Boeing’s tactical option for MOM sector

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Introduction

Aug. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s not a done deal yet—the business for the so-called Boeing 797 remains a challenge. But the consensus is that Boeing will launch the program next year, for an entry-into-service around 2025.

Boeing 797 concept. Source: Boeing.

Yet there are airlines that say they don’t want to wait that long for a new airplane.

What are their choices?

  • Acquire the Airbus A330-200. It’s available now. Fuel is cheap and is expected to remain so well into the next decade.
  • Acquire the A330-800. It’s fairly cheap. It’s about 10% less expensive to operate on a per-trip basis than the A330-200. The new engines will serve as a hedge against rising fuel prices for an indefinite future.
  • Acquire the Boeing 787-8.
  • Airbus ponders an A321neo+.
  • There’s another option that is not readily apparent.

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Key lessors see strong wide-body market despite worries

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Introduction

Aug. 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Amid talk that Middle Eastern airlines, which are the largest group of users for wide-body aircraft, may defer Airbus and Boeing airplanes, there are conflicting signs that the bleak view of the sector isn’t as weak as perceived.

Just last week, two big lessors—Air Lease Corp and AerCap–of widebody airplanes said they are confident in the sector.

Few orders have been received for the Boeing 777-8 ultra-long range airplane. Sales for its larger sibling, the 777-9, have stalled. Along with the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, demand is seen as limited.

AerCap ordered 30 Boeing 787s at the Paris Air Show. ALC has a significant order of Airbus A330neos.

And, the chairman of Emirates Airline said in an interview with the region’s  The National newspaper that despite the current challenges at the carrier, it expects to announce an order before the end of the year for either the 787 or the Airbus A350—and possibly the Airbus A380.

Quantities on the former weren’t discussed. Airbus is pitching 20 A380s, according to accounts.

Still, there are a large number of Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s coming off lease in the next few years that could slow orders if these aircraft are offered on the secondary market with low enough lease rates.

Summary
  • Air Lease Corp.’s wide-body aircraft are placed. A330neo orders late due to engine delays.
  • AerCap sees strong wide-body market, reaffirmed with 787-9 order.
  • More than 100 A330ceos and 777 Classics potentially entering secondary market soon.

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Mid-year production update at Airbus

July 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s mid-way through 2017 and LNC is taking its second look at production and delivery stream flows for the Big Four airframe manufacturers.

We examined Boeing Monday in advance of its earnings call Wednesday. Today we look at Airbus in advance of its earnings call today. We look at Bombardier and Embraer next Monday.

We use the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker as the basis for our exam.

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Decision detailed (sort of) in Boeing-Bombardier price dumping case

June 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The US International Trade Commission (ITC) last week released its detailed decision to go forward with the Boeing complaint that Bombardier engaged in price dumping when it sold the CS100 to Delta Air Lines.

But for the outsider, the public document isn’t much help. It’s heavily redacted and left out all the good stuff that would allow an outsider to fully understand the reasoning the ITC voted 5-0 to send the case over to the US Commerce Department for further study and potential imposition of tariffs.

Delta Air Lines Bombardier CS100.

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Pontifications: The pricing jigsaw puzzle

By Scott Hamilton

May 22, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The prices airlines and lessors pay for their airplane purchases have long been of intense interest to just about everybody associated with the airline industry.

The manufacturers want to know what their competitors are selling the planes for.

The airlines want to know what their competitors pay for their airplanes. The same is true for lessors and their competitors.

(Airlines are less interested in what the lessors pay; they are only interested in what they must pay the lessors to lease the airplanes, and aren’t really concerned about the lessors’ costs.)

Appraisers want to know the prices of new aircraft, and prices on the secondary market, to have a basis for predicting base and current market values today and 25 years in the future.

The credit rating agencies want to know that values of the airplanes to rate financing deals.

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Regional aircraft for US Scope clause operations. Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 11, 2017, © Leeham Co.: In the first article about the US regional aircraft market, we described the special rules that apply for outsourced regional airlines, operating for a mainline carrier. The mainline pilots limit the outsourcing via Scope clauses in their Union agreements to aircraft with 76 seats and 86,000lb Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).

