LNC is off to the Paris Air Show

June 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Leeham News and Comment is off to the Paris Air Show.

Coverage will begin Sunday, with several events in advance of the show’s official opening Monday. We’ll be there through Thursday, with the end-of-show press conference by Airbus.

We provided a full preview May 22 for our paywall customers.

Here’s an update, in an abbreviated version:

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MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We continued the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week with an analysis of the cabins and systems. The week before, we compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we finish with an analysis of the economics of the aircraft.

Summary:
  • The MC-21 is the more advanced aircraft of the two. It uses carbon composites for the wings and empennage.
  • Coupled with more refined aerodynamics, the MC-21 offers a higher efficiency than the more classical C919.

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MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction 

June 08, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We started the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week. We compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we continue with the comparison of cabin capacities and systems.

Summary:

  • The C919 cabin is a slightly longer copy of the Airbus A320 cabin. MC-21 sets new standards for cabins in the single aisle segment.
  • Both aircraft use Western systems to ease development and improve in-service reliability.

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MC-21 and C919 compared

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Note: With the first flight of the Irkut MC-21 in the weekend, we move the Qantas Ultra Long Haul article Part 2 to a later date.

Introduction 

June 01, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 both completed their first flights during last month. Both are new competitors in the market’s hottest segment, that for 150 to 240 seats.

They both challenge the present rulers: Airbus’ A320 and Boeing’s 737 MAX.  We made first analysis of the aircraft against their Western competition here, here and here.

We now dig deeper with a direct comparison between the MC-21 and C919 projects.

Summary:

  • In the first article, we compare the projects, the structural concepts and the aerodynamics of the MC-21 and C919.
  • Follow up articles will compare systems, cabins and overall performance for the aircraft.

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Paris Air Show Preview

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Introduction

May 22, 2017, © Leeham Co. The Paris Air Show begins June 17, and few in the industry expect much in the way of orders this year.

The order cycle is on the downward side of the bell curve. Sustaining the 2,000, 3,000 or nearly 4,000 gross orders announced 2011-2013 simply couldn’t be achieved. The “order bubble” had to break, and it did. Last year, Airbus and Boeing reported some 1,400 orders between them.

Airbus guides that it will tough to achieve a 1:1 book:bill this year. Boeing is running about 1:1 book:bill so far but it also guides conservatively. Still, LNC thinks Boeing might surprise this year–and some of this could be at the Paris Air Show.

Leeham Co.’s new publication, Commercial Aviation Report, provides a Focus Report on the Air Show. This encompasses the expectations for Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, COMAC, Irkut, Mitsubishi, CFM, GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce into one easy-to-read package.

The pre-airshow press briefings by the OEMs begin next week. We don’t expect any earth-shattering news from these and we wanted to get our views out ahead of these briefings.

Summary
  • Boeing wants to launch the 737-10 MAX at the Paris Air Show. This could spur a group of orders that would give Boeing a rare win in the headlines vs Airbus on the latter’s home ground.
  • Mitsubishi plans to have its MRJ90 at the Air Show. One airplane entered the paint shop for ANA colors–this might be the one making the appearance.
  • Embraer expects to have its KC-390 there. Will the E195-E2 also make an appearance?

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Pontifications: Emirates profits drop 83%, MC-21 and more news last week

By Scott Hamilton

May 15, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It was a busy news week last week.

  • Emirates Airline headlined its 29th consecutive year of profits, but downplayed an 83% decline.
  • The Irkut MC-21 moved to the tarmac, an indication first flight may be coming shortly.
  • Multiple media reports indicate that electronics flight ban from the Middle East may be extended in part to all of Europe.
  • Boeing suspended test flights on the 737 MAX after CFM discovered some quality issues in some LEAP 1B engines.

Let’s look at these events.

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Aeroflot, the route to a modern airline, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 19, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In our second article about Aeroflot, the Soviet Union flag carrier that transformed to a modern airline, we will cover the period from the fall of the Soviet Union until 2010.

This was the difficult period for all participants. The old structures no longer existed and were replaced with… nothing, followed by uncertainty and a long struggle to get back to normal.

Figure 1. IL-96-300, a Soviet long range aircraft which stayed in the Aeroflot fleet until 2014. Source: Aeroflot.

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Irkut MC-21 missing ultimate load test

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 05, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: United Aircraft’s IRKUT MC-21 passed 90% of the static Ultimate load test end February at the TsAGI test institute in Moscow, reports ATO.RU. But the aircraft failed the 100% test.

The test simulates a load which is 150% higher than the highest load that the aircraft should be subject to in its operational life. The test failure does not stop the aircraft from beginning flight testing, for that the aircraft needs to pass the limit load test (highest load during flight), which it has.Missing the Ultimate load test for new airliners is nothing unusual. The designers tries to pass this test with the smallest possible margin. Any excess margin will make the aircraft unnecessary heavy.  Other aircraft to have missed the test are Mitsubishi Aircraft’s MRJ, Airbus’ A380 and Boeing’s 787.

According to ATO.RU, who quotes IRKUT, the reinforcements in the wingbox necessitated by the failure will weigh 25kg. It’s not clear if the changes will affect the start of test flights. These should have started during April.

Boeing Services expansion wise, necessary move

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Introduction

March 6, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg wants the company to participate in the aftermarket aircraft services business and set a goal of $50bn in revenue in the coming years.

He looks at Boeing’s current business, the former Boeing Commercial Aviation Services (CAS), and sees a single-digit market share in a worldwide trillion-dollar market potential. Muilenburg understandably wants a greater share of this.

But LNC believes there is an additional driver: the intensely competitive commercial airliner business faces even greater competition in the coming years. Prices are under pressure today. China is developing its own aerospace industry, which will eat into sales by Boeing (and Airbus) in the home market. Russia has ambitions to renew its home-market airliner industry.

Boeing’s new Global Services unit is a hedge against the prospect of falling profits at Boeing Commercial Airplanes as these factors converge.

Summary
  • Airbus, Boeing single-aisle prices under pressure.
  • A330/350 keeps 787 pricing down.
  • Boeing’s NMA business case may depend on after-delivery services contracts.

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Assessing the MC-21 future

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Introduction

Feb. 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Russia’s Irkut designed a mainline jet to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families that, from a passenger experience

Irkut MC-21 at roll-out. Photo via Google images.

viewpoint, is the best in class.

The MC-21 has a wider fuselage than the A320 (which is wider than the 737). Seats and the aisle are the widest in the class. The overhead bin space is plentiful.

But the airplane is hampered by its environment: Russia itself.

Summary
  • EIS planned for next year, but first flight hasn’t happened yet.
  • Few orders, small customer base.
  • Russia itself presents an overhang to the MC-21 program.
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