Pontifications: The Airbus North America Tour

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week’s Airbus North America Tour (#AirbusNATour on Twitter) was a whirlwind 2 ½ days encompassing Montreal Mirabel, Columbus (MS) and Mobile (AL).

To those who don’t follow Airbus Americas closely, the Mississippi stop might be a puzzle. I’ll come back to this to explain why an international group of media, including me, made this trek.

Let’s start with Montreal.

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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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Pontifications: AFA holds aerospace job fair that WA state should have done

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 7, 2019, © Leeham News: The first dedicated aerospace job fair in Washington State may draw more than 1,500 people today, says the president of the organizer, Aerospace Futures Alliance.

Kelly Maloney, AFA president, opened the fair day-long today citing 1,100 pre-opening registrations by job seekers. She told me later that another 500 walk-ins may show up.

Thirty-eight companies, ranging from the Seattle area’s giant, Boeing, to Tier 3 and Tier 4 suppliers, were present to receive the hopefuls, who ranged from new entrants into the job market to upper-middle aged people.

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Pontifications: Airbus teams with Georgia Tech for MBSE role

  • See LNC’s holiday publication schedule at the end of this column.

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 17, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus has joined with Georgia Institute of Technology to open a technical center for Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) for Overall Aircraft Design (OAD).

The Georgia Tech Center opened in October.

It’s an expansion of the Airbus footprint in the growing US Southeast aerospace footprint.

It’s also a step in transforming Airbus’ design technology, an effort that’s been underway in cooperation with European universities and institutes. Read more

Pontifications: Nordic quietly rises to #4 world lessor

By Scott Hamilton

Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: In the world of commercial aviation, GECAS, Avolon, AerCap, Air Lease Corp and BOC Aviation are among the most recognizable names of lessors.

These companies make headlines with large orders of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Air Lease is headed by Steven Udvar-Hazy and John Plueger, giants of the aircraft leasing business.

But one lessor quietly, below the radar, has become one of the largest lessors in terms of aircraft count pursuing regional aircraft, a product mostly shunned by the biggest lessors.

Nordic Aviation Capital Embraer E190-E2. Source: Nordic.

Nordic Aviation Capital last year ranked tied for fifth with asset manager BBAM, each with 404 airplanes in their portfolios, according to an Airfinance Journal 2017 survey. GECAS, AerCap, Avolon and SMBC Aviation Capital were bigger.

DAE Capital of Dubai, BOC Aviation, Air Lease Corp and Aviation Capital Group rounded out the top 10. Read more

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

Pontifications: Transitions, clearing the decks and turmoil at Airbus

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 26, 2018, © Leeham News: With the naming of CFO and COO officers-in-waiting, Airbus Group has completed the extreme makeover of its executive ranks.

The full transition won’t be complete until April. It’s widely been reported that these changes, including retirements and pushing out people who were not yet near retirement age, was a necessary step to settle fraud and corruption investigations undertaken by England, France, Germany and even the United States.

The latest appointments, announced last week, are for the successors of CFO Harald Wilhelm and Airbus Commercial COO Tom Williams. Dominik Asam, 49, replaces the 52 year old Wilhelm in April. Michael Schöllhorn, 53, replaces the 66 year old Williams Feb. 1. Read more

Pontifications: A fresh look at the world’s worst aviation accident

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 19, 2018, © Leeham News: Collision on Tenerife is a new book that dissects the worst accident in aviation history, the collision between two Boeing 747s operated by Pan American World Airways and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

The accident on Tenerife Island on March 27, 1977, killed 583 passengers and crew on the two airplanes. Only 61 survived, all on the Pan Am flight.

It was the worst death toll of any aviation accident. Read more

Pontifications: Writing had been on the wall for years for Q400 sale; CRJ is next

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 12, 2018, © Leeham News: The writing had really been on the wall for the past few years, regardless what the corporate line was: Bombardier was one day going to sell the Q400 program or shut it down.

Better to sell it and get at least some money out of it, no matter how small.

Bombardier agreed to sell the program to British Columbia-based Viking Air for a mere $300m–$250m, net of fees.

Ditto the CRJ program. It’s on life support. It’s a design dating to the 1980s, the passenger experience has long been eclipsed by the Embraer E-Jet and it will be also by Mitsubishi’s MRJ when this jet finally comes on line in 2020. Read more

Pontifications: Pilots train for instrumentation mismatches

By Scott Hamilton

Nov. 5, 2018, © Leeham News: It was a week ago that Lion Air JT 610 crashed into the sea, just 13 minutes after takeoff.

The crash was the first involving the Boeing 737 MAX (in this case, the -8 model). The airplane was virtually new, having been delivered to the airline in August. Lion Air was not new to the 737, having flown the NG models for years.

Because the airplane crashed into the sea, recovery of the black boxes was not quick. The flight data recorder was recovered several days later but the cockpit voice recorder is still missing. The FDR data apparently has not yet been downloaded for a preliminary read. At least nothing has been made public, if it has. Read more