Airbus has decent showing in down year

June 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Although Boeing ran away with the Paris Air Show orders, commitments and headlines, Airbus actually had a respectable showing in a down year.

Airbus announced orders and commitments for 326 aircraft. Twenty of these were wide-bodies, compared with 56 for Boeing. The balance were members of the A320ceo/neo families.

For all the criticism of Boeing’s conversion of 199 737 MAX 8/9s to the MAX 10, Airbus converted 15 A320ceos to A321neos from CDB Leasing.

Outlook for 2017

At the half way point in the year, Airbus s running well behind previous air show years, which is not news.

John Leahy, COO-Customers, acknowledged early this year that hitting a 1:1 book:bill will be tough and may be tough for the next few years.

Although the first half performance implied sales of about 652 if the second half is similar, this is below target deliveries. Furthermore, 65 of the commitments are from two Iranian airlines for which US approval is needed because of the US content.

The rest of the year may come and go without all of the 182 commitments announced being firmed up.


26 Comments on “Airbus has decent showing in down year

  1. The A320/1 and A350 productions lines are filled for many years, the A380 is a story of its own.

    But what is the future of the A330/NEO production line the way things stands at the moment? Must be one of Airbuses headaches if the 1:1 book:bill can’t be achieved for a couple of years.

    • All seems quiet in response to the A380 plus. But its only at the show and tell stage anyway.

  2. The situation with the A380 is quite complex. RR is just finishing the first demonstrator engine for the Advance technology and “by accident” it is just about the size that would be needed for the A380. If all goes well the engine could in fact become available around 2020. Now, as RR goes ahead with that development anyway all parties concerned will be waiting to see how this new architechture actually performs and if its good enough to justify the A380NEO. I may very well do.
    The A330 is still waiting for the Trent 7000 so we don’t know what the performance will be. The delivery time certainly allows to hold back orders until it has flown. In case the NEO matches the efficiency of the 787 we will certainly see a good number of orders comming in, probably early next year.

    • Hi Gundolf,

      Any idea what the thrust and fan diameter is of this engine?

      • The core of the Advance demonstrator should be in the same league as the Trent 900 and 1000, around 70.000 lbf.
        The fan is the XWBs with 3,0 m diameter, which is larger than the 2,84 of the 1000 or the 2,95 of the 900.
        This makes sense, as they are targeting a bypass ratio of at least 11:1, which is also why they don’t use the fan of the ALPS demonstrator engine (Trent 1000 with carbon fan).
        But, I think they will enlarge the diameter of the fan for the A380 a bit further, maybe to 3,10 m.

        • Thanks Gundolf. Could this engine an the new Al-Mg-Sc alloy for the fuselage be the basis for an A330 replacement aircraft?

          • Anton, although Scandium improves the yield strength of aluminium alloys, it doesn’t improve its young modulus (stiffness) or reduce its weight. Scandium is also every expensive at something like 2.000 USD/kg, so that even a small amount in the alloy drives the prices up dramatically.
            In short – no I don’t see Al-Sc Alloys as a base material for planes. Especially for widebodies CFRP is without alternatives.

          • Interesting, was reading about this new alloy and some suggested it could replace Al-Li alloys.

            Just concerned about the future, When I fly long haul with the family its in the back. The A330 much more comfortable than the 787’s, only option is if the youngest sits between you and the wife in the middle seat.

          • On the large scale, Airbus looks to be wiling to tweak the A380, but not put more significant money into it.

            The so called Blue Chips are looking shakier as time goes by.

            Emirates is looking very shaky. They went all in on the long distance model and that may not be viable.

            And a few more years and the GTF comes out and do you even thing about an Advance when there is a significant advance beyond that?

            RR has said the core of the advance forms the core of the GTF.

            And even if Airbus took the plunge, RR is seeing money issue and would they with a very limited market?

            One of Airbus issues on the A380 was they used the 747 as the model. The world changed between the two and the 747 in its entire life has sold 1600 .

            The problem with models is they need to change as conditions change but as forecasting the future is a lot harder than the past you can only see that after it happens.

          • @Anton: we might see some application of Al-Mg-Sc alloys in planes, but for stuructural parts Al-Li has the advantage of being significantly cheaper and lighter. Scandium improves the strength, so maybe some parts that are currently made from titanium can some day be replaced by this. But then CFRP has much better strength again and while production cost are slowly comming down the potential cost-disadvantage compared to Al-Mg-Sc is closing fast.
            I agree with you on the passenger comfort of the A330 or A340 with 8 abreast seating (2-4-2). So yes, let’s hope that the A330 will fly for many years to come.
            (As t some point I had hoped that Airbus might offer an A340 with GTF or LEAP engines…)

          • Thanks Gundolf. Four engines seems to be a swear word lately, but as passenger I like it when there is lots of water to cover.

            An 340-300 with GTF’s/LEAP’s and new CFRP wing could have been a nice option. Drag mostly its biggest enemy. For certain destinations being able to fly more direct routes could have its advantages.

    • The advance demonstrator is quite interesting because it uses the Trent XWB fan with a Trent 1000 turbine. The compressors and combuster are advance technology.

      It does though give some idea what is expected of the compressor and combustor because the Trent 1000 turbine would otherwise be too small by ~15%.

      A new fan is already being tested in a separate Trent 1000 engine. A new turbine is on its way but that will first be fitted to a Trent XWB engine

      • Totally of topic, but 3 commercial aircraft that stood out for me from a flying experience because they brought me home from some challenging situations are;
        2)747-400 and,

        • @Anton: Please describe the “challenging situations.” We’d all be interested.

