Pontifications: Horizon’s plan to focus on single fleet type appears a blow to TPNG hopes

March 29, 2022, © Leeham News: Alaska Air Group announced last week that its subsidiary, Horizon Air, will retire 32 De Havilland Canada (DHC) Dash-8-400s by the end of 2023. The regional airline will go to a single fleet type, the Embraer E175-E1. AAG owns some of the 175s. Regional partner SkyWest owns and operates others.

By Scott Hamilton

The plan adds to the struggles of DHC to return to service -400s stored at the start of the COVID pandemic. At the end of 2021, there were more than 150 stored. As of last week, this number was down to 142, according to the ch-aviation data base. Another 17 were in maintenance. There were 398 in service. The number stored represents 25% of the -400 fleet.

Consolidating to a single fleet type doesn’t bode well for Embraer’s efforts to win Alaska/Horizon as a launch customer for its new TPNG. This advanced turboprop, proposed in 70- and 90-seat versions, has engines mounted on pods at the rear in the latest concept shown to the industry. A new engine will replace the aging but reliable Pratt & Whitney PW-series used on the Dash 8 and ATR-42/72. P&W, GE and Rolls-Royce are developing a new generation engine.

Embraer wants to launch the program this year with a proposed entry into service of 2027.

Looking at widebody demand

The COVID pandemic may be waning, but in-service demand and new orders for twin aisle airplanes may take quite a while to recover. The best guess among “experts”—and that’s all it is—suggests international travel will recover by 2024, followed by a pickup in new orders.

But these are just guesses.

In the meantime, the backlog for widebody aircraft is surprisingly close. George Ferguson, an analyst with Bloomberg, provided the following chart at the Speed News conference last month.

Boeing sees incumbency as advantage for KC-Y tanker procurement

This story is now open to all readers.

Air Wars named top reads in 2021

Royal Aeronautical Society

Named to the Top 10 List of Aerospace Books for Christmas Choices, 2021

Puget Sound Business Journal

(Seattle area.) No. 1 on the Christmas list of aerospace books for 2021.


No. 1 on its list of Best New Aerospace eBooks to read in 2022.

Chris Sloan, The Airchive

“A worthy successor to ‘The Sporty Game,’” the 1982 book by John Newhouse, considered at the time to be the definitive book about the competition between Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and the emerging Airbus.

Jim Sheehan, Aviation Industry Consultant

There is so much model and OEM information that it is for sure going to become required reading for anyone who wants to understand the last fifty or so years of commercial aviation.

Loved all of the quotes and stories.

Dan Catchpole, Aviation Writer

Air Wars is a tour de force look behind the curtain of Boeing and Airbus’ global competition and, in part, a biography of Airbus’ head salesman, John Leahy, the man who forced Boeing’s hand to re-engine the 737. Longtime aerospace analyst and journalist Scott Hamilton takes readers through the twists and turns of the decades long battle between the two companies.

Dan Reed, Aviation Writer

Using John Leahy’s long and monumental career as a vehicle for telling readers about the 51-year battle between Airbus and Boeing is both an interesting and inspired choice by the author.

Air Wars is available in paperback and eBook form at Amazon and in paperback at Barnes & Noble.


117 Comments on “Pontifications: Horizon’s plan to focus on single fleet type appears a blow to TPNG hopes

  1. I think George Ferguson is comparing the wrong aircraft. A330 and 787 are competing, 777 and A350 are competing.

    A 777x/A350 comparison would also show many 777x customers have A350s on order / in service too.

    • His comparison may have been motivated along the lines of:
      – B787/A350 are the “main” widebody offerings of the OEMs;
      – B777X/A350 are “niche” offerings.
      But, apart from that I agree with you.

      • I meant B777X/A330neo in my second bullet point…sorry for the typo.

  2. On the subject of Alaska Airlines: it’s just decided to get rid of its A321s, but now the certification of its MAX-10s has a dark cloud hanging over it. Presumably it will switch back to MAX-9s if the MAX-10 misses the approaching Dec. 31 deadline? Or will it pedal back to the A321?

    • Boeing will get an extension. Right now they and the FAA are figuring out how much of one they will need they don’t want to have to ask for one twice. I predict they will ask and get 6 months.

      • I’m not convinced that Congress will like the idea that it makes laws for the purpose of improving public safety — and that a feed-dragging OEM then requests an amendment of those laws so that it can evade those same safety requirements.
        When you think about it, it makes a farce of the legislative process.

        • Big projects are often late, everyone knows that. Boeing was probably originally asked if the current deadline was acceptable. Then MCAS and Covid happened.

          Often these deadlines are not even written into the legislation anymore but left to regulators to allow for reasonable flexibility. That avoids issues like some mining legislation I’ve seen where outdated values for physical constants are in the legislation and everyone just ignores them.

          • The old FAA may have been “flexible” in this regard, but I very much doubt that the new FAA will be similarly accommodating; if it fails to enforce this new law, it will get itself into hot water (again).

            So, this one will be going back to Congress for amendment. And, as I said above, I’m not sure how amicable Congress will be in this situation.

          • GE and d PWA could convince the FAA that a major modification package of a new burner and injectors, FADEC software update with probably new combustor casings or Compressor Rear Frame in GE language can be allowed as a SB and amended TC with new emissions values in compliance with the regulations. DoD will probably lead and pay for it on the KC-46 and VC-25B then after military cert the FAA can “swallow it as an SB similar to the hush kit modifications earlier”

          • @claes
            The issue at stake here isn’t emissions — it’s cockpit warning systems.
            Congress wants EICAS on all planes certified after December 31st this year — and the 737 doesn’t have EICAS.

          • -> Boeing was probably originally asked if the current deadline was acceptable. Then MCAS and Covid happened.

            I believe the current deadline was imposed *after* BA’s 737 MAX MCAS debacle and Covid, not before.


            “The Aircraft Certification Reform and Accountability Act, passed by Congress in *December 2020* in the wake of the Max crashes that killed 346 people, required updated safety designs for aircraft.”

          • Even if the congress agree to an extension:

            -> Any extended delay to the Max 10, Boeing’s largest single-aisle jet, could ripple through to customers such as United Airlines Holdings Inc. The Chicago-based carrier is to due to take 109 of the aircraft from Boeing next year, Sheila Kahyaoglu, an analyst with Jefferies

          • @Bryce, I intended to comment on Boeing 767F, 777F with the issue of “International regulations that take effect in 2027 mean the 777-200LRF and 767-300ERF that Boeing builds today can no longer be produced from 2027. The two aircraft won’t meet new, strict noise and emissions regulations.” I understand the EICAS on the old 737 design is another issue. The Engine part of EICAS should be easy but the Crew alert system parts can be tricky but most likely solved with additional databus wires to updated boxes (it is just a warning system not a control system)

      • AK has all of 10 x A321 and they are on lease until 2023.

        Getting a new type into the fleet is not a short term plan.

        All sorts of ways AK (and Boeing and or Lease Company) can handle things if the -10 is actually delayed for them.

        or as jbeeko0 notes, work it out with FAA.

        Anyone that works for a living understands things change and you adjust and plan as the situation evolves. No big deal.

        • That’s why loopholes are useful, create one when there’s none!

    • The Max 10 has something like 10 -12 extra seats , or 2 rows.

      Seatguru says the Alaska A321 has 12 more economy seats than their 737-900 with other classes the same.

