Airbus sets new delivery record for 2016

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 11, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus Commercial Aircraft presented a new record in yearly deliveries at its Press Briefing in Toulouse today.  The division of an integrated Airbus (therefore Airbus Commercial Aircraft, ACA) delivered 688 aircraft during 2016, thereby beating its target of 650 aircraft for the year.

Airbus A321neo with Pratt&Whitney engines was certified end 2016. Source: Airbus.

Orders were also higher than expectations at 731 net orders, giving a Book to Bill of 1.06. The market, including LNC, widely expected Airbus to fall somewhat short of a 1:1 book:bill.

There were no formal forecasts given for 2017. ACA President Fabrice Bregier stated that he expects it to be over 700 deliveries but full details will given at the Airbus Group’s financial press briefing in February.

The year 2016

ACA delivered a record 111 aircraft in December (twice the normal rate) to finish a back-loaded year. The record 688 aircraft marked an uninterrupted 14 years of production increases at Airbus. The Chief Operating Officer – Customers, John Leahy, pointed out that orders (731 net for the year) follow a cycle, and that this cycle is presently down. Airbus managed to get deliveries to not follow a cycle, he said.

“With 6,874 aircraft in the backlog, there is no reason why deliveries should have any dependence on the order cycle,” emphasized Leahy. “We need to continue to increase deliveries, otherwise our customers grow impatient. Orders have always followed a cycle, and yes; right now it’s down and it might continue during 2017. But why worry? We know that orders follow a cycle and we don’t have any aircraft to sell in single aisle until 2021.”

With this background, the year’s order numbers of gross 949 and net 731 is a good result. Leahy pointed out that the 218 aircraft which are missing are not all cancellations; 72 were conversions from A320ceo to neo.

A320

The A320 line is Airbus’ “home run.” Of the 609 orders, 223 were for A321(ceo and neo). Of the total of 545 delivered aircraft, 222 were A321, or 41% of the total. “This will grow to 50% during 2017,” said Leahy. “Our A321 is our “Middle of the Market” aircraft, and at up to 240 seats, it is doing a fantastic job,” continued Leahy. He saw no reason to extend the aircraft to an A322. “At 240 seats, all 18 inches wide, I see no reason to change things,” Leahy said. “At 80% market share, we own this market.”

A330

Bregier was satisfied with a production run of 66 A330ceos.

“This is slightly more than we expected,” said Bregier. He said that the development of the A330neo was on plan but that Entry Into Service (EIS) for the aircraft could go into 2018. “Our first customer, TAP, is not planning to induct the aircraft before spring 2018, so we don’t see such a slip as causing any problems,” said Bregier. He declined to give Rolls-Royce, the Trent 7000 engine supplier, the blame for the delay. Orders for 2016 finished at 83 aircraft, with 42 neos.

A350

Sales for the year finished at 41 net orders, including 10 cancellations. Backlog stands at 818 aircraft end of year.

Airbus delivered 49 aircraft after only having achieved 14 deliveries by mid-year.

“We thereby achieved our target for the year,” said Bregier, although the actual target was 50. ”I’m now confident in a ramp that will take us to a rate of 10 per month by the end of 2018. The service introduction of the A350-900 has gone well. We have had an in-service reliability of 98.6% over the last four months of 2016.

“The second test aircraft of the A350-1000 flew yesterday and the initial testing of the first test aircraft has confirmed our expectations for the variant,” he said.

A380

Deliveries were higher than expected at 28 (last year 27), but there were no orders for the aircraft during 2016.

“Would I have liked to have sold more A380?” Leahy said. “Yes, but the time for this aircraft will come. Ten percent of all passengers at Heathrow leave on an A380 flight right now. With air traffic doubling every 15 years, this aircraft will be necessary at Charles de Gaulle, JFK, LAX, Hong Kong and many other places. It has its market.”

Bregier pointed out that Airbus worked successfully to have break-even of A380 at rate two per month. “And this is now intensified to achieve break-even also at rate one,” said Breiger. “It’s all about minimizing the fixed costs for the aircraft.”

81 Comments on “Airbus sets new delivery record for 2016

  1. Hello Bjorn

    So Book to bill > 1 for A320 and A330 familly… not bad for the A330

    Best regards

    • Yes, it’s good. Leahy pointed out that the A330(ceo+neo) has outsold the 787 since both where available in the market in 2004; 1,242 versus 1,200.

      • I believe it’s about availability. A350-1000 has accumulated 211 orders since it’s launch back in 2006. Boeing 777-300ER has 581 orders in the same period of time. According to Leahy, the -1000 has “killed” the -300ER. Numbers show something different.

  2. Some old story here ,throw in some orders ,to just eke out a win over your rival..
    Of course you know they were going to post the Iran order on their books, yet somehow managed to keep all the bogus a380 orders on a well.
    On a positive note ,give them credit, they did finally remove Kingfishers order..
    Well done..

    • If Airbus is able to do the “same old story” gimmick every year your assessment is obviously plain wrong. 🙂

      (If they only manage every second year and have an abysmal year in between you could be right.)

      • Uwe..in response.
        You must understand, removing orders is something airbus cannot fathom. .
        Boeing realized its much too premature to post an order unlikely to ever materialize,
        Very amusing, how they mamged to squeeze in irans first plane..i guess, they figure it seals the deal for them.
        So Boeing won’t post Iran’s order just to have bragging rights in the annual game of who’s on top in the order race..
        Still can’t believe how they sugar coat the a380..when your most important and basically only custom defers orders ,thats huge to the bottom line.

