By Vincent Valery
March 27, 2023, © Leeham News: In an article last year, LNA highlighted the divergence in the post-Covid-19 recovery among OEMs and select Tier 1 suppliers. Airbus had higher profits than before the Covid-19 pandemic, while all others lagged. Revenues were well below 2019 levels.
Commercial Aviation OEMs were severely impacted last year by supply chain disruptions. Airbus and Boeing ramped up production significantly slower than envisioned on all programs. The war in Ukraine and tighter financial conditions are complicating the situation further.
LNA collected financial information on the big three aircraft manufacturers and 10 major commercial aircraft suppliers to assess how quickly they recovered. There will also be an analysis of the numerous charges Airbus and Boeing have taken since 1999 through 2022.
By Bjorn Fehrm
March 24, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 5. Optimal fuselage. It discusses in detail the optimal fuselage for an airliner with 250 seats using different architectures and building methods.
By Bryan Corliss
March 23, 2023, © Leeham News – Chinese leader Xi Jinping flew into Moscow this week for a three-day summit with accused Russian war criminal Vladimir Putin.
They wined and dined. They talked publicly about economic accords and oil pipelines and pledged mutual support. In private, Putin almost certainly made a plea for stepped-up Chinese support for his faltering invasion of Ukraine. They made bold statements about banding together to oppose the hegemony of the West, which has united against Russia with sanctions including bans on providing Russia with the basic technology it needs to build weapons.
And at the end of it all, on Wednesday, Xi walked up the jet stairs to his Air China 747, built by Boeing in Everett, America. He turned and waved, and then flew back to Beijing.
That moment, with Xi standing in front of the massive American-made jet, may just illustrate China’s conundrum right now: Xi, by all accounts, wants nothing more than to shove aside the post-Cold War order that has confined his nation from global Great Power status. An alliance with Putin’s Russia could be a key step toward that.
And Xi, as he looks around the interior of his jumbo jet, has to be acutely aware that China remains dependent upon the Western democracies for software, computer chips, and – critically – aircraft.
By Bryan Corliss
March 20, 2023, © Leeham News – In a filing with federal regulators, The Boeing Co. acknowledges it struggled to stabilize 737 MAX production rates at 31 a month last year.
However, the company is sticking to that and expects a “gradual” increase in 737 rates this year – dependent upon the ability of key suppliers to keep up.
Those are some of the takeaways from Boeing’s annual report, filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission earlier this year.
The reports, which are required under U.S. law for publicly traded companies, include much of the fine print that isn’t included in typical earnings releases and calls, including detailed discussions of the risks companies face.
The filing doesn’t contain any shocking revelations but does shed more light on how Boeing is coping with the challenges facing the industry: workforce recruitment and retention in a globally tight labor market, supply change management challenges, inflation, and geopolitical turmoil in key markets including China and Russia.
Reports also mirror information provided by Airbus in regulatory filings in the Netherlands, where the company is registered.
The filings paint a picture in which 2023 will be an important year for both OEMs as they try to recover from a series of serious setbacks.
March 17, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to New aircraft technologies. Part 4. Fuselage trades. It discussed in detail the trades involved in designing a fuselage of an airliner with 250 seats using different architectures.
By Bryan Corliss
March 13, 2023, © Leeham News — Embraer executives said last week that the company is on a flight path to growth after weathering two major storms in 2020.
“As we have said, since 2020, the 2021 and 2022 years would be dedicated to the business recovery after two simultaneous crises – the pandemic and the end of the Boeing deal – and the focus will be on growth from 2023,” Embraer CEO Francisco Gomes Neto said Friday.
“We can now state we have fulfilled what was promised,” he continued. “The business turnaround was completed in 2022, and we are ready to start a new growth phase.”
Embraer still faces “supply chain challenges this year,” he acknowledged, “but we are optimistic about the company’s future in terms of revenue growth and profitability.”
Neto made the declaration as his company reported delivering 80 regional and executive jets in the fourth quarter of 2022, which was roughly half of the total deliveries for the year.
The company reported earnings before interest and taxes of US $166.2 million for the quarter, which was 196% better than its earnings in the same quarter of 2021.
By Bryan Corliss
March 10, 2023, © Leeham News – GE Aerospace executives said Thursday that production of LEAP engines will increase 50% this year to meet increased demand from Boeing and Airbus.
LEAP engines, which power Airbus A320 Neos and Boeing 737 MAX jets, are produced by CFM, the joint-venture partnership between U.S.-based GE and French-based Safran.
“This is no small feat,” said GE CEO of Commercial Engines and Services Russell Stokes. He noted that the network for LEAP includes 160 external suppliers and 20 internal GE shops.
Stokes, GE CEO Larry Culp and other executives spoke at GE’s 2023 Investor Conference.
By Bjorn Fehrm
March 10, 2023, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to New aircraft technologies. Part 3. Airframe improvements. It discusses in detail the areas of an airliner airframe where tangible improvement can be made to make it more efficient and thus lower cost combined with less Green-House-Gas (GHG) emissions.
By Bryan Corliss
March 9, 2023 © Leeham News – AeroTec learned “a lot about hydrogen” as it prepared Universal Hydrogen’s (UH2) Dash-8-300 flying testbed for its first flight last week.
“Hydrogen wants to escape,” said Dale Goulding, the chief technology officer for Seattle-based AeroTec. “It’s a very small molecule that wants to get out of whatever container you put it in.”
For that reason, Universal Hydrogen’s modular capsule makes refueling easier than it would be if the companies tried to replicate the fuel-pumping process used to refuel carbon-powered aircraft, he said.
“It’s been no problem at all,” Goulding said. “Just roll them in and out. It’s real easy.”
Goulding led a team of roughly 60 AeroTec employees working out of Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, WA., which was where Universal Hydrogen’s first flight took place on March 2. The plane took two passes over the airfield, flying with a hydrogen fuel cell powering one propeller, while a second kerosene-powered motor was on idle, in case it was needed.
The short flight was intended to “get up, get down safely, then look at all the data,” he said; taking concepts out of the lab and putting them into the sky.
By Scott Hamilton
March 6, 2023, © Leeham News: Universal Hydrogen (UH2) last week took off with its demonstrator aircraft for what it believes is the beginning of a new era.
The Dash 8-300 took off from the Moses Lakes (WA) airport at 8:41 am on March 2 for a short flight circling the former US Air Force Base, now called Grant County International Airport. On one circle, the test pilots throttled back the Jet A-fueled Pratt & Whitney PW123 engine, flying on the No. 2 electric motor, powered by hydrogen fuel.
Thus, UH2’s Dash 8 became the second largest plane (after the Soviet-era Tu-155) to fly on hydrogen and the first to fly solely on clean energy given that the No. 1 engine was at idle.
LNA previously reported details of UH2’s airplane plans.
How UH2 moves forward is detailed below.