      For an airline its not such a big deal at the EIS stage , as the planes are bought for traffic growth 10-15 years out, and Alaska isnt replacing 757s like some airlines are

      • @Duke: AS isn’t replacing 757s because it doesn’t have any…

      • From AirInsight:

        -> MAX 10 is hardly a successor to the A321neo

        The MAX 10 will get 189 seats. That’s *one short of the A321neo* of which Alaska inherited ten when it took over Virgin America. Alaska said in January that the leased aircraft could leave the fleet somewhere in the coming years as it transitions to an all-Boeing fleet. With ten A321neo’s versus sixty MAX 10s, you can’t say that the Boeing will be a one-for-one replacement, but it partly fills the upper-end of its seat capacity. However, the 3.300nm/6.110km range of the MAX 10 (including one auxiliary tank) is a far cry from that of the A321neo, which flies 4.000nm/7.400km.

        • -Only the A321LR when fitted with 3 ACT can fly 4000nmi. The standard A321neo flies about 3400nmi and it costs more and is a little bit heavier. The B737-10 is quoted by Boeing as having a range of 3300nmi. Both Boeing and Airbus quote 30 minute hold, 200nmi divert and a couple of go arounds (I think 2) but wheras Boeing add in an additional 5% reserve Airbus only use 3%. When one adds in the 2% to the B737-10 and considers that it has a slightly higher speed (better performance against head winds) and much higher ceiling which allows it to choose better head/tail winds the range is about the same maybe even better.
          -Both aircraft can easily connect any two US or European cities.

          • AC, which has replaced its A320 with the MAX, ordered a bunch of A321 recently.

            The A321 must has advantages over the MAX for AC to pay more to AB.

          • @Pedro, Air Canada is bringing in 26 A321XLR rather than standard A321neo or even A321LR. Of these 6 are outright purchases and 20 leases. Because of the extraordinary range of the A321XLR and Canada’s Northly latitude most of Canada will be in range of most of Western and Central Europe. Even Edmonton and Calgary will be connectable to London, Manchester and perhaps Paris. Vancouver is too far away, it can be done but reserves are about 16%. In addition it will be useful for connecting to South and Central America and the Caribbean.
            The A321XLR may even enter service before the B737-10.

          • Don’t forget seasonal headwinds would reduce range from manufacturers’ claim.

      • Note however that the A321neo has more seats than the A321ceo so there is 12 seat advantage of A321neo over B737-10. Did you check what seat guru says about seat pitch of the ex Virgin A321ceo versus B7371-10 for Alaskan?

  3. In reference to the 777/777X backlog chart:

    This is the Boeing page which lists ASC 606 adjustments:


    The 777 line, according to them, has 421 unfulfilled orders, with 65 taken out for ASC, for a bottom line backlog of 356.

    Of that, flipping over to the wiki page (not the most accurate, I know, but…)


    9 are for the 777300ER & 78 are for the 777F.

    I’m guessing that the Qatar order for 50 – 777XF’s haven’t been firmed and added yet, but the point is some 87 orders from the backlog are for the original version of the 777.

    356 (ASC number) – 87 (old variant) leaves 269 solid orders for the 777X.

    Depending on what Qatar do (flipping pax variants into freighters?) and adding in another 5 for ET’s MOU, that number will probably go up some.

    But we’re at ~269 orders for the 777X. I think. Maybe. Perhaps. Should be.

    • If we ignore the 777x is expensive, overweight and already build frames are receiving significant modifications as a result of a dramatic recertification, and most of the customers are taking A350s, the numbers look ok. We’re in denial.

      Nobody really wants to know how many completed 787’s are in Boeing inventory today.

      The balance between A & B has gone. And not only on narrow bodies. Boeing needs a winner, a superior efficient, lean aircraft, before the end of this decade. Consider A220-500, A322NEO, A350-2000 low hanging fruit for A.

      • “Boeing needs a winner, a superior efficient, lean aircraft, before the end of this decade. ”

        I don’t think that BA has the money for it. They dipped heavily into their savings last year, to make ends meet and that ~$60 billion in LTD is still sitting on their balance sheet.

        787’s, 777X’s & Max’s all piling up in inventory – China isn’t certifying the Max until the 737-800 crash is resolved and Russia…well. Sigh..

        It’s bad times for BA.

        • I think there is only 1 strategic customer/financer/R&D supplier/tax agent/bank that can do this. and they are based in Washington.

          But acceptance old school capitalism failed is required. I can see a bail out, after it is guaranteed shareholders/executives can no longer drain the company for short term gains. And that value for the US tax payer & long term relevance for the US economy become the KPI’s for bonusses.

          • Agreed.

            To be honest though – both Airbus and Boeing are kinda crucial to the national security interests of both North America and Europe. It would make sense for them both to have a national interest in them (like the 26% that is owned at AB).

            Imagine if Uncle Sam had begun snapping up shares of BA when it was down at $89? I know they couldn’t have, but…I guess they decided the way to go was to back the bonds.

        • While I have huge issues with Boeing ops, the reality is that only part of the empire is underwater.

          The defense side is going good and likely a big jump due to the current situation in Europe (there is a bear in the woods and acting out)

          Boeing can borrow the money if it needs to.

          The fact they don’t have a design let alone the two needed is the hard part.

          The 777X order book is good and it has lots of 787 and 737 in the bank to deliver. A lot of airlines are happy to see what develops.

          As is often the case, not as good as anyone would like as a well functioning Boeing is also good for the industry, but not as dire as the sky is falling either.

          • If BA seeks to borrow more money, it will precipitate a credit rating downgrade to junk.

          • You are right – defense is good. But the better margins and higher sales come from commercial. Look at 2018, last year before everything fell apart. BCA was 60% of sales & two/thirds of the profit. Defense and services split the rest, with lower margins.

            The 777X order book is not good. If it was, they wouldn’t have written off $6.5 billion in 2020 and dropped the accounting block to 350.

            Having 787’s & 737’s in the bank is not what you want. It is a depreciating asset, which you need to spend money on, to keep in shape. They have held onto some of those Max’s for 3 years now and they are only costing them money, especially the ones bound for China.

            “Boeing can borrow the money if it needs to.”

            Sure – what’s another $20 billion, when you already owe $60, right?

          • Frank:

            Trying to keep this in perspective that Boeing is not just BCA (Airbus is vastly more ACA) and Boeing has some good defense programs going and the rush is going to be on. USAF already wants to retire F-22 and buy more F-15EX (which is both majorly improved and a good long range fighter). There is going to be a lot of add on money to current programs due to the situation in Ukraine (equipment and restock of sent munitions)

            So yes, Boeing could borrow the money

            The 777X write off is due to the delay, 250+ aircraft is a decent order stack. Historically it would have management doing cartwheel.

            And not, the stack up of 737 and 787 is a bad thing but it is cash in the bank when they move the.

            Longer term Airbus is bearing Boeing to death in the single aisle area and they have two aircraft they are doing so (more the A321 and the A220).

            The 787 is a sure thing when they get the mfg issues resolved.

            The 777X is ok right now, how it falls out is impossible to say, anyone that thinks they can predict that should go to Vegas and try their luck.

            Emirates just came out with statements about hard to get landing slots and how fast they are going to bring back the A380s.

            Boeing needs a design to release to mfg and get with it. Otherwise yes they are a miner player in the single aisle leaving only Airbus (the Soviets are getting removed from Cert and China will never sort out the 919 let alone the 929 nightmare of Soviet and China governments involvement.

