Several aircraft programs beset by engine woes

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By Judson Rollins

Nov. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: Nearly every manufacturer of jet engines is experiencing problems with various models, which is causing delays for several prominent Boeing and Airbus programs. The Airbus A220, A320neo, A330neo and Boeing 787, 777X are all experiencing engine-related setbacks.

Grounded 787s at London Heathrow. Source: Twitter / Alex Macheras.

Summary

  • Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) operational limitations on A220, A320neo.
  • CFM LEAP said to be causing renewed A320neo delivery delays.
  • Multiple new airworthiness directives on Trent 1000, 7000.
  • GE9x component issues causing delays to first 777X test flight.

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Pontifications: Good, and Bad, news from the Dubai Air Show

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: The Dubai Air Show proved to be a mixed bag for Airbus and Boeing.

Each company picked up important orders and commitments.

But each company saw some previously announced commitments reduced in the process, including, for Boeing, a reduction in the backlog for the slow-selling 777X.

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A tangled web at the HNA Group

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Nov. 18, 2019, © Leeham News: The HNA Group, a Chinese conglomerate with a heavy focus on aviation, has been in the spotlight for a few years as its financial condition deteriorated.

Its current state came from its debt-fueled global acquisition spree, then the challenges in deleveraging.

At some point, the group owned stakes in 20 airlines in Mainland China and abroad. Other notable acquisitions include lessor Avolon, Swissport, Servair, SR Technics, and stakes in two foreign airports.

The HNA Group does not publish accounts. LNA went through the financial statements of its flagship subsidiary Hainan Airlines, since 2000, with the goal of better understanding the group structure and assess the airline business profitability.

 

Summary
  • HNA’s relentless growth;
  • A buying spree bites back;
  • Domestic and foreign airline ownership model;
  • Hainan Airlines accounting.

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Air France-KLM wants to simplify the fleet

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Nov. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: Air France-KLM will strive to greatly simplify its fleet by early next decade, the group outlined in an investors day presentation Nov. 5.

The Group includes Air France, KLM and Transavia. The low-cost carriers Joon and Hop! are discontinued.

Fleet simplification

KLM

The company wants to reduce today’s fleet types at KLM from six to four, dropping the Airbus A330 and Boeing 747s.

The Future Fleet concentrates around the Embraer E1 and E2 E-Jets; the Boeing 737 NG; the Boeing 787-9 and the Boeing 777 Classic.

At the moment, there are no Boeing 737 MAXes in the future fleet plans. KLM had none on order, even before the October 29, 2018, Lion Air accident.

The possibility of a Boeing 777X is also not shown in the rendering.

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McAllister out, a new Deal at Boeing Commercial Airplanes

By Scott Hamilton

Analysis

Oct. 23, 2019, © Leeham News: Kevin McAllister’s departure yesterday as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes comes as no surprise.

Only the timing—now instead of next year, as was widely surmised—caught people off guard.

Kevin McAllister, left, and Stan Deal, right, at an order signing. McAllister is out and Deal is in. Credit: Azal.az.

Reports conflict whether he resigned, was fired or (as one report put it), it was a “separation;” it really doesn’t matter.

Word was circulating for months, long before the 737 MAX grounding, that his was a fading star.

He was replaced by Stan Deal, CEO of Boeing Global Services.

That McAllister is the first high-profile casualty of the MAX grounding and recertification crisis is also not a surprise. That he would be sacrificed had been rumored for weeks. The New York Times openly wrote about this prospect 10 days ago.

But tying McAllister to the MAX crisis is to some degree scapegoating.

As I wrote Oct. 7, the fingers of blame for the crisis point much higher than McAllister.

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NMA off the table in 2020–and maybe entirely

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Introduction

Oct. 21, 2019, © Leeham News, New York: What is the impact of the 737 MAX grounding on Boeing’s plan for the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA)?

This question was common along the sidelines last week of the Wings Club and two conferences in New York City. (See Pontifications.)

