A Commercial Aviation Consultancy


Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, has been vocal in pushing Airbus to revise the A380. As we pass through the A380’s first decade in service, the recent decision by Emirates to switch to Rolls-Royce from Engine Alliance got a lot of attention. The other news was Airbus provided a nice video on the anniversary of the A380 – but that did little to offset the general negative media coverage. Take a look here and here for example.

We were pleased to see Airbus President Fabrice Bregier describe the arrival of the A380 as perhaps “ten years too early” – a view we stated in our A380neo Business Case in January. As many critics of the A380 have their moment, it is, in the end, still the backbone upon which Emirates has built a tremendous business. Consider this. Absent the A380, Emirates would not be as big an airline… Continue reading


This issue is now getting a lot of attention.  United just banned a passenger who is an IT cyber security expert, because the airline believes him to be a threat to their aircraft systems.   We are not sure this was the best response from the airline.

The decision now will likely attract every IT person who flies to have at least a twinge of curiosity.  IT people by training are smart and by nature inquisitive.  Getting an IT person to accomplish just about anything can be done by saying these words “I bet you can’t….” – we know because we use it and it works every time.  Smart IT people like these accept challenges because the determination to prove themselves to themselves is a constant driver.

Bear in mind in a knowledge economy, the IT worker is the sharp end of the sword.  Which… Continue reading


Last week, Harry Nelson, former Vice President of Airbus flight test department, warned about pilots relying too much on automation, and that airlines need to better train their flight crews who may have become complacent and may not be capable of adequately manually flying the aircraft should automation fail.

The crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 in San Francisco in 2013 was a clear example of a flight crew that lost competence through over-reliance on automation.  Asiana’s standard procedures for a pilot are to switch on autopilot shortly after takeoff, and utilize the auto landing systems coupled to airport instrument landing systems at airports for landings.  The day of the crash, the ILS was under repair at SFO, but since the weather was clear, visual landings could easily be undertaken.  Every other flight that day had no problems, but the Asiana crew, less accustomed to manually landing… Continue reading


The 180-200 seats segment is getting the attention of Boeing and Airbus.  It is growing fast as airlines up-gauge their narrow-body fleets and 757s retire.  The chart below illustrates the growth in this segment, with the fleet of about 600 aircraft in 2000 doubling by 2014.  And who is winning this segment’s competition? Airbus and its A321.  Boeing used to own this segment with its 757.

2015-04-14_11-19-56Airbus has seen its share of the segment rise from 17% in 2000 to 53% in 2014.  Given that the A321neo is comfortably outselling the 9MAX, this is likely to continue in the near and medium term.

However, one should not assume that this success is going unnoticed in Seattle.  Even as Airbus offers an A321LR – seemingly surrounding this segment with options – Boeing is almost certainly going to respond.

The question is when,… Continue reading


The middle of the narrow-body market is changing, as it has been for many years. We define the narrow-body as single aisle aircraft over 100 seats, relegating those under 100 seats to the regional jet market. While the middle of the single aisle market ranges between 150 and 160 today, there is a trend towards larger aircraft, and the next generation of narrow-bodies will likely be optimized for between 180 to 200 seats.

Today, with many Boeing 757s approaching retirement, Airbus and Boeing are positioning their A321LR and 737-9MAX models as potential replacements, although neither has the capacity or range of the 757.

How has the middle of the market changed? It has grown steadily since wide-bodies replaced intercontinental narrow-bodies, and has continued to steadily climb over the last decade. The following chart shows the average number of seats for the US-based Airbus and Boeing single aisle fleet from 2000-2014.

Continue reading


Mitsubishi Heavy Industry announced a first flight delay for the MRJ, and that it has launched a new management structure to facilitate the transition of the MRJ program from the development phase to manufacturing phase of development.  In addition to the management changes, the company has relocated its complete head office functions to the Nagoya Airport Terminal Building, adjacent to the manufacturing and test facilities, to improve efficiency and oversight.

The company reported that progress on the development of the aircraft is moving forward, with static strength testing and the manufacturing of a second aircraft proceeding smoothly.  However, the timing of the first flight has been pushed back to September or October in order to incorporate the results of various ground tests and feedback from those tests into the flight test aircraft.

Once those changes are made, the company expects to enter a more intensive flight test program… Continue reading

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