Lion Air threatens to cancel MAX order; no impact to Boeing seen

Subscription Required

Introduction

Dec. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: Lion Air’s co-founder is threatening to cancel an order for more than 200 Boeing 737 MAXes following what he says is Boeing’s blaming the airline for the Oct. 29 crash of Flight 610.

All 189 people aboard the three month old 737-8 died when the plane plunged into the Java Sea 11 minutes after take-off from Jakarta.

Calling a Boeing statement issued Nov. 27 a “betrayal,” co-founder Rusdi Kirana Dec. 3 threatened to cancel to big Boeing order. He amplified his remarks Dec. 11.

Summary
  • Lion Air has 229 MAXes scheduled for delivery between 2019-2026.
  • The carrier has 148 A320neos scheduled for delivery, believed intended for its leasing company.
  • Deliveries mostly overlap.
  • Another source of A320neos is apparently available.
  • Analysis of impact to Boeing

Read more

Pontifications: Airbus teams with Georgia Tech for MBSE role

  • See LNC’s holiday publication schedule at the end of this column.

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus has joined with Georgia Institute of Technology to open a technical center for Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) for Overall Aircraft Design (OAD).

The Georgia Tech Center opened in October.

It’s an expansion of the Airbus footprint in the growing US Southeast aerospace footprint.

It’s also a step in transforming Airbus’ design technology, an effort that’s been underway in cooperation with European universities and institutes. Read more

Has the A380 worse economics than the 777-9 or A350-1000?

Subscription Required.

Introduction

December 13, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we checked if the claims in media the Airbus A380 is more expensive to operate than a Boeing 777-300ER has merit. As so often, media compared apples with oranges.

Comparing like-for-like, the A380 does just fine if you configure it with equal comfort cabins. And if you can fill it. Now we compare the A380 economics to more modern alternatives, Airbus’ A350-1000 and Boeing’s 777-9.

Summary:

  • Configured to equal comfort standards the A380 is surprisingly competitive on seat mile costs to the A350-1000 and 777-9.
  • We then lowered the A380 seat count from Airbus’ latest proposals, to find the cross-over point. It’s pretty close to Emirates two-class A380s.

Read more

Tanker wars may be back

Subscription Required

Introduction

Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: The tanker wars may be back.

Airbus has teamed with Lockheed Martin to offer the Airbus A330-200MRTT to the Pentagon in a for-hire business model. The agreement also provides the prospect of “conceptualizing the tanker of the future.” (The press release is here.)

From 2001-2011, the US Air Force, Pentagon and even Congress were embroiled in controversy over recapitalization of the USAF aerial refueling tanker fleet.

The KC-135s, based on the Boeing 707, were aging, expensive to maintain and outdated.

After 9/11, Boeing proposed leasing 100 tankers based on the 767-200ER to the USAF. A scandal surrounding the USAF approval of this deal sent the air force’s procurement office and Boeing’s CFO to jail and resulted in the resignation of CEO Phil Condit. The lease deal was canceled.

Summary
  • Three rounds of tanker procurement were filled with improprieties, bitter charges and counter charges.
  • Boeing currently has a contract for 52 KC-46A tankers out of an initial procurement of 179.
  • The air force sees a need for 100 more tankers on an accelerated timeline.
  • Fee-based refueling is not unknown to the Pentagon.

Read more

Pontifications: Nordic quietly rises to #4 world lessor

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: In the world of commercial aviation, GECAS, Avolon, AerCap, Air Lease Corp and BOC Aviation are among the most recognizable names of lessors.

These companies make headlines with large orders of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Air Lease is headed by Steven Udvar-Hazy and John Plueger, giants of the aircraft leasing business.

But one lessor quietly, below the radar, has become one of the largest lessors in terms of aircraft count pursuing regional aircraft, a product mostly shunned by the biggest lessors.

Nordic Aviation Capital Embraer E190-E2. Source: Nordic.

Nordic Aviation Capital last year ranked tied for fifth with asset manager BBAM, each with 404 airplanes in their portfolios, according to an Airfinance Journal 2017 survey. GECAS, AerCap, Avolon and SMBC Aviation Capital were bigger.

