Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engine maintenance, Part 4

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: After covering the maintenance market for single-aisle engines, time has come for the engines used on wide-body aircraft. The engine maintenance for a wide-body engine is a bit different to the single-aisle engine. The difference is caused by the longer flight times for the wide-bodies. This makes the flight time wear a more dominant maintenance driver than it is for the single-aisle engines.

The changes in overhaul work caused by the difference in flight profiles and the lower number of engines in the market (compared to the single aisles) will affect how the overhaul market is structured and who are the dominant players.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a tri-shaft turbofan for the wide-body market. Source: GasTurb.

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Could an NMA be made good enough?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: After showing there exists an NMA (New Midrange Aircraft) gap, the next question follows: Can an aircraft be made for the segment that can carve out a big enough slice to make it a worthwhile effort?

It’s a tough question. Any new aircraft will cost at least $10bn to develop for the airframe alone. To this one shall add the engine development. There exists no suitable engine for such an aircraft. To motivate the investments, the aircraft has to bring a substantial performance improvement compared to existing aircraft. Can it?

Figure 1. The NMA takes more and more the shape of a 767 replacement (A United 767-200). Source: United

We go through the key areas that can bring improvements and check if enough progress can is made until an NMA entry into service in 2024 or 2025.

Summary:

  • Existing aircraft are either too little or too much aircraft to fill an NMA role.
  • By careful design choices, especially for the fuselage, a new aircraft can achieve the required performance.

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easyJet, the Ryanair follower

By Bjorn Fehrm

-March 22, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: easyJet started 10 years after Ryanair, using the same Southwest Airlines derived Low Cost Carrier (LCC) business model.

easyJet has been expanding at the pace of Ryanair over the years, trailing the European LCC pioneer by around 20% to 30% of passengers carried each year.

For the last fiscal year ending 30 September 2016, easyJet carried 73 million passengers between 30 countries, flying 820 different routes.

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Is there an NMA gap?

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 21, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: The NMA (New Mid-range Aircraft), or, as it’s called more and more, the Boeing 797, is hot. The potential buyers at the recent ISTAT meeting in San Diego urged Boeing to take the decision and get it done.

At the same meeting Airbus responds, “Any NMA gap is covered. Our A321neo and A330-800 is available and and no new aircraft is needed.”

Time to look at who’s right. Is there an NMA gap or not? Is there a difference in how Airbus’ and Boeing’s product lineups cover the market? Read more

Major fleet decisions may not be positive for Airbus, Boeing

Pontifications is off this week.

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Introduction

March 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: There are some major fleet decisions that will probably come down the pike this year at American, Delta and United airlines. Not all of them are going to be viewed positively by Airbus and Boeing.

There is also a serious warning sign emerging from the Middle East that could have serious, negative impacts on Airbus and Boeing.

Summary
  • American Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-900s any more. Consolidation with US Airways appears to have made these surplus.
  • Delta Air Lines, which so far eschewed any orders for the Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXes, is understood to be readying a Request for Proposals to be issued this year.
  • United Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-1000s any more. Picking up cheap Boeing 777-300ERs appear to have made these surplus.
  • Emirates Airlines, reacting to Brexit and Donald Trump’s travel bans, is undertaking a full business review in response to a sharp drop in bookings.

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CDB Leasing aims for 500-600 aircraft portfolio

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Introduction

March 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: China’s evolving commercial aerospace and aviation industry has high-profile companies such as AVIC and COMAC, and its expanding supplier based, combined with joint ventures with Western companies is well known.

Less well known is the growth in the aircraft leasing business. Increasingly, Chinese lessors are showing up on the order lists of the Big Four aircraft manufacturers. Still, there remains a bit of a mystery about the lessors and dynamics within China.

LNC spoke with the newly appointed CEO of CDB Leasing during the ISTAT conference last week in San Diego.

Peter Chang has been in the Western leasing business for decades, employed in key positions with Aviation Capital Group, ILFC and Aircastle—usually with responsibility for China.

He was named CEO of CDB in December, a move that was announced during the January Dublin conferences of Airlines Economics and Airfinance Journal. More key personnel announcements were made during ISTAT.

In an exclusive interview, LNC asked Chang about the origins of CDB, other Chinese lessors, the current policy of restricting flow of Chinese cash outside the country, the Boeing 737-10 and the Bombardier CSeries.

Here is this interview.

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Spirit AeroSystems, the world’s largest aerostructures company

A feature report.

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Spirit AeroSystems is the world’s largest aerostructures supplier, with main facilities in Wichita (KS). I visited Wichita early March and was given a guided tour of the factories. It was a tour of contrasts.

In production hall two, the Boeing 737 fuselages are riveted together in much the same way as the Boeing B-29 Stratofortress was produced there during World War II. “Rosie the riveter” is replaced with a robot, but the hall still has a busy charm.

Figure 1. Hall two, the main 737 production area. Source: Spirit AeroSystems.

In another hall, the production is silent. The winding of the Boeing Dreamliner’s forward fuselage from rolls of tape is made with a swooshing sound. There are few people around; the machines rule.  Everything is mega large; tape-layers, tools, autoclaves, the lot. Read more

New Airbus-Japan venture aims for new aircraft

March 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: A new partnership, still in the Memorandum of Cooperation stage, between France and Japan aims to expand a relationship that could lead to joint development of advanced aircraft for Airbus.

The MOC was signed between the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan (METI) and the Directorate General for Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE) of the French Republic.

“An Airbus-Japan Ad Hoc Civil Aeronautical Industry Working Group will be established, and it will meet on a regular basis to discuss technology fields that could be considered for cooperation between Airbus and Japan such as material, aircraft system and equipment, or manufacturing technologies for the development of future Airbus aircraft,” Airbus said in a March 1 press statement announcing the MOC.

Airbus sales historically trailed Boeing badly in Japan, although the current backlog leans slightly in the European OEM’s favor: 87 to 74.

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Pontifications: Boeing MAX 10, “797” NMA dominated ISTAT headlines

By Scott Hamilton

March 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The soft launch of the Boeing 737-10 and the prospective Boeing “797” Middle of the Market aircraft easily were the headline news items to come out of the annual ISTAT conference in San Diego last week.

The “797,” as the MOM-sector aircraft was unofficially dubbed, brought enthusiastic reaction.

The MAX 10, not so much.

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Boeing 737 MAX 10 analyzed

By Bjorn Fehrm

Note: Boeing’s “soft launch” of the 737-10 MAX at the ISTAT conference in San Diego a week ago met with some sharp criticism by lessors and some others. Within hours, Boeing scheduled a conference call for reporters the next day to defend and promote the airplaneLNC closely tracked the development of the MAX 10 and its competivitive position vis-a-vis the Airbus A321neo. Here is our first detailed, public analysis of the MAX 10.–Editor.

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Introduction

March 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing has taken the wraps of the 737 MAX 10. Its overall configuration has long been known to LNC, but we now have more data and performance claims that we can analyze.

Boeing claims the MAX 10 flies farther, cheaper and with just about the same numbers of passengers as the class-leading Airbus A321neo.We now have enough data to analyze if this is true. We put the data in our performance model and here is the result.

Summary:
  • Boeing’s claims on a basic level seem OK. The seating is close to the A321neo.
  • On a higher level it starts to stutter. Our model can’t agree on the 5% better economics.
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