777F, 747-8F orders help former’s bridge, solidify Boeing as freighter king

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Introduction

Aug. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: The surge of orders at the Farnborough Air Show for Boeing 777 and 747-8 freighters is welcome news for Boeing, which still had production gaps to bridge between the 777 Classic and the 777X.

The 747-8F orders, for five, helps breathe life into this struggling program.

The orders also add to Boeing’s virtual monopoly in new-build cargo aircraft backlogs.

Summary
  • 777F orders and commitments now nearly double the remaining 777-300ER backlog.
  • Three new-build freighter models swamp Airbus offering of just the A330-200F.
  • Airbus pitching UPS for A330-800F.

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VLA era is over; are 777X, A350-1000 too large?

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Introduction

June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: The era of the Very Large Aircraft appears over.

The Boeing 747 passenger airliner, while nominally still offered for sale, is in reality dead.

The Airbus A380 limps along in what may prove to be a vain hope that airport congestion will spur sales next decade.

The next level down, however, doesn’t appear very strong.

Sales of the Airbus A350-1000 stalled at 200 or less for years.

Sales of the Boeing 777X likewise stalled following program launch in 2013-2014. Although the 777X has twice as many orders as the A350-1000, fully 72% of them come from three customers, one of which is in serious financial trouble and may cancel or defer some or all its orders.

Summary
  • Orders for the largest Large Twin-Aisle aircraft lag the Small and Medium Twin-Aisles.
  • Big 3 in the Middle East are major customers for the 777X, A350-1000. Iran Air also buyer of -1000.
  • While Big Twin languishes, small- and medium-twins remain in demand.
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Boeing 777-9 or Airbus A350-1000 for the Gulf carriers?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 17, 2018, © Leeham News: The recent agreement between the US and the Gulf carriers limits the expansion of the carriers on the US market. As the premier long-range destination area from the Gulf is the US market, this will influence the lift needed by the three.

All three carriers, Emirates, Qatar Airways (Qatar) and Etihad, have decided on the 777-9 as the mainstay for their long-haul needs. With the change, the question arises, will Qatar increase the buy of the A350-1000 instead of taking the 777-9 and will any of the others reconsider?

To understand what’s involved we compare the capacity and the costs of the 777-9 and A350-1000. How large is the difference? Is the A350 the better choice if the extreme long-haul capacity needs decline?

 Summary:
  • The maximum range and per seat costs of the 777-9 and A350-1000 are close when compared apples to apples.
  • The advantage for the 777-9 at full aircraft disappears quickly as load factors decline.
  • If the needed capacity of the long-haul US routes declines, the 777-9 can be too much aircraft for the Gulf carriers.
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Wide-body production rates show mix of strength, weakness

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Introduction

May 14, 2018, © Leeham News: Wide-body production rates by Airbus and Boeing are expected to go up modestly during the next three year, with a jump in 2022—if Boeing 777X production rates head for 7/mo in late 2022, as the company projects.

The supply chain was asked last year by Boeing for a Rate Readiness Assessment that suggests a rate of 5/mo in late 2021 and rate 7/mo a year later.

Airbus is expected to boost production of the A350 to 13/mo as early as late next year. Meanwhile, the A330 production rate is coming down due to soft demand.

These rates omit impacts of the US withdrawing from the Iran Nuclear Deal, in which some 100 Airbus orders, mostly wide-body, and some three-score wide-body Boeing orders disappear with the action.

Summary
  • Production rate hikes driven by A350, 767, 787.
  • A380, A330, 747, 777 remain weak.
  • Is entire twin-aisle market continuing a down-gauging?

Scott Hamilton will discuss production rates at the Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference next month in Mobile (AL). Click here for more information.

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Déjà vu all over again

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Introduction

April 16, 2018, © Leeham News: There’s high turnover in the executive ranks. Major delivery delays cause disruption and unhappy customers. Airlines are cancelling and switching orders. Product strategy is challenged. Your competitor is taking advantage and making significant inroads.

If this sounds familiar, it is.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

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FAA AD may severely limit ETOPS of some RR-powered 787s: sources

British Airways Boeing 787 without engines on the Boeing Paine Field line. Photo taken April 12 by Jennifer Schuld.

April 14, 2018, © Leeham News: An airworthiness directive from the US Federal Aviation Administration is expected as early as Tuesday that could severely restrict flight operations some of Rolls-Royce-powered Boeing 787s.

The AD is expected to require inspections and a reduction in the ETOPS long-range operation to 140 minutes from the nearest airport from 330 minutes, sources say. Inspections have to be made by May 20, according to preliminary information. If inspections fail, ETOPS may be reduced to 60, two airlines tell LNC. A third source didn’t have the numbers but said the AD is expected to be “onerous.”

Until the AD is issued and published, the numbers and conditions could change, one source tells LNC on background.

EASA, the European safety agency, issued its AD yesterday, with an April 20 effective date.

About 25% of the 787s are powered by Rolls-Royce engines, but not all engines are affected.

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Leahy remains steadfast in A380 future

Feb. 16, 2018, © Leeham Co.: It’s been a long struggle and there isn’t a re-engining any time soon, but John Leahy still firmly believes in the market viability of the Airbus A380.

John Leahy stand behind the Airbus A380. Photo via Google images.

Leahy, who retired last month as COO-Customers, continues to support the transition to Eric Schulz, EVP, Chief of Sales, Marketing & Contracts. One of Leahy’s last deals was to firm up an A380 MOU for 20 orders and 16 options for Emirates Airline.

In his final retirement interview with LNC, Leahy didn’t waver from the messaging Airbus used since the launch of the A380 program in 2000: passenger traffic doubles every 15 years, no new airports and few new runways are being added in Europe, the US or Asia outside of China and the need for the A380 remains.

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2018 an important year for wide-bodied airplanes

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Introduction

Feb. 5, 2018, © Leeham Co.: This will be an important year for wide-body sales in commercial aviation.

It would be overstating to say 2018 will be a pivotal year for wide-body airplanes, but there should be some important developments.

Summary
  • Boeing may—or may not—launch the twin-aisle New Midrange Aircraft this year.
  • Sales of the 777X remain stalled.
  • Sales of the A330neo remain stalled.
  • Airbus must decide whether to boost the production rate of the A350.

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Pontifications: Airbus easily leads narrow-body backlog, Boeing ahead in wide-bodies

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 5, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Two thousand seventeen is over and the numbers are in.

Airbus continues to have a commanding lead over Boeing for single-aisle, neo v MAX backlog.

Although Airbus got pounded by Boeing in wide-body orders last year, the backlog tilts only slightly in Boeing’s favor.

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Pontifications: 2018 starts off with a bang

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 29, 2018, © Leeham Co.: This year isn’t even a month old. If the rest of the year continues like January, commercial aviation is in for an exciting year.

The stunning news, of course, was last week’s shocking defeat for The Boeing Co. in its trade complaint over the Bombardier C Series sale to Delta Air Lines.

Nobody I know of thought Boeing would lose. It did, and by a unanimous verdict.

Then there was the order from Emirates Airline for the Airbus A380, saving the airplane from almost certain program termination.

The Boeing 787-10 was certified. The first delivery will be in March.

And Qatar Airways said it will receive the first Airbus A350-1000 next month.

Let’s look at these events.

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