Dec. 15, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The story about a Boeing official who asserted that the Airbus widebody strategy is a “mess” proved to be LNC’s most read story of 2016.
Our second most-read story is why the 787-8 is no longer favored by Boeing.
We list our Top 10 posts each year as we head for a wrap. LNC plans to finish 2016 on Dec. 23, returning Jan. 3, unless there is major, breaking news.
Here are the Top 10 LNC posts in 2016:
Oct. 18, 2016, © Leeham Co.: It was a rare look into potential future airplanes and passenger experience by Boeing, which is known for keeping these topics close to
Mike Sinnett, VP of Product Development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, last week gave an audience of nearly 250 people attending the annual Governor’s Conference organized by the Aerospace Futures Alliance, a look at some of the concepts Boeing is studying. Some may evolve into actual products and some may not, he said.
August 4, 2016 (c) Leeham Co.: With the news that Boeing may terminate the 747-8 program, effective around 2019 when the current backlog expires, the obvious
question arises: what happens to the assembly line space now occupied by the massive airplane?
Given that the State of Washington elected and appointed officials generally view Boeing in a reactive rather than a proactive mode, an open letter to them seems appropriate.
It’s imperative that Washington officials begin planning now for some lean times ahead for the Everett plant. Waiting until 2019 is too little, too late.
Aug. 1, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The order last week by JetBlue for 15 Airbus A321neos, with the option to convert these to A321LRs for potential trans-Atlantic service, comes within two weeks of Norwegian Air Shuttle converting orders for 30 A321neos to A321LRs. NAS is going to use the LRs for trans-Atlantic service.
We’re aware of at least two more campaigns for A321LRs with carriers that would use them for trans-Atlantic operations. There are undoubtedly more.
The A321LR is an option, allowing airlines that have already ordered the 321neo to switch before construction of the planes begins. The LR EIS is 2019.
To date, Air Lease Corp, TAP and NAS have ordered the LR. Astana is taking the LR on lease from ALC. The JetBlue and NAS deals up the pressure on Boeing to make decisions on whether to launch the stretch of the 737-9 MAX, to what’s commonly called the 737-10; and whether to launch the New Mid-Range Airplane (NMA) for the Middle of the Market (MOM) sector.
The NAS announcement is significant. NAS has a large order for the 737 MAX and A320neo families. The original intent was to use the MAX on longer routes and the A320neo on shorter routes. NAS is also acting as a lessor and leasing out the A320neo family. Now, with the selection of the A321LR, this is another airline that chose the A321LR over the MAX 9.
By Bjorn Fehrm
July 13, 2016, ©. Leeham Co, Farnborough Air Show: Mike Delaney, Boeing’s Vice president and General manager for Aircraft development in the Commercial Airplane division, promises unchanged delivery times despite late changes to the company’s 737 MAX line-up.
Delaney went through the changes for the MAX program as part of a larger presentation, outlining the status for all ongoing aircraft developments within Boeing at the ongoing Farnborough Air Show.
July 4, 2016, © Leeham Co.: It’s looking like all the pain and agony of the 787 development is behind Boeing. (Except for the deferred production costs, of course.)
Boeing is back into airplane development mode.
To be sure, only one of these is a new airplane. The others are derivatives. But at least Boeing seems to be on the move after slowing the train (to mix the metaphors) considerably following the 787 debacle.
June 9, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The debate continues whether the next new, clean-sheet airplane will be a Middle of the Market aircraft (MOMA) or replacements for the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families.
Along with he studies of new airplanes are those undertaken by suppliers. Electric Systems, a unit of United Technologies Aerosystems (UTAS), is working with the OEMs to determine what level of electric systems will be used in the new aircraft, whatever is selected to go next.
April 12, 2016: Prices for Boeing and Airbus planes are set through the remaining decade, meaning any cost-cutting being pursued by Boeing will flow straight to the bottom line, a new note issued yesterday from Bernstein Research concludes.
“Pricing on more than 80% of deliveries is already set through the decade,” the note says. “Despite the competitive pressures, however, the reality is that most of the competitive situations are about deliveries in the next decade. This creates a situation in which most of every dollar of cost savings will flow to margin during this decade because most of the planed deliveries are already priced. The same is true for Airbus.
“This has not been the case in prior cycles because backlogs then tended to be only about three years of production, rather than the eight years that we see today. In those cycles, Airbus and Boeing would cut costs, but then compete away the value. That price competition will now be happening primarily on deals for delivery after 2020,” Bernstein says.
March 30, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Boeing is unlikely to develop a Middle of the Market airplane for a sector that could be a “mirage,” write two aerospace analysts.
Buckingham Research, in a note issued yesterday, did a “deep dive” into the MOM potential and concluded there isn’t a big enough market to support development of a new airplane. Buckingham recently upgraded Boeing stock to Neutral (Hold) from a Sell.
Bernstein Research, in a note published March 15, ventured that the MOM demand could be a “Mirage of the Market.” Bernstein is a Buy on the stock.
Goldman Sachs remains in the camp that Boeing may well proceed with development of a MOM airplane, at the cost of billions of dollars. Goldman concludes Boeing is in a lose-lose situation with the MOM. Goldman is a Sell.
March 28, 2016, © Leeham Co.: The first US-built A320ceo family member took to the skies for its first flight last week. The A321ceo, destined for JetBlue, is the first assembled at the new Airbus A320 plant in Mobile (AL).
This is a milestone for Airbus, obviously. The Mobile plant was first proposed as the assembly site for the KC-330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport) proposed for the US Air Force to replace the aging Boeing KC-135s. Northrop Grumman, which paired with Airbus parent EADS (as it was then known) to offer the KC-330, won the contract. The celebration was short-lived. The Government Accountability Office overturned the award. Northrop bowed out of the next round of competition, which Boeing won.
Airbus subsequently decided to create an A320 assembly site at the same Mobile location planned for the KC-330. (I visited the site for grand opening last September.)
This is the fourth A320 assembly site, after Toulouse, Hamburg and Tianjin. Airbus hopes the Mobile site will help spur sales in the US, where it still trails Boeing in market share.
Milestone for US Aerospace
While this plant is a milestone for Airbus, it’s a milestone on a much more macro level, too. This is the first commercial airplane assembly site by a second airplane manufacturer since Boeing closed the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 and MD-95 (aka Boeing 717) assembly lines in Long Beach (CA) in 2000 and 2006, respectively. The last legacy MDC assembly site, for the military C-17, closed early this year.