Mitsubishi SpaceJet retreat is the best news for Embraer in months

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By Scott Hamilton

Analysis

May 25, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) surprising retreat from its SpaceJet regional airliner program is the best news in months for beleaguered Embraer.

This takes pressure off the Brazilian manufacturer and gives it time to regroup after Boeing jilted it at the alter by walking away from a proposed joint venture.

Going into storage: four Mitsubishi MRJ90s at Moses Lake (WA). Photo: Mitsubishi.

MHI’s actions leave Embraer with a monopoly in the 76-100 seat arena vs new airplanes. The M90 SpaceJet is not a viable competitor to the E175-E1 or the struggling E175-E2. Embraer’s competition will be its own used jets, plus used Bombardier CRJ-700/900s.

Summary

  • Closing US operations entirely. Closing the recently opened engineering center in Montreal
  • Continued operation of the CRJ product support center in Montreal or relocation to Nagoya uncertain.
  • Major cost-cutting drive.
  • MHI wants to certify M90, then consider whether to proceed with M100.
  • M100 has MOUs for 495 aircraft.
  • MRJ90 was not certifiable due to design deficiencies.
  • Redesigned M90 meets certification requirements.
  • M90 is economically uncompetitive with E-Jet.
  • COVID-19 upends entire airline industry, casting doubt in MHI’s commitment to SpaceJet future.

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HOTR: Mitsubishi, Bombardier set June 1 to close CRJ deal

By the Leeham News staff

May 6, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced May 7 (Tokyo time) that it will close the acquisition of the Bombardier CRJ program June 1.

Production of the CRJ was to end this summer. The COVID crisis effectively terminates the program now. But the CRJ itself wasn’t the reason MHI bought the program, for US$500m. The attraction was the built-in global product support system for the CRJ that will transition to the M100 SpaceJet. It also provides a new revenue/profit stream as MHI enters the global RJ market.

Along with it, as icing on the cake, is acquisition of Bombardier’s sales team, infrastructure and other assets.

It would take years for MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MITAC) to establish its own product support system.

This is a major step in development of the SpaceJet as a new global competitor.

With the collapse of the Boeing-Embraer joint venture, MITAC can reinvigorate and strengthen its relationship with Boeing.

Embraer, which said it needed the Boeing JV to compete in the future with Airbus against the A220, increasingly faces higher risks as MITAC and MHI evolve the CRJ product support system and potentially strengthens the Boeing relationship.

MHI also announced that it will immediately write down the $500m acquisition by ¥50bn- ¥ 70bn ($470m-$656m).

 

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Pontifications: Ugly, fundamental changes coming for airline industry

By Scott Hamilton

May 4, 2020, © Leeham News: The global airline industry is on the cusp of a fundamental restructuring that will be painful, and painfully long.

A few airlines already ceased operations.

Several others are on the brink of filing for bankruptcy—among them Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic, brand names that aren’t normally at the top of an endangered list.

A shake-out in Europe was already underway before the COVID-19 crisis erupted. The inevitable shake-out in Asia hadn’t yet begun.

Fleet rationalization among legacy carriers will occur at rapid-fire speed. And some carriers now have the opportunity to shed unprofitable routes that were maintained for market share.

It’s going to be an ugly process, though.

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Airbus 1Q2020, preparing for “the gravest crisis in our industry’s history”

April 29, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus presented its results for the first quarter of 2020 today. In the accompanying news conference, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said, “we are facing the gravest crisis in our industry’s history,” and the company is implementing several measures to secure Airbus’ future.

World travel has disappeared, and new airliner deliveries will be down for years. Production of Airbus commercial aircraft is cut with one third, but this will be adapted as actual demand evolves, with the next adjustment expected in June.

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Pontifications: Taking a knife to a gunfight

April 27, 2020, © Leeham News: There is a great line in the movie, The Untouchables. Sean Connery’s character tells an assassin that he’s bringing a knife to a gunfight.

By Scott Hamilton

That’s what came to mind when Embraer says it will seek remedies against Boeing following the latter’s terminating the joint venture agreement between the two companies.

