By Bjorn Fehrm
December 19, 2018, © Leeham News.: Next year is a time when Airbus hopes to leave its troubled 2018 behind.
But 2018 was also when the company wanted to leave the troubles of 2017 behind it.
Not only did 2018 not improve. In a number of ways it turned worse.
Turmoil in the management ranks brought back memories of the politically infested Airbus of 20 years ago. And there were other issues.
Production problems with the A320 continued. The A330neo was further delayed and the A380 order from Emirates to save the program took forever to materialize. The negotiations to fix the contracts for A400M couldn’t be brought to a close.
There were two bright lights in the year. The A350 was now out of its cabin supplier problems and delivering aircraft to plan. The other was the gift from Boeing’s suing Bombardier and its CSeries the year before. The top modern Bombardier CS100/300 became Airbus A220 on the first of July. Price tag; $1 for 50.01% of the program.
By Bjorn Fehrm
December 06, 2018, © Leeham News.: Our Monday article “A380 suffers new blow, future remains bleak” describes how Air France hands back five of their 10 Airbus A380-800 to their lessor with start next year.
The article details the reasons behind the returns. Other media writes the A380 are notably more expensive to run than a Boeing 777-300ER. As so often, this is a serious case of apples and oranges.
Dec. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Air France will return five leased Airbus A380s to lessors next year and in 2020, citing high operating and crew costs compared with the Boeing 777-300ER that is the principal long-haul airplane in its fleet.
This is another blow to the world’s largest passenger aircraft program.
It underscores something Airbus CEO Tom Enders said in 2017: “If you fill it 80% or more, it is a money-making machine.”
Air France’s A380 load factor is not a matter of public record, but the airline itself has a general passenger-avoidance problem due to repeated strikes and generally poor service. The airline’s A380 interiors are dated and the business class is not on a par with even its own Boeing airplanes—nor competitors’ A380s. Read more
By Bjorn Fehrm
November 1, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we looked at how a Boeing NMA would function as a medium range airliner in the Asia-Pacific.
We now continue with flying the two aircraft variants from Middle East locations, exploring how large an area in Asia, Europe and Africa the aircraft would cover.
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.
June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: The era of the Very Large Aircraft appears over.
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.
By Bjorn Fehrm
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?
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.
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.
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.