Russian-Chinese wide-body: The market

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 25, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Having dissected the players behind the Russian-Chinese wide-body, it’s time to look at what market such an aircraft aims to capture.

Russian-Chinese widebody

Figure 1. Concept for new wide-body airliner. Source: United Aircraft.

The project participants, Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC), say they intend to make a 250-280 seat aircraft with a 6,500nm range.

We will look at what market such an aircraft can address from its Entry into Service (EIS) 2025 and over the next 10 years. We will also discuss the constrains that emerges with UAC and COMAC entering the market as new players.

Summary:

  • The Russian-Chinese wide-body covers a market segment called “small wide-body” in the Global market forecast made by Airbus and Boeing.
  • Based on data in these forecasts, the dominant market during the first 10 years after a 2025 Entry into Service (EIS) would be a captive Chinese market.

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Russian-Chinese wide-body: background and outlook

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: The discussions around a joint Russian and Chinese development of a 250-300 seat wide-body has been going on for years.

The project got a more concrete form at President Putin’s visit to China in June. On the 25th of June visit, an inter-governmental agreement to develop and market the aircraft was signed.

Russian-Chinese widebody

Figure 1. Concept for new wide-body airliner. Source: United Aircraft.

At the same time Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) agreed to establish a joint venture for the program.

What market is this aircraft trying to address and will it become a serious player in the wide-body market? Will it give the duopoly Airbus/Boeing something to worry about?

We will address these questions in a series of articles. Before going into the questions around the wide-body program, we will look at the players, UAC and COMAC. Are they up to the job of making a competitive wide-body aircraft?

Summary:

  • Russia and China enter the wide-body project with widely different knowledge bases.
  • China’s first airliner project, ARJ21, just received local certification after years of delays.
  • Russia has produced over 10,000 airliners and has made two generations of wide-body aircraft in the size category.
  • The latest wide-body aircraft, Ilyushin IL-96, is on the level of Airbus A340-300 from a technological basis.

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Boeing: Our 737 MAX product range will come to market as planned despite changes

By Bjorn Fehrm

delaney_mike_bio_pic_400x300

Mike Delaney. Source: Boeing

July 13, 2016, ©. Leeham Co, Farnborough Air Show: Mike Delaney, Boeing’s Vice president and General manager for Aircraft development in the Commercial Airplane division, promises unchanged delivery times despite late changes to the company’s 737 MAX line-up.

Delaney went through the changes for the MAX program as part of a larger presentation, outlining the status for all ongoing aircraft developments within Boeing at the ongoing Farnborough Air Show.

Max 7 2016.05

The original 737 MAX 7 seen in the picture has just grown 12 seats. Source: Boeing

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Bjorn’s Corner: Efficient systems

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

05 February 2016, © Leeham Co: In recent Corners, we looked into technologies which have made the new breed of airliners more efficient.

We’ve talked about how new engines can raise efficiency by about 15% and how aerodynamic improvements, like more efficient split winglets, can add another 1%-2% over single blade winglets. We have also looked into modern ways to manufacture the more resilient and lighter composites structures that designers want to use to increase aircraft efficiency.

There is one area which we have not covered: the aircraft’s systems and how these can be made more efficient. An improved system architecture can add the efficiency improvement of a split winglet. So let’s have a look at the trends in aircraft systems.

We start this week with power distribution.

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Boeing’s 767 revitalized as a MOM stop gap, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

Aug. 31 2015, ©. Leeham Co: Last week we started to look at Boeing’s 767 to see if it can serve the passenger and range space which is not well covered by modern aircraft: the 225 passenger/5,000nm sector. Boeing calls this the Middle of the Market or MOM. Boeing recently said that there is some increased interest for the 767. We analyze why and what can be done to increase any chances of it having a new life as a passenger aircraft.

We started with comparing the 767’s different variants to the most likely MOM aircraft from our series “Redefining the 757 replacement requirement for the 225/5000-sector”. We will now continue and look at the 767 in detail, its strong suits and its less efficient areas. We will also discuss what can be made to address the less efficient areas.

Summary:

  • Boeing’s 767 has the right cross section for passenger transportation in the 225 passenger/5,000nm segment.
  • It also carries cargo containers, not as efficiently this time. We show what the consequences are.
  • Finally the wing is not the slender wing of the modern aircraft. We show what impact it will have on overall efficiency.
  • Combined with engines from the 1990s, this gives less than stellar fuel economics. We investigate what can be done about this and how much of an impact it will have in today’s low fuel prices.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Electrical flight, how real?

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

10 July 2015, ©. Leeham Co: We have just witnessed the first solar electrical aircraft, Solar Impulse 2, cross the ocean from Tokyo to Hawaii. Today, Friday, Airbus Group will cross the English Channel with a battery powered electrical aircraft, the E-Fan.

How real is electrical flying? Real enough to make demonstration flights like the one to Hawaii and to Calais. Both these aircraft are technology demonstrators but it is symptomatic that they do these hops now, 2015.E-Fan cross Channel

Airbus Group’s E-Fan aircraft is preparing to cross the English Channel. Source: Airbus.

We live in the years when electrical cars have gone from exotic one-offs to serial produced products, still expensive but more and more practical. Why should not the aircraft industry follow? Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: What Paris Air Show taught us about East and West.

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

25 June 2015, © Leeham Co: With a few days in the office one can look back at Paris Air Show with a bit of perspective. So what are the impressions?

It was surprising how many orders Airbus and Boeing landed. Both had played down the expectations, telling that it will be a decent show but nothing close to record. Yet both were booking orders or commitments which were better than expected going into the PAS. Read more

Bjorn’s Corner: Paris Air Show review

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 18, 2015, c Leeham Co: With the industrial part of Paris Air Show over (the public portion continues through the weekend), one can start to summarize impressions. I have over the years participated in around 10 Paris Air Shows or Farnborough International Air Shows. This was one of the first where one could see that people were stopping and looking up to observe the aircraft which were quiet.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Airbus Innovation days, activities and program updates.

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

28 May 2015, C. Leeham Co: I am in Toulouse today attending Airbus Innovation days for Leeham News. It has been a good day’s briefings and I have presented what was perhaps the biggest change since we last met Airbus in the article “Airbus A350-1000 getting real”.

Apart from this program, there were more standard updates on Airbus other activities and programs. Here follows a rundown on these updates in a more paraphrased form.

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Redefining the 757 replacement: Requirement for the 225/5000 Sector, Part 6.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

18 March 2015, c. Leeham Co: In Part 1 of of this series we investigated the market sector 225/5000, which is our name for the market segment beyond the capacity of single aisles A320 and 737 aircraft. Boeing calls this Middle Of the Market, MOM, and is studying which aircraft type would best cover this segment.

In Part 5 of the series we concluded that beyond 220 seats a dual aisle aircraft can be competitive as it can increase utilization due to shorter ground turn-around time. We now conclude the investigation by looking at what Airbus response can be based on a further developed A320 and how it would stack up against optimized seven abreast dual aisle alternatives from Boeing’s MOM study, one of these using Boeing’s patented elliptical fuselage, Figure 1.

MOM, NSA, NLT, A322 cross section2

Figure 1. Compared cross sections for MOM market. Source: Leeham Co.

Summary

  • The rational further stretch of Airbus A321LR is a re-winged/re-engined A322 with 30-40 more passengers, or five to seven additional rows.
  • We compare this development with optimized models from our MOM studies and the A321LR.
  • For the comparison we focus on efficiency in weight, drag and fuel for the different alternatives. How competitive will a stretched A321 be and how close in weight and drag comes an elliptical MOM model?

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