          • “…and likely a big jump due to the current situation in Europe”

            What *bulk* orders for Boeing defense products do you expect to come from Europe?
            – KC46 and/or F-18? Nope
            – P8? Maybe a handful.
            – AH64 / CH-47? Maybe some upgrade packages.

            Not exactly rich pickings…

          • First some hard facts:

            Here are the financial statements from 2018 (I consider it the benchmark year):


            BCA Margin: 13%
            Defense Margin: 6.9%

            BCA Revenues: $60,715
            Defense Revenues: $23,195

            Defense has to more than double it’s revenues to get to commercial AND it has to almost double it’s margin.

            Space is also part of Defense, isn’t it? You want me to go there, or shall we just say they aren’t quite up to snuff?

            What about defense recent years, you ask?


            2019: 9.9
            2020: 5.9
            2021: 5.8

            Revenues for all those years have been flat at ~$26 billion.

            The average margin of those 4 years is 7.1%. It’s right there in black and white.

            Defense cannot carry BA. Not without shedding a ton of other expenses.

            “Boeing could borrow the money”

            Sure. Put it on the credit card – why not? And risk going into junk status then having to pay even more than the $2.7 billion in interest expense it spent in 2021.

            They had to break into the piggy bank in 2021, to the tune of over $9 billion, to make ends meet.

            Cash and cash equivalents……………. $8,052 …….$7,752
            Short-term and other investments …..8,192 ………17,838

            “The 777X write off is due to the delay, 250+ aircraft is a decent order stack. Historically it would have management doing cartwheel.”

            Really? So by doing NOTHING, you save $6.5 billion. Launch a program and lose your shirt…smh


            “The 777 has been ordered and delivered more than any other wide-body airliner”

            Somehow I don’t think mgmt is doing cartwheels over 250 airframes…

            “And not, the stack up of 737 and 787 is a bad thing but it is cash in the bank when they move”

            Really? BCA had a margin of 13% in it’s banner year. That includes lower NB margins and higher WB margins. Three years of sitting there, paying interest of 5% on the money borrowed to make them.

            It’s not cash IN the bank, it’s cash OUT of the bank.

            I didn’t even touch on what it’s costing them to keep those airframes in good shape! You’re a mechanic, no? Did you work cheap? How many guys does it take to continually go out and move an aircraft around, run the engines, keeps the fluids topped up, work the systems?

            Then – when you finally get the OK for a delivery, I’m guessing there’s a whole litany of things you gotta do, to get it into flying shape. As you play Tetrus to get it out of the pile…

            Without a doubt, in the accounting dept., there is a guy…who has a formula, which calculates to the dollar – how much it costs Boeing to have an aircraft sit in inventory. It totals up productions costs, maintenance costs, interest costs…everything. We’ll never see it. But they know.

            And after a certain amount of days, like an expiry date on a piece of steak in the meat department, that aircraft goes into the red.

            “The 787 is a sure thing when they get the mfg issues resolved.”

            The only sure thing about the 787 program is that it will lose money for Boeing. A loss, is a loss, is a loss.

            You might be confusing things;

            It isn’t a fiscal thing, where you say: “We had a bad year and we lost money”. This is a program loss. When you wave the white flag on the program, you are saying: “This whole shebang is a money losing proposition and we aren’t making money on it”

            It’s like spending $50 billion to earn $46.5 billion in revenue (hence the $3.5 billion write off)

            It’s like spending $20 billion to earn $13.5 billion in revenue
            (the 777X program $6.5 billion charge)

            You do better by not doing it.

            No need to go to Vegas. They’ve already rolled the dice and seven-ed out.

          • Defence is about to become big again even considering the sinophile history of the current POTUS (showing some considerable resolve lately) and the seeming weakness in European resolve. Reports are emerging that China has put of its invasion timeline for Taiwan by 4 years because it has seen the Russian failure. That only means China will be more prepared.
            Boeing’s mishandling of the KC46 contract has put Taiwan and maybe the free world at risk. Squandering billions on the miss implemented MCAS (why wasn’t it grounded first time) almost again.
            The F22 is out of production (why), the F-35 is so short ranged it brings US carriers in range of Chinese cruise and anti shipping ballistic missiles and expected hypersonic. The Gerald Ford Class carriers are having problems. The F15E won’t cut it.
            The Nixon/Kissinger oil for security deal is breaking down with KSA over in diplomatic words. The US dollar depends on that.
            China is about to sign a deal with the Solomon Islands allowing a Naval base (within 2000km of Australia). It allows China to send troops to quell civil unrest at the request of the Solomon islands government.
            Will Central and Western Europe wake up? The Tiger AT helicopter is Rubbish, it has no decent AT missile. The Leopard Mk II A7 tank needs replacing. Europe needs a new fighter in the works, to develop drones.
            The Russian invasion is being stopped now mostly by a single ‘silver bullet’ missile NLAW developed 20 years ago by Britain and Sweden. Silver bullets are hard to find if no one is minting.

          • @ William
            There certainly is going to be increased spending on defense — but that doesn’t mean that much of that cake will be going to Boeing. There are other defense companies in the US, and there are plenty of defense companies in Europe, Israel and Turkey. Although Germany recently ordered *up to* 35 F35s — for compatibility with NATO — its keeping the bulk of its 216 fighters as Eurofighter Typhoons, until such time as a new European 6th-generation fighter is available as a replacement. Germany and France are currently looking to purchase new drones from Israel, and there’s a joint European drone in development. Germany is looking to buy missile defense systems from Israel. Both France and Germany have own-build cruise missiles, and more are in development. As regards the Tiger helicopter, the French seem to be very happy with their HAD/HAP models — so it seems to depend on who you’re asking. The Dutch have had plenty of problems with their Apaches, as have others:


            Not sure why you keep harping on about Europe: before the recently announced spending increases, the EU was already spending as much on defense as China, and 5 times as much as Russia. Sure, the US spends more, but with its long list of notable failures you can really ask yourself how much of the spending is actually effective.
            If China starts throwing its weight around in the Pacific, how able will Australia’s response be? Australia currently has a total of 72 fighter jets, with another 24 on order.

          • @Bryce, buying anything from Israel is a mistake and also a sign of technical weakness and lack of resolve. Australia unfortunately chose the Israeli Spike AT missile (instead of US Javelin). When Australia wanted to supply this missile to the Ukraine Israel denied it, it values its own interests and relations with Russia to much. It’s a serious mistake to rely on this country for any conflict with China or Russia. Best build your own. That’s what happens when you rely on others to make your weapons too much or fall so behind from underfunded systems you need to buy in.

          • @ William
            The US puts similar export restrictions on all sorts of products; various countries are tired of this type of handcuffing and are trying to minimize exposure to it — why do you think that there’s a Great Decoupling going on in the world?
            Europe is developing all sorts of indigenous weapons systems, but there’s no harm in spending relatively small amounts on arms from other suppliers, is there? Just look at the relatively large amounts squandered on the F35 — purely for the sake of NATO “standardization and interoperability” — and we all know how much of a lemon that product is, don’t we?

          • @William

            Political opinions and fearmongering aside, as mentioned earlier – defense doesn’t pay as well as commercial or contribute as well, to the bottom line. By half, on both accounts.

            Will Central and Western Europe wake up?

            To what? The great Red menace that can’t even get control of little Ukraine?

            As far as China goes, all the drumbeating and sabre rattling can’t make up for their shortfall in amphibs.


            “China’s relatively modest high-end amphibious assault capabilities have been viewed as a key impediment to its ability to mount an all-out invasion of Taiwan, although it is making efforts to address this shortfall with the rapid construction of three Type 075 amphibious assault ships to join six Type 071 landing platform docks already in service.”