        • You are much too busy spinning this for some Boeing Moral Ascendancy. There are cultures around that deem every death a murder by magic …

        • @TC

          If the deal to sell 98 Airbus aircraft to Iran was signed and sealed in 2016, why shouldn’t Airbus have booked the 98 firm orders for the year 2016? It’s not Airbus’ problem that Boeing, for some reasons, didn’t put their Iranian sales into their orderbook for 2016.

          The managers at Airbus are likely not afraid to stand their ground vs. Drumpf and the Israel lobby with respect to the Iran deal. Boeing, on the other hand, seems to have let themselves be bullied by Drumpf on Air Force One and perhaps on the Iran deal as well,

          As for the A380; if you’d bothered to watch the press conference, you’d probably have figured out that it works better for Airbus to reduce A380 output now, in order to facilitate a steady-state production of the A380 of one per month until a much improved secon generation A380 can enter the market place in the early/mid 2020s. Furthermore, Mr. Bregier pointed out that Airbus is working on achieving a production break-even with this low level of output. Also, in this case the deferment works for both parties — and Emirates hasn’t cancelled a single airframe, an important fact that you also conveniently glossed over.

          • Ok ov..point taken.
            Problem on the 380 is
            Can they afford to wait for the market to change..
            So tel me ,how do they bridge the gap between the current and the neo version which has about as much interest as the current a380..

          • @TC

            It’s pretty clear that a next generation A380 will not just be a “neo”. In all likelihood, an A380NG will IMJ entail a significant upgrade to the wing (i.e. fixed wing span extension to 85m in addition to folding wingtips) resulting in at least a 10 percent reduction in trip fuel burn, coupled with new engines that would have a reduction in thrust specific fuel consumption of as much as 20 percent compared to the current engines on the A380. Also, IMJ a next generation could also be launched as a twin. Yes, a twin using the same basic wing architecture as the present wing. IMJ, you could put a 150-inch diameter fan on the current inner engine mount.

            Feasible? 😉

            Please do take a look on page 24 (in the linked document below): “777-9X fuel connectors comparison with the A380-800”. As you can see, the wing/pylon attach point is placed considerable higher (and further outboard) on the A380. All Airbus has to do is to mount the engine as high, with repsect to the wing, as what’s being done for the GE9X engine on the 777X (i.e. fan diameter of 134 inches)

            http://www.aspireaviation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/777X-airport-compatibility.pdf

            In comparison, the Trent XWB on the A350 has a 118 inch fan. A 150-inch fan would have a 61.6 percent greater frontal area than that of the TXWB engine.

            Now, a 100 percent scaled up 280 metric tonne A350-900 (wing area: 442 m2) would have a MTOW of 560 tonnes (about the same as the initial A388), a wing area of 884 m2 (845m2 for the current A380) and a thrust requirement of around 170,000 lbs. However, the wing aspect ratio would be higher for the A380-twin — i.e. (95-squared)/880 = 10.26 vs. (64.75-squared)/442) = 9.49 for the A350 — with the relative higher reduction of induced drag at take-off for the A380-twin, thus leading to a lower thrust requirement at take-off. If you scale up the Trent XWB-97 engine by 61.6 percent, you’d get an engine having a fan diameter of 150-inches and a maximum thrust of 156,752 lbs — which should be enough for a 560 tonne A380 derived twin-engine version.

            As for Airbus being able to afford to wait to enter the VLA market with a revolutionary and re-designed next generation A380 in the mid 2020s, please do note that there are about 70 A380-800s that remains to be delivered (i.e. not counting the “dubious” orders). With no further orders, a further reduction to eight A380s per year (from this year onwards) would carry production through to 2025. Now, Airbus is not reducing output to 8, but 10-12 per year from 2018 (about 16 this year) would carry production through 2022. Let’s assume that the new generation A380 enters into service in 2024 and that there are no deliveries in 2023. That would be similar to the transition from the 747-400 to the 747-8, where in 2010 no single 747 was delivered. Hence, I don’t think a “gap” year would be a show stopper.

          • Just doeing the 777-9 trick on the A380 to a A380neo with RR Advance Engines, revised structures to Al-Li, new slender 80m span carbon wing with folding wingtips and cost reductions, A350 derived and aero cleanup would cost $6-$12bn. Doing a Twin will cost > x 3 plus finding someone designing a brand new Engine in this thrust and size class for a volume of max 400 Aircrafts is presently unreal.

          • “Now, a 100 percent scaled up 280 metric tonne A350-900 (wing area: 442 m2) would have a MTOW of 560 tonnes (about the same as the initial A388), a wing area of 884 m2 (845m2 for the current A380) and a thrust requirement of around 170,000 lbs.”

            During the most critical flightphase a MTOW A380 has 240k lbs after one engine blew out. A twin would need a similar thrust (or more (additional drag asymmetric situation) So a 240k lbs engines seems required.

            Not sure..

          • @Keesje

            Your numbers are correct for the current A380. What I’m talking about, however, is a re-designed A380 wing having a much higher aspect ratio that will dramatically decrease the induced drag coefficient during take-off and the initial climb.

            First, let’s look at the 777-9 vs the 777-300ER. Both aircraft have a MTOW of 351,534 kg — yet the 777-9 only requires 105,000 lbs of thrust vs. 115,000 lbs of thrust for the 777-300ER. The main reason why the 777-9 only requires 105,000 lbs of thrust is 1), the slightly higher aspect ratio of the all new wing on the 777X; and 2), the nearly 15 percent, or so, larger wing area” , leading to a wing loading that is considerably lower for the 777-9.

            Here are the relevant data for the 77W, 777-9, A359, A388 and an A380-derived twin which I’d name the A390-800X (i.e. A398X). Aspect ratio is equal to wing-span squared divided by wing area. (i.e. please do note that the aspect ratio here is somewhat of a simplified metric as it doesn’t take into account the various wing tip configurations); and wing loading is MTOW/wing-area.

