By the Leeham News Team
Feb. 28, 2022, © Leeham News: Airbus last Friday filed its answer to the lawsuit filed by Qatar Airways over the A350 paint issues. Qatar claims 21 A350s have defective paint issues that lead to safety concerns for lightning protection. Qatar’s national regulator grounded the airplanes.
The manufacturer replies in its answer that it believes the regulator acted at the airline’s request, which Airbus believes was motivated by economic reasons rather than safety issues.
Airbus also said that the paint stripping of the A350 intended for repainting was improperly done and deviated from Airbus’ procedures outlined in its manuals.
By Scott Hamilton
Feb. 18, 2022, © Leeham News: Qatar Airways was in default of its Airbus contracts, allowing the OEM to cancel the orders for two A350-1000s and 50 A321neos, say people familiar with how these things work.
In a court filing last month, Airbus directly made this assertion.
The moves by Airbus over several weeks to cancel the orders from a major customer that is not in financial distress is unheard of.
Qatar and Airbus are embroiled in a very public dispute over flaking paint on A350s owned by Qatar that now is the subject of lawsuits in a London court. The airline seeks nearly $700m in damages. Qatar claims the flaking paint is a safety issue, backed by the government regulator that grounded 23 A350s. Airbus, and its governing regulator, EASA, say no safety issue is at stake.
Airbus offered to repaint the airplanes and provide compensation, say people familiar with the situation. The compensation was unacceptable to Qatar Airways, they say.
By Vincent Valery
Dec. 17, 2020, © Leeham News: After running a series on the Dreamliner, LNA will now start a series on Airbus’ latest-generation twin-aisle aircraft, the A350. Airbus should deliver its 400th A350 this month.
After a delayed ramp-up to 10 units per month, Airbus had to cut the A350 production rate to five per month after the COVID-19 pandemic. The European OEM might have to follow Boeing’s footsteps and reduce twin-aisle production rates further.
The A350 program has an official backlog of 532 orders: 415 for the -900 and 117 for -1000. Once passenger traffic recovers, Airbus should ramp production back up of its best-selling twin-aisle aircraft.
Despite its success, the A350 program wasn’t without hiccups. There were several and sizable iterations before Airbus finalized the A350 platform, and the -800 variant is non-existent but not officially canceled.
By Vincent Valery
Nov. 4, 2019, © Leeham News: The rise of the Big Three Middle Eastern carriers since the mid-2000s has been nothing short of astounding.
They took full advantage of an advantageous geographical location: 85% of the world population is within a 10-hour flight from either Qatar or the UAE. Emirates and Qatar Airways connect all continents, except Antarctica.
This transformation into super connectors did not come without controversies. The most vocal are the Big Three US legacy carriers, through the Partnership for Open and Fair Skies. They accuse the Gulf Carriers of benefiting from massive subsidies that allow them to underprice their competitors.
As part of a deal between Qatar, the UAE, and the USA, the Big Three Gulf Carrier started publishing audited financial statements. Emirates’ and Qatar Airways’ financial statements are publicly available on their websites since 1994 and 2015, respectively. Etihad Airways has been releasing some income statement information since 2010.
Ahead of the upcoming Dubai Air Show Nov. 18-19, LNA had a look at those financial statements. We outline our takeaways in this article.
By Judson Rollins
Oct. 28, 2019, © Leeham News: The Boeing 777X’s lackluster sales to date put it in a similar light as the soon-to-end A380 program. Is the era of the 400+ seat aircraft turning onto final approach?
There are only 344 777Xs on firm order at present. As many as 59 of these orders are soft. The aircraft has been available for sale since May 2013, during a period of near-record global airline profitability. This calls into question the market viability of the 777X – and whether Boeing will ever break even on the program.
July 15, 2019, © Leeham News: There are 14 new and derivative aircraft scheduled for entry into service (EIS) through 2027. This rises to 16 if Boeing launches the New Midmarket Aircraft (NMA).
But there are plenty of uncertainties around precise EIS hanging over some of these.
LNA sees the Boeing 777X EIS slipping into early 2021. China’s C919 is now slated for a 2021 EIS, but development has been tricky and delays have been common. Russia’s MC-21 flight testing has been slow and international sanctions hang over this aircraft.
Mitsubishi’s MRJ90, now called the M90, is slated to enter service next year. It, too, has been plagued by delays. The redesigned MRJ70, the M100, moves from a 2021 EIS to a planned 2023 EIS—but given the MRJ90’s history of delays, the company has to persuade the industry no more slippages are likely.
Here is a rundown by year and aircraft of the EIS dates.
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.
“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.”
The last airplane will roll off the assembly line in 2021, for Emirates Airlines.
Emirates cancelled an order for 39 A380s. In its place, the carrier ordered 30 A350s and 40 A330neos.
The Emirates and Airbus press release is here.
Feb. 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is expected to announce tomorrow the termination of the A380 program, a move that had been rumored for weeks.
Tomorrow is Airbus’ annual press conference for 2018 results. Its Board of Directors meets today.
Word emerged last month that Emirates Airline was considering cancelling its 2017 order for the giant airplane, swapping the 20 (plus 17 options) for the A350 or the A330neo.
Last week, Qantas Airways, as long expected, canceled its remaining order for eight A380s. This week, Qatar Airways said it will begin retiring its A380s when the first reaches age 10.