Can the DHC 8-400 compete with a CRJ550 for the 50 seat Scope Clause market?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 14, 2019, © Leeham News: The US mainline airlines have large fleets of 50-seater regional jets that are getting old. The present Scope Clause limits on the number of aircraft with seating over 50 seats stop the mainlines from replacing these aircraft with larger aircraft. So there is a real need for an efficient 50 seater regional aircraft for the US market.

As there are no 50 seater jets in production, United is converting its 70 seater CRJ700s to 50 seaters to fill the gap and calls them the CRJ550. This is where de Havilland Canada sees a change for an adapted DHC 8-400 turboprop. It’s more efficient than a CRJ550 while offering the same comfort, says de Havilland. We check if this is correct and what chances a DHC 8-“550” have in this market.

Summary:

  • The US Scope Clauses allow the three mainlines to have more 1,000 50 seater jets, yet no new ones are available to replace the more than 600 in the market.
  • The in-production DHC 8-400 would be an alternative when looking at cabin size and dimensions.

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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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Pontifications: Catching up on Odds and Ends-Alaska’s Airbus fleet, first E195-E2 delivery, Boeing’s MAX rebranding question

  • Take our Boeing 737 MAX rebranding poll at the end of this post.

Sept. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s time to catch up on Odds and Ends.

Alaska Airlines

In its second quarter earnings call and 10Q Securities and Exchange Filing, Alaska Airlines said it was returning one Airbus A319 and two A320s off lease this year and next.

By Scott Hamilton

These airplanes are from its Virgin America acquisition, which introduced the Airbus family into the all-Boeing Alaska mainline operations.

Alaska officials have said several times they are evaluating whether to phase out all Airbuses and return to an all-Boeing fleet, or keep the Airbuses and operate a mixed fleet indefinitely.

I wondered if this was the start of the phase out.

“We are planning to return 1 A319 this year and 2 A320s next year at normal lease expiration,” Brandon Pederson, EVP and CFO of the company, wrote LNA.  “This is not part of a broader fleet  decision, nor a phase out of the smaller Airbus aircraft.  Leases on the remaining 50 A319/A320 aircraft in the fleet have varying maturities through 2025.”

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Airbus faces challenges for A330neo

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Aug. 26, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus faces near-term challenges with its production skyline for the A330, even at a reduce rate of 4/mo, an analysis shows.

Looking forward from next year, when there are slightly more deliveries scheduled than production rates—a function of some leftover 2019 builds—Airbus faces an easily-filled gap in 2021 but huge production gaps beginning in 2022.

Even if Letters of Intent and options were fully converted to firm orders, big production gaps will exist.

A production rate cut seems inevitable in the near future.

Summary
  • Key Emirates order not yet firmed up.
  • Big, 200 unit A330-200R LOI no longer appears in data.
  • Why keep the A330neo in the product line?

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The range of Airbus A321XLR

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 27, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus launched the extended range A321XLR last week at the Paris Air Show.

The range of the aircraft was presented as 4,700nm with an “around 200 seat” cabin. This was 200nm more than the market expected.

We use our performance model to explain what is behind the 4,700nm figure.

Air Lease was the first presented customer for the A321XLR last week. Source: Airbus.

Summary:
  • The 4,700nm is with “around 200” passengers and with the Airbus short range rule set.
  • We calculate the range of the A321XLR with typical airline rules and with different cabin configurations, including a three class long-range cabin with lie-flat business seats.

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A321XLR: where airlines will fly the Airbus aircraft

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By Vincent Valery

June 24, 2019, © Leeham News: As widely expected Airbus officially launched the A321XLR on the first day of the Paris Air Show. First deliveries are expected in 2023.

With the Maximum Takeoff Weight increased to 101 metric tons the manufacturer claims a range of 4,700 nautical miles while carrying 200 passengers. This represents an extra 700 nautical miles compared to the LR variant.  Accounting for real world airline seating configurations and fuel reserves, the effective range will be lower.

Nevertheless, it will represent a significant improvement over the LR. Serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman claims that the A321LR does not match the range of the Boeing 757-200. The XLR variant will have meaningfully more effective range than the out-of-production Boeing aircraft.

According to Airbus the A321XLR can fly direct between city pairs such as London – New Delhi and New York – Rome.

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IAG’s super MAX deal likely means super discounts, services

June 20, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing gets a Letter of Intent for 200 737 MAXes from International Airlines Group (British Airways, et al), announced Tuesday at the Paris Air Show.

Today, Airbus complained the deal came as a surprise—there hadn’t been a tender, Airbus had no chance to bid.

Christian Scherer, meet John Leahy.

Scherer is Leahy’s successor, and like Scherer, Leahy was blindsided in 1996 when American Airlines signed a 20-year exclusive procurement deal with Boeing.

Then, Delta and Continental airlines did the same.

Leahy complained bitterly that he didn’t know of American’s deal and had had no chance to bid.

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E175-E2 prototype in production, first flight by year end

May 28, 2019, © Leeham News: The first E175-E2 prototype is now in production at the Embraer plant here at Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, despite having no firm orders and only a single conditional order for 100 aircraft from a US airline that so far can’t use the airplane.

The pilot union contracts contain a clause that prevent the only customer for the aircraft in the world from using it because the take-off weight exceeds the 86,000 lbs specified in the contract.

Embraer designed the airplane with the hope the so-called Scope Clause would be relaxed in contract negotiations this year and next by pilots for American, Delta, United and Alaska airlines. It’s become clear that relief is unlikely.

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Boeing suppliers ramp up schedule for MAX: 52/mo by July, 57/mo by August

Source: Boeing.

April 29, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing reduced the production rate on the 737 line in mid-April from 52/mo to 42/mo in response to the grounding of the airplane by regulators worldwide.

The company and others said they didn’t know how long the airplane would be grounded.

But Boeing told suppliers to keep producing parts, components and the fuselage at rate 52.

The announcement was made April 5. At the same time, Boeing gave suppliers the rate ramp-up schedule.

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