Jan. 4, 2021, © Leeham News: Beginning today through next week, Leeham News presents its annual Outlook series for the coming year.
We’ve been doing this for years. In recent years, the Outlook reflected continued growth in commercial aviation. The industry had the longest upward tick in the more than three decades I’ve been involved in the sector.
Not this year. As I wrote before the Christmas-New Year’s holiday period, 2020 was the worst year for commercial aviation I’ve ever seen in 41 years.
This year is the beginning of the end of the COVID crisis. Yes, the vaccines began distribution in December, but large spikes in COVID cases began simultaneously and are predicted to climb higher through the first quarter.
Over the coming days, as LNA provides its Outlook for 2021, readers will see what we believe will happen.
Oct. 26, 2020, © Leeham News: It’s earnings call week for Boeing and Airbus.
And Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is said to plan an announcement “freezing” development of the SpaceJet.
Let’s preview these events.
Oct. 12, 2020, © Leeham News: Every year, like clockwork, when Boeing publishes its 20-year Current Market Outlook, there is always another upward revision in forecast demand for new aircraft.
So, when the Chicago-based OEM admits that demand has taken a long-term hit, you know the situation must be dire.
Last week, Boeing belatedly published its annual CMO forecast for global commercial jet production and services. The forecast was quite a comedown as it marked a 2% fall from Boeing’s previous expectations for aircraft demand, with a whopping 10% drop for widebodies and freighters.
Airbus has withheld its 2020 Global Market Forecast while it continues to assess the impact of COVID-19. Read more
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 Kathryn B. Creedy
Third in a Series. Previous articles:
Aug. 31, 2020, (c) Leeham News: European regionals face far greater challenges than Covid and, sadly, much of what is happening to the industry is beyond its control. The result is similar to failures seen in the U.S. Flybe’s recent loss resulted from pre-Covid problems which also led to the pre-Covid failures of such airlines as Flybmi and Cobalt.
The failures illustrate, however, the three reasons why European regionals are so fragile – low-cost competition, geography, and challenging government policy.
Now open to all Readers.
Aug. 10, 2020, © Leeham News: With Boeing likely to consolidate 787 production in Charleston (SC), reflecting a rate of 6/mo, the future of assembly in Puget Sound rears its head again.
LNA outlined Aug. 3 why Everett is the ideal location to assemble the Next Boeing Airplane (NBA).
Boeing’s product line also requires a new airplane in the 100-150 seat sector. Airbus’ A220-100/300 and, nominally, the A320neo (but not the A319neo) fill this sector. (The A320neo was originally designed as a 150-seat airplane. It now is commonly configured in the 150-180 seat size.)
Airbus has a design for an A220-500, which could replace the A320.
Boeing needs an efficient competitor to the current A220 plus a replacement for the 737-7 and, eventually, the -8.
And it probably won’t be assembled at the Boeing 737 plant in Renton.
Sixth in a Series
By Scott Hamilton
July 23, 2020, © Leeham News: The Mitsubishi Aircraft (MITAC) SpaceJet program is in limbo.
MITAC parent Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) suspended development of the M100 SpaceJet in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Customers are suppliers are in the dark about this program’s future.
MHI continues to complete certification of the M90 SpaceJet, which is simply the rebranded MRJ90. But, as LNA previously wrote, the M90 is at an economic disadvantage to the competing Embraer E-Jets.
The planned entry-into-service for the M90 is next year. However, certification process by the Japanese regulator is slow. The impact by COVID on the certification process and EIS remains to be seen.
Fourth in a series.
By Bjorn Fehrm
July 8, 2020, © Leeham News: All airliner OEMs have a disastrous 2020, but for Embraer, the year has been even worse. After spending a year and over $200m to carve out the Commercial Aviation division to merge it into Boeing, the Joint Venture Agreement (JV) was stopped by Boeing at the last moment.
The Executive Jets and Defense side were not affected, but now Embraer was organized as two companies instead of one. The company must now re-merge the organizations to save costs in a COVID-19 environment where limiting cash outflow, and lowering costs are necessary for survival. At the same time, it’s arch-rival on the world market, Airbus A220 has gone from strength to strength through basket selling with the popular A320.
How does Embraer come back from the Boeing pass up and regroup in a regional market that is no longer a fight of equals? Embraer competes with Airbus that in 2019 was 11 times larger in airliner deliveries and 29 times in airliner revenue.
Only in the below 100 seat market is it saved from the giant, who doesn’t have a model in the segment. And it seems the below 100 seat competitor, Mitsubishi, might fold its entry.
July 6, 2020, © Leeham News: The fallout from COVID-19 is beginning to intersect with the beginning of a wave of regional jet retirements globally. However, the market for smaller commercial jets today stretches the meaning of “regional” as most aircraft still in production have 100+ seats and can fly more than 2,500nm.
In the critical US market, both Embraer’s E175-E2 and Mitsubishi’s remaining M90 are too heavy to comply with the Scope Clause limits imposed by pilot labor agreements. These clauses restrict regional carrier flying to 76 seats and 86,000 lbs MTOW, while also capping the number of regional jets that can be flown by each carrier.
Delta Air Lines is limited to a total regional fleet of 450 aircraft, while American Airlines is capped at 75% of its single-aisle fleet and United Airlines is limited to 255 aircraft plus 90% of single-aisles in service. Earlier this year, American accelerated the retirement of some EMB-140s to maintain compliance with its limit.
By Scott Hamilton
June 2, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industry (MHI) yesterday closed the acquisition of the Bombardier CRJ program.
With the aviation world still reeling and confused by the “suspension” of the SpaceJet program, what are the options going forward?
MHI last month announced it was suspending indefinitely development of the M100 SpaceJet. MHI said it will reevaluate the market demand of the M100. It suspended further flight testing of the M90 SpaceJet. It says it will proceed with office “validation” of the M90 for certification. Facilities in the US and Canada devoted to the SpaceJet program are closing. About half the workforce devoted to SpaceJet in Nagoya, Japan, is being reduced.
Customers that signed MOUs for 495 M100s and which have firm orders for some 200 MRJ90s (the previous brand for the M90) are in limbo. Suppliers are in limbo. MHI’s failure to communicate with them leaves a planeload of questions and no answers.
MHI’s move clears the way for Embraer to have a monopoly in the regional jet space. Unless—unless MHI restarts the SpaceJet program on its own or partners with another company to make a commitment to developing a new airliner.
LNA noted when the Boeing-Embraer joint venture collapsed that this presented opportunities for MHI and Boeing to renew and expand their previous relationship for the MRJ program. Here are some possibilities facing MHI.