Odds and Ends: KC-787 unlikely; Qatar on A380, A350 and CSeries; more Airbus-Boeing bickering

KC-787?: Defense News has this article quoting Jim Albaugh that the prospect of a KC-787 is unlikely.

Qatar on Airbus, Bombardier: Qatar’s Akbar Al-Baker says he won’t take the Airbus A380 without a permanent fix for the wing L-brace cracks. In the same story, Al-Baker comments on the redesign of the A350. Al-Baker also said talks for the Bombardier CSeries are on hold for 6-12 months. Details in this story.

More Airbus-Boeing bickering: It’s tiresome enough that Airbus and Boeing publicly bicker over the A320 v 737, neo v MAX and 747 v A380. Now they are in a public pissing match over the 737 BBJ and the Airbus ACJ business jets. Both sides need to act like the world-class companies they are.

Here’s to flying British Airways: No comment necessary.

PW to dual-source neo engine manufacture

Pratt & Whitney will dual source manufacture of the A320neo GTF engine so there is no single point of failure, an official said at the PW Media Day in Hartford.

Tom Mayes, general manager of the company’s Middletown (CT) facility, also said that a decision hasn’t been made for a production location of the GTF version for the Mitsubishi MRJ. PW is assembling the Bombardier CSeries version at Montreal Mirabel Airport.

PW CEO David Hess said the GTF, offered on the A320neo, the CSeries, MRJ and the Irkut MC-21, will drive PW’s revenues from $12.7bn last year to twice that by 2020. Over the life of the program, Hess estimates the GTF will produce $325bn in revenues.

There currently is a backlog of more than 2,600 GTFs.

Ground and flight testing is validating promises about GTF performance, Hess told the international media: 16% better fuel consumption vs today’s engines, lower noise and on-target maintenance forecasts.

Odds and Ends: A320ceo production to end in 2018–PW; responds to 777X RFI

A320 Current Engine Option: The Airbus A320ceo production will end in 2018, according to David Hess, the president of Pratt & Whitney. Hess made the remarks today at the annual PW media day.

Hess said PW anticipates delivering an aggregate of 8,000 V2500 engines by the time the A320ceo winds down.

GTF to have >1m hours by year-end 2015: Hess also said the GTF will have accumulated more than 1m hours of tests and operations by the end of 2015 and more than 3m hours by the time the Boeing 737 MAX enters service in 4Q2017.

PW revenue will double from $12.7bn today: Hess said revenue will double by the end of 2020, driven by the GTF and aftermarket support. “The engines that we are developing today will define PW.”

Second GTF variant enters flight test: The Mitsubishi variant of the GTF made its first flight yesterday.

PW responds to Boeing RFI for 777X engine: in the 90,000-100,000 lb class. The benefits of GTF grow the larger the engine, says Hess.

ISTAT Part 3: Lessors Panel: GECAS, ILFC, AWAS, Air Lease Corp

The final panel at the ISTAT meeting is the much-anticipated lessors’ panel consisting of:

Jeff Knittle, president of CIT Aerospace, moderator;

Henri Courpron, Chairman of ILFC;

Ray Sisson, CEO of AWAS;

Norman Liu, CEO of GECAS; and

Steve Udvar-Hazy, CEO of Air Lease Corp.


HC: All hell broke loose in Europe and upended aviation. Looking at consolidation in Europe. America now had a lot of stability and discipline, and we’ll see that happen in Europe. More fuel efficient aircraft will be required in Europe. I see a lot of opportunity and challenges to come in Europe.
NL: Asia has been by far our most active market, with 70% of our airplanes going there. You have to look at different parts of Asia–you can’t generalize. LCCs in Japan. Always something going on in China. SE Asia, good organic growth. Philippines and Indonesia very interesting. South Asia has had travails.
SUH: North America is going through an interesting time. Canada is a duopoly situation with new Asian and Middle Eastern carriers entering the market. The US is very mature having gone through a lot of trial and tribulation, more disciplined [than before]. After 9/11 there was a slow-down in US carriers taking new airplanes. We have a bow wave of a requirement for new fleeting.
RS: Latin America is under-appreciated. We see rapid growth there. By 2015 may be 17%, 20% of our fleet. There is a remarkable amount of demand and opportunities for lessors.

Republic’s Bryan Bedford emulates U-Turn Al

The CEO of Republic Airways Holdings seems to be vying to be America’s version of U-Turn Al, Akbar Al-Baker, the CEO of Qatar Airways.

Bedford appears to be engaged in a campaign to raise questions about the Bombardier CSeries, for which he has orders and options for 80 CS300s, much the same way U-Turn Al alternatively praises then complains about the Airbus A350, Boeing 747-8F (ordered by Cargolux, in which Qatar owns a third) and the Boeing 787. U-Turn Al has also alternative praised, condemned then praised the Airbus A320neo, Bombardier CSeries and the Pratt & Whitney GTF.

Keeping up with U-Turn Al’s about-faces has been a dizzying prospect.

Bedford praised the CSeries when ordering it but has become increasingly skeptical of the program once he ordered the A319neo (with CFM LEAP engines) in what was a financial bailout of his ailing company being dragged down by Frontier Airlines. The Airbus order raised questions whether Bedford would cancel the CSeries since the A319neo competes with the CS300. Bedford initially said the order would stand. More recently, he appears to be doing everything to cast a shadow over the program.

