Countdown to Boeing’s decision on NMA, Part 2

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Introduction

Jan. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: As the airline, lessor and aerospace industries await Boeing’s decision whether to launch its New Midrange Airplane (NMA, aka 797), as of last month the company still hadn’t closed the business case.

The aerospace analyst from JP Morgan met last month with Boeing’s top executives in Chicago. CEO Dennis Muilenburg and CFO Greg Smith told Seth Seifman that the business case must stand alone, on a program P&L basis, and not rely on aftermarket MRO services through Boeing Global Services. A Boeing spokesman last week reaffirmed the business case is still a work in progress.

As LNC has written many times, the business case involves the usual cost, pricing, production, supply chain and related issues.

But one overarching issue is how bid the market demand is. In large part, this drives everything else.

And market demand continues to be a matter of debate.

Summary
  • Boeing says the demand is 4,000-5,000 airplanes over 20 years.
  • Nearly everyone else surveyed by LNC sees the demand as closer to 2,300-2,500.
  • Engine makers, Tier 1s, LNC, others see the demand as the lower number.
  • Dissecting the difference.

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2019 Outlook: leaving Airbus’ troubled year behind

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 19, 2018, © Leeham News.: Next year is a time when Airbus hopes to leave its troubled 2018 behind.

But 2018 was also when the company wanted to leave the troubles of 2017 behind it.

Not only did 2018 not improve. In a number of ways it turned worse.

Engineless A320neos at Toulouse Airport. Airbus hopes this is a thing of the past. Photo via Google images.

Turmoil in the management ranks brought back memories of the politically infested Airbus of 20 years ago. And there were other issues.

Production problems with the A320 continued. The A330neo was further delayed and the A380 order from Emirates to save the program took forever to materialize. The negotiations to fix the contracts for A400M couldn’t be brought to a close.

There were two bright lights in the year. The A350 was now out of its cabin supplier problems and delivering aircraft to plan. The other was the gift from Boeing’s suing Bombardier and its CSeries the year before. The top modern Bombardier CS100/300 became Airbus A220 on the first of July. Price tag; $1 for 50.01% of the program.

Summary
  • Changes in executives are almost over.
  • Pratt & Whitney’s engine delivery delays are caught up and CFM’s delays are diminishing.
  • Production ramp ups are peaking (for now) and deliveries should be at a record rate next year.
  • Airbus is waiting for Boeing to decide whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft.

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NMA must stand on its own business case

Dec. 6, 2018, © Leeham News: The prospective Boeing 797 (NMA) must stand on its own business case and not rely on aftermarket contracts for a profitable program, reports investment bank JP Morgan.

JPM’s aerospace analyst Seth Seifman met with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, CFO Greg Smith and Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP-marketing Randy Tinseth Dec. 4. In a research note issued yesterday, Seifman reported that the business case for the New Midmarket Aircraft still hasn’t closed—but “if Boeing launches the NMA, it will be with the intention of earning a return on the aircraft itself that is comparable to existing programs; it will not be a plan to accept lower margins on the aircraft and make it up in the aftermarket.” (Emphasis in original.) Read more

Pontifications: More hints NMA is a “go”

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 3, 2018, © Leeham News: Safran, the French company that is a 50% partner in CFM International, believes Boeing will launch the New Midmarket Airplane next year.

Safran held its investors day last Thursday.

In sideline conversation, one of those attending reports that Safran met recently with Boeing and is convinced the NMA is a “go.”

(Others, elsewhere, remain skeptical.)

Engine company responses for proposals are due this month to Boeing. CFM, Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney are competing for the engine selection.

It’s believed Boeing would like a dual source (certainly airlines do), but in all likelihood, the odds-on favorite is that the NMA will have a sole source engine. The betting is that it will be CFM. Read more

How useful is an NMA, Part 6

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 14, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we operated the future Boeing NMA from North American hubs. The aircraft would cover the North American market well but would have limitations when flying to South America. The coverage would be sensitive to where our hub would be, as would European coverage.

Now we finish the series by comparing the NMA to its main alternatives for range and operational economics.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

Summary:

  • When comparing the NMA with its competitors, the same cabin type and ruleset must be used for all aircraft.
  • Using a common ruleset and measuring over typical long range operation, the NMA will be the most economical aircraft of the compared types.

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How useful is an NMA, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 1, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we looked at how a Boeing NMA would function as a medium range airliner in the Asia-Pacific.

We now continue with flying the two aircraft variants from Middle East locations, exploring how large an area in Asia, Europe and Africa the aircraft would cover.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

Summary:

  • The profile of an NMA fits well in a Middle East Carrier’s fleet. Dependent on location it covers all of Europe and most of Africa and Asia.
  • As the NMA is a lesser aircraft than the present long-range aircraft used on the routes it would have impressive economics for this type of operation.

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Pontifications: Market Intelligence from NY

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 22, 2018, © Leeham News: I was in New York City last week for a series of meetings. Here’s what “the street” is talking about. I make no judgment calls about whether the thoughts are on target or not. Read more

Pontifications: “We will develop and actionable plan to develop supply chain”

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 15, 2018, © Leeham News: “With your help, we will develop actionable plans to develop the supply chain.”

This was the leading message from the 5th Annual South Carolina Aerospace Conference and Expo, held Tuesday and Wednesday last week in Columbia (SC).

Conference officials also said they are “exploring a national aerospace coalition.”

SAVE THE DATE

Second Annual Southeast Aerospace & Defence Conference

Organized by Leeham Co. and Airfinance Journal

April 14-16, 2019

Francis Marion Hotel

Charleston, SC

The South Carolina Council on Competitive/SC Aerospace already have a Letter of Intent with Washington State’s Aerospace Futures Alliance “for the purpose of advancing the aerospace industry across the US. The LOI will serve as the platform for exploring the creation of a national aerospace Coalition (Coalition) with the objective of strengthening and growing commercial aviation, space, and unmanned aerial systems in the US through a variety of activities.”

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How useful is an NMA?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 11, 2018, © Leeham News.: The Boeing NMA is by now reasonably well defined. The passenger capacity is set at 225 seats for the smaller version and 265 seats for the larger. The nominal range is 5,000nm for the smaller version and 4,750nm for the larger NMA.

This is all nominal data. In practice, there will be different operational realities which will decrease these figures. How much and how useful will the final operational NMA be? What will be the economic advantage over the direct competition?

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

To find out, we will pit the NMA against its direct competition in a series of articles.

Summary:

  • The NMA as defined is configured according to Boeing’s STANDARD rule set. Using these rules, the smaller variant is classified as a 225 seat airliner with a range of 5,000nm. The larger as a 265 seat aircraft with a 4,500nm range.
  • In practice, operational realities and cabins changes compared with the ones used in the STANDARD ruleset will decrease the seating capacity of the aircraft and its range. How much and why is discussed in this, the first article in the series.

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Pontifications: “Enterprise P&L” key to NMA business case

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 4, 2018, © Leeham News: A consensus appears to have developed among aerospace analysts that the business model for the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Aircraft is about much more than the profit-and-loss case for a stand-alone airplane program.

It’s something that Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg has alluded to many times on earnings calls and elsewhere.

But now, as Boeing moves toward a decision to launch the NMA program next year, the business model has fundamentally become defined.

Note that I say, “toward a decision,” not “if the program will be launched.” I’m convinced Boeing will greenlight the NMA.

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