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A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

The announcement of job cuts is never a pleasant message, but in the case of Bombardier, appear to be both a financial and economic necessity.  Bombardier is facing numerous challenges across its multiple business lines, rail, business aircraft, and commercial aircraft.  The latter, particularly the C Series, is the key to the company’s future.

The C Series began life with an sizable economic advantage over existing models, but is facing re-engined competition that has somewhat leveled the playing field.   The competing A319neo, 737 MAX 7 and Embraer E2 jets are all existing models that have been upgraded.  The cost of a re-engining program is much lower than an all new aircraft, providing these companies with an economic advantage in that they have lower development costs to amortize over the life of the aircraft.

With strong existing customer bases, selling a re-engined jet versus an all… Continue reading

A report from Russia suggests that testing at TsAGI is being delayed because of missing parts (“shortfall of structural elements”) for the test vehicle.  It seems the missing parts come from AeroComposite – Ulyanovsk and are being shipped by truck.  The parts apparently were meant to be shipped on October 25.  The distance from Ulyanovsk to Moscow, where TsAGI is based is about 550 miles.

If TsAGI starts its tests late, almost certainly the first flight will be pushed back.  Thinking the first flight would be coming late this year or early next year now may be unrealistic.  Perhaps late spring or early summer seems more likely.

But, even so, one might consider that UAC could still have the aircraft at Paris for the 2017 summer show.  That would be playing the same card as Embraer did at Farnborough this year.  It… Continue reading

There are many airlines that operate on the fringes.  But there is one that warrants a place of its own; Air Zimbabwe.  Let’s take a look at what we have here as of 2Q16. The airline is small and has a history of financial trouble.

2016-10-20_11-02-34There is now, apparently, a task underway at the airline to update its long haul fleet.  The talk is of leasing a 787 from Malaysia.  To our knowledge, there are no Malaysian 787s.  As the table shows the 787s based in Asia are quite busy doing business.

2016-10-20_11-15-52The story gets funnier.  The airline has to avoid European destinations because of outstanding debts. Previously this caused an aircraft seizure in London, forcing it to stop flying to Britain. The airline may owe Heathrow $3m in unpaid fees.  The London market is by far the most attractive financially and the… Continue reading

GE Aviation reported it has completed initial ground testing of the first full GE9X development engine, the world’s largest commercial aircraft engine that will power Boeing’s 777X aircraft.


“This engine is living up to our expectations, and we are extremely pleased with the results,” said Ted Ingling, general manager of the GE9X program at GE Aviation. “During ground testing at GE Aviation’s Peebles Testing Operation, the first GE9X engine performed flawlessly, providing the Engineering team with 1,200 individual data streams that reaffirmed the design. We look forward to the next phase of testing for the engine program.”

The first GE9X engine has accumulated 167 hours, 213 cycles and 89 starts during ground testing. The recent testing provided data on the engine’s aero and thermal characteristics, mechanical integrity, performance and operability. Later this year, GE Aviation will conduct preliminary ice testing on the first engine to test (FETT) to get a… Continue reading

We spoke with Brian J. Terwilliger about his movie.

We don’t often review films at AirInsight, but once a film of interest to the aviation community arrives that is worth reviewing.  That film is Living in the Age of Airplanes, produced and directed by noted documentarian Brian J. Terwilliger.  This film, currently being shown at large-format IMAX theaters, will be released later this month (circa Oct. 25th) on Blue Ray, DVD and iTunes.  This 47 minute film took six years to complete, and has spectacular footage from around the globe. Continue reading

CFM International has delivered the 30,000th CFM56 engine. The company reports that the milestone engines, one each for Airbus and Boeing, were recently delivered to customers, including a CFM56-5B going to Delta Air Lines powering an Airbus A320ceo and a CFM56-7B engine to China Eastern Airlines for a Boeing 737-800.


Delta Air Lines launched the CFM56 engine into commercial service in 1982 and currently has more than 400 CFM56-powered aircraft in service or on order. China Eastern Airlines became a customer in 1994 and, today, is the largest CFM customer in China, operating more than 800 CFM56 engines.

Jean-Paul Ebanga, president and CEO of CFM International said: “It is an historic year for the CFM56 programAs confident as our founding fathers were in this program, I don’t think even they could have foreseen the success this engine has enjoyed. At the heart of it all, though,… Continue reading

Today Airbus delivered it’s 10,000 airplane.  It is an A350-900 for Singapore Airlines making this is a big day for Airbus.


Airbus made its first delivery in 1974.  It took a lot of confidence to create the company from a number of small European-based aerospace firms and cobble these parts into one group with one vision; break into an American dominated industry,   In the process other EU-based aerospace firms that were not part of the Airbus combine were left to wither mercilessly – like Fokker and Dornier along with others – which was awkward because these brands were great and had been delivering credible aircraft. The nation-state shareholders had a vision and were not going to allow anything to get in the way of that.

Nation-state shareholders also came with baggage.  Airbus also had to overcome the nationality-based “balance” between the Germans and French. … Continue reading

The Russian market just grew a bit more competitive.  For aircraft in the 100-seat segment, the Sukhoi SuperJet has pretty much had the home advantage.  But Embraer has seen the Embraer E-170 and E-175 awarded type certificates in Russia.  Russian news outlet ATO reports that two Russian airlines are interested in the Embraer.  S7 is said to be one the airlines.

Clearly the E-170/75 offers Russian airlines an option.  Conveniently, there were 25 aircraft of these models parked at the end of the 2Q16.   Exposure to the E-Jet gives Embraer a chance to find more customers to convert to the E2 when it enters service.  Continue reading

Spirit Airlines accepted the first A320neo delivery in the United States with an aircraft on lease from AerCap. This is the first of five scheduled deliveries, with four additional options for Spirit.

Ted Christie, Spirit’s Chief Financial Officer stated “ The state-of-the-art technology will burn less fuel and lower our operational costs. We continue to lead the industry in both reducing our carbon footprint and providing ultra-low fares on air travel. Spirit is thrilled to be the first carrier to bring this innovation to the U.S.”


The A320neo provides the combination of a mature airframe with new technology engines, providing benefits of new technology while minimizing changes to the airframe, providing benefits in commonality and maintenance costs. The A320neo has about a one year lead over its competitor, the Boeing 737 MAX, due to enter service in the third quarter of 2017.

Spirit chose the Pratt & Whitney PurePower 1100G… Continue reading

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