By Vincent Valery
Sep. 16, 2019, © Leeham News: Over the last few weeks, LNA outlined significant production gaps from 2022 onwards for the major widebody programs at Airbus and Boeing. The OEMs expect airlines to place large fleet renewal orders to fill those.
Aircraft deliveries need to be financed one way or another. Access to affordable financing is crucial for airlines and lessors to make good on their orders.
Interest rates in the world’s major currencies hit an all-time low a few weeks ago. The 30-year US Treasury yield dipped below 2%, while the 10Y German Bund was at -70 basis points.
Corporations duly took advantage of the lower rates to issue record amounts of debt in US dollars during the first week of September. United Airlines and Bank of China Aviation were among them.
We will analyze how lower interest rates could benefit the aviation industry.
Sept. 12, 2019, © Leeham News: More than half the Airbus A320 family scheduled for delivery over the next four years will be the A321neo, according to an analysis performed by LNA.
The production rate increases to 63/mo next year, although LNA doesn’t have a precise time when this occurs.
A variable is also whether a full 12 months of production is calculated, or only 11 ½ months to allow for the summer vacation shutdown.
Either way, the production gaps appear manageable through 2024.
Sep. 9, 2019, © Leeham News: In last week’s article, we discussed the context that led to the creation of numerous European low cost and leisure carriers. We also outlined the main reasons for their recent struggles.
Today we will look at the current situation for smaller carriers in various European countries. We will start with Germany.
By Bjorn Fehrm
September 5, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we examined how a longer-range model of Boeing’s 787-10 would look like. We designed a 787-10ER version (ER for Extended Range) by increasing the Maximum TakeOff Weight of the aircraft. We also did some other adjustments to accommodate the increased weight.
We now compare the resulting aircraft with its nearest competitor, the Airbus A350-900. How would a 787-10ER stack up against an A350-900?
Sept. 4, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus’ decision a few months ago to keep the A350 production rate at 10/mo appears to be a wise one, considering that there is a small production gap in 2022 but increasingly large ones from 2023.
Boeing boosted rates this year of the 787, which competes with the A350-900 but not the -1000, to 14/mo. Boeing is sold out at this rate in 2020 and 2021, but has a big gap in 2022 and larger gaps thereafter.
Both companies bank on a splurge of orders early next decade to fill the production gaps. Each says there will be a retirement surge beginning in about 2022.
Airbus offers the A330neo and A350. Boeing pitches the 787 and 777X—with a combined production capacity of 35/mo or 389/yr at current rates.
By Vincent Valery
Sep. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: Germania, flyBMI and Wow Air ceased operations this year. FlyBe was sold to a consortium that includes Virgin Atlantic for a symbolic amount. Norwegian Air Shuttle and Thomas Cook Airlines’ financial woes are well documented in the media.
Many lesser-known low-cost and leisure carriers are also struggling on the old continent. It is no secret that the airline industry is far more fragmented in Europe than the USA for historical reasons. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr regularly mentions the need for further consolidation.
This calls into question whether smaller European airlines can survive as independent entities under current business models.
By Bjorn Fehrm
August 29, 2019, ©. Leeham News: In last week’s article we went through the reasons for a longer range 787-10, a 787-10ER version (ER for Extended Range). We could conclude it would be an attractive aircraft for the market if it could get another 1,000nm in range.
We use our airliner performane model to analyze how this can be achieved and if Boeing would face large engineering challenges to get to this range.
Aug. 26, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus faces near-term challenges with its production skyline for the A330, even at a reduce rate of 4/mo, an analysis shows.
Looking forward from next year, when there are slightly more deliveries scheduled than production rates—a function of some leftover 2019 builds—Airbus faces an easily-filled gap in 2021 but huge production gaps beginning in 2022.
Even if Letters of Intent and options were fully converted to firm orders, big production gaps will exist.
A production rate cut seems inevitable in the near future.
By Vincent Valery
Aug. 22, 2019, © Leeham News: By 2024 the 777-300ER will have been in service for 20 years and the 777-200ER 27 years.
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.
By Vincent Valery
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?