Pontifications: Transformation is key to increasing production rates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 19, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The likely prospect that Airbus and Boeing will increase single-aisle production rates next decade is outlined in our paywall article today.

The whys and capabilities to do so are outlined in the paywall post. The how is what I’ve been writing about since the first of the year, when LNC looked ahead to its 2018 forecast.

The “how” is the transformation in production that is underway in aerospace.

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Leahy remains steadfast in A380 future

Feb. 16, 2018, © Leeham Co.: It’s been a long struggle and there isn’t a re-engining any time soon, but John Leahy still firmly believes in the market viability of the Airbus A380.

John Leahy stand behind the Airbus A380. Photo via Google images.

Leahy, who retired last month as COO-Customers, continues to support the transition to Eric Schulz, EVP, Chief of Sales, Marketing & Contracts. One of Leahy’s last deals was to firm up an A380 MOU for 20 orders and 16 options for Emirates Airline.

In his final retirement interview with LNC, Leahy didn’t waver from the messaging Airbus used since the launch of the A380 program in 2000: passenger traffic doubles every 15 years, no new airports and few new runways are being added in Europe, the US or Asia outside of China and the need for the A380 remains.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 5.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the fourth article about the Chinese/Russian wide-body, CR929, we analyzed the engine selection for the aircraft. Now we continue with a first performance analysis of the CR929 against its main competitors, the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A330-900.

We will use the preliminary data we have collected for the CR929 and compare this to the data for the 787-9 and A330-900. It’s the first analysis, on preliminary information. But there is enough knowledge of the key parameters to use our performance model to draw the first conclusions about the CR929’s positioning in the market.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is modeled closely after the 787-9. The technology for structures, systems, engines and aerodynamics are similar.
  • With a similar payload capacity, the fuel consumption should be better as the CR929 is defined with a lower maximum range.
  • It’s wider cabin eats up the weight and drag advantage, however. There will be little difference between the efficiency of the 787-9 and the 15 years younger CR929.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 4.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

February 1, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the third article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Now we continue with analyzing the project’s engine needs.

The CR929 is sized to use engines from the Boeing 787 project. Both GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce got Request for Proposals (RFPs) on 22 Dec. 2017. In addition, the Russian and Chinese engine industry wants to develop an engine for the project.

Summary:

  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program needs engines in the 75,000lbf thrust class.
  • The project’s engine specification is closely modeled after the engines available from the Boeing 787 project.
  • In addition to the available 787 engines, the Chinese and Russian engine industry is trying to unite behind a joint engine proposal.

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IBERIA gets upgraded A350-900

By Bjorn Fehrm 

January 31, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: IBERIA will be the first airline to get the upgraded Airbus A350-900. The airline presented the news at the Fitur 2018 International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid.

The airline’s first A350-900, delivered in June, will be the first A350-900 featuring the aerodynamic improvements we presented in October.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 25, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the second article about the new Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the size of the aircraft and its passenger capacity. The CR929 can be best described as a shorter range version of Boeing’s 787-9. We also presented the chosen technologies for the project.

Now we continue and look at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Neither of them (COMAC of China and United Aircraft of Russia) have developed and certified an aircraft like the CR929 before.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has high ambitions. The structure shall be composites and the systems state of the art.
  • We now go through the aircraft’s chosen technologies and review what experience base the Chinese and Russian aeronautical industry has and what challenges they will face. Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape: Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 18, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the first article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, the CR929, we described the route to a joint program company and the launch of the project.

We now analyze the aircraft, based on available information. With the information, it’s possible to model the aircraft in our performance model and get the first understanding of performance and efficiency.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is closely modelled after the Boeing 787-9. The overall design and dimensions are similar.
  • The major difference to the 787-9 is in cabin width, allowing comfortable nine abreast seating, and the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).
  • The decision to design CR929-600 for a lower MTOW has restricted range to 6,500nm with the nominal cabin capacity of 280 passengers.

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Chinese and Russian Widebody Project takes shape

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Chinese and Russian Widebody program started in earnest over the last year. After signing a joint venture agreement in 2016, the project now has a joint management company, CRAIC, formed 22nd of May 2017, and standing for China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation.

The company will have final assembly and management located in Shanghai.  The aircraft has also got its final name, CR929-600. It will hold 280 passengers in a three-class cabin with a range of 6,500nm, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The CRAIC CR929-600, the main aircraft in the Chinese-Russian widebody program. Source: CRAIC.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has taken off after the joint company was established spring 2017.
  • The organization of the company is set, with the Chinese taking the rudder by the power of a five times larger market and economy and a 10 times larger population.
  • The joint company, CRAIC, issued its first vendor RFP to GE and Rolls-Royce before Christmas for the aircraft’s propulsion system.
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United Aircraft’s and COMAC’s eventful year

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 03, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: Both United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) and COMAC got their single-aisle airliner projects into flight test during 2017. The MC-21 and C919 had their first flights within less than a month of each other, with the Chinese C919 first at 5th of May, followed by the Irkut MC-21 on the 28th of May.

Superficially the aircraft and projects are similar. Both are 150-220 seat single aisle projects in the mold of Airbus’ A320neo and Boeing’s 737 MAX programs. Looking a bit closer, they are different. One is extending the state of the art in several areas; the other is playing safe.

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Singapore Airline’s new A380s feature improved cabins

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 13, 2017, ©. Leeham Co, Toulouse: Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first new generation A380 today in Toulouse. The aircraft features new cabins in all four classes, First-, Business-, Premium economy- and Economy class.

The aircraft is the first of five newly ordered A380. In addition, 14 of the present A380s will be upgraded to the new cabin standard.

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