Pontifications: Earnings week for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer

Hamilton KING5_2

By Scott Hamilton

April 25, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer having their first quarter earnings call this week. Bombardier also has its Annual General Meeting concurrent with its 1Q earnings on Friday.

The big anticipation will be with Bombardier.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Delta Air Lines was going to order 75+50 C Series from BBD. Delta, on its 1Q earnings call, said it had nothing to announce but would have more to say at its investors day. This is May 16.

But at the same time, BBD postponed its AGM and 1Q call from the 28th to the 29th. Delta’s board of directors meets on the 28th. Previously, BBD postponed by one day its year-end earnings call to coincide with Air Canada, which announced an order for 45 C Series, plus options.

Is Bombardier’s rescheduling another harbinger of the Delta order, or will Delta hold off any announcement until that May 16 investors day?

Or could Delta announce the Bombardier order Friday and the widely reported, expected order for 30-37 Airbus A321ceos?

The world aviation geeks wonder.


Boeing’s 1Q earnings call is Wednesday. No doubt analysts will ask about the news, also broken by The Wall Street Journal, about the prospect of dumping the 737-7 MAX as currently envisioned and proceeding instead with what The WSJ’s Jon Ostrower dubbed the 737-7.5. This is a slightly enlarged version, bigger than the current 7 MAX but smaller than the 737-8 MAX.

(LNC will publish our take on the 7.5 MAX Wednesday, ahead of the earnings call.)

Rob Spingarn, the aerospace analyst for Credit Suisse, hit the nail on the head in a weekly note published Friday.

[Boeing] has sold 60 Max 7s, accounting for just ~2% of the total Max order-book. If BA is truly looking to improve its positioning at the lower end of the Max market, it would appear to acknowledge CSeries as a legitimate competitor at the low end, and that any momentum created by a potential Delta order lead to other orders, which is part of our thesis on BBD. Given that BA’s Max 9 is already struggling to compete with A321neo, it would seem that BA needs to improve Max 7 if it wants more than a single model (Max 8) family. This was not as large a concern in competitions such as United where BA offered the current model 737-700 and competed strictly on price, but becomes more important when competing on technology.

We’ve been saying for a long time the MAX family is essentially a one-and-a-quarter airplane family, the 8 MAX and the struggling 9 MAX. We had already written off the 7 MAX as a commercial failure. Pursuing a MAX 7.5 seems to validate this.

Last week, before the 7.5 news, Ron Epstein of Bank of America Merrill Lynch downgraded Boeing to Underperform (Sell) from Neutral (Hold). His concern was that by BAML’s reckoning, Boeing will only recover about $14bn of $29bn Boeing 787 deferred production costs by 2022, well short of Boeing’s guidance. He thinks Boeing will have to extend the accounting block significantly or take a write-down, or both. Thus, his downgrade.

Boeing’s comments on these issues Wednesday probably won’t be illuminating.


For Boeing’s rival, delayed deliveries due to engine issues with Pratt & Whitney’s GTF and supplier challenges for the A350 will probably be the main topic of questions. Reports that Airbus will also slow production on the A380 and not ramp up as quickly as liked on the A350 will undoubtedly also draw questions.


I don’t expect anything unusual coming out of Embraer, except perhaps about the first flight of the E190-E2. The plane rolled out to great fanfare Feb. 20. It’s slightly more than two months later, and it hasn’t flown. Someone may well ask about this.

90 Comments on “Pontifications: Earnings week for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer

  1. In that possible strategic choice of MAX7.5 , there are more than a confession of powerlessness on the part of Boeing: this choice reflect a lack of vision and leadership ! I like Boeing and I like his grandiose story about its engineering. But today, there is reason to be worried. I do not understand that the management of this great company just gives such a signal to the market: you want to buy also this aircraft with 150 seats ? Stay with us ! We will offer it in 3-4 years ! Meanwhile, it is likely that Bombardier CS500 so very quickly to offer another competitive airplane. And what more would hurt Boeing would be that eventually Bombardier expand rapidly its range to a CS700 ( more 4000NM ) and even a CS75 ( why not?) with a smaller wing and a lower weight of the 175E2…We are entering a new phase of this huge game of chess .

      • Boeing or Bombardier?

        I miss a real reason for the MAX7.5. The seating capacity is already at 150 seat in single class layout. Airlines would be required to add one more flight attendants going to 150 seats and more. Is the 7.5 just a smoke screen like MoM?

        • @MHalblaub: According to the Boeing website, the MAX 7 is 126 pax 2 class, 144 one class and 149 maximum, probably 30 inch pitch (it doesn’t say). If the MAX 7.5 is 150 pax at WN pitch (31-32), that is the difference.

          • My head is beginning to hurt.

            Me thinks we have begun to slice the human hair. Like Scott I don’t have much to slice any more.

          • The difference for 25 rows and 2” more would be just 50” or about 3 frames of 21”: 63 inches or 1.6 m more.

            The question is how many would the MAX7.3 cost more to develop instead of a MAX7.0 and how many potentional orders are there?

