Boeing faces weak sales, production gap for 777X

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Aug. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Design issues with the giant General Electric Aviation GE9X are causing untimely headaches for the Boeing 777X program, at a time when the 737 MAX is consuming the company.

The MAX grounding and longer-than-expected fixes and Return to Service (RTS) is overshadowing challenges with the 787 skyline, where a production rate of 14/mo is burning through the backlog faster than new orders are coming in.

The 777X is facing skyline challenges as well. Sales have been slow. One major customer in the Middle East is undergoing a financial and fleet restructuring and another publicly said it will reduce 777X orders if it places a new order for 787-10s.

The 777X delivery schedule has slid to the right due to the engine issues and the 777-8 is a niche airplane that may have a greater future as a freighter than it does as a passenger model.

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Pontifications: Good A220 endorsement, but Airbus still has cleaning up to do

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus last week won a big, validating commitment from Air France-KLM Group for 60 orders and more options for the A220-300.

The contract won’t be firm until later this year, but the AF Memorandum of Understanding (when converted) brings the A220 order book to 611. There are some other commitments that haven’t yet been converted to orders.

Through mid-July, there were 86 A220s in service. There were 465 Letters of Intent, MOUs and Options before the Air France deal was announced.

But of those firm orders, 110 of them aren’t so firm. In fact, some of them really shouldn’t even be on the books.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 25, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”) this week we cover the difference in system infrastructure the two controls methods call for.

We will use the Boeing 737 as the classical control example and the Airbus A320 as the FBW example.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture, Part 3?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 1, 2019, © Leeham News: We wrap up our study of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR could capture with looking at the difference in available engine technology between the A231XLR and the NMA generation of airliners.

Summary:

  • The generational improvement in fuel efficiency of airliner turbofans has been over 10% in the last decades.
  • We examine if these improvements will still be the case for the NMA generation of aircraft.

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Boeing MAX crisis overshadows other challenges

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July 29, 2019, © Leeham News: The 737 MAX crisis overshadows everything else right now at Boeing.

This includes forward orders, weak customers and production gaps on the 787 line, which right now is the cash flow cow at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing’s production line for the 787 is filled through 2021, but after that, there are big gaps. Source: Leeham Co. Click on image for a crisp view.

Executives only briefly, and obliquely, touched on the 787 during the 2Q2019 earnings call last Wednesday.

This prompted LNA to examine the details of the backlog and production rates. The 787 is current being produced at a rate of 14/mo.

There are clear signs of challenges, both near- and medium-term for the 787.

Summary
  • Weak customers threaten to create deferred deliveries near-term.
  • There will be about 20 A330s and 777s coming off lease each year from 2021-2026 on top of retirements. Airbus and Boeing see these are replacement opportunities.
  • The production back delivery stream falls off the cliff in 2022.

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Pontifications: MAX market share holding steady, so far

By Scott Hamilton

July 29, 2019, Leeham News: Despite threats and fears of cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX following two fatal accidents of virtually brand new -8 MAXes, few order cancellations directly attributable to the crashes have occurred.

So far, there isn’t a discernible shift to Airbus, either, data shows.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire?

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 25, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Last week’s Corner which dealt with Airbus’ issue with an updated A321neo Fly By Wire (FBW) and how it was unrelated to the issue of the Boeing 737 MAX, gives a good segue to a Corner series about the possibilities of FBW versus classical flight controls when it comes to tuning an airliner’s flight characteristics.

The two different control principles present the designer with very different challenges and possibilities.

The Fly-By-Wire Airbus A321XLR. Source: Airbus.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

July 25, 2019, © Leeham News: We continue our discussion from last week of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR would capture.

We started the study by comparing the aircraft with a common yardstick. It brought some revealing insights. Now we continue by looking at the airline routes these aircraft can cover and their economics when covering these routes.

Summary:
  • The NMAs and the A321XLR cover the same routes with small differences in range performance.
  • The major difference is in their passenger capacity, where they are complementary rather than competitors.

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Trans-Atlantic market fragmentation hurts big widebodies

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By Vincent Valery

July 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Development of single-aisle aircraft that now have ranges of plus-or-minus 4,000 nautical miles are fragmenting hub markets needed to fill large twin-aisle aircraft.

Just as twin-engine widebodies began fragmenting routes needed to fill the Boeing 747 and later the Airbus A380, the Boeing 737-8 and Airbus A321LR/XLR appear to be contributing to weak demand for the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350-1000.

With launch of the Airbus A321XLR last month and expected New Midsize Airplane once the MAX crisis is over, some markets might have structures dramatically altered in the second half of next decade. The prime candidate is the US East Coast–Europe market. We will investigate through historical examples how things might turn out.

Rendering of Boeing NMA-7. Source: Leeham Co.

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Pontifications: Embraer counts on Boeing heft for E2 sales boost

By Scott Hamilton

July 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer still appears to be in a bit of a holding pattern following the Paris Air Show in which it announced orders and commitments for only 76 EJets. Two additional orders announced at the show were previously under the Unidentified category.

This seems to be following a pattern set with the Bombardier C Series, in which sales were slow while the market waited for the deal to close in which Airbus acquired 50.01% of the C Series program.

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