In the movie, the assassin lured Connery into a trap. Connery was gunned down by a machine gun. But don’t expect Boeing to be lured into any trap by Embraer.

Boeing doesn’t pull a move like this without thinking through all the possibilities. It may muff the thought process, as will be noted below, but it does think through alternatives.

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How much did the CSeries cost Bombardier?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 20, 2020, © Leeham News: As we wrote in last week’s article about the A220 flying the Montreal to Toulouse route, the stakes are high in the civil airliner business. If you don’t have a very strong balance sheet you shouldn’t enter the business.

Bombardier learned this the hard way. Its follow up project to its successful CRJ regional jets, the CSeries, brought Bombardier to the brink of bankruptcy and it had to sell the project to Airbus at a fraction of its value. The project cost more to develop and produce than planned despite not running off the rails during development like Boeing’s 787 or Mitsubishi’s MRJ.

We analyze why it cost so much and at what fraction Airbus got the program.

Summary:

  • The CSeries nearly doubled its development costs despite being void of major hiccups. What was the cause?
  • Airbus picked up the program when Boeing forced Bombardier to sell. How much of a bargain did Airbus get?

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Airbus 2019: an operationally good year hit by compliance costs

February 13, 2020, © Leeham News in Toulouse: Airbus presented its results for 2019 today in Toulouse. Operationally, the company made a profit of €6.9bn but heavy fines (-€3.6bn) to settle a long-running bribery case and contingencies for A400M development cost coverage brought the net result to a loss of €1.3bn.

The Commercial aircraft division delivered 8% more aircraft 2019 (863 units vs. 800 2018). The mix of aircraft changed towards higher-margin single-aisle types like A321neo and A321LR whereas widebody margins peaked during 2019. The helicopter business is flat in a tough market and the profits of the Defense and Space division declined 40% on flat revenues.

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Airbus buys Bombardier’s share in A220,  now sole owner together with the Government of Quebec

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 13, 2020, © Leeham News in Toulouse: The news this morning that Airbus is now the sole owner of the A220 (75%) together with the Government of Quebec (25%) is good news for the A220 and for Quebec.

Bombardier is a company in trouble and it was forced to try and save cash in the A220 partnership rather than invest in the future. This potential limitation on the A220 program is now resolved. Airbus gets sole responsibility for future plans and it has in the Government of Quebec a partner that will be positive to the growth of the A220 as it means more business for the Quebec aeronautical industry.

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Could A220 fly Air Canada’s Montreal to Toulouse route? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 13, 2020, © Leeham News: We continue our analysis if the Airbus A220 is a credible long-range aircraft. We started looking at the limitations of the aircraft last week and how these could be lifted.

Now we continue with an analysis of the economics of the A220 compared to established long-range aircraft like the Airbus A330 and A321LR/XLR. Is a higher frequency A220 route competitive with an A330 or A31LR/XLR operated route? We also examine how Breeze air will operate its A220s on long-range routes.

Summary:

  • By virtue of its size, the A330-300 has good economics when it can be filled to a high load factor.
  • The A321LR comes close in operating costs to the A330-300 on these types of routes.
  • The surprise is the competitiveness of the A220-300 on a route type it wasn’t designed for.

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Could Airbus’ A220 fly Air Canada’s Montreal to Toulouse route?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 6, 2020, © Leeham News: Air Canada announced in August 2019 it will start a five weekly route between Montreal and Toulouse from the 4th of June. It connects two growing, French-speaking cities with strong aeronautical clusters. The route will also connect Airbus headquarters and production in Toulouse with its new A220 aircraft development and production center in Mirabel outside Montreal.

Air Canada announced it will fly the route with its 292 seat Airbus A330-300 but the question has been raised “Could route be served with the smaller A220, then with an increased frequency”? We use our airliner performance model to find out.

Summary:
  • Montreal to Toulouse is on the range limit for an A220, especially when flying the return route against winter winds.
  • We look at different means to increase the range of the A220 to make the route possible without fueling stops when going West.

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