Bjorn’s Corner: New engine development. Part 3. Propulsive efficiency

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 12, 2024, ©. Leeham News: We have started an article series about engine development. The aim is to understand why engine development now dominates the new airliner development calendar time and the risks involved.

To understand why engine development has become a challenging task, we need to understand engine fundamentals and the technologies used for these fundamentals. We started last week with thrust generation, now we develop this to propulsive efficiency.

Figure 1. The base engine in our propulsive efficiency discussion, the CFM56-7 for the Boeing 737ng. Source: CFM.

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Bjorn’ s Corner: New aircraft technologies. Part 49. Engine Maintenance

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 8, 2024, ©. Leeham News: We are discussing the different phases of a new airliner program. After covering the Design and Production, we now look at the Operational phase of a new airliner family.

For the operational phase, the airplane must pass scrutiny for Continued Airworthiness. The biggest item in a regulator’s Instructions for Continued Airworthiness is the required Maintenance program to keep an airliner airworthy. We discussed airframe maintenance in the last article. Now, we look at engine maintenance.

Figure 1. The CFM56-7 engine for the Boeing 737NG. Source: CFM.

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GE Aerospace’s Q4 and FY 2023 Earnings Draw Analyst’s Short-Term Shrugs and Long-Term Cheers

By Chris Sloan

Jan. 23, 2024, © Leeham News – GE Aerospace’s last earnings season before morphing into a pure play engine maker ended on a disappointing note for some analysts. “Aero results were a bit short of our expectations, said a J.P. Morgan First Take Analyst Report, citing “missed estimates by 2% and 6% respectively for sales and EBIT.”

Despite an ascendant 38% YOY growth, LEAP deliveries bore the brunt of the blame for missing the forecast below management’s previous 40-45% guidance increase: “GE delivered 396 LEAPs in Q4, up only a touch sequentially and still down vs 2Q23. There seems to be some loss of momentum here, potentially due to supply chain challenges,” the report continued.

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2024 Outlook: A Mixed Bag for Propulsion OEMs

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By Chris Sloan and Gordon Smith

January 11, 2033, © Leeham News: In 2023, a slew of problems plagued propulsion providers, with Pratt & Whitney’s GTF Engine and supply-chain shortcomings grabbing the bulk of negative headlines and customer complaints. There were bright spots for all the big three with a slew of significant orders, emerging technologies, and critical management shifts.

As the calendar turns to 2024, all eyes will be on a return to fulfilling enormous backlogs, supporting OEM production rate increases, and returning GTF-propelled planes to the skies – while edging towards new technologies, both incremental and revolutionary.

Summary
  • Pratt and its operators navigate massive AOGs (aircraft on ground) and unhappy customer claims for its GTF.
  • The GTF Advantage closes in on EIS.
  • GTF maladies open the door to a possible new platform, the long-mooted Airbus A220-500.
  • The X66A Tranonic-Truss-Braced Wing offers promise for both Pratt’s GTF and GE’s future RISE engines.
  • GEnx and GE-9X win blockbuster campaigns on the 787 and 777X as the 777X hurtles toward certification.
  • CFM’s LEAP goes from strength to strength on the heels of MAX orders and 737-7 and 737-10 certification and entry-into-service.
  • Fixing LEAP durability and delivery challenges.
  • Rolls-Royce Trent troubles continue to draw the ire of customers.
  • UltraFan testing moves forward in Roll’s quest to build a next-generation engine platform for the 2030s. Read more

Re-engining the Boeing 767, Part 3

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By Bjorn Fehrm

December 21, 2023, © Leeham News: We are looking at a re-engine of the 767, a move that Boeing is considering to avoid a production stop after 2027. The present 767 engines don’t pass emission regulations introduced by the FAA, EASA, and other regulators for production and delivery beyond 2027.

We looked at what airframe modifications are necessary to house more efficient engines last week; now, we use our Aircraft Performance and Cost model to look at the economics of the original 767 versus a re-engined one.

Summary:
  • New, more environmentally friendly engines give the 767 better fuel economics.
  • The Cash Operating Costs improvement is affected by higher engine maintenance costs and higher underway and airport fees as a re-engined 767 is a heavier aircraft.

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Pontifications: Airbus ponders A330neo MRTT, Boeing ponders KC-46A re-engine

By Scott Hamilton

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 28, 2023, © Leeham News: In a reversal of intent, the airplane that Airbus may submit to the US Air Force for the next round of aerial tanker procurement may be based on the A330neo instead of the current production A330-200ceo MRTT.

The Air Force, however, may forego competition between Airbus and Boeing and place a sole-source follow-on order with Boeing for the KC-46A tanker, based on the 767-200ER. Boeing already has a contract for 179 KC-46As, and the USAF appears to be leaning toward a sole-source award. Political pressure from Airbus partisans and others who favor competition may prevail.


Related articles


Airbus wants to discontinue production of the A330-200ceo-based MRTT. The neo-based version would be based on the A330-800. Sales of the -800 are poor—fewer than 20 have been ordered. An -800 based MRTT will breathe life into the nearly still-born model.


