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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 29, 2019, © Leeham News: With first quarter financial results beginning to be reported, the impact of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX is beginning to emerge.
The first out was from Boeing itself, followed by a few of the airlines that operated the MAX before it was grounded March 13.
Boeing reported the grounding cost it about $1bn, for just the two weeks the airplane has been on the ground.
Norwegian Air Shuttle, which was using the MAX on new trans-Atlantic services, lost millions of dollars.
American Airlines will take a $350m hit from the groundings.
Southwest Airlines surprised many with a stronger-than-expected first quarter despite having 34 MAXes on the ground and a cost of $200m.
Air Canada extended the removal of its MAX fleet from its schedules another month, to Aug. 1.
March 20, 2019, © Leeham News: With nearly 400 Boeing 737 MAXes grounded across the globe, few will remember that Boeing didn’t really want to do the MAX.
Officials in 2010-2011 engineered the MAX as a fallback airplane in case its hand was forced by Airbus as it first pondered and then launched the A320neo.
The president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes at the time, Jim Albaugh, and the head of the 737 program then, Mike Bair, talked down the thought of re-engining the 737 even as it was developed. Albaugh wanted a new, clean sheet airplane to replace the 737.
When Airbus was about to land American Airlines with a huge order for the A320 family, both the ceo and neo, Boeing’s hand was forced. Within 48 hours, Jim McNerney, Albaugh’s boss, made the decision to go forward with what would become the MAX.
LNA dug into its archives for recorded interviews, transcripts and events with Albaugh and Bair. What follows paints the picture of Boeing’s view at the time about the 737 re-engining. LNA also spoke last year with a former Boeing engineer who worked on the MAX program. This interview was before the Lion Air crash in October.
March 18, 2019, © Leeham News: There’s a saying that history repeats itself.
When it comes to the crisis of the Boeing 737 MAX, I’m reminded of the crisis Lockheed faced in 1959-1960 when the Electra propjet crashed in September and the following March, killing all aboard both airplanes.
The Electra entered service Jan. 12, 1959, with Eastern Airlines. It was considered a pilot’s airplane. Coming off decades of piston engine aircraft and early in the jet age, the Electra was the only airplane that was over-powered, piston or jet. Timing, however, was poor and crashes soon overtook the euphoria.
Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Few airplanes truly can be called revolutionary. Most are evolutionary.
The Boeing 747 was one of those that falls into the former category.
Just as the Boeing 707 revolutionized air travel, so did the 747.
The spaciousness and, after a period of engine difficulties, the economics put the 747 into a class by itself.
If Boeing goes ahead with the NMA, a decision yet to be made, an announcement was widely expected at the Paris Air Show in June.
Authority to Offer (ATO) the airplane for sale may still come as early as March or April.
Jan. 3, 2019, © Leeham News: The incomparable Herb Kelleher died today. He was 87.
Kelleher was a co-founder of Southwest Airlines, which rewrote airline service in the US and which became the forerunner of many, many low cost carriers across the globe.
When I lived in Dallas from 1985-1996, I interviewed Kelleher many times and on occasion would lunch with him “just because.”
What follows are memories about Herb I’ve written as part of my own unpublished memoirs (of a sort) about my lifetime in commercial aviation.
Kelleher’s antics are legendary, as was his smoking and drinking. He was an open flirt with his female flight attendants and they loved him for it. He was an absolutely ruthless competitor, but his clownish approach to life overshadowed it. He could be deadly serious and totally irreverent.
I need not recount his many antics, his dressing like Elvis, his motorcycle riding or similar activities because they have been well covered and are well known.
There is one story in particular to tell. It’s about Malice in Dallas. (See here, one of six parts.)