Trump decertifies Iran nuke deal, throws Airbus, Boeing orders in doubt

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Oct. 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: President Donald Trump announced Friday he will decertify the Iran nuclear deal, throwing into doubt a host of related commercial deals, including huge aircraft orders.

Iran Air Airbus A330. Photo via Google.

Trump hasn’t gone so far as to withdraw from the pact, but he still threatens to do so unless Congress makes changes he wants.

Here in the US, focus is, of course, on the commitment by Iran for Boeing aircraft—none of which are firm contracts, but “commitments” to order.

Of less focus here, if any, is on the outstanding orders placed by Iran for Airbus and ATR aircraft, which are subject to US licensing.

  • 30 Boeing 777s, including 15 Classics are at stake.
  • 50 Boeing 737 MAXes to Iran Air and 30 to Iran Asesman are also at stake.
  • ATR has 11 aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2018.
  • Airbus sold 114 A320s/321s, A330s and A350s to Iran Air. A few white tails already have been delivered.

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WOW Air, the well placed long-haul LCC

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 23, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: WOW Air is the smallest LCC to offer long-haul services over the Atlantic. And it’s the best-placed.

AirAsia X’s CEO explained its early problems with flying long-haul LCC. It was flying too far. Ideal is sectors shorter than seven hours. Fly longer and aircraft/crew utilization suffers. You can only do one turn a day.

With a placement at Reykjavik, Iceland, WOW Air can collect traffic at six hours or less from both sides of the Atlantic. It then connects them over its hub in the middle.

Fgiure 1. WOW Air’s founder, owner and CEO, Skuli Mogensen, in front of a WOW Air Airbus A321. Source: WOW Air.

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Boeing’s tactical option for MOM sector

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Aug. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s not a done deal yet—the business for the so-called Boeing 797 remains a challenge. But the consensus is that Boeing will launch the program next year, for an entry-into-service around 2025.

Boeing 797 concept. Source: Boeing.

Yet there are airlines that say they don’t want to wait that long for a new airplane.

What are their choices?

  • Acquire the Airbus A330-200. It’s available now. Fuel is cheap and is expected to remain so well into the next decade.
  • Acquire the A330-800. It’s fairly cheap. It’s about 10% less expensive to operate on a per-trip basis than the A330-200. The new engines will serve as a hedge against rising fuel prices for an indefinite future.
  • Acquire the Boeing 787-8.
  • Airbus ponders an A321neo+.
  • There’s another option that is not readily apparent.

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Can Airbus improve the A321neo further? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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August 10, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Last week we started the look into how the Airbus A321neo could be incrementally improved. To understand what can improve an aircraft, ones need to understand its limitations.

The A321neo is mainly limited by its wing, which is highly loaded. But there are ways around this limitation other than developing a new wing, an exercise which would require time, money and a new certification program.

Having understood the limitations, we now look into what can be done about them.


  • The changes to the wings can be limited to those that are easy to do, resulting in longer range.
  • Combined with fuel capacity improvements and stronger engines it produces a very interesting aircraft.

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Pontifications: Context is everything

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The quote appeared on Twitter, citing the chairman of Air Lease Corp, Steven Udvar-Hazy:

“I would simply but strongly encourage the OEMs to carefully review their production rate aspirations closely and realistically.”

Hazy, often (but erroneously) called the “Godfather of leasing,” is a voice to be reckoned with. He is enormously influential with Airbus, Boeing, lessors and the industry. He’s been a launch customer of several aircraft new aircraft models and, if he’s not the Godfather of leasing (this title really belongs to the late George Batchelor), Hazy raised aircraft leasing to a fine art.

So, when the quote appeared on Twitter, I sat up in my chair.

Was Hazy suggesting Airbus and Boeing will be producing too many airplanes, creating a supply-demand imbalance?

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Can Airbus improve the A321neo?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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August 03, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Airbus A321 has been in its own single aisle league for capacity and with the A321LR for capacity and range.

With Boeing’s launch of the 737 MAX 10, the unique position has taken a hit. With A321 occupying 40% of Airbus single aisle sales, Airbus is examining how to re-open the gap.There is much talk about an A322: an aircraft with new wing, engines and so forth. This is a major undertaking and will need new engines for its realization. Couldn’t Airbus improve the A321 as it is?

We look into what short term improvements can be done to the A321, and what these would give.

  • To understand what improvements can be made for the A321neo, one needs to understand its limitations.
  • We describe the present limits.
  • We find them in wing-loading, span-loading, engine thrust and tankage

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Airbus group 2Q results: Engine deliveries decides 2017 results.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 27, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus Group presented its 2Q2017 results this morning. The result for the first half and the full year of 2017 is decided by A320neo engine deliveries.

Out of a planned 200 A320neo deliveries for the year, Airbus could deliver 54 aircraft during the first half, with 35 completed aircraft waiting for engines on the Airbus tarmac.

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Is Norwegian in trouble?

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 11, 2017, © Leeham Co.: In our review of Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norwegian) the 8 of February, we pointed out the company’s ambitious fleet expansion plans with a rather weak balance sheet. We followed up with a second article the 15th of February where we analyzed the risky fleet plans further.

Last week, the longtime Norwegian CFO, Frode Foss, departed. It sent shock waves through analysts and the stock tanked 8% in a day.

The departure of a CFO is many times the pre-warning of troubled times. Foss was with Norwegian for 15 years. It was not a planned departure and Foss has no successor. The post is run by the Investor Relations manager in the interim. Read more

Developing Boeing’s airplanes

June 21, 2017, © Leeham Co.: “It’s all about continuing the development strategy since thirty years” said Mike Delaney, VP of program development for Boeing. “It’s about continuing the development strategy for 30 years producing super efficient twins that support point-to-point networks.”

Delaney made the remarks at the Paris Air Show about developing the 737 MAX 10 and the NMA (New Medium size Airplane).

Figure 1. Boeing’s airliner lineup over  the years. Source: Boeing.

Figure 1 shows the Boeing products over the years, with the 737 MAX 10 and the NMA filling the gap between 180 and 270 two class seats (note the 748i is no longer part of the chart). The MAX 10 is in place and a tentative NMA is showing the way into the next decade. Read more

Dissecting the 737-10 numbers


June 19, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing’s launch of the 737 MAX 10 on its face was a surprisingly strong showing here at the Paris Air Show.

Kevin McAllister, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of The Boeing Co., announced there were 240 orders from more than 10 customers when they confirmed the show’s worst kept secret: that the launch was here.

The 240 orders were more than had been expected—and less than advertised.

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