HOTR: Embraer gets launch customer for E-Freighter, Boeing adds Lufthansa for 777-8F

By the Leeham News Team

May 10, 2022, © Leeham News: Embraer yesterday received its launch order for the E-Jet E1 P2F conversions from lessor Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC).

NAC reach “an agreement in principle” to convert 10 E190/195-E1s into freighters. The first deliveries are in 2024. The aircraft are in NAC’s current fleet.

Embraer E190F for lessor Nordic Aviation Capital. Source: Embraer.

The E-Freighters have 50% more volume capacity and three times the range of turboprop freighters (read: ATR) and up to 30% lower operating costs than narrowbodies (read: Boeing 737s), Embraer says. The aircraft will be converted by Embraer at its Brazilian operations. The conversion “includes the main deck front cargo door; cargo handling system; floor reinforcement; Rigid Cargo Barrier (RCB) – 9G Barrier with access door; cargo smoke detection system, including class “E” extinguishers in upper cargo compartment; Air Management System changes (cooling, pressurization, etc.); interior removal and provisions for hazardous material transportation,” Embraer says. “The E190F can handle a payload of 23,600lb (10,700kg) while the E195F a payload of 27,100 lb (12,300 kg).”

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HOTR: Boeing moving HQ to Washington, DC, was obvious to those looking

By the Leeham News Team

May 5, 2022, © Leeham News: Boeing is moving the corporate headquarters from Chicago to Arlington (VA) (a Washington (DC) suburb), the Wall Street Journal reported. The signs were there for all to see if you were looking.

Boeing closed its headquarters in Chicago as the COVID pandemic expanded. The Illinois/Chicago tax breaks expired. Key corporate communications people relocated already from Seattle to Washington, including Bernard Choi—whose duties expanded from oversight of Boeing Commercial Airplanes communications to the corporate level. There is an under-utilized Boeing building in Arlington.

Already under financial pressure because of the 737 MAX grounding in March 2019, the pandemic made things much, much worse. With no orders flowing into Boeing Commercial and few deliveries after the pandemic grew across the globe, Boeing’s cash flow took a huge hit. Then 787 deliveries were suspended in October 2020 and have yet to resume.

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HOTR: Shakeout of P2F companies coming

By the Leeham News Team

May 3, 2022, © Leeham News: A shakeout in the number of passenger-to-freighter conversion companies is coming, say industry stakeholders.

The conversion industry has seen a number of new lines and new entrants emerge as demand for air freight exploded during the COVID pandemic. But the long-term demand won’t sustain these new entrants, said members of a panel in April at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference.

There are now four companies offering Airbus A320 conversions: EFW, which is partly owned by Airbus; Precision Conversions; CCC (known as C Cubed); and Sino Draco. Some have yet to produce a converted A320 and EFW has multiple lines.

There are four companies offering Boeing 777 conversions: IAI Bedek, the first to market; Mammoth Freighters, the only one offering 777-200LR conversions; Kansas Modification Center; and Eastern Airlines. The latter is converting 777 passenger aircraft without cutting a big cargo door into the airplane, essentially maintaining the “Preighter” approach used by several airlines during the pandemic. The termination of the Boeing 747-8F production and aging 747-400Fs will boost 777 P2F sales, panelists said.

Boeing partnered with third parties to convert 737-800s. AEI is an independent 737 conversion company. It also converts Boeing MD-80s and Bombardier CRJs. The latter two programs were not commercial successes, admits Bob Convey, SVP of Sales and Marketing. AEI will only recover its costs for the CRJ-200 P2F. Only about 30 MD-80s were converted. Odd-sized containers make the CRJ and MD-80 less desirable than 737s and A320s, he said.

Many companies are “late to the party” and will fail, Convey said.

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AvWeek MRO Event: Kansas Mod lands first 777-300ER P2F order

April 26, 2022, © Leeham News: Kansas Modification Center/NIAR WERX won an order for three conversions from Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft to freighters from Backbone Freighter Leasing, an affiliation of Dr. Peters Group, a European lessor. Backbone also optioned seven conversions.

This is the first order for KMC/NIAR WERX. The deal was announced today at the Aviation Week MRO Americas conference in Dallas. Deliveries are in 2024 and 2025. Options have delivery slots from 2025 through 2027. The airplanes are ex-Emirates Airline aircraft. The first plane entered flight testing for loads analysis Sunday.

KMC forecasts certification by the Federal Aviation Administration in the second quarter of 2024. This conversion features a forward cargo door as opposed to the aft door in conversions offered by IAI Bedek and Mammoth Freighters. IAI has orders for 22 conversions from EVA, Emirates and lessor AerCap (which inherited this deal from GECAS upon acquisition of this lessor). AerCap has options for 15 more conversions, also from GECAS. Entry into service with AerCap is scheduled for this year.

