Bjorn’s Corner: Do I get COVID in airline cabins? Part 6.

June 12, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our Corner series about flying during the COVID-19 pandemic, we now look at how different worldwide organizations are engaged to understand the COVID-19 pandemic and how to handle it in an air transport context.

Based on input from the industry stakeholders, the organizations have in the last weeks issued plans for the rebuild of the global air transport system.

Pandemic and air transport. From ICAO’s home page.

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Boeing tells Spirit to pause 737 MAX fuselage production

June 11, 2020, © Leeham News: Spirit Aerosystems, maker of the Boeing 737 fuselages, yesterday said it will lay off 900 workers on the MAX line for three weeks.

“Spirit received a letter from Boeing directing Spirit to pause additional work on four 737 MAX shipsets and avoid starting production on 16 737 MAX shipsets to be delivered in 2020, until otherwise directed by Boeing,” the supplier said in a press release.

“Based on the information in the letter, subsequent correspondence from Boeing dated June 9, 2020, and Spirit’s discussions with Boeing regarding 2020 737 MAX production, Spirit believes there will be a reduction to Spirit’s previously disclosed 2020 737 MAX production plan of 125 shipsets,” the company said.

Spirit also is furloughing workers at two locations in Oklahoma.

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How much of International passenger flights can be paid by belly cargo? Part 2.

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 11, 2020, © Leeham News: As international passenger traffic slowly recovers, how much of the cost of flying passengers on the international routes can be paid by the freight under the floor?

We discussed the base parameters to answer this question in last week’s article. Now we calculate the revenues from passengers traffic and Cargo and compare them with the operational costs.

 

Summary:

  • The high freight prices make it possible to resume international passenger flights without losses on routes where there is substantial freight demand.
  • As belly freight capacity comes back to the market the freight prices will decline, but by then the passenger load factors should be on the way up.

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HOTR: Boeing still sees MAX 3Q recertification

By the Leeham News staff

June 10, 2020, © Leeham News: Despite COVID slowdowns, Boeing still expects recertification of the 737 MAX in the third quarter, say people familiar with the situation.

Whether this timetable proves out remains to be seen. But this is the schedule Boeing continues to work toward.

The two key regulators are the Federal Aviation Administration and Europe’s EASA. Other regulators are expected to follow their leads.

Concurrent recertification as conventionally thought of—recertification and everyone authorizes a return to service at the same time—isn’t realistic. After EASA recertifies the airplane, the member states’ own regulators must step up and formally do so. This may take a couple of weeks.

China’s CAAC was the first regulator to ground the airplane. It has its own process. There isn’t a reciprocity agreement with the FAA in place. (There are bilaterals, which aren’t the same thing.)

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France to invest 15 billion Euro in its aeronautical industry

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 10, 2020, ©. Leeham News: France presented a 15 billion Euro support plan for the French aeronautical industry yesterday, to help the industry overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plan has three focus areas:

  • safeguard the employment of the 300,000 employed in the French aero industry
  • transform the supplier network to a more robust structure
  • and perhaps most interesting, set the direction for the industries’ next aircraft projects

The French Finance Minister announces the plan. Source: France 24.

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An accelerating widebody fleet streamlining, Part 2

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By Vincent Valery

Introduction  

June 8, 2020, © Leeham News: Last week, we saw that earlier generations of widebody aircraft had significant range restrictions. Airlines with sizable long haul operations had to operate multiple aircraft types to serve different markets.

With the innovation of common pilot type rating and increased range of smaller widebody aircraft, airlines can now serve all their long haul destinations with far fewer types than in the past.

In the context of muted passenger traffic in a post-COVID-19 world, airlines will be under pressure to become more efficient and streamline operations. We will analyze the consequences for current twin-aisle programs and the fleet situation at large carriers.

Summary
  • Accelerated retirement of old and large aircraft;
  • Winners and losers among widebody programs;
  • Some airlines are more streamlined than others.

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Pontifications: Pratt & Whitney uses COVID crisis to catch up on GTF fixes

By Scott Hamilton

June 8, 2020, © Leeham News: Pratt & Whitney struggled since its new Geared Turbo Fan engine entered service in 2016 to fix technical, reliability and operational issues.

