Used A330-200s could be interim solution to NMA

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Introduction

Dec. 11, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing is considering restarting the 767-300ER passenger line as an interim aircraft to the New Midmarket Airplane.

Airbus is pushing the A330-800 or, alternative, new A330-200s are its solution to the upper end of the Middle of the Market sector.

There is another alternative, however: used A330-200s. There is an emerging supply of these as one airline plans a down-sizing and initial 10- to 12-year leases expire in the near future.

Etihad is planning to dispose of its Airbus A330-200s. These would make a good, potential pick-up by an airline seeking an interim solution while awaiting the New Midrange Aircraft. Photo via Google images.

Summary
  • NMA EIS target remains 2025, Boeing says, as opposed to 2027, according to market sources.
  • Regardless, timeline, production ramp-up indicates near-term need for newer airplanes.
  • Business case for NMA still hasn’t closed; program launch still uncertain, but activities continue.
  • Boeing 767 production ramp up studies underway, effective as soon as early 2020.

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Embraer’s improved E-Jet E2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 07, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Embraer is four months from first service introduction of the new generation E-Jet, the E190-E2, with Norway’s Wideroe. Following the smooth E190-E2 program will be the larger E195-E2 in 2019.

Embraer’s E2 update of the E-Jet is more elaborate than the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX updates. In addition to new engines, the aircraft’s wings and systems are changed. In addition, the fuselages are stretched on two of the three models for increased passenger capacity.

We analyze the areas of change from the original E-Jets and what these mean for the operations and economics of the aircraft.

Summary:
  • The E-Jet E2 keeps the strong point of the original E-Jet, its comfortable cabin, and improves other areas to keep the family competitive after 2020.
  • As the only aircraft family in the market (regional or mainline), the E2 models E175, E190 and E195 all get their own optimized wings. The result is good field and range performance paired with low fuel consumption.
  • The E2 family introduces advanced Digital Fly-By-Wire to allow reduced static stability and by it trim drag. This improves the fuel consumption further.
  • Other system changes focus lower maintenance costs. The new single-aisle generation (A320neo, 737 MAX) lowers maintenance costs per seat. The regional OEMs must respond.

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Boeing moves EIS target for NMA to 2027: sources

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Introduction

Dec. 4, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Officially, Boeing says the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA, or 797) entry-into-service will be around 2024-25 if the program is launched.

LNC has learned the target date now being discussed is 2027.

Boeing 797 concept. Source: Boeing.

This means the 737 replacement likewise slips, with EIS after 2030 instead of late next decade or in 2030.

The new NMA target date, which we’ve heard from the supply chain and customer base, gives further impetus to the prospect of restarting the 767-300ER passenger production, a decision that is supposed to be made by the end of this year.

Summary
  • Technology is at the heart of the new target EIS for the NMA.
  • The 737 replacement was always intended to follow the NMA.
  • Supply chain asked for 767 production rate ramp-up feasibility.

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Would a 767 stopgap make sense while waiting for NMA?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: We have covered Boeing’s deliberations whether to restart 767-300ER passenger version production here and here.

To understand how good a stopgap the 767-300ER would be for an airline needing to replace ageing 767s, and the Boeing 797 not being there in time, we check its economics versus the alternatives.

Should an airline buy additional 767-300ERs (if offered) or the overqualified and therefore more expensive 787-8? Or is defecting to the Airbus A330-200/-800 a better option?

Summary:
  • The 767-300ER takes about 30 fewer passengers than the 787-8 or A330-200/-800.
  • It’s lighter than the longer range 787 and A330s; therefore landing fees will be lower.
  • Its lower weight and smaller size also lowers crew costs.
  • The lower costs for fees and crew can’t fully compensate for higher fuel and maintenance costs per passenger.
  • It will be up to aggressive pricing to close the gap to the more capable and lower cost 787-8 or A330-200/-800, should Boeing restart the passenger 767 line.

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Boeing’s good year for wide-body orders

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Introduction

Nov. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Officials from Airbus and Boeing each said this year that wide-body orders, languishing for the past couple of years, should pick up by the turn of the decade as the in-service fleet reaches 20-25 years old.

Aerolineas Argentinas plans a wide-body competition for deliveries around 2020-2021. Photo via Google images.

But Boeing has had an exemplary year through Nov. 21, the most recent update of its Orders and Deliveries website. The company reported 160 net orders for the 767, 777 and 787, with 88 for the latter. Commitments for 40 more at the Dubai Air Show are not included, as these have not yet been firmed up.

Airbus hasn’t done nearly as well: just 56 net orders for the A330 and A350 families through October, its most recently reported data.

Have Boeing’s results indicated a sooner-than-expected uptick in orders?

Summary
  • Not enough data to draw definitive conclusions, but uptick may be arriving early.
  • Aerolineas Argentinas and Thai Airways are looking at wide-body aircraft orders. See the stories here and here.
  • Early this year, 5-year slump was seen. By August, strong market seen.

