Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft drag reduction, Part 18

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 23, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: In the last Corner we discussed transonic flow and drag. Now it’s time to finish the drag type discussion by adding some less dominant but still important drag types.

Knowing their origin will help us understand why aircraft are made like they are.

Figure 1. Low-pressure (green) shows areas with high flow speeds for the 787 during cruise. Source: Boeing and Leeham Co.

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Hawaiian Airlines’ switch from A330-800 to 787-9

By Bjorn Fehrm

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February 22, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Hawaiian Airlines (Hawaiian) were one of the customers for the Airbus A350-800, the smaller, longer-range variant of the A350. When Airbus decided to not produce the A350-800, Hawaiian switched to the A330-800 instead, a smaller and shorter range aircraft.

The further change to the Boeing 787-9 is switching back to an aircraft the class of the original choice, the A350-800.

We examine the change from the A330-800 to the 787-9. What does it buy Hawaiian and why the change?


  • Hawaiian opted for a smaller sub fleet of very long-range A350-800s when it reviewed its long-range fleet needs in 2007. Future routes could include Europe given the capabilities of these planes.
  • When Airbus canceled the A350-800 variant, the order was changed to the smaller and shorter range A330-800.
  • Hawaiian has now decided to move back to the type of aircraft it originally decided on. A type which could reliably fly to Europe from Honolulu, the 787-9.

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Boeing displaces Airbus at Hawaiian, wins 787-9 deal; airline cancels A330-800 order

Feb. 20, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Boeing has displaced Airbus at Hawaiian Airlines, winning an order for 787-9s. Hawaiian canceled an order for six A330-800s, the only order on the books for this sub-type.

An announcement could come as early as this week.

The campaign has been underway for months and the outcome was expected. Airbus offered to cut the price on the -800 and also offered the A350-900. The latter always was considered too big by carrier executives.

Boeing’s effort to displace Airbus A330neo at Hawaiian is part of an all-out, hand-to-hand combat campaign by Boeing to kill the A330neo program in advance of the potential launch of the Boeing 797.

LNC detailed the battle here.

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Qatar may up-gauge A350-900 to -1000, buy more

Feb. 20, 2018 © Leeham Co., Toulouse: Qatar Airways may up-gauge some of its Airbus A350-900 orders to the larger -1000 and it may buy more A350s for its leasing company, CEO Akbar Al Baker said at the delivery of the airline’s first -1000.

Qatar is the launch customer of the A350 program, including the -900 and -1000.

Departing Airbus preisdent Fabrice Bregier, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al-Baker and Rolls-Royce CEO Chris Chorlerton take questions at a press conference during the delivery of the first A350-1000 to the airline.

The first -1000 was legally delivered to Qatar at the end of last year, but handover for scheduled service was delayed until today because of issues with its new QSuite premier business class supplied by Rockwell Collins, he said.

In a wide-ranging press conference, Al Baker also said:

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Airbus readies A350-1000 for delivery, dismisses Boeing 777-9

Feb. 20, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Toulouse: Airbus will deliver its first A350-1000 to launch customer Qatar Airways within hours, making the end to a nearly two-month wait for the ceremonial handover.

The aircraft was legally delivered to Qatar in the closing days of 2017, but issues with the QSuite interior held up the hand-over until today. The airplane will enter revenue service between Doha and London Heathrow Airport.

Airbus’ Marisa Lucas, Head of A350 XWB Marketing, extols the virtues of the A350-1000 in advance of the handover of the firzt one to Qatar Airways.

Earlier today, Marisa Lucas, Head of A350 XWB Marketing, extolled the virtue of the A350-1000 and, in a response to a question, dismissed the coming Boeing 777-9 as a threat to the -1000. She also waved off the prospect, for now, of stretching the -1000 into a “2000” that would directly challenge the -9.

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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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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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