By Bjorn Fehrm
September 28, 2020, © Leeham News: The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is shaking the air travel and airliner manufacturing industries like no crisis before.
More than 9/11, the oil crisis of 1973 or 2005 or the financial crisis of 2008. The problems for the airlines and the airframe OEMs are on the front pages of the world’s media.
The part of the airliner industry that is not so visible but is perhaps hardest hit, is the engine industry. Its weird business model amplifies the effects of the crisis.
By Judson Rollins, Bjorn Fehrm & Scott Hamilton
Sept. 21, 2020, © Leeham News: Commercial aviation is facing a lost decade due to COVID.
Yes, most forecasts target 2024-2025 as returning to 2019 passenger traffic and aircraft production levels.
However, LNA in July published its own analysis indicating full recovery may not occur until 2028. Breathless headlines notwithstanding, it will take years for vaccines to be widely available and considered safe by enough of the world’s population. Growing concern about vaccine production and distribution capacity through 2024 underscores this view. Even Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly said earlier this month that business travel might not fully return for a decade.
Indeed, the 2020s may well be a lost decade for aircraft manufacturers and their supply chains.
By Bjorn Fehrm
September 10, 2020, © Leeham News: The Airbus A340-600 was designed to challenge Boeing’s hold of the large, long-haul jets. With a capacity 60 seats above the previous largest Airbus jet, the A340-300, and a 7,500nm range, it should put Airbus firmly on the long-haul map.
The A340-600 would be flying its 350 passengers as long and for a lower cost than the 20 seats larger Boeing 747-400, the then-largest long-haul Boeing jet. It would have worked hadn’t Boeing upgraded the 777-300 to the 777-300ER and surpassed the spec. How much better did that make the 777-300ER when it arrived in 2004?
By Bjorn Fehrm
August 27, 2020, © Leeham News: After presenting Boeing’s and Airbus’ first 300 seater long-range widebodies, the 777-200ER and A340-300 in Part 3, we now fly them both on the route Paris to San Fransisco to understand their economics.
The A340-300 was first on the market, but when the 777-200ER arrived amid changed ETOPS rules, the four holer found the twin a difficult competitor. We use our airliner performance model to understand why.
By Bjorn Fehrm
August 12, 2020, © Leeham News: We deepen our look at the Queen of the Skies and it’s best selling version, the 747-400.
We go through what made it the great aircraft it was and why Qantas replaced it on its trunk routes to the US West coast.
We pick Los Angeles to Sydney as the benchmark route, a route on the range limit for the 747-400, and check how it stacks up economically versus the A380, its replacement.
First in a series of reports.
By Scott Hamilton and Vincent Valery
June 17, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus was riding high in February.
The A321XLR was a clear winner. An important order was won from United Airlines, up to then an exclusive Boeing narrowbody customer. American Airlines selected the XLR. An order was expected from Delta Air Lines.
In one of his first actions, Boeing CEO David Calhoun, taking office Jan. 13, put the NMA on indefinite hold, pending a complete review of Boeing’s product strategy.
The Boeing 737 MAX remained grounded by regulators, with no return to service in sight.
Things couldn’t be going better for Airbus.
And then in mid-March, the COVID crisis became a global pandemic. Air transportation fell up to 95%. Airlines required government bailouts. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury said the very existence of Airbus was threatened.
By Scott Hamilton
June 15, 2020, © Leeham News: John Slattery, the CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, was named CEO of GE Aviation, it was announced today.
Arjan Meijer is the new President and CEO succeeding Slattery. Slattery succeeds David Joyce, who is retiring. Slattery’s appointment is effective July 13.
Slattery devoted much of the last year trying to win approval of the proposed Boeing-Embraer joint venture, Boeing Brasil-Commercial. Boeing terminated the agreement April 25, claiming Embraer failed to meet all required terms and conditions. Embraer claims it met the conditions. Both took the dispute to arbitration.
Slattery had been designated CEO of Boeing Brasil. After the deal’s collapse, his departure from Embraer was expected.
June 15, 2020, © Leeham News: The jet engine division of Rolls-Royce faces an uncertain future because of its own problems, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19 on commercial airlines.
Beset by problems with its Trent 1000, Boeing 787 engine, hampered by a huge error in judgment to withdraw from a joint venture with Pratt & Whitney, beset by the premature termination of the Airbus A380 program and now facing a long-term impact of the coronavirus crisis, Rolls is an engine maker with few opportunities.
June 8, 2020, © Leeham News: Pratt & Whitney struggled since its new Geared Turbo Fan engine entered service in 2016 to fix technical, reliability and operational issues.
Plagued by premature engine removals as parts, other than the gear box, failed, Airbus A320neos stacked up in Toulouse and Hamburg while new engines were diverted to operators with aircraft out of service.
India’s regulator issued a grounding order of GTF-powered neos. Shop visits for repairs and modifications overwhelmed PW. The mess cost PW parent United Technologies (now Raytheon Technologies, following a merger) billions of dollars.
Working its way out of this mess was forecast to take into 2021.
Now, with COVID-19 impacts grounding airliners by the thousands, PW is using this as an opportunity to speed replacement and reworked engine deliveries.
Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs) will be ready this summer.
“If there is any silver lining in the environment we’re in today, it is likely around the GTF and the retrofit,” Raytheon CFO Toby O’Brien said during a UBS webcast last week. “We are utilizing available shop capacity to fix the issues in the fleet. Our goal is to have GTF engines with enhancements by the end of the year as the recovery plays out.”
June 1, 2020, © Leeham News: The new chief executive officer for GE Aviation (GEA) will face huge challenges when he or she succeeds David Joyce when he retires this year, say industry sources. Joyce was named CEO in 2008.
Like other sectors of commercial aviation, the COVID-19 crisis hit GEA hard.
Initially, the workforce was cut by 10% in March. This was deepened to 25% in May. Non-essential spending was cut. A hiring freeze was implemented and other cost-cutting measures were put in place.