            ‘Relatively modest’ is nice wording for don’t have it and can’t do it.

            180 km is a long way to go, in open water and on a ship – when you can be picked off by shore based missiles. But you know, just for the sake of argument – I’d like to see China try it with conventional weapons only.

            That is a heck of a huge moat.

            (But quite honestly, from an economic point of view; it’s a non-starter. China and the US both need each other. The US to buy cheap foreign made goods from China and China to keep spending that money on t-bills. China needs to feed 1.5 billion mouths and the citizens there have gotten a taste of middle class and are not going to be happy if it disappears.)

            But you rattle the sabre now and again, make some noises, release some opinion pieces and defense spending magically rises and people are making money and happy. The way of the world…

          • @ Frank
            China is no longer a major purchaser of T-bills; Japan is now king in that regard.
            Unlike certain countries, China spends vast amounts of its income on infrastructure.

          • WSJ:
            U.S. National Debt Exceeds $30 Trillion for First Time

            You can also search and find out how much debt is adding every minute.

            It’s fiat money, but sooner or later the crowd would find out the Emporer has no clothes.

          • @Frank, One of the problems facing ‘Russia’ as its troops invade the Ukraine is as follows:
            -Large numbers of Russians have a Ukrainian mother or father. If not that a grandparent uncle cousin or friend. Many of them are not motivated at all. .
            -You can imagine being a conscript being told you are going for exercises and then finding out you are invading the Ukraine.
            -Here we have what von Clausewitz worked out happened to the German states when Napoleon invaded them and a lesson relearned by the US Army Staff college when the US lost Vietnam: psychological preparedness of the population.
            -After the invasion/annexation of the Crimea NATO and US supplied advanced shoulder fired weapons of unprecedented accuracy that could only be dealt with by the use of very modern tanks.

            -I’m pretty certain the Russians/Putin are pulling their punches in the Ukraine. They obviously want to annex the country and don’t want lasting bitterness from the population.
            -The could carpet bomb Ukrainian cities flat if they wanted but there is no doubt that in a conflict with Europe they wouldn’t be restraining themselves as much and would be using some very nasty and more modern weapons.

        • -> ~$60 billion in LTD is still sitting on their balance sheet

          Fortunately/unfortunately BA has to start paying down its ~$60b LTD next year IIRC.

          Can cash tight BA create miracle out of thin air??

      • What 777X build frames needing extensive modifications ?
        The actuators and their systems are small items, the new software driven cockpit and plane computer systems seem to be the hold ups.

        The only 777X built are the 4 doing Boeings flight testing.
        The production lines are building the 777F and 777-300ER still .
        They arent doing a repeat of the 787 ‘build and modify’


        • Duke:

          That would be incorrect (I had the same failure a while back)

          they are in very low rate production of the 777-9, probably 10+ or so parked right now.

        • I believe the FAA is sceptical of the use of touch screens in flight. I certainly find it hard even to operate a touch screen in a car or my cell phone while driving or if there is any vibration around. The A350 has some touch screens but their use is confined to ground opps and planning.

          • My grocery store has very good touch screens. Others suck.

            Not an issue in my book, if done right and tested, good to go. Buttons fail as well.

          • Duke:

            “The source says from late last years says 4. That is verifiable.

            The low rate production is the existing 777 product , not the 777
            There is another source from a year back say 17 have ‘rolled out’ but that is not verifiable”

            I cleaned up your text a bit, pretty bad when I catch it!

            Do you need to stand out on the Everett flight line and get run over by each one to believe?

            Even your logic is flawed, Boeing is delivering all the 777CEO (mostly if not all freighters right now) that they are building, they are not storing anything in that group.

            You have some good input but when you are wrong, you are horribly wrong. Frankly (sorry Frank) I don’t get it.

            I worked mechanical/electrical /electronic for something around 40 years. Was I wrong at times? Darn right I was. But as soon as I found data that said I was on the wrong path, it was drop that line, re-group and find logic that panned out for the fix. You can’t BS equipment into believing what you think, it just sits there and laughs at you until you figure out where and why its broke.

            Maybe that is why I am so humble and why I got so good at my job.
            Sans that like one manager we had, you just pull out the whole machine and replace it.

            The joke was he would pull out the whole building to fix a problem on a rolling steel door! 9x out of 10 he was wrong, that is why they made him a manager! Even the guys who were not good mechanics had that figured out.

          • TW it was just different ‘sources’ saying different things.
            One says 4 built and an earlier one said 17 ‘rolled out’
            Theres a twitter picture of 1 unpainted engineless plane outside. They all cant be right and it would seem to be a simple issue to resolve as all the 777F and 777-300ER are being delivered and fly out. So there must be rows and rows of 777X planes clearly visible as Everett isnt a private airfield or Groom Lake restricted zone.

          • Yes, just look at the US Navy experience of touch screen controls getting out of control.

      • Boeing has a winner.
        The B787. It’s a fast selling WB. Most of the cost is written of.
        It procudes cashflow. Boeing can build it cheap.

        The Max might loose to the Neo, but still has 1000s of orders.

        Even the B777x as expensive and late the development was, is looking about 300 orders.
        We didn’t even talk about KC46 and freighters.

        And this is only half the company.

        Boeing is not anywhere close to finanical trouble, and as soon as they start to redeliver the B787 and the Max, they will generate huge cashflow.

        Don’t paint the devil on the wall, a german motto says.
        Boeing might have trouble, especially with development and quality, but it’s still a very strong company.

        • “Boeing is not anywhere close to finanical trouble”

          BA is technically insolvent. It has $40B in net debt, is eating into its cash reserves to cover interest payments, and its credit rating is one notch above junk. Its breadwinner program (787) has been stalled for close to a year now, with no end in sight. Its 777X order book is shaky, and the program is delayed. Margins on new MAX sales are thin, and cancellations continue to be a burden on the order book.

          Yes, indeed, the Emperor’s new clothes are magnificent!

          • Boeing is nowhere near insolvent.

            That’s just stupid.

            Defense is running well, and the deepest point in the civil sector is behind.

            The 787 will be start deliveries somewhen this year.

            The B777x has a shaky order book, but that’s accounted for. And it’s not near as shaky as the A330neos.

            Costs on Max are low, with more than 3000 still to build.

            You clearly don’t understand a thing about Boeing nor the industry.
            The issue with Boeing is not the financial situation, it’s more the ability to develop safe civil airplanes withing time and cost and with market fit and needed quality.

          • @ Sash
            Boeing is using cash reserves (as opposed to current earnings) to pay loan interest — without reducing the loan amount. That’s a road that heads straight to insolvency.

            “The 787 will be start deliveries somewhen this year.”
            Have you got a link to verify that, or is it just wishful thinking (like in 2021)?
            More importantly:
            – If/when 787 orders do re-commence, at what what rate will that be, seeing as the FAA is going to be signing off on each individual frame?
            – What margin will be made per frame, in view of all the rework/re-tooling involved?

            “The B777x has a shaky order book, but that’s accounted for. And it’s not near as shaky as the A330neos.”
            Penalty-free cancellations aren’t “accounted for”; if/when they occur, BA has to repay all deposits, etc., payed by the customer. Remember that Tim Clark has said that he’ll dump his order if he doesn’t get his plane in 15 months.
            As for the A330neo: it cost only $2B to develop, it’s certified, and it’s flying. Moreover, since Airbus isn’t up to its teeth in debt, it’s not reliant on the A330neo to save its skin.

