VLA era is over; are 777X, A350-1000 too large?

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June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: The era of the Very Large Aircraft appears over.

The Boeing 747 passenger airliner, while nominally still offered for sale, is in reality dead.

The Airbus A380 limps along in what may prove to be a vain hope that airport congestion will spur sales next decade.

The next level down, however, doesn’t appear very strong.

Sales of the Airbus A350-1000 stalled at 200 or less for years.

Sales of the Boeing 777X likewise stalled following program launch in 2013-2014. Although the 777X has twice as many orders as the A350-1000, fully 72% of them come from three customers, one of which is in serious financial trouble and may cancel or defer some or all its orders.

  • Orders for the largest Large Twin-Aisle aircraft lag the Small and Medium Twin-Aisles.
  • Big 3 in the Middle East are major customers for the 777X, A350-1000. Iran Air also buyer of -1000.
  • While Big Twin languishes, small- and medium-twins remain in demand.
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Pontifications: Why Embraer downplayed range of EJet

By Scott Hamilton

June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: Bjorn Fehrm on Thursday wrote (behind the paywall) that Embraer seems to be selling the E190-E2 short when it comes to range.

Embraer’s published range is 2,850nm. But Bjorn discovered that the range is truly 3,250nm, fully 14% more than the advertised range.

I laughed out loud when Bjorn told me of this discrepancy.

Why would Embraer short-change the E190-E2’s range?

The answer was obvious to me.

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Airbus risks losing market share if it doesn’t boost A350 production

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June 11, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing is increasing the production rate of the 787 next year from 12 to 14/mo.

Airbus is reducing the production rate of the A330neo from 10 to 6/mo.

Last year, buried deep in its website, Airbus indicated plans to go to rate 13/mo, although no date was listed.

With few sales of the airplane last year or so far this year, will demand support a rate hike next year? If so, a decision is needed pretty much now to go forward.

One London-based aerospace analyst tells LNC the top executives say no rate hike will be coming.

Scheduled deliveries may lend a clue.


  • Boeing is winning the wide-body order race and retaken the lead in market share.
  • Airbus’ former top sales chief bemoaned the lack of delivery slots for the A350.
  • Supplier issues still slow A350 deliveries.

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Airbus-C Series deal closes July 1; presents challenges for Boeing, Embraer

June 8, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus assumes its 50.01% majority stake in the Bombardier C Series program July 1, the two companies announced today.

The company is called C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership, or CSALP.

The CS100 and CS300 may be renamed the A210 and A230, according to a previous press report.

A C Series Final Assembly Line will be constructed in Mobile (AL), next to the Airbus A320 FAL, to serve the US market.

Airbus and Bombardier will speak at the Southeast Aerospace & Defence conference June 25-27 in Mobile (AL). The C Series final assembly line will be an extension of the A320 FAL.

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How competitive is A330neo? Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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June 7, 2018, © Leeham News: In Part 1 we compared the base characteristics of Airbus’ A330-900 and Boeing’s 787-9. In Part 2 we compared the fuel consumptions. Now we continue with the other costs of operation.

With these we form Cash Operating Costs and then add capital costs to get Direct Operating Costs.


  • The operating costs for the A330-900 and the 787-9 are close.
  • The difference can be compensated with lower capital costs. Monthly lease rates for the A330-900 are below the 787-9 lease rates.
  • We think there are other Boeing strengths which turn the deals the 787 way.

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Airbus sees potential for A330neo sales; Boeing sees opportunity

June 6, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus remains confident that the sales boon for the slow-selling A330neo is just around the corner, but an analysis of Airbus’ current operator lists shows significant inroads by Boeing for its 787.

Airbus is counting on aging A330ceos by 2020 to spur sales of the A330neo. But Boeing already sold the 787 to 19% of the A330 operators. Look for more aggressive campaigns. Airbus photo via Google.

LNC outlined Airbus’ strategy last December in which officials are confident the A330neo will see an uptick in orders as the current A330 operating fleet, now called the ceo, ages beginning in 2020.

The new sales chief, Eric Schulz, reiterated Airbus’ confidence at the IATA AGM this week in Sydney, Australia.

But 19% of the 109 A330 operators already ordered the 787. One, American Airlines, already announced the 787 order will replace the A330s in its fleet. Air Canada long ago made a similar announcement. Hawaiian Airlines canceled an A330-800 order in favor of the 787-9.

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EU, Airbus saw hope to negotiate end to WTO dispute; US says nothing changed

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June 4, 2018, © Leeham News: A report a week ago in the long-running dispute between the US and Europe over Airbus launch aid left the impression the US position softened a bit, favoring negotiations over another round in the protracted process.

Airbus and the EU appeared to take comments made by the US Trade Representative (USTR) at a hearing last Monday out of context, grasping at a sliver of hope that negotiations will resolve the dispute.

The USTR’s office told LNC nothing has changed. One source told LNC no negotiations will be undertaken unless Airbus drops launch aid entirely, something the WTO didn’t find to be illegal, but which was implemented improperly.

  • Airbus and the EU claim the violations have been remedied, something the USTR and Boeing reject.
  • Airbus claims any harm to Boeing was minimal. The Seattle Times has this story; LNC has this report.
  • The EU and USTR filed new statements with the WTO that remain contradictory.

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Pontifications: Lufthansa is sabotaging history

By Scott Hamilton

June 4, 2018, © Leeham News: I never thought I would find myself writing something like this.

Lufthansa Airlines is sabotaging history and its own airplane restoration project.

Lufthansa, the airline that honors its history with the airworthy Junkers JU-52, flying it around Europe garnering millions of Euros of publicity in the process.

Lufthansa was one of the few airlines to fly the Lockheed L-1649 Starliner Constellation. Only 44 were built.

Lufthansa, which agreed to restore one of just 44 Lockheed L-1649 Starliners to full LH colors and make it flyable.

The engines have been run up. The airplane was assembled. First flights were planned for next year.

And now, Lufthansa is pulling the plug.

Despite media inquiries and questions from leaders of the project, Lufthansa hasn’t said why it is shutting down the effort to create an airworthy airplane.

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How competitive is A330neo? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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May 31, 2018, © Leeham News: We continue our analysis why the Airbus A330neo has lost to Boeing’s 787-9 in recent sales campaigns. In the first part of the series, we analyzed the key data of the aircraft, including their weight, drag characteristics and payload capacity.

Now we continue with flying the aircraft over typical routes with our performance model. What’s the route capacity of the of the aircraft and how about their fuel consumption?

  • The equalized range difference between the aircraft boils down to a maximum of 15-hour routes for the A330-900 versus 17 hours for the 787-9.
  • There is also a difference in fuel efficiency between the types.

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India outlook for Airbus, Boeing: Optimistic at first sight, but what lies beneath?

Special to Leeham News and Comment.

May 30, 2018, © Leeham News: As one of the fastest growing airline markets in the world, India represents a large and growing part of the Airbus and Boeing order books. Although the absolute numbers seem unwieldy at first glance, a closer look at the data show that the country’s aircraft orders may actually make sense given population and consumer trends.

Photo via Google images.

Indian-domiciled airlines operate 562 aircraft of 37 seats or more, with an average age of less than eight years. DGCA rules were recently changed to allow passenger aircraft up to 18 years old to be flown commercially, which points to a relatively low replacement need over the next decade.

Meanwhile, India’s order book comprises 978 aircraft, a 74% increase if no replacements were needed. From a seat capacity perspective, that figure is 73% before replacement demand using assumed operator-specific LOPAs for MAX and neo.

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