Pontifications: Fluid, dynamic events upend MAX story

Special Edition

By Scott Hamilton

March 20, 2019, © Leeham Co: I’ve been covering or employed in commercial aviation since 1979. I’m an aviation historian buff.

I’ve read all about the groundings of the Douglas DC-6, Lockheed Constellation, Martin 202 and de Havilland Comet. I read about how the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t ground the Lockheed Electra, choosing operating restrictions instead.

I lived through the grounding of the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 and Boeing 787. As a reporter, I walked through the debris of the American Airlines DC-10 crash that led to the grounding. I went to the crash scene of the Delta Air Lines Boeing 727 at D/FW Airport and I’ve covered many, many crashes through reporting and as a commentator.

I’ve never seen anything evolve in air accidents as has evolved in the Boeing 737 MAX investigations.

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Pontifications: Countdown to decision on Boeing’s NMA, Part 1

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 14, 2019, © Leeham Co.: Two thousand nineteen begins with increasing focus on whether Boeing is going to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA, aka 797).

Signs all point to a program launch, perhaps at the Paris Air Show. Authority to Offer (ATO) the airplane for sale is expected by March or April.

Engine companies were asked to respond to Requests for Proposals by the end of December. Engine down select is expected soon.

LNC’s Dan Catchpole will be reporting on this process soon.

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2019 Outlook: ATR begins year in commanding position

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Introduction

Jan. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: ATR, the turboprop airliner OEM, enters 2019 in a commanding position.

Year-end 2018 order numbers for ATR and rival Bombardier aren’t in yet.

Through October, ATR held 74% of the backlog. Bombardier, buoyed by a large order for 25 Q400s from India’s SpiceJet (the 2027 deliveries in the Chart below), had 26% of the backlog.

Bombardier contracted to sell its Q400 program to Longview Capital Partners, parent of Viking Air. The Canadian company previously purchased all legacy de Havilland programs, including the Beaver, Twin Otter and aerial firefighting aircraft.

Viking restarted production of the Twin Otter and is gearing up to restart the Beaver.

Its plans for the Q400, Q300 and previous Dash 8 programs hasn’t been announced.

Summary
  • Bombardier neglected the Q400.
  • Small market over 20 years.
  • ATR would like new program.

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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

A330neo backlog faces challenging skyline

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Introduction

Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: With the first flight of the Airbus A330-800, it’s time to take a new look at the status of the A330 program.

Summary

  • Additional orders have been recorded, but the skyline remains challenged.
  • Iran Air’s order for 30 ceos and neos is still on the books.
  • AirAsia X has yet to confirm Farnborough’s MOU for 34 A330-900s and reportedly looks for convert some to single-aisles.
  • Lessors have a big chunk.

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Assessing the Dubai Air Show

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Introduction

Nov. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai Air Show was a clear win for Boeing, despite the last minute 430 airplane commitment from the Indigo Partners group.

The “MENA” region, for Middle East and North Africa, has been the staple of the Dubai Air Show.

There have been occasional smatterings of peripheral regions tossed in, but commitments from US companies (except lessors doing business worldwide) have not been a regular feature.

Summary
  • Boeing swept the MENA orders and commitments.
  • Emirates order for 40 787-10s begin delivery from 2022 and may be tied to adjustments in 777X delivery rate.
  • The lack of the widely expected A380 order from Emirates was a huge embarrassment to Airbus.
  • Bombardier, better known for its lack of orders at air shows, landed a good one at Dubai.

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Pontifications: Washington State out to lunch on aerospace–again

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Washington State’s top aerospace official, John Thornquist, resigned early this month, complaining that the State Legislature cut the Department of Commerce’s budget 78% over the past three years—making it impossible for Commerce to promote Washington aerospace.

The Puget Sound Business Journal revealed the resignation Nov. 3. The Seattle Times followed later in the day.

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Bombardier admits shortfall on Q400, CRJ, vows comeback

Sept. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Bombardier wasn’t “fully at the top of its game for focus and messaging on the Q400 and CRJ,” a top official admitted Tuesday. But the company is “turning that around” and initial results were seen at last summer’s Paris Air Show with a spurt of orders for the turboprop airliner.

Colin Bole, SVP Commercial made the remarks at BBD’s media day at its Mirabel CSeries/CRJ production site.

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Key lessors see strong wide-body market despite worries

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Introduction

Aug. 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Amid talk that Middle Eastern airlines, which are the largest group of users for wide-body aircraft, may defer Airbus and Boeing airplanes, there are conflicting signs that the bleak view of the sector isn’t as weak as perceived.

Just last week, two big lessors—Air Lease Corp and AerCap–of widebody airplanes said they are confident in the sector.

Few orders have been received for the Boeing 777-8 ultra-long range airplane. Sales for its larger sibling, the 777-9, have stalled. Along with the Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8, demand is seen as limited.

AerCap ordered 30 Boeing 787s at the Paris Air Show. ALC has a significant order of Airbus A330neos.

And, the chairman of Emirates Airline said in an interview with the region’s  The National newspaper that despite the current challenges at the carrier, it expects to announce an order before the end of the year for either the 787 or the Airbus A350—and possibly the Airbus A380.

Quantities on the former weren’t discussed. Airbus is pitching 20 A380s, according to accounts.

Still, there are a large number of Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s coming off lease in the next few years that could slow orders if these aircraft are offered on the secondary market with low enough lease rates.

Summary
  • Air Lease Corp.’s wide-body aircraft are placed. A330neo orders late due to engine delays.
  • AerCap sees strong wide-body market, reaffirmed with 787-9 order.
  • More than 100 A330ceos and 777 Classics potentially entering secondary market soon.

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Mid-year production update at Airbus

July 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s mid-way through 2017 and LNC is taking its second look at production and delivery stream flows for the Big Four airframe manufacturers.

We examined Boeing Monday in advance of its earnings call Wednesday. Today we look at Airbus in advance of its earnings call today. We look at Bombardier and Embraer next Monday.

We use the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker as the basis for our exam.

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