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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I-90 Conference: Additive manufacturing is about to change everything

By Bryan Corliss

June 5, 2019, © Leeham News, Coeur d’Alene (ID) — Within a decade, 3-D printing will begin to revolutionize the way companies fabricate and assemble aircraft–and just about everything else humans manufacture.

That was the message delivered by panelists at the I-90 Aerospace Corridor Conference & Expo.

The conference, for aerospace companies in eastern Oregon and Washington, northern Idaho and western Montana, was held May 27-28 in Coeur d’Alene (ID).

Companies are experimenting with the current generation of the technology now, said David Minerath, the president of Quest Integration, based in Post Falls (ID), whose company sells 3-D modeling and printing technology to manufacturers.

“We do have a lot of printers at aerospace companies, but they’re very sensitive about where these parts are going,” Minerath said.

Costs are coming down, he said. With units costing as little as $2,000 apiece, it’s possible for companies to stack five together in a room running parts.

“You’re getting close to low-rate production,” Minerath said.

And it’s easy, he said. “It’s like you’re doing ‘file, print’ to your laser printer.”

  • “Additive” technology literally the opposite of current process
  • Idaho company has patents on fast-curing process
  • Will allow changes in how parts are produced and assembled

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2019 Paris Air Show Preview

By Vincent Valery

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June 3, 2019, © Leeham News: The 2019 Paris Air Show kicks off in two weeks at the Le Bourget Exhibition Center.

In this preview, we will go over what to expect from commercial aircraft OEMs.

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Pontifications: 50×2

By Scott Hamilton

June 3, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus and Embraer are 50 years old this year.

Airbus broke out the party hats last Wednesday. It arranged a formation flying of all its in-production aircraft, including the Beluga XL. It launched a website microsite with its history. A new book, Airbus, The First 50 Years, has been issued. A celebration is planned for the Paris Air Show.

Embraer’s anniversary is Aug. 19, so at this point, its party plans haven’t been solidified, but there will likely be something at the Paris Air Show. Embraer plans to have its new specially painted E195-E2 at the air show.

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Boeing CEO says steady progress being made on getting 737 MAX back into the air

 By Dan Catchpole

May 30, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said Wednesday steady progress is being made on getting the 737 MAX back in the air following two devastating crashes within a few months of each other. He stopped short of giving a specific time frame, though.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg

However, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association said the same day that the trade group does not expect the MAX to be back in service before mid-August.

Speaking at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference, Muilenburg struck an upbeat tone overall and called the crashes a “defining moment” for Boeing. However, he did not indicate that Boeing intends any major changes as a result, and he expressed confidence in the company’s design and certification processes. Though, he did not shut the door to making changes as a result of lessons learned in the wake of the crash.

Muilenburg insisted that the MAX challenges will not affect entry into service for either the 777X in 2021 or the New Midsize Airplane (NMA) in 2025. He also discussed changes to the 737 supply chain, resumption of deliveries and future production rates for the popular single-aisle airplane.

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Embraer sees need for 10,550 airplanes in 50-150 sectors

May 29, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer, in what will be its last 20-year market forecast as an independent company, sees a demand for 10,550 jet and turboprop aircraft from 50 to 150 seats through 2038.

The company, founded 50 years ago, growing to become the world’s third largest supplier of airliners, sees its Commercial Aviation unit disappear by the end of this year, barring a hiccup of some kind.

That’s when The Boeing Co. and Embraer expect approval of a joint venture that will be called Boeing Brasil-Commercial (BB-C). Boeing will own 80% of the JV and control governance. Embraer will own 20%. The CEO of the Commercial Aviation unit, John Slattery, will be president of the joint venture, but Boeing will be in charge.

Until then, Embraer is trying to carry on business as usual. And this means it issued its 20-year forecast Monday during its pre-Paris Air Show international media briefing at its headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.

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Embraer’s KC-390 nears delivery

May 28, 2019 © Leeham News: Embraer’s KC-390 multi-role tanker transport is nearing delivery of the first aircraft to the launch customer, the Brazilian Air Force.

KC-390. Photo: Embraer.

In a briefing in advance of the Paris Air Show at Embraer’s Unidade Gavião Peixoto Airport 225 miles from its Sao Jose dos Campos headquarters, program VP Walter Pinto said that most of the required testing is complete.

What’s left?

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