Airlines must change tactics to attract maintenance workers

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Introduction

April 18, 2019, © Leeham News: Airlines need to create a pleasing work environment even in the industrial atmosphere of “wrench turners” if they are going to attract millennials to become maintenance workers.

Boeing forecasts a need of more than 600,000 mechanics over the next 20 years.

Some airlines, like Delta, faces an aging workforce, which will produce a surge of retirements.

JetBlue, with a young workforce, faces the challenge of attracting young workers who find better paying jobs in other industries.

Even KLM found it has to change the work environment to attract young employees.

Here’s how their stepping up to these challenges.

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Canada’s Harbour Air to fit electric engines on its plane

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Introduction

By Bryan Corliss

March 26, 2019, © Leeham News: A Seattle-area engine manufacturer today will announce a significant step toward actually getting an electric-powered passenger aircraft off the ground.

The company, MagniX, is set to announce a partnership with Canada’s Harbour Air to retrofit its fleet of 33 piston-powered de Havilland Beavers, Otters and Twin Otters with 750 hp electric engines.

Harbour Air will equip its fleet of 33 aircraft, including the de Havilland Twin Otter, with electric engines. Source: harbour Air.

The first electric-powered flight – in a six-passenger Beaver – will take place before the end of 2019, according to MagniX CEO Roei Ganzarski. MagniX and the Vancouver-based airline plan to pursue a supplemental type certificate for the planes, with a goal of 2021 for EIS.

Modifications will take place at a plant in Vancouver, a spokeswoman said.

Summary
  • Overcoming skepticism.
  • Tested engine, proven airframe.
  • Short-haul routes.

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Congestion costs billions, but airlines show little concern

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Introduction

 March 21, 2019, © Leeham News: There are many estimates for how much flight delays and disruptions cost airlines and passengers. But everyone agrees the total number is big—possibly more than $1bn for each major US airline each year.

In 2017, delays cost airlines and passengers $26.6bn, according to the FAA/Nextor estimate. That total includes direct cost to airlines and travelers, lost demand and indirect costs. Congestion at the three major airports serving New York City directly cost air carriers an estimated $834m a year, according to a 2009 report.

Chicago O’Hare Airport at 7pm, Sunday, March 17, 2019. Source: FlightRadar24.

Yet despite the high cost, flight on-time statistics are basically where they were 20 years ago. Moreover, there are no discernible positive trends in the data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Of course, airlines take steps to decrease or limit flight delays, and, of course, some things, such as severe weather, are out of anyone’s control.

At the same time, airlines have shown little interest in pushing for low-cost solutions to decreasing system-wide congestion. There is no clear or easy explanations for carrier’s lack of motivation. However, interviews with current and former airline executives, researchers and others highlighted a few key factors.

Summary
  • Reducing air traffic congestion is a huge, hairy beast of a problem.
  • That complexity makes it difficult to see system-based approaches.
  • Airlines are concerned that competitors could benefit more from reduced congestion.

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About 40% of MAX fleet now grounded-but not by FAA

March 12, 2019, © Leeham News: About 40% of the world’s in-service Boeing 737 MAX fleet were grounded by the end of yesterday, Seattle time, after more governments and airlines banned operations.

Singapore was the latest to ban MAX operations from its air space.

The US Federal Aviation Administration said yesterday there isn’t enough information yet from the Ethiopian Airlines crash Sunday to conclude a grounding order is necessary.

But it added that it will issue an order for a mandatory action by April to make improvements to the flight control system. Boeing late Monday confirmed a software upgrade is in the works for its MCAS stall recovery system used on the MAX.

LNA reported early Monday that a plan to implement a software upgrade following the October crash of a Lion Air MAX 8 had not been implemented.

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Indonesia grounds MAX, one-third of world fleet now grounded

Update: Royal Air Maroc, Mongolian Airlines ground MAX.

March 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Indonesia regulators today joined China, Grand Cayman Airways and Ethiopian Airlines in grounding the Boeing 737 MAX pending investigations or inspections.

This means about one third of the in-service MAXes have been grounded by regulators or operators.

The moves came within 36 hours of the crash of Ethiopian Flight 302, a MAX 8, six minutes after take off from Addis Ababa. The crash killed all 157 people on board five months after a Lion Air 737-8 crash that killed 189 passengers and crew. Lion Air is an Indonesian carrier. The airline’s JT610 crashed 12 minutes after take off.

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With CSeries, Airbus commands 78% of 100-150 seat sector

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Introduction

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus acquired 50.01% of the Bombardier CSeries program last year.

Boeing and Embraer Commercial Aviation received Brazilian government approval last month and now await a nearly-year long regulatory approval process from around the globe.

Based on the announced orders at Jan. 1, Airbus has a 78% share of the 100-150 seat sector following the combinations.

Embraer sold more airplanes in this sector than Boeing: 95 E195-E2s to 70 737-7s.

The former CSeries has 526 orders to 55 for the A319neo.

Summary
  • 14% of the A220 orders are classified as “Red” in LNA’s judgment—orders that either should be removed from the backlog or, in one case, is highly questionable due to customer statements.
  • Another 11% of the A220 orders are classified as “Yellow,” primarily due to region risk.
  • Synergies between A220 and A320 are greater than E2 and 737.

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Pontificatons: From the sidelines at the AFJ Dublin conference

 

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: Launch by Boeing of the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA) is pretty much a given, despite a still undecided business case, say people on the sidelines of the Airfinance Journal’s Dublin 2019 conference.

Here is a potpourri of information picked up at the conference, which is attended by about 2,000 people.

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PIPs planned for A220 to improve operating costs

Airbus A220-300, ordered by JetBlue last year. Source: Airbus.

Jan. 17, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is planning performance improvement packages for the A220, intended to shave operating costs off an airplane that already beat performance promises.

The PIPs, as the upgrades are known, are common among all airliners. In this case, the PIPs were under study by Bombardier long before Airbus acquired a 50.01% stake in the C Series program last year.

While financially-strapped Bombardier may have been able to find the money to execute, giant Airbus has no problem doing so.

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Bombardier CEO “proud” at A220 FAL groundbreaking

Jan. 16, 2019, © Leeham News, Mobile (AL): Groundbreaking for the Airbus A220 final assembly line today might be viewed as a bittersweet moment for Alain Bellemare, CEO on Bombardier, designer of the C Series.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders at the A220 FAL groundbreaking in Mobile (AL). It’s his last one with Airbus., He retires in April. (Scott Hamilton photo.)

The program nearly bankrupted Bombardier. A sale of 50.01% of the CSLAP limited partnership to Airbus was necessary to save the program and Bombardier.

Bombardier’s share in the program was reduced to about a third after the Airbus sale. (A quasi-government Quebec pension fund owns the rest.)

But in an interview following the groundbreaking, Bellemare was almost giddy with excitement.

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2019 Outlook: COMAC’s slow but steady progress

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Introduction

Jan. 4, 2019, © Leeham News: This is not the year where China’s COMAC will have break-out progress for the C919, its challenge to the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737.

Flight testing is slow and entry into service (EIS) is now targeted for 2021—a slip of five years from the original schedule.

The C919 launch-to-EIS is approaching the eight years record of the ARJ21.

But these delays don’t mean COMAC isn’t making progress.

Summary
  • Boeing’s JV with COMAC for a 737 completion center opened last month.
  • Despite delays, the C919 progresses.
  • Progress continues on the JV with Russia for the CR929.

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