The regional market and scope clauses

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 17, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Union contract Scope Clauses–the provision limiting the weight, capacity or number of aircraft operated by airlines for major carriers–are unlikely to be modified any time soon, panelists at the Air Finance Journal conference in Dublin said.

The restrictive Scope Clauses are predominate in the US. These limit the ability of small airplane manufacturers to sell aircraft in the US. Most affected are Embraer, Bombardier and newcomer Mitsubishi.

Contract negotiations in December, concluded before Christmas, resulted in no changes, surprising some. This will impact planned purchases of aircraft.We sat with Bombardier’s Ross Mitchell, vice president of commercial operations, to understand why the scope clauses are so important and why they did not change. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Turbofan developments in 2017

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 06, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Before we finish of our series on airliner turbofan technology, let’s spend this Corner on what will happen on the airliner engine front during 2017.

While there is no totally new engine that comes into the market during 2017 there are a number of new variants of existing engine families that will be introduced.

Figure 1. GasTurb principal representation of a three shaft turbofan like our reference Rolls-Royce Trent XWB. Source: GasTurb.

 

If we start with the engines for regional/single aisle aircraft and then climb the thrust scale, we will cover the engines in climbing thrust class.

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Pontifications: Embraer, contrary to others, looks to momentum in 2017

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus, Boeing and Bombardier look toward 2017 as a bit of a punk year, as detailed in our Look Ahead for subscribers only. Not so by Embraer.

In an exclusive interview, John Slattery, the president of Embraer Commercial, said EMB will gain “momentum” this year. This is at a time where sales at the other three of the Big Four OEMs are expected to slow off an already slow 2016.

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2017: the year ahead

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Introduction

Jan. 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The New Year is here and it doesn’t look like a good one for commercial aerospace, if measured against previous outstanding years.

There are some troubling signs ahead, piling on to a slowdown in orders from last year that didn’t even reach a 1:1 book:bill.

This year looks to be worse than last. Airbus and Boeing will give their 2017 guidance on the earnings calls this month and next. Bombardier and Embraer earnings calls are a ways off, when each will provide its guidance.

But LNC believes the Big Two in particular will be hard pressed to hit a 1:1 book:bill this year and may even struggle to match 2016 sales.

Boeing’s year-end order tally comes Thursday. Airbus’ comes on Jan. 11.

Summary
  • Wide-body sales remain weak.
  • Narrow-body backlogs and low oil prices continue to inhibit sales.
  • China, Middle East concerns emerging.
  • United Aircraft MC-21 and COMAC C919 begin flight testing.
  • Airbus A330neo, Boeing 787-10, Embraer E195-E2 and Mitsubishi Aircraft MRJ-70 roll-out and begin flight testing.
  • Airbus A321neo and Boeing 737 MAX 8 EIS.

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Flying the CSeries

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 09, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: After my preparations at Bombardier (BBD) in Montreal, it was time to take an early flight to BBD’s test center in Wichita (KS) the next day. We spent the afternoon in briefings and went flying Wednesday.

ftv8-cs300-and-ftv2-cs100-at-test-center

Figure 1. FTV8 (CS300) and FTV2 (CS100) at BBD test center. Source: Leeham Co.

The trip to Wichita was with American Airlines regional carrier American Eagle on a BBD CRJ200. Within two days, I would experience the first and smallest regional jet, the CRJ200 (albeit in coach) and Bombardier’s latest and largest jet, CS300, which encroaches on the turf of the single aisles as a direct competitor to the Airbus A319 and Boeing 737-700/7.

At the test center, just off the runway to Wichita International, I would be joined by Mike Gerzanics, who was test flying for FlightGlobal. We last met when we test flew the Airbus A350 in Toulouse in Spring 2015. Read more

CSeries out of London City Airport

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Introduction

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 07, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: When we visited Bombardier (BBD) in Montreal recently, we learned new information about how the CSeries would operate from London City Airport. This unique airport served 4.3m passengers last year and have expansion plans for more passengers up to 2030.

Bombardier’s first CSeries operator, SWISS Airlines, configured all its CS100 aircraft to operate from London City. This requires special engine selections and certification of aircraft and crews. The certification of the aircraft, CS100 is ongoing and will be finished at the turn of the year.

aerial_view_of_london_city_airport_2007

Figure 1. London City Airport, housed in the docklands of London’s east end. Source: Wikipedia.

