Aug. 12, 2015, © Leeham Co.: Widebody deliveries are “flat as a pancake” and will remain so through 2016 before going up, driven by the Airbus A350, says a major supplier.
Officials of B/E Aerospace appeared yesterday at the Jefferies Co Global Industrials Conference, making the near-term forecast. B/E is best known as a seat supplier but also supplies galleys and lavatories.
With passenger load factors now routinely running around 85% and traffic growing, B/E’s backlog is greater than ever and the OEMs, pressured by airlines for on-time deliveries, likewise pressure suppliers. B/E competitor Zodiac had difficulties meeting demand late last year and early this year.
“You cannot image how much stress is created cannot deliver an airplane on time and the reason is a supplier,” a B/E official said. B/E has been able to keep up with demand.
B/E has about 65% of all business class orders, 60% of all coach class, 80% of “super” first class and 90% of food and beverage equipment, the Jefferies crowd was told. “We have an installed base of about $10bn worth of business.”
But widebody deliveries aren’t where the growth is for the very near term. The Airbus A380 production rate has been cut back to 2/mo from 2.5/mo and “the 747 is the freighter. Last time [we] looked, there are not a lot of super first class seats in freighters.”
The “bridge” between the Boeing 777 Classic and 777X is another factor. Sales of the passenger Classic are lagging, with the bridge being supported in part by 777F sales. B/E previously said it expects Classic rates to come down.
Airbus, which announced June 30 a sale of 45 firm and 25 options of the A330ceo to China, which followed an order for 12 from Saudi Arabia announced at the Paris Air Show, says its ceo bridge to the A330neo is filled.
With huge backlogs, particularly of single-aisle airplanes, and 85% load factors, B/E and other companies are trying to figure out ways to get more space in the same amount of floor area. B/E designed seats for the Boeing 737 cabin that are a little wider than the standard 17.2 inches. Southwest Airlines is the first customer.