American hopeful Trump Administration will take on Mid-East 3 airlines

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Introduction

Oct. 2, 2017, © Leeham Co., Grapevine (TX): American Airlines officials dodged commenting about the specifics of the Boeing-Bombardier trade dispute when asked about it at the investors/media day last week in this Dallas suburb.

Instead, the general counsel, Steve Johnson, offered up only a general statement supporting the Trump Administration’s hard line on trade.

The reason for this generality is obvious: American, along with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, is engaged in its own trade war and needs support from the Administration.

AA, DL and UA are battling Big Three airlines from the Middle East over being subsidized and abusing Open Skies treaties. The US carriers want Trump to knock down the ME3, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.

Oddly, no question was asked of the American officials about the current state of the battle during the day.

LNC asked American CEO Doug Parker about the issue following the event, however.

Summary
  • Recent meeting with US was encouraging.
  • No commitment yet from Trump Administration.
  • Market conditions don’t matter to ME3, American says

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VLA sector dead, Boeing claims, but Large Wide Body also struggles

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Introduction

Sept. 26, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing declared the Very Large Aircraft sector dead in its most recent Current Market Outlook, removing the category entirely when the 2017 CMO was revealed at the Paris Air Show.

Airbus A350-1000. Sales are slow–is the 350-450 seat sector the next VLA? Airbus photo.

But the Large Wide Body (LWB) category appears to be on life support.

The LWB is 350-seats and above. This includes the Boeing 777-300ER, which is already on its way out, the 777-8, the 777-9 and the Airbus A350-1000.

The Medium Wide Body (MWB) category centers around 300 seats. This includes the A330-900, A350-900, 777-200LR and 787-10.

The Small Wide Body (SWB) includes the 787-8, 787-9, A330-200 and A330-800 in the 220-275 seat sector, twin-aisle aircraft. This does not include the 220-240 seat high density Airbus A321neo and Boeing 737-10 single-aisle aircraft.

Boeing’s CMO defines the twin-aisle markets differently: Small wide-body:  <300 seats,  Large wide-body:  >300 seats.

Summary
  • Airlines prefer smaller wide bodies.
  • Downsizing trend begun with 787 continues.
  • Smaller outsells larger in seven of last 10 years.
  • Two of the three years involved extraordinary events.

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Assessing the 25 YOA aircraft factor

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Introduction

Click on image to enlarge.

Sept. 21, 2017 © Leeham Co.: Airbus and Boeing look ahead to 2021 and the next several years when wide-body aircraft begin turning 25 years old to spur orders for this sector.

Boeing specifically points to this period as one reason for the announcement last week that it will boost production of the 787 to 14/mo beginning in 2019.

Summary
  • There already are 1.4 times more wide-body airplanes scheduled for delivery in 2021-2025 than there are aircraft turning 25 years old.
  • The next surge in aging aircraft comes ~2030.
  • Middle of the Market aircraft isn’t factored in.

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Worries increase over Middle Eastern airlines

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Introduction

Aug. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Market sources are increasingly pointing to weakness in the Middle East airline sphere as a threat to existing Airbus and Boeing

Emirates Airline holds the future of the Airbus A380 in its hand, so-to-speak. Source: Emirates.

orders.

Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are the Top 3 of Boeing’s Top 10 wide-body customers.

These three also represent 73% of Boeing’s 777X order backlog.

Qatar and Etihad are the Nos. 2 and 3 wide-body customers at Airbus (after AirAsiaX); Emirates has slipped to No. 8.

The financial trouble at Etihad, exacerbated by its poor investments in the now-bankrupt Alitalia Airlines and AirBerlin, have been well documented.

Emirates’ profits have fallen dramatically and is facing over-capacity. Qatar Airways is now isolated by intra-geopolitical events.

Summary
  • Emirates and Etihad already deferred Boeing orders.
  • Lessors beginning to express concerns.
  • Customer concentration for 777X worries some.
  • A380 future rests largely with Emirates.

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Mid-year production update at Airbus

July 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s mid-way through 2017 and LNC is taking its second look at production and delivery stream flows for the Big Four airframe manufacturers.

We examined Boeing Monday in advance of its earnings call Wednesday. Today we look at Airbus in advance of its earnings call today. We look at Bombardier and Embraer next Monday.

We use the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker as the basis for our exam.

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Caution overhangs 777X program-(Update)

Update: This story is corrected.

July 21, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Lufthansa Airlines’  indications that it may reduce the order for 20 Boeing 777-9s underscores caution with which the program should be viewed.

Emirates Airline already rescheduled its first deliveries from 2020 to 2021.

The largest customer for the 777X, with 150 orders, EK is now pressured with falling profits, excess capacity and it’s one of three Gulf airlines under attack by the Big Three US carriers for alleged violations of Open Skies pacts.

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Pontifications: 10 years after the Boeing 787 roll-out

By Scott Hamilton

July 10, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Saturday was the 10th anniversary of the roll-out of the Boeing 787. The date was 7/8/07, nicely coincided for the airplane’s name.

The event was an extravaganza never seen in commercial aviation, surpassing even that of the Boeing 707 in 1954.

Technology, of course, had a lot to do with the hyper-event 10 years ago. There was no Internet in 1954, no cable news networks, no laser light shows, etc.

There were also no orders for the 707 in 1954, compared with the hundreds for the 787 in 2007.

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Pivotal year for A380

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Introduction

June 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: This is a pivotal year for the Airbus A380.

Sales have dried up. Singapore Airlines is retiring five early versions of the airplane and there is no new home for them—these may headed for the scrap heap.

The Middle Eastern carriers, which are the largest users for the airplane, are in turmoil.

The backlog remains weak. Aside from Emirates Airline, which as noted is in turmoil, the other orders are with carriers that are unlikely to take delivery.

Summary
  • The A380’s future rests with Emirates Airline.
  • Any Performance Improvement Package is dependent upon Emirates placing a new order.
  • Boeing’s new 20-year forecast eliminates the passenger 747-8 from the Very Large Aircraft sector. Airbus continues to forecast a need for 1,400 VLAs.
  • Airbus to decide this year whether to reduce production rate below 1/mo in 2019.

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Etihad Airways: where to now?

By Bjorn Fehrm

May 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Etihad Airways appointed a new interim group CEO and CFO on 8th of May. The strategy of James Hogan, Etihad CEO since 2006, to grow the airline through partner alliances, coupled with minority investments, has hit trouble.

The latecomer to the Gulf carrier’s growth party is now set for a strategy review by an incoming CEO.We describe the background to the problems and go through the options for Etihad’s future. Read more

Pontifications: Emirates profits drop 83%, MC-21 and more news last week

By Scott Hamilton

May 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It was a busy news week last week.

  • Emirates Airline headlined its 29th consecutive year of profits, but downplayed an 83% decline.
  • The Irkut MC-21 moved to the tarmac, an indication first flight may be coming shortly.
  • Multiple media reports indicate that electronics flight ban from the Middle East may be extended in part to all of Europe.
  • Boeing suspended test flights on the 737 MAX after CFM discovered some quality issues in some LEAP 1B engines.

Let’s look at these events.

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