Delays over for MRJ program, execs insist

By Dan Catchpole

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July 3, 2018, © Leeham News:   Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. executives insist the MRJ90 is past the seemingly endless delays that have dogged its development. It is on track toward type certification and first delivery in mid-2020.

MRJ90 flight test vehicles at Mitsubishi’s Moses Lake (WA) flight testing facility. Source: Mitsubishi.

The problem is when it arrives, the 81-seat MRJ90 will be the wrong fit for the US market. Program executives praised the plane’s advanced design during media briefings at the MRJ flight test center in Moses Lake (WA), but when they spoke about market opportunity, it was for the smaller MRJ70, which is at least three years away from entering service.

Starting in 2022, Mitsubishi expects a wave of 50-seat regional jet retirements in the North American market. And North America—specifically the United States—”is the most important market for us to make this business successful,” said Yugo Fukuhara, Mitsubishi Aircraft vice president and general manager of sales and marketing.

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Embraer ponders new, smaller jet

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Introduction

March 5, 2018, © Leeham Co.: News emerged last week that Embraer is considering a new jet family smaller than its current E2 line.

This would replace the E170, which Embraer decided not to upgrade to the E2. The E170 hasn’t sold wellin recent years, as the E175 became the preferred airplane in Embraer’s sub-90 seat market.

Embraer recognizes it needs a second family of airplanes to complement the E2. It’s been considering reentering the turboprop market, but demand is limited.

Restarting a sub-76-seat jet is not without risk, however.

Summary
  • Turboprop market is small over 20 years.
  • 60-99 seat market is a bit larger, but with competitors.
  • Business cases for each are challenging.

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Next Sukhoi Superjet is a 75 seater

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 7, 2018, ©. Leeham Co: The President of Sukhoi Civil AirCraft (SCAC), Alexander Rubtsov (who is also the Sales and Marketing Manager of the civil aircraft division of Russia’s United Aircraft, UAC), told Flight Global at the Singapore Air Show there has been a decision to develop a 75-seat version of Sukhoi SuperJet (SSJ).

Sukhoi and United Aircraft have studied whether to develop a larger or smaller version of the SSJ. A Russian order for 100 of the smaller model tipped the decision to the 75-seat model.

Figure 1. SSJ100/95 from Cityjet wetleased to Brussels Airlines. Source: SCAC.

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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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US ponders Russia sanctions, some affecting US aerospace

Oct. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The US is considering new trade sanctions against Russia, and Russia is considering retaliatory sanctions, that could have major implications in US aerospace—including on Boeing.

The US sanctions would be for meddling in the US presidential election in 2016 and for activities in Eastern Europe. The Russian sanctions are a tit-for-tat retaliation if the US sanctions are adopted.

Among the Russian companies that may be targeted:

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Pontifications: JADC 20-year forecast: VLA, NMA and other data

By Scott Hamilton

July 24, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Japan Aircraft Development Corp (JADC) just published its 2017-2037 jet and turboprop forecast. JADC forecasts a demand for 33,336 jet airliners and some 2,000 turboprops.

JADC is partly owned by Mitsubishi, which is developing the MRJ70/90 and which is on several Boeing programs.

I like the JADC forecast because it segments the seating categories in more detail than Airbus and Boeing and somewhat differently than Bombardier and Embraer.

I also view JADC as having less of an axe to grind than the Big Four OEMs.

A couple of quick take-aways:

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Jet sales in 75-150 seat lag Airbus, Boeing

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Introduction

The Mitsubishi MRJ90 hasn’t recorded a sale in a year. Photo by Scott Hamilton.

July 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: While analysts and reporters focus on the high-profile order competition between Airbus and Boeing, it’s time to look at Bombardier and Embraer, along with the 75-150 seat sector.

Boeing is doing better than expected this year, due largely to the launch of the 737 MAX 10. Airbus is struggling year-to-date, but received a big boost post-Paris Air Show with an agreement to sell 140 A320s and A350s to China. At this stage, it’s not a firm order, however.

How are Bombardier and Embraer doing in their core markets of 75-150 seats?

Just awful.

Sukhoi and Mitsubishi aren’t doing any better.

Summary
  • Few new sales in 2017 in the 75-150 seat sector.
  • Low fuel prices, Scope Clause and general order downturn converge.
  • Embraer’s Paris Air Show results boosted this OEM’s year-to-date performance.

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Aeroflot, the route to a modern airline. Part 3

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 26, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In our third article about Aeroflot, we cover the period from 2010 to today. During this period, Aeroflot started a strategic change. The airline decided to grow to a global world leader.

To get there, the group needed a multi-brand strategy. The top brand, Aeroflot, should develop into a top tier premium airline. To understand the considerable changes Aeroflot needed to go trough for this strategy, we talked to Aeroflot’s Deputy CEO Strategy and Alliances, Giorgio Callegari, about the transformation.

Callegari took us through the journey to a Four-star airline and the ranking of Aeroflot as the world strongest airline brand in its area of operation. To validate the improved ratings, we contacted Skytrax and Brand Finance, the issuers of the ratings. Read more

Aeroflot, the route to a modern airline, Part 2

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 19, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: In our second article about Aeroflot, the Soviet Union flag carrier that transformed to a modern airline, we will cover the period from the fall of the Soviet Union until 2010.

This was the difficult period for all participants. The old structures no longer existed and were replaced with… nothing, followed by uncertainty and a long struggle to get back to normal.

Figure 1. IL-96-300, a Soviet long range aircraft which stayed in the Aeroflot fleet until 2014. Source: Aeroflot.

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Assessing the SSJ100 future

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Introduction

Feb. 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Sukhoi is Russia’s attempt at reentering the commercial airliner business. The SSJ100 regional jet is, by most accounts, an attractive

SSJ100 in CityJet colors. CityJet is one of two Western operators for the Russian-made airplane. Photo: Superjet International.

and efficient aircraft.

But it’s hampered by erratic production and questionable product support (largely due to the overhang of the Putin politics).

The aircraft was grounded briefly in December when a fatigue issue was found in the tail section during a routine inspection.

Summary
  • Nearly 100 SSJ100s are in service.
  • Two key Western customers.
  • Small customers base.
  • Captive Russian customers.

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