A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

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In the aftermath of Germanwings 9525, we have learned that the crash of the aircraft was an intentional mass murder. While many questions are yet to be resolved regarding this crash, several issues emerge that need will be drawing future attention in the industry. Continue reading

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We continue our big picture analyses with a comparison of the in-service fleets at Airbus and Boeing for the years 2000, 2007 and 2014.  This provides an interesting opportunity to see how these two OEMs are doing in the market. As the charts show, there is a distinct difference. Continue reading

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The tragic crash of a Germanwings A320, 4U flight 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, has led to widespread speculation regarding potential causes for the crash.   We know very little at this point, but expect to learn more as the flight data recorder, which was recovered, is analyzed by French authorities. While that “black box” was damaged, it appears that the data are intact and recoverable, according to recent news reports.

We do know that the aircraft was 24 years old, delivered in 1991, and had 58,300 hours and 46,700 cycles, had a line check the day before the crash, and a C-check in 2013. We also know that the aircraft was cruising about 38,000 feet, then descended for 8 minutes at a high rate of descent before crashing into the mountains at about 6,000 feet.   The aircraft wreckage is spread over a wide area, in small… Continue reading

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The commercial aerospace industry has two duopolies – a big one (Airbus & Boeing) and a small one (Bombardier & Embraer).  If markets were clearly differentiated these four companies would coexist in an environment where there are two competitions.  But, as we know, the commercial aerospace business is not cleanly split – there is a growing area of friction between the duopolies where their interest meet.

The area where the friction is occurring is the 111-140 seat segment, and that segment itself built on the foundation of the 91-110 seat segment.  The under 100 seat segment is where the regional jet makers of the small duopoly have traditionally traded and honed their craft.  Success at the sub-100 seat segment has enabled the smaller duopoly firms to experiment by stretching aircraft and even developing aircraft with more than 100 seats.  The success Bombardier and Embraer enjoyed has attracted attention and competition from Mitsubishi in Japan and SuperJet from Russia and Italy.  To maintain their duopoly Bombardier and Embraer decided to grow their aircraft up to the nominally 130 seat size. Continue reading

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It is our understanding that CFM’s LEAP is coming along according to plan. The program has had no unusual events to cause either OEMs or airlines any concerns. The promise of the LEAP is to deliver 15% improved fuel burn and 50% margin on NOx as well as a substantially lower noise footprint.

The LEAP has a tough act to follow; CFM promises the LEAP is going to offer the comparable maintenance costs to those of the CFM56. The CFM56 is the most popular turbine engine in use among single aisle airliners. Take a look at this table to see what we mean. Continue reading

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Take a look at this chart of the 2014 in service passenger airliner fleet.  In our view this provides a very useful breakdown of the OEMs by seat segment.  It also highlights some opportunities for new business. Continue reading

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The much delayed ARJ has started test flights for launch customer Chengdu Airlines. The first two deliveries are set occur in April or May. This will be the first Chinese attempt at offering a regional airliner.

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So how does their offering compare to competitive products that exist today?

2015-03-18_15-17-49The Chinese have publicly stated that they did not expect to produce a world-beating aircraft out of the box, and that the ARJ-21 was to be a learning experience. But they did expect to make an aircraft that could be competitive, given the capital cost differential, for Chinese airlines, which they have done.

The table above shows the seating is virtually identical in a typical two-class configuration. But then the other numbers come into play – the ARJ is much heavier; 16% more than the CRJ and 14.4% heavier than the E-175. This causes an interesting requirement – all three use various… Continue reading

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Rockwell Collins has been awarded a seven year contract with the FAA to provide the company’s oceanic data link (ODL) service to enable real-time data communications between pilots and air traffic controllers, allowing aircraft to fly more efficient routes to save fuel and enhance safety.

The Rockwell Collins ARINC data link service enables standard procedural requests, like altitude changes, to be communicated via data transmissions between the FAA’s air route traffic control centers in Anchorage, New York and Oakland and flight crews on future air navigation system equipped aircraft. The service also allows aircraft to automatically transmit periodic position reports, enabling the FAA to track an aircraft’s location when traveling over the ocean and out of radar range.

Rockwell Collins’ ODL service provides a direct data communications link between the FAA oceanic controllers and a flight deck resulting in operational efficiency and better service to the flying public – not… Continue reading

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