            Now I get the point. The CS300 offers more space to passengers. To offer real business class seating a CS loses just one normal seat while a 737 or A320 would lose two seats per row. The CS will offer a better product for business class. Therefore the MAX7 need for more space.

  2. There is a gap betweem the 737-7 and 737-8

    About 6 meters 36 setas.

    The A320 is there, outselling the 737-8.

    Boeing has some problem convincing the airlines of the MAX, which a one trick pony at this stage (737-8)

    A 150 seats 737 in a reasonable, real world configuration is very important.

    Crew rates have to do with it. It can theoretically fit 150 seats is totally unconvincing for real world airlines.

    And no, extra range is not the driver. even the 757/ A321 are smallish for 3000NM+ flights. Let alone something smaller then a 737-8..

    • 2 points.

      1. The max line must not be as full as some would believe if Boeing are talking about a new fuse length.

      2. If Airbus were to have production capacity, and decided to do an A320.5; what would the fallout be?

      • An A320.5 would force Boeing to come up quickly with a clean-sheet 737 replacement. Boeing would no longer have the choice even if its own agenda might be different at the moment. Airbus’s strategy is to keep the 737 alive as long as possible. The immense success of the 737 over the years has blinded Boeing to the new market realities, and now the timing may be somewhat less favourable for Boeing because its plate is full with a hard to digest negative-return 787 programme and a very costly 777X development programme. And like if this was not enough already the KC-46 may still be a financial burden around the time Boeing will need the extra cash to develop new aircraft designs. It is a complex situation for Boeing and I hope solutions will be found before the situation gets further compromised.

        • Me thinks Boeing stock buy backs has blinded investor and management with the need to create new products.

          There is a massive difference between blinded and “selective vision”

  3. I think the key is to get Southwest, Ryanair, Norwegian, and one other (GECAS or another lessor?) all to commit to taking at least 50 each of this Max 7X. (I don’t even think they have to be new orders; they can be conversions from existing Max orders.) That gives Boeing a solid base, and would validate other Boeing 73 Max customers stepping up with individual 10 to 20 aircraft apiece orders. And it goes a long way towards paying for this Max model. Shrinking it from the Max 8 is the best idea re development cost, and production line efficiency. And this configuration really hammers right at at the CS300’s prospects! Bravo Boeing, if you guys can pull this off as I’ve outlined above.

    • convert existing Max orders ???, ie go for a lower capacity which is a lower price for Boeing. NEVER going to happen.

  4. 2. I don’t know. But I think the worst case scenario for Airbus is that Boeing launches ASAP an NSA that is 10% bigger, more fuel efficient, silent and LD3-45 capable.

    A just right A320 “Plus” could trigger large scale orders (UA, AF, China) & upgrades (1500?) That could have Boeing bite the bullet and launch NSA.


    The current status quo (Airbus getting the Blue chips, high margin A321s and 60% market with a relative small NEO investment), while Boeing looks brave (locked into the MAX, deeply discounts to keep customers/ 40% marketshare and does MoM powerpoints) has to be stretched as long as possible..

    • Interesting – we have similar thoughts. Does that mean you, too, think that an A 320 1/2 would acturally be the right thing to do now but that due to game theory considerations, Airbus better goes without its probably best selling theoretical 198 pax plane?

      I also wondered in this connex, if or inhowfar it would be possible to develop and test such a plane in secret. Could it be an idea to start this development in secret and then suddenly say: Ok, guys, here is the plane. We ll have it certified in 12 months and everybody with delivery slots from today in 1 year or later may convert any 320 order to 320 1/2 for 4 million each.
      Would this be possible or would such a plan leak the moment they talk to the engine manufacturers more concretely?

      • Like the CS500 for the Bombardier C Series the NSA concept is probably fully developed already at Boeing. All they likely need is the Board’s approval before initiating the detailed design phase. In the case of the CS500 it may take two or three years to develop, but for the NSA it might take at least seven years, if not more. So even if it was launched today it would not EIS before 2025. The problem for Boeing is that it is obviously too early for new technologies and possibly too late for the market. It is a sort of Gordian Knot for Boeing, which needs an Alexander to slice that knot and free the ox-cart.

  5. The gaps between 733 and 734, and 737 and 738 are 21 seats and 38 seats, so the little stretch makes sense. The real questions are – will that generate new sells and on what costs?

      • That’s my take, but of course as the slicing of the hairs continues I am probably wrong!

        Just too weird.

    • 737-700 length 110 ft 4 in (33.6 m)
      737-800 length 129 ft 6 in (39.5 m)

      That a difference of 5.9. meters. A seat row is about 32Inch / 0.82 m. Theoretically that could be more then 7.2 rows/ 42+ seats.

      You are stuck with suboptimal monuments, exits, galley / lavatory. These could work positively or negatively.

      Boeings “sweetspot” 180 seats is self centered and a terrible average (Passenger jets have 2.23 engines on average, but I wouldn’t label it the sweetspot).

