Pontifications: March is a critical month for engine OEMs

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: Even as Boeing put off a decision whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft until 2020, next month could be an important milestone—not only for the program but especially for the engine makers.

Unless delayed, engine down-select is supposed to be made in March.

This is a critical decision that could have huge implications to one of the engine OEMs—Rolls-Royce.

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Launching the NMA could mean new business model for Boeing

By Dan Catchpole

Feb. 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Commercial aerospace’s super cycle is alive and well—and looks to keep going through the foreseeable future. Major suppliers and OEMs, and industry analysts at the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance annual conference are all optimistic about the industry demand. Analysts noted potential concerns, such as a trade war with China, a catastrophic terrorist attack, or an economic shock. However, even the often bubble-bursting Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst and vice president at the Teal Group, said the party likely will keep rolling on for several years more.

Amid such a sunny forecast, Boeing is weighing whether to overhaul its commercial aerospace business model, said Kevin Michaels, a co-founder of AeroDynamic Advisory.

The company is working to close the business case on a new midmarket airplane (NMA), already dubbed the 797 by industry watchers. The NMA—or, if Boeing does not launch it, then its next single aisle airplane—likely will usher in “the next evolution of the jetliner business model,” Michaels said.

The new model, he said, has four key aspects:

  • Greater vertical integration and in-sourcing work;
  • Targeted, yet aggressive expansion of services;
  • Redefining supplier relationships to capture more aftermarket revenue; and
  • Introducing model-based systems engineering.

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Boeing expects another banner year for customers

By Dan Catchpole

Danieljcatchpole[at]gmail[dot]com

Feb. 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing Commercial Airplanes expects another banner year in 2019, Randy Tinseth, BCA vice president of marketing, said Tuesday at the PNAA conference.

The airplane maker expects its customers to make about $36 billion in profit this year, he said. That would make five consecutive years of BCA customers recording more than $30 billion in profits.

Tinseth declined to comment on the company’s decision to delay possibly launching the New Midmarket Airplane (NMA) to 2020. However, as Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg noted during the Jan. 30 earnings call, Boeing likely will seek authority to offer this year from its board of directors.

He did say he was surprised to hear so many people already referring to it as the 797.

“I can tell you one thing—that has not been discussed,” Tinseth said.

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Countdown to NMA decision, Part 4: Time out

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Feb. 4, 2019, © Leeham News: It’s time for Airbus to launch the A321XLR.

Boeing last week announced a program launch for the New Midmarket Airplane won’t come until 2020 at the earliest.

Authority to Offer (ATO) may come as early as March or April. It had been widely expected a program launch would be announced at the Paris Air Show in June.

Airbus has been mulling the XLR launch since 2017. Inside information says a November 2017 launch was planned when all the distractions over the corruption scandals, coupled with key executive retirements, overwhelmed events.

Fifteen months later, Airbus dithers while Boeing vacillates.

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Key customers shrug off Boeing’s 2020 NMA launch date

Jan. 30, 2019, © Leeham News: Key customers and suppliers shrugged off Boeing’s announcement today that a program launch for the prospective New Midmarket Aircraft won’t come until 2020.

If Boeing goes ahead with the NMA, a decision yet to be made, an announcement was widely expected at the Paris Air Show in June.

Authority to Offer (ATO) the airplane for sale may still come as early as March or April.

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Pontificatons: From the sidelines at the AFJ Dublin conference

 

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: Launch by Boeing of the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA) is pretty much a given, despite a still undecided business case, say people on the sidelines of the Airfinance Journal’s Dublin 2019 conference.

Here is a potpourri of information picked up at the conference, which is attended by about 2,000 people.

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Rolls-Royces sees NMA “addressable” market as 4,000-5,000, same as Boeing

Jan. 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Rolls-Royce sees an “addressable” market for the Middle of the Market Aircraft at between 4,000 and 5,000 over 20 years—the same size Boeing sees.

But at the Airfinance Journal annual conference today in Dublin, an executive declined to be specific about the details of this assessment.

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Countdown to decision on Boeing’s NMA, Part 3: Engine selection

By Dan Catchpole

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Introduction

January 21 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing number crunchers are feverishly working through engine bids from Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and CFM International, the partnership of Safran and General Electric (GE), the three competitors vying to power Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane (NMA). Boeing is expected to ask for a best and final offer by the end of January, with engine selection planned in February.

That gives Boeing enough time to get authority to offer from the board of directors, likely in March or April, and to launch the NMA (likely as the 797) at the Paris Air Show in June.

Boeing faces big challenges in closing the business case, though. The process has slogged on far longer than company leaders had expected. Even so, Boeing executives’ relentless optimism about the NMA business case stands in sharp contrast to the skepticism of many industry insiders. At least two of the engine makers, for example, think market demand is about half of Boeing’s public forecast.

Each of the three engine makers vying to get on the NMA have some significant liability. The industry insiders and analysts interviewed for this article say is the decision really comes down to Pratt and CFM. Given the pressures on NMA business case, many see a scaled-up CFM Leap as the front runner. It offers the least risk, even if it also has the least upside.

Summary:
  • CFM: The LEAP has performed well since going into service, but GE’s financial troubles could weigh down its bid.
  • Pratt & Whitney: PW’s GTF is a great fit for NMA requirements, but the engine maker has a full plate with the GTF on five new airplane programs.
  • Rolls-Royce: The NMA would be an opportunity to launch Rolls’ UltraFan, but does Boeing want to bet on a completely new engine?

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Countdown to Boeing’s decision on NMA, Part 2

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Now open to all readers.

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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