We identified potential aircraft that fit these restrictions in the first article. Now we examine their load carrying capability.

The MTOW limit sets a hard limit on how large aircraft can be used to house 76 seats. The mainline carriers want the regionals to mimic their domestic cabin classes in their aircraft. There shall be no disruption for a First class or Premium economy passenger whether on a mainline flight or on a feed flight to/from the hub.

The challenge is to accommodate the seating standard in the aircraft that come in question.

Summary:
  • Mainline airlines want to replicate their three class cabins for all sectors of a network.
  • This means the regional aircraft cabins shall offer First class, Premium economy and Economy sections.
  • Only the larger aircraft we study can offer a three class cabin with 76 seats.
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Pontifications: Branson gets pissy over dropping the Virgin America name

By Scott Hamilton

April 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Sir Richard Branson came to Seattle last week to promote the new service by Virgin Atlantic Airlines to London. In a hissy-fit, he promptly pissed on Alaska Airlines for the business decision to drop the Virgin America brand in 2019.

Alaska, of course, acquired Virgin America last year. The acquisition didn’t sit well with Branson, who nevertheless made out well in the deal.

Although Alaska officials said they would decide later whether to retain the Virgin brand, only those with wishful thinking gave any chance of this happening.

Richard Branson in Seattle for Virgin Atlantic’s new service to London. USA Today photo via Google.

Branson certainly knows this.  In 1997, Virgin Group acquired the low fare carrier Euro Belgium Airlines for $60m and promptly dropped the name in favor of Virgin Express.

VE lasted only nine years; it ceased operations in 2006 when it was sold and merged into the new Brussels Airlines.

Branson’s whining over Alaska’s decision to operate the merged operations into the Eskimo’s image smacks of hypocrisy.

Let’s also remember that his Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta Air Lines, which is building a hub in Seattle in competition with Alaska. The fight between Alaska and Delta is sometimes bitter.

Branson’s criticism of Alaska might have as much to do with Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with Delta as it does his own bruised ego.

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Pontifications: Warlick’s Warriors support ALS research

March 27, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: It wasn’t the kind of presentation usually given at the ISTAT general meeting earlier this month. Peter Warlick, vice president of finance for American Airlines, announced to nearly 2,000 people that he has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Peter Warlick

ALS attacks the muscular system and is typically fatal within two-five years. There is no cure.

Warlick actually revealed his condition last year, but I missed the announcement in which American also pledged a $1m donation to ALS research.

Although Pete is only a casual business acquaintance, for me, Warlick’s ISTAT announcement hit home. In 2015, a very close friend and

By Scott Hamilton

colleague died of ALS several years after diagnosis. Stan Bump was a neighbor and I served with Stan on the planning commission in the Seattle suburb in which we lived.

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Major fleet decisions may not be positive for Airbus, Boeing

Pontifications is off this week.

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Introduction

March 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: There are some major fleet decisions that will probably come down the pike this year at American, Delta and United airlines. Not all of them are going to be viewed positively by Airbus and Boeing.

There is also a serious warning sign emerging from the Middle East that could have serious, negative impacts on Airbus and Boeing.

Summary
  • American Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-900s any more. Consolidation with US Airways appears to have made these surplus.
  • Delta Air Lines, which so far eschewed any orders for the Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXes, is understood to be readying a Request for Proposals to be issued this year.
  • United Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-1000s any more. Picking up cheap Boeing 777-300ERs appear to have made these surplus.
  • Emirates Airlines, reacting to Brexit and Donald Trump’s travel bans, is undertaking a full business review in response to a sharp drop in bookings.

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Pontifications: Boeing MAX 10, “797” NMA dominated ISTAT headlines

By Scott Hamilton

March 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The soft launch of the Boeing 737-10 and the prospective Boeing “797” Middle of the Market aircraft easily were the headline news items to come out of the annual ISTAT conference in San Diego last week.

The “797,” as the MOM-sector aircraft was unofficially dubbed, brought enthusiastic reaction.

The MAX 10, not so much.

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