            “Costs on Max are low, with more than 3000 still to build.”
            Costs are higher when production rates are lower: 20 per month is very meager.
            No China deliveries for a long time to come, due inter alia to the China Eastern crash.
            Penalty-free cancellations are continuing — once again, BA has to repay deposits to the cancelling customers.
            Recent sales have been with unsustainably low margins.
            The certification of the MAX-10 is in trouble.

            You clearly don’t understand a thing about Boeing’s finances compared to the rest of the industry.
            The issue with Boeing is its appalling financial situation, in addition to its inability to develop/build safe civil airplanes withing time and cost and with market fit and needed quality.

            But, by all means, keep skipping along the Yellow Brick Road…

          • @Sasq

            Total liabilities > total assets = Insolvent

        • “Boeing has a winner.
          The B787. It’s a fast selling WB. Most of the cost is written of.”

          If by most – you mean more than 50%, you are technically correct.
          However, there is still a matter of the ~$17 billion in deferred production balance that must be allocated of the remaining 488 orders.

          It is NOT a money maker. It has lost BA $3.5 billion – a write off they took Q4/21.

          Same for the 777X. It’s charge was $6.5 billion in Q4/20.

          Those programs will never turn a profit, once you write it down.

          The 767 tanker also lost them money.

          4 out of the 5 previous aircraft programs have been loss makers. READ: Not profitable. READ: They would have made more money by NOT making those aircraft. Zero revenue and zero expenses are better, than what they have done with those 4 programs.

          Do you want to talk about the space program, rusty valves, astronauts pulled, launches given to the competition?

          I’m not sure what financial statements you read, but it is not a very strong company.

          It’s one saving grace is that it may be too big to fail.

          • Frank, are we talking yesterday or tomorrow?

            The B787 is cash flow positive. If Boeing is able to recover its R&D cost, we’ll see. The def. cost are mere an accounting question than a real issue, and Boeing will sell more B787 and will bring a Max version of the 87 once a better engine is available.

            I agree on all the fails and issues Boeing had. Still you might forget that this is paid. By the huge profits Boeing made with the NG and the B777.

            As said above: The issue is more the ability to develop and build civil aircrafts within budget, time and quality.
            Not the financial situation, that was critical at the peak of Max crisis + B777x writeoff + B787 halt of deliveries.

          • @Sash

            “The def. cost are mere an accounting question than a real issue”

            Ahhhhhhh, so you think it’s just a matter of some notations and journal entries. I see.

            Well here’s the problem with that line of thinking;

            Boeing spent the money to pay for all of that stuff; the 787 delays, the 777X cert delays, the 737 Max groundings. Thing is, BA DIDN’T have the funds to pay for it. So they put it on the credit card.

            Those things that got paid for are still there, on the balance sheet – the name has just changed. Instead of being called COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) it is now called Long Term Debt. It’s there to the tune of ~$60 billion.

            Not only is it still there and must be repaid, but each day that ticks buy, costs Boeing $7.4 million in interest expense.

            $7.4 million in interest. They paid some $2.7 billion in interest alone, on their LTD, in 2021.

            It’s also gotten so bad that Boeing had to dip into their savings to get to a cash flow positive situation in 2021:

            Cash and cash equivalents……………. $8,052 …….$7,752
            Short-term and other investments …..8,192 ………17,838

            This is right off the Y/E statements. See short term and other investments? See what it was at the end of 2020?

            $17.838 billion.

            See the number for year ended 2021?

            $8.192 billion

            They liquidated $9.636 billion in investments, to pay for things AND increase cash by $400 million.

            That’s like you liquidating your 401(k) retirement savings so you can put a little more cash in the bank.

            So please tell me again – and explain to me, how Boeing is in a good place and

            “The issue with Boeing is not the financial situation, ”

            On a side note, you also say:

            “Still you might forget that this is paid. By the huge profits Boeing made with the NG and the B777.”

            I guess you forgot about all the stock buybacks, didn’t you?

            Let me remind you – Boeing spent, from 2013ish right up to the grounding..some $43 BILLION on stock buybacks, to drive up the price of the shares.

            That’s where the free cash flow went. Otherwise they wouldn’t have had such a mountain of LTD to deal with (and yearly interest expense) and wouldn’t have had to smash the piggy bank.

            “Boeing will sell more B787”

            Do you know what an accounting block is? Program accounting? Do you know that BA reduced the block for the 787 from 1600 to 1500? The 777X to 350?

            The Boeing accountants can play the shell game and try to put on the best possible face, but eventually the butchers bill comes due.

          • @ Frank
            You’re wasting your time — your well-informed words are falling on deaf ears.
            It’s just pure denial. Some people don’t want to accept that things have gotten this bad, so they invent a parallel reality in which “prosperity is just around the corner”.

            We should have BA’s 4Q2021 results in about 3 weeks — we can see then how much worse the financial devastation has gotten. Not that it will help to convert the denialists, mind you…

          • I see the self proclaimed financial experts have been busy.
            Soem actual numbers for Boeing
            “Boeing long term debt for the quarter ending December 31, 2021 was $56.806B, a 8.21% decline year-over-year.
            Boeing long term debt for 2021 was $56.806B, a 8.21% decline from 2020.
            Boeing long term debt for 2020 was $61.89B, a 210.04% increase from 2019.
            Boeing long term debt for 2019 was $19.962B, a 87.31% increase from 2018.”

            Long term is $56 bill and declining now after the rapid rises.
            But what about their cash equivalents , which includes planes built but not yet delivered -or paid for.
            Some call the reduction in ‘marketable securities’ as spending their savings. Its Not. Boeing says they use it to pay down debt, which is the prudent thing to do

            of course they are in difficult financial situation, many airlines are even worse!

          • Frank,
            that’s a hillarious post.

            Your are so clueless it’s actually funny.

            Taking accountant numbers from the peak of corona, were Boeing hat ongoing issues: Max was not up and running, B787 had it’s deliveries halted and the B777x dev. wrote off as a foreward loss.
            Mate, you have not a single idea on how to read balance sheets and accounting.
            What do you expect?
            10 bn$ more or less cash?
            I hope you get it yourself.

            Boeing has fixed it’s near financial future with a almos 14 bn. $ loan – which is super benefical looking at inflation vs. interest.

            You can blame the Boeing management a lot on the products, i agree.
            But they know their terms, and the financials are solid.

            The B787 will be fixed and redelivered, with lower cost than before due to the concentration of production.
            The Max is back up and the Max desaster is written off – thanks to friendly help of the US gov. – if you account that Boeing paid 2,5 bn. $ in fines, while VW paid 10fold 25 bn.$ without killing anyone.

            Do you actually understand what a writte off is?
            You take cost that you cant recover and charge it against your income now. Once you have written off, that’s gone. Accounted for.
            It’s shit to do it, but once it’s done the situation is fixed.
            So you are talking past, Boeing took the loss there.
            The program is now settled, the money they recover is cash flow and money that’s there.

            For the def. cost – that’s long an wide discussed. Boeing burned off alread half of it from its peak at about 34 bn $, they have 1000 delivered and 500 open orders. There are plenty of options and Boeing will sell more. Especially when they bring the B787-10ER, which will be a very efficient plane for high desnity routes in Asia.
            The next 500 to build are way cheaper than the first 500 who partly caused these costs.
            I would have not belive it a few years ago but it looks like Boeing is able to recover all these costs within the planned block.

