Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 58. Summary Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 17, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we summarized that SAF is the short-term solution for GreenHouse Gas (GHG) reduction for Air Transport, and hydrogen is the longer-term solution for up to medium-haul flights.

What about battery and hybrid aircraft? It’s the go-to solution for ground transport (except for long-haul trucks, which are going hydrogen, Figure 1)?

Figure 1. Mercedes hydrogen truck from the world’s largest truck maker. Source: Daimler trucks.

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Airbus posts solid 2022 full-year results despite supply chain problems

By Bjorn Fehrm

February 16, 2022, © Leeham News: Airbus presented its results for 2022 today. The company announced net profits of €4.3bn on revenue of €58.8bn despite several disruptive events during 2022.

Disruptions like the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war and the supply chain ramp after COVID kept the delivery increase for 2022 at half the target of 110 jets, resulting in 661 deliveries instead of the originally guided 720.

Guidance for 2023 keeps the 720 airliner delivery target, an operating profit of €6bn, and a Free Cash Flow of €3bn.

Figure 1. Airbus Group highlights. Source: Airbus.

Figure 1. Airbus results highlights. Source: Airbus.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 55. Sustainable Aviation Fuel feedstocks

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 27, 2023, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we learned the main pathways to Sustainable Aviation Fuel and their production volumes for the next years.

Now we look at the feedstocks, what output we get from these, and how to safeguard the pathway is ethical and sustainable. Finally, we look at the cost of SAF until 2050.

Figure 1. The main pathways to SAF. Source: Clean Skies for Tomorrow report. Click to enlarge.

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Airbus and Boeing 2022 orders and deliveries

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 10, 2023, © Leeham News: Airbus and Boeing released their 2022 delivery and order data today. With a delivery of 661 airliners, Airbus is a 38% larger supplier than Boeing at 480 aircraft.

Airbus had a target of 700 deliveries but came short due to supplier constraints in a year of COVID recovery, raising energy prices due to the war in Ukraine and labor shortages. Boeing is not out of a tunnel caused by 737 Max crashes and 787 quality problems.

On the order side, Airbus booked 820 net orders versus Boeing’s 774. The Airbus backlog is 33% larger at 7,239 aircraft versus Boeing’s 5,430 jets.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 50. eVTOL production volumes.

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 16, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the production costs of our typical eVTOL. We could see that it was far higher than Joby’s assumption of $1.3m for the S4, about three times higher for units above 500 and even higher for earlier units.

Let’s examine where such cost numbers come from. It’s about production ramp hockey sticks and numbers never seen before. Are these credible?

Figure 1. The Vertical Aerospace VX4 in an early rendering with similar looks to the eVTOL we discuss. Source: Vertical Aerospace.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 49P. eVTOL production costs. The deeper discussion.

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By Bjorn Fehrm

December 9, 2022, ©. Leeham News: This is a complementary article to Part 49, eVTOL production costs. It discusses the typical production costs of a certified eVTOL when produced in large quantities.

eVTOLs will be produced under aeronautical production certification conditions, using aeronautical grade material and system. Our production cost model predicts such costs, including learning curve effects for each material type.

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Airbus Summit Showcases Sustainability Status

By Bjorn Fehrm

December 7, 2022, © Leeham News was at Airbus Summit: Airbus briefed media and influences on its Sustainability progress during briefings in Toulouse and Munich last week. Here is an update on where Airbus is with its programs.

The overall impression is of tangible progress on techno brick research and development and echo systems programs like SAF production and hydrogen supply and ground infrastructure.

At the summit, key customers like Airlines, technology partners, and leasing companies were part of the panels, giving the customer perspective and the view of the passengers.

Figure 1. The test setup of the Airbus fuel cell turboprop engine on its A380 test aircraft. Source: Airbus.

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MTU gets support from Pratt & Whitney to develop the WET engine

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 29, 2022, © Leeham News: MTU and Pratt & Whitney presented an EU Clean Sky project today where they will develop an advanced engine concept based on the Pratt & Whitney GTF. The project is called SWITCH, an acronym for Sustainable Water-Injecting Turbofan Comprising Hybrid-Electrics.

There are participants from 11 countries in the project, among them Pratt & Whitney’s sister company Collins aerospace, GKN’s Swedish part, and Airbus.

The engine, which has a mild parallel hybrid architecture, extracts more energy from the turbofan fuel by driving the core exhaust through a vaporizer, where it recovers more heat from the core exhaust, Figure 1. Water from the exhaust, extracted from the core exhaust in a condenser, is heated to steam by the vaporizer and then drives a steam turbine that co-drives the fan. The steam is finally injected into the combustor to lower emissions.

The WET cycle will gain about 10% efficiency compared to today’s GTF. The concept also has a hybrid part which is primarily used for a low-emission taxi.

Figure 1. The architecture of the SWITCH engine. Source: SWITCH.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 46. eVTOL comparison with helicopter

By Bjorn Fehrm

November 18, 2022, ©. Leeham News: In the comments to last week’s Corner, there were requests for a comparison with a helicopter re. Sustainability (kWh/km). Here you go.

I also threw in a cost of operations discussion, as the helicopter is the present alternative to an eVTOL for city-to-airport air transports.

Figure 1. The Robinson R66 five-seat helicopter. Source: Wikipedia.

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The economics of a 787-9 and A330-900 at eight or nine abreast

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By Bjorn Fehrm


Nov. 16, 2022, © Leeham News: Over the last weeks, we have looked at the economics of our typical long haul widebodies when fitted with normal and high-density seating.

We continue this series by comparing the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A330-900, when both fly eight or nine abreast economy cabins. As before, we fly the world’s busiest long-haul route, London Heathrow, to New York JFK and look at the comfort and economic data.

  • The 787-9 is the more capable aircraft with about 700nm longer range than the A330-900.
  • The economics of the two on routes both can fly is close. It comes down to cabin layouts.

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