DAE Capital of Dubai, BOC Aviation, Air Lease Corp and Aviation Capital Group rounded out the top 10. Read more

Is the A380 less economical than a 777-300ER?

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

December 06, 2018, © Leeham News.: Our Monday article “A380 suffers new blow, future remains bleak” describes how Air France hands back five of their 10 Airbus A380-800 to their lessor with start next year.

The article details the reasons behind the returns. Other media writes the A380 are notably more expensive to run than a Boeing 777-300ER. As so often, this is a serious case of apples and oranges.

Summary:

  • To compare aircraft like-for-like, they need to be compared with the same rules for cabins and operations.
  • When this is done, the A380 is not more expensive to operate than a 777-300ER.
  • The caveat is: if filled to the same load factor.
Read more

A380 suffers new blow, future remains bleak

Subscription Required

Air France is returning five of 10 A380s to lessors. Photo via Google images.

Dec. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Air France will return five leased Airbus A380s to lessors next year and in 2020, citing high operating and crew costs compared with the Boeing 777-300ER that is the principal long-haul airplane in its fleet.

This is another blow to the world’s largest passenger aircraft program.

It underscores something Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in 2017: “If you fill it 80% or more, it is a money-making machine.”

Air France’s A380 load factor is not a matter of public record, but the airline itself has a general passenger-avoidance problem due to repeated strikes and generally poor service. The airline’s A380 interiors are dated and the business class is not on a par with even its own Boeing airplanes—nor competitors’ A380s. Read more

Pontifications: More hints NMA is a “go”

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Safran, the French company that is a 50% partner in CFM International, believes Boeing will launch the New Midmarket Airplane next year.

Safran held its investors day last Thursday.

In sideline conversation, one of those attending reports that Safran met recently with Boeing and is convinced the NMA is a “go.”

(Others, elsewhere, remain skeptical.)

Engine company responses for proposals are due this month to Boeing. CFM, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney are competing for the engine selection.

It’s believed Boeing would like a dual source (certainly airlines do), but in all likelihood, the odds-on favorite is that the NMA will have a sole source engine. The betting is that it will be CFM. Read more

Is Airbus working on a 200t A330neo Regional?

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

November 29, 2018, © Leeham News.: Bloomberg wrote in the week Airbus is bringing out a 200 tonnes version of the A330neo as a counterstroke to the NMA. Having checked the characteristic of such a version, we contacted Airbus for clarifications.

Here is what Airbus said and how any 200t A330neo fits into Airbus future deliveries.

Summary:

  • A 200t A330neo would not be an ideal version to take market share away from a future NMA. It would have a shorter range than even the shortest range NMA.
  • Airbus explained what they really said on Monday. A 200 tonnes A330neo was part of presenting the flexibility of the A330neo concept, including how this flexibility would work against a planned NMA.

Read more

Airbus’ A320neo Plus, A350neo and new single-aisle airplane

Subscription Required

Introduction

Nov. 26, 2018, © Leeham News: There are few secrets that stay secret for long in commercial aviation.

Airplane concepts are discussed with customers. Information must be shared with suppliers. And then there’s the manufacturer’s own website.

Bloomberg News reported last week that Airbus is looking for help to design the A320neo Plus, an entirely new single aisle airplane and a re-engined A350, the A350neo. All this came from Airbus’ website, Bloomberg reported.

Some of this is old news.

Summary
  • The A320neo Plus concepts have been around for a few years.
  • The idea that Airbus has conceived a new single-aisle airplane is not new, either. It’s shown open-rotor and futuristic design concepts at air shows, conferences and earnings meetings for years (as has Boeing).
  • Although not mentioned in the Bloomberg article, a new wide-body airliner is also something Airbus conceived as a possible response to the Boeing New Midmarket Airplane—this isn’t new, either.
  • What is new is the prospect of an A350neo. The airplane has been in service only a few years, but if one stops and thinks about it, a neo is already a logical progression.

Read more