By Bryan Corliss
March 23, 2023, © Leeham News – Chinese leader Xi Jinping flew into Moscow this week for a three-day summit with accused Russian war criminal Vladimir Putin.
They wined and dined. They talked publicly about economic accords and oil pipelines and pledged mutual support. In private, Putin almost certainly made a plea for stepped-up Chinese support for his faltering invasion of Ukraine. They made bold statements about banding together to oppose the hegemony of the West, which has united against Russia with sanctions including bans on providing Russia with the basic technology it needs to build weapons.
And at the end of it all, on Wednesday, Xi walked up the jet stairs to his Air China 747, built by Boeing in Everett, America. He turned and waved, and then flew back to Beijing.
That moment, with Xi standing in front of the massive American-made jet, may just illustrate China’s conundrum right now: Xi, by all accounts, wants nothing more than to shove aside the post-Cold War order that has confined his nation from global Great Power status. An alliance with Putin’s Russia could be a key step toward that.
And Xi, as he looks around the interior of his jumbo jet, has to be acutely aware that China remains dependent upon the Western democracies for software, computer chips, and – critically – aircraft.
By Bjorn Fehrm
Jan. 14, 2021, © Leeham News: China and Russia are both developing a single-aisle domestic airliner in the A320/737 MAX class, a regional turboprop in the ATR 72 class, and is jointly working on an A330neo/787 widebody competing airliner.
While these are similar development programs, the countries are in very different positions in their markets and industries. China is a five times larger market for airliners than Russia, and its airlines are on the way back from COVID riddled passenger numbers. It has the fastest recovery from COVID-19 of any country and its civil airliner industry is on the rise.
Russia on the other hand has a stagnant market, still hit by COVID-19, and its market and industry have become introverted after a decade of flirting with Western markets and technology.
Fifth in a series.
By Bjorn Fehrm
July 15, 2020, © Leeham News: UAC stands for United Aircraft Corporation, and is the name of the group owning the Russian aircraft industry.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the multitude of individual companies and design bureaus could no longer survive on their own. The Russian state, therefore, gathered them all in UAC to introduce necessary consolidation and reform.
While UAC has done much with the support of the Ministries of Industry and Defense, the changing political situation for Russia has made it harder for the Civilian aircraft side to achieve sales outside captive Russian markets for its jets.
July 6, 2020, © Leeham News: The fallout from COVID-19 is beginning to intersect with the beginning of a wave of regional jet retirements globally. However, the market for smaller commercial jets today stretches the meaning of “regional” as most aircraft still in production have 100+ seats and can fly more than 2,500nm.
In the critical US market, both Embraer’s E175-E2 and Mitsubishi’s remaining M90 are too heavy to comply with the Scope Clause limits imposed by pilot labor agreements. These clauses restrict regional carrier flying to 76 seats and 86,000 lbs MTOW, while also capping the number of regional jets that can be flown by each carrier.
Delta Air Lines is limited to a total regional fleet of 450 aircraft, while American Airlines is capped at 75% of its single-aisle fleet and United Airlines is limited to 255 aircraft plus 90% of single-aisles in service. Earlier this year, American accelerated the retirement of some EMB-140s to maintain compliance with its limit.
By the Leeham News team.
Jan. 2, 2020, © Leeham News: This will be a pivotal year for Boeing.
It will be a year of challenges for Airbus.
Embraer Commercial Aviation should disappear.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries faces final decisions for the SpaceJet.
Overhanging international trade is the US presidential election.
These are just some of the headlines to look for in 2020.
Leeham News and Analysis provides its annual outlook as the new year, and the new decade, begins.
June 24, 2019, © Leeham News: Heard around the Paris Air Show last week:
Reporters long used to the entertaining and sometimes acerbic tongue former super-salesman John Leahy wondered how Christian Scherer would compare.
Scherer’s own sharp tongue began to emerge at the Airbus Innovation Days pre-air show briefing last month and got sharper at the executive round table the Friday before and on Day 1 of the international event.
On Day 2, Boeing and International Airlines Group (British Airways, et al) stunned the world journalists and Airbus with the LOI for 200 737 MAXes. On Thursday, Scherer expressed his displeasure.
The deal wasn’t unprecedented. In the 1990s, Boeing blindsided Leahy with an exclusive deal with American Airlines, followed by Delta and Continental airlines. “I was…pissed,” Leahy told LNA years later.
It seems Scherer is following in Leahy’s shoes in more ways than one.
The launch of the A321XLR was totally expected. The top question: does this kill the Boeing NMA? (LNA’s answer: Nope.)
Bombardier is exiting commercial aviation. The company already is under contract to sell the Q400. It’s CRJ program is for sale, or lacking any, inevitably headed for termination.
Embraer agreed to spin off its Commercial Aviation division into a new joint venture with Boeing. Its E-175 E2, designed with changes to the US Scope Clause in mind, is too heavy to comply with contract restrictions. The predecessor, the E-175 E1, is Scope-compliant but it also is aging technology.
Neither the Sukhoi SSJ100 nor the COMAC ARJ-21 are serious competitors.
Mitsubishi, beset by five of delays that pushed its MRJ90 seven years behind schedule, has been dismissed by most as too little, too late, too heavy and not Scope compliant.
Yet MITAC, as Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp is known, has quietly reworked the MRJ into a Scope-compliant “concept” aircraft that will be revealed at the Paris Air Show next month.
Officials said the aircraft, the name for which hasn’t yet been revealed, will be the only new generation, Scope-compliant aircraft, positioning Mitsubishi to become a key player in the regional aircraft industry.
By Bjorn Fehrm
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.
By Dan Catchpole
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.
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.