Cutting A220 costs is an ‘ongoing exercise’ for Airbus

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Introduction

March 14, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus’ effort to slash supply costs for A220 production is “an ongoing exercise at this point,” Joe Marcheschi, Airbus’ head of procurement in North America, told LNA in an interview last month.

The A220-300 for JetBlue will be assembled at the Airbus plant in Mobile (AL). Airbus rendering.

“There are no specific, let’s say, achievements yet,” he said. “We are working closely with our supply chain.”

It takes time to squeeze cost out of the supply chain, he said. “We only took over July 1. That’s when we got full knowledge of the existing contracts.”

In January, Philippe Balducchi, head of the Airbus-led venture overseeing production, told journalists that the aerospace giant aims to realize “significant double-digit” percentage cost reduction. He indicated that most of the savings likely would come from the supply chain, according to news reports.

“Look, the airplane is absolutely fantastic—it just costs a lot of money,” Marcheschi said. “Now, we have to find a way to reduce the cost.”

Summary
  • Airbus is working to slash supply chain costs on A220 program, but no announcements yet.
  • The European plane maker wants to offer commercial MRO services in North America.

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Digital transformation critical to Boeing

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Introduction

 March 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Digital transformation is critical to Boeing’s evolving business model. But suppliers are in no rush to hand over their data to Boeing.

For more than a year, the airplane maker has been moving toward a new system for managing inventory and parts. As LNA noted last year, Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ management expects the new system, known as SAP, will streamline parts delivery and cut costs for Boeing and suppliers. BCA has been pushing suppliers for more transparency of their own supply chains and production flows. It likely would not surprise many industry watchers if BCA moves to integrate its suppliers into SAP in some fashion down the road.

Managers and executives at several suppliers told LNA that they expect Boeing to push for greater access to their companies’ internal data in coming years. They expressed ambivalence between potential efficiency gains and loss of autonomy.

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Boeing’s 777X analyzed, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 07, 2019, © Leeham News: In our analysis series about the Boeing 777X, it’s time to look at the performance of the 777-9 and 777-8 and compared them to their main competitor, the Airbus A350-1000.

Figure 1. First flight test Boeing 777-9 with the GE9X engines mounted. Official roll-out is set for March 13th. Source: Boeing.

Summary:
  • The 777-9 is a larger and heavier aircraft than the A350-1000. Its wide wing and efficient engines compensate the added weight when compared with the A350-1000. Both have best-in-class fuel efficiencies.
  • The “cut and shut” 777-8 has the same capacity as the A350-1000. Here the wings, engines and empennage from the 777-9 give it Ultra Long Haul capabilities. In normal route use, this capability weighs on its fuel efficiency.

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Rolls cites timing, analysts cite poor financial condition for NMA withdrawal

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Introduction

March 4, 2019, © Leeham News: Rolls-Royce last week announced it had withdrawn from competition for the Boeing NMA engine provider, citing a mismatch in timing between its Ultra Fan being ready and Boeing’s desired entry into service.

Warren East, the RR CEO, glossed over other reasons, but they were there: the program making commercial sense and the impact of the Trent 1000 engine challenges.

Aerospace analysts interviewed by LNA and whose research notes were provided have other reasons.

Summary

  • After dissecting RR’s financial statements, with special charges, accounting changes and Free Cash Flow analysis, some analysts concluded the company simply doesn’t have the money to develop the engine for the NMA.
  • Although CEO East glossed over the Trent 1000 issues, some analysts feel this was more important than let on.
  • CFM, according to one analyst (and many observers), believes it is the favorite for the NMA engine selection, so RR bowed out.

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Shareholders OK Boeing-Embraer JV; court, anti-trust approvals next

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Introduction

Feb. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: Embraer’s shareholders this week approved the joint venture between their company and Boeing, moving another step closer to completion expected by the end of this year.

Boeing will own 80% of the new company and have governance control; Embraer will own 20%.

The shareholders’ action comes after a Brazilian court for the fourth or fifth time enjoined the companies from proceeding with negotiations. Higher courts overturned each previous injunction and will likely do so again.

Global regulatory anti-trust reviews are the step. All decisions are expected by year end.

The KC-390 is the largest plane designed and produced by Embraer. Source: Embraer.

John Slattery, CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, gave this take on the pending joint venture in his column on LinkedIn.

Summary

  • “NewCo” will be based in Brazil and be responsible for Boeing’s commercial airplanes up to 150 seats.
  • A second joint venture is planned for military development.
  • The KC-390 is a focus of the second JV.

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Airbus appears poised to launch A321XLR

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Introduction

Feb. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: The longer Boeing dithers on launching the New Midmarket Airplane, the harder it is to close an already difficult business case.

News last week that Airbus finally, at long last, is appears about to launch its Xtra Long Range A321XLR this year is overdue. Doing so will make Boeing’s NMA business case more difficult to close.

