Big Three Gulf Carriers’ financials

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction

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.

 

Summary
  • Very high growth at all three airlines;
  • Funded by different means;
  • Global slowdown and Geopolitical tensions force strategy rethink;
  • Varying levels of earnings quality;
  • An unsuspected (significant) source of revenues.

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Boeing’s 777X problem: Shifting market, lagging economics, softening order book

By Judson Rollins

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Introduction

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.

Summary
  • VLA demand is limited; Airbus’s forecast seems overly optimistic.
  • 777X order book is concentrated on just a handful of customers.
  • Middle East carriers account for two-thirds of 777X orders.
  • Inferior economics limit the 777-8 to a narrow niche like the 777-200LR.
  • 777-9 economics outweighed by trip cost risk, lower yield of marginal seats.

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14 new airplanes and derivatives see EIS through 2027

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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 entry into service for the Boeing 777X slipping to the first quarter of 2021.

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.

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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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Airbus ends the A380 program

Feb. 13, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus announced today (Seattle time, Feb. 14 in Toulouse) that it is terminating the A380 program.

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.

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A380 program termination expected tomorrow

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.

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KKR invests $1bn in small lessor

Jan. 3, 2019, © Leeham News: The US private equity fund KKR agreed to invest $1bn in boutique lessor Altavair, a deal that includes taking a 50% stake in the company.

KKR may supplement the investment with additional commitments, the companies said.

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LNC’s Top 10 stories in 2018

Jan. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing dominated the Top 10 news stories last year, as measured by views.

Displacing Airbus at Hawaiian Airlines, which ordered the 787-9 and canceled the A330-800, led the readership.

Boeing’s flip of the Hawaiian Airlines order for the A330-800 to the 787-9 was the most read story of 2018. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines.

Airbus’ launch of the A350-900ULR came in second.

Here are the Top 10 stories on Leeham News for 2018: Read more

2019 Outlook: Boeing’s decision on NMA is the headline to watch

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Introduction

Dec. 21, 2018, © Leeham News: It is a stretch to say 2019 is a pivotal year for Boeing.

There would have to be events of tsunami proportions to be pivotal for a company with revenues of more than $90bn.

But there is no doubt 2019 will be a very important year for Boeing.

Summary
  • The headline to watch will be the widely anticipated launch of the New Midmarket Aircraft, also called the 797.
  • The 777X begins flight testing next year. Sales are stalled for the newest airplane of the Boeing family.
  • The proposed new joint venture between Boeing and Embraer is expected to be consummated by the end of the year.

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How useful is an NMA, Part 4

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

November 1, 2018, © Leeham News.: Last week we looked at how a Boeing NMA would function as a medium range airliner in the Asia-Pacific.

We now continue with flying the two aircraft variants from Middle East locations, exploring how large an area in Asia, Europe and Africa the aircraft would cover.

Artists impression of the Boeing NMA. Source: The Air Current.

Summary:

  • The profile of an NMA fits well in a Middle East Carrier’s fleet. Dependent on location it covers all of Europe and most of Africa and Asia.
  • As the NMA is a lesser aircraft than the present long-range aircraft used on the routes it would have impressive economics for this type of operation.

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