      • At the closest to the halfway point, a six frame shrink of the -8 would be 119′-6″.

      • IMJ, Boeing has nothing to lose by launching a 737-7.5 MAX. The 737-900 is 5 frames longer than the 737-8 and the 737-700 is 11 frames shorter. Hence, a new 5-6 frame shortened and optimised 737-7 — replacing the original 737-7 concept that has not been built yet — could make a lot of sense.

        However, Airbus would IMJ very likely respond with an 6-7 frame, stretched A320.5 (i.e. A322) in due course. NB: A321 has more 13 frames than the A320, so there would seem to be plenty of “room” in the middle. 🙂

    • It appears that apart from WN, the 737-7MAX is a poor seller. The 737-7.5MAX might be a tipping point for increased sales. It still would have only 3 FA’s and while the proposed 4000 mile range will only have limited appeal. it would still be an improvement and more attractive to a larger number of carriers. It can’t do any worse than the 737-7MAX.
      Also the short runway performance is another plus. A very small investment for Boeing, however, the EIS would have to be expedited to fend off sales of competing models.
      Since its a current production aircraft, its entry should not be a long drawn out affair. The only problem I see is Boeing’s snail pace when deciding on new and or updated models, they have gone from being evolutionary to reactionary.

  6. I had to laugh at the 737-9 struggling vs the A321, getting clobbered is the word, strullgin means you are acutaly somewhere in the game.

    Its a nice adjunct to the -800/8, but if a couple of seats makes a new aircraft, then its about 5 versions short of an A321.

    I also liked this comment:

    “Boeing’s comments on these issues Wednesday probably won’t be illuminating.”

    That’s almost British in its dry wit and spot on.

  7. Boeing should launch a 737 replacement using CFRP panels (not barrels)!

    • Boeing needs to launch whatever technology works to produce large numbers of aircraft at as low a cost as possible.

      Spun barrels or panels are not the issue, the issue is the management screw ups that put the whole project in the toilet for so long.

      The reality is the spun takes more tech and is more automated, the panels are more hands intensive and the cross may be they are about equal in direct cost.

      What the cost is having employees vs machines is another matter long term.

      Out of auto clave curing may be a solution.

      Regardless whatever the approach is, it has to be capable of being industrialized on the scalable needed for the numbers produced at a cost you can make a profit at.

      Wide bodies are one thing, 50 or more single aisle (or the equivalent in mini wide body) is another issue.

    • I don’t think CFRP would be the right solution for a narrowbody aircraft fuselage. As Bombardier has demonstrated with the C Series Al-Li is the better solution, and for two reasons: 1. It is less costly for similar value and performance; 2. Narrowbody aircraft have to go through several turnaround each day and the probability of ground equipment impacts on the fuselage is therefore that much higher, and for this reason CFRP is less practical than Al-Li. In other words in this category a CFRP fuselage offers little additional advantage while being more expensive and vulnerable.

      • Where do you get more vulnerable?

        I have a composite shelled cordless drill that I have dropped from 20 feet in the air onto concrete , not an issue. Any metal would have been smashed or severely dented.

        It may not be a good material cost wise but as far as strength goes I think its superior to aluminum.

        • Actually CFRP will be more impervious to this kind of damage (turnaround bumps on the fuselage). But once the fuselage is breeched the damage is harder to repair for a small operator. Al-Lu is less resistant but easier to repair. The thing with CFRP is that if there is any damage it is hard to detect it if the incident goes unreported, which is what happens most of the time. This could lead to problems later on. With Al-Li you know right away if something is out of spec. Anyway maintenance issues aside, CFRP offers little advantage over Al-Lu in terms of weight saving on a narrowbody aircraft. It may not be worth the trouble as far as I am concerned.

          • Agreed, but a field fix is not an issue, slap a patch on either side, fasten it, throw in some glue and good to go.

            Of course an A330 2would require the entire panel to be replaced (grin)

            Same problem would apply to A350 or 787 as far as hidden damage, doesn’t seem to be an issue but stay tuned.

  8. It seems Boeing needs a smaller lighter aircraft to actually compete with the C series.

    So is this C series or A320? It sure can’t be both.

    And realistically what does a Delta C series seat, not maximum, but normal vs a 737-7/700 not maximum but normal?

    Either get down in the game with E and C or give it up and do the work in the larger singles aisle area.

    Buy out one or the other if you want to play down there.

    • I would say that Boeing will have to cede the lower segment to Bombardier and concentrate on the more lucrative 150-200 segment. After all isn’t everybody saying that there is no market in the 100-150 category? And proof of that is the fact that the C Series is not selling well, right? That is what they want us to believe anyway… 😉

      • No they need to buy Bombardier or co produce with Japan.

        After all they simply cannot tolerate a competitor.

        Life on the planet as we know it would end.

        • And that was said in jest!

          Point is, let them have it or actually compete, don’t sell far to heavy aircraft for the job at a loss.