            ____Wing-area_Wing-span_Wing-loading_Aspect-ratio
            77W__454-m2*__64.8-m___774-kg/m2____9.25
            777X__522-m2___71.8-m___657-kg/m2____9.88
            A359__443-m2___64.75-m__632-kg/m2____9.46
            A388__845-m2__79.75-m___662-kg/m2____7.53
            A398X_880-m2__>95-m____636.4-kg/m2__>10.26

            **Data taken from Bjorn’s excellent thread at airliners.net:
            http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=769539

            So, when comparing the wing aspect ratios on the 777-9 and the 77W, we can see that it’s increased by 6.8 percent (assuming a 15 percent bigger wing area on the 777-9), while on the conceptual A390-800X (i.e. the A380-derived twin having a 4 percent bigger wing area than the A388), the aspect ratio is increased by a whopping 36.3 percent

            A 36.3 percent increase in aspect ratio would not only lead to considerably lower maximium thrust requirements during take-off and the early climb phase, but the massive reduction in lif-induced drag should lead to a roughly 15 percent reduction in fuel burn (by the wing treatments alone). Add 2025 state-of-the-art engines with a 20 percent-plus reduction in TSFC, and we’d probably be looking at an overall trip fuel burn reduction exceeding 40 percent for a twin-engined A390-800X over that of the current A380-800 (i.e. a twin should further reduce fuel consumption over that of a quad by at least 5 percent).

            Please do take a further look at this excellent article from Bjorn and the paragraph dealing wiht drag during takeoff:

            https://leehamnews.com/2014/11/19/fundamentals-of-airliner-performance-part-3/

          • @claes

            The 777X is not only getting an all new wing. The vertical and horizontal tailplanes will also be all new — in addition to an all new main landing gir and a large number of system and fuselage upgrades. In fact, the 777X seems to be more than half-an-all-new-aircraft.

            Now, it may look as if you’ve not fully understood what I’ve been proposing. I’m not talking about an all new wing, but a re-design of the current wing-box using composite materials instead of the current aluminium ones. The shape of the wing, though, would remain unchanged, in addition to most of the movable surfaces on the leading and trailing edges. The landing gears, empennage section (including the vertical and horizontal tailplanes would remain unchanged).

            Due to the massive increase in the aspect ratio of the wing (as described in the response above to Keesje), and the elimination of the outer engines that are providing bending relief for the current wing, an all new composite wing box would be the perfect substitution for the current metallic wing covers, stringers and spars due the significant increase in the wing‐root bending moment. The increased wing span would lead to a not insignificant weight increase if the current metallic components were to be retained. However, the existing aluminum wing ribs could probably largely be retained. In comparison, both the 787 and A350 wings are using single piece composite wing covers (with co-cured composite stringers) and composite spars, while using wing ribs that are made of aluminium. All in all, the wing upgrade should largely remain weight neutral.

            Airbus has a massive amount of experience from the A330/A340 programme with a wing that was designed to be outfitted with either two or four engines. IMJ therefore, it should not be too big an undertaking redesigning the current 4-engine aluminium wing into a 2-engine composite wing — when considering the enormous gains that would be achieved.

            Just doeing the 777-9 trick on the A380 to a A380neo with RR Advance Engines, revised structures to Al-Li, new slender 80m span carbon wing with folding wingtips and cost reductions, A350 derived and aero cleanup would cost $6-$12bn. Doing a Twin will cost > x 3 plus finding someone designing a brand new Engine in this thrust and size class for a volume of max 400 Aircrafts is presently unreal.

            Again, I’m not proposing doing n all new slender 80m span carbon wing with folding wingtips, my idead is to use a highly modified wing based on the existing A380 wing — that would be turned into slender one — by increasing the wing span to at least 95 m. The fixed wing span would be 84.75 metres in order to fit the new 85 m x 85 m box standard coming online in the next decade (i.e. the new Al Maktoum International Airport, for example, will have 200 85 m x 85 m and 200 65 m x 80 m aircraft stands when it’s fully developed). In addition, the wing would have two >5 metres downward folding wingtips in order to increase span to >95 m during the take-off roll.

            As for the engine, why hasn’t anyone “objected” to GE’s business case for the GE9X for the 777X?. Here we are talking about an all new engine developed for just one aircraft that would seem to have — at the present time — a somewhat limited market. In contrast to the present A380 and my proposed A390-800X, the 777-9 has a highly efficent competitor in the A350-1000m — an aircraft which BTW is using an engine (TXWB-97) that has 80 percent of line replaceable units being common with the highly successful TXWB-84 engine on the A350-900. In contrast, GE can’t put their highly expensive GE9X engine on any other aircraft than the 777X — a risky proposition if you’d ask me.

            An A390-800X would be an enormously efficient aircraft. The current VLA market IMO is not “small” because the segment is a niche, but because the two VLAs in operation are not sufficiently efficient enough in order to out-compete smaller twins. An A390-800X should change that situation dramatically — and therefore, I don’t believe either Pratt & Whitney or Rolls Royce would hesitate making an engine offer at the appropriate time.

            Finally, as for costs, the re-design of the current A380 wing for use on an A380-derived twin, should not exceed what’s required for just the all new 777X wing. In fact, it would probably cost less due to the retainment of most of the leading and trailing edges, unmodfied wing-body fairing etc. However, for the sake of discussion, let’s say $5 billion for the airframe and $2 billion for the engine.

          • If you increase aspect ratio and wingspan you also increase load via increased load arm on the center wing box significantly.
            ( same for the 777. Wonder how Boeing is handling that while keeping the Al center wing box. IMU 777X is an all new plane except for the name.)

