Pontifications: Transformation is key to increasing production rates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The likely prospect that Airbus and Boeing will increase single-aisle production rates next decade is outlined in our paywall article today.

The whys and capabilities to do so are outlined in the paywall post. The how is what I’ve been writing about since the first of the year, when LNC looked ahead to its 2018 forecast.

The “how” is the transformation in production that is underway in aerospace.

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Leahy remains steadfast in A380 future

Feb. 16, 2018, © Leeham Co.: It’s been a long struggle and there isn’t a re-engining any time soon, but John Leahy still firmly believes in the market viability of the Airbus A380.

John Leahy stand behind the Airbus A380. Photo via Google images.

Leahy, who retired last month as COO-Customers, continues to support the transition to Eric Schulz, EVP, Chief of Sales, Marketing & Contracts. One of Leahy’s last deals was to firm up an A380 MOU for 20 orders and 16 options for Emirates Airline.

In his final retirement interview with LNC, Leahy didn’t waver from the messaging Airbus used since the launch of the A380 program in 2000: passenger traffic doubles every 15 years, no new airports and few new runways are being added in Europe, the US or Asia outside of China and the need for the A380 remains.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 5.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the fourth article about the Chinese/Russian wide-body, CR929, we analyzed the engine selection for the aircraft. Now we continue with a first performance analysis of the CR929 against its main competitors, the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A330-900.

We will use the preliminary data we have collected for the CR929 and compare this to the data for the 787-9 and A330-900. It’s the first analysis, on preliminary information. But there is enough knowledge of the key parameters to use our performance model to draw the first conclusions about the CR929’s positioning in the market.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is modeled closely after the 787-9. The technology for structures, systems, engines and aerodynamics are similar.
  • With a similar payload capacity, the fuel consumption should be better as the CR929 is defined with a lower maximum range.
  • It’s wider cabin eats up the weight and drag advantage, however. There will be little difference between the efficiency of the 787-9 and the 15 years younger CR929.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 4.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 1, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the third article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Now we continue with analyzing the project’s engine needs.

The CR929 is sized to use engines from the Boeing 787 project. Both GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce got Request for Proposals (RFPs) on 22 Dec. 2017. In addition, the Russian and Chinese engine industry wants to develop an engine for the project.

Summary:

  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program needs engines in the 75,000lbf thrust class.
  • The project’s engine specification is closely modeled after the engines available from the Boeing 787 project.
  • In addition to the available 787 engines, the Chinese and Russian engine industry is trying to unite behind a joint engine proposal.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape: Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 18, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the first article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, the CR929, we described the route to a joint program company and the launch of the project.

We now analyze the aircraft, based on available information. With the information, it’s possible to model the aircraft in our performance model and get the first understanding of performance and efficiency.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is closely modelled after the Boeing 787-9. The overall design and dimensions are similar.
  • The major difference to the 787-9 is in cabin width, allowing comfortable nine abreast seating, and the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).
  • The decision to design CR929-600 for a lower MTOW has restricted range to 6,500nm with the nominal cabin capacity of 280 passengers.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody Project takes shape

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Chinese and Russian Widebody program started in earnest over the last year. After signing a joint venture agreement in 2016, the project now has a joint management company, CRAIC, formed 22nd of May 2017, and standing for China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation.

The company will have final assembly and management located in Shanghai.  The aircraft has also got its final name, CR929-600. It will hold 280 passengers in a three-class cabin with a range of 6,500nm, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The CRAIC CR929-600, the main aircraft in the Chinese-Russian widebody program. Source: CRAIC.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has taken off after the joint company was established spring 2017.
  • The organization of the company is set, with the Chinese taking the rudder by the power of a five times larger market and economy and a 10 times larger population.
  • The joint company, CRAIC, issued its first vendor RFP to GE and Rolls-Royce before Christmas for the aircraft’s propulsion system.
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Is the Airbus A321LR a better NMA stopgap than the 767-300?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 04, 2016, © Leeham Co.: We have discussed if the Boeing 767-300ER could function as a stopgap until an NMA would be available. We then compared it with Boeing’s 787-8 and Airbus’ A330-800 as alternative stopgaps. We didn’t include any single-aisle alternatives at the time, like Airbus’ A321LR or Boeing’s 737 MAX 10.

These aircraft have limitations in passenger capacity and range compared with the 767. The least compromised aircraft in an NMA role is the A321LR, which comes within 1,500nm of the range of the 767-300ER.  We, therefore, use it as our single-aisle alternative when we look at further stopgaps until an NMA arrives in 7-10 years.

Summary:
  • The A321LR has 30% less passenger capacity than the 767-300ER when configured with comparable cabin standards.
  • It also has 1,500nm less range than the 767-300ER.
  • The operating costs on a trip and seat-mile basis are considerably lower, however.
  • If the majority of planned routes are within the capability of the A321LR and other aircraft, with longer range, could complement it on the longest routes, it is a more economical alternative to a new 767, both on a Cash Operating Cost basis and when including capital costs.
  • This assumes increased route frequency can compensate the higher capacity of the 767.

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The Supersonic dilemma

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 20, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: The Super Sonic Transport (SST) has a new spring. Aerion announced its new partner Lockheed Martin Friday and Boom got a new investor in Japan Airlines (JAL) the week before.

The design of a supersonic transport aircraft is exciting and difficult. Yet it isn’t the key challenge. The engine is.

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Top Airbus officials scoffed at Leahy’s 50% market share goal

John Leahy, the chief operating officer-customers for Airbus, will retire in January after 33 years with the company. LNC’s editor, Scott Hamilton, has known Leahy for most of this time. This is the second of a series of reports derived from interviewing Leahy about his pending retirement. The first article appeared Nov. 28.

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 14, 2017, © Leeham Co.: When John Leahy was promoted from his position as head of Airbus sales in North America and moved to headquarters in Toulouse,

John Leahy, COO-Customers Airbus. Reuters photo via Google images.

France, to assume the world-wide position as head of sales, he had an ambitious goal to achieve 50% market share by 2000.

He had a little over five years to go from low-double digits to this lofty goal.

The Airbus executive board initially laughed at him, Leahy recalls 22 years later.

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Boeing moves EIS target for NMA to 2027: sources

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Introduction

Dec. 4, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Officially, Boeing says the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA, or 797) entry-into-service will be around 2024-25 if the program is launched.

LNC has learned the target date now being discussed is 2027.

Boeing 797 concept. Source: Boeing.

This means the 737 replacement likewise slips, with EIS after 2030 instead of late next decade or in 2030.

The new NMA target date, which we’ve heard from the supply chain and customer base, gives further impetus to the prospect of restarting the 767-300ER passenger production, a decision that is supposed to be made by the end of this year.

Summary
  • Technology is at the heart of the new target EIS for the NMA.
  • The 737 replacement was always intended to follow the NMA.
  • Supply chain asked for 767 production rate ramp-up feasibility.

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