Top Airbus officials scoffed at Leahy’s 50% market share goal

John Leahy, the chief operating officer-customers for Airbus, will retire in January after 33 years with the company. LNC’s editor, Scott Hamilton, has known Leahy for most of this time. This is the second of a series of reports derived from interviewing Leahy about his pending retirement. The first article appeared Nov. 28.

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: When John Leahy was promoted from his position as head of Airbus sales in North America and moved to headquarters in Toulouse,

John Leahy, COO-Customers Airbus. Reuters photo via Google images.

France, to assume the world-wide position as head of sales, he had an ambitious goal to achieve 50% market share by 2000.

He had a little over five years to go from low-double digits to this lofty goal.

The Airbus executive board initially laughed at him, Leahy recalls 22 years later.

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Pontifications: 49 years ago, the first 747 rolled out

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Today is the 49th anniversary of the roll-out of the Boeing 747-100.

On Nov. 7, United Airlines operates its last 747 flight. Delta Air Lines ends it 747 service this year. Afterward, there won’t be a single US operator of the passenger model.

The 747 remains in service with US cargo carriers Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, UPS and a few others. Globally, British Airways, Lufthansa and Korean Air Lines are among those flying the passenger model.

Ted Reed, one of the writers of TheStreet.com, asked me earlier this month to give some thoughts about the 747. Below is what I gave him; he excerpted some for his column in Forbes. The focus was on US operators.

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Aeroflot, the route to a modern airline

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 12, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Aeroflot, established as the Soviet Union’s flag carrier in 1923, transformed from a state enterprise to a modern airline group after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The airline is today Europe’s seventh largest airline, two-thirds the size of Turkish Airlines, but having the same fast growth since 2005. We will cover Aeroflot’s journey in a series of articles, starting with the group’s history.

Figure 1. Aeroflot Boeing 777-300ER. Source: Wikipedia.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engine maintenance, Part 4

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: After covering the maintenance market for single-aisle engines, time has come for the engines used on wide-body aircraft. The engine maintenance for a wide-body engine is a bit different to the single-aisle engine. The difference is caused by the longer flight times for the wide-bodies. This makes the flight time wear a more dominant maintenance driver than it is for the single-aisle engines.

The changes in overhaul work caused by the difference in flight profiles and the lower number of engines in the market (compared to the single aisles) will affect how the overhaul market is structured and who are the dominant players.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a tri-shaft turbofan for the wide-body market. Source: GasTurb.

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Bjorn’s Corner; The Chinese civil aircraft industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm.

September 30, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In our Corners on East bloc aeronautical industries, we will now look at the Chinese civil aircraft industry.

The Chinese aero industry has similarities with the Russian industry in its overall structure. From the start of the industry in the 1950s, it was structured after the Soviet model of research institutes, design bureaus and production companies.

The difference to the Soviet Union was that its own Chinese aircraft designs only started in the 1970s. Before that, the industry built Soviet designs on license and then modified versions of licensed designs.

The first own aircraft designs were presented in the 1980s with a focus on military designs for the first 20 years. Read more

Russian-Chinese wide-body: background and outlook

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

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.

Russian-Chinese widebody

Figure 1. Concept for new wide-body airliner. Source: United Aircraft.

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?

Summary:

  • Russia and China enter the wide-body project with widely different knowledge bases.
  • China’s first airliner project, ARJ21, just received local certification after years of delays.
  • Russia has produced over 10,000 airliners and has made two generations of wide-body aircraft in the size category.
  • The latest wide-body aircraft, Ilyushin IL-96, is on the level of Airbus A340-300 from a technological basis.

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Pontifications: The Bottom Line isn’t always about The Bottom Line

Hamilton ATR

By Scott Hamilton

June 6, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Sweetheart deals to win strategic aircraft orders are nothing new in commercial aviation.

