Boeing targets Bombardier for “dumping” CSeries in US

April 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The Boeing Co. late today filed a petition with the US government, charging Bombardier with “dumping” the CSeries in its deal last year with Delta Air Lines for 75+50 CS100s. Delta can convert the order to the larger CS300, which competes with Boeing’s 737-700/7 MAX.

Boeing claims Bombardier sold the airplanes for about $20m, against a cost to build the airplanes of about $33m.

Delta Air Lines ordered the Bombardier CS100. Boeing claims the low price constitutes “dumping,” as defined in regulations.

The 1,039 page complaint cites as one of its references Leeham News and Comment. A redacted, 147 page version may be downloaded here: BBD Complaint 042717.

Wall Street Journal article and Financial Times article summarize the complaint.

Boeing’s press statement is below the jump.

Delta Air Lines competition

Boeing competed in the Delta competition, offering a combination of used Boeing 717s and, LNC believes, new 737-700s. The fully amortized -700s can be offered at a very low price, compared with the new 737-7 MAX (which at that time was the 125-seat, two-class version, not the 149-seat configuration it has since become). Boeing beat Bombardier in a hot contest at United Airlines, predating the Delta deal, by offering the -700 at a rock-bottom price believed to be in the $24m range, a price Bombardier could not then match. (A United official denied the $24m price to LNC, but others cited this number.)

Since the United deal, Bombardier received investments from the Quebec provincial and federal governments specifically tied to the CSeries, and more than US$1bn from a quasi-government pension fund for a stake in Bombardier’s rail unit. The investments are widely considered to be bailouts that prevented Bombardier from declaring bankruptcy due to cost overruns and delays from the CSeries and Global corporate jet development programs.

Bombardier took a US$500m “onerous contract charge” in connection with the Delta order and one from Air Canada.

Rival Embraer immediately cried foul and alleged the government monies violate World Trade Organization rules. Bombardier says the financial structures comply with WTO rules. Brazil, at the behest of Embraer, filed a formal complaint with the WTO. Boeing, while not filing its own WTO complaint, joined in the action, according to press reports at the time.

Boeing’s action today so far is limited with the US government.

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United’s new advertisement after passenger incident

April 11, 2017: United Airlines is in the midst of a public relations nightmare following Sunday night’s incident in which a passenger was dragged off a flight at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

A new commercial was immediately launched, debuting on the Jimmy Kimmel show. Kimmel had his own caustic remarks.

United also recognized that it needed a new training procedure following the incident. The following is a video for its customer service training.

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Pontifications: Branson gets pissy over dropping the Virgin America name

By Scott Hamilton

April 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Sir Richard Branson came to Seattle last week to promote the new service by Virgin Atlantic Airlines to London. In a hissy-fit, he promptly pissed on Alaska Airlines for the business decision to drop the Virgin America brand in 2019.

Alaska, of course, acquired Virgin America last year. The acquisition didn’t sit well with Branson, who nevertheless made out well in the deal.

Although Alaska officials said they would decide later whether to retain the Virgin brand, only those with wishful thinking gave any chance of this happening.

Richard Branson in Seattle for Virgin Atlantic’s new service to London. USA Today photo via Google.

Branson certainly knows this.  In 1997, Virgin Group acquired the low fare carrier Euro Belgium Airlines for $60m and promptly dropped the name in favor of Virgin Express.

VE lasted only nine years; it ceased operations in 2006 when it was sold and merged into the new Brussels Airlines.

Branson’s whining over Alaska’s decision to operate the merged operations into the Eskimo’s image smacks of hypocrisy.

Let’s also remember that his Virgin Atlantic is 49% owned by Delta Air Lines, which is building a hub in Seattle in competition with Alaska. The fight between Alaska and Delta is sometimes bitter.

Branson’s criticism of Alaska might have as much to do with Virgin Atlantic’s partnership with Delta as it does his own bruised ego.

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Major fleet decisions may not be positive for Airbus, Boeing

Pontifications is off this week.

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Introduction

March 20, 2017, © Leeham Co.: There are some major fleet decisions that will probably come down the pike this year at American, Delta and United airlines. Not all of them are going to be viewed positively by Airbus and Boeing.

There is also a serious warning sign emerging from the Middle East that could have serious, negative impacts on Airbus and Boeing.

