“We’re sick and tired of new technologies:” Avolon CEO

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Introduction

By Scott Hamilton

March 16, 2020, © Leeham News: “I can tell you from our perspective, we’re kind of sick and tired of new, new technology. It’s not proven to be the home run.”

This blunt assessment comes from the chief executive officer of the big aircraft lessor, Avolon.

Domhnal Slattery

Domhnal Slattery, the CEO, was giving his critique of whether Boeing should launch a new airplane once the 737 MAX crisis is over.

Boeing was on a path to decide whether to launch the New Midmarket Airplane when the MAX was grounded one year ago this month.

Airbus was waiting for Boeing to move before deciding how to respond.

Summary
  • Airbus and Boeing should “stick to their knitting.”
  • Focus on incremental improvements for now.
  • 2030s to 2050s will be the next big advance in technologies.

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Does the new weight bump turn the A330-900 to a trans-Pacific aircraft? Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 12, 2020, © Leeham News: We continue last week’s theme and compare Airbus’ new 251t variant of the A330-900 to the A350-900 in this article.

We saw in the first article the A330-900 251t is now a credible long-range aircraft, including the long hop over the Pacific ocean. When to use the A330-900 or the A350-900? We analyze their economics and where one is to prefer to the other for long-range operations.

Summary:
  • The Airbus A330-900 in its 251t version can serve many US to Asia routes that were reserved for the A350-900 before.
  • We check if the economics support replacing the A350-900 with the A330-900 for these routes.

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Does the new weight bump turn the A330-900 to a trans-Pacific aircraft?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

March 5, 2020, © Leeham News: Airbus gave an update on their new 251t variant of the A330-900 this week. With a 251t Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW), the former mid-ranger is mutating to an able long-hauler.

The true long-haul aircraft in the Airbus lineup is the A350, the go-to aircraft from Airbus for Pacific-Ocean crossings. But with a nominal 7,200nm range, the A330-900 is no longer the trans-Atlantic aircraft it was. It will be an alternative to the A350 for many trans-Pacific routes.

Summary:
  • The A330 started as a mid-range aircraft with less than 4,000nm range. At the time, the A340-300 was positioned as the long-ranger.
  • With the A340 out of the way and to compete with Boeing’s 787, the A330 grew its range 85%. Is it now an alternative to the A350?

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Bjorn’s Corner: Why e in ePlane shall stand for environment, Part 11.

February 28, 2020, ©. Leeham News: We now look at technology developments that make sense, and can deliver real improvements in the near future.

We start in this Corner with what more electric aircraft and engines can bring.

Figure 1. Boeing’s 787, the first more electric airliner. Source: Boeing.

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Norwegian’s attempt to survive

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction

Dec. 12, 2019, © Leeham News: Norwegian Air Shuttle (NAS), struggling to survive after years of over-expansion, took major steps over the last few weeks to overhaul its finances and strategy.

Major strategic shifts included the sale of the Argentinian subsidiary, the end of trans-Atlantic narrowbody operations, and exit out of long-haul markets in two Scandinavian capitals.

The airline appointed Jacob Shram, a former McKinsey consultant and Statoil executive, as a new CEO. Former JetBlue Chief Commercial Officer Marty St. George is also joining the airline on an interim basis.

After years of breakneck expansion, the airline vowed a shift in focus on profitability and business efficiency. In this article, LNA analyzes the various announcements and assesses whether NAS has a chance to survive in the long term.

Summary
  • (Finally) cutting the losses;
  • No stones left unturned to raise cash;
  • Drastically altered fleet plans;
  • Chances of working out.

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Understanding Rolls-Royce’s financials

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

Dec. 2, 2019, © Leeham News: Rolls-Royce continues to be in the spotlight for the Trent 1000 durability issues, with no end in sight. The engine manufacturer recently increased the total disruption cost estimate to £2.4bn.

The engine-related charges and substantial research and development expenditures have raised questions about Rolls-Royce’s financial health. As of the end of 2018, the company had a net negative £1bn equity on its balance sheet.

However, the company has a market capitalization of around £14bn and holds a credit rating comfortably in Investment Grade territory.

This article analyzes the reasons for the disconnect between the company book value and market capitalization. Accounting differences between the USA’s GAAP and Europe’s IFRS play a significant role.

Rolls-Royce’s strategic choices in the early 2010s will have ramifications for engine development on future commercial aircraft programs.

Summary
  • A tumultuous history;
  • From cash cow to binge development spending;
  • Brexit and IFRS accounting paint bleaker pictures than reality;
  • Strategic decision bites back;
  • A lifeline and future engine programs.

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Several aircraft programs beset by engine woes

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By Judson Rollins

Nov. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: Nearly every manufacturer of jet engines is experiencing problems with various models, which is causing delays for several prominent Boeing and Airbus programs. The Airbus A220, A320neo, A330neo and Boeing 787, 777X are all experiencing engine-related setbacks.

Grounded 787s at London Heathrow. Source: Twitter / Alex Macheras.

Summary

  • Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) operational limitations on A220, A320neo.
  • CFM LEAP said to be causing renewed A320neo delivery delays.
  • Multiple new airworthiness directives on Trent 1000, 7000.
  • GE9x component issues causing delays to first 777X test flight.

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Is re-engining the Boeing 767 a good idea?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

October 17, 2019, © Leeham News: FlightGlobal writes Boeing is investigating re-engining the 767-400ER with GE GEnx engines to produce a new freighter and perhaps a passenger aircraft as a replacement for the NMA project. Development costs would be lower and it would be easier to get a business plan which closes for the upgraded 767 than for the NMA.

We commented on the idea earlier in the week and here follows a technical analysis of what re-engining the 767 would bring.

Summary:

  • The 767 is 40 years old in its base design. We look at the fundamentals to understand the trades involved in extending its life with new engines.
  • We also compare the 767 technologies with those for the NMA to understand the compromises of an updated 767RE compared with a clean sheet NMA.

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A380 service life struggles

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction

Sep. 30, 2019, © Leeham News: It hasn’t been an easy year for the Airbus A380 program since the end of production was announced in February.

Lufthansa announced in March that Airbus would buy back six A380s in 2022/2023 as part of a follow up order for 20 A350-900s. Air France intends to retire its Superjumbo fleet by 2022. Emirates retired two aircraft that were less than seven years old.

A number of factors are leading airlines to prematurely retire their A380s.

Summary
  • Small MRO market increases maintenance costs;
  • (Prohibitively) expensive cabin refurbishments;
  • Operators struggling to operate profitably year-round;
  • A lack of secondary market;
  • No business case for engine PIPs.

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Opportunity and challenges of a 787-10ER, Part 3.

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By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

September 5, 2019, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we examined how a longer-range model of Boeing’s 787-10 would look like. We designed a 787-10ER version (ER for Extended Range) by increasing the Maximum TakeOff Weight of the aircraft. We also did some other adjustments to accommodate the increased weight.

We now compare the resulting aircraft with its nearest competitor, the Airbus A350-900. How would a 787-10ER stack up against an A350-900?

Summary:
  • A 787-10ER is a narrower aircraft with a smaller wing than an A350-900. This affects passenger comfort but it also gives a lighter aircraft with less wetted area.
  • The later generation engines on the A350-900 closes the difference in operating costs depending on how the aircraft is operated.

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