Opportunity and challenges of a 787-10ER

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction

Aug. 22, 2019, © Leeham News:  By 2024 the 777-300ER will have been in service for 20 years and the 777-200ER 27 years.

United Airlines 787-10. Credit: United Airlines.

LNA was the first to report the 777-8 entry-into-service will slip by at least two years. Boeing confirmed a delay in the 777-8 development, but not the timeline. Further delays (or an outright cancellation) for the passenger 777-8 are a real possibility. Boeing faces the prospect of not having a latest generation offering in the 330-370 seat market at a time demand for such aircraft is expected to pick up.

As part of the Air New Zealand commitment to purchase eight Boeing 787-10s, Boeing and General Electric are increasing the maximum takeoff weight to add more range.

In a similar fashion to the 777-300ER 20 years ago, Boeing might improve the 787-10 further to turn it into a fully-fledged ER variant. We will analyze the rationale for launching such variant and the challenges Boeing needs to overcome.

Summary
  • Remediate a product gap
  • Opportunities arising from surging 777 retirements
  • A mixed track record of previous stretches and range improvements
  • Target range for the 787-10
  • Challenges associated with achieving those targets
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Boeing’s Long Term Cash Flows

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction

Aug. 19, 2019, © Leeham News:Boeing’s long-time priorities, adopted after the 787 program finally was past its troubles, is shareholder value.

Boeing has spent tens of billions of dollars over the years in stock buybacks. It has regularly increased dividend payments.

In the context of a global aviation boom, the Commercial Airplanes division has generated the bulk of cash flow growth in recent years for the company. The creation of Boeing Global Services is a move toward achieving mid-teen margins for The Boeing Co.

Just like any aircraft OEM, the ability to generate cash flows rests on having an up-to-date and desirable product line up for customers.

Before the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crash, things were looking good for Boeing. Assuming a successful resolution of the 737 MAX crisis, Boeing should return to generating strong operating cash flows afterward.

However, how long is the current product line up expected to sustain those cash flows and what could Boeing do about it?

Summary
  • Dreamliner: from costly delays to cash flow machine
  • Boeing 777 provided strong cash flows at critical time and 737 rode global aviation boom until grounding
  • Significant production gaps on 737, 777 and 787 appear from mid 2020s, potentially threatening cash flow generation
  • New variants, derivatives and clean sheet design would sustain cash flows longer.

 

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Will the A220 drive the trans-Atlantic fragmentation to smaller jets? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

August 15, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus is increasing the Gross Weight of its A220 variants by 5,000lb from 2H2020. It is to increase the already long range of the aircraft according to Airbus.

We looked at the typical trans-Atlantic routes this longer-range capability enabled last week. Now we explore further route areas and compare the A220 economics to the Boeing 737-8 and Airbus A321LR.

Summary:

  • Last week we saw the A220 could open trans-Atlantic routes from West Europe to East Canada and North-East US.
  • This week we explore further alternatives and explore the economics of the A220 as an aircraft for long and thin routes.

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Stored A330s, 777 Classics offer alternative to new orders

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Aug. 12, 2019, © Leeham News: Slow sales of the Airbus A330neo, A350 and 777X this year are the result of a dip in the order cycle, A330ceos and 777-300ERs coming off lease and route fragmentation from more capable single-aisle aircraft that are much cheaper to operate and which allow long, thin routes to be served.

Airbus and Boeing have yet another aspect to contend with: stored A330s and 777s that have come off lease or, in the case of Etihad Airways, grounded its late model A330-300s in a fleet restructuring related to its poor financial condition.

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Will the A220 drive the trans-Atlantic fragmentation to smaller jets?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction 

August 8, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Airbus announced a hike of the Gross Weight of the A220 by 5,000lb at the Paris Air Show in June. It will be available for aircraft delivered from 2H2020.

“It was at the request of Customers, they wanted more range” said Rob Dewar, Head of Engineering & Customer Support for the A220, when we talked after the announcement. Will these customers use the capability to cross the Atlantic, driving the long-range fragmentation to ever-smaller cabins? Does it make economic sense compared to an A321LR or a 737 MAX 8? We check with our performance model.

Summary:

  • The A220s have enough range to cover interesting parts of East US and West Europe with the increased Maximum Takeoff Weights.
  • The key question is; how economical will they be compared to Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 and Airbus A321LR.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture, Part 3?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

August 1, 2019, © Leeham News: We wrap up our study of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR could capture with looking at the difference in available engine technology between the A231XLR and the NMA generation of airliners.

Summary:

  • The generational improvement in fuel efficiency of airliner turbofans has been over 10% in the last decades.
  • We examine if these improvements will still be the case for the NMA generation of aircraft.

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Boeing MAX crisis overshadows other challenges

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July 29, 2019, © Leeham News: The 737 MAX crisis overshadows everything else right now at Boeing.

This includes forward orders, weak customers and production gaps on the 787 line, which right now is the cash flow cow at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing’s production line for the 787 is filled through 2021, but after that, there are big gaps. Source: Leeham Co. Click on image for a crisp view.

Executives only briefly, and obliquely, touched on the 787 during the 2Q2019 earnings call last Wednesday.

This prompted LNA to examine the details of the backlog and production rates. The 787 is current being produced at a rate of 14/mo.

There are clear signs of challenges, both near- and medium-term for the 787.

Summary
  • Weak customers threaten to create deferred deliveries near-term.
  • There will be about 20 A330s and 777s coming off lease each year from 2021-2026 on top of retirements. Airbus and Boeing see these are replacement opportunities.
  • The production back delivery stream falls off the cliff in 2022.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

July 25, 2019, © Leeham News: We continue our discussion from last week of what part of an NMA market the Airbus A321XLR would capture.

We started the study by comparing the aircraft with a common yardstick. It brought some revealing insights. Now we continue by looking at the airline routes these aircraft can cover and their economics when covering these routes.

Summary:
  • The NMAs and the A321XLR cover the same routes with small differences in range performance.
  • The major difference is in their passenger capacity, where they are complementary rather than competitors.

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Trans-Atlantic market fragmentation hurts big widebodies

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By Vincent Valery

July 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Development of single-aisle aircraft that now have ranges of plus-or-minus 4,000 nautical miles are fragmenting hub markets needed to fill large twin-aisle aircraft.

Just as twin-engine widebodies began fragmenting routes needed to fill the Boeing 747 and later the Airbus A380, the Boeing 737-8 and Airbus A321LR/XLR appear to be contributing to weak demand for the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350-1000.

With launch of the Airbus A321XLR last month and expected New Midsize Airplane once the MAX crisis is over, some markets might have structures dramatically altered in the second half of next decade. The prime candidate is the US East Coast–Europe market. We will investigate through historical examples how things might turn out.

Rendering of Boeing NMA-7. Source: Leeham Co.

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How much of an NMA market will the Airbus A321XLR capture?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

July 18, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus’ new A321XLR is labeled as an Boeing NMA killer. It shall, with its capability to fly the same routes as the NMA, nibble away on its market space.

This discussion takes the Airbus passenger and range data for the A321XLR and compares it with the announced capabilities of the NMA. As we will see, it’s not that simple.

Summary:

  • To understand how the A321XLR will compete with the NMA, we first need to compare them with the same yardstick.
  • Putting them on the same cabin and operational rule set reveals interesting differences. The A321XLR and the NMA are complementary rather than competitors.

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