By Vincent Valery
Sep. 30, 2019, © Leeham News: It hasn’t been an easy year for the Airbus A380 program since the end of production was announced in February.
Lufthansa announced in March that Airbus would buy back six A380s in 2022/2023 as part of a follow up order for 20 A350-900s. Air France intends to retire its Superjumbo fleet by 2022. Emirates retired two aircraft that were less than seven years old.
A number of factors are leading airlines to prematurely retire their A380s.
Aug. 26, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus faces near-term challenges with its production skyline for the A330, even at a reduce rate of 4/mo, an analysis shows.
Looking forward from next year, when there are slightly more deliveries scheduled than production rates—a function of some leftover 2019 builds—Airbus faces an easily-filled gap in 2021 but huge production gaps beginning in 2022.
Even if Letters of Intent and options were fully converted to firm orders, big production gaps will exist.
A production rate cut seems inevitable in the near future.
Aug. 19, 2019 © Leeham News: There have been no widebody orders placed by China with Boeing since President Trump launched a trade war in March 2018, hurting American’s biggest exporter and affecting the US balance of trade.
In fact, there have been no announced orders by China with Boeing since October 2017. Only 22 China orders were announced in 2017.
Boeing has a large number of Unidentified 737s listed on its website. It is widely believed that China accounts for perhaps as many as 25% of these, but Boeing won’t comment.
China historically accounted for between 25% and 33% of Boeing’s annual deliveries.
Since 2011, China took delivery of more than 170 widebody passenger and freighter jets, or 9.3% of all widebodies delivered by Boeing.
Aug. 12, 2019, © Leeham News: Slow sales of the Airbus A330neo, A350 and 777X this year are the result of a dip in the order cycle, A330ceos and 777-300ERs coming off lease and route fragmentation from more capable single-aisle aircraft that are much cheaper to operate and which allow long, thin routes to be served.
Airbus and Boeing have yet another aspect to contend with: stored A330s and 777s that have come off lease or, in the case of Etihad Airways, grounded its late model A330-300s in a fleet restructuring related to its poor financial condition.
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Aug. 5, 2019, © Leeham News: Design issues with the giant General Electric Aviation GE9X are causing untimely headaches for the Boeing 777X program, at a time when the 737 MAX is consuming the company.
The MAX grounding and longer-than-expected fixes and Return to Service (RTS) is overshadowing challenges with the 787 skyline, where a production rate of 14/mo is burning through the backlog faster than new orders are coming in.
The 777X is facing skyline challenges as well. Sales have been slow. One major customer in the Middle East is undergoing a financial and fleet restructuring and another publicly said it will reduce 777X orders if it places a new order for 787-10s.
The 777X delivery schedule has slid to the right due to the engine issues and the 777-8 is a niche airplane that may have a greater future as a freighter than it does as a passenger model.
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July 29, 2019, © Leeham News: The 737 MAX crisis overshadows everything else right now at Boeing.
This includes forward orders, weak customers and production gaps on the 787 line, which right now is the cash flow cow at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Executives only briefly, and obliquely, touched on the 787 during the 2Q2019 earnings call last Wednesday.
This prompted LNA to examine the details of the backlog and production rates. The 787 is current being produced at a rate of 14/mo.
There are clear signs of challenges, both near- and medium-term for the 787.
July 15, 2019, © Leeham News: There are 14 new and derivative aircraft scheduled for entry into service (EIS) through 2027. This rises to 16 if Boeing launches the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA).
But there are plenty of uncertainties around precise EIS hanging over some of these.
LNA sees the Boeing 777X EIS slipping into early 2021. China’s C919 is now slated for a 2021 EIS, but development has been tricky and delays have been common. Russia’s MC-21 flight testing has been slow and international sanctions hang over this aircraft.
Mitsubishi’s MRJ90, now called the M90, is slated to enter service next year. It, too, has been plagued by delays. The redesigned MRJ70, the M100, moves from a 2021 EIS to a planned 2023 EIS—but given the MRJ90’s history of delays, the company has to persuade the industry no more slippages are likely.
Here is a rundown by year and aircraft of the EIS dates.
Feb. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is boosting the A320 production to 60/mo this year and 63/mo next year.
But it’s put a pause on increasing the A350 rate from 10/mo to 13/mo.
However, on the sidelines of the annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last week, LNA learned that a 737 rate hike to 63/mo has been apparently put on a pause. Although Boeing has not made a decision to go to rate 63, the hike was expected in 2021, according to suppliers. This is now showing as 2022, they said.
By Bjorn Fehrm
February 14, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus announced its 2018 results today at a press conference in Toulouse. It was the last Yearly press conference for Airbus CEO Tom Enders and CFO Harald Wilhelm. Both leave the company in the coming months.
The press conference was colored by the CEO hand over to Guillaume Faury but also the winding up of the A380 program, a problem Enders didn’t want his successor to inherit. The gone year delivered overall results as guided a year ago despite closures charges for A380 and further provisions for A400M.
The last airplane will roll off the assembly line in 2021, for Emirates Airlines.
Emirates cancelled an order for 39 A380s. In its place, the carrier ordered 30 A350s and 40 A330neos.
The Emirates and Airbus press release is here.