    • I think one question here is how long until new engine tech, ie GTF, filters up to 70klb engine class. I don´t see the 330NEO as a very long term solution if a major engine upgrade is done for the A380, P+W or RR will push for a back door deal including an A330NEO mk II. Double the market for nearly the same engine.

      • The technology could do it, but the big jump in BPR that would support it isnt, as the big fans are there all ready.

        • I don’t think so, not worth they investment.

          I think P&W was trying there but got shut out.

  9. U-Turn Al strikes again! Is asking Boeing to get up a replacement bid for 737NGs (did Reuters get it wrong? 73Maxs, maybe?) to replace 320neos, per Reuters today. And what’s this? Beyond the crappy PW engines, are there now hydraulics issues? Great Airbus publicity, the week of their earnings call.

    • Well, now Bloomberg today also confirms he’s looking for between 4 and 6 73 NGs–ASAP. The article implies the neo engine and hydraulics headaches open the whole $6.4 billion Qatar 80 plane neo order to cancellation! And, you know, Al wiill get his pound of flesh in the way of compensation out of Airbus for these screw-ups. And, lastly,this is the first time (today) that I’ve seen reference being made to hydraulics problems on the 320 neo.

  10. Better late than never. Though we will not hear from BA that they have made any mistakes in the MAX project, it is now becoming very clear that they are now so obvious that even the smartest analyst might recognize them one day, just as they have discovered recently that there is something quite fishy about the deferred production cost of the 787. How long have we been discussing that catch by now?
    Anyway, back to the MAX: One can only wonder why they have not discovered the true sweet sports for this model when they were in the definition phase. It does not bode well for the company culture that ancient decisions are not put under scrutiny. With all the changes necessary anyway, it should have been quite obvious that a 2 model line with one 150 seater and one 200 seater would have been ideal, and just forget about the old models. It also did not help to stare at the competitor too long and hard, as that only blured the vision. In the end you have to make your customers happy and come up with the best possible product!
    So what I am saying is that not only the -7 is too short, but also the -8. But it’s probably too late to change that.
    Besides, although the development cost for each one of the two would have been higher than just keeping the body length, the total R&D for the two ideal sized birds might even have been lower in combination.

    • The 737-8 is not too short, it’s just too old. Th 8 is actually Boeing’s best seller (in the Far East it’s a lucky number). But for how long? We have to keep in mind that the margins on this model are not what they used to be, despite the fact it is a best seller. I think Boeing realizes that. And so does Airbus I suppose.

      • True, the 737-8 is too old too, but that does not help it to bee too short and too long. It is not much too short, but a 8.5 would seat 200 Pax nicely and the -9 would be obsolete. The 7.5 would hold 150.
        In this case I am sure 2 planes would have sold better in total than the existing 3.

        • @Gundolf

          Please keep in mind that the 737-900/-9 is only 5 fuselage frames longer than the 737-800/-8 (i.e. 5 frames x 21″ = 105″; or 2.67 m longer).

          In contrast, the A321 is 13 frames longer than the A320 (i.e. 13 frames x 21″; or 6.93 m longer)

          • Pretty much what I said. Whole different segment.

          • @ OV-099 : 737 fuselage frames come in two different widths = 22″ and 20″. Frames of 21″ is an Airbus measure. You cannot infer cabin lenghts for Boeing types using measurements exclusive to Airbus types…

  11. The wsj story says the 7.5 (or 7X) would be a shrink of the Max8, so while it would have longer range, it would be a bit heavier per seat mile, so there are tradeoffs for buyers.

    I do think the Max7 is dead, or BA would like it to be! 60 orders isn’t sufficient, even if it is for one of your very best and 100% loyal customers.

    If Delta indeed orders the CS300 would be a clear indication that mainline companies are moving away from the -700 in that seat range (DL has little use for 737-7s, operating only 10 now).

    What this continues to point to is BA’s lack of forward vision. As a shareholder, I want to scream: stop the share buybacks, invest in R&D and new product in stead!

    I realize the 787 has been a bad business case with poor execution and long term profit drag, but BA management cannot let that ruin their mojo. They seem frightened to take any risk any more.

    • The MAX 7 is indeed dead and the MAX 7.5 is stillborn. I believe the latter is used by Boeing as a diversion. They are likely preparing a big surprise for us that will rattle the narrowbody market.

      • No, they arn’t. I am sure they’d love to though, but there is no breakthrough technology available that they could use to jump ahead of Airbus and Bombardier again. Maybe that is why they have lost direction so badly.
        Accepting to be a Number two when you are used to be the ruler of a market for decades is hard to digest. But you need that change of perspective to stop nonsense like share buyback. That is the typical behavior of a market champion that would not know where to with all the money they are earning. But here we have Boeing with gigantic deferred 787 cost, a dire need of investing in R&D and creating several new planes asap and they still buy shares!
        Again, there is no breakthrough technology available in the near future to bring Boeing back to No 1 position. Quite the opposite, it will be a very long and hard way, full of risks and obstacles. If possible at all.

