Looking ahead for 2020 and 2030 decades: Embraer

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Fourth in a series.

By Bjorn Fehrm


July 8, 2020, © Leeham News: All airliner OEMs have a disastrous 2020, but for Embraer, the year has been even worse. After spending a year and over $200m to carve out the Commercial Aviation division to merge it into Boeing, the Joint Venture Agreement (JV) was stopped by Boeing at the last moment.

The Executive Jets and Defense side were not affected, but now Embraer was organized as two companies instead of one. The company must now re-merge the organizations to save costs in a COVID-19 environment where limiting cash outflow, and lowering costs are necessary for survival. At the same time, it’s arch-rival on the world market, Airbus A220 has gone from strength to strength through basket selling with the popular A320.

How does Embraer come back from the Boeing pass up and regroup in a regional market that is no longer a fight of equals? Embraer competes with Airbus that in 2019 was 11 times larger in airliner deliveries and 29 times in airliner revenue.

Only in the below 100 seat market is it saved from the giant, who doesn’t have a model in the segment. And it seems the below 100 seat competitor, Mitsubishi, might fold its entry.

  • The botched JV with Boeing came at the worst possible moment for Embraer, just when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped airliner deliveries.
  • The planned JV had held back sales and deliveries, waiting for the JV to complete.
  • In addition, it cost Embraer $200m, pushing it into the red for 2019.
  • Embraer must now find another fix to the Airbus problem while wrestling with a worldwide COVID crisis.
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Pontifications: Why I won’t be flying any time soon

July 6, 2020, © Leeham News: I really, really want to return to traveling by air soon. But I don’t expect to fly until next year.

By Scott Hamilton

I’m not worried about being on the airplane. As LNA’s Bjorn Fehrm detailed over a series of Friday posts, the cabin purification technology scrubs the air every few minutes.

The problem is not the airplane.

It’s the people who fly.

Here’s why.

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Pontifications: Deferrals, bankruptcies continue; order recovery far off

By Scott Hamilton

June 22, 2020, © Leeham News: Although more passengers are flowing through airports and airlines are adding back service, airplane order deferrals continue.

Airline bankruptcies do, too.

LEVEL’s short haul operation went into bankruptcy last week. LATAM Argentina ceased operations. Lufthansa said it may seek administration if shareholders don’t agree to the government bailout negotiated by the airline.

New orders dried up. And, so far, there is no telling when there might be some placed.

Boeing announced just a handful of new orders last month. Airbus didn’t announce any orders in May.

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How much of International passenger flights can be paid by belly cargo? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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June 11, 2020, © Leeham News: As international passenger traffic slowly recovers, how much of the cost of flying passengers on the international routes can be paid by the freight under the floor?

We discussed the base parameters to answer this question in last week’s article. Now we calculate the revenues from passengers traffic and Cargo and compare them with the operational costs.



  • The high freight prices make it possible to resume international passenger flights without losses on routes where there is substantial freight demand.
  • As belly freight capacity comes back to the market the freight prices will decline, but by then the passenger load factors should be on the way up.

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France to invest 15 billion Euro in its aeronautical industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 10, 2020, ©. Leeham News: France presented a 15 billion Euro support plan for the French aeronautical industry yesterday, to help the industry overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan has three focus areas:

  • safeguard the employment of the 300,000 employed in the French aero industry
  • transform the supplier network to a more robust structure
  • and perhaps most interesting, set the direction for the industries’ next aircraft projects

The French Finance Minister announces the plan. Source: France 24.

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HOTR: LATAM files bankruptcy, latest COVID airline casualty; 1,100 aircraft involved

By the Leeham News Staff

May 26, 2020, © Leeham News: LATAM, the largest airline company in South America, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy today in New York.

LATAM operates more than 300 aircraft. This filing means more than 1,100 worldwide were operated by airlines seeking bankruptcy or administrative protections. The UK’s Flybe was already failing before COVID effectively shut down UK air travel.

Many others teeter on the edge, saved for the moment by government bailouts.

Below is LNA’s latest tally of aircraft.

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Airbus 1Q2020, preparing for “the gravest crisis in our industry’s history”

April 29, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus presented its results for the first quarter of 2020 today. In the accompanying news conference, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said, “we are facing the gravest crisis in our industry’s history,” and the company is implementing several measures to secure Airbus’ future.

World travel has disappeared, and new airliner deliveries will be down for years. Production of Airbus commercial aircraft is cut with one third, but this will be adapted as actual demand evolves, with the next adjustment expected in June.

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Can a passenger airliner run as a freighter with today’s tariffs? Part 4.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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April 23, 2020, © Leeham News: We spent the last weeks checking if passenger airliners used as belly freighters make economic sense.

With the present air freight prices, it does. The high freight prices are a result of half the World’s freight capacity disappearing with the grounding of passenger jets.

Our economic analysis assumed standard densities for the belly cargo. What happens if this is no longer the case? Can more voluminous cargo fly in the passenger cabin?

Figure 1. Air Canada Boeing 777 with humanitarian supplies (face masks) transported in the cabin. Source: Air Canada.

  • Widebody aircraft can temporarily fly as belly freighters without loading cargo in the cabin, but enabling cabin cargo will improve the business case with the present lower-density cargo.
  • For single-aisle jets the belly cargo holds are too small, a cabin cargo loading system is necessary for efficient operation.
  • Is it OK to take out the seats and load cargo in the cabin? For normal cargo no, it isn’t. We check what is required.

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Pontifications: Airlines, OEMs step up in virus crisis

By Scott Hamilton

April 13, 2020, © Leeham News: There are plenty of stories and photos floating around the Internet about airlines flying empty or nearly so.

Schedules have been pared back up to 95% across the globe.

Spot-check Flightradar24 at any given moment and there are a lot air freighters flying.

But the passenger airlines are also flying some airliners dedicated to cargo. Some are flying cargo in the below-deck holds only. Others installed plastic protection over the passenger seats and loaded box after box after box of protective masks for shipment. Still others removed the passenger seats entirely and loaded the main deck with lighter-weight cargo.

This article summarizes many airlines that stepped up to fly supplies throughout the world.

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Is COVID-19 a Force Majeure event?

Editor’s Note: Airbus, Boeing and Embraer and other OEMs face requests for deferrals and perhaps cancellations of orders as a result of COVID-19. In addition, Boeing now faces cancellation requests for the 737 MAX grounding, now in its 13th month. While Boeing’s contracts generally allow Boeing or the customer to cancel the order after the 12th month, the COVID crisis raises a new element: canceling by Force Majeure and something called the Doctrine of Frustration.

The following analysis appeared March 12, 2020, on the website of the law firm Shearman & Sterling law firm. The authors are listed at the end of this article. It is reprinted here with permission.

Following the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) that was first reported in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on March 11, 2020.

In this note, we consider how force majeure provisions in commercial contracts and the related common law doctrine of frustration may be engaged in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak. While this analysis focuses primarily on the position under English law, we have included a PRC law perspective because of the significant impact COVID-19 has had on business in China. We also suggest steps that parties may take to safeguard their positions in view of the evolving situation.

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