Summary
  • American Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-900s any more. Consolidation with US Airways appears to have made these surplus.
  • Delta Air Lines, which so far eschewed any orders for the Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXes, is understood to be readying a Request for Proposals to be issued this year.
  • United Airlines doesn’t want its Airbus A350-1000s any more. Picking up cheap Boeing 777-300ERs appear to have made these surplus.
  • Emirates Airlines, reacting to Brexit and Donald Trump’s travel bans, is undertaking a full business review in response to a sharp drop in bookings.

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Pontifications: Boeing MAX 10, “797” NMA dominated ISTAT headlines

By Scott Hamilton

March 13, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The soft launch of the Boeing 737-10 and the prospective Boeing “797” Middle of the Market aircraft easily were the headline news items to come out of the annual ISTAT conference in San Diego last week.

The “797,” as the MOM-sector aircraft was unofficially dubbed, brought enthusiastic reaction.

The MAX 10, not so much.

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If Boeing builds MAX 10, will customers come?

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Introduction

March 7, 2017, © Leeham Co.: If Boeing builds the 737-10, which appears increasingly likely, will customers come?

This is always the multi-billion-dollar question for any aircraft and engine manufacturer.

For Boeing, launching the 737-10 is a low-risk, and in the eyes of many, futile effort to stem the bleeding of market share between the MAX 9 and its rival, the Airbus A321neo.

  • “That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. What is he, flying downhill?” Airbus’ John Leahy reacting to claims by Boeing’s Randy Tinseth that the 737-10 has more range than the A321neo.

Depending on who’s counting and how the numbers are calculated, the A321 sales outpace the MAX 9 by a factor of four or five to one. LNC calculated last year that the ratio is more likely 3:1, identical to the market share split between the predecessor airplanes, the 737-900ER and the A321ceo.

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Pontifications: Boeing 737-9 roll-out–Nothing Special in the Air

By Scott Hamilton

March 6, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Boeing rolls out its 737-9 MAX tomorrow.

Last week, I received a call from one of the network/cable news organizations asking, What’s special about this airplane?

The answer is: Nothing.

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Pontifications: Boeing 777 production rates

By Scott Hamilton

Feb. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: When Boeing announced it will reduce 777 production to 5/mo, with actual deliveries of the 777 Classic to 3.5/mo beginning in 2018, the aerospace analyst at Goldman Sachs immediately concluded Boeing will have to reduce the rate to 2-2.5/mo.

Since then, and other analysts (whether publicly or privately) reached a similar conclusion.

On the 4Q/YE2016 earnings call in January and again last week at a Barclays conference, company executives said 90% of the positions in 2018 and 2019 are sold.

Shortly after the Barclays conference ended, one analyst called me to challenge the assertion by Greg Smith, Boeing’s CFO, about 2019. By his assessment, the analyst could only get to 60% in 2019. Did I see anything differently?

59% or 74%, but not 90%

At that point, I hadn’t looked. When I did later, I got to 59% based on firm orders. I could get to 74%, giving Boeing every benefit. But I couldn’t get to 90%.

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United: the road back

By Bjorn Fehrm

Introduction

February 1, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: A headline from one year ago read: “UNITED’S QUEST TO BE LESS AWFUL: A bungled merger. A corruption scandal. Three CEOs in a year. But hey, at least the snacks are free again.” (Bloomberg 14 January 2016).

“Things have changed, but not everything is fixed yet,” said Gary Laderman, United’s SVP Finance, Procurement and Treasurer, at the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers conference in Dublin last week.

Figure 1. United’s new Boeing 777-300ER. Source: Chris Edwards/Woodys Aeroimages.

Laderman then candidly went through the history, the fixes and why there is more to come. Read more

A380, from flagship to LCC mass transport

By Bjorn Fehrm

January 23, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: The Airbus A380 was introduced as the flagship aircraft for an airline’s fleet. Legacy carriers with a large long-haul network introduced the aircraft on the routes with the most traffic in the network. After an initial rush of inductions, only Emirates continued to buy the aircraft in larger numbers. The aircraft had become too large for the airlines which sought frequency over capacity at their hub airports.

Airbus and its leasing partner, Amedeo, are convinced the aircraft will have a second spring when airport congestion has grown in the next decade. Until then, both are seeking the market niches that will keep production at minimum one aircraft per month.

We sat with Amedeo’s CEO, Mark Lapidus, at the Air Finance Journal conference in Dublin to find out what market will require a new or used A380. Lapidus has spent the last two years in meetings with the world’s major airlines, discussing all aspects of operating an A380. He presented some surprises.

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