        • I am in complete agreement with everything you say in your post, but I still think Boeing has no other choice. It’s a damn if you do/damn if you don’t kind of situation. With its back against the wall Boeing may very well come up with a solution that no one else foresaw. They have done it several times in the past when the employee morale was the highest in the industry. Now it’s up to Boeing to show us that this spirit is still there. But I wouldn’t bet on a sudden resurgence… 🙁

  12. RE: philip

    Because of industrialization and ramp rash considerations, panels could be a preferable NB choice. People say it’s also easier to produce the optimized skin characteristics for the specific panel location on the fuselage. The fuselage bottom has different requirements than the top section and sides. Panels can be produced / moved everywhere easily.

    In my opinion covering 150-250 seats, 800-4500NM with a single fuselage diameter might be possible. Specifying a wide aisle (~30 inch) gives quicker (de)boarding on high frequency short flights and better comfort / 2 aisle (Premium) flexibility for long flights.

    Doing so with the same wing, engines and wingbox seems hardly possible in todays competitive environment. So maybe Boeing could do a competitive shorter range family first and a NAM/MoM later on. Or the other way around. But anticipated in one base fuselage / cockpit / tail systems design.


    • The horizontal tailplane on the aircraft having the larger wing and MTOW, would have to be larger than the one on the smaller aircraft having the smaller wing.

      • That is the kind of technical objection I needed to hear. I have had this view that Boeing should answer the A320 and A321 challenges, along with the 757 Replacement objective, with a single fuselage and two different wings: a smaller wing for the 737-8 Replacement and a larger wing for the 757 Replacement, with the response to the A321 somewhere in between these two. Is that too much to ask from the Boeing engineers? I got this idea by looking at the 737 versus the 757. They have a completely different fuselage and cockpit and I thought this was a big waste. Why not make it all from the same fuselage/cockpit combination? If Bombardier could do it with the CRJ family using the Challenger fuselage and cockpit as a starting point, I don’t see why Boeing could not do the same with a conjoined replacement for the 737 and 757.

          • The CRJ family has three wings, not counting the original Challenger wing: CRJ100/200-CRJ700/900-CRJ1000.

          • The CRJ-1000 looks kind of “overstretched” compared to the A340-600. 😉

            One could also argue that the A300/A310/A330/A343/A346 “family” has 4 different wings; or even 5, if we count the A333/A343 common wing as being “different” in a twin and quad application.

        • The 757 and 737 combination has a different fuselage because it was derived from the 727.
          Heres Oldaeroguy on airliners.net take on the issue

          “The 757 entered design using the 727 fuselage as baseline as it was originally a 727 derivative, so it had the 727 dimensions for fore and aft lower lobes. It was later decided to evaluate a deeper forebody lower lobe, ala the 737. The forward fuselage cross section decision was made to meet a manufacturing commitment before all wind tunnel testing was complete. Early indications were that if the deeper lower lobe was used for the forebody, directional stability would have been reduced to an undesireable level. When all testing was finished, it was shown that a deeper forward lobe would have been OK. Unfortunately, it was too late to revise the manufacturing plans.

          I was a member of the wind tunnel testing team at the time the 757 was being developed and was aware of the situation. After the 757 was certified, I asked the 757 Chief Engineer what design decisions he would like to change with the benefit of hindsight. The forward lower lobe decision was the first on his list”


          The reason for the different 757 cockpit was to be the same as the 767.

          • While I did not know about the sturuarl issues spot on for the rest.

            Cockpit on the 737 was old steam pressure gauges, 757 and 767 were the in between transition to all flat panels (or almost all flat panels

            Ironically the 767-2C has a 787 panel now!

            Should put that in the MAX, that would make Airbus sit up and take notice. We may not have the range and pax of an A321 but we sure have whiz bang.

      • OV-099 correct. Although introducing smaller surfaces wasn’t widely used on the various aircraft families. For the NAM/NSA aircraft short fuselages wouldn’t be in the family like on 737-600 and A318. Capacity would start around 25 rows/ 150 seats / 37m .

        • Yes, the horizontal tailplane volume coefficient, or tail effectiveness, is equal to the (tailplane-area times tailplane-moment-arm) / (wing-area times mean-wing-chord).

          Apart from the A321 wing that has a slightly larger wing chord (i.e. trailing edge extension with larger area-wise, double slotted flaps), the A318, A319, A320 all have the same wing. Same thing with the 737NG/737MAX (i.e. same wing).

          Assuming that a NSA would have one common fuselage and two distinctly different sized wings, would also mean two different sized horizontal tailplanes.

          • The Bombardier CRJ700 and CRJ900 share the same wing but a new wing was required for the CRJ1000. Because of the various scope clauses the latter now appears to have been a bad investment. A niche aircraft as Scott once put it. A stretch too far I would now have to admit.

          • FWIW, the MD-11 was designed to have a smaller horizontal tailplane than the DC-10. The MD-11’s difficult handling characteristics during landings can be attributed to the decrease in longitudinal stability, due primarily to the shorter and smaller tailplane.