John Leahy, COO-Customers for Airbus, last week poked Bombardier for its order from Delta Air Lines. Citing a reported airplane sales price of $22m, which Leahy estimated cost BBD $7m per airplane, Airbus’ chief salesman—known for his barbs and quips—said if BBD sold more C Series faster, the company would go out of business quicker.

Set aside for the moment the numbers he cited as unknown quantities. LNC has different figures we’ve reported and in two posts on my column at Forbes, here and here, there are other aspects to the Delta deal that affect economics.

It’s undisputed that BBD took a US$500m charge against the Delta, Air Canada and AirBaltic deals. The second Forbes post explains why. It’s all about the learning curve. Airbus and Boeing know about this: the first A350s are being chalked up to big losses and the 787 has $29bn in production costs. But it’s not to their benefit to acknowledge this when criticizing the C Series deals.

All this is neither here nor there, however. Airbus, Boeing and McDonnell Douglas all have (had) done deals that don’t seem to make commercial sense when key, strategic transactions were necessary.

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Pontifications: Why the 787-8 is no longer favored by Boeing

Hamilton KING5_2

By Scott Hamilton

March 21, 2016, © Leeham Co: My Pontifications for the last two weeks examined how the Airbus and Boeing messaging continues to do battle for the product line ups. Boeing continues to denigrate the Airbus widebody line and Airbus fighting back, using Boeing’s own tactics alleging a product gap.

Boeing claims then A330neo is “dead on arrival” and the Airbus widebody strategy is “a mess.” Neither claim holds up under scrutiny. Certainly there is some weakness in the Airbus line: the A330-200 sales slowed to a trickle and the A330neo, especially the -800, has yet to truly advance. The A380 struggles and the A350-1000 is slow—but after the initial, unique splurge of the 777X, sales of this airplane have been anemic, too.

Airbus points out the sales of the 787-8 have dried up. So have sales of the 777-300ER, in sharp contrast to the unexpectedly strong sales for the A330ceo—enough so that Airbus is taking the production rate back up, to 7/mo, from the previously announced reduction to 6/mo.

Here’s why the 787-8 has become a dying sub-type.

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Minuscule demand for Boeing 747-8F

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Introduction

seahawksplane2

One of Boeing’s white tail 747-8Fs. This, and another that has been stored, was painted in the livery of the Seattle Seahawks. Boeing photo.

Jan. 25, 2016, © Leeham Co. Boeing’s decision to cut the production rate on the 747-8 is not a surprise. It’s only a surprise that it took officials so long to do so.

The company continues to cling to the hope of a recovery in the global air cargo market to sustain the program. This is unlikely, however.

The business case for the 747-8F is minuscule.

Summary

  • The metrics of the global freight market have simply changed too much.
  • Load factors for freight remain stuck below 45%.
  • Yields continue to be low.
  • Shifting trends from main deck freighters to using lower deck space on the big passenger airlines continues to grow.
  • Low fuel prices, temporary though they may be, diminish the new for new 747-8Fs.
  • Low capital cost 747-400 Passenger models stored in the desert or soon to be exiting the world’s fleet, along with stored 747-400Fs, provide ample opportunity for cheap freighters.

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C-17: the end of an era

Dec. 1,2015: The last C-17 flew off the Boeing production line in Long Beach (CA) last week, ending aircraft

The final C-17 before taking off from the Long Beach (CA) production plant Boeing acquired in the McDonnell Douglas merger of 1997. MDC designed the C-17. Los Angeles Times photo.

production at the former McDonnell Douglas plant that began delivering Douglas DC-8s at the start of the jet age.

It’s the end of an era that lasted six decades.

Prior to producing the DC-8 at Long Beach, Douglas Aircraft Co. built its long line of piston airliners at the Santa Monica (CA) Airport.

The DC-8 was followed by the DC-9, DC-10, the DC-9 Super 80 series, the MD-11, the MD-90 and the final commercial airliner at Long Beach, the MD-95/Boeing 717. The C-17 was the only military aircraft built here.

Here’s a photo array dedicated to this storied history.

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