Pontifications: Biofuels, hydrogen, batteries are nice but far in the future. Solution exists now.

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 11, 2021, © Leeham News: EcoAviation was the Number One topic at the Oct. 3-5 IATA AGM in Boston.

IATA, the International Air Transport Assn., set a number of lofty goals to remove carbon emissions from commercial aviation by 2050. Interim goals were also set.

Tim Clark, the president and COO of Emirates Airline, didn’t mince words about these goals.

“People are expecting us… by the end of this decade, to take out 40% of our emissions… We are in la la land if you think we are going to do this,” Flight Global reported.

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Pontifications: Upping the game in eco Aviation

By Scott Hamilton

Oct. 4, 2021, © Leeham News: The pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the commercial aviation industry continues to increase.

Two weeks ago, Airbus hosted a day-and-a-half media event promoting its vision of moving toward decarbonizing aviation.

Boeing and Alaska Airlines last week hosted media for a touchy-feely event following up on the announcement in June by Boeing and Alaska of its joint ecoD (as Boeing calls it) program.

Boeing in October outlined progress of its ecoDemonstrator program, at the time with Etihad Airways as the partner. A 787-10 was used at that stage.

Mike Sinnett, Boeing VP of Product Development, said last week that the Alaska 737-9 MAX that is the focus of the current ecoD effort includes several ideas that would not make it into test on a stand-alone basis. But as part of a larger effort, little things that cumulatively can reduce drag and therefore fuel burn can be tested.

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Pontifications: 787 deliveries, suspended a year, look for restart soon

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 27, 2021, © Leeham News: In a few weeks it will be a year since Boeing suspended delivery of virtually all 787s. Inspections revealed some flaws in production. Despite a year-long effort, Boeing hasn’t been able to persuade the Federal Aviation Administration, yet, to grant authority to resume deliveries.

Deliveries may resume next month, The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 6. Or they may not. Boeing isn’t making any predictions as it continues to work with the FAA to do so.

More than 100 787s have been produced (it is said the number is 106, but this is a moving target). Boeing continues to inspect the aircraft. Those in production at the Charleston (SC) factory are fixed as these are assembled at a very low rate.

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Pontifications: 8-year old A330-300 converted to freighter, reflects weak market

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 20, 2021, © Leeham News: An 8-year-old Airbus A330-300 was converted recently from passenger to freighter configuration by EFW.

Actually, says EFW’s Wolfgang Schmid, the airplane is not quite eight. It is the youngest A333 to be converted.

I can’t remember an airplane of any type this young being converted from passenger to freighter. The market value of an eight-year-old aircraft is way too high. Operating economics are well within airline requirements at this age. Aircraft historically become conversion candidates no sooner than 15 years of age and more commonly not before 20.

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Pontifications: David Joyce fills key void on Boeing’s Board

Sept. 6, 2021, © Leeham News: Last week’s election of David Joyce to the Boeing Board of Directors fills a glaring hole of talent and expertise that’s been missing from the Board for years.

By Scott Hamilton

Joyce, an outside director, brings commercial aviation and engineering experience to a Board that has been dominated by political, defense and financial expertise.

Following the two 737 MAX crashes in October 2018 and March 2019, the Board came under criticism—including from LNA—about the lack of technical, commercial, engineering and pilot representation. The 2018 Board had one commercial airline expert, from the executive suite: Lawrence Kellner, the former CEO of Continental Airlines. David Calhoun worked for GE for 26 years for the transportation, aircraft engines, reinsurance, lighting and other GE units. He left GE in 2006. From that point forward, Calhoun focused on finance industries. Dennis Muilenburg, an engineer, came from Boeing’s defense side.

But, as the table below illustrates, the 13-member Board was top-heavy with other disciplines.

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Pontifications: IAI moves to cement lead in 777 P2F conversions

  • IAI, Etihad ink Boeing 777-300ER P2F deal.
  • De Havilland union sniffs kerosene.

Aug. 30, 2021, ©Leeham News: The agreement last week between IAI and Etihad Airways to open a Boeing 777-300ER P2F conversion line in Abu Dhabi gives a major boost to the burgeoning program.

By Scott Hamilton

In addition to the history-making tie-up between an Israeli company and the United Arad Emirates, and a commitment by Etihad to convert 777s to freighters with IAI, the move is a major coup for IAI to win other Arab airline business.

IAI and the former GECAS, which was acquired by AerCap, launched the first 777 P2F program in 2019. GECAS ordered 15 conversions of the -300ER and optioned 15 more.

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Pontifications: Does Embraer’s turboprop design foretell what Boeing needs?

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 23, 2021, © Leeham News: Could Embraer’s new turboprop design have formed the basis for the 100-150 seat Boeing single-aisle aircraft had the joint venture proceeded?

A former Boeing engineer thinks it might have.

The aft-mounted, open rotor engines and the ability to switch later to hydrogen fuel represent the kind of advances Boeing could use to restore its leadership role in commercial aviation.

Under the proposed JV, which Boeing ash-canned in April 2020, Embraer would have been responsible for development of the 100-150 seat aircraft Boeing needs to replace the 737-7 and 737-8.

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Pontifications: A330ceo P2F picks up steam

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 16, 2021, © Leeham News: Freighter conversions for the Airbus A330ceo are picking up steam as the inventory jumps following the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are 20 A330s that have been converted: 13 -300s and seven -200s. Package carrier DHL converted eight -300s, the most of any operator. It has contracts to convert 20 more, reports Cargo Facts.

The combined 40 P2Fs exceeds the number of A330-200Fs that was built fresh off the factory line—38.

Most observers consider the new A330-200F program a failure, although this may be a narrow view. While commercial sales were disappointing, the -200F was a companion program to the A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport. There are so far 61 orders for the MRTT; as of last month, 48 were delivered. Looking at this as one program off the same platform, this means there were 99 orders to date.

Airbus and Lockheed Martin have joined to bid on the US Air Force contract for between 140-160 refueling tankers in the KC-Y competition that begins shortly. Boeing will offer the KC-46A, based on the 767-200ER platform. Lockheed last week announced it will rebrand the MRTT the LMXT.

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Pontifications: A deeper hole for the Boeing 737 MAX market share

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 9, 2021, © Leeham News: Boeing’s 737 MAX market share vs Airbus is in a deeper hole than may be generally realized.

Aviation Week last week complied a list of the top seven low-cost carrier airlines in Asia with orders for 90 or more A320s or 737 family members.

The data illustrates just how deep a hole Boeing is in.

LNA created market-share pie charts based on the numbers above to better illustrate the challenge. It’s not a pretty picture for Boeing.

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Pontifications: Biden’s new “Buy American” policy may hit Lockheed Martin-Airbus plans to compete in KC-Y tanker bid

By Scott Hamilton

Aug. 2, 2021, © Leeham News: A move by the Biden Administration may have unintended consequences in the KC-Y Bridge Tanker procurement by the US Air Force.

The Bridge Tanker is the Air Force’s second round to replace the aging Boeing KC-135 fleet. Between 140-160 airplanes will be purchased under KC-Y. The Air Force awarded a contract to Boeing in the previous KC-X procurement for 179 tankers based on the 767-200ER platform.

President Joe Biden announced last week that the US will adopt a rule under its Buy American policy that American content must be increased from 55% to 60% immediately and ultimately 75%.

If adopted, the rule appears to all but preclude an expected proposal by a partnership between Lockheed Martin and Airbus (LMA) to offer the KC-330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). This is based on the A330-200 platform.

Lockheed Martin did not respond to a request for comment.

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