The aircraft should have been launch in late 2017, an insider told LNA recently. But the corruption scandals enveloping Airbus disrupted plans and drove executives to indecision. Launching the A321XLR was put on hold.

Summary
  • Killing the NMA.
  • A321XLR details.
  • Narrow market.
  • Engine down select soon.

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Airbus, Boeing pause on some production rate hikes

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Introduction

Feb. 21, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is boosting the A320 production to 60/mo this year and 63/mo next year.

But it’s put a pause on increasing the A350 rate from 10/mo to 13/mo.

Boeing was widely expected to follow its planned 737 rate hike of 57/mo, from this summer, to 63/mo next year to keep up with demand and with Airbus.

However, on the sidelines of the annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance conference last week, LNA learned that a 737 rate hike to 63/mo has been apparently put on a pause. Although Boeing has not made a decision to go to rate 63, the hike was expected in 2021, according to suppliers. This is now showing as 2022, they said.

Summary

  • Airbus, Boeing backlog for single-aisle airplanes extends years.
  • Both have ramped up production to meet demand, create delivery positions.
  • Supply chain struggles to keep up.
  • Twin-aisle demand waits for replacement surge.

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A380 end opens opportunity for A350-2000

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Introduction

Feb. 18, 2019 © Leeham News: Airbus’ decision to end the A380 program clears the path, if chosen, for a plane that was studied three or four years ago: the stretch of the A350-1000 to the size of the 777-9.

Will the termination of the A380 open the way to stretch the A350-1000? Source: Airbus.

A 400+ passenger “A350-2000” would have encroached too closely on the A380’s 500+ passengers. Officials feared the A350-2000 would hurt the sales prospects of the A380.

With the A380’s last delivery now planned for 20xx, this becomes a moot point.

The prospect of a new, Rolls-Royce Ultra Fan engine for the A350 around 2025 will give the -2000 significantly superior economics to the 777-9 and a longer range, a preliminary analysis by LNA shows.

Summary

  • An A350-2000 with RR Ultra Fan engines is superior to the 777-9.
  • However, Boeing has a big head start with orders for 340 777Xs, most of which are for the -9.
  • The market demand for a 400-450 seat airplane is increasingly iffy.
  • But the A350-900/1000neo helps business case.
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A simple solution to congested skies

By Dan Catchpole

Danieljcatchpole[at]gmail[dot]com

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Introduction

Feb. 14, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Flight delays cost the airline industry

Traffic back ups are increasing–so much so that Airbus has invested in improving air traffic management to avoid congestion affecting aircraft sales.

billions of dollars each year. They cause travelers untold aggravation and inconvenience every day. And the main culprit—air traffic congestion—is only going to get worse as Boeing and Airbus deliver tens of thousands of jetliners over the next couple decades.

Regulators, lawmakers and the aviation industry in the United States have settled on spending billions of taxpayer dollars on NextGen—after having already spent billions—to implement complex technical solutions to keep the skies safe and cut down on flight delays.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimated in 2017 that implementing NextGen will cost roughly $35.7 billion by 2030–$20.6 billion from the FAA and another $15.1 billion from the aviation industry.

NextGen has moved with the swiftness of a sprawling, technocratic federal program—that is to say like an elephant at the ballet. It has endured delays and cost escalation, though these have not been crippling. However, it is years away from unclogging America’s congested air spaces.

Moreover, there are very real questions as to whether NextGen will be able to deliver all the FAA promises it can.

Summary
  • Air spaces are getting more crowded, leading to greater flight delays.
  • Airbus is concerned that congestion could hurt demand for jetliners, and is taking steps to improve air traffic flow.
  • Substantial questions exist as to NextGen’s ability to unclog air traffic congestion.
  • Taking a system-wide approach that taps into airlines’ desire to maximize profits could be implemented now, say proponents.

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With CSeries, Airbus commands 78% of 100-150 seat sector

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Introduction

Feb. 11, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus acquired 50.01% of the Bombardier CSeries program last year.

Boeing and Embraer Commercial Aviation received Brazilian government approval last month and now await a nearly-year long regulatory approval process from around the globe.

Based on the announced orders at Jan. 1, Airbus has a 78% share of the 100-150 seat sector following the combinations.

Embraer sold more airplanes in this sector than Boeing: 95 E195-E2s to 70 737-7s.

The former CSeries has 526 orders to 55 for the A319neo.

Summary
  • 14% of the A220 orders are classified as “Red” in LNA’s judgment—orders that either should be removed from the backlog or, in one case, is highly questionable due to customer statements.
  • Another 11% of the A220 orders are classified as “Yellow,” primarily due to region risk.
  • Synergies between A220 and A320 are greater than E2 and 737.

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