          • OV099. That doesnt make sense for the MD11. A longer fuselage means a longer moment arm for horizontal and vertical tails and thus they can be reduced in area.
            Speculation had those MD11s that flipped after a hard landing was because the MLG would break a wing spar, and thats what flipped the plane.
            But many pointed out the MD10/11 had their MLG attached the same way as any other widebody.
            The number of cases for flipped planes is too small to indicate much

          • @dukeofurl

            I’m sorry, but tailplane-sizing is not only dependent on the moment arm. As I wrote above, the tailplane effectiveness is measured as a function of; (tailplane-area times tailplane-moment-arm) / (wing-area times mean-wing-chord). Hence, the pitching moment depends not only on the moment arm, but on the area of the tailplane, wing area and wing-chord, as well.

            With the MD-11, you not only have a high wing loading at MTOW (i.e. 286000 kg / 338.9 m2 = 844 kg/m2), but also a low aspect ratio wing (i.e. (51.66 m) squared / 333.9m2 = 7.87). That low aspect ratio wing produces a lot of lift-induced drag at low speeds.

            The MD-11 basically used the same wing as the DC-10, but as the designers wanted to cut weight and drag, they elected to make the horizontal tailplane smaller. Due partly to the high wing loading — leading to very high landing speeds, particularly for heavy freighters — the handling characteristics of the MD-11 during landings were made more “tricky” due to the decrease in longitudinal stability caused by the smaller horizontal tailplane. In fact, the MD-11 should IMHO have had a wing with a higher aspect since a wing with a higher aspect ratio will have smaller pitching moments, thus requiring a smaller tailplane.

            Here’s a good illustration on how much the horizontal tailplane of the MD-11 was reduced in size over the original one on the DC-10:


          • At least one flipped aircraft (Newarkl FedEx I think) came in far to hot and tried to paste it on ala carrier style rather than go around when the approach was busted.

  13. I think there is a bug in your 4C code programme… 😉 More seriously, I also believe in the virtues of a wider single aisle versus narrower twin aisles. And if I understood your post well we may now also share the same view in regards to the single fuselage with two different wings: one for medium range and the other for longer range. But I am not sure if that is what you meant exactly. I also hope that Boeing will adopt this view, for it appears to me as the only way out of the conundrum it finds itself in with the obsolete, but still successful 737-8 and the challenge posed by the A321. Boeing must do something fast to address this. Never mind the C Series, the real challenge still comes from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

    • Agreed, they really can’t nor seem to want to compete with C series other than sell gap filling -7 as at a loss.

      737-8/9 is actually an effective combination for that segment, but they are really complementary to each other, -9 is no where close to an A321 competitor.

      Issue gets back to do you do a true competitor, something more and then scale back and can you mix enough stuff to make it work?

      That’s where the guys with the bright ideas come in, Boeing just needs to let them loose to do so.

      • “737-8/9 is actually an effective combination for that segment, but they are really complementary to each other, -9 is no where close to an A321 competitor.”

        Just watch the 737 order book in the coming months and years. You will likely start to notice a decline in orders for all 737 models, including the MAX 8. It’s game over as far as I can tell. It’s too easy to be impressed by the hefty backlog but I am convinced that we have now entered the era when the 737 B2B ratio will consistently and repeatedly remain below one, until depletion. The writing is on the wall. But unfortunately in Chicago they only read quarterly reports. Yet, my intuition tells me that they know they are in zugzwang (a fancy word for deep shit).

  14. Normand, that’s what I put in that drawing. A 10 inch wider aisle would not only give a wider cabin, but also a higher one, because the LD3-45 requirement keeps the cargo belly as flat as on the A320, even a slightly flatter.

    The additional cabin height also enables more bin stowage space and e.g. a 1-2-1 Business cabin with WB like aisle access. While avoiding 2-3-2 like mass, weights and unitcosts. The wings would be designed to neatly fit existing ICAO gate categories.


    • Very nice design keesje! I love the 30″ concept. I remember being caught in my seat with an urgent need to go to the bathroom because I had held myself for too long. But when I got up the aisle was blocked because the attendant was doing the service. I almost peed im my pants waiting for this attendant to free the aisle. He was in a frustrated mood and tired of being interrupted. It is only when he saw that my eyes were yellowing that he decided to move out of the way. It must have been the most satisfying pee I ever had. 🙂

    • Agreed, a great plan. I wonder if a few more inches in width allowing a 2-2-2 economy cabin while incurring some fuel burn and cost penalties might not be better because it would really change the game. Fast boarding and exiting. Two paths to the lav and NO MIDDLE SEATS; 4 aisle and two windows. The 737 width of seat problem is non issue when one side is open or the cabin wall to lean against. This could be done with a 13′-2″ ID (19 ” bigger than current 737) and about a 14′ OD, just one foot more than A-320.

      For long routes it could also be 3-3 coach with significantly wider seats and aisle than 320 (it would be 12″ wider) and a bigger middle seat than aisle and window seats. A problem is that this would be roomier than wide bodies except 8 abreast 787 and 9 abreast 777 both of which are history.