There is, of course, no definitive answer today.

But the plurality of opinion is that the NMA is off the table for the indefinite future.

Summary
  • There is no clear picture when the MAX will be recertified, either by the FAA or other regulators.
  • There is no clear picture how long Boeing will maintain production rate at 42/mo, which depends on how much longer it must wait for recertification.
  • With turmoil in the executive suite (the CEO lost his chairman’s title Oct. 11), there is no clear picture how long Dennis Muilenburg has a job.
  • With, apparently, Boeing Commercial CEO Kevin McAllister also in the cross hairs, there is no clear picture of executive suite stability at Longacres, the BCA HQ.
  • Any successors for Muilenburg and/or McAllister will want to review Boeing’s entire product strategy.
  • Therefore, do not expect any go-forward for NMA in 2020.

Other than that, everything is fine.

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Preferred 737 MAX return to service timeline for Airlines

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Oct. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: As Boeing sorts out final requirements with regulators for the 737 MAX return to service, preparations to resume deliveries are in full steam.

The company is hiring scores of temporary workers to return grounded and built but not yet delivered airframes. A note from Alliance Bernstein estimates that Boeing will be able to hand over 25 aircraft per month on top of those that come off the assembly line.

After taking hefty losses and having lost its most robust cash flow source for almost a year, Boeing will want to hand over as many aircraft to airlines as fast as possible.

Do all 737 MAX customers, likewise, want their aircraft back in service as soon as possible?

Summary
  • National regulators will drive return to service timeline;
  • Passenger demand variations;
  • 737 MAX exposure by region;
  • Demand peaks might dictate who flies first;
  • Maintenance, compensation, and other considerations.

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The time for a 767RE passenger model has come and gone

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Introduction

Oct. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing is reconsidering a previous idea to re-engine the 767 with GEnx powerplants, Flight Global reported last week.

The idea was run up the flagpole, so-to-speak, in 2017.

Boeing 747-400. Source: Delta Air Lines.

At that time, the 737 MAX was just entering service. There was, of course, no hint of any turbulence on the horizon.

The business case for the New Midmarket Aircraft was difficult even then. So why not look at a 767RE and restarting the 757 line, also up upgrades?

Boeing being Boeing, it looks at everything. It ruled out restarting the 757 line (the challenges would have been pretty daunting).

The 767 got more studious traction, including simply restarting the passenger line and providing a really cheap acquisition. A 767RE, however, was viewed as too complex under the circumstances and it would compete with the 787.

American Airlines and United Airlines were actually interested in the airplane restart.

Summary
  • B767F-RE may be to counter A330-900F approach to a major cargo airline.
  • B767P-RE likely would be met favorably–by Airbus.
  • Re-engining 767 repeats 737RE experience.

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Europe’s Regional airlines meet in Antibes, Cotes d’Azur.

By Bjorn Fehrm 

October 9, 2018, ©. Leeham News, Antibes France: The European Airlines Association, ERA, gathered 44 of its 51 member airlines in Antibes France, today for the first day of its 2019 General Assembly meeting.

LNA participated in the event for the first time and we found an impressive gathering of airline and airport representatives, aircraft OEMs and support businesses discussing the challenges facing the European regional air transport market.

Norway’s Wideroe, the launch customer for Embraer’s E-Jet E2 is one of the airlines present.

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European bloodbath dumps aircraft back into market

Sept. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: As many as 135 Airbus and Boeing jets could be dumped on the market following the bankruptcies or cessation of operations of five airlines and a financially distressed sixth carrier that is a subsidiary of one of the bankrupt ones.

Thomas Cook, the travel company that is parent to Thomas Cook Airlines, Thomas Cook Scandinavia and Condor Airlines declared insolvency Monday. The two Thomas Cook airlines ceased operations.

Condor maintained service for now and received an emergency loan of €380m loan from the German government. But its long-term survival may depend on acquisition by the Lufthansa Group.

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