VLA era is over; are 777X, A350-1000 too large?

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Introduction

June 18, 2018, © Leeham News: The era of the Very Large Aircraft appears over.

The Boeing 747 passenger airliner, while nominally still offered for sale, is in reality dead.

The Airbus A380 limps along in what may prove to be a vain hope that airport congestion will spur sales next decade.

The next level down, however, doesn’t appear very strong.

Sales of the Airbus A350-1000 stalled at 200 or less for years.

Sales of the Boeing 777X likewise stalled following program launch in 2013-2014. Although the 777X has twice as many orders as the A350-1000, fully 72% of them come from three customers, one of which is in serious financial trouble and may cancel or defer some or all its orders.

Summary
  • Orders for the largest Large Twin-Aisle aircraft lag the Small and Medium Twin-Aisles.
  • Big 3 in the Middle East are major customers for the 777X, A350-1000. Iran Air also buyer of -1000.
  • While Big Twin languishes, small- and medium-twins remain in demand.
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Airbus sees potential for A330neo sales; Boeing sees opportunity

June 6, 2018, © Leeham News: Airbus remains confident that the sales boon for the slow-selling A330neo is just around the corner, but an analysis of Airbus’ current operator lists shows significant inroads by Boeing for its 787.

Airbus is counting on aging A330ceos by 2020 to spur sales of the A330neo. But Boeing already sold the 787 to 19% of the A330 operators. Look for more aggressive campaigns. Airbus photo via Google.

LNC outlined Airbus’ strategy last December in which officials are confident the A330neo will see an uptick in orders as the current A330 operating fleet, now called the ceo, ages beginning in 2020.

The new sales chief, Eric Schulz, reiterated Airbus’ confidence at the IATA AGM this week in Sydney, Australia.

But 19% of the 109 A330 operators already ordered the 787. One, American Airlines, already announced the 787 order will replace the A330s in its fleet. Air Canada long ago made a similar announcement. Hawaiian Airlines canceled an A330-800 order in favor of the 787-9.

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Countdown to Airbus-CSeries deal: boost needed to backlog

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Introduction

May 28, 2018, © Leeham News: Bombardier and Airbus may clear regulatory approvals next month, allowing for consummation of the latter’s acquisition of 50.01% of the CSeries program.

If all works, this will be well in advance of the Farnborough Air Show that begins July 15. Industry eyes will be on the FAS to see what orders might be announced by Airbus for the CSeries, which reportedly may be renamed the A210 and A230 for the CS100 and CS300 respectively.

As May fades to June, Bombardier has beefed up its skyline quality, but there are some orders that are in doubt, including a big one for 40 airplanes.

Summary
  • No sales since Dubai Air Show.
  • Airbus-CSeries deal expected to close next month.
  • Three questionable orders affect nearly 20% of backlog.
  • Farnborough Air Show will be keen to watch for news.

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Pontifications: Uncontained engine failures are rare but not unknown

By Scott Hamilton

April 23, 2018, © Leeham News: Last week’s engine malfunction on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 was another in a rare, but not unknown, uncontained engine anomaly in recent years.

All recent similar failures didn’t cause a loss of life or serious injuries if the passengers were evacuated. Unfortunately, this accident caused one fatality and seven injuries.

Let’s put the context to this issue.

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Pontifications: Limited operations raise doubts over Paine Field airline service

By Scott Hamilton

April 9, 2018, © Leeham News: This fall, the Seattle area will get a second passenger airport: three airlines will begin service at Paine Field, in Everett, which is also home to Boeing’s massive wide-body production plant.

Alaska, Southwest and United airlines will offer 24 fights out of two gates that are under construction.

It’s the first passenger service from Paine Field.

It’s not hardly enough.

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Boeing displaces Airbus at Hawaiian, wins 787-9 deal; airline cancels A330-800 order

Feb. 20, 2018, © Leeham Co.: Boeing has displaced Airbus at Hawaiian Airlines, winning an order for 787-9s. Hawaiian canceled an order for six A330-800s, the only order on the books for this sub-type.

An announcement could come as early as this week.

The campaign has been underway for months and the outcome was expected. Airbus offered to cut the price on the -800 and also offered the A350-900. The latter always was considered too big by carrier executives.

Boeing’s effort to displace Airbus A330neo at Hawaiian is part of an all-out, hand-to-hand combat campaign by Boeing to kill the A330neo program in advance of the potential launch of the Boeing 797.

LNC detailed the battle here.

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Airbus, Boeing square off with A330neo, 787 in advance of NMA launch

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Introduction

Feb. 8, 2018, Leeham Co.: Boeing hasn’t launched the New Midrange Aircraft (NMA, aka 797) and may not until next year.

But the maneuvering to capture, solidify or preempt moves is already well underway by Airbus and Boeing.

Reuters synopsized this during its reporting at this week’s Singapore Air Show.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Summary
  • Boeing 787 production rate increase to 14/mo next year is, in part, a head-‘em-off-at-the-pass maneuver to prevent customers from buying the Airbus A330neo.
  • The 787-8 could see a new lease on life as interim airplane.
  • A330-800 has steep uphill slog.
  • Airbus, Boeing face off 787, A330neo.

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Pontifications: Twelve Years of Turbulence at American Airlines

By Scott Hamilton

Jan. 22, 2018, © Leeham Co.: American Airlines was the last of the big US legacy carriers to enter bankruptcy, in 2011.

Executives put up a valiant battle to avoid being dragged into Chapter 11, despite having two airplanes hijacked on 9/11. One was flown into the World Trade Center, the other into the Pentagon.

Only two months later, American lost a third airplane in an accident.

Delta, Northwest, US Airways and United airlines all filed for Chapter 11 after 9/11; there were several other airlines to do so. Not all survived.

American did, merging with US Airways as part of the former’s bankruptcy reorganization.

AA’s former general counsel, Gary Kennedy, teamed with the aviation reporter for the Dallas Morning News, Terry Maxon, to tell the story of Twelve Years of Turbulence, The Inside Story of American Airlines’ Battle for Survival.

The book is available now.

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Post-hearing briefs in Boeing-Bombardier trade case

Dec. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co.: It’s not often that levity appears in briefing papers in US government trade cases, but Delta Air Lines managed to draw LNC’s chuckle in its post-hearing brief in the Boeing-Bombardier trade case.

Dec. 27 was the deadline for Delta, Bombardier, Boeing and other interested parties to file post-hearing (Dec. 17) briefs and exhibits.

Delta’s introduction was novel to say the least.

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History undermines Boeing claim of C Series impact: analysis

Analysis

Dec. 22, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing blames a subsidized, price-dumped Bombardier C Series for the poor sales of the smallest member of the 737 family, the -700 and the 7 MAX, but history doesn’t support the claim.

The US Department of Commerce clearly ignored sales evidence that the 737-700 has been “done” for many years and the 737-7 MAX was an unattractive design

Boeing 737-7 MAX. Rendering via Google images.

that hasn’t been fixed with a redesign; airlines simply don’t want the airplane. Commerce levied tariffs amounting to 292% on C Series imported into the United States in the future.

The US International Trade Commission is currently awaiting post-hearing briefs from Dec. 18 testimony from Boeing, Bombardier, Delta Air Lines and other parties to determine whether Boeing suffered “harm” by the C Series deal with Delta and a near-miss with United Airlines.

If the ITC concludes Boeing suffered harm, the DOC tariffs stand. If not, the DOC action is moot. The loser at ITC is expected to appeal.

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