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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The Struggling European Regional Airlines

  • This is the third in a series of articles on the struggling low cost and leisure carriers in Europe.

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction       

Sep. 23, 2019, © Leeham News: Numerous European regional airlines are struggling financially.

FlyBe was sold earlier this year for a symbolic amount to Connect Airways. The new airlines’ shareholders are Stobart Air, Virgin Atlantic and Cyrus Capital Partners.

UK regional carrier flybmi ceased operations earlier this year. Air France announced a 15% cut in domestic capacity at regional subsidiary Hop! after years of steep losses.

In spite of their struggles, European regional airlines represent a significant market for aircraft OEMs. The Airbus A220, Embraer E2 and turboprop programs count on new European airline orders to bolster their order book.

Summary
  • A fragmented industry;
  • Another prevailing business models than in the USA;
  • Influence of geography and public transportation;
  • Dearth of latest generation aircraft orders;
  • External factors threatening the industry.

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Lower interest rates, a tailwind for new orders

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction

Sep. 16, 2019, © Leeham News: Over the last few weeks, LNA outlined significant production gaps from 2022 onwards for the major widebody programs at Airbus and Boeing. The OEMs expect airlines to place large fleet renewal orders to fill those.

Aircraft deliveries need to be financed one way or another. Access to affordable financing is crucial for airlines and lessors to make good on their orders.

Interest rates in the world’s major currencies hit an all-time low a few weeks ago. The 30-year US Treasury yield dipped below 2%, while the 10Y German Bund was at -70 basis points.

Corporations duly took advantage of the lower rates to issue record amounts of debt in US dollars during the first week of September. United Airlines and Bank of China Aviation were among them.

We will analyze how lower interest rates could benefit the aviation industry.

Summary
  • Varying interest rate exposure for airlines and lessors.
  • Level of access to capital markets among airlines.
  • Hurdles to capitalize on low interest rates.
  • Unlikely beneficiaries if low rates persist in the near future.
  • Boosting new widebody order prospects.

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Airbus touts Airspace, Internet of Things at APEX convention

Sept. 13, 2019, © Leeham News, Los Angeles: Airbus is expanding its Airspace interior look to the A321LR and A321XLR, providing a common theme with its widebody A330neo and A350 family members.

The OEM is also launching the fully cabin-connected Internet of Things (IoT), a system connecting just about everything in a cabin, for passenger experience and airline use.

The moves were revealed at the 2019 APEX convention last week in Los Angeles.

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The struggling smaller European low cost carriers, Part 2.

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By Vincent Valery

Sep. 9, 2019, © Leeham News: In last week’s article, we discussed the context that led to the creation of numerous European low cost and leisure carriers. We also outlined the main reasons for their recent struggles.

Today we will look at the current situation for smaller carriers in various European countries. We will start with Germany.

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E195-E2 will lead E-Jet sales, predicts N. American sales exec

Sept. 6, 2019, © Leeham Co., Nashville– Embraer is seeing interest from North American airlines in the E195-E2 despite a requirement that this would have to be operated by US mainline pilots or carriers without restrictions under some labor contract Scope Clauses, a top marketing official said yesterday.


 

Charlie Hills, VP of Sales and Marketing and based at the company’s US headquarters in Ft. Lauderdale, declined to name names of these airlines expressing interest in the E195-E2.

The remarks were made at the annual Regional Airlines Assoc. conference in Nashville.

But it is known that low-cost carriers Spirit Air, Frontier Airlines and even Southwest Airlines have looked at the airplane. None of these has a Scope Clause in labor contracts.

Legacy carrier United Airlines also has reviewed the airplane, but its level of interest is hard to gauge. It’s restricted by Scope by size, weight, seat count and the number of airplanes it can fly through its regional partners, so the E2 would have to fly mainline. Pilot wages would be a make-or-break issue.

The first E195-E2 will be delivered Sept. 12 to Brazil’s Azul Airlines.

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