Predictive power of cargo volumes

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By Vincent Valery

July 8, 2019, © Leeham News: It has been said that the collapse of freight volumes in the second half of 2008 preceded the sharp drop in passenger traffic. Cargo also allegedly led the passenger recovery in the second half of 2009. We will verify with IATA data whether the data backs such claim.

We will also check whether cargo volumes still have as much predictive power in the post Great Recession world. The current context of increasing trade tensions and signs of economic slowdown make this analysis relevant. We will ponder whether the next global recession is around the corner.

Credit: Cathay Pacific.

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Twice daily with Airbus’ A321XLR or one daily with the A330-900?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

July 04, 2019, © Leeham News: Will the Airbus A321XLR change long-haul flying between city pairs within its range? The capacity is around 50% of an A330-900 so an operator could fly twice daily to move the passenger stream if the cost was the same.

Such a frequency advantage requires the seat-mile economics of the XLR to be the same as the A330-900. We use our airliner operating cost model to find out if it is.

Summary:
  • Configured with a three class long-range cabin the A321XLR is half as large as the A330-900 equipped to the same cabin rules.
  • Last weeks article showed the A321XLR was very competitive cost wise against the smaller A330-800.
  • How much better is the larger A330-900? Can an operator depart twice daily with the XLR for the same cost as one rotation with the A330-900?

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SAP and advanced manufacturing cut costs for current, new airplanes

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July 1, 2019, © Leeham News: Improving supply chain management is one of the many, many key factors in making the business case for the prospective Boeing New Midmarket Airplane.

The prospective Boeing NMA needs SAP and advanced manufacturing processes to help close the business case. Source: Leeham Co.

The highly complex task of managing a supply chain with millions of parts across many product lines can break down quickly with any weak link, be it from a supplier or in the management system itself.

Quality control, security, misrouting, package integrity in shipping are among the key issues. The sheer magnitude of tracking inventory is huge.

Boeing uses Enterprise Resource Planning and is shifting the system to a new, expanded one called Systems Applications Projects. SAP is the next generation of ERP. Even though ERP has been in use for decades, last year there was a breakdown in deliveries that contributed to production interruptions of the 737 NG (late deliveries of the CFM 56 were a bigger problem).

Boeing’s transition from ERP to SAP is taking longer than anticipated, with a 2021-ish target.

Related articles:

With the NMA business case continuing to be difficult to close, Boeing’s need to attack every cost is clear.

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The range of Airbus A321XLR

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 27, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus launched the extended range A321XLR last week at the Paris Air Show.

The range of the aircraft was presented as 4,700nm with an “around 200 seat” cabin. This was 200nm more than the market expected.

We use our performance model to explain what is behind the 4,700nm figure.

Air Lease was the first presented customer for the A321XLR last week. Source: Airbus.

Summary:
  • The 4,700nm is with “around 200” passengers and with the Airbus short range rule set.
  • We calculate the range of the A321XLR with typical airline rules and with different cabin configurations, including a three class long-range cabin with lie-flat business seats.

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A321XLR: where airlines will fly the Airbus aircraft

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By Vincent Valery

June 24, 2019, © Leeham News: As widely expected Airbus officially launched the A321XLR on the first day of the Paris Air Show. First deliveries are expected in 2023.

With the Maximum Takeoff Weight increased to 101 metric tons the manufacturer claims a range of 4,700 nautical miles while carrying 200 passengers. This represents an extra 700 nautical miles compared to the LR variant.  Accounting for real world airline seating configurations and fuel reserves, the effective range will be lower.

Nevertheless, it will represent a significant improvement over the LR. Serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman claims that the A321LR does not match the range of the Boeing 757-200. The XLR variant will have meaningfully more effective range than the out-of-production Boeing aircraft.

According to Airbus the A321XLR can fly direct between city pairs such as London – New Delhi and New York – Rome.

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How useful is an Airbus A321XLR? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Last week we looked at the route structures an Airbus A321XLR could support compared with the original A321LR. We could see the A321XLR is a more flexible long-range aircraft than the A321LR.

It covers trans-Atlantic routes from Mid-US to mid-Europe and it can for several route types replace larger aircraft, thus allowing increased frequency on existing routes or the start of new thinner routes than possible with widebody aircraft.

This all assumes the economics of the A321XLR and a widebody like the Airbus A330neo or Boeing 787 are comparable. We use our Aircraft Performance Model to find out.

Summary:
  • Our comparison over a typical long-range route shows the operating costs of an A321XLR and an A330-800 or 787-8 are close.
  • This creates flexibility for the airlines. The A321XLR can open new, thinner routes between secondary city pairs or increase the frequency on established long-haul routes.
  • It can also serve routes during off-peak hours or during the slower winter period. All that’s needed whether the route is within the range capability of the A321XLR.

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Embraer in holding pattern awaiting JV approvals

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Introduction

June 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer is in a holding pattern of sorts.

It’s awaiting international regulatory anti-trust approval for the joint venture with The Boeing Co.

It can’t coordinate with Boeing about synergies until these approvals come.

Its leadership is identifying areas that, from its perspective, can lead to synergies.

Some key campaigns for the E-Jet E2 appear to be on hold while customers wait for Boeing and Embraer to join in order to see how pricing may be reset, competition with the Airbus A220 shapes up, what synergies between the E2 and Boeing’s 7-Series product lines might emerge and how Embraer’s Services unit integrates with Boeing Global Services.

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How useful is an Airbus A321XLR?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 6, 2019, © Leeham News: There are growing rumors Airbus will launch the extended range A321XLR at the Paris Air Show on June 17th. The aircraft will get more fuel and takeoff weight to enable an A321 to fly longer routes, penetrating deeper into the US and Europe for a trans-Atlantic use case.

Operators can now choose between longer routes than for the A321LR or the same routes while carrying more passengers. We use our performance model to find out the limits of this trade.

Summary:

  • The A321XLR turns the trans-Atlantic capability of the A321LR from coast to coast opportunities into a mid-US to mid-Europe capability.
  • As the seat mile cost of the A321LR and A321XLR are competitive with the A330neo and Boeing 787, the A321XLR opens for thin and long service to several new city pairs.

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2019 Paris Air Show Preview

By Vincent Valery

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June 3, 2019, © Leeham News: The 2019 Paris Air Show kicks off in two weeks at the Le Bourget Exhibition Center.

In this preview, we will go over what to expect from commercial aircraft OEMs.

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Airbus’ A220 gets increased range next year

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

May 30, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus announced an increase in Maximum TakeOff Weight (MTOW) for its A220 range last week. With the improvement, the A220s should fly up to 3,400nm when the increased MTOW is available from 2H 2020.

Like the last time when we wrote about the A220 and its range versus other Airbus single-aisles, this is a bit of Apples and Oranges. Just about everything around how the range of the A220 is measured changed. When we put the new data into our performance model, a very different range picture popped out than the one given by Airbus.

Summary:

  • Airbus change the rule set by which it measures the range of the A220 to the less stringent Airbus single-aisle rule-set. Together with a future increase of the MTOW, this will increase the range of the A220.
  • It also changed the seating. This was to curb the range of the A220-100 and to hide an emerging fuel limitation of the A220-300.

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