            Then the A380 has a different optimization target than a 777.

            Airbus years ago had a programme running that targeted massive weight reductions on the airframe via forming parts to follow loadbearing lines.
            Put on the shelf for now.

          • @Uwe

            If you increase aspect ratio and wingspan you also increase load via increased load arm on the center wing box significantly.

            Correct. Due to the massive increase in the aspect ratio of the wing and the elimination of the outer engines that are providing bending relief for the current wing, an all new composite wing box would be the perfect substitution for the current metallic wing box, due to the significant increase in the wing‐root bending moment. The goal would be to remain weight neutral on the re-designed wing.

            ( same for the 777. Wonder how Boeing is handling that while keeping the Al center wing box. IMU 777X is an all new plane except for the name.)

            Interesting question vis-à-vis the 777X centre wing box, but do keep in mind that the wing aspect ratio is only increased by some 6.8 percent over that of the centre wing box on the current 777. In contrast, the wing aspect ratio on the modified wing of an A380-derived twin (as explained above in my response to Keesje), would have an increase in aspect ratio of 36.3 percent! Of course, the A380 already has a largely composite centre wing box, although it would have to be considerably strengthened with a re-designed wing having that much higher an aspect ratio.

            To me, at least, it’s clear that an A380 to A398X re-design — as I’ve described in my coments above — would offer far more bang for the buck than what’s the case with the almost-all-new-airplane, the 777X.

          • I suspect AB will never ever even consider an A-380 derived twin. However, an all new super twin with fuselage 6-12 in. wider than 779 (for real 10 abreast seating) and geared engine maybe, but methinks not until 2030s. These projects are difficult, expensive and take a long time. AB has 3 good/great planes, 32, 33 and 35 with which they will be happily making money.

            An A-380 neo, if it happens, will be engines, wing extension, fuse stretch and aero cleanup. My bet is that it will happen if air travel growth is as strong as generally expected. EIS mid 2020s. It will be a better looking aircraft (not quite so chunky) but not a twin.

          • @Keesje

            So, at one engine out you’re OK with 72,000 lb of thrust left for a 242 metric tonnes A330-900?

            Now, 242 metric tonnes is equal to 533,519 lb and 560 metric tonnes is equal to 1,234,589 lb.

            At one engine out the A330-900 is left with a thrust-to-weight ratio of 72,000 lbf / 533,519 lb = 0.135.

            If the thrust-to-weight ratio at one engine out for a 1,234,589 lb (560 metric tonnes) A380 twin would be 0.135 — or the same fraction as for a 242 metric tonne A330-900 — then, at one engine out the A380 twin would be left with one engine having 0.135×1,234,589 = 166,670 lbf

            Should I repeat that number again? 😉

            166,670 lbf left at one engine out for a 560 metric tonnes A380 twin, as outlined in my comments above, is no different than 72,000 lbf left at one engine out for of a 242 tonne A330-900. Thus, we’re obviously not into new territory. Why should the physics be any different just because we’re talking about a VLA twin?

          • @Dan F.

            “I suspect AB will never ever even consider an A-380 derived twin.”

            Why shouldn’t Airbus consider turning the present A380 into a twin?, It would lead to a trip fuel burn reduction of as much as 40 percent, and for Airbus it would be an altogether cheaper undertaking than what’s the case for Boeing with the 777X programme.

          • Oh, yeah, twin uber alles.

            You won’t get 40% improvement.
            ( minimum of 50% thrust increase step over currently available
            engines that also shows higher BPR as is en vogue today 🙂 won’t materialize out of thin air either.)

          • @Uwe

            40 percent improvement in fuel burn due to:

            A.) At least a 20 percent lower TSFC than the Trent-900/GP-7000.

            B.) At least a 15 percent reduction in fuel burn caused by the almost 40 percent increase in aspect ratio.

            C.) At least a 5 percent lower fuel burn from a twin than a comparable quad.

            Why a twin? Because of point C and the fact that a significant increase in aspect ratio of an existing wing for a quad tends to be a far more complicated undertaking than it would for a twin, due to fact that the the outer engine placement for a quad is rather sensitive to where on the wing it’s located (with respect to the wingtip), and we’re dramatically increasing the wing span and the wing taper ratio that will affect the wing lift and Cl distributions.

            On the current A380, the outer engines are at 64.45 percent of the semi-span. By increasing effective wing span to >95 m, the outer engines would only be at <54.32 percent of the semi-span and they would thus move away from the area of the wing where the wing is most heavily loaded (i.e. the typical location for where to place the outer engines on a quad).

            So, this is not about a “twin uber alles”, but about what may seem to be an ” inconvenient truth”; that an A380 twin would be far superior to an A380neo.

            Now, as for the engine please do not that the TXWB engine has a 118 inch fan, while a 150-inch fan would have a 61.6 percent greater frontal area. If you scale up the XWB-97 engine by 61.6 percent, you’d get an engine having a fan diameter of 150-inches and a maximum thrust of 156,752 lbs. That’s just to show that an A380 twin is possible today. However, for tomorrow, I agree that the trendline is indicating ever higher bypass ratios. However, the GE9X engine for the competition (i.e. 777X) only has a bypass ratio of 10:1 — due to theIMJ over-sized low pressure compressor that seems to be the primary reason why a 105,000 lbf engine having a fan with a diameter of 134-inches and an a 60:1 overall pressure ratio, only has a bypass ratio of 10:1.

