Paris Air Show Orders, Day 1

June 17, 2019, (c) Leeham News: Here are the orders and commitments for Day 1 of the Paris Air Show, courtesy of Airfinance Journal.

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Returning MAX safely to service is Boeing’s “top priority”

June 17, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing executives focused on its top priority, returning the grounded 737 MAX, safely to service, in its lead off briefing today at the Paris Air Show.

Greg Smith, EVP of The Boeing Co., appeared instead of CEO Dennis Muilenburg, taking the lead in recapping much of what has been known for weeks: Boeing’s regret for the 346 fatalities in the Lion Air and Ethiopian accidents, the MCAS software upgrade and working with airlines and regulators to determine the path back to recertifying the MCAS and the best curriculum for pilot training.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister, Defense unit CEO Leanne Caret and Global Services unit CEO Stan Deal followed Smith in a tightly scripted set of presentations and answers to questions.

The four immediately left the stage after the Q&A instead of loitering for the usual press gaggles.

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Looking at MAX beyond the grounding

June 17, 2019, © Leeham News, Paris: As the international aerospace community and media gathers here this week for the Paris Air Show, the Boeing 737 MAX is the elephant in the room.

The focus obviously is on when the MAX will return to service worldwide.

A few people are already looking beyond this, to how quickly Boeing will ramp production back up and how quickly the backlog of completed airplanes will be delivered to airlines and lessors.

The grounding appears that it will go on much longer than expected.

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Pontifications: The elephant in the room

By Scott Hamilton

June 17, 2019, © Leeham News: The Paris Air Show opens today and the elephant in the room is the Boeing 737 MAX.

There is no telling when the airplane will get FAA approval to return to service. According to some news reports, Boeing will hasn’t turned over the MCAS revisions to the FAA for review, testing and approval.

The acting administrator of the FAA said he expects the MAX to be back in the air by the end of the year. Some leapt to the conclusion this means December—and it may, but let’s remember September, October and November are before the “end of the year,” too.

There’s no telling how other global regulators will act, and when, to conduct their own review and approvals. Airlines would like a global action. It’s tough to tell customers one country sees the airplane as safe but others don’t.


  • Leeham News will be at the Paris Air Show this week, with coverage by Scott Hamilton, Bjorn Fehrm and Judson Rollins. All coverage will be open to all readers.

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How useful is an Airbus A321XLR? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week we looked at the route structures an Airbus A321XLR could support compared with the original A321LR. We could see the A321XLR is a more flexible long-range aircraft than the A321LR.

It covers trans-Atlantic routes from Mid-US to mid-Europe and it can for several route types replace larger aircraft, thus allowing increased frequency on existing routes or the start of new thinner routes than possible with widebody aircraft.

This all assumes the economics of the A321XLR and a widebody like the Airbus A330neo or Boeing 787 are comparable. We use our Aircraft Performance Model to find out.

Summary:
  • Our comparison over a typical long-range route shows the operating costs of an A321XLR and an A330-800 or 787-8 are close.
  • This creates flexibility for the airlines. The A321XLR can open new, thinner routes between secondary city pairs or increase the frequency on established long-haul routes.
  • It can also serve routes during off-peak hours or during the slower winter period. All that’s needed whether the route is within the range capability of the A321XLR.

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Embraer in holding pattern awaiting JV approvals

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Introduction

June 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer is in a holding pattern of sorts.

It’s awaiting international regulatory anti-trust approval for the joint venture with The Boeing Co.

It can’t coordinate with Boeing about synergies until these approvals come.

Its leadership is identifying areas that, from its perspective, can lead to synergies.

Some key campaigns for the E-Jet E2 appear to be on hold while customers wait for Boeing and Embraer to join in order to see how pricing may be reset, competition with the Airbus A220 shapes up, what synergies between the E2 and Boeing’s 7-Series product lines might emerge and how Embraer’s Services unit integrates with Boeing Global Services.

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Pontifications: Melancholy about Embraer’s 50th year

By Scott Hamilton

June 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer is 50 years old Aug. 19.

This must be the classic case of mixed feelings. By the end of the year, if regulators approve, the marquis business unit, Commercial Aviation, will be spun off and the Embraer name for it disappears into Boeing Brasil-Commercial (BB-C).

Boeing will own 80% of the new joint venture and Embraer retains 20%. Boeing has the governance and chairman. Embraer’s CEO of Commercial Aviation becomes president and CEO of BB-C, but the direction now will clearly be set by Boeing.

Sixty percent of Embraer’s services unit goes into BB-C.

Embraer and Boeing also created a second JV, for the KC-390 program. Embraer retains 51% and Boeing gets 49%.

Embraer retains full control over the remaining defense and business jet units.

Officials put a “best face” on the pending changes at Embraer’s pre-Paris Air Show briefings May 27-29, but they really could not mask the uncertainties and, to some degree, resignation about the future.

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How useful is an Airbus A321XLR?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 6, 2019, © Leeham News: There are growing rumors Airbus will launch the extended range A321XLR at the Paris Air Show on June 17th. The aircraft will get more fuel and takeoff weight to enable an A321 to fly longer routes, penetrating deeper into the US and Europe for a trans-Atlantic use case.

Operators can now choose between longer routes than for the A321LR or the same routes while carrying more passengers. We use our performance model to find out the limits of this trade.

Summary:

  • The A321XLR turns the trans-Atlantic capability of the A321LR from coast to coast opportunities into a mid-US to mid-Europe capability.
  • As the seat mile cost of the A321LR and A321XLR are competitive with the A330neo and Boeing 787, the A321XLR opens for thin and long service to several new city pairs.

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Stabilizing 737 production is Boeing’s priority, CFO says

By Dan Catchpole

June 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing is focused on smoothing out 737 production at 42 aircraft a month for now. Any decision to returning production to 52/month is well down the road, Boeing CFO Greg Smith said Wednesday at the UBS Global Industrials and Transportation Conference in New York.

“It’s going to be all about stability,” Smith said. “And stability is not just about on schedule but ensuring that we’ve got predictability and accuracy that’s more finite than what it’s been in the past.”

The company had planned to step up production from 52/month to 57/month in June or July. Boeing slowed down production of the workhorse single-aisle in April after a second 737 MAX crashed shortly after takeoff. At the time, it cited the accidents as the reason for slowing 737 production. However, the aerospace giant already had been struggling with production disruptions prior to the crashes. The biggest headache came from slow deliveries from engine-maker CFM, as LNA reported in April.

Industry insiders at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in April said Boeing already planned to hit 57/month in September. However, at Wednesday’s investor conference, Smith’s sidestepped any question about when 737 production could reach that pace.

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Mitsubishi in negotiations with Bombardier to acquire the CRJ program (Updated)

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 5, 2019, © Leeham News.: The Air Current broke the news earlier today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is negotiating with Bombardier to buy the CRJ program.

BBC has got comments from both companies confirming the discussions, with cautions nothing is settled and it can still result in a no deal. Should it happen it would make a lot of sense for both parties.

UPDATE: Bombardier has issued a statement confirming the discussions, see below.

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