Assessing A320 production rate interest in >70/mo

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Introduction

Sept. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: With the supply chain under major stress and Airbus and Boeing trying to recover from scores of “gliders” sidelined at airports without engines, each company nevertheless continues to study production rate increases for the A320 and 737 families.

Airbus publicly has said it’s looking at rate 70/mo. Boeing publicly acknowledges it’s looking at rate 63/mo.

Supply chain sources tell LNC Airbus is studying an even higher rate, into the “70s,” at early as 2020—a date that most consider out of the question.

Boeing is known to be considering a rate of 70/mo for its most profitable program.

Today, LNC looks at the A320 scenario. A future post will examine the 737.

Summary
  • Airbus is scheduled to deliver more A320 members in 2019 than production capacity. Some of these may be parked backlog airplanes.
  • 2020-2021 sold out at rate 60/mo, 2022-2023 nearly so.
  • Rate increase to 70/mo opens opportunities for Airbus, pressure on Boeing.

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With a month to elections, Embraer bolsters backlog

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Introduction

Sept. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: With the Brazilian elections less than a month away, the outcome of the presidential race will determine whether the proposed joint venture between Embraer and Boeing will be approved.

Embraer is Brazil’s most visible and prestigious international company. The government has a “golden share,” giving it veto power over certain transactions, including the Boeing deal. Boeing will own 80% of the new JV that will be for EMB’s commercial business only. Embraer will own 20%.

The incumbent government says it will approve the joint venture; the opposition party says it will veto the deal.

Summary

Including orders, options and LOIs:

  • Production slots are oversold through 2023.
  • The skyline quality has some challenges.
  • Only three dozen firm orders were announced at Farnborough; the balance has to be firmed up.

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Pontifications: Supply chain melt down to get worse, says manufacturer

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: There is more evidence the aerospace supply chain is in meltdown—and it’s going to get worse, a manufacturer tells LNC.

The OEM requested anonymity to speak frankly.

As aerospace analysts gather this week in Seattle for their annual investors day at Boeing, based on the research notes I see, there’s little indication they recognize the magnitude of the evolving problems with the supply chain.

Although the focus recently has been on Boeing and analysts will visit Boeing Wednesday, the issues affect all the OEMs.

I wrote about this 30 days ago. Since then, another Boeing supplier last month acknowledged late deliveries of key parts, reports the Puget Sound Business Journal.

This was followed by a Bloomberg report that Lufthansa Airlines continues to have shortages from Pratt & Whitney for the GTF engines powering the A320neo.

Since then, I’ve had my own additional conversations with the supply chain. The production ramp ups that already have been announced and those being contemplated are in peril and all manufacturers are being affected.

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Pontifications: Boeing aid to Jet Airways uncommon but not unusual

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 27, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing is giving financial help to India’s Jet Airways, according to a news report.

This doesn’t come as a surprise.

Jet Airways has 225 737 MAXes on order (50 direct, the rest listed via lessors). It’s also in what appears to be dire financial straits.

Media reports indicated the airline was possibly going to be out of business in 60 days and it deferred releasing its financial results “indefinitely.” The government is going to probe the airline, according to a press report.

The Boeing aid is not common but it’s not unknown, either.

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Pontifications: Workforce shortage hurts entire supply chain

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 20, 2018, © Leeham News: A growing shortage of workers is exacerbating pressure on suppliers as they struggle to meet current aircraft production rates, even as Airbus and Boeing want to raise them even more.

Add to this the thousands of retirements facing the OEMs in the next 5-10 years, and you can see the strain facing Airbus, Boeing, the engine makers and the suppliers feeding into them.

It also partly explains the shifting trend toward automation. Setting aside the obvious benefits of automation—quality control, accuracy, boring repetitive work, etc—the supply chain in simply facing a growing shortage of workers for which there is no easy answer.

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Embraer 2Q2018 results: KC-390 problem turns quarter red.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 31, 2018, ©. Leeham News: Embraer presented its 2Q2018 results today. The company posted a loss as the KC-390 program was reset financially after a prototype was damaged in ground testing during the quarter.

The Military division’s KC-390 problem came on top of forecasted weaker 2018 deliveries in both the Commercial and Business jet divisions. A $110m company profit was turned into a $17.7m loss for the quarter by a $127m KC-390 program charge.

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Rising fuel prices hit earnings, but there’s a silver lining for OEMs

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Introduction

July 30, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Fuel prices are spiking and it’s already causing airlines to adjust growth and fleet plans.

But rising fuel prices could mean orders for slow-selling aircraft might pick up. Still, there are mixed signals on this front.

Summary
  • American and Southwest airlines are curbing growth and American is deferring airplanes due to rising fuel prices.
  • Alaska Airlines reported fuel prices were up 10 consecutive quarters, adding $850m to expenses.
  • Fuel prices were just under $80bbl on the US spot market last Thursday.
  • The inflection point between keeping current generation planes and ordering new ones with more efficient engines is fast approaching.
  • This could be a boost to the slow-selling Airbus A330neo and accelerate demand for the Embraer EJet-E2 and the Airbus A220 (nee Bombardier C Series).

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Esterline’s Mason Products broadens its civilian use of unmanned systems controls

July 25, 2018, © Leeham News, Farnborough:  A unit of Esterline Corp. that supplies parts for all commercial airliners, including the cockpit for the Embraer E-Jet E2 is creating an advanced control system for Unmanned Systems to keep the US armed service members out of harm’s way.

It’s appropriately called Harm’s Way Controllers, or HaWC®.

Esterline’s Mason Products company of Sylmar (CA) is also gearing up to sell this system to the civilian world, beginning with law enforcement, fire departments and other public agencies, says David Tessier, president. The HaWC is used on UAVs, robots that scout dangerous situations, helicopters (providing live situational awareness) and other applications.

Eventually, Tessier expects that HaWC will migrate to uses in environmental surveys, agriculture and inspections for such industries as oil and gas.

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Leahy, Kirby headline “Plane Truths” conference in Chicago Sept. 11-12

July 24, 2018, © Leeham News: John Leahy, who retired in January after 33 years at Airbus, and Scott Kirby, president of United Airlines, headline the Leeham Co. and Airfinance Journal conference, Plane Truths: The Next 12 Months, Sept. 11-12 in Chicago.

This will be Leahy’s first conference appearance since he retired from Airbus, where he was COO-Customers.

Plane Truths: The Next 12 Months focuses only on the key issues coming up in the next year. Click here for more information.

Officials of American Airlines, Cargolux, HiFly, Rolls-Royce, Skyworks Capital, Collateral Verifications, Embraer and Bombardier are among those who will participate.

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More than 1,000 orders, commitments from Farnborough

July 23, 2018: More than 1,000 new orders and commitments were announced at the Farnborough Air Show last week, a final tally shows.

The value was more than $128bn.

Credit Suisse issued its post-air show note today with a complete listing.

Orders announced previously but were listed as Unidentified until the air show were not included.

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