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AirInsight » A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

News from China is that the state has formally created the Aero Engine Corp of China. Headquartered in Beijing, the  company has a registered capital of 50 billion yuan ($7.5bn), and 96,000 employees.  The new company will consist of three current firms being merged.  AVIC Aviation Engine Corp, Sichuan Chengfa Aero Science and Technology Co Ltd and AVIC Aero Engine Controls Co Ltd are the three firms that will together create the the Aero Engine Corp.

The WSJ reports China’s president sees this as a strategic move.  This is no surprise since aerospace is seen as a national industrial priority in China.

China has struggled with the development of aero engines.  It managed to copy the SU-27 to create an indigenous fighter.  But China could not effectively copy the engines.  China’s best fighters use Russian-made engines.  Chinese commercial aircraft all use western-made… Continue reading

Another E190-E2, serial number 20.003, took off on its maiden flight last Saturday, August 27, from the company’s facility in São José dos Campos. The new E-Jet is the third of four prototypes to join the E190-E2 certification program.  Prototype 20.003 will be used primarily to test flying qualities and evaluate how the aircraft handles in icing conditions.

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The first E190-E2 prototype aircraft, serial number 20.001, is currently conducting tests on systems, loads, aero-elasticity, external noise and handling in crosswinds. It first flew on May 23 of this year and made its international debut at the Farnborough Air Show in London in mid-July. The second E190-E2 prototype, serial number 20.002, made its inaugural flight on July 8. It is used to test systems and general aircraft performance. These two prototypes have accumulated more than 150 flight hours.

The fourth prototype, serial number 20.004 is scheduled to take flight by… Continue reading

For medium and long-hauls, the twin engine passenger aircraft are the backbone of the fleet.  This first chart demonstrates how twin engine aircraft have become the dominant type.  In 2000, twins were about 50% of the fleet.  By 1Q16 this had risen to about 70% of the widebody fleet. Continue reading

During the Farnborough Air Show, Airbus announced a production rate cut for the A380, reducing production to one aircraft per month.  This rate cut reflects the waning backlog for the aircraft, which has yet to emerge as a favorite among airlines, although it is a favorite among passengers.  This rate cut also buys time for Airbus, and leasing company Amedeo, to garner orders for the A380 should demand begin to increase for the type.

Has the A380 program peaked?  We don’t think so and offer this report (buy it here) laying out our thinking.

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In a previous story we wrote about the growing demand for pilots.  The demand is real and well documented.  But what about the other side of the equation?  Where will these pilots come from?

In its recently released study, Boeing notes a demand for 617,000 airline pilots by 2035.  They go on to say: “Meeting this demand will require innovative solutions — focused on educational outreach and career pipeline programs — to inspire the next generation of pilots, technicians, and cabin crew. New technologies, devices, and training methods will be needed to meet a wide range of learning styles. The growing diversity of aviation personnel will also require instructors to have cross-cultural and cross-generational skills to engage tomorrow’s workforce.”  Airbus forecasts a need for 560,000 pilots by 2035. The demand for pilots is not exclusively a commercial issue.  Even the USAF… Continue reading

The US airlines earned record profits of more than $12 billion in the first half of 2016.  Their pre-tax margins increased to 15.5%, the highest level since the 2008 recession, and near parity with the average US corporation of 16.5%.  This is as close to the corporate average as the airlines have ever been in their history, as air travel has, like grocery stores, been a high volume but low margin business.  Traffic grew 5.7% year over year in the first half, while yields dropped 7.7% and cargo revenue dropped 15.6%.

What inferences can we draw from these results?

First, consolidation and capacity controls are working for airlines, keeping airfares relatively high.  While airfares are lower in 2016, this is a reflection of lower fuel costs, from which savings have been split between consumers and airlines.  The lower airfares are stimulating demand, but the overall… Continue reading

Is Long-Haul first class alive or dead?  Several airlines have eliminated first class and are upping the ante on their business class offerings to nearly first class standards.  Other airlines maintain a distinction between the two, utilizing suites for First Class and lie-flat seats for business class.  One thing is certain, airline business class offerings are moving up, with United and Delta announcing new products in 2016.

Recently, United Airlines introduced its Polaris business class for international flights that includes enhanced business class suites, as well as exclusive lounges on the ground at key airports, upgraded dining, luxury bedding, and drinks.  The Polaris brand is focused on improving the sleeping experience in flight.

Not to be outdone, Delta is now introducing new suite seating for its DeltaOne business class, which already features upgraded dining, luxury bedding and drinks.  The new DeltaOne suites are shown… Continue reading

Sukhoi Civil Aircraft announced that, at the request of CityJet, the SSJ can now operate from runways that are only 30m wide.  This new EASA allowance enables the airline to deploy the aircraft in a number of important airports, most crucially, London City.

SuperJet and Sukhoi are working on the steep approach to London City as an additional tweak on the SSJ according to SuperJet CEO Nazario Cauceglia.  As we heard at Farnborough, the SSJ is also going to get winglets produced by Sukhoi.

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The SSJ now has two influential western customers helping to advance the aircraft’s development.  InterJet in Mexico and Eire based CityJet will ensure the aircraft becomes more acceptable to other western airlines.   Airlines in southwestern Europe are watching the developments with growing interest.  The SSJ offers an ever more compelling combination of size, performance and pricing.

As the SSJ performance is… Continue reading

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