We take a look at what is required for London City and how far the CS100, appropriately configured, can serve destinations from this special airport. We will use a combination of Bombardier data and our own performance model to reach the conclusions.

Summary

  • London City Airport put special requirements on the aircraft serving it.
  • The CSeries will be one of the most potent types allowed at London City.
  • We use BBD data and our performance model to understand at what range destinations can be served.

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Less desirable aircraft for lessors

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Introduction

Part 3: Oct. 24, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Lessors select aircraft to add to their portfolios based on several basic criteria:

  • Is it a good airplane?
  • How are the economics?
  • Is there, or will there be, a broad customer base?
  • How “liquid” is the airplane?
  • How broad is the customer base?
  • Reconfiguration costs.
  • Commercial terms of the acquisition.

Lessors often conclude that while an airplane may be good technically and perfectly acceptable for airline use, failure to meet their specialized key criteria—notably liquidity and customer base—they may pass on the aircraft.

Summary

  • A surprising number of in-production jets and those in development don’t make a lessor’s list of desirable leasing assets.
  • The planes all are technically good aircraft.
  • Markets may evolve for some of the aircraft on the list.

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Seventeen new, derivative aircraft to see EIS through 2020

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Introduction

Delivery of the first Bombardier CS300, to AirBaltic, next week kicks off entry-into-service for 17 airplanes through 2020. Bombardier photo.

Delivery of the first Bombardier CS300, to AirBaltic, next week kicks off entry-into-service for 17 airplanes through 2020. Bombardier photo.

Oct. 20, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The past decade was a hive of activity as the Big Four OEMs launched new airplane programs and put the aircraft into service.

Airbus launched the A320neo, A330neo and A350 families. The A330neo is under production; the other two entered service early this year.

Boeing launched the 787 in late 2003 (outside the decade mark), rolled it out in 2007 and entered service with it in 2013. The 737 MAX was launched in 2011 and is in flight testing. The 777X was launched in 2013; components are in production.

Bombardier launched the CSeries in 2008; it entered service this year, after three years of delays.

Embraer launched the E-Jet E2 om 2013. Flight testing began this year.

New Entrants

These were supplemented by new entrants into commercial aviation: COMAC with its C919; Irkut with the MC-21; and Mitsubishi with the MRJ90. Of these, only the MRJ90 is flying. After more than two years of delays and several false starts, flight testing began in earnest this week at Moses Lake (WA) with FTA-1 (Flight Test Aircraft 1).

Development and new program launches have slowed, but the next decade is hardly going to be idle.

Summary

  • Seventeen new aircraft or derivatives are scheduled to enter service through 2020.
  • Five potential derivatives might see EIS through the same period.
  • Three to five new or potential derivative aircraft might see EIS 2021-2025.

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“Scope clauses stop aircraft development”

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 16, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: “Scope clauses stop aircraft development.”

The words are those of Rodrigo de Souza, Marketing manager of Embraer Commercial Aircraft when we spoke at the sidelines of the recent ISTAT conference in Barcelona.

De Souza made the comment when we discussed how the new E-Jet E175-E2 would fit with US scope clauses. It doesn’t.

e175-e2

Figure 1. Embraer’s E175-E2, which gives an 11% improvement in fuel burn (the additional 5% is from 76 seats going to 80). Source: Embraer.

The problem is the limit on Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).

“I can understand the other restrictions of a scope clause but not the Max Take-Off Weight restriction,” de Souza said. “It doesn’t make any sense; it just stops new and more efficient aircraft getting into the market. What relevance does it have in protecting mainline pilots from the regional operators taking over routes?”

Summary:

  • The MTOW part of scope clauses hits all regional manufacturers.
  • Embraer is not the worst hit; their present E175 is compliant and selling well.
  • Mitsubishi is worse off. Its entire backlog of 240 MRJ90 is non-compliant. And some of its major customers fly for airlines with scope clauses.
  • What is the solution? Why doesn’t scope clauses adapt to modern times?

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ISTAT Europe 2016: Regional aircraft market

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 26, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: We are reporting from ISTAT (International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading) 2016 in Barcelona. The regional aircraft panel, discussing the future for the regional aircraft market, featured Embraer, Bombardier, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Superjet International, presenting the strengths of their offerings and why they would have a good future share of the market.

Here’s what was presented: Read more