            Now, you may recall why I’ve earlier been talking about one of the great advantages of an engine using a ducted contra rotating fan. It’s because you can increase the bypass ratio without increasing the diameter of the fan. In order to keep the tips of the blades subsonic at cruise, the rotational speed of the rotor has to be reduced, which leads to rotational flow or swirl in the propeller wake. The use of a second propeller to capture this swirl flow allows the bypass ratio and overall efficiency to be significantly improved. Thus, an all new 156,752 lbf engine having two 150-inch counter-rotating fans would, among other things, have a significantly higher bypass ratio than a TXWB-97 engine that would just be scaled up by 61.6 percent.

            Finally, people seem to forget that the modern turbo fan engine doubled in size and thrust over a period of some 15 years (i.e. 747 EIS to 777W EIS). I’m merely talking about a 35 – 40 percent increase in thrust from the 115,000 lbf GE90-115B engine — something that would occur only some 20 years after the EIS of what still is the most powerful turbofan engine in the world. That’s not too ambitious, is it? 😉

          • Addendum

            I’ve had a rethink about the wing.

            Since the all metal A330neo wing will have a higher aspect ratio than the even all composite wings on the 777X, 787 and A350 — or a similar aspect ratio to an A380-twin having it’s (effective) wing span increased to 100 metres (i.e. including blended wingtips on the downwardly foldable wing tip device) — it should not be too difficult to modify the current A380 wing.

            Here’s the Airbus patent for a passenger aircraft with a downwardly foldable wing tip device: https://goo.gl/t8VoTQ

            Since the wing is swept, the hinge line is thus at an angle to the direction of flight. The wing tip device therefore presents a larger frontal area when it is on the ground configuration than when it is in the flight configuration.

            For take-off, the wing tip device is first configured in the ground configuration. The Aircraft then commences the take-off run. There’s no lock on the wing tip device in this configuration, and the hinge is sufficiently free-moving to allowing the wing tip device to rotate from the ground configuration towards the flight configuration by virtue of the drag acting on the device. As the speed of the aircraft increases and the device rotates upwardly, the drag decreases but the device begins to generate sufficient lift to assist in moving itself to the flight configuration. The actuator is also used to assist in this movement, until the wing tip device reaches the flight configuration. At that point, the lock is engaged to prevent the wing tip device falling back down under negative-g flight conditions.

            For landing the process is reversed. Namely the lock is disengaged (for example at the same time the landing gear is deployed). As the angle of attack of the aircraft decreases as the nose is brought down, the lift/drag forces on the wing tip device decreases to the point that gravity overcomes it and the tip returns to the ground configuration. In this scenario it is not actually necessary to use the actuator at all.

            Here’s an outline of the placement of the ribs on the current A380 wing: https://goo.gl/dKrN7f

            We would lengthen the front and aft spars and add 4 ribs outboard of rib-49 (as shown in the link above). The outer ribs have a spacing of 725 mm. Hence, the front and aft spars would be lengthened by 2902.7 mm in order to increase the semi-span of the wing from 39.875 m to 42.375 m. Hence, the A380-derived twin would have a span of 84.75 m when parked and while taxiing, but the wing span increased effectively to about 100 m during take-off.

            For take-off, the wing tip device is first configured in the ground configuration. The aircraft then commences the take-off run. There’s no lock on the wing tip device in this configuration, and the hinge is sufficiently free-moving to allowing the wing tip device to rotate from the ground configuration towards the flight configuration by virtue of the drag acting on the device. As the speed of the aircraft increases and the device rotates upwardly, the drag decreases but the device begins to generate sufficient lift to assist in moving itself to the flight configuration. The actuator is also used to assist in this movement until the wing tip device reaches the flight configuration. At that point, the lock is engaged to prevent the wing tip device falling back under negative-g flight conditions.

            For landing the process is reversed.

            As it’s pointed out in the patent, the hinge line (of the folding wing tip device) is preferably oriented parallell to the wing ribs and that the hinge may be arranged such that the loads from the wing tip device may be transferred directly into the wing rib. That would be rib-53 on the modified wing.

            Thus, only the foldable wing tip device would be made out of composites, while the lengthened outer wing box would be all aluminium.

            As for the engine; again, do take a look on page 24 (in the linked document below*). As you can see, the wing/pylon attach point is placed considerable higher (and further outboard) on the A380. All Airbus has to do is to mount the engine as high, with repsect to the wing, as what’s being done for the GE9X engine on the 777X (i.e. fan diameter of 134 inches). With the same engine ground clearance, it appears as if there’s room enough for an engine having a fan with a diameter of 160 inches. That would enable even a stretched A380 derived twin (e.g. A390-900X) with a MTOW of 590 metric tonnes and powered by two engines, each of which would be having a max thrust rating of 175,000 lbf. However, in order to maintain a sufficiently low fan tip speed, the engine OEM (RR) would probably have to introduce a 2:1 gear reduction unit for the fan on the LP spool (i.e. RR three shaft turbofan) — a much simpler undertaking, however, than a 4:1-plus gear reduction unit that would be required for a two spool engine.

            * http://www.aspireaviation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/777X-airport-compatibility.pdf

            Conclusion:

            A new A380-twin derived family (e.g. A390-800X and A390-900X), based on the current wing and fuselage of the A380, is eminently doable with existing technologies. Also, it would be using the existing manufacturing infrastructure of the A380 — a huge cost saving, indeed.

        • Rouhani, the Iranian President, needed that A321 to be delivered. Elections are coming up, and the hard liners are making a really strong case that the nuclear deal isn’t delivering the benefits that were promised. Rouhani needs to show results, and delivery of a brand new aircraft is very visible and symbolic.

