By Judson Rollins
June 17, 2021, © Leeham News: A key question hanging over the used widebody market is what percentage of available aircraft could be converted into freighters.
Indeed, existing passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion providers are ramping up capacity and new ones are coming online. However, much of the P2F capacity growth is focused on converting used 737s and A320-family aircraft.
Airbus and Boeing foresee a market for 1,500-1,600 conversions over the next 20 years. While Boeing doesn’t break out its forecast between single-aisle and widebody aircraft, Airbus believes 670 of these will be widebodies.
In this analysis, LNA explores the size of the market, key providers, conversion capacity, and likely buyers of converted aircraft.
By Scott Hamilton
June 14, 2021, © Leeham News: Airbus will provide a commercial program update tomorrow in Toulouse.
But will officials announce Authority to Offer (ATO) an A350 freighter for sale?
Will they formally acknowledge development of an “A322”?
There is a plethora of articles, including LNA, in recent weeks discussed the prospect of Airbus launching an A350F this year. Potential customers have seen presentations from Airbus. Boeing’s overwhelming dominance in freighters is under threat.
If Airbus announces ATO tomorrow, Boeing may be forced to take its 777-8F concept out of mothballs. Boeing suspended development of the 777-8 and -8F during the 737 MAX and pandemic crises.
Then there is the prospect of the long-talked about “A322.”
This airplane, if launched, will have a new composite wing, more powerful engines and up to 24 more passengers. The wing is called the Wing of Tomorrow and has been under development for years.
If Airbus launches the A322, which also has a working name of A321 Plus Plus, Boeing will find it very tough to build a business case for its Next Boeing Airplane (NBA). The most recent iteration seems to be basically a reinvention of the 757-200/300: a metallic fuselage with a composite wing and new engines.
June 14, 2021, © Leeham News: One of commercial aviation’s most influential leaders said last week Boeing needs to replace the 737 with a new technology airplane.
Steven Udvar-Hazy, chairman of Air Lease Corp., said in a CNBC interview June 9 the 737 is a good airplane, but the time has come for a replacement.
“Boeing has to look at the future. What kind of airplanes that airlines will need with all the environmental challenges, regulatory challenges? What is the airplane type airlines will need 5, 10, 15, 20 years from now?” Hazy said.
“Boeing needs to invest. The 737 is a wonderful airplane, but it’s been in operation since 1967. We have an airplane that its basic design has been around for 54 years. It’s time for a new technology airplane that will give airlines and the public greater efficiency, better economics, better environmental footprint so the airlines can make money with it and yet meet the challenges that we’re facing on the environmental front.”
June 7, 2021, © Leeham News: It’s been a busy couple of weeks in commercial aviation, with several reports last week alone.
Some of these reports were new and interesting Others were over-hyped and fluff.
Let’s run them down.
By Scott Hamilton
June 3, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing and Alaska Airlines today outlined a five month ecoDemonstrator program in a series of tests designed to “green up” commercial aviation.
Boeing will flight test 20 technologies and ideas with Alaska beginning June 29 and ending Dec. 2.
Not all ideas fall strictly within “new technologies.” Some are weight-reduction initiatives that aggregate to lower airplane weight, which in turn reduces fuel burn. This in turn reduces carbon emissions.
But other ideas directly go to environmental efforts addressing noise, emissions and now COVID infectious worries.
By Judson Rollins
June 3, 2021, © Leeham News: Lessors are expected to write down the value of their widebodies as the long-haul travel slump appears set to extend well beyond this year, LNA reported last week.
A tidal wave of excess widebodies has reduced ownership costs to historic lows. Prices will only go lower as lessors finally initiate distressed-asset sales, and lease rates will continue to fall as used widebody inventory grows.
A confluence of factors, topped by the availability of lower-cost used widebodies, could increase the cost advantage of low-cost carriers over legacy competitors – at the same time reduced business travel and lower yields reduce the gap between legacy and LCC unit revenue.
May 31, 2021, © Leeham News: It’s not as if Boeing doesn’t have enough challenges right now.
Airbus seems ready to up the ante by re-winging the A320 series, according to an article last week by Bloomberg News.
The “Wing for Tomorrow,” as Airbus calls it, has been in the works for years. It’s a composite wing, designed for a new production process. The process will be quicker, more efficient and less costly than the cumbersome, expensive autoclave used today.
Public discussion about an enlarged A321 has been around for years. Variously called the A321 Plus Plus or A322, the broad concept is a 12 seat stretch (Bloomberg suggests it could be 24 seats), more powerful engines and the new composite wing. Bloomberg wrote that the wing, with a wider span, could have folding wingtips.
This A322 would be a true Boeing 757 in terms of capacity. Range would be well into the “Middle of the Market” definition proffered by Boeing for the better part of a decade.
But what about the A320 and A319?
By Scott Correa
Special to Leeham News
May 27, 2021, © Leeham News: Forty-two years ago this week, I puked at work.
On May 25, 1979, an American Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10 crashed on take off from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Within minutes, it was known that the No. 1 engine separated from the airplane just after the airplane was committed.
The aircraft gained a few hundred feet before rolling over on its left wing, crashing into a trailer park. All 271 on board and two people on the ground were killed.
The Federal Aviation Administration immediately grounded all DC-10s in the US because of the engine separation. Regulators elsewhere in the world followed suit.
By the Leeham News Team
In the year-end earnings call last week and in an appearance on CNBC, O’Leary unloaded on Boeing’s Seattle management team over delivery delays for the 737-8200.
O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, didn’t mince words—he never does. This is, after all, the guy who at a press conference talked about his potential trans-Atlantic low fare operation providing blow jobs to business class travelers. Sitting next to him was his female translator, who clearly was nonplussed. (You can look it up on YouTube.)
By Scott Hamilton
May 24, 2021, © Leeham News: NMA. 777X. The 200-270 seat sector.
A lot of attention goes to these two Boeing airplane programs and the +200 seat sector.
However, the single-aisle market below 170 seats is the next arena that needs updating.
Many expect Boeing to decide by 2023 whether to launch a new airplane program in the +200 market. Airbus is waiting to see what Boeing does before moving.
Boeing’s heart of the single-aisle market is, of course, the 737-8 and before it, the 737-800. There are thousands of the for former on order and in service of the latter.