          • Hi Scott, there were a number but one of each in brief;
            1)727-100. Adverse weather in the Andes, had to land on a wet ~1000m dirt strip at 3500m elevation, “no problem” Took off again the same day with only half the passengers, others were ferry out by two military prop aircraft which also brought in extra fuel.

            2)747-400. Could not land due to severs thunderstorms. Eventually fuel running low (>15hours in the air) and nearest airports experiencing similar weather, no aircrafts landed for more than two hours. Pilot decided to “go for it”. Popped a few tyres on landing, pax only minor injuries. Not sure if any other aircraft would have done it? On the upside, immigration was a breeze.

            3)330-200. Four hours of severe clear sky turbulence. Never new engines could move so much “sideways”. Perfect landing, aircraft had to go for compulsory airframe inspection. Captain said he never experienced something like this in his more than 25+ years of flying.

    • >RR is just finishing the first demonstrator
      > engine for the Advance technology and
      > “by accident” it is just about the size that
      > would be needed for the A380.

      I’m wondering about that. I guess Airbus would have to certify it, but could it possibly become an upgrade option? For those airlines on RR’s TotalCare contract, it might be a very easy thing to do.

      • Right size for A380 is right size for A330 or replacement and nearly right size for 789.
        This is why I continue to believe the biggest aircraft will remain 4 engines for a while yet, a big, big engine market. If GE only sell 700 GE9s, how does the economics of it look for GE?

  3. Any word through the grapevine about United’s A35k deferrals/conversions/cancellation? Seems more likely given the UALs additional 77W orders?

    Still negotiating an acceptable cancellation fee maybe?

    • No clue, as curious as you are. They do not operate any Airbus wide bodies, so if it is not a cancellation it will be either the one or the other.

      Just been looking at the UAL fleet, air frame ages, routes, etc.

      A wild quess, the A330-200/800’s will not fit in badly with the UAL routes. The A330-200CEO’s will be good bang for your buck and UAL can use GE engines. Airbus will bent backwards to keep the A330 production line going?

      UAL operates ~160 A319/320’s that is due for replacement in the not so distant future, maybe the undisclosed customer for 125 (+50 options) MAX8’s, Boeing also hinted of additional 777-300ER orders, UAL?

      Do UAL want to become an all Boeing operator like Southwest?

    • The 777 orders only just replace the 747s. The 747s are on average 21 years old. UA didn’t take up Boeing’s offer to go any further even though Boeing are desperate to keep the 777 production line going.

      I don’t think they will cancel, I’m not even sure they will switch to smaller Airbus models. In the end Delta didn’t cancel, and American isn’t likely to either

      • Delta did cancel 787 orders.

        They were all in on the Airbus aircraft and have not said they would not.

        UA has put a halt.

        Two different things

        • UA haven’t halted anything. They are reviewing but they do have a lot of widebodies that need replacing before 2025. If they give up their slots then others will take them for whenever there has been a cancellation or deferral an announcement has quickly followed

          Airbus do not have a problem selling A350s, they have a slot problem

      • United had previously said that it needed only 14 777’s to replace the 20 747s largely because of their lower maintenance requirements. If they need more with their new orders is that because they werent so low maintenance after all ( unlikely) or was it because Boeing will do anything to fill the empty slots on the 777 line till the 777X comes out ?

  4. If you’ve gone to all the corners and sold so many A320s worldwide already there has to be a time where the world is simply saturated of Airbus aircraft? The issue then comes that Boeing loyal customers who did not switch to Airbus are now coming to the market and buying their needed frames?

    Airbus is going to find that many of their current A320 sales are going to end up going with the A321s and the word “conversion” will become a term they too will have to deal with also. Yes the market might grow but the growth will end being somewhere close to a 50/50 split? Guess that equal output rate for both production lines is real, and the only potential sales opportunities can only come in the way of conversions, which then explains why leasing companies are buying up all the slots. Honestly, why are people so concerned about how a sale takes place, as long as it is a sale? Now don’t say that total sales for Airbus is greater than Boeing because I’ll go back to actual output and say that number is real sales and not what is in the backlog. Endless do loop, and one of the old if then clauses of code. If you don’t write it, then I won’t have to repeat this comment. But then I don’t respond anyway.

    • I think its both true and a bit more convoluted than that.

      Availability is an aspect as well. When the Ford Mustang took off, Ford was able to ramp up production quickly (cars are not aircraft).

      Some fleets did dual source (Norwegian, Lion) – Lion is trying to lease aircraft now and as I recalled deferred or canceled some Airbus orders.

      So you order 250, but take 10 a year over 25 years?

      In this case, Airbus blew by Boeing but only matches it in production.

      So long term if they can maintain the ratio, then they do get the true market share.

      In the meantime, they are at 50/50 production, too fast and you stress the supply chain that is totally specialized. In other words, unlike Ford, you can’t take advantage of your opportunity.

      However, inside that as the A321 cannot be matched, you will pay more for that aircraft so Airbus should have a money advantage (and the Max 10 launch will have been at C series prices so BBD can sue back)

      So along with all the rest you need a chart as to not just what was ordered, how fast the deliveries are scheduled for. How full are your slots and you can do some but not complete juggling to get someone slots.

      Of course that data and a model to manage it would be behind the firewall, its worth money to others.

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