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.
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.
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.
March 9, 2020, © Leeham News: Commercial aviation accidents are high profile news events.
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.
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.
By Bjorn Fehrm
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.
By Bjorn Fehrm
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.
By Vincent Valery
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?
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.
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.
Sept. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s time to catch up on Odds and Ends.
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.
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.”
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.