          Sometimes there are much bigger things at stake than a PR win for Airbus

    • @TC:
      Well, the Iran Air order is on the books as firm, which makes sense considering Iran Air took delivery of their first A321 purchased as part of that order today.
      http://www.airbus.com/newsevents/news-events-single/detail/iran-air-takes-delivery-of-its-first-of-100-airbus-aircraft/

      As for Kingfisher: Indeed, and this was announced in October already.
      I find the whole “keeping dead orders on the books” line of argument a bit tiring, to be honest. Boeing also still has those Arik Air and Transaero orders on their books, and – like Airbus with Kingfisher – they probably have their reasons for it.
      With Airbus’ and Boeing’s current backlog, though, those “Karteileichen” orders can hardly be construed to be used to make their respective backlogs better than it is.

      • Some people have extremely strange ideas about when orders should count or not. The even differentiate by airframer and introduce Schrödinger’s Cat style quantum mechanics. 🙂

  3. Several notable things here.

    50% of A320s will be A321s, nice for the margin, how many were GTF NEOs?

    As some of us have been predicting the availability of cheap A330s is killing any chance Boeing has of selling large numbers of 787s at enough of a margin to pay off the deferred in 1300 airframes, and as Boeing themselves have pointed out increasing the block can’t be justified. Boeing need to bite the bullet and take a charge so they can then concetrate at offering them cheaply enough to compete. They might then be able to sell enough to eventually make money.

    A350 has killed B777 classic, no surprise there.

    Delivered 28 A380s does surprise me though. I thought they would wind down to no more than 22. (2 per month) That seems to indicate that A380 customers are seeing a great load factor on A380s even as the general business isn’t doing so well. Makes buying them a better business than people claim

    • The amount of that charge would have to be mightily painful to make any meaningful difference to the costs of amortisation. So painful as to lead to the loss of some convenient scapegoat at senior management level. I thought this was going to happen when Mcinerny left but insider replacements scuppered it

      • I just don’t see another option. I note since Boeing took a writeoff on the 748 they have finally managed to sell some. I don’t think it is coincidence, I think taking the writeoff allowed them to price them at a market rate.

        Internal politics will be, um complicated!

  4. Watching once again a rather freewheeling press conference with Mr. Bregier and Mr. Leahy, raises the question why their competitor’s top management never face the press in the same way. In contrast, the top management at Boeing is only doing audio conference callsfor their quarterly earnings with a select group of analysts/reporters. Is this seeming reluctance of doing real press conferences caused by the fact that both Boeing’s top management and their communications department are afraid of not knowing what’s going to come up? I don’t believe for one second that Boeing doesn’t have people with high credibility who will be able to speak well and articulately, including in response to questions. Of course, press conferences are unlike any other company presentation opportunity, and the repercussions can be serious if somebody messes up, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem for Airbus as they do seem to know how to manage them well.

    • Airbus’ press conferences have gotten off message a couple of times but it hasn’t deterred them. It does seem to help their credibility. Maybe an open conference is a response of sorts to the long gone A380 scandals?

      • @MartinA

        The best leaders in business don’t hide behind their desks. They know that business is all about connecting with their own team, their suppliers and their customers. They’re also not afraid of meeting reporters asking difficult questions.

        At Boeing, the leaders don’t seem to connect well with their own team (i.e. layoffs are pervasive in contemporary organisations etc.); their ongoing cost squeeze undertakings seem to be rattling their supply Chain; they fooled themselves and their customers on the initial “drug-like rush” of the 787 and during the execution of the programme; and, finally, they do seem, for various reasons, scared enough to not to be wanting to face the press in a freewheeling press conference.

        You that hide behind walls
        You that hide behind desks
        I just want you to know
        I can see through your masks

        Bob Dylan

  5. I think the book to bill and the number of deliveries must give Airbus a feeling of quiet satisfaction. A380 excepted it must be very satisfying to have received so many orders across the range, particularly the A330. I could be churlish and question the 49 deliveries for the A350 as they only managed 47 by any real count. What gets me is the December madness that seems to take hold in Toulouse. I can understand the need to achieve sales and income but this back end loading of deliveries seems to always lead to a hiatus in January and February when sales slow to a crawl again and so the process self perpetuates. Boeing seems to have a far more linear level of deliveries during the year and to my mind this must be more efficient from a manufacturing perspective.

    • Sowerbob,

      I agree with you that what Airbus appears to be doing is…not the best thing: inefficient at best, or so I figure. However, the prospect of actually completing and delivering 111 airliners during the month of December – 111? Baloney…no one can do it! Those deliveries did not happen by accident or by some “rush build”. I really believe that Airbus planned it that way, and I really believe that Airbus is playing an insidious game with Boeing and its investors.

    • @sowerbob

      Keep in mind that the manufacturing output doesn’t change just because deliveries are backloaded for the end of the year. Most of the A320neos and A350s that were backloaded for deliveries in December had long since gone through the manufacturing stream. These aircraft were just waiting for readily available engines (A320neo) and toilets (A350), in addition to a sufficient level of quality having been reached on the A350 catalogue business class seats in question. Not too much work, relatively speaking, when the items were ready for installation.

      • Thats my way of seeing it too. Car manufacturers used to have 2 big lots outside their final assembly plants, one for completed cars ready for shipping, another for cars that had run down the line but had some sort of ( minor) part missing or fault.
        Airbus just has two new versions coming out this year which had hold ups with final completion but you have to keep the most critical part, the final fuselage assembly line going.

        • I fully appreciate the issues that have caused this, my only emphasis is on the arbitrary dec 31 deadline which is bound to damage the ongoing production process and hence the ability to keep FAL churning out aircraft in Jan/Feb.

