Airbus 1H profit; delays A320neo production rate hike due to supply chain challenges

July 27, 2022, © Leeham News: Airbus Group today reported flat revenues for the first half, year-over-year but less profit.

Revenues for the six months this year were €24.8bn vs €24.6bn. Net income was €$1.9bn vs €2.2bn, a decline of 15%. Free cash flow was €1.65bn vs €2bn. The Group ended the second quarter with €7.2bn in cash, down from €7.7bn a year earlier. Total liquidity was €27.6bn.

Airbus said it still has a goal of producing 75 A320neos a month by 2025 but that it will adjust the ramp-up rate between now and then. Challenges with the supply chain slow the ramp up. Airbus now targets early 2024 for a rate of 65/mo, vs the second half of next year, a six-month delay. Entry into service for the A321XLR is now targeted for early 2024 vs 2023. Increasing production rates for the A330 and A350 depend on the supply chain, the company said.

Boeing has slowed the production rate ramp-up for the 737. It now will maintain a rate of 31/mo for the remainder of this year, also citing supply chain challenges. It had planned to increase production to 38/mo later this year.

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Airbus prepares contrail flight tests

July 21, 2022, © Leeham News at Farnborough Air Show: Airbus is converting two Arcus high-altitude gliders to check if the contrails produced by hydrogen combustion engines create an environmental problem.

The background is that experts can’t agree if the water vapor produced by hydrogen combustion (which merges hydrogen with oxygen to water) can cause global warming or not. The only way to resolve the dispute and gain fundamental knowledge is to fly and measure.

Figure 1. First flight with the Blue Condor program’s test aircraft. Source: Airbus.

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Boeing and Airbus make important Sustainability announcements at Farnborough.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 18, 2022, © Leeham News at Farnborough Air Show: Boeing started the Sustainability announcements by the big two by summarizing its Sustainability efforts to date and previewing Cascade, a web tool where we all can check the lifecycle effects of actions to support Net Zero at 2050. The tool supports all technologies and any real or concept aircraft of your making. Boeing also made announcements about supporting the Global scaling of SAF (Sustainable Aviation Fuel) together with Alder Fuels.

Airbus closed the day by announcing it had pre-ordered 400,000 tonnes of CO2 Direct Air Capture performed by 1PointFive. The pre-order is in cooperation with Air Canada, Air France-KLM, easyJet, IAG, LATAM, Lufthansa, and Virgin Atlantic. One million tonnes of CO2 will be captured at a new Texas site by 2024 and then permanently stored in old oil wells.

Both companies stressed that Sustainability is, like Safety, not a competition item; instead, we must all contribute, and there is no single solution or entity that will get us to net zero by 2050.

Figure 1. Boeing’s VP of Sustainability Brian Yutko shows Cascade. Source: Leeham Co.

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Boeing sees long-term demand bouncing back after pandemic

By Dan Catchpole

July 16, 2022, © Leeham News: After years of market turmoil, Boeing and Airbus see brighter skies–and bigger order backlogs–ahead. Both companies maintained confidence that demand for aircraft would bounce back as the COVID-19 pandemic ebbed. Passenger traffic and aircraft utilization seem to back up their optimism. Traffic is bouncing back despite short-term economic concerns, a pandemic that is still smoldering and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Boeing projects demand for 39,050 new commercial aircraft, excluding regional jets, over the next two decades, according to its Current Market Outlook, which it released Saturday. The company’s forecast is in line with Airbus’ forecast of demand for 39,500 aircraft. Single-aisle aircraft make up three-quarters of demand in both companies’ outlooks. Boeing is slightly more bullish on passenger widebody demand.

Sustainability is an increasingly important factor in Boeing’s market outlook. It is also a relatively new variable, and how much it will shape market demand and in what ways is not very clear.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 26. VTOLs.

By Bjorn Fehrm

July 1, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we finished our discussions around Fuel Cell-based airliners using hydrogen as fuel.

We could see the technology has true zero emissions, but the maturity of the many parts needed (hydrogen tank and fuel system, multi-MegaWatt class aeronautical fuel cells, motors, and controls) are not there. We are in the crawling before walk stage with sub-MegaWatt systems to make their first flights over the next years.

Another area claiming Green credentials is the VTOL space. Because these are based on electric technology, VTOLs are claimed as environmentally friendly and a good way to transport people.

We will analyze this industry and its claims of being an efficient, environmentally friendly way of transportation.

