Pontifications: The Airbus North America Tour

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s Airbus North America Tour (#AirbusNATour on Twitter) was a whirlwind 2 ½ days encompassing Montreal Mirabel, Columbus (MS) and Mobile (AL).

To those who don’t follow Airbus Americas closely, the Mississippi stop might be a puzzle. I’ll come back to this to explain why an international group of media, including me, made this trek.

Let’s start with Montreal.

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PIPs planned for A220 to improve operating costs

Airbus A220-300, ordered by JetBlue last year. Source: Airbus.

Jan. 17, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is planning performance improvement packages for the A220, intended to shave operating costs off an airplane that already beat performance promises.

The PIPs, as the upgrades are known, are common among all airliners. In this case, the PIPs were under study by Bombardier long before Airbus acquired a 50.01% stake in the C Series program last year.

While financially-strapped Bombardier may have been able to find the money to execute, giant Airbus has no problem doing so.

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Airbus new A220 is more of a match for the A320neo than Airbus says

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 17, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s all about the new Airbus A220 on the North America press tour Airbus is hosting this week. Airbus got this top modern aircraft as a windfall after Boeing tried to block its sale on the US Market in 2017.

While the tour presents the A220 in the best of lights, it can’t shine brighter than Airbus’ own A320neo. The graph from the tour which positions them in capacity and range shows a clear little brother-large brother relationship. The reality, when comparing apples to apples, is another.

Figure 1. Airbus payload-range chart with the new A220-100 and -300 placed as shorter ranged than the A320neo and A321neo.

Summary:

  • The ideal positioning of the A220 and A320 is when the larger models are higher in capacity and flies further. They cost more and shall, therefore, be better.
  • But the comparison is not made with the same yardsticks. Use the same rules and the result is another.
  • The more modern A220-300 can then give the A320neo a match both in range and fuel consumption per passenger.

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Bombardier CEO “proud” at A220 FAL groundbreaking

Jan. 16, 2019, © Leeham News, Mobile (AL): Groundbreaking for the Airbus A220 final assembly line today might be viewed as a bittersweet moment for Alain Bellemare, CEO on Bombardier, designer of the C Series.

Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders at the A220 FAL groundbreaking in Mobile (AL). It’s his last one with Airbus., He retires in April. (Scott Hamilton photo.)

The program nearly bankrupted Bombardier. A sale of 50.01% of the CSLAP limited partnership to Airbus was necessary to save the program and Bombardier.

Bombardier’s share in the program was reduced to about a third after the Airbus sale. (A quasi-government Quebec pension fund owns the rest.)

But in an interview following the groundbreaking, Bellemare was almost giddy with excitement.

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A220 wins 180 ETOPS

Jan. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus announced today that its A220 received certification for 180- minute ETOPS from the Canadian regulatory authorities.*

The announcement came at the first Airbus North American Tour, a three-day event that kicked off at the Montreal, Canada, Mirabel Airport facilities created by Bombardier.

Bombardier, of course, created the C Series, which is now the A220.

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Airbus poised to out-deliver Boeing in 2019

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  • LNC’s Corporate and Enterprise subscribers received this Jan. 3.

Jan. 8, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is positioned to out-deliver Boeing this year, boosted by the addition of the Bombardier CSeries acquisition last year.

LNC projects that Airbus will deliver nearly 950 airliners this compared, compared with Boeing’s projected deliveries of about 890 jets.

These are LNC forecasts, not those of the manufacturers. Guidance for the year should come on their respective year-end earnings calls: February for Airbus and Jan. 30 for Boeing.

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2019 Outlook: ATR begins year in commanding position

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Introduction

Jan. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: ATR, the turboprop airliner OEM, enters 2019 in a commanding position.

Year-end 2018 order numbers for ATR and rival Bombardier aren’t in yet.

Through October, ATR held 74% of the backlog. Bombardier, buoyed by a large order for 25 Q400s from India’s SpiceJet (the 2027 deliveries in the Chart below), had 26% of the backlog.

Bombardier contracted to sell its Q400 program to Longview Capital Partners, parent of Viking Air. The Canadian company previously purchased all legacy de Havilland programs, including the Beaver, Twin Otter and aerial firefighting aircraft.

Viking restarted production of the Twin Otter and is gearing up to restart the Beaver.

Its plans for the Q400, Q300 and previous Dash 8 programs hasn’t been announced.

Summary
  • Bombardier neglected the Q400.
  • Small market over 20 years.
  • ATR would like new program.

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LNC’s Top 10 stories in 2018

Jan. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing dominated the Top 10 news stories last year, as measured by views.

Displacing Airbus at Hawaiian Airlines, which ordered the 787-9 and canceled the A330-800, led the readership.

Boeing’s flip of the Hawaiian Airlines order for the A330-800 to the 787-9 was the most read story of 2018. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines.

Airbus’ launch of the A350-900ULR came in second.

Here are the Top 10 stories on Leeham News for 2018: Read more

2019 Outlook: leaving Airbus’ troubled year behind

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 19, 2018, © Leeham News.: Next year is a time when Airbus hopes to leave its troubled 2018 behind.

But 2018 was also when the company wanted to leave the troubles of 2017 behind it.

Not only did 2018 not improve. In a number of ways it turned worse.

Engineless A320neos at Toulouse Airport. Airbus hopes this is a thing of the past. Photo via Google images.

Turmoil in the management ranks brought back memories of the politically infested Airbus of 20 years ago. And there were other issues.

Production problems with the A320 continued. The A330neo was further delayed and the A380 order from Emirates to save the program took forever to materialize. The negotiations to fix the contracts for A400M couldn’t be brought to a close.

There were two bright lights in the year. The A350 was now out of its cabin supplier problems and delivering aircraft to plan. The other was the gift from Boeing’s suing Bombardier and its CSeries the year before. The top modern Bombardier CS100/300 became Airbus A220 on the first of July. Price tag; $1 for 50.01% of the program.

Summary
  • Changes in executives are almost over.
  • Pratt & Whitney’s engine delivery delays are caught up and CFM’s delays are diminishing.
  • Production ramp ups are peaking (for now) and deliveries should be at a record rate next year.
  • Airbus is waiting for Boeing to decide whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft.

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Lion Air threatens to cancel MAX order; no impact to Boeing seen

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Introduction

Dec. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: Lion Air’s co-founder is threatening to cancel an order for more than 200 Boeing 737 MAXes following what he says is Boeing’s blaming the airline for the Oct. 29 crash of Flight 610.

All 189 people aboard the three month old 737-8 died when the plane plunged into the Java Sea 11 minutes after take-off from Jakarta.

Calling a Boeing statement issued Nov. 27 a “betrayal,” co-founder Rusdi Kirana Dec. 3 threatened to cancel to big Boeing order. He amplified his remarks Dec. 11.

Summary
  • Lion Air has 229 MAXes scheduled for delivery between 2019-2026.
  • The carrier has 148 A320neos scheduled for delivery, believed intended for its leasing company.
  • Deliveries mostly overlap.
  • Another source of A320neos is apparently available.
  • Analysis of impact to Boeing

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