Pontifications: Final thoughts of the Paris Air Show

Bu Scott Hamiltn

By Scott Hamilton

June 22, 2015, c. Leeham Co. The Paris Air Show was largely as expected, with a few small surprises. Boeing did better than expected via-a-vis Airbus, actually leading slightly in firm orders and tied in orders-and-options going into Thursday. This is virtually never the case, particularly at the Paris Air Show, Airbus’ “home” turf. At the same time, some Wall Street analysts noted the firm orders fell below expectations. I’m not especially concerned about whether an announcement was firm or a commitment, because the latter typically firm up, if not within the current calendar year then usually in the next. Note, for example, Boeing announced the launch of the 777X program at the 2013 Dubai Air Show was some 200 commitments, or thereabouts, but the orders didn’t firm until 2014. Airbus announced a commitment for 250 A320s from Indigo in 2014 and it will likely be firmed up this year.

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Pontifications: National policy, national security

By Scott Hamilton

June 15, 2015, c. Leeham Co. The battle between the the Big Three US carriers, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, vs the Big Three Middle Eastern carriers, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, was a big over-hang at the 71st International Air Transportation Assn. Annual General Assembly last week.

The US3 charge that the ME3 have received around $42bn in subsidies and claim continued government support put them at a disadvantage. Loads of information has been reported, with claims and counter-claims going back and forth. But the IATA conference attendees, including members of the media, were looking for sparks to fly between Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, who was on a couple of panels and who was voted president of IATA for the next year, Tim Clark, president of Emirates and Akbar Al-Baker, CEO of Qatar.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Hot competition in Middle east.

By Bjorn Fehrm


By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm


12 June 2015, C. Leeham Co: Earlier in the week we had an interesting interview with Sir Tim Clark, , president and COO of Emirates Airline. We discussed Emirates’ requirement for a twin aisle medium/long range complement to their Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleets. The competition is between Boeing’s 787-10 and Airbus’ A350-900. So far the assumptions have been that the 787-10 will be hard to beat on pure costs per seat for mid-range requirements in the 300-seat segment.

The 787-10 seats 323 passengers in Boeing’s old-fashioned IAC three class seating and 331 in our more modern, normalized two class seating with 60 inch angled lie flat in Business and 32 inch economy section. The A350-900 has so far seated 313 seats in the same normalized seating standard. Recent cabin changes by Airbus can now increase that to close to 330 seats. The configuration changes were originally conceived for A350-1000 but we believe Airbus will offer these to Emirates and they will make it into the -900 catalog.

The 787-10 is lighter and would therefore be more effective on fuel but the difference is small, given the A350-900’s more modern engines. So the overall discussion was that 787-10 had found its ideal customer, in need of many seats, a solid mid-range performance and lowest cost. That was until Monday’s interview with Clark.

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IATA: Lufthansa welcomes US carriers to Mid-East dispute

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa Group

June 7, 2015: The chief executive officer of Lutfhansa Airlines said he welcomes the Big Three US airliners to the dispute over whether the Big Three Middle Eastern carriers are unfairly competing against legacy airlines.

Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa Group, told a press conference on the opening day of the IATA Annual General Meeting that LH has long been complaining about Emirates Airline, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways and their aggressive expansion, first in Europe and now the US.

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are challenging open skies and subsidies to the ME3.

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Pontifications: re-engining airliners and the A380

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By Scott Hamilton

June 1, 2015, c. Leeham Co. The Paris Air Show begins in two weeks. One thing that won’t happen is the launch of the Airbus A380neo.

We still think it will happen, though at a later date.

Re-engining the A380 is highly controversial. The A380 is the plane critics love to hate. You can argue whether it should have been built in the first place. You can argue whether it was 10 years too soon. You can argue whether Airbus misjudged the size of the market. You can even argue its passenger appeal. I haven’t flown on the A380 yet, so I can’t speak from personal experience on the latter. I’ve previously discussed the other points.

You can argue whether the airplane should be re-engined. Leeham News concluded in January 2014 Airbus really had no choice but to re-engine the A380 if it wants to continue offering the model. If done inexpensively (a relative term, to be sure), it makes sense given the arrival around 2020 of the Boeing 777-9. It’s when design creep happens that trouble arises. Just ask Boeing on the 747-8.

Emirates Airlines says it will buy up to 200 A380neos if Airbus proceeds. Qatar Airways expresses interest. Lufthansa Airlines said a neo is needed to keep the A380 viable in the future, though it hasn’t taken the next step of saying it will buy more.

Re-engining is hardly new. Let’s take a look. Read more

Paris Air Show: Qatar and others

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June 1, 2015, c. Leeham Co. It could be called the Qatar Airways Air Show.

Qatar Airways plans to have five airliners on display at the Paris Air Show in two weeks: the Airbus A319, A320, A350, A380 and the Boeing 787. The carrier hasn’t announced whether it will provide an aerial display as it has at previous air shows, but Qatar may well have more airliners there than Airbus or Boeing.

As for manufacturers other than Airbus and Boeing, we don’t expect anything of consequence from these.


  • Irkut, COMAC, Mitsubishi, Sukoi and ATR are other major aircraft producers that will be at the Paris Air Show.
  • Engine makers CFM International, GE Aviation, Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and Engine Alliance will also be there.
  • An update on Airbus expectations.

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Airbus Innovation days: A350-1000 getting real

By Bjorn Fehrm


May 28, 2015, c. Leeham Co. We are visiting the Airbus Innovation days where we have been given an update all Airbus civil aircraft programs. The perhaps most interesting update is the progress of the A350-1000 as its forerunner, A350-900, is ramping its production to 15 aircraft during 2015.

The A350-1000 is next in turn; it will be flying next summer and will enter service with first customer Qatar Airways summer of 2017. The A350-1000 is getting more real and Airbus gave a good insight to the aircraft’s readiness for prime time during the sessions of today.

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Airbus A350 start stretching its wings

By Bjorn Fehrm


May 6, 2015, c. Leeham Co. Qatar Airways, as the first operator of the Airbus A350, now has four months of experience of the new twin aisle aircraft. As we have described in Bjorn’s Corner two weeks ago, the introduction has gone well, without major incidents.


Qatar Airways’ A350 stretching its wings. Source: Airbus.

The first destination was Doha-Frankfurt, to be followed by Doha-Singapore on June 1. Both destinations are mid-range, with flying times of six to eight hours. These can be seen as introductory rotations, close to Qatar’s base should replacement aircraft or maintenance actions be needed.

With the first period in the bag, Qatar now feels confident enough to announce how they will take the A350 to its true job types. Here the relevant parts of what Qatar Airways announced Tuesday this week:

“Increasing passenger demand to America’s largest city and financial centre, New York, has prompted Qatar Airways to add a second daily service to the city from 1st March 2016. Qatar Airways has served the city daily since the initial route launch in 2007. The second daily service to New York’s JFK will be operated by the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft providing passengers an opportunity to experience both the Boeing B777 and the A350 aircraft types on the route.

“ From 16th March, 2016, the airline will launch daily flights to Boston, the capital and largest city of Massachusetts, and will operate its latest flagship A350 XWB in a two-class configuration with 36 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, featuring an 80” fully flat bed and 17” HD in-flight entertainment screen.”

This is more challenging work for an A350 and we will therefore take a first look into what Qatar can expect in terms of overall aircraft performance on such destinations come spring next year. Read more