Narrowbody and Widebody engine developments, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

April 19, 2018, © Leeham News: In an article last week, we discussed the reason the new narrow-body engines are catching up to the fuel consumption of the wide-body engines.

Today we dig a bit deeper into the efficiency changes of the different engines and discuss which parameter changes have caused what changes in engine efficiency.

We will use our engine modeling software GasTurb to analyze what happens in a Turbofan when we change certain parameters.

Summary:

  • The engine’s Core or Thermal efficiency changes with Turbine Entry Temperature (TET).
  • To fully utilize such an increase in efficiency we need to adapt the overall design of the engine.

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Déjà vu all over again

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Introduction

April 16, 2018, © Leeham News: There’s high turnover in the executive ranks. Major delivery delays cause disruption and unhappy customers. Airlines are cancelling and switching orders. Product strategy is challenged. Your competitor is taking advantage and making significant inroads.

If this sounds familiar, it is.

It’s déjà vu all over again.

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Narrowbody and Widebody engine developments

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

April 12, 2018, © Leeham News: In an article yesterday about Long-Haul LCC costs we observed how the new Narrowbody engines are catching up to the fuel efficiencies of the Widebody engines.

Traditionally the Widebody engines were the efficiency leaders. The Narrowbody companions were designed to be durable rather than efficient.

Figure 1. Cut through of the Narrowbody LEAP engine. Source: CFM

We use the engine modelling software GasTurb to understand why this catching up of the Narrowbody engines has happened.

Summary:
  • The new Narrowbody engines for Airbus’ A320 series and Boeing’s 737 MAX are close in specific fuel consumption to the new Widebody engines.
  • We use the GasTurb engine modelling software to find the root cause of this change.

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American A330neo loss casts shadow over sales prospects

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Introduction

April 9, 2018, © Leeham News: Even as Airbus touted the new 251t A330-800 and optimism that aging A330-200s will kick start a replacement cycle in 2020-21, the

Airbus A330neo. Photo via Google images.

concurrent loss of a campaign to sell the model to American Airlines casts a shadow over the model and the entire program.

Airbus had just come off the cancellation of the only A330-800 order, by Hawaiian Airlines, which flipped to the Boeing 787-9. As the sole customer for six A330-800s, the cancellation was expected.

Airbus hoped that an American order, for 20 -800s, would prove to be the endorsement of the program that was needed to spur worldwide sales.

Boeing was just as adamant that, like Hawaiian, American order the 787. In this case, Boeing had the leg up: the 787 was already in AA’s fleet (37 of 42 previous orders were already delivered). American wanted to simplify its fleet, not add another type. And airline officials were skeptical of the -800 for the very reason Airbus was so in need of AA’s order.

Summary

  • American’s order would have been the boost needed for the A330neo program.
  • It would have been an endorsement of the A330-800.
  • The 251t, 8,150nm version of the -800 makes a good, niche long-haul airplane.

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Operational costs of a Long-Haul LCC

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

April 05, 2018, © Leeham News.: In an article yesterday we described the different costs types for a Long-Haul LCC. We also explained the different parts of the Operational costs for the airline’s aircraft operations.

We will look at the size of these Operational costs in Part 3 of the article series. In this article, we use our aircraft performance model to develop these costs for the LCC’s aircraft.

Summary:

  • The smaller Boeing 737 MAX 8 is surprisingly cost competitive with the larger and more capable Airbus A321LR, A330-900 and Boeing 787-9 on our selected route.
  • The low trip and seat costs of the MAX 8 can only be used on transatlantic routes like our New York – London route. Any further into the US or Europe and the MAX 8 runs out of range.

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Boeing’s strategy to de-risk design, production

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Introduction

April 2, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s painful experience the with the development, design, production and grounding of the 787—costing billions of dollars in overruns and penalties with a delay of nearly four years—led to a major effort to de-risk future airplane development.

The 787 experience led to a pause that resulted in pursuing derivatives of the 737 MAX and 777X instead of developing new airplanes to replace these aging platforms and leap ahead of Airbus.

Now, poised to launch its first all-new airplane program in 15 years, Boeing continues to de-risk its production.