Plagued by premature engine removals as parts, other than the gear box, failed, Airbus A320neos stacked up in Toulouse and Hamburg while new engines were diverted to operators with aircraft out of service.

India’s regulator issued a grounding order of GTF-powered neos. Shop visits for repairs and modifications overwhelmed PW. The mess cost PW parent United Technologies (now Raytheon Technologies, following a merger) billions of dollars.

Working its way out of this mess was forecast to take into 2021.

Now, with COVID-19 impacts grounding airliners by the thousands, PW is using this as an opportunity to speed replacement and reworked engine deliveries.


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Performance Improvement Packages (PIPs) will be ready this summer.

“If there is any silver lining in the environment we’re in today, it is likely around the GTF and the retrofit,” Raytheon CFO Toby O’Brien said during a UBS webcast last week. “We are utilizing available shop capacity to fix the issues in the fleet. Our goal is to have GTF engines with enhancements by the end of the year as the recovery plays out.”

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Bjorn’s Corner: Do I get COVID in airline cabins? Part 5.

By Bjorn Fehrm

June 5, 2020, ©. Leeham News: In our Corner series about flying during the COVID-19 pandemic, we dig deeper into how the virus spreads.

In the last Corner, I wrote, “Recent research points to SARS-CoV-2 spreading over droplets rather than aerosols.” I later modified it to “spreading more over droplets than aerosols.”

Let’s dig into what I tried to say and why I changed the sentence.

Figure 1. The spreading of droplets when coughing.

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HOTR: Moving up the 777-8F?

 By the Leeham News Staff

June 4, 2020, © Leeham News: A lawsuit filed by cargo specialist Volga Dnepr against Boeing claims Boeing is running out the clock on the 747-8F.

The report by The Seattle Times makes for interesting reading. Key of HOTR is the reference that Boeing plans to end 747 production within three years. This is longer than LNA believes. Regardless, the three-year timeline fits with information LNA about the 777-8F.

LNA is told Boeing sales floated the possibility of launching the 777-8F around 2023-24. This would bring forward the launch by about two years from plans when the X program was launched in 2013.

Then, the entry into service for the 777-9 was targeted for 2019-2020. This was to be followed by the 777-8 passenger model in two years and then the 8F two years after that.

During the fallout of the MAX grounding, the 777-8 was deferred indefinitely. Now, with COVID upending demand, customers are deferring and talking about canceling 777X orders. Boeing is reducing 777 production from five to three per month. The 777-9 production will go to one per month.

The 777 Classic line is sustained by the 777-200LRF. The 777-8F concept is a couple of frames longer than the -8P but shorter than the 777-9.

Having spent more than $1bn for the advanced Composite Wing Center to build 777X wings and having produced about a dozen 777-9s so far, Boeing needs to boost the X sales prospects.

Bringing forward the -8F is the way to do so.

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How much of International passenger flights can be paid by belly cargo ?

By Bjorn Fehrm

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Introduction

June 4, 2020, © Leeham News: Air cargo prices are at an all-time high. The air cargo demand is down 28% compared with the same time last year, but the capacity has disappeared faster. Half of the world’s cargo was flying in the bellies of passenger aircraft, and as these were grounded, 50% of the world-wide cargo capacity went missing.

Airlines have taken the seats out of passenger jets and now fly them as belly freighters with light pandemic protective gear cargo in the cabins on special authorization from the authorities. This has alleviated the capacity crunch somewhat but demand and capacity still don’t match. As a result, cargo prices stay high.

As international passenger traffic slowly recovers, how much of the cost of flying passengers on the international routes can be paid by high priced freight in the bellies of the aircraft?

Summary:
  • While domestic passenger traffic shows the first signs of recovery, international traffic will take long to recover.
  • At the same time, cargo prices are two to three times higher than normal for international routes within Asia and between Asia and the US or Europe.
  • How much of the bills for flying international passenger traffic in the recovery period can be paid by cargo in the bellies of these jets?

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