Podcast on Classic piston-liners

Innovation Analysis Group has a fascinating podcast with Carlos Gomez, owner of Florida Air Transport, and a discussion of classic piston-liners, including the DC-6, DC-7 and Lockheed Constellation.

A321neo best to replace 757: AirInsight

AirInsight today published a short report comparing the Boeing 737-900ER with the Airbus A321neo and concluded the neo is the best choice to replace the Boeing 757.

See the AirInsight synopsis here.

The report is particularly timely with the pending American Airlines decision we’ve all read so much about.

Countdown at American for huge order

American Airlines is believed ready to decide on replacing as many as 250 narrow-bodies in its fleet as early as this week.

The Wall Street Journal published this report Sunday outlining the stakes.

We suggested recently that AA could split the order, sticking with Boeing for the 737-800 to replace more than 200 aging MD-80s; and the Airbus A321neo to replace the more than 100 Boeing 757s.

The competition is a tough one, as The WSJ article details. As for the aircraft, we’re not sure adding A320 Legacy airplanes to the fleet in place of the 737-800, in and of itself, makes a lot of sense unless (1) American needs more airplanes quicker than Boeing can provide to replace the gas-guzzling MD-80s and (2) it’s tied to a deal for the A320/321 neo.

AirInsight will publish a report Tuesday (July 12) examining the economics of which airplane best replaces American’s 757s: the 737-900ER or the A321neo.

The GE Powerhouse and how it wins deals

Those of us who are intimately familiar with commercial aviation will find this as no news. For those who don’t deal in this business every day, this will provide a better understanding of how deals are won in aviation.

This is the story of the GE Powerhouse and how family ties combine to enable GE Aviation and CFM International to win deals that might otherwise go to competing engines.

None of what we’re about to tell you is to suggest that the GE/CFM engines are inferior (though, obviously, some might dispute this), because they are superb engines. But a telling comment came from CFM’s Sandrine Lacorre, product marketing director, who said at a UBM Aviation conference, “What we can’t do technically, we will do commercially.”

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Odds and Ends, Post-Paris Air Show 2011

Here are our closing views of the PAS:


Boeing did very well at the show. We know the headlines almost universally say Boeing had a bad show (which it didn’t) and was trounced by Airbus (which it was), but people easily overlook comparing Boeing’s performance vs. previous air shows.

Boeing announced more than 140 orders worth some $22bn–about equal to the 2009 Paris Air Show. By anyone’s standards, this ain’t shabby. Boeing often announces low numbers at air shows, claiming it doesn’t hold orders for the shows and Airbus does. We regard this as so much poppycock, because we know customers drive announcements and both Airbus and Boeing hold announcements for air shows at customer requests.

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Odds and Ends at the Paris Air Show, Day 3

Odds and Ends at the Paris Air Show, Day 3

  • John Leahy, COO-Customers for Airbus, says that after CFM re-jigged the LEAP engine with a larger fan and the seventh LPT stage, has brought the engine to parity with the Pratt & Whitney GTF in fuel burn. The LEAP initially was up to 4% lower in fuel burn, leading to PW’s early lead in sales.
  • “We don’t buy deals,” CFM told our associate, Addison Schonland of AirInsight Wednesday during his visit with them at the Paris Air Show. He’s going to have a special post about the War of Words between PW and CFM soon on AirInsight. Read more

Odds and Ends of the Paris Air Show, Day 1

Odds and Ends of the Paris Air Show, Day 1

The Air Show began with heavy downpour that delayed traffic and buses, but fortunately not us since we didn’t stay in the City—but rather just 5km up the road. Nonetheless, we got soaked. Yet the rains couldn’t dampen the spirit of either Boeing or Airbus—or the wiseacre at the Show who played the theme song from the old movie, “Singin’ in the Rain” during one of the periodic cloud bursts.

For Boeing, rain notwithstanding, Monday was a very good day for the company. It received 17 orders for the slow-selling 747-8 (15 from one airline), customers unidentified. Boeing also announced orders for the other 7-Series airplanes except the 767. The various order announcements may be found on the Boeing website.

Contrast this to the Paris Air Show in 2009 (Paris runs in odd years, Farnborough in even years). On the Monday and Tuesday, officials vowed the 787 would have its first flight by the end of June. On
Tuesday evening, these officials were called back to Seattle to deal with the fact the test pilots would not fly the airplane because the wing-to-body join was not up to snuff. A few days after the air show ended, the company called off the first flight, to great embarrassment. It was six months before the airplane flew.

At this air show, Boeing has one 787, two 747s, a 737 with the Sky Interior inspired by the 787 and a 777-200LR. This represents the technology The Boeing Co. is known for and the achievements that can be had.

Boeing started the air show with a bang (figuratively). The remaining days should be good as well.


If Boeing started the show with a figurative bang, Airbus did literally. The big A380 scraped a wingtip on a building after airport controllers sent them down what turned out to be an incorrect taxiway. The A380 was beached for the first day and probably a few more. This came on the heels of the A400M scrubbing its aerobatics because another test plane had an engine problem. The best aerial display (to us, anyway) was the flight demonstration of the Breitling L-1049 Constellation.

But Airbus began with 100 orders for its A320neo from GECAS and Air Lease Corp., putting COO John Leahy well on the way toward the 600 orders for the airplane that was his goal by the end of the air show. We think it possible he’ll be much closer to 700.


The other manufacturer that has been in the focus is Bombardier. Following a long draught in orders, BBD racked up two in the week before the air show and a third Monday. Two of the three are Unidentified, but now BBD has 113 firm orders and almost as many options. BBD also said today’s customer will be the launch operator.

Rain, rain go away—a rail strike is coming

Buzz among journalists today is that a one-day rail strike is planned for tomorrow. Traffic to and from Le Bourget is bad enough on a good day. Rain makes it worse and a rail strike will paralyze the roads. Except for us. Taxis get to use dedicated bus lanes and we should be at the air show tomorrow in 10 minutes, strike or no strike. The US should take a cue on the dedicate bus lanes. But in typically Washington/Puget Sound fashion, nobody can make a decision let alone one in a timely fashion without some nitwit launching an initiative to reverse the decision.

AirInsight has been doing a running commentary on Monday’s air show events.

Boeing 737 re-engine studies very much alive

Boeing officials like to downplay the prospect of re-engining the venerable 737, but studies are very much alive as the company tries to figure out what the market wants and how to respond to the Airbus A320neo.

Boeing has shifted focus on re-engine studies despite already having a solution, officials said during a pre-Paris Air Show media briefing.

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We’re off to the Paris Air Show

Today is Thursday and we are on our way to the Paris Air Show.

First up on the schedule is the EADS/Airbus media day on Saturday, with a briefing that is expected to unveil the changes we previously reported to the A350-1000. The briefing day is embargoed to 12:01 am Sunday, June 19 (Paris time), matching the Boeing air show briefing embargo.

We’ll be filing regular reports on this site.

Additionally, Addison Schonland, managing director of AirInsight and of Innovation Analysis Group, will be at the show. He’ll be posting on both sites.

Paris Air Show outlook

There are several items looking at the Paris Air Show outlook:

AirInsight had a live discussion Friday with Addison Schonland, Richard Aboulafia and Ernie Arvai hosting it. The transcript is here.

AirInsight also published a lengthy written preview of what to expect from all the major airframe and engine OEMs here.

Here’s a short-take on Airbus at the show.