            To sum up the situation:
            Max crisis is behind. FAA will find a way to get the Max 10 certified, somehow. Boeing is loosing vs. Airbus, but still has 4000 orders in the books. And while the Neo is sold out for years, Boeing can still deliver. They will increase rates and get that back up.

            B787 will restard deliveries somewhen this year.

            B777x is accounted for, and no, Emirates can’t back out as can’t Qatar nor SIA or LH. They need that plane, or what do you think they shall replace their A380s, B747s, B77w with?
            They have exclusiv acess to the GE engine, while Airbus WB faith is in an unhealthy relationship with RR.
            Boeing will sell it’s 250 for sure – Emirates 100, Qatar 70, SIA 30, LH 20, BA 18, ANA 20 – these orders are firm.
            It won’t be great, and it might be overall not profitable, but from now on it will be.

            And that’s only half the business, military is running great and has a golden decade as there’s a real threat out there now.

            The financials are solid, freighters and military did keep the company afloat.

            In the civil sector, the biggest question is, if Boeing can still develop good airplanes without having all these kind of issues.
            Planes that don’t have a tendency to start burning, nose dumping, FOD – or are simmply late by 4 years and cost double the planned.
            That’s the real question, can Boeing fix it’s broken processes and ability to develop, build and sell sucessfull and safe airplanes?

            I’m not sure what world you live in, but past is already gone, we live in now and plan for future.

          • Here’s an illuminating analyst review of Boeing’s debt situation from April last year; since then, the situation hasn’t improved (as evidenced by the continuing stock price decline relative to the S&P 500).

            “Boeing: Too Much Debt To Fly Any Higher”

            “- An explosion in debt to stay afloat during the pandemic will hamper Boeing’s recovery for a number of years.
            -Still weak delivery schedules and orders for new aircraft argue investors look elsewhere for capital appreciation.
            – Another year of GAAP income losses could be a reality in 2021.
            – Boeing holds one of the weakest momentum trading charts in the blue-chip sector on Wall Street.”

            “In terms of an insurmountable obstacle to overcome, Boeing’s debt position is looking more and more dire the last 12 months. Net long-term debt (subtracting cash balances) has risen from just $2 billion in 2018 to $37 billion at the end of December 2020. Debt to assets has risen from 12% to 41% over the same span. And, interest expense is starting to explode, even with record low rates in the U.S. economy. Already rising from $475 million in 2018 to $2.15 billion in 2020, interest costs are becoming a major burden.”


          • @Duke

            Just one teensy weensy little problem with your thought process there:

            Here was my statement:

            “They liquidated $9.636 billion in investments, to pay for things AND increase cash by $400 million.”

            Now here are yours:

            “Boeing long term debt for 2021 was $56.806B, a 8.21% decline from 2020.
            Boeing long term debt for 2020 was $61.89B, a 210.04% increase from 2019.”

            Let’s do some simple math, shall we?

            $61.89 billion minus $56.806 billion equals $5.084 billion.

            Throw in the extra $400 million they increased their cash by gives you $5.484 billion.

            Now – here’s the fun, learning part that perhaps the non-financial, non-business members might pick up:

            BA smashed the piggy bank for $9.636 billion.

            Less what was spent on LTD and put in the bank: $5.484

            Leaves $4.552 billion spent…..where?

            It wasn’t in inventory – that dropped :

            Inventories 78,823 81,715

            It wasn’t anything current:

            Total current assets 108,666 121,642

            That’s a $13 billion drop

            Neither in total assets:

            Total assets $138,552 $152,136

            But wait – I know, the 787 is a pile of gold waiting to be realized, the 737 Max inventory is a godsend and the 777X is a budding success story.

            Too bad the numbers don’t line up…

          • @Sash

            Sigh…a little knowledge is truly a dangerous thing. (A favorite saying of my cost accounting prof, back in the day)

            Nice word salad you threw out there. I guess you were hoping to see what sticks, huh?

            In addition to the reply above I made to Duke concerning what they did to their investment account to pay for the mess they made, I’ll add this;

            Program accounting in a nutshell.

            So Boeing needs to spend a bunch of money on things not normally associated with the cost of making production aircraft. They call this the deferred production balance.
            You know what? F- it. I’m not teaching you a damn thing. I don’t think you’d listen anyways, you know everything already.

            Everything is behind Boeing, you say? Great. We’ll see what happens in Q1/2022.

            I can’t be bothered wasting time on you.

          • -> Boeing will sell it’s 250 for sure – Emirates 100 …

            Reality is:

            Emirates is looking to swap between 30 and 45 of its 115 777X orders for Dreamliners. 

          • No doubt if there’re only 250 order for 777X, BA can’t even cover the costs it incurred today!

          • @ Frank
            A big problem here is that “some people” are looking at revenue rather than earnings. They see a big backlog and think that that can easily be used to pay off debt — but debts are paid from EBITDA rather than from revenue. EBITDA is low when revenue is low (which is the case at BA) and/or when costs are high (which is the case at BA). Things are going to get worse for BA when high inflation leads to increase salary costs — leading to increased operating costs without the ability to commensurately increase the value of inventory.
            If you read the link that I posted above from SeekingAlpha, you’ll see that the sum total of BA’s current assets is not enough to cover its total debts, including pension obligations — hence, the company is technically insolvent. If BA’s credit rating is downgraded to junk, its interest payments increase even further, thanks to downgrade clauses in its current loans. A very shaky situation.
            But, why bother with such realities when one can instead stick one’s head in the sand?

          • @Bryce

            Yah, I had read and commented on that article when it came out in 2021 and it seems the picture hasn’t gotten any better. This was an interesting point he made:

            “Net long-term debt (subtracting cash balances) has risen from just $2 billion in 2018 to $37 billion at the end of December 2020.”

            He get’s that figure by taking LTD of $61.890 billion and subtracting cash and short term investments (most liquid items) of $7.752 and 17.838 billion, to arrive at $36.3 billion (he rounded up)

            Fast Forward to 2021 and LTD (as Duke pointed out) is $56.806 billion. Cash & STI’s are $8.062 and $8.192 billion which gives you a net long term debt of $40.552 billion.

            It went up by over $4 billion.

            $4.252 billion to be exact. (let’s remember that number and see what happens after Q1 is reported)

            Which ties in exactly what I was trying to tell Duke, when he said that LTD had declined. Operations cost them some $4 billion extra in 2021. This being the year that the Max was re-certed into service.

            Defense and services have been pretty much chugging along, doing what they do – but they are too small to carry the company.

            Commercial is bleeding the company out.

            (On a side note: In the rosiest, best case scenario – if Boeing could make their entire backlog of commercial jets over night:

            “backlog included over 4,200 airplanes valued at $297 billion.”

            at the best ever BCA margin of 13% (2018 pre-covid, pre-grounding margin)

            and get paid for them all at once, they would have a margin of $38.61 billion and their net debt would be $1.942 billion.

            Mind you, I don’t see those 2018 margin levels returning anytime soon but…)

        • “Most” of 787 cost is written of (sic)

          May be, but does that matter??

          -> At March 31, 2021, and December 31, 2020, commercial aircraft programs inventory included the following amounts related to the 787 program: deferred production costs of $14,803 and $14,976, $1,795 and $1,865 of supplier advances, and $1,857 and $1,863 of unamortized tooling and other non-recurring costs. On March 31, 2021, $11.557 billion of 787 deferred production costs, unamortized tooling, and other non-recurring costs are expected to be recovered from units included in the program accounting quantity that have firm orders, and $5,103 is expected to be recovered from units included in the program accounting quantity that represent expected future orders.