      • Dan, much is technically possible. The issue seems airlines want to provide just enough, because too much costs money. A slightly wider aisle/ fuselage provides some clear advantages in terms of (de)boarding times, cabin flexibility and structural efficiency when specifying real long fuselages. Pushing it creates inefficiencies too. The less efficient use of space at some point starts to reduce overall economical attractiveness.


        • Whatever Boeing comes up with in a new narrow body, the airlines will do what they always do, cram more seats so in the end, the customer is just as miserable as he is now.
          The passenger experience means nothing to the airlines, AA said a few weeks ago they are adding more seats to their 737-800’s so as to keep up with Delta. It used to be airlines wanted to surpass the competition, not mimic it.

  15. Boeing needs a new domestic short haul (DSH) airplane for N America, Europe, China and later India etc markets in service in 2025 , with most deliveries in 2030’s and 2040’s, which will provide max global fleet fossil fuel savings and max millions of tons carbon dioxide savings over 20 or more years of service — which would include stretched, reengined and rewinged models.

    To best serve this carbon constrained era I believe it should have around 260 seats in single class (not 150-180) with 31-32 inch pitch, have a range of around 2200 nm (not 3200-3400) at a cruise speed of .72 mach ( not .78-.8) have 2 aisles and growth to 300. The 20 year market will be over 10,000 airplanes, enough for Boeing and Airbus.

    Premium class seating should be prohibited and only passenger baggage and a small amount of high priority cargo should be carried. Beat the A320 neo, 737-8 MAX, C919, and M21 by 40-50% in fuel burned per seat mile in its average short haul missions. No new inventions required

    Air transport global fleet carbon reduction will be a major driver in fleet planning beyond 2025. Increased capacity in high density markets will be a lot more important than 7-10,000 nm range. A 250 passenger 4-5000 nm , 85 mach MOM will not be a priority

    • More likely to be like big savings in CO2 reduction in coal for power stations because of much cheaper natural gas, another technology like electric cars/trucks will produce the savings and fuel for planes wont be an issue.
      Its called ‘cant see the wood for the trees.’

  16. I’ve seen some comments favouring the 3+3 wider aisle avenue as a design strategy to accelerate ground turn-arounds. Which doesn’t pan out. The idea is wrong and the error is in tracing the root cause for cabin jamming, which is primarily EMF (excuse-me factor) or seat extraction jamming, not aisle density or aisle jamming. The EMF of 3+3 seating is 6 per row, regardless of aisle width.
    Pamphlet explaining why the “Wider Aisle” avenue misses the intended target : http://media.wix.com/ugd/4f7666_627481e5e5279820281709d46d659894.pdf?dn=PIP%2B-%2Bthe%2BAirbus%2BA32X%2BSeries%2BWider%2BAisle%2BOption.pdf

    • FT, I think the basic assumption of that piece you linked/wrote, is that boarding/ de-boarding times have nothing to do with aisle traffic, but with passenger getting out of their seat.

      That seems a totally incorrect assumption, as every one who flies narrowbodies probably knows. There is no other substantiation in the piece then the statement it’s just like that. Then you take a 6 inch seat widening on a A320 as a starting point. That’s not what is proposed here.

      I’m am not suggesting that the conclusion of the paper you wrote was clear already, before you looked into it. That could only have been the case if it was written to somehow “protect” your 1-3-1 A320 idea/ webside.


      Regarding that concept, I have my doubts just kicking 25 revenue seats out of an aircraft for superior comfort will ever see acceptance by the savvy airlines. That’s just my opinion, but I actually did these business cases for a big airline.

  17. @ keesje : we are discussing turn-around strategy vs aisle width … your idea is to make the single aisle 30″ wide to reduce aisle pax density at stand-up … my point is to question whether this idea is really effective ? Let’s calculate : 30″ x 32″ pitch divided by 6 pax per row = 1.11 sqft per pax, vs today’s 19″ x 32″ / 6 pax = 0.70 sqft per pax, or an improvement of 58 % of aisle density ?
    In reality, your wider aisle is still critically crowded. On your own criteria my idea is to go twin aisle, because even if we shorten the pitch to 30″, the resulting aisle density at stand-up is 30″ x 19″ / 2.5 = 1.58 sqft per pax, or an improvement of 42 % beyond your wide aisle design. My conclusion is that the best strategy for quicker ground rotations is two aisles of 19″ rather than one aisle of 30″. In addition, I’m reaching this conclusion on TWO ACCOUNTS, aisle pax density (your criterion) AND EMF (my favourite criterion) … you propose ‘EMF is nonsense, everybody knows’ … not quite so, keesje. Let me point at Normand Hamel’s above tell-tale story about a pressing need to visit the Lav …

    • Frequent Traveler, the overruling issue is cost per available seat-mile. Of course two full aisles provides superior de boarding times. And comfort. Three aisles are even better!

