Bombardier refocuses the CRJ

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

May 10, 2018, © Leeham News: American Airlines last week ordered 30 additional regional jets.  Of these, 15 were the Embraer E175. No surprise there. It’s the traveler’s favourite and the market leader among US regional jets. But American Airlines also ordered the same number of Bombardier CRJ900. Why? Isn’t it a bit dated?

There are good reasons for this order and Bombardier sees a new spring for the trusted regional. We use our performance model to understand why.

Summary:
  • The CRJ900 is still a good choice for the US Scope Clause regulated regional jet market.
  • Is strong economics makes it a favourite with the airline’s bean counters.
  • In addition, it has the longest cabin, enabling large First-class and Premium economy sections.
  • With programmed updates, it will be competitive for years to come.

Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 5.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

February 12, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the fourth article about the Chinese/Russian wide-body, CR929, we analyzed the engine selection for the aircraft. Now we continue with a first performance analysis of the CR929 against its main competitors, the Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A330-900.

We will use the preliminary data we have collected for the CR929 and compare this to the data for the 787-9 and A330-900. It’s the first analysis, on preliminary information. But there is enough knowledge of the key parameters to use our performance model to draw the first conclusions about the CR929’s positioning in the market.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is modeled closely after the 787-9. The technology for structures, systems, engines and aerodynamics are similar.
  • With a similar payload capacity, the fuel consumption should be better as the CR929 is defined with a lower maximum range.
  • It’s wider cabin eats up the weight and drag advantage, however. There will be little difference between the efficiency of the 787-9 and the 15 years younger CR929.

Read more

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.

Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 4.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required
Introduction

February 1, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the third article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Now we continue with analyzing the project’s engine needs.

The CR929 is sized to use engines from the Boeing 787 project. Both GE Aviation and Rolls-Royce got Request for Proposals (RFPs) on 22 Dec. 2017. In addition, the Russian and Chinese engine industry wants to develop an engine for the project.

Summary:

  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program needs engines in the 75,000lbf thrust class.
  • The project’s engine specification is closely modeled after the engines available from the Boeing 787 project.
  • In addition to the available 787 engines, the Chinese and Russian engine industry is trying to unite behind a joint engine proposal.

Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

January 25, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the second article about the new Chinese/Russian widebody, CR929, we looked at the size of the aircraft and its passenger capacity. The CR929 can be best described as a shorter range version of Boeing’s 787-9. We also presented the chosen technologies for the project.

Now we continue and look at the challenges the aircraft poses to the involved manufacturers. Neither of them (COMAC of China and United Aircraft of Russia) have developed and certified an aircraft like the CR929 before.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has high ambitions. The structure shall be composites and the systems state of the art.
  • We now go through the aircraft’s chosen technologies and review what experience base the Chinese and Russian aeronautical industry has and what challenges they will face. Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody takes shape: Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

January 18, 2018, © Leeham Co.: In the first article about the Chinese/Russian widebody, the CR929, we described the route to a joint program company and the launch of the project.

We now analyze the aircraft, based on available information. With the information, it’s possible to model the aircraft in our performance model and get the first understanding of performance and efficiency.

Summary:
  • The CR929-600 is closely modelled after the Boeing 787-9. The overall design and dimensions are similar.
  • The major difference to the 787-9 is in cabin width, allowing comfortable nine abreast seating, and the Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW).
  • The decision to design CR929-600 for a lower MTOW has restricted range to 6,500nm with the nominal cabin capacity of 280 passengers.

Read more

Chinese and Russian Widebody Project takes shape

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription Required

Introduction

January 15, 2018, © Leeham Co.: The Chinese and Russian Widebody program started in earnest over the last year. After signing a joint venture agreement in 2016, the project now has a joint management company, CRAIC, formed 22nd of May 2017, and standing for China-Russia Commercial Aircraft International Corporation.

The company will have final assembly and management located in Shanghai.  The aircraft has also got its final name, CR929-600. It will hold 280 passengers in a three-class cabin with a range of 6,500nm, Figure 1.

Figure 1. The CRAIC CR929-600, the main aircraft in the Chinese-Russian widebody program. Source: CRAIC.

Summary:
  • The Chinese and Russian widebody program has taken off after the joint company was established spring 2017.
  • The organization of the company is set, with the Chinese taking the rudder by the power of a five times larger market and economy and a 10 times larger population.
  • The joint company, CRAIC, issued its first vendor RFP to GE and Rolls-Royce before Christmas for the aircraft’s propulsion system.
Read more

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:

Read more

MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 3.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription required.

Introduction

June 15, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We continued the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week with an analysis of the cabins and systems. The week before, we compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we finish with an analysis of the economics of the aircraft.

Summary:
  • The MC-21 is the more advanced aircraft of the two. It uses carbon composites for the wings and empennage.
  • Coupled with more refined aerodynamics, the MC-21 offers a higher efficiency than the more classical C919.

Read more

MC-21 and C919 compared. Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

Subscription required.

Introduction 

June 08, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: We started the comparison of Irkut’s MC-21 and COMAC’s C919 last week. We compared project time plans, structures and aerodynamics.

Now we continue with the comparison of cabin capacities and systems.

Summary:

  • The C919 cabin is a slightly longer copy of the Airbus A320 cabin. MC-21 sets new standards for cabins in the single aisle segment.
  • Both aircraft use Western systems to ease development and improve in-service reliability.

Read more