Pontifications: Countdown to Delta’s single-aisle decision

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 11, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Eyes will watch Atlanta (GA) this week, when the Delta Air Lines Board of Directors decides to award a big order for the re-engined Airbus and Boeing single aisle airplanes.

The Board meeting is believed to be Thursday. At stake: 100 orders and 100 options for either the Airbus A320neo or Boeing 737 MAX families.

I wrote about this last week. Here’s an update.

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Pontifications: Delta’s decision on neo vs MAX near

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 4, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Delta Air Lines management decision for an order for 100 Airbus A321neos or Boeing 737 MAXes, plus an equal number of options, is expected this week. A decision by the Board of Directors is expected next week.

Competition between the two companies was heated. Commercial terms were aggressive. Airbus and Boeing each want this deal badly. An Airbus win speaks for itself. For Boeing, a MAX order would give a boost to the MAX 10. A blocking move on Airbus is desired. For Boeing, a win would be especially meaningful.

Relations between Boeing and Delta are notoriously strained. These were exacerbated by Boeing’s complaint with the US government over the Bombardier C Series order, in which Boeing alleged price dumping and illegal subsidies. To no surprise, the Trump-led Department of Commerce found in favor of Boeing on both.

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Pontifications: Scrutiny of HNA intensifies

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Time for some catch-up in the world of commercial aviation.

Scrutiny of HNA Group is intensifying as regulators in Switzerland claim the Chinese company provided false information in the takeover of a Swiss aerospace company.

Additionally, Airfinance Journal reports that at least five lessors have seen delayed lease payments from HNA Group airlines ”as HNA pumps cash from those carriers into other areas of the highly leveraged conglomerate.”

And HNA’s Hong Kong Express low-cost carrier has been barred from further expansion until it fixes problems identified by the Chinese government.

LNC reported in September that HNA was coming under credit pressure due to its high leverage.

In addition to a plethora of airline investments, HNA owns one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, Avolon.

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Assessing the Dubai Air Show

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Introduction

Nov. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai Air Show was a clear win for Boeing, despite the last minute 430 airplane commitment from the Indigo Partners group.

The “MENA” region, for Middle East and North Africa, has been the staple of the Dubai Air Show.

There have been occasional smatterings of peripheral regions tossed in, but commitments from US companies (except lessors doing business worldwide) have not been a regular feature.

Summary
  • Boeing swept the MENA orders and commitments.
  • Emirates order for 40 787-10s begin delivery from 2022 and may be tied to adjustments in 777X delivery rate.
  • The lack of the widely expected A380 order from Emirates was a huge embarrassment to Airbus.
  • Bombardier, better known for its lack of orders at air shows, landed a good one at Dubai.

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Pontifications: EU weighs in for Bombardier in Boeing trade fight

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The European Union is now getting involved in the Boeing-Bombardier trade dispute. See here and here.

The EU has taken Bombardier’s side. Although the UK previously weighed in with BBD because the wings are produced in Northern Ireland, the EU hadn’t become involved. Now it has, filing briefs with the US Department of Commerce.

Why now?

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Analyst: Airbus could eventually terminate CSeries program

Nov. 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Bombardier CSeries may go the way of the McDonnell Douglas MD-95, a Wall Street aerospace analyst suggests: that is, the program is likely to remain unprofitable and be shut down.

Doug Harned, the analyst for Bernstein Research, draws a parallel between Airbus’ acquisition of a majority stake in the CSeries program and Boeing’s 1997 acquisition of McDonnell Douglas in which the MD-95 joined the Boeing family of airplanes.

The 110-seat MD-95 was renamed the Boeing 717. Boeing attempted to market the airplane, without success. Production was terminated after 156 airplanes were built.

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CSeries effect on Airbus, Boeing product strategies

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Introduction

Nov. 6, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing took a pass on assuming ownership of the Bombardier CSeries, according to a report in the Toronto Globe and Mail—the same deal rival Airbus took.

In doing so, Boeing passed on acquiring a new airplane program at pretty much zero risk, no cash investment and no research-and-development cost. The market demand ranges from 4,000 to 6,000, depending on whose study you believe.

Rival Airbus wouldn’t have a response and, given its current turmoil, would have been unlikely to pursue a response.

Instead, Boeing may embark on a risky, high-cost development of the New Midrange Aircraft for which market demand remains a controversy, suppliers are reluctant to take risk-sharing positions and which will almost certainly provoke a response from Airbus.

Artist concept of Boeing 797-7. Source: fs2000.org.

Summary
  • Boeing says it’s not worried about Airbus stake in CSeries program; it remains satisfied with its product strategy.
  • But 100-160 seat sector won’t be covered by a 737 replacement. Airbus has this covered with CSeries.
  • New Midmarket Airplane figures into CSeries impact.

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50% increase in CSeries sales forecast–but what does this mean?

Nov. 1, 2017, © Leeham Co.: For years, Bombardier forecast the 20-year market demand in the 100-150 seat sector as between 6,000 and 7,200, depending on the year of the forecast.

Airbus in 2014, the last year the OEM segmented the sector in its 20-year forecast, predicted a demand of 4,363 aircraft.

Boeing, which hasn’t publicly segmented the sector, is believed to have forecast a demand between 4,185 and 6,275 in 2013, based on information revealed during various executive presentations. The mid-point was 5,230.

In announcing the acquisition by Airbus of 50.01% of the CSeries program, Airbus CEO Tom Enders cited a 20-year demand of 6,000 aircraft.

Bombardier consistently claimed it would capture 50% of the demand it saw, or 3,000 to 3,600 aircraft, over 20 years.

But the numbers don’t match up.

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Suppliers conference in Mobile focuses on US aerospace sector in Southeast

Click on image for an enlarged, crisp view.

Oct. 31, 2017: A new event, the Southeast Aerospace and Defence Conference (SADC) scheduled for June 25-27 in Mobile (AL), will examine the commercial, defense, space and corporate aerospace sectors in the US Southeast.

The conference is organized by Airfinance Journal and Leeham Co., the first joint venture between the two companies.

The US Southeast is a growing aerospace center. Defense and space clusters have decades-long histories in the Southeast. Corporate and commercial clusters are more recent developments, albeit in some cases now well within a second decade.

Airbus’ A320 family Final Assembly Line in Mobile opened in September 2015. The FAL is producing 3.5 A320s per month and will reach its initial target of 4/mo by year end, slightly ahead of schedule. There is land capacity to expand to 8/mo.

Earlier this month, Airbus and Bombardier announced that their new venture will establish an FAL in Mobile.

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Aviation journalist Ben Sandilands passes

Ben Sandilands

Oct. 31, 2017: Ben Sandilands, the cranky, crusty curmudgeonly writer of Australia’s Plane Talking (Crikey), died Friday after a long illness. He was 73. Cancer was the cause of death.

We only met Sandilands on a couple of occasions but avidly followed his blog for years.

He was controversial in Australia. Sandilands was a long-time critic of the Australian Transportation Safety Board and of Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas Airways. His persistent criticism won him no friends in officialdom.

But having writing aviation for 60 years, Sandilands had sources through Australian aviation and often wrote penetrating pieces about whatever topic he happened to be pursuing at the time.

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