VLA era is over; are 777X, A350-1000 too large?

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Introduction

June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: The era of the Very Large Aircraft appears over.

The Boeing 747 passenger airliner, while nominally still offered for sale, is in reality dead.

The Airbus A380 limps along in what may prove to be a vain hope that airport congestion will spur sales next decade.

The next level down, however, doesn’t appear very strong.

Sales of the Airbus A350-1000 stalled at 200 or less for years.

Sales of the Boeing 777X likewise stalled following program launch in 2013-2014. Although the 777X has twice as many orders as the A350-1000, fully 72% of them come from three customers, one of which is in serious financial trouble and may cancel or defer some or all its orders.

Summary
  • Orders for the largest Large Twin-Aisle aircraft lag the Small and Medium Twin-Aisles.
  • Big 3 in the Middle East are major customers for the 777X, A350-1000. Iran Air also buyer of -1000.
  • While Big Twin languishes, small- and medium-twins remain in demand.
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Is Embraer selling the E190-E2 short?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 14, 2018, © Leeham News: The new Embraer E190-E2 entered service with its launch operator, Norwegian Wideroe, in April. We looked at the aircraft in two December articles. At the time, we focused on the improvements in fuel consumption and maintenance costs compared with the original E190.

Recently, we used our performance model to understand the maximum range of the aircraft. We were surprised when the flight with ease sailed past Embraer’s published maximum range figures.

Summary:

  • Embraer gives the maximum range of the E190-E2 as 2,850nm.
  • It uses “Single class seating” to reach this range, an unusual way to specify the maximum range. Normally one uses a two-class or three-class cabin.
  • When using standard methods, we calculate a range well over Embraer’s information. Is Embraer selling the E190-E2 short?

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Airbus risks losing market share if it doesn’t boost A350 production

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Introduction

June 11, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing is increasing the production rate of the 787 next year from 12 to 14/mo.

Airbus is reducing the production rate of the A330neo from 10 to 6/mo.

Last year, buried deep in its website, Airbus indicated plans to go to rate 13/mo, although no date was listed.

With few sales of the airplane last year or so far this year, will demand support a rate hike next year? If so, a decision is needed pretty much now to go forward.

One London-based aerospace analyst tells LNC the top executives say no rate hike will be coming.

Scheduled deliveries may lend a clue.

Summary

  • Boeing is winning the wide-body order race and retaken the lead in market share.
  • Airbus’ former top sales chief bemoaned the lack of delivery slots for the A350.
  • Supplier issues still slow A350 deliveries.

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How competitive is A330neo? Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 7, 2018, © Leeham News: In Part 1 we compared the base characteristics of Airbus’ A330-900 and Boeing’s 787-9. In Part 2 we compared the fuel consumptions. Now we continue with the other costs of operation.

With these we form Cash Operating Costs and then add capital costs to get Direct Operating Costs.

Summary:

  • The operating costs for the A330-900 and the 787-9 are close.
  • The difference can be compensated with lower capital costs. Monthly lease rates for the A330-900 are below the 787-9 lease rates.
  • We think there are other Boeing strengths which turn the deals the 787 way.

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EU, Airbus saw hope to negotiate end to WTO dispute; US says nothing changed

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Introduction

June 4, 2018, © Leeham News: A report a week ago in the long-running dispute between the US and Europe over Airbus launch aid left the impression the US position softened a bit, favoring negotiations over another round in the protracted process.

Airbus and the EU appeared to take comments made by the US Trade Representative (USTR) at a hearing last Monday out of context, grasping at a sliver of hope that negotiations will resolve the dispute.

The USTR’s office told LNC nothing has changed. One source told LNC no negotiations will be undertaken unless Airbus drops launch aid entirely, something the WTO didn’t find to be illegal, but which was implemented improperly.

