A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

To the beat of traditional Japanese taiko drummers, Mitsubishi rolled in their new MRJ. About 3 1/2 years behind schedule, the aircraft apparently has been noted for high quality workmanship already.  Mitsubishi is building 78- and 92-seat versions  developed at a cost it estimates at $1.7bn. The company plans to conduct a first flight in June, with the larger model available first. Continue reading

A story out today might lead readers to think a CSeries order from Austrian is imminent.  Its not.

We contacted Austrian and we were told “I am pleased to confirm that we achieved a framework-agreement with our workers council, so now we can be optimistic about the future of Austrian Airlines – including  some thoughts on the fleet modernization. Currently there is neither a decision made regarding the model nor to the number of aircraft.”  Of course you would expect the airline to say this until things are official.

But we were advised by a contact within parent company Lufthansa “…there is nothing to really talk about; don’t know where the rumour originated because there are many things to be done first.”

The Bottom Line:  It could happen, but it isn’t there yet.  The competition between CSeries and E2Jets is still ongoing.

In the business of buying airplanes, an airline will always seek the lowest cost.  Just as they do with every other production input – lowest cost wins every time.   So how is it that with the pending Azul order, “Boeing has not been given the opportunity to present a proposal for single-aisle airplanes“?

On the face of it, this looks like a selection that could not secure the lowest costs for Azul.  How does this make sense? As an Azul shareholder you would want to be certain your company secured the lowest cost option. Let’s go through some data points and thoughts to see if a pattern emerges.

Airbus wins the deal:

  • Creative marketing on the side of Airbus.
    • Driven by the fact the airline already committed to A330 and A350-900s
  • Which offers common flight-deck ratings
  • And, lets say it again, creative marketing. Volume… Continue reading

2014-10-14_12-11-14Today Gulfstream announced their G500 and G600.  But there’s more news around the G450 and G550 which is being replaced by these new models.

The news is specifically G550-based.  The US Navy will become the fourth customer for the G550-based Conformal Airborne Early Warning (CAEW), which is already in service with the Israeli Air Force (pictured), Republic of Singapore Air Force, and also ordered by the Italian Air Force.  The US Navy is replacing two NP-3D “Billboard” range monitoring aircraft with the G550.

Interestingly, the US Navy says that the G550 CAEW is the  “Only One Responsible Source and No Other Type of Supplies or Services will Satisfy Agency Requirements.” Look here for more on the procurement language.

The aircraft would be utilized by Naval Test Wing Pacific’s Naval Weapons Test Squadrons at Point Mugu.  The aircraft used by this group is… Continue reading

K66216A Boeing Joggle Press operator prepares the first 737 MAX fuselage stringer for the press by brushing on lubricant.  And with this the process starts the production of the first 737 MAX fuselage stringers at Boeing Fabrication Integrated AeroStructures in Auburn, Washington.   The MAX will be the fourth generation of the 737.

After forming, Boeing will send the stringers to Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita for incorporation into the first 737 MAX fuselage. From there the fuselage is shipped to Boeing’s Renton facility where employees assemble and build the 737 MAX.

The program is on track to begin final assembly of the first 737 MAX in 2015. The airplane will be part of the flight test fleet and is scheduled to fly in 2016.  The process started this week promises a great deal.  Boeing claims the 737 MAX will be 14% more fuel-efficient than today’s most… Continue reading

This morning the FAA reported that it had “restored full air-traffic operations at the high-altitude facility in suburban Aurora, Ill.”  See here for more details on what was done.

Well can we see this in the data?  Not yet is the short answer.  Though cancellation rates at ORD and MDW have returned to normal (yesterday, ORD had only 27 flight cancellations including for maintenance and crew-related issues and MDW had none), on-time performance still lags. The following charts are from masFlight, with whom we collaborated to see how much recovery has in fact occurred. There is no doubt that the system is much better now than it was.  But it is not back to where it was yet.  Tomorrow we will be able to see how today turns out.

First let’s look at departures.  The FAA says flights departing within 15… Continue reading

The CSeries has resumed flight testing, and flight test vehicle 4 has been commandeered by the marketing team to make visits to customers and prospects.  This week, FTV4 visited Republic Airways in Indianapolis, as shown in this video.  Republic was an early CSeries customer, ordering 40 aircraft in February 2010 and is their largest airline customer.


The next day, the aircraft visited Dallas, the home base of potential customers American Airlines and Southwest.  While we don’t have details or specific insight into these marketing trips, it is a good sign that Bombardier is confident about the aircraft and now demonstrating it to potential customers.  These visits are the first of a worldwide tour expected for the CSeries.

It also appears that as flight testing has resumed, the pace has stepped up to two flights per day for some of the aircraft.  If that pace… Continue reading

[UPDATE - images of VT-ANI recent state]

As the 787 starts to settle into operations it is a good idea to get a handle on how it is operating. Judging from the news reports, one is sometimes left with the impression this aircraft has a lot of teething troubles. As is always the case, rather than react to the frequently excited media, take a look at the data.

In developing this story we made extensive use of data from masFlight, the leading airline operations data warehouse.

Look at the first half of 2014.  Data is available for about 70% of scheduled 787 operations (note the caveats below the table). and includes some interesting tidbits, for example, the Finnair flights were a wet lease from LOT.  Airlines are reluctant to share this level of information.  An exception is Japan Airlines; take a look here.

Continue reading

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