By Bjorn Fehrm
March 24, 2022, © Leeham News: Last week, we discussed the creation of a Boeing 787 freighter. It shall replace the Boeing 767-300F, which is running into emission rule problems in 2027.
After looking at what 787 variant makes for the best freighter, we now compare the economics of the 787, 767-300F, and A330-200F freighters.
By Scott Hamilton
March 21, 2022, © Leeham News: A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 (Flight number MYU5735) crashed today while enroute to Guangzhou. All 132 people on board were killed.
For those likely to jump the gun, it is important to note that this 737 was a Next Generation model, not the MAX. The accident airplane was delivered new to the airline in 2015.
According to flight tracking radar images, the flight was at cruising altitude when it nosed over into a vertical dive. A photo circulating on Twitter shows the airplane in a vertical position moments before the crash.
No conclusions may be drawn about the cause of the crash based on the sketchy information available. As a matter of routine investigative procedures, the following will be areas of inquiry, in no particular order:
Now open to all Readers
By Scott Hamilton
March 21, 2022, © Leeham News: Lockheed Martin Co. (LMCO) plans to submit a proposal for the US Air Force’s KC-Y aerial refueling tanker procurement. So does Boeing. LMCO joined with Airbus and will offer a tanker based on the existing Airbus A330 MRTT (Multi-Role Tanker Transport). Boeing will offer a follow-on purchase of the incumbent KC-46A, based on the 767-200ER.
These two aircraft faced off in the KC-X competition. Airbus initially teamed with Northrop Grumman and was awarded the contract. Boeing protested the award on procurement procedural grounds and prevailed. Northrop dropped out of the recompete, which Boeing won in 2011.
The two aircraft will be offered again, but this time, one party doesn’t view the aircraft as competitive. LMCO sees the Airbus airplane, which it brands the LMXT, as complementary to rather than competitive to the KC-46A. Lockheed explains why here.
Boeing, on the other hand, isn’t convinced the USAF will even seek a competitive bid—or that LMCO’s belief that the service wants a larger airplane than the KC-46A to fill a “gap” is correct.
Mike Hafer, senior manager of KC-46A Business Development, explains why.
March 21, 2022, © Leeham News: Eyes are focused on Ukraine and the Russian War. In our corner of the world, commercial aviation, the stakeholders follow the fallout from the war: sanctions placed on Russia which affect overflights, supply chains, oil to Europe (fuel), and Russia’s confiscation of about $10bn worth of airliners from Western lessors and lenders.
But there is another drama playing out on the other side of the world, too. This one involves China and one of its commercial aviation companies, AVIC.
AVIC is a major aerospace company in China. It also has a variety of none-aerospace companies. It’s one of these that caught our eye last week.
The Wall Street Journal on March 14 reported that AVIC subsidiaries involved in solar energy filed for bankruptcy to avoid an $85m judgment after allegedly absconding with intellectual property from two US companies. The firm had to settle for 30 cents on the dollar.
It’s another example of China companies simply ignoring international IP laws.
March 18, 2022, ©. Leeham News: In our series, we have now seen the major limitations batteries as an energy source impose on an airliner and that hybrids work but don’t bring any advantages for an airliner.
The alternatives are to use an energy source with a higher energy density and combine it with an efficient propulsion system. Sustainable Aviation Fuel, SAF, has the same high energy density as today’s Jet fuel and hydrogen’s density is three times higher than Jet fuel.
By Bjorn Fehrm
March 17, 2022, © Leeham News: Monday, we started a series of articles discussing a possible Boeing 787 freighter. It shall replace the Boeing 767 freighter, one of Boeing’s most-produced models, with over 200 factory freighters delivered.
We use our Airliner Performance Model to understand which 787 variant would be most suitable as a base for a freighter and what performance it would have.
By the Leeham News Team
March 15, 2022, © Leeham News: Is the 787-8 a freighter of the future?
There will be a glaring hole in Boeing’s freighter offerings by the end of 2027. The cause will be the inability for Boeing to sell aircraft that do not meet emission standards adopted in 2017 by ICAO, the International Civil Aviation Organization, effective in 2027. This will put an end to the current Boeing 767 and 777 freighters. Boeing launched the 777-8F last month, solving the latter problem. But unless some magic occurs, and extensions are granted, Boeing will need to fill the 767 gap with something.
March 14, 2022, © Leeham News: Boeing’s launch of the 777-8F program, with an entry-into-service of 2027, solves part of its freighter challenges.
But it still faces the question of what to do with its aging 767-300ERF.
Both airplanes face a 2027 deadline by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that limits emissions and noise for today’s in-production aircraft. The 777-200LRF and 767-300ERF fail the new standards.
ICAO crafted the new standards in 2017. Aircraft that fail to meet them must go out of production from 2028 unless an exemption is granted. It’s left to the member governments to formally adopt and enforce the standards—or grant an exemption to them.
The 777-8F solves the upper end of the problem for Boeing. The airframer is seeking an exemption for the smaller 767-300ERF. Industry officials think it unlikely Boeing would receive an indefinite exemption. But a short-term exemption to bridge to another airplane is viewed as possible.
LNA learned in January Boeing is considering developing a freighter out of the 787. Stan Deal, the CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, confirmed at the Singapore Air Show last month that this study is underway.
With Airbus for the first time in its history offering a new-build freighter that is seen as not only competitive to Boeing airplanes but in some quarters viewed as superior, Boeing’s decades-long dominance for cargo aircraft is under serious threat for the first time.
LNA has undertaken an analysis of the 787-8, 787-9, and 767-300ERF to look at which model makes the most sense for Boeing to pursue. LNA’s Bjorn Fehrm will detail our analysis later this week. Today, we’ll look at the background and strategic issues for a second production Boeing freighter.
March 14, 2022, © Leeham News: You might call it the soup du jour.
EcoAviation is all over the place at aviation conferences these days. It was a key topic at last October’s Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Likewise at last month’s annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance (PNAA). EcoAviation also was an element of the Speed News conference in Los Angeles early this month and at another event the following week. Investor Day events now routinely include ecoAviation discussion.
This is all well and good, but at last, some key members of the industry are putting caution and realism to the pie-in-the-sky stuff that is sucking up investment like the Dot Com era a few decades ago. Only a few ideas and technologies will be successful.
March 11, 2022, ©. Leeham News: After our articles about Serial Hybrids and Parallel Hybrids showed they were unsuitable for airliners, where do these make sense?
The obvious answer is for our stop-and-go cars (as we then can recover the brake waste energy). Still, there are aeronautical special cases where hybrids can bring advantages. Let’s look into these.