Airbus preparing to hike A350 production rate

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Oct. 5, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus is gearing up to increase the production rate of the A350 from 2018’s planned 10/mo to 13/mo, perhaps as early as the following year, LNC has learned.

The move follows Boeing’s announcement in September that it will increase the production of the 787 from the current 12/mo to 14/mo in 2019.

Airbus is producing the A330 at a rate of 6/mo.

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Next shoe in Bombardier trade complaint to drop tomorrow

Oct. 3, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The other shoe in the Boeing-Bombardier trade complaint is to drop Wednesday when the US Department of Commerce makes its decision whether Boeing suffered harm, or there is a threat of harm, in the CS100 order by Delta Air Lines.

Bombardier CS100 ordered by Delta Air Lines.

The DOC last week determined that Bombardier received illegal subsidies dating to the 2008 program launch of the CSeries, through the 2016 equity investments by the provincial government of Quebec and the federal government of Canada. Certain tax breaks were also deemed illegal subsidies by the DOC.

The determination was expected, even by Bombardier. But the DOC shocked the global aviation community by levying a 220% tariff. The rate is preliminary and won’t be finalized until next year, but absent some extraordinary event, it’s expected to be confirmed—followed by lengthy appeals.

The decision Wednesday relates to harm, or anti-dumping in legal terms. Here’s where the aviation community and observers, except for one who is prominent and who receives funding from Boeing, universally believe there is no case.

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American hopeful Trump Administration will take on Mid-East 3 airlines

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Oct. 2, 2017, © Leeham Co., Grapevine (TX): American Airlines officials dodged commenting about the specifics of the Boeing-Bombardier trade dispute when asked about it at the investors/media day last week in this Dallas suburb.

Instead, the general counsel, Steve Johnson, offered up only a general statement supporting the Trump Administration’s hard line on trade.

The reason for this generality is obvious: American, along with Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, is engaged in its own trade war and needs support from the Administration.

AA, DL and UA are battling Big Three airlines from the Middle East over being subsidized and abusing Open Skies treaties. The US carriers want Trump to knock down the ME3, Emirates Airlines, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways.

Oddly, no question was asked of the American officials about the current state of the battle during the day.

LNC asked American CEO Doug Parker about the issue following the event, however.

  • Recent meeting with US was encouraging.
  • No commitment yet from Trump Administration.
  • Market conditions don’t matter to ME3, American says

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Monarch ceases operations

Oct. 1, 2017, (c) Leeham Co.: Monarch Airlines ceased operations today (Oct. 2 in the UK) when its operating license was withdrawn and an Administrator appointed, the BBC reported.

Monarch Airlines Airbus A320. BBC photo via Google images.

The airline has 32 Boeing 737-8 MAXes on order. It operated a fleet of 34 Airbus A320s/A321s. Principal lessors are AerCap and Aviation Capital Group, according to the Airfinance Journal Fleet Tracker.

Given the current trade war between Boeing and Bombardier, there may be a sigh of relief in Montreal. Boeing beat out Bombardier in winning the MAX 8 order against the CS300 in 2014.

Pontifications: 49 years ago, the first 747 rolled out

By Scott Hamilton

Sept. 30, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Today is the 49th anniversary of the roll-out of the Boeing 747-100.

On Nov. 7, United Airlines operates its last 747 flight. Delta Air Lines ends it 747 service this year. Afterward, there won’t be a single US operator of the passenger model.

The 747 remains in service with US cargo carriers Atlas Air, Kalitta Air, UPS and a few others. Globally, British Airways, Lufthansa and Korean Air Lines are among those flying the passenger model.

Ted Reed, one of the writers of, asked me earlier this month to give some thoughts about the 747. Below is what I gave him; he excerpted some for his column in Forbes. The focus was on US operators.

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Bjorn’s Corner: Laminar flow aircraft

By Bjorn Fehrm

September 29, 2017, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus flew its “Blade” laminar flow research aircraft for the first time this week. It’s a project in the European Clean Sky research program.

The “Blade” aircraft is a modified Airbus A340-300, where the outer wings have been replaced with special laminar flow wing sections. We will spend a couple of Corners to understand why this research is done and why it’s important.

Figure 1. The “Blade” equipped A340-300. Source: Airbus.

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American wants to decide A350 fate within six months

Sept. 28, 2017, © Leeham Co., Grapevine (TX): American Airlines would like to decide within six months what it will do with its order for 22 Airbus A350-900s, a left-over deal from US Airways before the latter acquired the former.

Derek Kerr, EVP and CFO, told LNC on the sidelines of American’s investors/media day here in a Dallas suburb that the A350s were intended to replace US Airways’ A330s. The airline ordered 22 of the airplanes.

American, however, selected the Boeing 787-8/9 for its mid-size, long haul fleet, ordering 74 42. The new American deferred delivery of the A350s to 2020 and Kerr said a deadline is approaching to decide what to do with the order.

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Airbus is working on a 7,000nm A330-900

By Bjorn Fehrm

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September 28, 2017, © Leeham Co.: Airbus is working on increasing the range of the larger variant of the A330neo to 7,000nm. The present version, A330-900, flies 287 passengers 6,550nm, according to Airbus.

The range increase, which comes about from a take-off weight increase, is designed to make the A330-900 more of a competitor to the best-selling Boeing 787-9.

But the Airbus 7,000nm is not comparable to the 787-9’s 7,635nm with 290 passengers. The companies disagree on most principles on how to measure an airliner’s maximum range.

We use our aircraft model to weed out the differences and tell what is the comparable capabilities of the new A330-900neo variant compared with its main competitor, 787-9.

  • The A330-900 is capable of transporting 287 passengers 7,000nm when using Airbus rules.
  • When using rules closer to the ones used by airlines, the range is shorter.
  • We apply airline rules to A330-900 and 787-9 and compare their capabilities using our performance model.
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Assessing the impact of the Bombardier decision

Sept. 27, 2017, © Leeham Co.: The aviation world is still in shock over the size of the tariffs the US Department of Commerce plans to impose on Bombardier C Series deliveries to Delta Air Lines.

The DOC yesterday preliminarily decided to impose a 220% tariff on each CS100 delivered to Delta.

Delta Air Lines Bombardier CS100.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in April.

And this is only half the case. This week’s decision is about launch aide and the equity investments BBD received for the CSeries.

Next week, it will be a determination whether Boeing and the US airline industry faces the threat of injury. Observers believe DOC will conclude there is.

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Decision memo issued in Boeing-Bombardier case

Sept. 27, 2017: Here is the US Department of Commerce’s decision in the Boeing-Bombardier case.

Our analysis will be forthcoming. Decision 092617, 34 pages.