins vs. Boeing over the last ten years. Leahy doesn’t compare in industry stature to an Alan Mulally and to put him in Joe Sutter’s league is well let’s just say foolhardy.

    • “If you don’t believe that statement, compare Airbus profit margins vs. Boeing over the last ten years.”

      Even a profound Airbus critic like Mr. Aboulafia has now understood the mirage effects of program accounting:
      Always interesting to see that American success is driven by absolute superiority and sometimes hampered by bad luck but mostly by unfair market mechanics while foreign success is invariably due to gifted money and a judicious amount of good luck while product superiority is a clearly obvious impossibility.

    • One does need to remember Mulallay gave Boeing the industrial production model of the 787 (at the insistence of the Board of Directors to cut costs, to be sure).

    • Niclas – I beg to differ. Yes, Leahy good salesman but Udvar Hazy is best his generation. Leahy not billionaire.

      • We were talking about “selling planes” and not “making money” 😉

        Reselling often has easier profit than the initial sale from productive manufacture. Actually there seems to be an inverse relation between productivity and profits.
        profits in the banking sector are enormous with zero productivity.

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