By Bjorn Fehrm
August 25, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Having dissected the players behind the Russian-Chinese wide-body, it’s time to look at what market such an aircraft aims to capture.
The project participants, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), say they intend to make a 250-280 seat aircraft with a 6,500nm range.
We will look at what market such an aircraft can address from its Entry into Service (EIS) 2025 and over the next 10 years. We will also discuss the constrains that emerges with UAC and COMAC entering the market as new players.
By Bjorn Fehrm
August 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: The discussions around a joint Russian and Chinese development of a 250-300 seat wide-body has been going on for years.
The project got a more concrete form at President Putin’s visit to China in June. On the 25th of June visit, an inter-governmental agreement to develop and market the aircraft was signed.
At the same time Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) agreed to establish a joint venture for the program.
What market is this aircraft trying to address and will it become a serious player in the wide-body market? Will it give the duopoly Airbus/Boeing something to worry about?
We will address these questions in a series of articles. Before going into the questions around the wide-body program, we will look at the players, UAC and COMAC. Are they up to the job of making a competitive wide-body aircraft?
June 24 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Having covered the Air Traffic Management challenges in North America, Europe and Middle East we will now finish the series by looking at some specific problems affecting the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia-Pacific is the world region with the strongest growth in air traffic. IATA calculates that within 20 years half of the world’s air travel will originate or terminate within the region. Figure 1 shows that air traffic has several hot spots in Asia-Pacific, but also that there are areas with rather moderate traffic.
The region has its unique set of Air Traffic Management problems. We will now cover those that must be solved, should the region’s Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) be able to manage the forecasted growth in air travel in a safe way. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
May 26, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Finnair could tell the participants on its Capital Markets Day yesterday that its Asia expansion plans are going better than planned. Being the Finnish national flag carrier, Finnair has had its slew of legacy airline problems, fighting the up-and-coming LCCs on its European network.
After a restructuring period 2008 to 2012 to adjust costs, things have turned for the better. The company announced a revised strategic plan 2014, which would build on the strategic position of its hub, the Helsinki Vaanta airport, for traffic to the Far East.
Finnair CEO, Pekka Vauramo, could yesterday announce that this strategy is working better than planned.
By Bjorn Fehrm
Feb. 08, 2016, © Leeham Co: We recently covered China’s COMAC C919 and now the time has come to the other new narrow body aircraft from the old Communist bloc, the Russian MC-21.
The aircraft is called Irkut MC-21. Not many have heard of Irkut, so the first reaction is that this aircraft is made by a new Russian aircraft firm. The change is that United Aircraft (the Russian aircraft industry holding company) this time called the aircraft after its manufacturing company and not the design bureau, Yakovlev, that Irkut acquired in 2004. There are discussions to change back to the project’s original name Yakovlev 242 once certification is done.
When we looked at the first civil airliner that the Russian federation designed after the fall of Soviet Union, the Sukhoi Superjet 100, we found a well designed aircraft equipped with Western system. The MC-21 follows the same lines, but has more Russian technological development. It is therefore well worth a look.
By Bjorn Fehrm
19 January 2016, ©. Leeham Co: When Willie Walsh, the CEO of IAG, said that the Airbus A340-600 “is a fantastic aircraft at fuel below $60 a barrel but perhaps not at $120,” he put operational words to something the Growth Frontiers 2016 conference in Dublin had been grappling with since it opened on Monday morning.
What is going to happen now? Crude is falling below $30 a barrel and Jet fuel is below $1 a gallon. This must have an effect on how people decide, whatever the lessors and aircraft OEMs say.
And it had to be a senior airline CEO that broke the mantra that everyone was repeating: “We don’t see fuel prices having any effect on fleet planning for airlines.”
08 January 2016, ©. Leeham Co: It’s the first Corner for the year and a look at 2015 as a year of technology advancements is due. 2015 will be remembered as the year when three clean sheet airliners passed important milestones. This will not happen for many years to come, so it will be worth to look at what they brought to world of aviation.
I’m thinking of Bombardier’s (BBD) CSeries getting certification for its first variant; the Mitsubishi MRJ doing its first flight’ and COMAC’s C919 being rolled out. Going forward, we will only have derivatives progressing through such milestones for years except for the roll-out of United Aircraft’s MS-21 single aisle airliner in 2016.
The Airbus A320neo was certified in 2015 and Boeing’s 737 MAX rolled out, but these are derivatives of in-service aircraft.
Embraer’s E-Jet E2 will roll out in February but this is a further development of today’s E-jet and Airbus A350-1000 is a variant of the in-service A350-900.
It will be a long time before we see so much new in a year, so it can be instructive to look at to what extent did these new aircraft bring the state of the art of airliners forward.
Nov. 24, 2015, (c) Leeham Co. With the $1bn investment by the Province of Quebec in the Bombardier CSeries program, another example of government funding emerges in commercial aviation development.
Setting aside whether the investment might be challenged before the World Trade Organization—and whether this makes good business sense for Quebec—the move makes a mockery of the entire concept of avoiding government support.
ATR and Bombardier are incumbents. China has a home-market offering.
Indonesia and India want to create a product.
It’s the 60-seat and up turbo-prop market.
It’s too many companies chasing too-small a market.
06 November 2015, ©. Leeham Co: COMAC’s C919 was rolled out in the week. We got to see a new shiny aircraft which looked ready to fly. The nicely curved fuselage and wings were immaculate, the paint was shiny and the CFM LEAP-1C engines were ready to go.
Yet many ask, when will it fly for the first time? It used to be that when the airframe was finished and the engines ran reliably it was time to fly. No longer! Today the most challenging part of an aircraft program is the integration of all the complex systems which hide under the skin. This is what kept the Bombardier CSeries on ground longer than it should and the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 had the same flu (the latter also had to short wires).
It is the part of the aircraft which takes longest to get to work reliably. The A380 is known for its long period of nuisance warnings from the complex avionics system after entry into service and the reliability work for the 787 has to a large extent been one of software tuning of its system side.
As the system function of modern aircraft has grown more complex the whole architecture of how it was built had to be changed. Here’s how.