Airbus, Boeing pause on some production rate hikes

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Introduction

Feb. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is boosting the A320 production to 60/mo this year and 63/mo next year.

But it’s put a pause on increasing the A350 rate from 10/mo to 13/mo.

Boeing was widely expected to follow its planned 737 rate hike of 57/mo, from this summer, to 63/mo next year to keep up with demand and with Airbus.

However, on the sidelines of the annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last week, LNA learned that a 737 rate hike has been apparently put on a pause.

Summary

  • Airbus, Boeing backlog for single-aisle airplanes extends years.
  • Both have ramped up production to meet demand, create delivery positions.
  • Supply chain struggles to keep up.
  • Twin-aisle demand waits for replacement surge.

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A380 end opens opportunity for A350-2000

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Introduction

Feb. 18, 2019 © Leeham News: Airbus’ decision to end the A380 program clears the path, if chosen, for a plane that was studied three or four years ago: the stretch of the A350-1000 to the size of the 777-9.

Will the termination of the A380 open the way to stretch the A350-1000? Source: Airbus.

A 400+ passenger “A350-2000” would have encroached too closely on the A380’s 500+ passengers. Officials feared the A350-2000 would hurt the sales prospects of the A380.

With the A380’s last delivery now planned for 20xx, this becomes a moot point.

The prospect of a new, Rolls-Royce Ultra Fan engine for the A350 around 2025 will give the -2000 significantly superior economics to the 777-9 and a longer range, a preliminary analysis by LNA shows.

Summary

  • An A350-2000 with RR Ultra Fan engines is superior to the 777-9.
  • However, Boeing has a big head start with orders for 340 777Xs, most of which are for the -9.
  • The market demand for a 400-450 seat airplane is increasingly iffy.
  • But the A350-900/1000neo helps business case.
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Pontifications: Which airplanes are revolutionary or evolutionary?

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 18, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s column about the revolutionary Boeing 747 prompted some Twitter interaction asking what other commercial airplanes might be considered “revolutionary.”

I have my views. Let’s ask readers.

There are also three polls below the jump in addition to the usual comment section. Polling is open for one week.

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A380 launch aid in limbo at WTO, member states following program termination

Feb. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Termination of the A380 program leaves unanswered Airbus’ obligation of outstanding launch aid from France and Germany.

But apparently it removes any overhang of this aid in the long running trade dispute between the US and Europe (Boeing vs Airbus) at the World Trade Organization.

As the dispute wound its way through the WTO since the US filed its complaint nearly 15 years ago, the only surviving issues were subsidies for the A380 and A350.

Based on precedent involving termination of the A340 program, in which the WTO ruled there was no further harm to Boeing once the last A340 was delivered, the remaining launch aid was rendered moot in the context of the WTO. The governments wound up eating the balance of the launch aid.

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Airbus’ 2018 results conference: Enders hands Faury a clean deck

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 14, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus announced its 2018 results today at a press conference in Toulouse. It was the last Yearly press conference for Airbus CEO Tom Enders and CFO Harald Wilhelm. Both leave the company in the coming months.

The press conference was colored by the CEO hand over to Guillaume Faury but also the winding up of the A380 program, a problem Enders didn’t want his successor to inherit. The gone year delivered overall results as guided a year ago despite closures charges for A380 and further provisions for A400M.

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A simple solution to congested skies

By Dan Catchpole

Danieljcatchpole[at]gmail[dot]com

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Introduction

Feb. 14, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Flight delays cost the airline industry

Traffic back ups are increasing–so much so that Airbus has invested in improving air traffic management to avoid congestion affecting aircraft sales.

billions of dollars each year. They cause travelers untold aggravation and inconvenience every day. And the main culprit—air traffic congestion—is only going to get worse as Boeing and Airbus deliver tens of thousands of jetliners over the next couple decades.

Regulators, lawmakers and the aviation industry in the United States have settled on spending billions of taxpayer dollars on NextGen—after having already spent billions—to implement complex technical solutions to keep the skies safe and cut down on flight delays.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimated in 2017 that implementing NextGen will cost roughly $35.7 billion by 2030–$20.6 billion from the FAA and another $15.1 billion from the aviation industry.

NextGen has moved with the swiftness of a sprawling, technocratic federal program—that is to say like an elephant at the ballet. It has endured delays and cost escalation, though these have not been crippling. However, it is years away from unclogging America’s congested air spaces.

Moreover, there are very real questions as to whether NextGen will be able to deliver all the FAA promises it can.

Summary
  • Air spaces are getting more crowded, leading to greater flight delays.
  • Airbus is concerned that congestion could hurt demand for jetliners, and is taking steps to improve air traffic flow.
  • Substantial questions exist as to NextGen’s ability to unclog air traffic congestion.
  • Taking a system-wide approach that taps into airlines’ desire to maximize profits could be implemented now, say proponents.

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Airbus ends the A380 program

Feb. 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus announced today (Seattle time, Feb. 14 in Toulouse) that it is terminating the A380 program.

The last airplane will roll off the assembly line in 2021, for Emirates Airlines.

Emirates cancelled an order for 39 A380s. In its place, the carrier ordered 30 A350s and 40 A330neos.

The Emirates and Airbus press release is here.

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A380 program termination expected tomorrow

Feb. 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is expected to announce tomorrow the termination of the A380 program, a move that had been rumored for weeks.

Tomorrow is Airbus’ annual press conference for 2018 results. Its Board of Directors meets today.

Word emerged last month that Emirates Airline was considering cancelling its 2017 order for the giant airplane, swapping the 20 (plus 17 options) for the A350 or the A330neo.

Last week, Qantas Airways, as long expected, canceled its remaining order for eight A380s. This week, Qatar Airways said it will begin retiring its A380s when the first reaches age 10.

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A380 termination good for Airbus, tough on suppliers, analyst says

Airbus A380’s future in doubt. Photo: Airbus.

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Terminating the A380 program may be a blessing in disguise for Airbus, writes a US aerospace analyst.

At the same time, it could cause headaches for the supply chain.

Carter Copeland of Melius Research LLC makes a split decision on the future of the A380. There is speculation that retiring Airbus CEO Tom Enders might decide to end the program before he leaves office in April, clearing the decks for his successor, Guillaume Faury.

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With CSeries, Airbus commands 78% of 100-150 seat sector

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Introduction

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus acquired 50.01% of the Bombardier CSeries program last year.

Boeing and Embraer Commercial Aviation received Brazilian government approval last month and now await a nearly-year long regulatory approval process from around the globe.

Based on the announced orders at Jan. 1, Airbus has a 78% share of the 100-150 seat sector following the combinations.

Embraer sold more airplanes in this sector than Boeing: 95 E195-E2s to 70 737-7s.

The former CSeries has 526 orders to 55 for the A319neo.

Summary
  • 14% of the A220 orders are classified as “Red” in LNA’s judgment—orders that either should be removed from the backlog or, in one case, is highly questionable due to customer statements.
  • Another 11% of the A220 orders are classified as “Yellow,” primarily due to region risk.
  • Synergies between A220 and A320 are greater than E2 and 737.

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