          I would like to take issue with the idea that waiting and retrofitting is in any way efficient. I was working in Togliatti at the Avtovaz factory in 1997 and the key feature was many part finished Ladas scattered around the roads of the town minus key components. Didn’t seem too efficient to me. It smacks of rework on rework.

          But well done Airbus, making the A320 and A350 totals has been a mammoth effort given the supplier issues

          • Ten years earlier when I did my thesis work at VW Wolfsburg ( and the new Passat model was introduced ) at the beginning of the “Werksferien” a significant part of available parking space was taken up by afair new Golf III because some insignificant item for the front bumper was unavailable.
            “shocktroops” worked themselves to death when these became available. Mandatory that these cars were moved before the main production restarted.
            Another issue at that time was the change over to water-based lacquers. Everything for the new Passat was ready in Emden but the varnish application a. processing facility. Some suicides where reported ( true? no idea ).

            Sometimes hiccups like these are impossible to avoid.
            Thus professionality is quite often more in how you handle those well than in how you avoid them altogether. Stepped degradation is preferable to going into free fall.

      • Having $50-150 million almost finished aircraft sitting around for months due to missing toilets or engines must have been wreaking havoc with Airbus cash flow.

        • @Bruce: It did. About $1.5bn negative cash flow over the first nine months.

          • Scott

            Do they have any comeback to the tier one suppliers or to the customer for selecting that specific tier one supplier? After all they are beholden to the customer choice and the supplier delivery commitment

  6. For this year’s deliveries,
    Boeing, 490 single aisle and 258 twin aisle
    Airbus, 545 single aisle and 143 twin aisle
    Big drop in A330 deliveries, from over 100 for four years running down to 66 this year. Optimistically that is probably the future for the A330 and 777, about 60 a year, while the A350 and 787 plug along at 120. Twin aisle deliveries will start to converge at around 200 each. Boeing has to move forward on the MoM or fall behind.

    • I sort of figure A330 and B787 will split the market 50/50, but unless Boeing does something radical it looks like Airbus will end up ahead in this class, so 100 A330s pa and less than 100 787s seems to be where it is heading now. As Scott pointed out B787 slots start to open from 2021, 4 years is not so long these days so it gets harder to blame lack of slots.

      • Every time Drumpf opens his mouth with respect to China, he’ll make the case for even more A330 sales to the Chinese. 😉

        • I call 787-10 a slot of its own, but it seems to be a small slot, which surprises me. Again I think price and justifying the deferred costs might be holding it back. I guess I should have said post 2020 we look like seeing 100xA330s, 80×789 and 20×7810? I don’t think Boeing will find that acceptable and I expect/hope there will be some kind of response in the next couple of years. Taking the write off and getting the deferred off the books looks to me like the smartest thing they can do. It should be remembered that several years ago the Euro was at 1.50 USD or more, and Airbus was able to make a profit on selling A330s in the 80-100 million USD range. Given that most of the aircraft is built in Euros and pounds I imagine an RR engined aircraft should be profitable at 65-80 million now, ie one 7810 gets you two 333s or 339s.

          • How much more efficient is the 7810 inside its range limit in relation to the A350?
            Would it make sense to buy an A359 invest money once, get more payload/range but similar seat mile cost and be done with it?

          • Uwe

            I fully agree, the A359 seems to be at the sweet spot and there are marginal benefits at best from operating the B781 at a considerably compromised capability. This is the Emirates dilemma if they ever come good on the revised order that is…

          • From past posts by Born I think the 787-10 is too short ranged for a lot of markets but up to 3000NM it is a lot of seats for less airplane than the A359. I’m not sure how it compares with the 359 but as OEW will be roughly 10T less I guess favorably. I would have thought it would be perfect for routes like Sydney Melbourne for example which are largely A330s now, but it hasn’t caught on for some reason. A359 does indeed seem to be the sweet spot but I find it surprising how few 10’s have sold in the last few years. There have been some hints that price is the issue.

          • @MartinA

            10t OEW difference. Is that realistic?
            ( imu that better fits 789 to A359 delta.
            for the 7810 I’d expect ~1t per meter added(6)?)

          • Just from Wiki. As weights vary by operator it is as good as anything. Given the 359 has double the real world range it seems reasonable to me.

      • Orders are about
        A350 800
        B787 700
        B777 450
        A330 350

        Still looks like a 2 to 1 split for the CFRP fuselages over AL to me.

        • As pointed out by Bjorn, since the 787 launch the A330 has outsold it. I blame price.

          • To be fair, I believe one should also blame 787 availability (or lack of it) in the 2008 to 2012 time frame.

          • Maybe, but the timing of the slowdown also coincides with the manufacture of the first hundred aircraft and might also be attributed to Boeing realizing what they cost to build and raising the prices. As I remember it a lot of analysts were expecting a large order bump once the aircraft went into service, but as Scott pointed out in pontifications it has been 4? years since book to bill was one, and from memory that would have been at rate ten?

      • I think a good handful of slots are open as early as in 2019, and about a couple tens of slots in 2020. But, as you say, a large number of slots is open in 2021.

        • Worrying when there is a two year lead time on parts. White tails become a realistic scenario

    • One reason, @JohnS, is Airbus writes off development costs as they are incurred while Boeing uses program accounting. This is a major impact. Then there are the operational and pricing differences you’d expect.

      • Sorry Scott, I don’t see your argument, over time there should be no difference on the bottom line of PA. it is just a timing thing. What are the operational and pricing differences please. Boeing has consistently out performed Airbus financially but in my view a lot of it has been at the expense of reducing capability in terms of their ability to develop future aircraft.

        • The key here is “over time”, I think. And we’re in that time, it not over yet :).

