European Regionals Face Hostile Operating Environment

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By Kathryn B. Creedy

Third in a Series. Previous articles:

Introduction

Aug. 31, 2020, (c) Leeham News: European regionals face far greater challenges than Covid and, sadly, much of what is happening to the industry is beyond its control. The result is similar to failures seen in the U.S.  Flybe’s recent loss resulted from pre-Covid problems which also led to the pre-Covid failures of such airlines as Flybmi and Cobalt.

The failures illustrate, however, the three reasons why European regionals are so fragile – low-cost competition, geography, and challenging government policy.

 

 

 

 

 

Flybe is just the latest of many regionals to cease operations owing to harsh conditions in Europe.

Summary
  • Government Policies Hardest on Regionals
  • LCC Competition Challenging
  • Consumer Protections Crushing
  • Turboprops Have Large Role

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Bjorn’s Corner: The challenges of Hydrogen. Part 2. Ecosystem.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 31, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our series on Hydrogen as an energy store for airliner use we begin by looking at the needed ecosystem that can produce and distribute Hydrogen.

When I was skeptical about hydrogen as a means to propel our airliners three years ago, the main problem was the lack of this ecosystem. That year, in 2017, 13 transport and energy companies formed the Hydrogen Council, to create this ecosystem. Today the council has 81 members, with 22 joining in the last year, Figure 1. The list reads as Who’s Who in the transport and energy sector.

Figure 1. Members of the Hydrogen Council. Source: Hydrogen Council.

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Looking ahead for 2020 and 2030 decades: ATR & De Havilland Canada

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Seventh and final in a series.

By Judson Rollins

Introduction

Jet manufacturers typically introduce a new airplane every 15 years or so.

Commercial turboprops have not innovated to nearly the same extent as jets, with rival manufacturers ATR and De Havilland Canada (and predecessor Bombardier) having produced nearly 95% of the world’s in-service fleet. Although order volume has slowed in recent years, more than 300 aircraft are still on order.

Both manufacturers sell aircraft based on 30+ year old designs. However, the market’s size is probably capped because of turboprops’ relatively low cruise altitude and speed, making them limited alternatives to regional jets beyond roughly 500nm. This limits the return on investment from a clean-sheet design, either from aerodynamic improvements or the use of carbon composites.

Emerging threats lie on the horizon as China’s Xian MA700 nears its first flight and Embraer deliberates re-entering the market with a new design. Given sufficient market acceptance, either would constitute a significant threat not only to ATR and DHC, but potentially also the smaller end of the regional jet market.

Summary
  • ATR has a commanding share of the market; access to Airbus resources adds to ATR’s ability to win future business.
  • DHC’s dwindling order book and high production costs limit its ability to compete.
  • Old designs leave the turboprop space ripe for disruption; Embraer may re-enter the market with a clean-sheet design.

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France to invest 15 billion Euro in its aeronautical industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 10, 2020, ©. Leeham News: France presented a 15 billion Euro support plan for the French aeronautical industry yesterday, to help the industry overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan has three focus areas:

  • safeguard the employment of the 300,000 employed in the French aero industry
  • transform the supplier network to a more robust structure
  • and perhaps most interesting, set the direction for the industries’ next aircraft projects

The French Finance Minister announces the plan. Source: France 24.

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European airline struggles add risk to 15% of Airbus, Boeing orders

By Judson Rollins

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Introduction

Earlier this week, LNA examined the potential for a shakeout among European carriers as the coronavirus outbreak spreads to the continent.

Five European countries now rank among the ten hardest hit – travel demand is plummeting nearly as rapidly as after the September 11 attacks in the US.

On Thursday, UK-based Flybe went into bankruptcy after long-time financial struggles. The airline had 54 De Havilland Canada Dash-8-400s and nine Embraer E175-E1s in its fleet, more than half of which were leased from Nordic Aviation Capital and HEH Aviation Management.

LNA reviewed aircraft ownership data to understand top manufacturer and lessor exposure to European carriers, particularly those with known profitability issues and high debt loads.

