Assessing ATR future

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Introductions

Feb. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: ATR today holds an almost monopolistic position in the large turbo-prop market with 87% of the backlog at YE2016. Bombardier, once the dominant turbo-prop manufacturer, has a mere 13%.

China and Russia are not included above.

ATR had a backlog of 212 aircraft vs Bombardier’s 31. In addition, ATR had options for more than 400 aircraft and LOIs for about 70 more. BBD had options for just 12 Q400s at the end of last year.

Summary
  • Low fuel prices favor regional jet, high fuel prices turbo-props.
  • No new, clean-sheet design to replace Q400 or ATR in foreseeable future.
  • Indian, Indonesia talk turbo-props but outcome unlikely.
  • China’s MA-60 feeds home market, but airplane has reliability issues.

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CSeries trans-Atlantic capability

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We previously described how new generation engines make the Boeing 737 MAX 8 a trans-Atlantic aircraft. The MAX 8 is smaller than the Airbus A321LR, but not the smallest single-aisle with trans-Atlantic capability. This distinction goes to the Bombardier CSeries.

We wrote about the CS100 capability to cross the Atlantic from London City Airport last year. After the article, we received new and improved data from Bombardier. The CS100 can now fly directly to US East Coast on the difficult westward leg with a business cabin of 42 seats. The updated article is here.

When we look at the improved capabilities of the CS300 (announced at Farnborough Air show last summer), this aircraft can also cross the Atlantic with a full cabin of 130 passengers.

Bombardier arranged so we could discuss this deeper with the VP CSeries program, Rob Dewar.

Summary:
  • We use our aircraft performance model to compare the CS300’s suitability for long-haul to the Airbus and Boeing competition.
  • The aircraft have similar range and seat mile costs. The smaller aircraft have lower trip costs.
  • With Rob Dewar, we explored the potential for additional capability for the CS300.

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Assessing the SSJ100 future

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Introduction

Feb. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Sukhoi is Russia’s attempt at reentering the commercial airliner business. The SSJ100 regional jet is, by most accounts, an attractive

SSJ100 in CityJet colors. CityJet is one of two Western operators for the Russian-made airplane. Photo: Superjet International.

and efficient aircraft.

But it’s hampered by erratic production and questionable product support (largely due to the overhang of the Putin politics).

The aircraft was grounded briefly in December when a fatigue issue was found in the tail section during a routine inspection.

Summary
  • Nearly 100 SSJ100s are in service.
  • Two key Western customers.
  • Small customers base.
  • Captive Russian customers.

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Bombardier YE2016 results better than expected

Alain Bellemare, CEO of Bombardier.

Feb. 16, 2017: Bombardier today posted better than expected results (even on lower revenue) for the fourth quarter and full year.

Goldman Sachs was first out with reaction among the analyst reports LNC receives:

Bombardier (Neutral) reported stronger-than-expected 4Q16 operating results. Revenue is below consensus and our expectations, but adjusted EBIT is well ahead of our estimate on better operating margins. Free cash flow is a larger source of cash than we expected. 2017 guidance is unchanged. Post the quarter end, Bombardier announced the Government of Canada will provide the company $283mn over four years in repayable contributions related to the Global 7000 and 8000, and the C Series. This investment will be repaid through royalties upon aircraft delivery.

BBD’s press release is here. The financial presentation from today’s earnings call is here.

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Analyst puts Sell on Boeing stock in unusally bearish report

Feb. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: In an extraordinarily bearish research note, boutique Buckingham Research Group (BRG) downgraded Boeing stock to Underperform (Sell) from Neutral (Hold) today.

BRG, which agrees with other aerospace analysts that Boeing stock is priced on free cash flow, sees FCF falling beginning next year. Buckingham predicts 737 production rates—which Boeing wants to boost to 57/mo to support FCF—will be short-lived.

Buckingham sees 777 Classic delivery rates dropping from Boeing’s target of 3.5/mo to “bottom out” at 2/mo.