        • It’s not my argument. Just go find Boeing’s non-GAAP data on its website in which unit accounting vs program accounting is shown. In many years where Boeing reported a profit under program account, the company recorded a loss under unit accounting. Sometmies the swing was several billions of dollars.

          • I know I have tried to understand the same documents. So in theory that program accounting should not affect overall profit but it does have a material impact on specific years. Or that it brings profits forward by pushing costs back. So in a big spending year on a new aircraft at the beginning of the curve it will have a substantial positive effect on profit. There should be a day of reckoning somewhere down the line…

          • profit in profit accounting is a “commanded” value.

            i.e. you put aside as profit the _expected/projected_ profit per plane as computed from expected cashflow, expected outlay for material, expected rework, …. over the full accounting block. as “real” profit is backloaded project accounting works via a bow wave of dept ( internal or external borrowing).
            IMU as long as a project is run as projected this is a rather harmless case of fibbing.
            If it massively under performs planning and reality will obviously show a major mismatch at the end.
            Caused by the same mechanics problems are taken out of sight. ( You (Sowerbob) noticed: “project has issues but still Boeing shows better numbers than Airbus”. think about why that is the case.)

          • @Uwe

            Well at some stage the chickens will come home to roost. In simple terms the cost has been deferred over a number of units to be sold. If that balance cannot reasonably be expected to be covered by the production and sales to which it relates then a write off is needed. Has the B787 reached that point? I think most outside observers would say yes definitely. Boeing think differently and are hanging on like grim death to the idea that this deferred cost will be amortised against future sales. Given current assessments of the near future this is becoming less and less likely. That write off is likely to be a very large number

          • “Boeing think differently and are hanging on like grim death to the idea that this deferred cost will be amortised against future sales.”

            It is like a stretched to breaking bungee cord.
            “Taking a writeoff” is like snipping strands of the cord.
            Imagine the energy release. And all in B’s face.

            2016 reports due soon will show where this is going.

  7. And in breaking news, Boeing announce the 737-10, small strreatch , new gear, same engine.

  8. Leahy always outperforms his Sales executive counterparts at Boeing. Airbus Sales must be more aggressive. Boeing is good at excuse making though.

  9. Yep they are terrible peddlers of a grossly inferior product while Mr. Leahy is a class act all the way. He is a straight shooter that airlines appreciate. Kudos to him and Airbus!

  10. Interested to see the 787-10 and A350-900 debate. My guess is that the A350-900 will perform better.

    Remember the A350 met specification even though it was overweight because of the Trent XWB beating specification. Weight reductions with aerodynamic improvements and an EP for the Trent XWB will reduce SFC by at least a further 2%!

    The 787-10 wing is not optimised. GE GENX is limited to 76000lb of thrust. The Trent 1000-TEN has been designed around the -9/-10 and will deliver 79000lb of thrust, so that will help. But the sweet spot is the -9

  11. Ultimately, it is NOT how many planes you sell. It is how much money you make by selling them. If you sell with little profit or even a loss to hold market share, you are shooting yourself in the foot before a marathon. This is what worries me as far as Boeing is concerned. If it breaks even at 1,300 B787s and it has 1,200+ on order, what does it say? B787 was designed to “kill” A330, and Boeing managed to pull off a “defeat from the jaws of victory.” More A330s sold than B787s since the launch in 2004. With A350 doing as well as it is doing, I am worried about the B777X. If Boeing manages to bungle that, as it did the B787, it is in serious trouble.

    I have a question for Bjorn and Scott. Is it possible to estimate approximately how much money each airframer made on each aircraft category, using an approximate or estimated discount price (since those are confidential) and the capital cost of each brand new plane? That would be an eye opener compared to the blah statistics of how many aircraft each delivered. That would be a great service to Leeham audience, if no one else. Financial analysts presumably do it with publicly available (I presume) information. So why not Leeham?

  12. Let me be the merry skunk at this generally Airbus lovefest party. How many Airbus execs will be doing the “perp walk” –this year or next– after the UK concludes its AB exports bribery investigation? Will Bregier and/or JL get to lead the parade? LOL

    • What is the difference between a management fee and a bribe? The UK has a long and ignoble tradition of fudging these sorts of issues. It will be interesting to see what happens but judging on past performances do not hold your breath. We don’t seem to have the American appetite for public shaming and prudery.

    • The perp walk — another distinctly American creation.

      The perpetrator’s walk instead is the result of one of the most cynical conspiracies in all of modern-day criminal justice. It is an officially-sanctioned and eternally re-enacted plot between the media and the police, the overt act of which benefits both parties — and prosecutors as well — at the expense of the suspect. It is done so flawlessly and routinely now that hardly anyone in America even realizes anymore how prejudicial and unfair it is to a defendant. We simply take it for granted today that the public image of a presumedly innocent person can lawfully be manipulated by the government and its agents. That’s why so many of us were so surprised when the French expressed outrage over the way Strauss-Kahn was treated after his arrest. Sometimes, it takes an outsider to see clearly the truth.

      http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/hey-france-you-are-right-about-the-perp-walk/239158/

      • “.. The perp walk ..”

        fits in quite well.
        There is more broken than just that feature.
        negotiated convictions and associated confessions linked to several magnitudes reduction in goal time …
        The extremely high rate of wrongful death sentences
        is a hint that most other convictions are similarly defective.

          • “Bible wisdom.”

            You miss my point.

            Burying someone under excess accusations that potentially bring long goal time _and_ a drawn out process from proving your innocence and count the uncertainties of a judicial system the offer for a short process and 1/10th of goal time will be taken up in exchange for a confession.
            Everybody happy.
            But that confession is worthless _and_ it produces false precedence in further cases.
            Negotiated convictions present massive damage to the legal system.

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