What’s the gain of flying a smaller single-aisle during COVID-19 recovery?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 28, 2020, © Leeham News: As flying recommences after country lockdowns, the fill factors for the flights will be low for an extended period.

Airlines and the OEMs are anticipating the low load factors. For instance, Delta has not deferred any Airbus A220 deliveries but is postponing deliveries of larger aircraft. How much of an advantage is a smaller aircraft when opening up the traffic again?

We compare the operational costs of the Airbus alternatives. The cost of flying the A220-300 is compared with the A320neo.

Summary:

  • The A220-300 is about 25 seats smaller than the A320neo. It’s smaller airframe makes for lower fuel costs and airway/landing fees.
  • There are savings on the crew side as well, as both flight and cabin crew costs less.
  • Finally, modern systems, a composite wing, and a fuselage made of advanced materials promise lower maintenance costs than the A320neo.

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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 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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Air Canada inaugurates A220-300 service today

Jan. 16, 2020, © Leeham News: Air Canada inaugurates Airbus A220-300 service today, becoming the second North American carrier to operate the A220. Delta Air Lines was the first, with the A220-100 last year.

Air Canada A220-300. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

It is the first North American airline to operate the -300 model. The new service begins on the Montreal-Calgary route.

Airline and Airbus officials paid homage to Bombardier at a celebration yesterday in an Air Canada hanger down the block from Bombardier’s world headquarters on the edges of Montreal Dorval Airport.

Bombardier designed the aircraft, originally called C Series, in a bet-the-company challenge to Airbus and Boeing.

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Airbus 2019 results hit by A320neo delivery delays

By Bjorn Fehrm 

October 30, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus announced 3Q 2019 results today. Revenue and profits for the first nine months were up from last year but the company is still wrestling with delivery problems for A320neos from its Hamburg factories. The delays during the first nine months cannot be caught up and the delivery guidance for 2019 is now 860 aircraft instead of 880-890.

Guided free cash flow will suffer as a result while profits for the year are guided unchanged as the first nine months delivered healthy profits.

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Embraer’s E195-E2 or Airbus A220-300 under 150 seats? Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction 

October 3, 2019, ©. Leeham News: We have the last two weeks analyzed what aircraft to choose for the segment 120 to 150 seats, comparing Embraer’s E195-E2 with Airbus’ A220-300.

The first week we looked at fundamental data and last week we compared the drag data and by it the fuel consumption of the aircraft. Now, we analyze the other operational costs for the aircraft.

Summary:

  • The fuel costs between the E195-E2 and A220-300 are close.
  • We now analyze the other operational costs; Crew, Maintenance and Airway/Airport costs to see how these differ.

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Embraer’s E195-E2 or Airbus’ A220-300 for the 120 to 150 seat segment?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

September 19, 2019, ©. Leeham News: What aircraft to choose for the segment 120 to 150 seats, Embraer’s E195-E2 or Airbus A220-300? After discussions with Airbus’ Rob Dewar at the Paris Airshow, Head of A220 Engineering and Product Support, and a visit to Embraer last week for the E195-E2’s first customer delivery, we have collected some unique insights.

We also had the opportunity to talk to David Neeleman of Azul, Moxy and TAP Portugal when at Embraer, the only owner/operator which has bought both aircraft; E195-E2 for Azul and A220-300 for his Moxy project.

Summary:
  • We start with a detailed comparison of the aircraft in this first article.
  • While serving the same passenger capacity segment, they are surprisingly different in their design approach and, therefore, in their characteristics.

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Will the A220 drive the trans-Atlantic fragmentation to smaller jets? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

August 15, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus is increasing the Gross Weight of its A220 variants by 5,000lb from 2H2020. It is to increase the already long range of the aircraft according to Airbus.

We looked at the typical trans-Atlantic routes this longer-range capability enabled last week. Now we explore further route areas and compare the A220 economics to the Boeing 737-8 and Airbus A321LR.

Summary:

  • Last week we saw the A220 could open trans-Atlantic routes from West Europe to East Canada and North-East US.
  • This week we explore further alternatives and explore the economics of the A220 as an aircraft for long and thin routes.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Fly by steel or electrical wire, Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 9, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In our series about classical flight controls (“fly by steel wire”) and Fly-By-Wire (FBW or “fly by electrical wire”), we this week turn to the actual Flight control system after covering the infrastructure needs last week. We could see the FBW required a higher redundancy Hydraulic and Electrical infrastructure. Why we will come to.

Now we look at the control principles for classical control systems like the Boeing 737 system and FBW system like the Airbus A320 system.

Figure 1. The control axis and control surfaces of a 737. Source: Boeing.

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