Figure 1. Joby S4, the VTOL project that has come the furthest. Source: Joby Aviation.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Sustainable Air Transport. Part 22. Fuel Cell system efficiency and mass

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 3, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Last week, we looked at the powers and thermals of a Fuel Cell system for aircraft propulsion. Our example was a cryogenically cooled system with a superconducting Motor, Inverter, and Cabling.

Now we analyze the differences should we not use the liquid hydrogen (LH2) to help with cooling the system to a superconduction state. What are the thermal and mass consequences of using conventional electronics and motors? The detailed discussion is in the sister article Part 22P. Here we summarize the findings.

Figure 1. The parts of a fuel cell propulsion system. We discuss cryocooled (graph) and non-cryocooled variants. Source: NTNU.

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Boeing delays 777X first delivery delayed until 2025; posts $1.2 B loss in first quarter


By Dan Catchpole

April 27, 2022, © Leeham News: Boeing’s 777X program took another hit Wednesday, when the company said it won’t deliver the first 777-9 until 2025 due to new delays getting the plane certified. It has halted 777-9 production through 2023, which the company expects to incur $1.5 billion in abnormal costs until the assembly line starts moving again.

The aerospace giant’s Q1 earnings report is soaked in red ink: a $1.2 billion net loss, a $3.6 billion loss in free cash flow and a $2.06 GAAP loss per share and a $2.75 core (non-GAAP) loss per share. The results fell far below the roughly 20 cents per share loss and $15 billion expected by Wall Street analysts.

The company said it has filed a 787 certification plan with federal regulators, as it tries to resume deliveries of its premier twin-aisle jetliner.

Boeing Defense booked more than $1 billion in charges from two programs–Air Force One replacement and T-7 Red Hawk trainer for the U.S. Air Force. Read more

An A330neo freighter, should it happen?

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By Bjorn Fehrm


April 7, 2022, © Leeham News: Last week, we started a discussion on what should be Airbus’ response to a 787 freighter. We have seen in a series of articles that the 787 freighter would beat the present A330 freighter, and the question is, will Airbus leave this segment to Boeing, or will it respond?

We look at what’s involved for Airbus to upgrade the present A330-200F to a neo freighter and what performance it would have compared to a 787 freighter.


  • An upgrade of Airbus’ present A330-200F freighter to a neo variant based on the longer, more capable A330-900 would be a modest project for Airbus. All the special bits needed were developed for the A330-200F.
  • The resulting A330-900F would be a competitive freighter, and as all needed parts are in serial production today, it could hit the market before a Boeing 787 freighter.

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War in Ukraine: a local’s perspective

By Judson Rollins

April 6, 2022, © Leeham News: This week, LNA reports on a story outside our usual beat: an account of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine through the eyes of a local who watched tanks and explosions from her window.


Source: Anna Kovalchuk

Three years ago, I spent several months on a consulting engagement in Kyiv, where I made a few local friends. I’ve been fortunate to stay in contact with some of them.

One of those friends is Anna Kovalchuk, a talent acquisition specialist for German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG. Anna lived until last month in Irpin, Ukraine, a few miles from Antonov International Airport, previously home to several of Antonov Aircraft Company’s An-124 Ruslans and its recently destroyed An-225 Mriya. The airport and nearby suburbs including Irpin were the subject of intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces since the invasion began on February 24 until just last week.

Anna and I have been in touch regularly since the war began. I visited her in Gdańsk, Poland, not long after she arrived, where she graciously agreed to share the story of her escape from fighting in her neighbourhood to a new life – ironically, a life she began a week earlier than planned due to the invasion.

Gdańsk is a quiet town of nearly 600,000 on the Baltic Sea. Although it was only a couple of weeks into Russia’s war with Ukraine, I saw few indications of the refugee influx that has overwhelmed so many other cities in Poland. However, there were numerous signs of support for Ukraine, including appeals on business doors for supplies ranging from canned food to clothing to small electronics. Read more

Embraer 2021 results helped by Executive jets

By Bjorn Fehrm

March 10, 2022, ©. Leeham News: Embraer presented its 2021 results today. The results follow a recovery trend from Pandemic effects, with strong order intake for Executive and Commercial jets and a revenue increase due to more Executive jet deliveries. Free Cash Flow, FCF, improved $1.3bn over 2020, from -$990m to $292m.

Guiudance for 2022 is 60-70 Commercial deliveries (2021: 45-50), Executive jets 100-110 (90-95), revenue $4.5bn-$5bn ($4.0-$4.5), EBIT margin 3.5%-4.5% (3.0%-4.0%) and Free Cash Flow over $50m (over $100m).

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