Summary
  • Airbus and the EU claim the violations have been remedied, something the USTR and Boeing reject.
  • Airbus claims any harm to Boeing was minimal. The Seattle Times has this story; LNC has this report.
  • The EU and USTR filed new statements with the WTO that remain contradictory.

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How competitive is A330neo? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 31, 2018, © Leeham News: We continue our analysis why the Airbus A330neo has lost to Boeing’s 787-9 in recent sales campaigns. In the first part of the series, we analyzed the key data of the aircraft, including their weight, drag characteristics and payload capacity.

Now we continue with flying the aircraft over typical routes with our performance model. What’s the route capacity of the of the aircraft and how about their fuel consumption?

Summary:
  • The equalized range difference between the aircraft boils down to a maximum of 15-hour routes for the A330-900 versus 17 hours for the 787-9.
  • There is also a difference in fuel efficiency between the types.

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Countdown to Airbus-CSeries deal: boost needed to backlog

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Introduction

May 28, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier and Airbus may clear regulatory approvals next month, allowing for consummation of the latter’s acquisition of 50.01% of the CSeries program.

If all works, this will be well in advance of the Farnborough Air Show that begins July 15. Industry eyes will be on the FAS to see what orders might be announced by Airbus for the CSeries, which reportedly may be renamed the A210 and A230 for the CS100 and CS300 respectively.

As May fades to June, Bombardier has beefed up its skyline quality, but there are some orders that are in doubt, including a big one for 40 airplanes.

Summary
  • No sales since Dubai Air Show.
  • Airbus-CSeries deal expected to close next month.
  • Three questionable orders affect nearly 20% of backlog.
  • Farnborough Air Show will be keen to watch for news.

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How competitive is Airbus’ A330neo?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 24, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s 787-9 has won some important fights against the Airbus A330neo. After Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines and a possible loss at United, one asks: Is the A330-900 not competitive against a 787-9? The aircraft are similar in size and use the same engines.

We take a deeper look at the A330-900 compared with the 787-9 to understand what’s behind this trend.

Summary:

  • The A330-900 and 787-9 are virtually identical in size.
  • They are also aerodynamically closely matched.
  • Their primary difference is the method of construction, with the Carbon Fiber structure of the 787 giving a lower empty weight.

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Embraer skyline has serious challenges

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Introduction

May 21, 2018, © Leeham News: As Boeing and Embraer continue merger discussions for the latter’s commercial airplanes unit, the EJet skyline has some serious challenges.

The only order for the E175-E2 is a conditional sale.

Lessors account for half the orders of the E195-E2 and most of the E190-E2 deals.

More than half the orders for the E190-E1 may be canceled.

The data, from the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker, is as of April 15 and doesn’t include options, MOUs or LOIs. The firm order from American Airlines, for 15 E175-E1s, announced after this date, has been added by LNC.

Summary
  • Slow sales hamper the backlog.
  • The E2 hasn’t taken off as expected.
  • The E175-E1 remains the staple of the six-member family.
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Boeing 777-9 or Airbus A350-1000 for the Gulf carriers?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 17, 2018, © Leeham News: The recent agreement between the US and the Gulf carriers limits the expansion of the carriers on the US market. As the premier long-range destination area from the Gulf is the US market, this will influence the lift needed by the three.

All three carriers, Emirates, Qatar Airways (Qatar) and Etihad, have decided on the 777-9 as the mainstay for their long-haul needs. With the change, the question arises, will Qatar increase the buy of the A350-1000 instead of taking the 777-9 and will any of the others reconsider?

To understand what’s involved we compare the capacity and the costs of the 777-9 and A350-1000. How large is the difference? Is the A350 the better choice if the extreme long-haul capacity needs decline?

 Summary:
  • The maximum range and per seat costs of the 777-9 and A350-1000 are close when compared apples to apples.
  • The advantage for the 777-9 at full aircraft disappears quickly as load factors decline.
  • If the needed capacity of the long-haul US routes declines, the 777-9 can be too much aircraft for the Gulf carriers.
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