Pontifications: There is no good news

May 18, 2020, © Leeham News: There simply is no good news in commercial aviation right now.

By Scott Hamilton

Yes, airport traffic is upticking in the USA (and elsewhere) slightly. But in the USA, it’s still less than 10% of last year’s totals.

There remains a tremendous amount of uncertainty.

  • Airbus plans to lay off some 10,000 employees, according to press reports. Another production rate cut seems inevitable.
  • Boeing’s CEO revised the forecast for air traffic recovery from 2-3 years to 3-5 years. Production recovery will take another 2-3 years after that, he said.
  • Embraer’s biggest customer for the E195-E2, Azul Airlines, deferred deliveries from 2020-2023 to 2024. There haven’t been announcements about deferrals by US carriers for E175-E1s, but there is no reason to believe these won’t be deferred.
  • Delta Air Lines says 7,000 of its 14,000 pilots will be surplus to its needs this fall.
  • Spirit Aerosystems laid off about 1,700 employees due to Boeing’s production planning.
  • Qatar Airways will retire 50 airplanes, defer new orders from Airbus and Boeing and cut the workforce by 20%.

The list goes on and on and on.

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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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HOTR: American sees virtually no travel for up to 7 months

By the Leeham News staff

April 7, 2020, © Leeham News: “Nobody’s traveling in the next 30 or 60 days,” said Vasu Raja, American Airlines Group Inc.’s senior vice president for network strategy. “But nobody is really making any plans to go travel in the next 90 to 150 days, either.

So reported the Wall Street Journal Sunday.

That basically takes you through the end of the year.

Singapore will suspend its Changi Airport Terminal 2 for 18 months from May 1. (Associated Press.)

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US carriers not at imminent risk of bankruptcy despite potential shutdown

By Judson Rollins

March 16, 2020, © Leeham News: Throughout Sunday afternoon and evening, reports – all unconfirmed – began to emerge in the US that as early as today, the Trump administration may announce a suspension of US passenger flights domestically for 2-4 weeks. The suspension, if confirmed, could begin this week. Investors are scrambling to understand how long US airlines can survive on their current cash balances.

LNA reviewed the balance sheets of carriers worldwide in anticipation of such dramatic events. In this article, we will show that US airlines have plenty of time for demand to recover – or the US government to step in with emergency loans or grants similar to those doled out by the Air Transportation Stabilization Board from 2001 to 2003.

This airplane line-up at Chicago O’Hare Airport could be a thing of the past very soon. Source: Pinterest.

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Pontifications: What kind of aid could US airlines get?

By Scott Hamilton

March 16, 2020, © Leeham News: Airlines in Europe already asked governments for financial aid as coronavirus forces massive schedule cutbacks and in some cases, complete service suspension.

In the US, talk of aid began in earnest last week.

Delta Air Lines, which is parking 300 airplanes and cutting 40% of its capacity, said it plans to seek US financial assistance.

There is increasing talk that the US may order a complete suspension of domestic air service. If so, this would be like 9/11, when for the first time in history the US shut down its skies.

Trans-Atlantic flights were diverted to Gander as 9/11 unfolded. Source: i.pinimg.com

That lasted only three days.

With federal officials saying the crisis hasn’t peaked in the US and it may be a couple of months before the crisis subsides.

US carriers will almost certainly seek government assistance.

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Pontifications: The nuts and bolts of air disasters

March 9, 2020, © Leeham News: Commercial aviation accidents are high profile news events.

By Scott Hamilton

These happen rarely. Many times, a lot of people are killed. (It should be noted that often survivors may outnumber those killed as safety improved.)

In this era of 24/7 cable news and minute-by minute social media, everyone wants instant answers as to causes.

Finding answers is not simple. A typical accident investigation usually takes 12-18 months before the investigators issue a final report with a probable cause.

One reason for this is that sometimes, the cause of an accident comes down to a single bolt, or even a single cotter pin.

This is where the new book, Flight Failure, Investigating the Nuts and Bolts of Air Disasters and Aviation Safety, serves to remind us of just how intricate accident investigation is.

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Pontifications: 777X certification, MAX market deficiencies, NMA and what’s an insider

  • Certification of 777X will be impacted by MAX crisis.
  • Market sees “deficiencies” in Boeing’s narrow-body product line.
  • Reopening new airplane study doesn’t mean NMA is necessarily dead.
  • The SEC considers Calhoun to be an insider, even if he doesn’t.

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 3, 2020, © Leeham News: Boeing has said very little about how the MAX certification review will affect the 777X.

The Federal Aviation Administration has said nothing at all.

But David Calhoun, the new CEO of The Boeing Co., gave a hint in a recent call shortly after assuming office Jan. 13.

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Can the DHC 8-400 compete with the CRJ550 for the 50 seat Scope Clause market? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week we started our analysis of the De Havilland Canada’s DHC 8-400 as a replacement for US Scope Clause 50 seat jets like the Bombardier CRJ200 or the Embraer ERJ-145.

We compared a newly produced and adapted DHC 8-400 with United’s CRJ-700 conversion to CRJ550, a 50-seater version of the larger jet. After looking at the airplane dimensions and cabin spaces last week we now go deeper into the configuration of the aircraft and their economics.

Summary:

    • The DHC 8-400 is offered as a 50 seater and 65 seater variant to fit the US Scope Clause market.
    • The Turboprop has a cost advantage over the jet at the cost of a 20% longer trip time.

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

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

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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