Source: Twitter / @AirportWebcams

Summary
  • Airbus’s exposure to Europe is 16% on single-aisles and 19% on twin-aisles;
  • Boeing has just under 15% of its single- and twin-aisle orders from Europe;
  • Embraer’s E2 jet program has 27% exposure to the region;
  • ATR, De Havilland Canada, COMAC face little to no threat from European airline woes;
  • Norwegian, TAP, SAS, TUI are likely the most imminent threats to manufacturers and lessors.

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Asian airline troubles could affect up to 20% of Airbus, Boeing backlogs

By Judson Rollins
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In last week’s analysis, LNA examined which airlines in greater China and the rest of Asia may be in imminent risk of financial distress due to the growing coronavirus outbreak. We found that airlines from Malaysia to Japan have significant exposure to the Chinese market. Several have shaky balance sheets and were already losing money prior to the outbreak, most notably AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Thai Airways, Nok Air, Malaysia Airlines, and Asiana.

The coronavirus outbreak has now spread to Europe and the Middle East, but we are continuing our focus on Asia as it’s been most greatly affected so far. Additional analysis focusing on Europe will follow, with particular attention to the potential for further airline consolidation on the continent.

LNA reviewed ownership and operating data on aircraft to understand top manufacturer and lessor exposure to greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Macau, and the rest of East Asia.

Summary
  • Airbus has greater exposure to China and the rest of East Asia, especially in widebodies;
  • Boeing’s 787, 777X difficulties will be exacerbated by Asian airline troubles;
  • COMAC’s sales book is almost exclusively in China, but government support is likely;
  • ATR has material exposure to Southeast Asia; other regional aircraft OEMs are largely unaffected.

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ATR: We’re confident in the future of turboprops

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By Judson Rollins

Introduction

Executives from turboprop manufacturer ATR expressed optimism about their product range and the future of turboprops in general at last week’s Singapore Airshow.

According to industry databases, ATR has 52% of the market for 30+ seat turboprops in service and 63% of 70+ seaters. It competes primarily against De Havilland Canada’s DHC-8 family. The ATR-72 accounts for nearly two-thirds of ATR production. Both models are produced on a single assembly line.

However, ATR dominates the backlogs by a wider margin.

Summary

  • ATR touts advantages of the ATR-42 and -72 family;
  • Special performance capabilities of the ATR-42 are key for developing markets;
  • Adapting aircraft capabilities to stay ahead of revitalized DHC-8 competitor;
  • Not looking to compete with regional jets in the 70+ seat space.

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2020 Outlook for Airbus, Boeing, et al

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Introduction

By the  Leeham News team.

Jan. 2, 2020, © Leeham News: This will be a pivotal year for Boeing.

It will be a year of challenges for Airbus.

Embraer Commercial Aviation should disappear.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries faces final decisions for the SpaceJet.

Overhanging international trade is the US presidential election.

These are just some of the headlines to look for in 2020.

Leeham News and Analysis provides its annual outlook as the new year, and the new decade, begins.

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Europe’s Regional airlines meet in Antibes, Cotes d’Azur.

By Bjorn Fehrm 

October 9, 2018, ©. Leeham News, Antibes France: The European Airlines Association, ERA, gathered 44 of its 51 member airlines in Antibes France, today for the first day of its 2019 General Assembly meeting.

LNA participated in the event for the first time and we found an impressive gathering of airline and airport representatives, aircraft OEMs and support businesses discussing the challenges facing the European regional air transport market.

Norway’s Wideroe, the launch customer for Embraer’s E-Jet E2 is one of the airlines present.

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Paris Air Show, Day 4: Closing orders, commitments

June 20, 2019, © Airfinance Journal: By day four of the Paris Air Show, most of the OEMs had already wrapped up their deal-making, but there was still time for Airbus to tempt another two airlines and another lessor towards the A321XLR and the A220-300 products.

Airbus and CFM are the manufacturers that will leave Paris the happiest, although ATR was keen to make its case, citing 75 “new orders” at the show. However, in line with the odd phrasing employed by most marketing departments this week, it was difficult to discern what those “orders” meant. ATR said they included “35 firm orders from NAC disclosed on June 18”, but its press release about that deal described only a “letter of intent for 35 firm ATR -600s, with options for a further 35 and purchase rights for another 35.”

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