Airbus delivers strong 1H2021 and launches A350 Freighter

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 29, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus presented its results for the first half of 2021 today. The company reported a profit of €2.7bn on a turnover of €24.6bn, a very strong result from the -€0.9bn of last year.  Yesterday, the Airbus board gave the go-ahead for the A350 freighter with planned entry into service 2025.

The strong result came from deliveries of 297 commercial aircraft, 100 more than the 196 of 1H2020. Net orders were 38 aircraft (1H2020 196). Guidance for 2021 was increased to 600 airliner deliveries with operating profit at €4bn and Free Cash Flow of €2bn.

Artist impression of the A350 Freighter. Credit:

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HOTR: About those 737 MAXes in inventory….

By the Leeham News staff

July 29, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing said yesterday that it delivered about 130 737 MAXes since the recertification of the aircraft last November.

It won’t reveal exactly how many came from the inventory of nearly 450 airplanes that were produced but which went straight into storage during the grounding.

Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission paint a misleading picture.

At December 31, Boeing reported that there were about 425 MAXes in inventory. At March 31, this figure was 400. On June 30, the number was 390. The aggregate reduction is 60, suggesting 70 deliveries were new production airplanes.

Not so, as it turns out.

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A history of jet freighter aircraft

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By Vincent Valery


A Cathay Pacific 747-8F

July 29, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week, LNA compared the performance of the 777F against the A350F, launched today. As a follow-up, we thought it relevant to look at the history of freighter aircraft derived from passenger jets at the major OEMs.

Shortly after the dawn of the jet age, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas started selling freighter variants of their 707 and DC-8, respectively. Most aircraft families developed later at both OEMs would receive a freighter variant in one form or another.

We will stick for our analysis to Freighter aircraft delivered off the assembly line at the world’s Western OEMs: Airbus, Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas.

  • What is a Freighter aircraft?
  • A minor but worthwhile market after initial euphoria;
  • Single-aisle against twin-aisle;
  • A Queen of the Freighters;
  • An OEM’s fortress is another’s weakness.

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Pontifications: Earnings previews for Boeing, Airbus

By Scott Hamilton

July 26, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing and Airbus report second-quarter/first-half earnings on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Boeing continues to have a rocky year. Although 737 MAX deliveries and production are picking up, 787 deliveries remain suspended. There are now more than 100 787s in inventory, with deliveries largely suspended since October. Production anomalies required rework and inspections combine to suspend deliveries.

The Federal Aviation Administration wants more detail about Boeing’s inspection and rework program. Even though the FAA restored on June 19 to Boeing what’s called “ticketing” authority to certify individual aircraft, the airplanes remain undelivered. The FAA continues to retain ticketing responsibility for the MAX deliveries.

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How good will an Airbus A350F be? Part 2.

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By Bjorn Fehrm


July 22, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week, we compared the probable data for an Airbus A350 freighter with the market-leading Boeing 777F. We found the 777F is a heavy-duty freighter with a very high payload capability.

Airbus has to use the A350-1000 toolbox to design something similar. The aircraft would be shorter than a -1000, however, to optimize its efficiency. How much better in efficiency than the 777F would it be? We put both in our performance model and fly them from China to the US.

  • An Airbus A350 freighter has to come close to the 104t payload of the 777F.
  • Can it do that, it has convincing economics compared with the 777F.

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De-carbonisation of air transport is ON

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 20, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week was a game-changing week for air transport. Three events synchronized to trigger it.

EU presented 13 policies to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with concrete steps in-between. On the same day, the airframe and engine OEM’s CTOs said in a Farnborough Connect webcast: “It’s a commitment problem, not a technical problem to achieve the EU goals.”

This happened against a backdrop of European floodings, which made all discussions about climate change or not moot. Super-organized Germany lost over 100 persons to typhoon like rains, never seen before, that produced scenes like these:

Figure 1. Farnborough Connect, from top-left: Moderator Johnson, Boeing’s Hussein, GE’s Lorence, Rolls-Royce’s Stein, SAFRAN’s Dalbier, Raytheon Technologies’  Russel, and Airbus’ Klauke.

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Pontifications: Two re-fleeting campaign give Airbus and Boeing each an edge

By Scott Hamilton

July 19, 2021, © Leeham News: There are two re-fleeting campaigns coming up that are significant and in which Airbus and Boeing each have the incumbent advantage.

The successor to Alitalia, Italia Trasporti Aereo (ITA), will restructure with a single aircraft provider. Airfinance Journal reported last week that ITA will begin operations with 52 aircraft: 45 single-aisle airplanes and seven twin-aisle aircraft, drawn from the Alitalia fleet. Another 26 aircraft will be added in 2022.

Airbus is the dominant incumbent aircraft provider. There are 12 Boeing 777 Classics that were with Alitalia.

This competition should be Airbus’s to lose.

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HOTR: Boeing’s backlog market share vs Airbus falls below 40%

By the Leeham News Team

July 14, 2021, © Leeham News: Six months into 2021, Boeing is delivering 737 MAXes, clearing MAX inventory, and taking orders.

Airbus isn’t matching Boeing orders for the A320 family, so far. But as the industry struggles to return to normal, it’s worth taking a six month look at how Airbus and Boeing compare.

In terms of total backlog, Airbus has a 62% market share vs. Boeing’s 38% share.

This includes all single- and twin-aisle aircraft. It also includes freighters—a Boeing exclusive right now—and air force tankers, where Boeing also has an advantage.

Airbus has a 65% share of the single-aisle backlog vs Boeing’s 35% share. Airbus includes the A220 and A320 families.

Boeing has a slim lead in the wide-body sector, boosted by its exclusive backlog in freighters and the larger backlog for the KC-46A tanker vs the A330 MRTT: 52% to 48%.

Boeing’s backlog is adjusted for the accounting rule ASC 606, which eliminates orders no longer considered firm but which aren’t canceled. Airbus doesn’t publish the European equivalent of iffy orders, so the market share is somewhat skewed. Regardless, it isn’t an encouraging picture for Boeing.

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Pontifications: The reshaped commercial aviation sector

By Scott Hamilton

July 12, 2021, © Leeham News: With Washington State and the US open for business following nearly 18 months of COVID-pandemic shut-down, there is a lot of optimism in commercial aviation.

In the US, airline passenger traffic headcounts are matching or exceeding pre-pandemic TSA screening numbers. Airlines are placing orders with Airbus, Boeing and even Embraer in slowly increasing frequency.

The supply chain to these three OEMs looks forward to a return to previous production rates.

It’s great to see and even feel this optimism. But the recovery will nevertheless be a slow if steady incline.

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Here’s why China needs Boeing as much as Boeing needs China

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July 7, 2021, © Leeham News: China’s government policy of operating commercial aircraft that generally are no more than 12-15 years old means the carriers face a replacement bubble that the home market can’t possibly meet.

According to data reviewed by LNA, there are just 303 COMAC C919s on order. Delivery is supposed to begin this year with one airplane. Currently, the peak year for deliveries is 2027 with 55 aircraft scheduled.

There are about 1,116 Boeing 737 NGs built between 2008-2018 operated and stored by Chinese carriers. China has just 296 737 MAXes on order—a deficit of 820 aircraft needed for replacement of these aging airplanes. (Boeing’s website shows just 104 outstanding orders, but Chinese-owned lessors aren’t included in this tally.)

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