Analysis: Bombardier continues to improve Q400 model

By Olivier Bonnassies

Aug. 21, 2018, © Airfinance Journal: Bombardier Commercial Aircraft is gradually introducing more features in its Q400 turboprop aircraft as the Canadian manufacturer continues to see appetite in the 70-90-seat market.

Improvements under development include a 2,000lb increase in payload capacity. The model’s current maximum payload is 18,716lb, while maximum take-off weight varies between 61,700lb and 67,200lb.

Other changes the manufacturer is introducing include the extension of A-check and C-check intervals from 600/6,000 to 800/8,000 flight hours, giving a 20% direct maintenance cost saving.

Bombardier Q400. Source: Bombardier.

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Airbus Business Line Services ramping up

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Introduction

Aug. 13, 2018, © Leeham News: While Boeing aggressively pushes its new business unit, Boeing Global Services (BGS), on a trajectory for a $50bn revenue target in 10 years, Airbus quietly has its own services operation.

Airbus services has a goal to reach $10bn in revenue over the next decade for its commercial services. In 2017, the Airbus Group revenue of $9bn was split roughly evenly between commercial, helicopters and defense.

BGS’ revenue target includes all services.

Unlike BGS, Airbus services are not a separate business unit/profit center. Ironically, the Airbus website describes the airliner-part as “commercial aircraft services.” Boeing’s airliner services operation was called Commercial Aviation Services, or CAS, before CAS merged with the Boeing defense operation to form BGS. The business line is promoted as Services by Airbus in collateral material.

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Rising fuel prices hit earnings, but there’s a silver lining for OEMs

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Introduction

July 30, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Fuel prices are spiking and it’s already causing airlines to adjust growth and fleet plans.

But rising fuel prices could mean orders for slow-selling aircraft might pick up. Still, there are mixed signals on this front.

Summary
  • American and Southwest airlines are curbing growth and American is deferring airplanes due to rising fuel prices.
  • Alaska Airlines reported fuel prices were up 10 consecutive quarters, adding $850m to expenses.
  • Fuel prices were just under $80bbl on the US spot market last Thursday.
  • The inflection point between keeping current generation planes and ordering new ones with more efficient engines is fast approaching.
  • This could be a boost to the slow-selling Airbus A330neo and accelerate demand for the Embraer EJet-E2 and the Airbus A220 (nee Bombardier C Series).

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First mover or not, that is the question: A321XLR vs NMA

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Introduction

July 23, 2018, © Leeham News: First mover or not first mover, that is the question.

In a pre-Farnborough Air Show interview with another publication, Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders said Airbus had the advantage of being the “first mover” by acquiring majority control of the Bombardier C Series program.

But when it comes to responding to the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Airplane (NMA, or 797), Airbus officials say they are content to wait and watch, willing to let Boeing make the first move.

At the same time, Airbus is proceeding with studies to further extend the range of the A321neo, in the form of the A321XLR. The airplane would have a range of 4,500nm, up from 4,100nm, according to information widely leaked at the air show.

Summary
  • Airbus looks to squeeze Boeing from the bottom of the NMA market with A321neo improvements.
  • Boeing sales chief dismisses A321XLR as a sub-set of a sub-set.
  • But others see the basic A321 design as more flexible than the 737 MAX.
  • Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury

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Farnborough: First day order recap

By Alex Derber

July 16, 2018, (c) Airfinance Journal: Day One of Farnborough 2018 belonged firmly to Boeing in terms of firm orders, although the US manufacturer saved up many of its largest announcements from deals done earlier in the year. Airbus, meanwhile, almost achieved parity if one includes softer commitments from airlines and lessors, although there were some speculative deals, notably a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for 17 A350s from Starlux, a Taiwanese start-up not yet in business.

Other noteworthy deals included lessor Jackson Square Aviation’s first new aircraft order and United decision to buy E175s rather than the newer E2 variant.

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Farnborough: Boeing reconsiders metal fuselage for NMA as cost remains major challenge

July 16, 2018, © Leeham News: Farnborough: Boeing has returned to considering a metal fuselage for the New Midmarket Aircraft as an alternative to the ovoid-based composite design that has been the focus for the past two-three years, multiple sources tell LNC.

Boeing hasn’t been able to narrow the cost of the composite design to a point where selling the aircraft in the $70m-range is feasible, sources say.

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Future Mobile A220 final assembly line already pushing capacity

July 11, 2018, © Leeham News: The order for 60 Airbus A220-300s, when added to the order for 75 A220-100s by Delta Air Lines and the anticipated order for 60 A220-300s by USA start-up carrier Moxy Airlines, nearly fills out the new Mobile (AL) production line through 2024, an LNC analysis reveals.

Construction of the A220 Final Assembly Line (FAL) begins this year. The first delivery is planned for mid-2020.

JetBlue and Moxy show first deliveries in 2020, according to company documents. Delta’s deliveries begin this year from the Airbus Canada Montreal facility, but will shift to the Mobile plant.

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JetBlue orders 60 A220-300s in surprise timing

July 10, 2018, (c) Leeham News: JetBlue announced an order today for 60 Airbus A220-300s, nee Bombardier CS300s. The airline took options on 60 more.

The timing is a surprise–JetBlue previously said it would not be ready to order until toward the end of the year.

The order is a blow to Embraer, which has 60 E-190s in service with JBLU. The airline had orders for 20 more, but delivery had been deferred several times. Industry insiders told LNC the order could be canceled with little or no penalty.

The order is a blow to Embraer for the flip and for the loss of a potential E2 order. The E195-E2 seats slightly fewer passengers and has less range than the A220-300.

JetBlue has a large fleet of Airbus A320ceos, a few A321ceos and a large order book for neos.

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Laser focus for MRJ program

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By Dan Catchpole

July 3, 2018, © Leeham News: It’s been two years since a small army of Japanese aerospace workers landed in Moses Lake, a sleepy former Air Force base town in rural Central Washington. The Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MAC) will be in Moses Lake for another four or five years as it nudges its new regional jets—the MRJ70 and MRJ90—into service.

Japan’s All Nippon Airways is the launch customer and first operator for the Mitsubishi MRJ90. Source: Mitsubishi.

The first Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the MRJ90, originally was supposed to enter into service in 2013, but myriad develop delays have dogged the sleek jet, which now is slated to deliver to launch customer All Nippon Airways in mid-2020.

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Delays over for MRJ program, execs insist

By Dan Catchpole

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July 3, 2018, © Leeham News:   Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. executives insist the MRJ90 is past the seemingly endless delays that have dogged its development. It is on track toward type certification and first delivery in mid-2020.

MRJ90 flight test vehicles at Mitsubishi’s Moses Lake (WA) flight testing facility. Source: Mitsubishi.

The problem is when it arrives, the 81-seat MRJ90 will be the wrong fit for the US market. Program executives praised the plane’s advanced design during media briefings at the MRJ flight test center in Moses Lake (WA), but when they spoke about market opportunity, it was for the smaller MRJ70, which is at least three years away from entering service.

Starting in 2022, Mitsubishi expects a wave of 50-seat regional jet retirements in the North American market. And North America—specifically the United States—”is the most important market for us to make this business successful,” said Yugo Fukuhara, Mitsubishi Aircraft vice president and general manager of sales and marketing.

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