Read more

Odds and Ends: Bombardier, Kingfisher, Southwest

CSeries: Blogger Airline Reporter has this post after touring the Bombardier CSeries mock-up. We’ve seen it before and came away with the same impressions. What caught our eye was this comment:

All the time , I hear people asking for wider seats, more room, etc. But really, what airline is going to take a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 and go from six seats across to five? (hint: none)

No kidding. Not in this day-and-age where load factors are running at 80% or better and airlines still worry about making money in an uncertain age of oil prices. Some airlines now make their entire profits from fees.

Airline Reporter’s remarks further poke in pin in the balloon of the goofy proposal of a 1x3x1 Airbus interior proffered by a former Airbus employee.

That aside, Airline Reporter does a good job of synopsizing the CSeries design philosophy.

Read more

Odds and Ends: Bombardier, Boeing and Mountain Dew

Bombardier: Jon Ostrower reports that Bombardier will deliver 10 CSeries per month from 2016 in this report. This is a pretty modest rampy up rate, in our view, on the way to a projected maximum of 20 per month. Ostrower also has this piece about the activation of BBD’s CIASTA “iron bird” designed to test systems on the ground, well before the first flight, in a bid to iron out any problems before getting too far into assembly.

Even at the maximum rate, this pales compared with the 42 per month announced by Boeing for the 737 and 44 per month announced by Airbus for the A320. Both companies are considering even higher rates, to as many as 60 per month.

This also is one reason why BBD isn’t striving for some mega-order that some observers and analysts want as indicative a vast market acceptance of the CSeries. BBD simply couldn’t fill such an order without one customer dominating its production line. BBD wants to establish a broad customer base by entry-into-service.

Read more

Readers’ vote: What’s the most momentous event of 2011?

What do you think was the most momentous event for the following companies in 2011? And what do you predict for 2012?

New carrier Odyssey to challenge British Air’s London City service with CSeries

Update, Dec. 21: Flightblogger published this report that shows a PIANO analysis of the CS100 vs A318 on the London City to New York route. Among other things, it shows a fuel burn reduction of 22.5%.

Original Post:

Reuters just reported that a new airline, Odyssey of Europe, is an undisclosed customer for Bombardier’s CSeries and that the carrier plans to operate from London City Airport in competition with British Airways on some routes.

The CS100, in a reduced business class configuration, can fly from London City to New York non-stop while BA’s A318 in business class has to make a refueling stop.

BBD did not confirm the Reuters report’s customer identification, but we have been hearing this name since BBD announced an unidentified customer at the Paris Air Show.

Of course, a start-up airline competing again the power, deep pocked and frequent flier program of BA will be challenging, at least. But this does demonstrate the capabilities of the CS100 out of the highly restricted London City Airport.

Odds and Ends: MAX prices, Albaugh on MAX, BBD on CSeries

737 MAX: Boeing has ann0unced the prices for the MAX and Reuters has this story comparing the competition with NEO:

Airplane Families 2011 $ in Millions Average
737 Family
737-600 59.4
737-700 70.9
737-800 84.4
737-900ER 89.6
737 MAX 7 77.7 (+6.8)
737 MAX 8 95.2 (+10.8)
737 MAX 9 101.7 (+12.1)
747 Family
747-8 332.9
747-8 Freighter 333.5
767 Family
767-200ER 151.5
767-300ER 173.1
767-300 Freighter 175.4
767-400ER 190.2
777 Family
777-200ER 244.7
777-200LR 275.8
777-300ER 298.3
777 Freighter 280.1
787 Family
787-8 193.5
787-9 227.8

What’s interesting of the MAX prices vs NG is the price premium of up to $12m, nearly twice that announced by Airbus for the NEO. Recall, too, that Boeing dissed the Airbus plans to charge a premium for the NEO; Boeing used the NEO premium as a talking point to promote the value proposition of the 737NG.

Boeing: Jim Albaugh, appearing at a Reuters event, says Boeing expects to begin converting the 948 commitments to firm orders very soon. Who are the commitments? Only four are announced out of 13 customers.

We’ve listed most of them before. We now understand that there are five top lessors who have committed (only one has announced). We’ve previously identified GECAS (no surprise here). We knew of another but did not have the name. ILFC, ALC and CIT are obvious candidates but we don’t have definitive information that these are the others.

Announced firm order

  • Southwest Airlines

Announced commitments

  • American
  • Lionair*
  • Aviation Capital Group

Lionair says theirs is more than a commitment while at the same time saying it won’t be “firmed” until January. The announcement was in November and it is not on the Boeing order list yet.

Unannounced but we’re comfortable these have committed:

  • Three other lessors
  • COPA
  • GOL
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle

That’s 11 of the 13. We have heard the names of the other two but aren’t sure enough of them to publish them.

Bombardier: Pierre Beaudoin, president of the Canadian manufacturer, gave an interview to the Montreal Gazette on the challenges facing the company on the new CSeries. Hints of a six month delay are becoming more frequent.

Southwest Airlines: For those still wondering, it’s now official: Boeing and Southwest agreed to transfer AirTran’s outstanding order for 53 737s to Southwest, according to an SEC filing. Southwest also canceled purchase rights of its own for 20 737s as part of the order for 58 737-800s announced at the same time the MAX order was announced.

Softening Freighter Market: In another worrying sign about the global economy, Cathy Pacific has deferred to Boeing 747-8Fs to 2013 from 2012, according to AirWise. Global cargo demand is often a leading indicator of passenger demand.

Embraer forecasts a “crisis” in the Brazilian economy next year but an increase in commercial aircraft sales nonetheless.