  • Boeing considers re-engining the 767-300ERF and the KC-46A.
  • KC-46A, 767-200, A330 MRTT exempt from 2027 ICAO standards.

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Preview of Rolls-Royce Capital Markets Day

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By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 27, 2023, © Leeham News: Rolls-Royce’s Capital Market Day is tomorrow. “Our multi-year transformation programme will deliver a high-performing, competitive, resilient, and growing business. Join us to find out how we are going to do it and what a stronger Rolls-Royce will mean for all our stakeholders,” the company says on its website.

“Our multi-year transformation programme has started well with progress already evident in our strong initial results and increased full-year guidance for 2023. There is much more to do to deliver better performance and to transform Rolls-Royce into a high-performing, competitive, resilient, and growing business. We will share the outcome of our strategy review along with medium-term goals for the Group in November,” said CEO Tufan Erginbilgic on its website.

It has some other questions to answer, too.

An order for Airbus A350-1000s was expected to be announced at the Dubai Air Show by Emirates Airline. Another order, for a combination of A350-900s, -1000s, and A320neo, was expected from Turkish Airlines. Neither materialized—and, LNA is told, issues with the Trent XWB 97 were one reason.

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Q3 Earnings: GE Aerospace “Leaps” Forward With Stellar Results, Pure Play Powerplant Provider On Track for Q1 2024

By Chris Sloan

Oct. 24, 2023, © Leeham News – GE spooled up high-thrust third-quarter earnings with consensus-topping results in sales, margins, and EPS in all three of its segments, led by Aerospace. The engine-marker delivered double-digit growth in orders, revenue, and operating profit year-over-year, driven by Original Equipment (OE) and services. 

 Despite supply chain headwinds, the company highlighted its CFM Leap joint venture with Safran Engines as output surged 85% year-on-year. Overall, operating profits rose from $5.6bn to $5.9bn between commercial and military, up from $5.3bn to $5.7bn year-on-year in the quarter and 1H, respectively.

 

Aerospace boosted its balance sheet guidance by $500m for the whole year, on top of Q3’s 25% revenue growth and 120 basis points of margin growth.

 

GE made the long-awaited announcement that its pure-play GE Aerospace will become a reality with the Q2 2024 spin-off of Vernova as a separate company. GE Aerospace’s stock will take on the GE ticker symbol. GE’s soon-to-be-separated Vernova Renewable Energy and Power units registered a -9.3 % operating loss and 9.1 % operating profit, respectively.

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Analysis: Labor issues continue to challenge aerospace industry

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By Bryan Corliss

Sept. 18, 2023, © Leeham News – One of the continuing themes we’re hearing – at investor presentations and on quarterly earnings calls – is the shortage of skilled labor, which is disrupting deliveries up and down the aerospace industry supply chain.

The inability of suppliers to deliver parts on time – or to deliver correctly assembled parts – is hampering the OEMs as they attempt to ramp up production to meet high demand from airlines.

This is not just an issue affecting aerospace. There’s a general shortage of medium- and high-skill workers in the Western world right now, with shortages of every kind of worker from line cooks to truck drivers. Shortages existed prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, and there’s still strong demand, even with economies slowing as central banks move to tamp down inflation. 

The issue is more pronounced in industries that rely on high-skill workers – like aerospace.

One outcome of this worker shortage is a rise in union activism. In aerospace, we’ve seen the strike by the International Association of Machinists against Spirit AeroSystems this summer, and the near strike by members of the same union against Boeing’s defense business in and around St. Louis last year.

Next year, both Spirit and Boeing will be back at the bargaining table; Spirit to negotiate with members of SPEEA, the union for aerospace engineers, while Boeing holds talks with IAM District 751, which represents hourly workers at the company’s plants in Puget Sound and Oregon. 

IAM 751, in fact, is urging members to prepare for what it’s describing as a September 2024 contract vote that will “forever change the aerospace industry.” 

The environment seems to be favorable to the unions, for reasons we’ve discussed before. However, with the OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers heavily in debt (and currently bleeding red ink), there’s going to be a limit to what the companies will be willing to offer in a bid to satisfy their labor forces.

  • Demand for workers remains strong
  • Lack of skilled labor is hurting industry
  • Boeing, Spirit aren’t strong financially
  • UAW strike bellwether for next year’s talks

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GE Aero sees growth through 2026, despite supply chain snags

By Bryan Corliss

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Sept. 15, 2023, © Leeham News – Demand for aircraft engines and spare parts will continue to grow in 2025-26, but perhaps at a slower rate than what the industry is currently experiencing, the CFO of GE Aerospace said at an investor conference Thursday.

“Clearly the demand is robust,” Rahul Gai, who is CFO of both GE and GE Aerospace, told investors gathered at Morgan Stanley’s annual Laguna Conference. “We are trying to ensure we meet the demand expectations.” 

GE Aero plans to deliver some 2,000 LEAP engines next year, which is up from this year’s projected total of 1,700, he said. This comes even as the company continues to deal with supply chain constraints caused in part by a lack of skilled labor. 

  • GE Aero and Vernova on track for two-company split
  • Chinese recovery driving 2023 growth
  • GE sending engineers to help its suppliers

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