Airbus delivers record 718 aircraft amid strong sales

By Bjorn Fehrm 

January 15, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus announced record 2017 airliner deliveries of 718 aircraft today. It was the 15th consecutive year of increased production, this time with 30 aircraft over 2016. Fabrice Bregier, the Chief Operating Officer of Airbus, predicted Airbus would pass Boeing in deliveries by 2020.

The company also booked its third best year in orders, with 1,109 aircraft giving a Book-to-Bill of 1.5. The backlog is at a record 7,256 aircraft (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Summary of Airbus 2017 orders and deliveries. Source: Airbus.

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Top 10 aviation stories of the year on Leeham News

Dec. 31, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airplane development and the whimsicle made the Top 10 stories on LNC in 2017.

The Top 10 are a statistical listing of the most-viewed posts, not some judgment call on the part of LNC.

Here is the rundown.

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Pontifications: Scrutiny of HNA intensifies

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Time for some catch-up in the world of commercial aviation.

Scrutiny of HNA Group is intensifying as regulators in Switzerland claim the Chinese company provided false information in the takeover of a Swiss aerospace company.

Additionally, Airfinance Journal reports that at least five lessors have seen delayed lease payments from HNA Group airlines ”as HNA pumps cash from those carriers into other areas of the highly leveraged conglomerate.”

And HNA’s Hong Kong Express low-cost carrier has been barred from further expansion until it fixes problems identified by the Chinese government.

LNC reported in September that HNA was coming under credit pressure due to its high leverage.

In addition to a plethora of airline investments, HNA owns one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, Avolon.

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Assessing the Dubai Air Show

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Nov. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai Air Show was a clear win for Boeing, despite the last minute 430 airplane commitment from the Indigo Partners group.

The “MENA” region, for Middle East and North Africa, has been the staple of the Dubai Air Show.

There have been occasional smatterings of peripheral regions tossed in, but commitments from US companies (except lessors doing business worldwide) have not been a regular feature.

  • Boeing swept the MENA orders and commitments.
  • Emirates order for 40 787-10s begin delivery from 2022 and may be tied to adjustments in 777X delivery rate.
  • The lack of the widely expected A380 order from Emirates was a huge embarrassment to Airbus.
  • Bombardier, better known for its lack of orders at air shows, landed a good one at Dubai.

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The data behind Emirates’ choice of 787-10

By Bjorn Fehrm

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November 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Yesterday we outlined the qualitative reasons why the Boeing 787-10 was selected for Emirates’ medium-range routes. Now we put figures behind the words.

We will quantify the weight and drag consequences of the tighter packaging of the 787 and discuss what it’s smaller wing means in field performance from a hot Dubai International Airport.

We use our airline performance model to give us the data, flying the aircraft over typical routes.


  • The A350-900 was designed for flights up to 15 to 20 hours.
  • To make these bearable, Airbus decided to offer 18-inch seat width in the nine abreast economy cabin.
  • Boeing went another route. It offered a slightly narrower fuselage and let the airlines decide between eight or nine abreast economy.
  • Only Japanse ANA and JAL chose the base layout with eight abreast economy (and ANA has since switched to nine abreast economy for new deliveries).
  • The result is an aircraft with lower empty weight and fuel burn (everything else being equal).
  • For the 787-10, Boeing combined the tighter packaged fuselage with a wing optimised for flights up to 12 hours.
  • The 787-10 consequently beats the A350-900 on efficiency for shorter routes.

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Why did Emirates choose Boeing’s 787-10?

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Emirates Airlines (Emirates) has finally decided which aircraft shall complement their long-range Boeing 777 and Airbus A380. The decision coming at this year’s Dubai Air Show was more surprising than the choice, Boeing’s 787-10.

We have already written about the Emirates selection. Now we go through in more detail, why the choice should surprise no-one.

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Dubai wants production guarantee before Emirates A380 order

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai government wants Airbus to guarantee it will keep the A380 in production for 10 years before placing a new order, reports Reuters. Reuters also reported Emirates Airline could order up to 40 A380s plus options.

The 10-year guarantee report comes on the second day of the Dubai Air Show.

Airbus’ current production rate, which reduces to 10 next year from 12 and to eight the year after that, extends production through 2023, according to the Ascend data base.

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Boeing wins first day with big order at Dubai Air Show

Nov. 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: In a stinging defeat for Airbus, Boeing won an order for 40 787-10s from Emirates Airline.

Airbus competed for the deal with the A350-900. Emirates previously canceled an order for 50 A350-900s and 20 A350-1000s, an embarrassment at the time. Losing this order was largely expected, but based on comments from airline officials earlier this year, it seemed that the order would be put off until next year.

Bloomberg News has this devastating report.

Unreported from this order is that it seems to indicate a changing strategy for Emirates.

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Emirates likely to order new A380s at Dubai Air Show

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 03, 2017, © Leeham Co, Hamburg.: Emirates Airline (Emirates) Chairman and Chief Executive Sheikh Al-Maktoum said at today’s delivery ceremony of the airlines 100th A380, “We hope we will be able to order new A380s next week at Dubai Air Show. The details are being worked out.”

His statement came at a press conference with Airbus CEO, Tom Enders, in Hamburg today, at the delivery of the new A380. The delivered aircraft carries a special tribute to the founder of the Arab Emirates, Sheik Zayed (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The 100th A380 delivered to Emirates Airlines today in Hamburg. Source: Airbus.

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

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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.

  • 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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