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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Bjorn’s Corner: Aircraft engines, sum up

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 14, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We’ve been talking engines on Fridays since October 2016. The Corners covered several areas, from technologies to operations.

And we could go on and dig deeper. But we will move on.

Before we go, we sum up what we have learned in the 24 Corners around airliner Turbofans.

Figure 1. Principal picture of a three-shaft wide-body turbofan. Source: GasTurb.

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Irkut MC-21 missing ultimate load test

By Bjorn Fehrm

April 05, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: United Aircraft’s IRKUT MC-21 passed 90% of the static Ultimate load test end February at the TsAGI test institute in Moscow, reports ATO.RU. But the aircraft failed the 100% test.

The test simulates a load which is 150% higher than the highest load that the aircraft should be subject to in its operational life. The test failure does not stop the aircraft from beginning flight testing, for that the aircraft needs to pass the limit load test (highest load during flight), which it has.Missing the Ultimate load test for new airliners is nothing unusual. The designers tries to pass this test with the smallest possible margin. Any excess margin will make the aircraft unnecessary heavy.  Other aircraft to have missed the test are Mitsubishi Aircraft’s MRJ, Airbus’ A380 and Boeing’s 787.

According to ATO.RU, who quotes IRKUT, the reinforcements in the wingbox necessitated by the failure will weigh 25kg. It’s not clear if the changes will affect the start of test flights. These should have started during April.

Assessing the MC-21 future

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Introduction

Feb. 9, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Russia’s Irkut designed a mainline jet to compete with the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 families that, from a passenger experience

Irkut MC-21 at roll-out. Photo via Google images.

viewpoint, is the best in class.

The MC-21 has a wider fuselage than the A320 (which is wider than the 737). Seats and the aisle are the widest in the class. The overhead bin space is plentiful.

But the airplane is hampered by its environment: Russia itself.

Summary
  • EIS planned for next year, but first flight hasn’t happened yet.
  • Few orders, small customer base.
  • Russia itself presents an overhang to the MC-21 program.
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Assessing the future of COMAC programs

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Introduction

Feb. 6, 2017, © Leeham Co.: China’s effort to become a viable commercial aerospace alternative was filled with rocky fits and starts for its two signature airliner programs, the AVIC ARJ-21 and the COMAC C919.

COMAC, a spin off from AVIC and yet another government-controlled entity, is already casting eyes on a 250-seat, twin-aisle design, the C929—ostensibly in a joint venture with Russia’s United Aircraft Corp.

The ARJ-21 regional jet finally entered service after delays of eight years. The C919 target EIS is now 2019, six years after the original date. The first flight hasn’t even taken place.

Chinese officials set a target EIS for the C929 of 2026.

A rough road remains ahead for each program.

Summary
  • Exceedingly slow delivery ramp up for the ARJ-21.
  • First flight of the C919 planned this year.
  • Wide-body C929 will challenge the Airbus A330 and Boeing 787.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Turbofan developments in 2017

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 06, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Before we finish of our series on airliner turbofan technology, let’s spend this Corner on what will happen on the airliner engine front during 2017.

While there is no totally new engine that comes into the market during 2017 there are a number of new variants of existing engine families that will be introduced.

Figure 1. GasTurb principal representation of a three shaft turbofan like our reference Rolls-Royce Trent XWB. Source: GasTurb.

 

If we start with the engines for regional/single aisle aircraft and then climb the thrust scale, we will cover the engines in climbing thrust class.

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US, EU ignore Chinese, Russian subsidies

Nov. 15, 2016, © Leeham Co.: Government subsidies to commercial aircraft companies appear to be increasing despite the 12-year disputes before the World Trade Organization between Europe and the US over Airbus and Boeing aid.

Yet the US and Europeans appear to be doing little to try and curb the subsidies to new competitors.

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Bjorn’s Corner: The Engine challenge

 

By Bjorn Fehrm

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 21, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: In our Corners on East bloc aeronautical industries, we could see that the hardest part to master in a new civilian airliner is the engine.

Both new airliners from Russia and China (Irkut MC-21 and COMAC C919) start their lives with Western engines.

Why is this so? What are the challenges that make engines harder to create than aircraft?

leap-1c-engine

LEAP-1C which will be standard engine on COMAC C919. Source: COMAC.

We will spend several Corners on the main reasons that airliner engines are harder to do than aircraft. Read more

From zero to 10,000 in 50 years; can COMAC duplicate this achievement?

By Bjorn Fehrm

October 19, 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus delivered its 10,000 aircraft last week (Figure 1), an A350-900 delivered to Singapore Airlines.

Delivering the 10,000 aircraft after 50 years of start of project is impressive, especially as the competition, Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), the late McDonnell Douglas Corp and Lockheed Co, fought Airbus every step of the way.

Figure 1. Airbus 10,000th aircraft for Singapore Airlines. Source: Airbus.

We have a new player starting its 50 years, Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, COMAC. It’s on its eighth year and the competitions’ sentiments are: “It will take long before they can compete, decades!”

Let’s compare with the rise of Airbus and see what can be learned. Will COMAC deliver its 10,000th aircraft in 50 years? Or in a shorter time? Read more