      And, its totally un competive at weight, CASM and operating cost too. The structure for a same capacity aircraft can easily be 25-30% heavier than a single aisle design. Compare same capacity / technology 767-200s and 757-300s, the latter (narrow heavy pipe) is still 10t lighter. Small twin aisles prove a no-go for airlines and OE’s alike.

      Aisle width has nothing to with variables like passenger per square feet or “aisle density”. It’s about the narrowest aisle that is just wide enough to let 95% of the passengers pass a trolley or other passenger/crew member in the aisle. Without booming twin aisle operating costs.

      Today people can’t get out of their seats because aisles are blocked by people unable to pass by each other. The longer the fuselage the bigger the problem/ time waste.

      Unnecessary aisles, removed seats per row and high CASM’s are not “inconveniences” or trade-offs but instant business case killers, quickly overruling any perceived advantages. I’m probably not the first telling you this.

      3+3 is NOT an OBSOLETE concept. Absorb it believe it, inhale it, it will be there for our live times. Why? Because it’s the most efficient and safe compromise for putting 150-250 seats in a tube! And a tube has been hard to beat sofar too.

      Why had cars 4 wheels for the last 120 years? Because it proved better than 1,2,3 and 5, 6 and 7?

  18. The frontier between single aisle utility and twin aisle versatility is at around 35 rows or 6 x 35 = 210 pax. Beyond that magic number, the penalties in terms of in-flight service inefficiency and boarding/deplaning jamming become noticeable. These well-known feeder cabin ails are commonly referred to by the generic “757 syndrome” vocable. For proper MOM design, given that the target capacity consensus is situated in the 220-250 pax bracket, the cross-section conveniently is TWIN AISLE, not single wide aisle, if keesje will permit this remark. The choice is between 1+3+1, 1+4+1, 2+2+2, 2+3+2, 1+3+2 … forget 3+3, whatever the aisle width : it is an OBSOLETE concept, dating back into the ’50-ies, three human generations ago. Let 3+3 retire, ‘Bon Vent’ ?!

  19. A huge re-think of convention, but we still use Victorian railway carriage layout for modern airliners. My pet issue is overhead bins and how may passengers are actually able to use them without assistance, and assistance is of course time.
    Maybe a bit too radical, but why not have real exits where emergency exits exist.(MRT style) It would only need lift up squabs and you could double the number of exits. Of course it would need a major re-design of aerobridges, but that is a once only cost, easily amortized, as would be a new mobile boarding vehicle for airports not having airbridge facilities.

  20. Again we differ in perspective, keesje : “the overruling issue is cost per available seat-mile” ? CASM, BECF and the alike tracers of cabin efficiency date back in the literature all the way to Rigas Doganis, of Royal Aeronautical Society … that’s the late sixties/early seventies ? Today’s economists go after Fleet Yield/24h, ie the revenue generating boons of cabin accomodation are drivers, you can’t make an omelett without breaking eggs … Retail psychology and maximisation of trip yield in online CRS pricing module piloting is the new art replacing CASM. The 5 $ question is “at what price will the next ticket sold onboard flight XY1234 from AAA to BBB contribute a profit” ? Hear-say, fashion, newness factoring and social networking are the new parameters … if the talk-of-the-town (Twitter, Facebook …) is “Have you tried the new H21QR” ? then the promoters of 3+3 cabins can put the key under the mat and go fishing… Wake up to the second decade of XXIst Century !

    • WoW ! Human oppfinnsomhet (creativity) is beyond belief ! Thanks for the weblink, keesje ! But the idea is correctly translated : there’s more to decision-making than rationale, and this goes for airline travelling as well. One popular motivation experienced c/o Flyprat is “aircraft & beer” for AvGeeks, renting Vintage Aircraft to gather somewhere to kick tyres and have a good time ? A lot of travelling doesn’t source in abstract or down-to-earth CASM considerations. Fortunately !

  21. This entire discussion is stupid trying to rationalize how this is a good idea.

    A band-aid on band-aid on a band-aid of a 50 year old airframe is just a desperate attempt to keep up… and fail for not moving foward.

    Be a leader and just start the new single aisle plane based on 160-220 seats…

    • Not sure its a workable idea, but if it is, a patch is the best they can do short term.

      Agreed it is stupid they got there in the first place, but you have to deal the hand you have.

      Going forward is where we find out if they want to be an airplane company or not. We can hope there is serious discussion about it not public.

      We will find out fairly soon (6 months at a guess)

  22. Has Toulouse gone into meltdown? 9 x A350s on parking stands, 3 x A350s with delayed first flights. Still more with no fixed abode. The aircraft on stands appear to be awaiting cabin fit. Are the FF delays associated with the thrust reverser mod? Looks like the proverbial is about to hit the fan. It appears highly unlikely that the target 50 deliveries will be met in 2016 and I would venture that parts are arriving at a slower rate than the last couple of months as well suggesting the supply chain is being slowed a tad

    Apologies if you read this twice as I posted it in the A321 thread in error

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