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Airbus A350-1000 certified. How good is it?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 23, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Airbus A350-1000 received its airworthiness certificate Tuesday, after a smooth flight test campaign. The first serial aircraft is in final assembly, for delivery to Qatar Airways next month.

With the A350-1000 now on the market, we check the efficiency difference between the A350-1000 and its main competitor, Boeing’s 777.

Figure 1. A350-1000 at cold weather testing in North Canada. Source: Airbus.

With the 777-8 five years away, we compare the A350-1000 to the present 777, the -300ER. The changed fuel prices create a different yardstick since our last comparison of the 777-300ER and A350-1000.

While at it, we also check how much better the A350-1000 score on costs versus the smaller A350-900.

Summary:
  • The A350-1000 is the most efficient aircraft of the three.
  • The A350-900 is smaller. It has Cash Operating Costs per seat mile which are close to the A350-1000.
  • The 777-300ER is the most expensive to operate, also at today’s fuel prices. Pricing must be very aggressive to compensate operating cost differences to the A350-1000.
  • With A350-1000 deliveries starting, the 777-300ER’s reign as the twin to have for 350-seat long range is ending.

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Assessing the Dubai Air Show

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Introduction

Nov. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Dubai Air Show was a clear win for Boeing, despite the last minute 430 airplane commitment from the Indigo Partners group.

The “MENA” region, for Middle East and North Africa, has been the staple of the Dubai Air Show.

There have been occasional smatterings of peripheral regions tossed in, but commitments from US companies (except lessors doing business worldwide) have not been a regular feature.

Summary
  • Boeing swept the MENA orders and commitments.
  • Emirates order for 40 787-10s begin delivery from 2022 and may be tied to adjustments in 777X delivery rate.
  • The lack of the widely expected A380 order from Emirates was a huge embarrassment to Airbus.
  • Bombardier, better known for its lack of orders at air shows, landed a good one at Dubai.

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The data behind Emirates’ choice of 787-10

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 16, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Yesterday we outlined the qualitative reasons why the Boeing 787-10 was selected for Emirates’ medium-range routes. Now we put figures behind the words.

We will quantify the weight and drag consequences of the tighter packaging of the 787 and discuss what it’s smaller wing means in field performance from a hot Dubai International Airport.

We use our airline performance model to give us the data, flying the aircraft over typical routes.

Summary:

  • The A350-900 was designed for flights up to 15 to 20 hours.
  • To make these bearable, Airbus decided to offer 18-inch seat width in the nine abreast economy cabin.
  • Boeing went another route. It offered a slightly narrower fuselage and let the airlines decide between eight or nine abreast economy.
  • Only Japanse ANA and JAL chose the base layout with eight abreast economy (and ANA has since switched to nine abreast economy for new deliveries).
  • The result is an aircraft with lower empty weight and fuel burn (everything else being equal).
  • For the 787-10, Boeing combined the tighter packaged fuselage with a wing optimised for flights up to 12 hours.
  • The 787-10 consequently beats the A350-900 on efficiency for shorter routes.

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Challenges facing Boeing in 767-300ER passenger restart

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Introduction

Nov. 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The clock is ticking toward the end of the year for Boeing to decide whether to restart the 767-300ER passenger line.

Officials want to decide by year-end.

Restarting the line isn’t as easy as one might think. Boeing is building the 767-300ER freighter and it has the tooling for the passenger model. Boeing has several challenges to resolve before any green light for the restart.

Summary
  • There is a space problem at Everett, where the 767 is assembled.
  • Restarting the passenger supply chain is an issue.
  • And, as ever, so is cost.
  • Does Boeing simply restart the line without upgrades, or are upgrades included, which will increase the cost to produce the airplane?
  • Closing the business case on the NMA.

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Airbus’ A330 or Boeing’s 787 for LCC long haul?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 09, 2017, © Leeham Co.: International Airlines Group’s (IAG) CEO, Willy Walsh, said in an Investor presentation last week “LEVEL (the group’s Long Haul LCC) is as well off with the Airbus A330-200 as with a Boeing 787.” He said the lower capital costs of the A330 compensates for the Dreamliner’s lower fuel burn.

As a proof, Walsh said IAG had run flight plans with their LEVEL A330 flying the same mission as a Norwegian 787 and configured as the Norwegian aircraft. The difference in fuel burn Barcelona-Los Angeles would be 6t. But this is easily compensated by the difference in capital costs.Going forward, LEVEL has the possibility to switch to the 787, said Walsh. Our reaction is; why not include the A330neo in this discussion?

We decided to verify Walsh statements and also check why an A330neo wouldn’t be more appropriate than a 787.

Summary:
  • The statement by Walsh about the difference in fuel burn between the A330 and the Dreamliner is correct.
  • However, fuel cost is no longer the dominant cost in airline operations.
  • We compare the total Cash Operating Costs (COCs) of the aircraft, then we view whether the COC difference between the types can be compensated with capital cost differences.

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