Pontifications: March is a critical month for engine OEMs

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 25, 2019, © Leeham News: Even as Boeing put off a decision whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft until 2020, next month could be an important milestone—not only for the program but especially for the engine makers.

Unless delayed, engine down-select is supposed to be made in March.

This is a critical decision that could have huge implications to one of the engine OEMs—Rolls-Royce.

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Pontifications: 787-10 engines too small for Emirates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 4, 2019, © Leeham News: There is more to Emirates Airline’s renewed its interest in the Airbus A350 and the potential swap-out of Airbus A380 orders than meets the eye.

The Airfinance Journal Dublin conference is worth attending for the program, but the real news is often generated on the sidelines. This is where I picked up noise about the Emirates interest in swapping the A350 for the A380.

The renewed interest, and growing disaffection with the A380 (over the engine issues) was part of it.

But Emirates’ interest in the A350 stems more from a realization the Boeing 787-10 won’t do the job the airline wants, according to the sideline conversation at the conference.

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Key customers shrug off Boeing’s 2020 NMA launch date

Jan. 30, 2019, © Leeham News: Key customers and suppliers shrugged off Boeing’s announcement today that a program launch for the prospective New Midmarket Aircraft won’t come until 2020.

If Boeing goes ahead with the NMA, a decision yet to be made, an announcement was widely expected at the Paris Air Show in June.

Authority to Offer (ATO) the airplane for sale may still come as early as March or April.

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Rolls-Royces sees NMA “addressable” market as 4,000-5,000, same as Boeing

Jan. 22, 2019, © Leeham News: Rolls-Royce sees an “addressable” market for the Middle of the Market Aircraft at between 4,000 and 5,000 over 20 years—the same size Boeing sees.

But at the Airfinance Journal annual conference today in Dublin, an executive declined to be specific about the details of this assessment.

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Rolls sees end of Trent 1000 issues, but a spike in 787 AOG possible

Jan. 22, 2019, © Leeham News, Dublin: Rolls-Royce faces an uptick in Boeing 787s that may become “aircraft on the ground” (AOG) as inspections of Trent 1000s spike in the coming months.

But Richard Goodhead, SVP Marketing, Rolls-Royce, says the worst is behind the company and the airlines—even though it will be a few years before engine part replacements are fully integrated into the global fleet.

There are more than 100 Boeing 787 Trent 1000 customers. About 20 have issues.

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Countdown to decision on Boeing’s NMA, Part 3: Engine selection

By Dan Catchpole

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Introduction

January 21 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing number crunchers are feverishly working through engine bids from Rolls-Royce, Pratt & Whitney and CFM International, the partnership of Safran and General Electric (GE), the three competitors vying to power Boeing’s New Midmarket Airplane (NMA). Boeing is expected to ask for a best and final offer by the end of January, with engine selection planned in February.

That gives Boeing enough time to get authority to offer from the board of directors, likely in March or April, and to launch the NMA (likely as the 797) at the Paris Air Show in June.

Boeing faces big challenges in closing the business case, though. The process has slogged on far longer than company leaders had expected. Even so, Boeing executives’ relentless optimism about the NMA business case stands in sharp contrast to the skepticism of many industry insiders. At least two of the engine makers, for example, think market demand is about half of Boeing’s public forecast.

Each of the three engine makers vying to get on the NMA have some significant liability. The industry insiders and analysts interviewed for this article say is the decision really comes down to Pratt and CFM. Given the pressures on NMA business case, many see a scaled-up CFM Leap as the front runner. It offers the least risk, even if it also has the least upside.

Summary:
  • CFM: The LEAP has performed well since going into service, but GE’s financial troubles could weigh down its bid.
  • Pratt & Whitney: PW’s GTF is a great fit for NMA requirements, but the engine maker has a full plate with the GTF on five new airplane programs.
  • Rolls-Royce: The NMA would be an opportunity to launch Rolls’ UltraFan, but does Boeing want to bet on a completely new engine?

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2018 deliveries: Airbus leads Single Aisle, Boeing Widebody and Freighters

By Bjorn Fehrm

Jan. 10, 2019, © Leeham News: Boeing and Airbus came within six aircraft in their 2018 deliveries, 806 versus 800. For orders, Boeing was the leader, with 893 net orders versus Airbus 747.

Looking at Orders and Deliveries for the different segments there are some interesting trends.

Airbus new Hamburg FAL (Final Assembly Line) for the A320. Source: Airbus.

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Airbus poised to out-deliver Boeing in 2019

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  • LNC’s Corporate and Enterprise subscribers received this Jan. 3.

Jan. 8, 2019, © Leeham News: Airbus is positioned to out-deliver Boeing this year, boosted by the addition of the Bombardier CSeries acquisition last year.

LNC projects that Airbus will deliver nearly 950 airliners this compared, compared with Boeing’s projected deliveries of about 890 jets.

These are LNC forecasts, not those of the manufacturers. Guidance for the year should come on their respective year-end earnings calls: February for Airbus and Jan. 30 for Boeing.

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2019 Outlook: Irkut leads Russia’s airliner industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

January 3, 2019, © Leeham News.: The last year was a quiet year for the airliner side of Irkut Corporation (Irkut). It continued testing its two MC-21 single-aisle airliners and rolled out the third test aircraft.

Behind the scenes, there were larger changes. Irkut was handed the shares of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company (SCAC), the designer and producer of the Superjet 100. The move is part of merging the Russian airliner industry into one company.

During 2018, United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), the parent of Irkut and SCAC, started the consolidation by moving all new airliner projects to Irkut, including the CR929 widebody project with China. The consolidation will continue 2019.

Summary:
  • Consolidating the disparate airliner projects within UAC makes sense. The competition is International, not Irkut versus Sukhoi, Tupolev or Ilyushin.
  • Will this improve the checkered fortunes of Russian airliner business? It’s the right move to get away from 70 years of Soviet isolation and rules of business. But it’s not the last change; more is needed.
  • The coming year will be crucial for the SSJ100 to find its model for how to support Western airlines. Interjet went half OK but CityJet didn’t. Will Adria be better?
  • It’s also an important flight test year for MC-21, which needs to pick up speed to certificate in 2020.
  • The CR929 widebody is now an Irkut project. Will the change improve the chance of keeping the time plan?

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2019 Outlook: leaving Airbus’ troubled year behind

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

December 19, 2018, © Leeham News.: Next year is a time when Airbus hopes to leave its troubled 2018 behind.

But 2018 was also when the company wanted to leave the troubles of 2017 behind it.

Not only did 2018 not improve. In a number of ways it turned worse.

Engineless A320neos at Toulouse Airport. Airbus hopes this is a thing of the past. Photo via Google images.

Turmoil in the management ranks brought back memories of the politically infested Airbus of 20 years ago. And there were other issues.

Production problems with the A320 continued. The A330neo was further delayed and the A380 order from Emirates to save the program took forever to materialize. The negotiations to fix the contracts for A400M couldn’t be brought to a close.

There were two bright lights in the year. The A350 was now out of its cabin supplier problems and delivering aircraft to plan. The other was the gift from Boeing’s suing Bombardier and its CSeries the year before. The top modern Bombardier CS100/300 became Airbus A220 on the first of July. Price tag; $1 for 50.01% of the program.

Summary
  • Changes in executives are almost over.
  • Pratt & Whitney’s engine delivery delays are caught up and CFM’s delays are diminishing.
  • Production ramp ups are peaking (for now) and deliveries should be at a record rate next year.
  • Airbus is waiting for Boeing to decide whether to launch the New Midmarket Aircraft.

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