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.
By Scott Hamilton
May 25, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) surprising retreat from its SpaceJet regional airliner program is the best news in months for beleaguered Embraer.
This takes pressure off the Brazilian manufacturer and gives it time to regroup after Boeing jilted it at the alter by walking away from a proposed joint venture.
MHI’s actions leave Embraer with a monopoly in the 76-100 seat arena vs new airplanes. The M90 SpaceJet is not a viable competitor to the E175-E1 or the struggling E175-E2. Embraer’s competition will be its own used jets, plus used Bombardier CRJ-700/900s.
May 18, 2020, © Leeham News: There simply is no good news in commercial aviation right now.
Yes, airport traffic is upticking in the USA (and elsewhere) slightly. But in the USA, it’s still less than 10% of last year’s totals.
There remains a tremendous amount of uncertainty.
The list goes on and on and on.
By Scott Hamilton
May 12, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) yesterday said it cut development money for the M100 SpaceJet. M100 R&D is suspended indefinitely while it continues for the M90 on half rations.
MHI will continue certification of the M90.
MHI also said it will reevaluate demand for the M100 because of COVID-19 impacts.
This immediately raised questions whether MHI may kill the M100 program.
To do so will squander MHI’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to become a real global power in commercial aviation. If this happens, “Japan Inc.” also loses a chance to be part of this.
By the Leeham News staff
May 6, 2020, © Leeham News: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced May 7 (Tokyo time) that it will close the acquisition of the Bombardier CRJ program June 1.
Production of the CRJ was to end this summer. The COVID crisis effectively terminates the program now. But the CRJ itself wasn’t the reason MHI bought the program, for US$500m. The attraction was the built-in global product support system for the CRJ that will transition to the M100 SpaceJet. It also provides a new revenue/profit stream as MHI enters the global RJ market.
Along with it, as icing on the cake, is acquisition of Bombardier’s sales team, infrastructure and other assets.
It would take years for MHI and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. (MITAC) to establish its own product support system.
With the collapse of the Boeing-Embraer joint venture, MITAC can reinvigorate and strengthen its relationship with Boeing.
Embraer, which said it needed the Boeing JV to compete in the future with Airbus against the A220, increasingly faces higher risks as MITAC and MHI evolve the CRJ product support system and potentially strengthens the Boeing relationship.
MHI also announced that it will immediately write down the $500m acquisition by ¥50bn- ¥ 70bn ($470m-$656m).
By Scott Hamilton
May 4, 2020, © Leeham News: The collapse of the Boeing-Embraer joint venture removes a major cloud over another Boeing agreement with a different airframe company.
MITAC was to receive marketing and services support from Boeing for the MRJ.
From the moment the news emerged that Embraer and Boeing were talking about a merger, acquisition or joint venture (the goal moved over time), questions arose over the future of the MITAC agreement.
Now open to all readers.
By Scott Hamilton
April 27, 2020, © Leeham News: The collapse of the Boeing-Embraer joint venture Saturday resurfaces the squeeze Embraer was under when the deal was announced in 2018.
Then, Embraer faced the prospect of competing against Airbus in the 100-150 seat sector with the former Bombardier C Series.
John Slattery, the CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation (ECA), said he could not compete against the marketing might of Airbus alone. In fact, he lost a key customer when jetBlue ordered the A220-300 instead of the E195-E2 to replace 60 E190-E1s. Airbus, which took over the C Series July 1, 2018, wrapped the A321neo into the A220 order. This deal was announced shortly after Airbus assumed majority ownership of the C Series program.
April 20, 2020, © Leeham News: Japan has long been known as an engineering powerhouse, and Japanese manufacturing titans like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Aerospace have been a key part of Boeing and Airbus supply chains for the last two decades.
Japan’s government wants to expand the country’s influence by signing agreements with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to secure improved cooperation with downstream suppliers. Aircraft and engine OEMs and key tier-one suppliers already have manufacturing operations in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and India.
The first of these agreements is expected to be signed with Malaysia, which declared its ambition to become the biggest aerospace producers in Southeast Asia by 2030.
On the sidelines of February’s Singapore Air Show, LNA met with representatives of Japan’s Ministry of Trade, Economy, and Industry (METI) to discuss the proposed agreement with Malaysia. This article has been withheld until now due to the myriad aerospace issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
April 6, 2020, © Leeham News: It’s going to be quite a while before there is a clear understanding how coronavirus will change commercial aviation.
LNA already touched on impacts to Airbus, Boeing and Embraer. None of it is good. For Boeing, burdened with the additional stress of the 737 MAX, is in the worst position. Even when the MAX is recertified, there won’t be many—or any—customers in a position to take delivery of the airplane.
Bearing in mind that what’s true today will change in a day, or even an hour, let’s take a rundown of where things seem to stand now.