Dec. 21, 2020, © Leeham News: This is my last Pontification of 2020. I’ll be off between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
It’s only fitting to look back at what is the worst year in commercial aviation—ever.
I’ve just completed my 41st year in this industry. I’ve seen two Gulf Wars, SARS, 9/11, the Great Recession and several economic cycles.
Lockheed and McDonnell Douglas exited the commercial airliner business.
I’ve seen three groundings: the McDonnell Douglas DC-10, Boeing 787 and 737 MAX. I’ve been on site of two significant crashes: the American Airlines DC-10 in Chicago and Delta Air Lines’ 727 in Dallas. I flew over a third, a Delta L-1011 in Dallas the day after it happened.
I worked for the first new airline certified by the Civil Aeronautics Board in 40 years, the first Midway. I also went through one bankruptcy and one merger, each part of the deregulation shake-out.
As a reporter, I covered some of the business giants, including Bob Crandall, Herb Kelleher, John Leahy and others.
It’s been a great four decades.
But nothing compares to the global industry disaster of 2020.
Second in a Series on the Future of Regionals
By Kathryn B. Creedy
Aug. 6, 2020, (c) Leeham News: Many might assume the recent loss of three regionals – Compass, Trans States and ExpressJet – is Covid related.
What is actually happening is the long-anticipated consolidation of the regional airline industry coupled with fleet restructuring and the most recent fallout of the pilot shortage crisis that began in 2013.
Reducing the number of regional partners also streamlines the inherent inefficiencies of the regional/major model.
By Bjorn Fehrm
July 9, 2020, © Leeham News: Last week, we started the analysis of restoring capacity with the Airbus A330-300 or the A330-900 when reopening international traffic after the COVID-19 lockdown.
As we did with the A330-200 versus the A330-800, we fly them side by side between Paris Charles de Gaulle and Sao Polo’s Guarulhos airports. It’s a 13-hour flight with maximum freight in the cargo bays to gain revenue in addition to our part full cabin.
Will the payload-range of the A330-300 or A330-900 be sufficient to load the aircraft for maximum revenue on the route? We use our airliner performance model to find out.
By Bjorn Fehrm
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.
May 18, 2020, © Leeham News: There simply is no good news in commercial aviation right now.
Yes, airport traffic is upticking in the USA (and elsewhere) slightly. But in the USA, it’s still less than 10% of last year’s totals.
There remains a tremendous amount of uncertainty.
The list goes on and on and on.
By Bjorn Fehrm
April 6, 2020, © Leeham News: With the COVID-19 pandemic, the passenger traffic has ground to a halt in many countries. The airliners are parked and their crews sit idle.
At the same time, the air freight market booms. From a decline in demand in the first months of the year, there isn’t enough freighter capacity right now. The freight that traveled in the bellies of the passenger jets had to find new ways and as this was almost half the world’s air cargo, the dedicated freighters can’t absorb the volumes.
Is it time to fly passenger airliners as substitute freighters? Some airlines are doing this on a spot basis. Apart from injecting capacity for needed medical supply freight, does it make economic sense? We run a series of articles on the subject.
By Scott Hamilton
March 18, 2020, © Leeham News: The Federal government is preparing a bailout, said to be more than $1 trillion, to pump into the US economy.
Airlines want $50bn. Boeing wants $60bn for the aerospace industry. It’s unclear how much is for Boeing and how much is for industry.
Opposition for the airlines and Boeing was quick to emerge. The objection: how much each spent in recent years on shareholder buybacks.
The bailout package goes across the US economy and includes direct cash grants to individuals. In keeping with LNA’s business, I focus in the column only on aviation.
By Judson Rollins
March 16, 2020, © Leeham News: Throughout Sunday afternoon and evening, reports – all unconfirmed – began to emerge in the US that as early as today, the Trump administration may announce a suspension of US passenger flights domestically for 2-4 weeks. The suspension, if confirmed, could begin this week. Investors are scrambling to understand how long US airlines can survive on their current cash balances.
LNA reviewed the balance sheets of carriers worldwide in anticipation of such dramatic events. In this article, we will show that US airlines have plenty of time for demand to recover – or the US government to step in with emergency loans or grants similar to those doled out by the Air Transportation Stabilization Board from 2001 to 2003.
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.
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.
By Bjorn Fehrm
November 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week we started our analysis of the De Havilland Canada’s DHC 8-400 as a replacement for US Scope Clause 50 seat jets like the Bombardier CRJ200 or the Embraer ERJ-145.
We compared a newly produced and adapted DHC 8-400 with United’s CRJ-700 conversion to CRJ550, a 50-seater version of the larger jet. After looking at the airplane dimensions and cabin spaces last week we now go deeper into the configuration of the aircraft and their economics.