          • ” $11.557 billion of 787 deferred production costs, unamortized tooling, and other non-recurring costs are expected to be recovered from units included in the program accounting quantity that have firm orders”

            So they estimate that they’ll make a margin of some $24 million an airframe, over the final 488 deliveries, of which 100+ are still sitting on the ground, collecting dust, costing interest expense and requiring maintenance to keep the parts moving, systems alive, engines in good condition and seals lubricated.

            I guess we’ll see what they say in a few weeks, when the Q1 numbers come out.

  4. Embraer needs to be careful selecting a turboprop system as maintenance and spare unit costs for engine, power gxb, prop system easy can easily head north. I assume they will select an 8 blade big prop for a +2200shp derivative of the GE Catalyst engine or similar. If it is really reliable and economical for 1-2hrs flights it can become popular as the VW Beatle (pretty ugly but reliable and economical to earn its reputation ) as time goes by and come in a LH2 burning version.

    • What?

      You’ve never heard of a Back Log Wipe Out? Maybe he should have capitalized it, but…we all know what it means.

  5. A big new turboprop for up to 120 passengers short haul seems a good idea. While Embraer’s tail engine configuration has many advantage, it adds OEW also over a wing mounted engine configuration.

    Embraer have to take into account ATR won’t sit on it hands and will look (again) at a stretched ATR-72NEO. Or even a new airframe. No engine manufacturer will give Embraer exclusivity on a new engine, while ATR is the clear market leader.

  6. Makes my case, the Embraer TP is going no where.

    Lots of PR glitz and pretending that something is happening when its not.

    Rear tail mount is all about thinking that TP perception is the issue and the tail mount solves that. Based on nothing other than conjecture.

    • There is a lot of research and information on rear mounted pusher turboprop civilian aircraft. Note the Piaggo Avanti series or the Cessena Starship (limited production).

      Sure these built designs are for personal aircraft bit they are said to have quieter cabins than standard turboprops are reasonably fast and economical in their class. I wouldn’t dismiss the Embraer proposal as mere perception and conjecture.

      • Yes, those 2 types mentioned are fast and economical, but they involved a different aerodynamic approach to the lifting surfaces and cabin shapes that Embraer isnt doing.
        The Piaggo Avanti for instance had 3 lifting surfaces , forward wing and horizontal tail as well as main wing which was able to be reduced in size as a result. The wing also passed through the fuselage itself not underneath , which is again better aerodynamically. The forward nose was also shaped to contribute to lift.
        The Embraer TP will mainly repeat the design used by twin jets that have rear engines

        • Branaboy:

          Totally different markets.

          I like props, but a lot of people equate them to LCA

          The E series looks like a mini 737/A320 as does the A220 (granted that is a big bigger). So even the rear mounted LCA are going away (none in planning, DC/MD types being phrased out)

          You also have a weight penalty with rear mounted engines though that is not likely an issue with a 100 seat aircraft.

          AK is going to the jets (has been for a while) despite some advantages pure economics on shorter runs for the Dash 8. Said Dash 8 is more competitive over a wider range than ATR (they can go fast if needed and they can slow down to close to ATR speeds and fuel burn).

          On the larger economic picture having one type of Horizon aircraft can save with commonality of maint and pilots.

          I just don’t see that there is any justification for barely one TP of that class let alone 2 with Dash 8 having been shutdown and out as it did not have enough to compete with ATR pure economics.

          There will be a place for Dash 8 in the high and hot areas as well as some just high due to better one engine out routing. But there are a lot of parked Dash 8 to pick from now.

          • There isnt a ‘weight penalty’ with rear engines. The fuselage
            length forward of the wing is extended as a moment and centre of gravity balance.
            The reason why all the early twins ( and today all business jets) were rear mounted was the weight , drag and ground clearance penalty of wing mounted engines in the smaller planes.

          • The engines are heavy & the wings create the aircraft lift. Having the engines where the wing is saves a lot of structural weight.

            The pusher props (Avanti) are so terribly noisy (wake hitting the fan) they are no option for airline operations. Embraer rear puller props solves that problem and help better airport logistics and wing optimization.

            Still, no doubt a wing mounted configuration will look good again in Embraers own trade-offs..


          • keesje:

            The problem is TP are a dying breed not which direction the engine points or where it is mounted.

            As much as I love prop airplanes over vacuum cleaner airplanes the reality on the ground is they are going away.

            No one is going to look at their ATR or even Dash 8 and say, wow, lets change. Big bucks and no return.

          • Duke:

            “The reason why all the early twins ( and today all business jets) were rear mounted was the weight , drag and ground clearance penalty of wing mounted engines in the smaller planes.”

            They were still figuring out the optima (DC 9 etc) and its all ground clearance for business jets.

            Nothing to do with drag etc, they all share the same penalty there.

            That is why Embraer went to wing mounted engine as did Mitsubishi and the S100.

            The weight penalty in cheap fuel era was not so much, now it is.

          • The drag advantages of a rear engine giving a ‘clean wing’ were well known. Remember the under wing engines were already established by 707 and DC-8 before the first twins flew.
            The 737 broke new ground with under wing engines and had a weight disadvantage to its earlier rivals the DC-9 and 1-11 which they did a work around with a ‘thinner skin’ which has been a weakness ever since .Well known fuselage breaks which even occurred less than a decade ago and hurried retirement of Southwest remaining Classic fleet.

            Engines still have to be supported by structure no matter the location and its of course a heavy point load with many modes of twisting on a wing ( yes the fuel is distributed evenly like the lift is , the engine isnt)

            Well known fuselage breaks which even occurred less than a decade ago and hurried retirement of Southwest remaining Classic fleet.

  7. How will the 90-120 seat TPNG compete against an 120 seat A220-100 with PW 1500G engines 10% more efficient in 10 years time (as PW claims). Turbo props such as the ATR-72 and Q-400 already have a far worse per seat fuel burn.
    The ATR42 and ATR72 has won the market by doing a good job focusing on 200nmi flights that hop island, mountain ranges and country roads. It isn’t spectacularly fast but could be upgraded.
    I suspect what will make costs come down is single pilot or zero pilot operation and we might see that with eVTOL first.

    • William:

      False condition statement. Most ops do a mix of short and longer if not long.

      The Dash 8 in fact is almost jet fast, ergo in short hauls it is very close to the same speed (burns more fuel than an ATR but less than a Jet)

      AK clearly knows its market and is willing to take the short term loss vs the overall route gains.

      If we ever have zero pilot its going to be the big birds not the small ones. Its going to be a crazy up front cost (if it ever happens)

      Just watch some of Menteur pilots U Tubes to get and idea of task saturation for 2 pilots, let alone one or what complex system and its backups are needed for a no pilot operation in that environment of a mix of manned and unpersoned .

      They can’t even get cars to work in a two dimension environment.

