Pontifications: Catching up on Odds and Ends-Alaska’s Airbus fleet, first E195-E2 delivery, Boeing’s MAX rebranding question

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Sept. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s time to catch up on Odds and Ends.

Alaska Airlines

In its second quarter earnings call and 10Q Securities and Exchange Filing, Alaska Airlines said it was returning one Airbus A319 and two A320s off lease this year and next.

By Scott Hamilton

These airplanes are from its Virgin America acquisition, which introduced the Airbus family into the all-Boeing Alaska mainline operations.

Alaska officials have said several times they are evaluating whether to phase out all Airbuses and return to an all-Boeing fleet, or keep the Airbuses and operate a mixed fleet indefinitely.

I wondered if this was the start of the phase out.

“We are planning to return 1 A319 this year and 2 A320s next year at normal lease expiration,” Brandon Pederson, EVP and CFO of the company, wrote LNA.  “This is not part of a broader fleet  decision, nor a phase out of the smaller Airbus aircraft.  Leases on the remaining 50 A319/A320 aircraft in the fleet have varying maturities through 2025.”

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Embraer presents second quarter 2019 results.

By Bjorn Fehrm

August 14, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Embraer announced its 2Q2019 results today. The company delivered a slightly better quarter than expectations after a disappointing first quarter.

The Commercial Aircraft division and its E175 is still paying the company bills, as the start of the E2 program with E190-E2 is slow, with deliveries at one per quarter so far this year.

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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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Pontifications: MAX market share holding steady, so far

By Scott Hamilton

July 29, 2019, Leeham News: Despite threats and fears of cancellations for the Boeing 737 MAX following two fatal accidents of virtually brand new -8 MAXes, few order cancellations directly attributable to the crashes have occurred.

So far, there isn’t a discernible shift to Airbus, either, data shows.

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Evolving the MRJ into the SpaceJet

June 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MITAC)’s redesign of the MRJ70 and launch of the M100 SpaceJet in its place reflects a changing market environment when the MRJ program was launched more than a decade ago.

Then, MITAC—and Embraer—thought the restrictive US Scope Clause with the pilots’ unions of US major carriers would be relaxed by now.

MITAC launched the MRJ90 90-seat aircraft, to be followed by the MRJ70, a 70-seat airplane. Embraer launched the E175-E2 re-engined model of the popular E175.

Mitsubishi’s SpaceJet is the new brand for the revised MRI70 design, which has more passengers, a different wing and slightly longer fuselage than the original. Entry into service is planned for 2023. Source: Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.

Neither complied with Scope as then defined, specifically the maximum takeoff weight of 86,000 lbs. Each exceeded this limit by about a ton.

(There are restrictions as to the number of seats and number of airplanes that can be operated by regional airline partners, too, but it’s the weight limit that’s the key issue here.)

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Embraer in holding pattern awaiting JV approvals

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Introduction

June 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer is in a holding pattern of sorts.

It’s awaiting international regulatory anti-trust approval for the joint venture with The Boeing Co.

It can’t coordinate with Boeing about synergies until these approvals come.

Its leadership is identifying areas that, from its perspective, can lead to synergies.

Some key campaigns for the E-Jet E2 appear to be on hold while customers wait for Boeing and Embraer to join in order to see how pricing may be reset, competition with the Airbus A220 shapes up, what synergies between the E2 and Boeing’s 7-Series product lines might emerge and how Embraer’s Services unit integrates with Boeing Global Services.

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Pontifications: Melancholy about Embraer’s 50th year

By Scott Hamilton

June 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer is 50 years old Aug. 19.

This must be the classic case of mixed feelings. By the end of the year, if regulators approve, the marquis business unit, Commercial Aviation, will be spun off and the Embraer name for it disappears into Boeing Brasil-Commercial (BB-C).

Boeing will own 80% of the new joint venture and Embraer retains 20%. Boeing has the governance and chairman. Embraer’s CEO of Commercial Aviation becomes president and CEO of BB-C, but the direction now will clearly be set by Boeing.

Sixty percent of Embraer’s services unit goes into BB-C.

Embraer and Boeing also created a second JV, for the KC-390 program. Embraer retains 51% and Boeing gets 49%.

Embraer retains full control over the remaining defense and business jet units.

Officials put a “best face” on the pending changes at Embraer’s pre-Paris Air Show briefings May 27-29, but they really could not mask the uncertainties and, to some degree, resignation about the future.

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Mitsubishi in negotiations with Bombardier to acquire the CRJ program (Updated)

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 5, 2019, © Leeham News.: The Air Current broke the news earlier today Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is negotiating with Bombardier to buy the CRJ program.

BBC has got comments from both companies confirming the discussions, with cautions nothing is settled and it can still result in a no deal. Should it happen it would make a lot of sense for both parties.

UPDATE: Bombardier has issued a statement confirming the discussions, see below.

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Mitsubish renaming, revamping MRJ, considers US production line: Nikkei Asia news

Updated, 3pm Brazil time, with Bombardier statement and additional response from Embraer.

May 29, 2019, © Leeham News, Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil: Mitsubishi is changing the name of its MRJ jet, revamping the smallest version and considering a US production line, the Japanese news agency Nikkei Asia Review reported May 29 (Japan time).

The MRJ is now called SpaceJet.

The report comes on the final day of the Embraer Paris Air Show Media Days and just before the annual meeting of the International Air Transport Assn., which opens June 1 in Seoul.

It’s unknown if the timing of the leak is deliberate or coincidental.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (MITAC) hinted at changes to the airplane at a press briefing in April at its new Renton (WA) US headquarters.

Timing and events appear to be converging to boost the new MITAC jet.

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Embraer sees need for 10,550 airplanes in 50-150 sectors

May 29, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer, in what will be its last 20-year market forecast as an independent company, sees a demand for 10,550 jet and turboprop aircraft from 50 to 150 seats through 2038.

The company, founded 50 years ago, growing to become the world’s third largest supplier of airliners, sees its Commercial Aviation unit disappear by the end of this year, barring a hiccup of some kind.

That’s when The Boeing Co. and Embraer expect approval of a joint venture that will be called Boeing Brasil-Commercial (BB-C). Boeing will own 80% of the JV and control governance. Embraer will own 20%. The CEO of the Commercial Aviation unit, John Slattery, will be president of the joint venture, but Boeing will be in charge.

Until then, Embraer is trying to carry on business as usual. And this means it issued its 20-year forecast Monday during its pre-Paris Air Show international media briefing at its headquarters in Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil.

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