Chinese and Russian Widebody Project takes shape

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Chinese and Russian Widebody program started in earnest over the last year. After signing a joint venture agreement in 2016, the project now has a joint management company, CRAIC, formed 22nd of May 2017, and standing for China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation.

The company will have final assembly and management located in Shanghai.  The aircraft has also got its final name, CR929-600. It will hold 280 passengers in a three-class cabin with a range of 6,500nm, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The CRAIC CR929-600, the main aircraft in the Chinese-Russian widebody program. Source: CRAIC.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has taken off after the joint company was established spring 2017.
  • The organization of the company is set, with the Chinese taking the rudder by the power of a five times larger market and economy and a 10 times larger population.
  • The joint company, CRAIC, issued its first vendor RFP to GE and Rolls-Royce before Christmas for the aircraft’s propulsion system.
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Pontifications: 2018 is a year of Transformations

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 8, 2018, © Leeham Co.: This is going to be a year of transformations.

This might be viewed with puzzlement by some. After all, only minor-modification models will be entering service this year: the Airbus A350-1000, the Boeing 737-9, the Airbus A319neo and the Boeing 787-10. The first flight of the 737-7 should occur.

Flight testing continues for the Mitsubishi MRJ90, the COMAC C919 and Irkut MC-21.

The proposed deal between Airbus and Bombardier should receive government approvals this year. Talks between Boeing and Embraer may or may not result in a combination of some kind.

The Big Deal, however, resides in Everett (WA).

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United Aircraft’s and COMAC’s eventful year

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 03, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Both United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and COMAC got their single-aisle airliner projects into flight test during 2017. The MC-21 and C919 had their first flights within less than a month of each other, with the Chinese C919 first at 5th of May, followed by the Irkut MC-21 on the 28th of May.

Superficially the aircraft and projects are similar. Both are 150-220 seat single aisle projects in the mold of Airbus’ A320neo and Boeing’s 737 MAX programs. Looking a bit closer, they are different. One is extending the state of the art in several areas; the other is playing safe.

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Bombardier’s bittersweet year

Dec. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Two thousand seventeen had to be a bittersweet year for Bombardier.

Despite landing two good, blue-chip orders in 2016—Air Canada and Delta Air Lines—it hadn’t achieved the “commercial momentum” hoped for. At long last, Letters of Intent for 31+30 and 12+12 orders and options were announced this year for the CS100 and CS300 from an Unidentified European carrier and Egyptair respectively. Officials hope to firm these up by the end of this year.

No additional C Series orders were forthcoming for the rest of 2016 and none for 2017 when Boeing stepped up and puked all over the program.

In April, Boeing filed a trade complaint with the US government. Boeing would prevail with the US Department of Commerce, which preliminarily determined to levy a 300% tariff on each C Series imported into the US.

The US International Trade Commission took up the case Dec. 18; a decision is due next month. If ITC finds there was no harm to Boeing, the DOC decision goes away.

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Business case for NMA remains uncertain

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Introduction

July 17, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We’re half way through 2017. Boeing reported orders through July 11, a week ago. Airbus won’t update its July orders until the end of the month.

Through July 11, Boeing reported 116 net wide-body orders: 15 for the 767, 33 for the 777 and 75 for the 787. Net cancellations of -7 for the 747 are included in the net 116 figure.

The 15 767s were not commercial models, however, but 767-2C tankers for the USAF.

Over at Airbus, none of China’s 40 commitments announced July 5 for 40 A350s are in the June summary, and won’t be in the Orders tally until the commitments turn into firm orders. Through June, airbus had net 26 widebody orders: three A330-200s and 29 A350-900. There were cancellations of four A330-800s and two A380s.

If the 40 China A350s were included, this would bring Airbus to 66 widebody orders, still well short of Boeing’s YTD figure.

Summary
  • Airbus product gap widens as A330-200/800 stalls.
  • Boeing 787 strength comes from 787-9; 787-8 remains minor player.
  • Middle of the Market business case still unproved.

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Pontifications: Mississippi’s aerospace footprint

By Scott Hamilton

July 17, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Living in the Seattle area, the highest profile, dominant industry is the commercial aerospace sector.

Boeing, of course, headlines just about everything when it comes to aviation.

Boeing’s competition is principally Airbus—or at least it used to be until Boeing claimed teeny tiny Bombardier, a company one-sixth the size of Boeing’s revenues, is poised to put Boeing out of business with BBD’s CSeries.

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MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We continued the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week with an analysis of the cabins and systems. The week before, we compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we finish with an analysis of the economics of the aircraft.

Summary:
  • The MC-21 is the more advanced aircraft of the two. It uses carbon composites for the wings and empennage.
  • Coupled with more refined aerodynamics, the MC-21 offers a higher efficiency than the more classical C919.

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Bombardier optimistic about China

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Introduction

June 5, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier’s activities in China, where the fuselage for the CSeries is co-produced, have been at a standstill.

None of the Memorandums of Understand or Letters of Intent have been converted to firm

Bombardier Q400.

orders. A recent news report suggested renewed talks between COMAC, China’s commercial aircraft enterprise, and Bombardier over acquisition of the CSeries program

LNC sat down with Fred Cromer, president of Bombardier Commercial Airplanes, at the annual general meeting of IATA to discuss these and other issues.

Summary
  • An update on the COMAC-CSeries relationship.
  • An update on the slow-selling Q400 and CRJ programs.
  • An update on the oft-discussed CS500.
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Paris Air Show Preview

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Introduction

May 22, 2017, © Leeham Co. The Paris Air Show begins June 17, and few in the industry expect much in the way of orders this year.

The order cycle is on the downward side of the bell curve. Sustaining the 2,000, 3,000 or nearly 4,000 gross orders announced 2011-2013 simply couldn’t be achieved. The “order bubble” had to break, and it did. Last year, Airbus and Boeing reported some 1,400 orders between them.

Airbus guides that it will tough to achieve a 1:1 book:bill this year. Boeing is running about 1:1 book:bill so far but it also guides conservatively. Still, LNC thinks Boeing might surprise this year–and some of this could be at the Paris Air Show.

Leeham Co.’s new publication, Commercial Aviation Report, provides a Focus Report on the Air Show. This encompasses the expectations for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, COMAC, Irkut, Mitsubishi, CFM, GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce into one easy-to-read package.

The pre-airshow press briefings by the OEMs begin next week. We don’t expect any earth-shattering news from these and we wanted to get our views out ahead of these briefings.

Summary
  • Boeing wants to launch the 737-10 MAX at the Paris Air Show. This could spur a group of orders that would give Boeing a rare win in the headlines vs Airbus on the latter’s home ground.
  • Mitsubishi plans to have its MRJ90 at the Air Show. One airplane entered the paint shop for ANA colors–this might be the one making the appearance.
  • Embraer expects to have its KC-390 there. Will the E195-E2 also make an appearance?

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Hong Kong, the future aircraft leasing gateway to China

By Bjorn Fehrm

May 11, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We are attending the ISTAT (the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading) conference in Hong Kong this week. The conference was opened by the Chief Executive for the Hong Kong region of China, Mr. C. Y. Leung. He gave an interesting perspective of the future of Hong Kong in the aviation finance market.

Hong Kong is the number four finance center in the world. But the present tax rules prohibits aircraft leasing companies to establish Hong Kong as their hub for China and Asia.

The companies cannot deduct the costs of the aircraft ownership from their lease revenue, for non-Hong Kong operators. This will now change. Read more