      • The point I’m making is that a 120 seat A220-100 (ex CS100) carrying 80-90 out of 120-130 passengers has about the same fuel burn as a fully loaded Q400 carrying 80. A TPNG is going to have difficulty performing much better even with 15% more fuel efficient engines because the PW1500G will be 10% better within 8 years and the more fuel efficient engines will be available to the ATR 42/72.
        Jets outperform even turboprops on fuel burn and that won’t change much unless someone puts the same extreme engineering into turboprops as the LEAP, PW1000G, GE9X get.
        Most ATR42/72 flights are under 200nmi. I don’t have the statistics but I would guess 80% would be under 300nmi and 93% would be under 400nmi. Non are over 800nmi. Have no figures but assuming a gaussian bell curve distribution.
        Simple flying did an article on the longest turbo prop flights and non are over 750nmi and most are ATR. An ATR can do that in 3 hours on economical cruise and 2.45 fast cruise. An Q400 maybe 2.5 hours. Hardly worth the effort. On the other hand a Jet can do that in 1.45 hours, a real improvement. To me the Q400 proved that the fast turbo prop doesn’t work.

        ATR board has authorised a STOL ATR-42-600 which can operate of 800m/2700ft runways (mainly through an increased rudder. Entry into service should be this year. That’s the market for these aircraft. Small runways.

        Mentaur pilots work load issue on the extremely automation poor and archaic B737 cockpit and systems should be no indication of what is possible with pilotless flight.

        When pilotless flight starts it will likely be eVTOL because of the high reliability and redundancy of the systems, the simplicity of control and sequencing of electric motors and the elimination of the taxiing problem and the avoidance of clumsy traditional airport operations. They may be piloted remotely.

        A 19 or 29 seater with only 1 crew member would be a revolution in economics.

        If one were to attempt pilotless flight at an airport with a B787 it could probably be done with additional systems to handle taxiing, collision avoidance on the ground etc.

        A first generation pilotless aircraft (non eVTOL) I predict will
        1 Be electric and fuel cell (for redundancy’s sake)
        2 No flaps, slats or retractable undercarriage. These are too complex.
        3 3 or 4 props or fans minimum.
        4 Have a sort of auto drive feature like a Tesla Car for ground navigation.
        5 double or treble ailerons, elevator and rudder each with duplicated electric actuators.

        • Cant possibly be true that a larger jet (A220-100) has same fuel burn as DHC-400 TP , even as the high powered version ( compared to the same size ATR) . DHC say airlines can uses a long range cruise mode if speed isnt required.
          A much bigger plane means higher empty weight, the faster speed and just being a turbo fan means it cant compete with a turbo prop
          The A220 certainly beats its comtempories but not the next type down, in spite of online chatter

          • I get 3 Litres a passenger per 100km for a Q400 with 78 passengers.
            Wikipedia quotes 2.28 Litres per 100km for a A220-100 with 125 passengers. This is with the Q400 at its fuel saving speed at 27,000ft.

            This means the per seat fuel burn of the A220-100 with 76% load (95 passengers) is better than a Q400 with 100% passengers (78)

            If the silly scope clauses ever get eliminated Embraer and ever gets the E175-E2 built it will be better still.

            Turbo props have poor economy because of the 40 year old tech in the engines and because with the prop the engine is 4-5 times heavier.

            My point is that at ranges below 300nmi (probably 80% of the market) no one cares about whether the ATR42/72 is 21% slower than a Q400 at this distance Above that they are likely to use a Jet. The worlds longest turboprop routes (say 750nmi) are more likely to be flown by an ATR as a Q400.

          • Design and Optimization of a Large Turboprop Aircraft
            A technical assessment , they are looking at larger TP than currently and do cover rear mounted props

            The links you give for A220-100 fuel burn – Wikipedia devolves to LNA story about the Embraer E2 and they qualify it by stating the CS100 was only in flight test at the time
            Which doesnt even have that number “2.8 kg/km (10.1 lb/mi)” you are relying on either
            Common sense would say the bigger heavier plane has a higher fuel burn ( its only a short flight so the altitude advantage isnt there either )

  8. Mark Forkner, can this really be the end of it? Just culture is critical in the civil aviation industry and now it seems that we are never going to get a proper explanation of how the MAX disaster came about. I simply don’t believe that multiple engineers and test pilots didn’t express at least some concern before even the first crash never mind the second.Surely the US government won’t allow this to just rest?

    • And to think that there are commenters who opine that the Chinese authorities will never give us a clear picture of what happened with the China Eastern 737…

      Not just the Forkner case: don’t forget the suspicious DPA, and the covert settlement of the suits brought by the victims’ families.

      • So Chinese CAAC full accident reports of crashes or full hull losses are available to confirm that
        A330 -300 with China Eastern caught fire and became a total loss while boarding passengers at Shanghai in 2019, there is a preliminary or even final report on the causes ?
        in 2020 a similar event with an Ethiopian 777 again at Shanghai, was another unrepairable total loss.
        No loss of life but ‘questions ‘ remain. Does your sources have the reports so far or is it state secrets

    • With the current MAX-10 certification problems, MOL may ultimately be very glad that he steered clear of the model.

    • I always wondered why Ryan never flew 737-900/-9. Perfectsize for his 199 seat holy grail configuration..

      • Interesting question. Perhaps it was never really necessary, as long as his competitors had A320s. But Wizz and EasyJet now have A321 neos, into which they’re getting 230-235 passengers…so Ryanair is now missing out at slot-restricted airports. That’s why he wanted the MAX-10.
        He’s also getting nailed on range. Wizz is opening a hub in Abu Dhabi, with plans to service India with A321(X)LRs. Ryanair can forget that.

  9. Hi all,

    Anyone know the load factors of Horizon’s Dash-8 400 flights?

    Are there enough passengers for such a significant upgauge? Possibilty of consolidating (reduction) flights??

    • And for those who can’t get behind the ST paywall, here’s the same story on another site:

      “Boeing this month discovered the latest in a long line of glitches on its KC-46 aircraft: Some trim hanging down above the over-wing emergency exit doors prevents them from opening.

      “Though the KC-46 is designed as a troop transport as well as an air-to-air refueling aircraft, Boeing somehow missed this basic exit flaw in the tanker’s emergency egress system.

      “Every commercial airplane Boeing designs, including the 767 that is the basic airframe for the KC-46, is tested during certification to make sure all passengers can evacuate in an emergency within 90 seconds.

      “For this defect-plagued military variant, which entered service in 2019, no such test was run.

      “”We are carefully examining our processes to determine why this issue was not identified sooner,” said Boeing in response to Seattle Times questions.

      “The timing of the discovery is awkward.

      “At a media roundtable last Friday, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters that the Pentagon will likely not allow Airbus to compete for the next tranche of Air Force tankers, as had been expected, but will instead opt to stay with Boeing and ask only for “a modified KC-46.””


      • Dear Air Force,

        We have determined that the solution to the emergency exit problem is a velcro patch. As such, we are including a 10ft roll of said velcro, along with a bill for $20,000 – taxes and shipping not included.

        Best regards,


  10. AS faces severe pilot shortage, have to cut flights in April. What’s the impact on its summer schedule?

  11. Are we entering a world that runs out of (additional) oil?

    The countries that hold the lever for more oil to the market in the S.T. (without a massive price jump) are likely Russia … Iran and Venezuela, etc. thanks to years of short sighted sanction.

    The old world bets the wrong horse (Saudi, U.A.E. etc)!

    BTW French electricity grid warns brown out on Monday!!

    • The real sh#t hits the fan in mid April. That’s because various Russian tankers were already on their way to the US before Mr. Biden announced his oil sanctions, and those tankers will be allowed to discharge their cargoes. Once that’s done, the daily shortfall will kick in. In addition to a shortage of sour crude, there’ll be an even more noticable shortage of diesel, a lot of which is refined from heavy oils in Russia.
      Tough times ahead for the whole transport sector.

      • Reuters: Slovakia needs gas, will pay Russia in roubles if it must, minister says

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