Engine makers may face stiffer future ETOPS certification requirements

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Introduction

April 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Even before last week’s Southwest Airlines accident raised the focus on aircraft engines, industry officials were becoming worried that problems with engines powering the Boeing 747-8, 787, 737 MAX and Airbus A320neo may lead to stricter certification standards by regulatory authorities.

There is also emerging evidence that the issues with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 on the 787s may negatively impact Airbus’ sales efforts with the A350. The A350 is powered by an entirely different RR engine, the Trent XWB, which by all accounts has had a virtually trouble-free entry into service.

But it’s a Rolls-Royce engine and airlines affected by or watching RR’s response to the Trent 1000 problems are skeptical about the Trent XWB, LNC is told.

Summary
  • How long will it take for the FAA and EASE to restore full ETOPS for the 787?
  • Concerns emerge that regulators may be more restrictive of ETOPS for new engines powering new planes, with the Boeing 777X next up.
  • Impact seen on reception of Rolls-Royce engines on Airbus A330neo and A350.
  • What do the engine problems mean for the Boeing NMA?

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Pontifications: Uncontained engine failures are rare but not unknown

By Scott Hamilton

April 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Last week’s engine malfunction on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 was another in a rare, but not unknown, uncontained engine anomaly in recent years.

All recent similar failures didn’t cause a loss of life or serious injuries if the passengers were evacuated. Unfortunately, this accident caused one fatality and seven injuries.

Let’s put the context to this issue.

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Narrowbody and Widebody engine developments, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

April 19, 2018, © Leeham News: In an article last week, we discussed the reason the new narrow-body engines are catching up to the fuel consumption of the wide-body engines.

Today we dig a bit deeper into the efficiency changes of the different engines and discuss which parameter changes have caused what changes in engine efficiency.

We will use our engine modeling software GasTurb to analyze what happens in a Turbofan when we change certain parameters.

Summary:

  • The engine’s Core or Thermal efficiency changes with Turbine Entry Temperature (TET).
  • To fully utilize such an increase in efficiency we need to adapt the overall design of the engine.

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Déjà vu all over again

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Introduction

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.

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Narrowbody and Widebody engine developments

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

April 12, 2018, © Leeham News: In an article yesterday about Long-Haul LCC costs we observed how the new Narrowbody engines are catching up to the fuel efficiencies of the Widebody engines.

Traditionally the Widebody engines were the efficiency leaders. The Narrowbody companions were designed to be durable rather than efficient.

Figure 1. Cut through of the Narrowbody LEAP engine. Source: CFM

We use the engine modelling software GasTurb to understand why this catching up of the Narrowbody engines has happened.

Summary:
  • The new Narrowbody engines for Airbus’ A320 series and Boeing’s 737 MAX are close in specific fuel consumption to the new Widebody engines.
  • We use the GasTurb engine modelling software to find the root cause of this change.

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Is Long-Haul LCC viable? Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 11, 2018, © Leeham News: In the second article if Long-Haul LCC is a viable business, we described the cost items which have to be part of a Revenue versus Cost analysis.

In a subsequent article, we used our performance model to develop the typical costs for the aircraft types we study. We now look at these typical costs, discuss their background and relative importance. Read more

Is Airbus’ A330-800 the longest range widebody under 300 seats?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 29, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s 787-9 has opened new ultra-long routes such as Qantas’ first flight from Perth in Australia to London Heathrow last weekend (a 7,900nm, 17-hours flight). The 787-9 has been the undisputed long-haul star under 300 seats, with Airbus A350-900ULR underbidding the Boeing 777-200LR’s fuel burn for over 300 seats ultra-long haul flying.

But the competition for below 300 seat ULR alternatives will change in two years. Airbus A330-800 is then available in its 251t version. It will fly longer than the 787-9, according to Airbus.

The range of 7,635nm given by Boeing for the 787-9 and 8,150nm by Airbus for the A330-800 is not using the same seating and fuel reserve rules. We use our performance model to weed out the differences, to make an apples-to-apples comparison of the 787-9 and A330-800 as ULR aircraft.

Summary:

  • The choice between the 787-9 or A330-800 for Ultra Long-haul Routes (ULR) will depend on the passenger loads which can be expected.
  • For thin routes, the A330-800 will be the cheaper aircraft to operate.
  • It will also fly longer on thin routes, as its large tanks mean passenger capacity can be traded for more fuel further than for a 787-9.
  • When the 787-9 can be filled, it’s the choice with the better seat-mile cost, as it should; it’s the larger aircraft, spreading fixed costs over more paying passengers.

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Boeing’s NMA decision entering final stretch, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 26, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s NMA or 797 is taking final form ahead of a decision to essentially launch the program with an Authority to Offer (ATO), widely believed to be later this year.

In the first article, we looked at the key characteristics of the design. We also looked at the engine situation in a couple of articles.

Now we round up the series with analyzing the potential economics of the aircraft. 

Figure 1. The first sketch of the smaller 797-6X with 224 seats. Source: JonOstrower.com

Summary:

  • The projected 797 would have competitive Cash Operating Costs compared with a modern Single Aisle aircraft like the Airbus A321LR.
  • The challenge is the capital costs. The A320/A321 and Boeing’s 737 MAX models are produced in numbers passing 10,000. An NMA would be successful if produced in 1,000 units. This leads to higher production costs for the numerically smaller series.
  • The focus from Boeing is therefore on lowering Production costs and on finding Services revenue which can help the 797 business case.

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Focus on NMA engines: all OEMs vying for Boeing’s approval

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Introduction

March 22, 2018, © Leeham Co.: As Boeing enters the final stretch whether to launch the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, aka 797) market focus should shift to the engines more than the airframe and even the market demand.

It all comes down to this: no engines, no plane.

Monday’s post outlined some of the issues to consider.

But there are larger implications as well.

Summary
  • Market sources are tossing about various scenarios about the future GE Aviation and CFM.
  • Rolls-Royce won’t have its Trent 1000 problems fixed until 2021 or 2022, at great cost.
  • Pratt & Whitney won’t have its Geared Turbo Fan final PIP packages for its problems sorted out until around 2021.
  • Resources—both financial and with engineering—are stretched now.
  • Sequencing current engine problems, and in the case, GE’s GE9X, are a factor, in the eyes of some.

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GE/CFM in “lockstep” with Boeing on NMA

David Joyce

March 22, 2018, © Leeham News: GE Aviation/CFM International are in “lockstep” with Boeing for development of an engine for the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, or 797), the CEO of GE Aviation told a JP Morgan Aviation conference last week.

David Joyce acknowledged that there are technical issues and production delays for the new CFM LEAP 1A and 1B that power the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX families respectively. Production is running up to six weeks late, but should be caught up by the end of this year, he said.

Technical issues, while affecting at least 100 engines, nevertheless are far less of an issue than those plaguing rival Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbo Fan.

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