Engine maker, lessor see Boeing’s next airplane as a single-aisle design

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By Scott Hamilton

“The NMA is gone. Long live the NMA.”–lessor CEO. Photo: Leeham Co.

April 2, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane, or a new concept, is the last thing on the plate right now.

But Boeing’s future product strategy nevertheless requires long-term thinking even as the short- to medium-term is in chaos.

Interviews were conducted March 2 at a major aerospace conference in Austin (TX), just days before the coronavirus crisis exploded exponentially across the globe.

The CEO of the major lessor, Avolon, declared the NMA dead and predicted a new single-aisle airplane will be Boeing’s next project.

An executive of Pratt & Whitney offered a similar view.

Summary
  • “The NMA is gone. Long live the NMA. That moment has passed.
  • Back to the 757 replacement concept and, now, A321XLR competitor.
  • Single-aisle vs light twin-aisle is part of the challenge.
  • New airplane must be “dramatically” more efficient than MAX, neo.
  • 2030 decade is the quickest this dramatic improvement can be achieved.

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Pratt & Whitney committed to advanced GTF for Airbus

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By Scott Hamilton

March 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Pratt & Whitney is concurrently developing what might be termed the next generation GTF. This is an advancement over the current engine, but with more thrust and better fuel economics.

Deurloo eschews the usual Performance Improvement Package (PIP) moniker, however.

“We have been discussing with Airbus for some time, an improvement to the current configuration or our expected configuration,” Deurloo said. “I think that’s a testament to the geared architecture. It’s given us some runway to do a little bit more on that engine.

PW has been in conversation with Airbus for the last few years about an engine that will take  configuration at the end of this year, and put in an improvement.

Summary
  • New name, better economics, better durability.
  • Designed for the A321XLR, but greater flexibility.
  • Fixing current issues.

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Pontifications: Critical step in Boeing MAX recertification target: May

By Scott Hamilton

March 30, 2020, © Leeham News: Barring further issues, the FAA Type Inspection Authorization for the MAX is targeted for the second half of May, LNA learned.

This is a critical step in recertifying the airplane.

Also barring more unexpected events in a year filled with them, Boeing should resume production of the 737 MAX in May, LNA confirmed.

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Can the A321XLR fly trans-Oceanic routes, Part 2?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 26, 2020, © Leeham News: We are checking if the Airbus A321XLR is usable for trans-Oceanic routes. It’s a credible trans-Atlantic aircraft, but can it be used effectively over the Pacific Ocean as well?

Last week we found a one-stop routing that worked. Now we compare the economics of flying the A321XLR on a one-stop route versus a longer-range aircraft like the Airbus A330-900 non-stop.

Summary:
  • The A330-900 covers our US West Coast to Japan trip in almost half the time of our single-aisle route over Honolulu.
  • Will it also have a lower per-seat cost? We find out using our airliner operating cost model.

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HOTR: Boeing has options to federal bailout, CEO says

By the Leeham News Staff

March 25, 2020: First, Boeing CEO David Calhoun said he wasn’t an insider (after 10 years on the Board of Directors, and as lead director for many of them). No, he merely had a front row seat in the movie theatre.

Then he trashed his predecessor, Dennis Muilenburg, for stock buyback and dividend policies (that the Board approved).

Next, Boeing said it needs a portion of the $60bn in federal aid it requested for the aerospace industry.

Now, Calhoun appears to have put his foot in his mouth again. Or did he?

When asked about the possibility of the government taking an equity position in Boeing as a condition to a bailout, Calhoun said Boeing has options to federal money.

The Wall Street Journal wrote yesterday, “I don’t have a need for an equity stake,” Boeing CEO Calhoun said Tuesday on Fox Business Network. “If they forced it, we’d just look at all the other options, and we have got plenty.”

There’s a very practical reason for Boeing to object to government taking an equity stake. It would effectively shut down bidding on some key defense contracts.

But wait a minute: if you’ve got all these other options, why ask for a federal bailout for Boeing?

Or was this a message to the street that Boeing is OK?

Still, on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Calhoun said if the credit markets stayed closed for eight months, it would be tough for Boeing to remain healthy.

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Boeing suspends production of wide-bodies

March 23, 2020, (c) Leeham News: Boeing today announced it will suspend production of its wide-bodies for 14 days, beginning Wednesday.

Production slowdown begins today.

The move is in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Boeing is the last of the Big Three aircraft manufacturers to do so. Airbus last week suspended production in France and Germany, restarting slowly today. Embraer suspended production last week.

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Airbus expands virus precautions across production lines, company

By Scott Hamilton

Guillaume Faury

March 23, 2022, (c) Leeham News: Airbus is working to make its production lines safe, but will have lower rates than before the coronavirus pandemic caused lockdowns in France and Spain, the CEO said today.

Airbus temporarily shut production lines in these two countries last Monday. Production resume at a low, unspecified rate. He said initially production “efficiency” may be very low.

Guillaume Faury, the CEO, however, pointed to China as perhaps an example to follow with its other lines.

The Tianjin line was shut down for several weeks as the COVID-19 virus spread across China. It recently resumed and is back near the pre-shut down level of 6/mo. Faury said 99% of the employees are back at work.

Chinese airlines are back to 30% of pre-grounding levels.

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Coronavirus upends Airbus, Embraer in addition to Boeing woes

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By Scott Hamilton

Introduction

March 23, 2020, © Leeham News: The dramatically and continuously worsening impact of coronavirus worldwide is upending Boeing—more than it has been—and Airbus.

Boeing is considering shutting the wide-body production lines, The Seattle Times reported. It also wants US government aid.

Source: CDC.

Airbus shut its assembly lines in France and Spain for four days in response to federal restrictions.

LNA previously wrote about the impact it sees on Boeing and, to a degree, on Airbus.

These analyses are updated to the latest circumstances.

We also add a look at Embraer delivery stream for March-December.

Summary
  • Even if Boeing recertifies the 737 MAX by mid-year, deliveries now in doubt.
  • Customers can cancel MAXes without penalty.
  • Airbus faces massive deferrals under the circumstances. Penalties apply.
  • Embraer’s customer concentration is in USA.

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Airbus boosts liquidity to €30bn with new credit line; suspends dividend

By Scott Hamilton

March 22, 2020, (c) Leeham News (Seattle Time): Airbus today announced a new €15bn credit facility to boost liquidity during the COVID-19 virus crisis.

In an early morning release March 23, Toulouse time, Airbus said it is suspending its dividend and its 2020 guidance.

“Our first priority is protecting people while supporting efforts globally to curb the spread of the coronavirus.” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury.

“We are also safeguarding our business to protect the future of Airbus and to ensure we can return to efficient operations once the situation recovers. We have withdrawn our 2020 guidance due to the volatility of the situation. At the same time, we are committed to securing the liquidity of the Company at all times through a prudent balance sheet policy.”

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Before handing $60bn to Boeing, consider this

By Scott Hamilton

Commentary

March 20, 2020, © Leeham News: Before the Trump Administration hands $60bn over to Boeing for its own purposes and to serve as a conduit to aid the supply chain, there are just one or two issues to address.

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