American hopeful Trump Administration will take on Mid-East 3 airlines

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Introduction

Oct. 2, 2017, © Leeham Co., Grapevine (TX): American Airlines officials dodged commenting about the specifics of the Boeing-Bombardier trade dispute when asked about it at the investors/media day last week in this Dallas suburb.

Instead, the general counsel, Steve Johnson, offered up only a general statement supporting the Trump Administration’s hard line on trade.

The reason for this generality is obvious: American, along with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, is engaged in its own trade war and needs support from the Administration.

AA, DL and UA are battling Big Three airlines from the Middle East over being subsidized and abusing Open Skies treaties. The US carriers want Trump to knock down the ME3, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.

Oddly, no question was asked of the American officials about the current state of the battle during the day.

LNC asked American CEO Doug Parker about the issue following the event, however.

Summary
  • Recent meeting with US was encouraging.
  • No commitment yet from Trump Administration.
  • Market conditions don’t matter to ME3, American says

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VLA sector dead, Boeing claims, but Large Wide Body also struggles

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Introduction

Sept. 26, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing declared the Very Large Aircraft sector dead in its most recent Current Market Outlook, removing the category entirely when the 2017 CMO was revealed at the Paris Air Show.

Airbus A350-1000. Sales are slow–is the 350-450 seat sector the next VLA? Airbus photo.

But the Large Wide Body (LWB) category appears to be on life support.

The LWB is 350-seats and above. This includes the Boeing 777-300ER, which is already on its way out, the 777-8, the 777-9 and the Airbus A350-1000.

The Medium Wide Body (MWB) category centers around 300 seats. This includes the A330-900, A350-900, 777-200LR and 787-10.

The Small Wide Body (SWB) includes the 787-8, 787-9, A330-200 and A330-800 in the 220-275 seat sector, twin-aisle aircraft. This does not include the 220-240 seat high density Airbus A321neo and Boeing 737-10 single-aisle aircraft.

Boeing’s CMO defines the twin-aisle markets differently: Small wide-body:  <300 seats,  Large wide-body:  >300 seats.

Summary
  • Airlines prefer smaller wide bodies.
  • Downsizing trend begun with 787 continues.
  • Smaller outsells larger in seven of last 10 years.
  • Two of the three years involved extraordinary events.

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Worries increase over Middle Eastern airlines

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Introduction

Aug. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Market sources are increasingly pointing to weakness in the Middle East airline sphere as a threat to existing Airbus and Boeing

Emirates Airline holds the future of the Airbus A380 in its hand, so-to-speak. Source: Emirates.

orders.

Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways are the Top 3 of Boeing’s Top 10 wide-body customers.

These three also represent 73% of Boeing’s 777X order backlog.

Qatar and Etihad are the Nos. 2 and 3 wide-body customers at Airbus (after AirAsiaX); Emirates has slipped to No. 8.

The financial trouble at Etihad, exacerbated by its poor investments in the now-bankrupt Alitalia Airlines and AirBerlin, have been well documented.

Emirates’ profits have fallen dramatically and is facing over-capacity. Qatar Airways is now isolated by intra-geopolitical events.

Summary
  • Emirates and Etihad already deferred Boeing orders.
  • Lessors beginning to express concerns.
  • Customer concentration for 777X worries some.
  • A380 future rests largely with Emirates.

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Mid-year production update at Airbus

July 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s mid-way through 2017 and LNC is taking its second look at production and delivery stream flows for the Big Four airframe manufacturers.

We examined Boeing Monday in advance of its earnings call Wednesday. Today we look at Airbus in advance of its earnings call today. We look at Bombardier and Embraer next Monday.

We use the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker as the basis for our exam.

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Pivotal year for A380

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Introduction

June 12, 2017, © Leeham Co.: This is a pivotal year for the Airbus A380.

Sales have dried up. Singapore Airlines is retiring five early versions of the airplane and there is no new home for them—these may headed for the scrap heap.

The Middle Eastern carriers, which are the largest users for the airplane, are in turmoil.

The backlog remains weak. Aside from Emirates Airline, which as noted is in turmoil, the other orders are with carriers that are unlikely to take delivery.

Summary
  • The A380’s future rests with Emirates Airline.
  • Any Performance Improvement Package is dependent upon Emirates placing a new order.
  • Boeing’s new 20-year forecast eliminates the passenger 747-8 from the Very Large Aircraft sector. Airbus continues to forecast a need for 1,400 VLAs.
  • Airbus to decide this year whether to reduce production rate below 1/mo in 2019.

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Qatar Airways: Caught in a political crisis

By Bjorn Fehrm 

June 07, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We wrote about Qatar Airways last week, the flag carrier of Qatar. One week later, the airline finds itself caught in a political crossfire.

The background to the crisis is complicated. At the root is a longtime feud in the area. To aid in understanding what is happening, we reference some background information and look at possible consequences for Qatar Airways.

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Qatar Airways: Becoming a global powerhouse

By Bjorn Fehrm

May 30, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Qatar Airways is the flag carrier of Qatar, a country of 0.3m Qatari citizens and 2.3m expatriates. Its total population of 2.6m makes it one of the world’s smallest countries. Yet its influence is outsize, due to housing the world’s third largest Gas and Oil reserves.

Qatar Airways as a consequence has not lacked financing for its expansion.

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Etihad Airways: where to now?

By Bjorn Fehrm

May 24, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Etihad Airways appointed a new interim group CEO and CFO on 8th of May. The strategy of James Hogan, Etihad CEO since 2006, to grow the airline through partner alliances, coupled with minority investments, has hit trouble.

The latecomer to the Gulf carrier’s growth party is now set for a strategy review by an incoming CEO.We describe the background to the problems and go through the options for Etihad’s future. Read more

Middle Eastern airline turmoil hits Boeing

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Introduction

April 10, 2017, © Leeham Co.:  Tim Clark of Emirates Airline said the new breed of long-haul, low cost carriers are hurting EK’s load factors and yields.

Etihad Airlines’ business strategy of taking financial stakes in LCCs hasn’t produced the positive financial results desired.

Three big airlines, EK, EY and Qatar Airways, face over-capacity now compounded by electronic carry-on restrictions by the US and UK.

Figure 1. Click on image for a crisp view.

The thee carriers largely compete for the same connecting traffic through hubs only 72-235 miles apart (Figure 1). This is like having hubs in Milwaukee and Chicago (81 air miles apart) and Chicago-Detroit (237 air miles) with much, much smaller domestic catchment basins.

Summary
  • Declining financial results for Emirates, Etihad.
  • Deferring airplanes: 787s, 777X
  • Long-haul LLC, Trump travel ban, poor investments hurt the airlines.

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Major fleet decisions may not be positive for Airbus, Boeing

Pontifications is off this week.

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Introduction

March 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: There are some major fleet decisions that will probably come down the pike this year at American, Delta and United airlines. Not all of them are going to be viewed positively by Airbus and Boeing.

There is also a serious warning sign emerging from the Middle East that could have serious, negative impacts on Airbus and Boeing.

Summary
  • American Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-900s any more. Consolidation with US Airways appears to have made these surplus.
  • Delta Air Lines, which so far eschewed any orders for the Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXes, is understood to be readying a Request for Proposals to be issued this year.
  • United Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-1000s any more. Picking up cheap Boeing 777-300ERs appear to have made these surplus.
  • Emirates Airlines, reacting to Brexit and Donald Trump’s travel bans, is undertaking a full business review in response to a sharp drop in bookings.

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