Pontifications: Transformation is key to increasing production rates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The likely prospect that Airbus and Boeing will increase single-aisle production rates next decade is outlined in our paywall article today.

The whys and capabilities to do so are outlined in the paywall post. The how is what I’ve been writing about since the first of the year, when LNC looked ahead to its 2018 forecast.

The “how” is the transformation in production that is underway in aerospace.

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Airbus, Boeing likely to push for 70/mo single aisle airplane production rates: analysis

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Introduction

Feb. 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Production rates for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families are already at record levels, and heading higher.

Airbus plans to hit a production rate of 60/mo next year. Boeing is taking the 737 to rate 57. Boeing is studying rates of 63/mo and even 70/mo. Airbus is sure to match.

How will the airframers achieve these rates?

Information gleaned from the sidelines of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last week give a reasonably good picture of how Boeing will get there.

Visibility was less on Airbus, which is unsurprising given the conference was in Boeing’s back yard in Lynnwood (WA).

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Leahy remains steadfast in A380 future

Feb. 16, 2018, © Leeham Co.: It’s been a long struggle and there isn’t a re-engining any time soon, but John Leahy still firmly believes in the market viability of the Airbus A380.

John Leahy stand behind the Airbus A380. Photo via Google images.

Leahy, who retired last month as COO-Customers, continues to support the transition to Eric Schulz, EVP, Chief of Sales, Marketing & Contracts. One of Leahy’s last deals was to firm up an A380 MOU for 20 orders and 16 options for Emirates Airline.

In his final retirement interview with LNC, Leahy didn’t waver from the messaging Airbus used since the launch of the A380 program in 2000: passenger traffic doubles every 15 years, no new airports and few new runways are being added in Europe, the US or Asia outside of China and the need for the A380 remains.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft drag reduction, Part 17

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 16, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: In the last Corner, we discussed supersonic flow and drag. Now it’s time to talk about the drag created by transonic flow on an aircraft.

Figure 1. Pressure distribution of 787 during cruise. Source: Boeing and Leeham Co.

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Airbus group 2017: The A320 is the group moneymaker despite problems

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 15, 2018, ©. Leeham Co in Toulouse: Airbus Group presents better results for 2017 than predicted, despite challenges in several programs. Profit was up 34% on flat revenues. The underlying driver for the strong performance is the A320 program, and with record 2017 orders and backlog, no end is in sight.

Airbus CEO, Tom Enders, says the A320 is “sold out’ until 2023 and the company is working on how to produce 70 per month, to keep up with demand.

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Airbus, plagued by “decapitation,” faces tough choices on NMA: consultant

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Introduction

Feb. 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Airbus’ plans to respond to Boeing’s prospective New Midrange Aircraft, aka 797, is a mystery to one of the industry’s leading aviation consultants.

Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group notes that Airbus’ research and development investment overtly disappears after 2018, with the introduction into service of the A350-1000 and the A319neo.

Aboulafia spoke at Day 2 of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) conference in Lynnwood (WA).

He’s long compared R&D spending between Airbus and Boeing, often praising the former for its level of investment and criticizing the latter for lagging.

Now, Airbus’ level of spending is a question mark while Boeing’s is a comfortable level compared with revenue, Aboulafia says.

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Next round in Airbus-Boeing WTO battle nears

Feb. 14, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Boeing-Bombardier trade fight isn’t over, yet.

The parties received on Feb. 9 the written decision by the US International Trade Commission and the public version, redacted of confidential and proprietary information, will be released March 2. Boeing is deciding whether to appeal its loss to the Court of International Trade or NAFTA.

But this isn’t the only trade issue on the table.

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Boeing risks losing orders in aftermarket business push, says consultant

Feb. 13, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s drive to dramatically increase its aftermarket business, competing with suppliers or even controlling the parts needed by airlines for maintenance, repair and overhaul operations have a risk, says an industry consultant.

Kevin Michaels, president of AeroDynamics, said Boeing potentially could lose airplane sales if it takes too hard an approach to controlling aftermarket parts.

Michaels appeared at the 2018 annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA) today in a Seattle suburb.

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Pontifications: NMA, Boeing-Embraer headline Singapore Air Show

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Singapore Air Show last week produced little in the way of new orders from the Big Four airframe OEMs. ATR announced a few deals and Embraer announced a letter of intent for the KC-390 multi-role tanker-transport.

The headline news revolved around the what-ifs: Boeing and the New Midrange Aircraft and Boeing and the link-up with Embraer.

Let’s look at the NMA first.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 5.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the fourth article about the Chinese/Russian wide-body, CR929, we analyzed the engine selection for the aircraft. Now we continue with a first performance analysis of the CR929 against its main competitors, the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A330-900.

We will use the preliminary data we have collected for the CR929 and compare this to the data for the 787-9 and A330-900. It’s the first analysis, on preliminary information. But there is enough knowledge of the key parameters to use our performance model to draw the first conclusions about the CR929’s positioning in the market.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is modeled closely after the 787-9. The technology for structures, systems, engines and aerodynamics are similar.
  • With a similar payload capacity, the fuel consumption should be better as the CR929 is defined with a lower maximum range.
  • It’s wider cabin eats up the weight and drag advantage, however. There will be little difference between the efficiency of the 787-9 and the 15 years younger CR929.

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