1. Entertaining look at Leahy and A320neo
Max Kingsley-Jones, editor of Airline Business, has this amusing take on Airbus COO John Leahy and Leahy’s view of his latest toy, the A320neo.
Last week we received a couple of inquiries and comments about the investment Airbus has made in the NEO and whether this will be worth it. Figures publicly issued by Airbus were that the investment in NEO is about $1.5bn.
What is not discussed but which is widely known within insider circles is that the engine makers, Pratt & Whitney and CFM, are footing most of the bill. We don’t know the split between the engine OEMs and Airbus, but we understand the engine share is not insignificant. Thus, the actual financial risk to Airbus is, by R&D standards, pretty small. We remarked to one who inquired that NEO will probably have one of the best ROIs for Airbus of any program.
Aviation Week’s Robert Wall has this story about the NEO, emerging from the Airbus 320neo briefing last week.
1. JP Morgan looks at Bombardier
Aerospace analyst Joe Nadol has an interesting take on Bombardier and the next 12 months. Nadol begins with, “We believe Bombardier may be better positioned now than at any time in the 10+ years we’ve followed the stock,” and continues:
Three Important BBD Drivers: 1) CSeries, 2) CSeries, 3) CSeries. With the business jet and train businesses both poised for solid earnings growth, the CSeries is now clearly set as the key likely driver of the stock. There are two primary issues here. The first is demand, and we believe the program needs to start racking up more orders this year, even by the Paris Air Show in June. We believe there is a high level of interest, and we are fairly confident Bombardier will sell more aircraft. The partnership with Comac that Bombardier announced last week seems to foreshadow meaningful Chinese orders. Bombardier also has nearly $12 bil in financing for CSeries aircraft available from Chinese sources. The second issue is execution. Management noted that Bombardier still expects to fly the aircraft next year and also highlighted some recently achieved milestones for the engine. However, Flight reported in recent weeks that the date for first flight may have slipped by a few months into next fall, so the program does appear to be experiencing at least the normal level of fits and starts. Thus far, the CSeries appears on track overall, but execution obviously remains a major overhang given the complexity of the program and the well-known problems the industry has had meeting cost and schedule targets in recent years.
Indigo Airlines of India selected the PW P1000G Geared Turbo Fan for its order of 150 Airbus A320neos.
We’re at the PW Media Day and will be filing additional reports today. Up to this point, most of the activities have been associated with military and space programs, which we don’t follow closely.
We did confirm that PW is providing the PW 4000 for the KC-46A tanker. There had been some minor speculation that the secretive Boeing bid might have included plans for a 767-sized GTF; this isn’t the case.
The feud between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney over patent infringements is nasty and in court, and the Rolls-Royce view that it doesn’t think much of the PW Geared Turbo Fan technology is well known, but speculation that this would lead to the dissolution of International Aero Engines in which both are partners can now be put to rest.
Odds and Ends begins below the photo.
We’re not big on photos but every once in a while we find one that we’ve very impressed with–like this (via Airliners.net) at LAX:
Update, Feb. 2: Flight Global has this very good analysis about the WTO fight between Airbus and Boeing.
In this issue of Odds and Ends, we talk about the 777, a CNN interview with Jim Albaugh and a variety of other things.
Odds and ends:
Note: this is unusually long, 11 pages when printed.
The new year is here and it is time for our annual look-ahead for the big OEMs.
On a macro level, 2011 should be a good year. Airline passenger and cargo traffic recovery should continue. The global economy also is recovering, but it is almost painfully slow to do so. Still, this is better than some of the alternatives.
Airlines and lessors are likely to continue their order stream that resumed in mid-2010 at the Farnborough Air Show. There could be some key orders that will influence the OEMs and their strategies going forward.
On the military front, we are much more limited in our tracking. We follow the KC-X tanker program because the offerings are based on commercial airliners. We slightly follow the P-8A Poseidon for the same reason, but Boeing pretty much has the monopoly for this type airplane, so there isn’t much to follow.
We do closely follow cybersecurity issues, if for no other reason than it is so important but also because key aerospace companies, including Boeing, have major efforts in this arena.
But by and large, we focus on the OEMs, the emerging competitors and the new engines.
So let’s get to it.
Update, Dec. 13: FlightGlobal has this interview with Ryanair and its critique of the NEO.
The (London) Financial Times has this interview with Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh in which he says there is no compelling reason now to re-engine the 737.
Boeing believes the newly announced Airbus A320neo family merely brings the legacy A320 family to parity with the 737 or at most provides only a 3%-4% direct operating cost advantage to the NEO which can be matched by yet more refinements to the 737.
Airbus refutes Boeing’s conclusions but won’t release its own numbers, regarding them as proprietary. But in a new study, The Business Case for the Bombardier CSeries, by AirInsight, with which we are affiliated, AirInsight’s independent analysis concludes the NEO generally has at best a slight advantage over the 737-700 and 737-800–but nothing to shout about.
We talk about the prospect of a production rate hike at AirInsight this morning.