Weak orders for the 787 means Boeing won’t increase production rates for the 787 from 12/mo to 14/mo. BRG predicts that in 2019 Boeing will announce a rate reduction from the current 12.mo to 7/mo on one production line, and this line will be only in Charleston (SC).

Boeing VP-Marketing Randy Tinseth speaks tomorrow at the annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference in Lynnwood (WA). Tinseth is always the eternal optimist in his presentations. We’ll see if he addresses anything in BRG’s bearish report.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engines in operation, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 10, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We now continue our journey how an airline engine is operated during a typical mission.

Last week we explained basics for engine control and Take-Off flat-rating. We now continue with Climb, Cruise and Max Continuous ratings and why these are important.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a direct drive turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

We also touch on de-rating and Cost Index and how these affect how the engine runs.

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Brazil files WTO complaint against Canada-CSeries deals

Feb. 8, 2017: Brazil, on behalf of Embraer, filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Canadian government investment in Bombardier’s CSeries.

“Brazil notified the WTO Secretariat that it had requested WTO dispute consultations with Canada regarding alleged subsidies provided to Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier,” the WTO announced today. Coincidentally, today it was also revealed the federal government will provide C$372m in loans to Bombardier. Most will go toward the Global 7000 corporate jet program but some will go to the CSeries, which competes with Embraer’s EJets.

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Assessing the future of COMAC programs

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Introduction

Feb. 6, 2017, © Leeham Co.: China’s effort to become a viable commercial aerospace alternative was filled with rocky fits and starts for its two signature airliner programs, the AVIC ARJ-21 and the COMAC C919.

COMAC, a spin off from AVIC and yet another government-controlled entity, is already casting eyes on a 250-seat, twin-aisle design, the C929—ostensibly in a joint venture with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp.

The ARJ-21 regional jet finally entered service after delays of eight years. The C919 target EIS is now 2019, six years after the original date. The first flight hasn’t even taken place.

Chinese officials set a target EIS for the C929 of 2026.

A rough road remains ahead for each program.

Summary
  • Exceedingly slow delivery ramp up for the ARJ-21.
  • First flight of the C919 planned this year.
  • Wide-body C929 will challenge the Airbus A330 and Boeing 787.

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Assessing Bombardier commercial programs

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Introduction

Jan. 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier hopes to land a major, blue-chip order for its CSeries this year but otherwise isn’t counting on significant orders for its flagship airliner.

Officials don’t have available delivery slots until 2020, bar a few here and there, to attract sizeable orders.

The future of the aging CRJ could get a boost from recalcitrant Us labor unions who refuse to alter the 86,000 lb aircraft weight limit under the Scope Clauses. These make the Embraer E175-E2 and Mitsubishi MRJ90 too heavy for the regional airlines providing contract flying for the US majors.

The future of the Q400 turboprop looks bleak.

Summary
  • The CSeries delivery stream appears sufficient to match production ramp up through 2019.
  • There is a big production gap in 2020 at the target rate of 10/mo.
  • More than 50 firm orders have indefinite deferred delivery dates.
  • The backlog for the CRJ “falls off the cliff” next year, as does the Q400.

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The regional market and scope clauses

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 17, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Union contract Scope Clauses–the provision limiting the weight, capacity or number of aircraft operated by airlines for major carriers–are unlikely to be modified any time soon, panelists at the Air Finance Journal conference in Dublin said.

The restrictive Scope Clauses are predominate in the US. These limit the ability of small airplane manufacturers to sell aircraft in the US. Most affected are Embraer, Bombardier and newcomer Mitsubishi.

Contract negotiations in December, concluded before Christmas, resulted in no changes, surprising some. This will impact planned purchases of aircraft.We sat with Bombardier’s Ross Mitchell, vice president of commercial operations, to understand why the scope clauses are so important and why they did not change. Read more