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 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.
It would be overstating to say 2018 will be a pivotal year for wide-body airplanes, but there should be some important developments.
Dec. 11, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing is considering restarting the 767-300ER passenger line as an interim aircraft to the New Midmarket Airplane.
Airbus is pushing the A330-800 or, alternative, new A330-200s are its solution to the upper end of the Middle of the Market sector.
There is another alternative, however: used A330-200s. There is an emerging supply of these as one airline plans a down-sizing and initial 10- to 12-year leases expire in the near future.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
By Bjorn Fehrm
August 16, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Air Berlin, Germany’s second largest airline, with 85 destinations, 8,000 employees and 72 aircraft, filed for bankruptcy yesterday.