Summary
  • De-risking production means diversifying supplier base, bringing work in-house.
  • De-risking is changing the fundamental design-production nexus.
  • De-risking is innovating and cutting costs to meet new competition.

The Southeast Aerospace and Defence Conference will examine the transformation in production. Click here for more information.

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Is Airbus’ A330-800 the longest range widebody under 300 seats?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 29, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s 787-9 has opened new ultra-long routes such as Qantas’ first flight from Perth in Australia to London Heathrow last weekend (a 7,900nm, 17-hours flight). The 787-9 has been the undisputed long-haul star under 300 seats, with Airbus A350-900ULR underbidding the Boeing 777-200LR’s fuel burn for over 300 seats ultra-long haul flying.

But the competition for below 300 seat ULR alternatives will change in two years. Airbus A330-800 is then available in its 251t version. It will fly longer than the 787-9, according to Airbus.

The range of 7,635nm given by Boeing for the 787-9 and 8,150nm by Airbus for the A330-800 is not using the same seating and fuel reserve rules. We use our performance model to weed out the differences, to make an apples-to-apples comparison of the 787-9 and A330-800 as ULR aircraft.

Summary:

  • The choice between the 787-9 or A330-800 for Ultra Long-haul Routes (ULR) will depend on the passenger loads which can be expected.
  • For thin routes, the A330-800 will be the cheaper aircraft to operate.
  • It will also fly longer on thin routes, as its large tanks mean passenger capacity can be traded for more fuel further than for a 787-9.
  • When the 787-9 can be filled, it’s the choice with the better seat-mile cost, as it should; it’s the larger aircraft, spreading fixed costs over more paying passengers.

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Boeing’s NMA decision entering final stretch, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 26, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing’s NMA or 797 is taking final form ahead of a decision to essentially launch the program with an Authority to Offer (ATO), widely believed to be later this year.

In the first article, we looked at the key characteristics of the design. We also looked at the engine situation in a couple of articles.

Now we round up the series with analyzing the potential economics of the aircraft. 

Figure 1. The first sketch of the smaller 797-6X with 224 seats. Source: JonOstrower.com

Summary:

  • The projected 797 would have competitive Cash Operating Costs compared with a modern Single Aisle aircraft like the Airbus A321LR.
  • The challenge is the capital costs. The A320/A321 and Boeing’s 737 MAX models are produced in numbers passing 10,000. An NMA would be successful if produced in 1,000 units. This leads to higher production costs for the numerically smaller series.
  • The focus from Boeing is therefore on lowering Production costs and on finding Services revenue which can help the 797 business case.

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Focus on NMA engines: all OEMs vying for Boeing’s approval

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Introduction

March 22, 2018, © Leeham Co.: As Boeing enters the final stretch whether to launch the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, aka 797) market focus should shift to the engines more than the airframe and even the market demand.

It all comes down to this: no engines, no plane.

Monday’s post outlined some of the issues to consider.

But there are larger implications as well.

Summary
  • Market sources are tossing about various scenarios about the future GE Aviation and CFM.
  • Rolls-Royce won’t have its Trent 1000 problems fixed until 2021 or 2022, at great cost.
  • Pratt & Whitney won’t have its Geared Turbo Fan final PIP packages for its problems sorted out until around 2021.
  • Resources—both financial and with engineering—are stretched now.
  • Sequencing current engine problems, and in the case, GE’s GE9X, are a factor, in the eyes of some.

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NMA focus needs to be on engines

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Introduction

March 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: As the market awaits a decision by Boeing whether to launch the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, or 797), focus has been on the aircraft’s definition and market demand.

It should be on the engines.

It doesn’t matter whether Boeing designs a fabulous airplane that’s the next best thing to sliced bread. What matters is whether the engines will be ready in time for Boeing’s suggested entry-into-service and if they are, whether they will be reliable out of the box.

The recent track record isn’t all that encouraging. Neither is Boeing’s preferred timing.

Summary
  • CFM, GE, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce each had problems with their new engines. All continue.
  • The Boeing NMA requires brand new engines, not derivatives.
  • Engine development and certification within the Boeing preferred timeline is sporty at best.

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