Mammoth has an order for two conversions from Canada’s CargoJet and options for three more. Mammoth says EIS is targeted for the second half of 2023, a timeline some believe is optimistic.

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HOTR: When will Boeing return 737 rates to pre-grounding level?

By the Leeham News Team

March 5, 2022, © Leeham News: When will Boeing return the 737 production levels to the pre-grounding rate of 52/mo?

It’s a question that is of key interest to the industry, employees, and the always-looming investment community. Boeing hasn’t given any guidance beyond the 31/mo target sometime this year. The rate is currently in the low-to-mid 20s.

But if one carefully watches the Boeing supply chain, some of these publicly held companies give information to their own investors in public forums from which one can look at Boeing.

For example, Allegheny Technologies Inc., more commonly known as ATI, gave very specific guidance during its Feb. 17 investors’ day. Seaport Global, a boutique shop, covers ATI and was the first to report the guidance.

“ATI stated that, ‘in line with our customers’ forecasts…when we look at 2025, we see single-aisle going to 127/mo,’” Seaport wrote. In this context, ATI’s customers are Airbus, Boeing, and the three engine OEMs. Airbus is considering an A320 family rate 75/mo in 2025. Simple math says Boeing’s MAX rate will be 52/mo by then. In its note, Seaport was more conservative, predicting rate 47 by 2025.

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HOTR: Airbus responds to Qatar lawsuit; (Update): Boeing statement on Russia-Ukraine

By the Leeham News Team

Feb. 28, 2022, © Leeham News: Airbus last Friday filed its answer to the lawsuit filed by Qatar Airways over the A350 paint issues. Qatar claims 21 A350s have defective paint issues that lead to safety concerns for lightning protection. Qatar’s national regulator grounded the airplanes.

The manufacturer replies in its answer that it believes the regulator acted at the airline’s request, which Airbus believes was motivated by economic reasons rather than safety issues.

Airbus also said that the paint stripping of the A350 intended for repainting was improperly done and deviated from Airbus’ procedures outlined in its manuals.

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HOTR: Putin can shut down commercial aviation, consultant warned

Feb. 24, 2022, © Leeham News: The invasion by Russia into Ukraine could shut down commercial aviation production, a supply chain consultant expert predicted earlier this month.

Kevin Michaels, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory, a supply-chain consulting firm, warned at a supplier conference Feb. 8 that Russian President Vladimir Putin “could shut down the commercial aerospace business if he chose to do so.”

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HOTR: Collins Aerospace sustainability

Feb. 22, 2022, © Leeham News: The headlines and debate over ecoAviation focus on the airframe and engine manufacturers, for good reason. But the aerospace supply chain is mindful of its ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) issues as well.

Pratt & Whitney makes the engines that emit emissions and burn fuel. It works to reduce fuel burn and emissions. PW also is exploring electric, hybrid and hydrogen alternatives. Sister company Collins Aerospace works to find solutions to reduce emissions in other areas.

“We play a big role in sustainability,” says LeAnn Ridgeway, Vice President, Sustainability. Collins purchased FlightAware, which is perhaps best know for flight tracking in competition with FlightRadar24. But FlightAware provides route planning and ADS-B services, among others.

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HOTR: Consensus that Boeing must launch new airplane in 2023 or 2024

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 15, 2022, © Leeham News: There is a belief that when Boeing clears out much of its 737 MAX inventory, resumes delivery of the 787, and reduces a good portion of its debt that it will launch a new airplane program.

The Next Boeing Airplane (NBA), as LNA calls it, could be launched in 2023 or 2024, which seems to be a growing consensus.

Consultant Michel Merluzeau, who does work for Boeing on occasion, predicted last week that the NBA could be launched late next year or early the following year. The airplane would be a 225-240 passenger aircraft (two-class) and a single aisle. This is like the Boeing 757—which largely has exited passenger service—and the upper limits of the A321neo. Merluzeau made his predictions at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference.

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HOTR: ULCCs Frontier, Spirit announce plans to merge

Feb. 7, 2022, © Leeham News: Frontier and Spirit airlines today announced plans to merge. The combination will create the USA’s fifth largest carrier and combine the two largest Ultra Low-Cost Carriers (ULCC) in the United States.

Shareholders of Frontier will own 51.5% of the new company, and seven of the 12 board members will be appointed by Frontier. The largest shareholder is Indigo Partners, whose chairman, Bill Franke, becomes chair of the combined airline. Indigo once was the largest shareholder in Spirit. Indigo sold its shareholdings and Franke resigned from the Spirit board when Indigo bought control of Frontier.

It hasn’t been decided what the brand of the new company will be.

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