Here’s interesting news about the KC-390. Embraer and Boeing are partnering on the sales and marketing of Embraer’s KC-390. The PR states: “Under the agreement, Boeing is the lead for KC-390 sales, sustainment and training opportunities in the U.S., UK and select Middle East markets. Embraer will manufacture the aircraft and collaborate on sales, sustainment and training.”
As the C-17 starts to slow down, Boeing wants to keep its tactical transport options open and the KC-390 is the best option. This news has to also be a warning for Lockheed Martin’s C-130. The C-130 is a legendary airplane that has been the leader in the segment and the KC-390 falls squarely into its patch.
Embraer will benefit from the huge defense footprint Boeing has. We can see this airplane being pitched to the US Marines, USAF and Coast Guard. For that matter, also to the Israeli Air Force whose C-130s are aging. Indeed there are thousands of C-130s that are aging. These airplanes are worked hard because they do tough work.
Competition for the C-130 should have been much tougher from the AN-70. But Antonov never did seem to get the program going, despite promising tests and initial interest. The Airbus A400M is way to large for many operators, and the C-130J is expensive. Is there a spot in there for the KC-390? If Embraer were to look for a partner to find one, Boeing would be first prize.
News from PAS 2013 today was eye popping; 100 E175-E2 is no small launch. One looks at this order, and keep in mind last year’s Farnborough order for 100 MRJs, firmed up at the end of 2012, and then does that leave space for anything else?
At last year’s Farnborough show the MRJ order by the airline, notably absent at the announcement was any airline management. This year the airline’s CEO is at the show and present for the Embraer order.
SkyWest is a big airline – far bigger than most people realize. It has a fleet of 750 aircraft. The two big orders now account for at least 200 (27%) of that fleet’s replacement. Is it over?
We spoke with Skywest’s CFO Mike Kraupp and he said it might be. Might, because they buy aircraft based on their major airline partner needs. For example, United and American Eagle both requested SkyWest to go for the Embraer airplane. He went to explain that as the airline was going through its replacement evaluations they looked at Bombardier, Embraer, Mitsubishi and Sukhoi. Sukhoi was deselected soon into the process. According the Mr Kraupp, Bombardier “lacked interest” and the CSeries was out of scope for the airline but of interest from Bombardier. Deciding on the MRJ and E2 means some engine commonality.
This means that unless an airline partner requests a Bombardier airplane, SkyWest is focused on Embraer and Mitsubishi. SkyWest likes the economics of these two airplanes. Mitsubishi was “aggressive” last year to win the business and Embraer “stepped up” this year. Bombardier could come back if an airline partner secures a deal that SkyWest can work with.
Embraer formally announced its its E-Jet replacement today, now known as the E2. The OEM will be offering E175-E2, E190-E2, and E195-E2. Embraer says the E190-E2 is expected to enter service in the first half of 2018. The E195-E2 is slated to enter service in 2019 and the E175-E2 in 2020.
Embraer went to to advise that in a typical single-class layout, the E175-E2 is extended by one row, compared to the current generation E175, and will seat up to 88 passengers, while the E190-E2 keeps the same size as the E190, of up to 106 seats. The E195-E2, compared to the current E195, has grown three seat rows and will accommodate up to 132 seats. The company also says “New aerodynamically advanced, high-aspect ratio, distinctively shaped wings, improved systems and avionics, including 4th generation full fly-by-wire flight controls, and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePowerTM Geared Turbofan high by-pass ratio engines (PW1700G on the E175-E2, PW1900G on the E190-E2 and E195-E2) will result in double-digit reductions in fuel consumption, emissions, noise and maintenance costs, and increased aircraft availability. The E-Jets E2 will be capable of achieving similar costs per seat of larger re-engined narrowbody aircraft, with significantly lower costs per trip, thus creating new opportunities for lower risk development of new markets and fleet right-sizing by airlines.”
The E2 is a shot across the bow of Bombardier. Bombardier’s CSeries remains the only new airplane in its class, the E2 is a derivative, but benefits from a large in-service customer base. Airlines will now have to consider the trade off – which is lower risk? The E2 is being built on a known airplane with a big customer base. Embraer has 1,200 E-Jets on order and 950 in service. This is a great base to work from. But will its economics match the CSeries?
The E2 will see engine thrust grow from 13,800 (E-175) and 18,500 (E-190/5) to 17,000 and 19,000 respectively. Bigger thrust means heavier airplanes, even with a new wing. Note the smaller E2 needs over 23% more thrust.
It is early days and yet Embraer has already announced 100 orders from Skywest (remember last year’s big MRJ order?) plus 165 LoIs. This is a great start, so let’s take a look at the E-175. The larger E2 airplanes are CSeries focused and deserve a separate post.
The E-175 has an empty weight of 559lbs/seat. We don’t have the empty weight of the E2 version but,based on thrust requirements, it is likely to be heavier.
The comparative airplane is the Bombardier CRJ900 – which requires 13,360 in thrust (3% less than the current E-175) and comes in at 549lbs/seat. The numbers are close and the CRJ is likely to be outclassed by the E2 version.
The E-175-E2 should be out by 2020, which gives Bombardier time to consider a response. What might this be?
Given the resources that have gone into the CSeries, we would assume that Bombardier would prefer a lower cost and risk solution. We think that Bombardier could take a leaf out of the well-thumbed derivative book. Everyone else is doing it, why not them?
Might a GTF solution be part of this? For example, taking the engine of the MRJ might do the trick. Even the smaller of the two MRJ engines, with 15,600 in thrust provides a CRJ900 with nearly 17% more power. Along with this will come a far smaller noise footprint and better fuel burn. Clearly there will be a weight penalty because the GTF will be heavier than the CF34 currently used. However, much of the derivative book was written by Bombardier and we think they could pull off the design changes needed. Moreover we would guess Bombardier could get this done well before 2020.
As the Paris show gets underway the orders are being announced and the sniping is in full force. The sniping is not just Airbus vs Boeing. CFM and P&W are also at it. Great for the media as the sound bites are perfect for Twitter and drive readership. Each snipe has to be as clever as possible to survive this week because next week the world will move on, back to real competitive issues. [Read more...]
If you watched our videos from Airbus’ Innovation Days you will have noticed the comments about eTaxi. Airbus seems to favor the Honeywell/SAFRAN eTaxi solution which uses the main wheels. When asked about this, Airbus says the nose wheels don’t have sufficient purchase or grip. Apparently they don’t there is enough grip.
Well, it turns out that this is only a opinion. One of Airbus’ largest customers is Lufthansa and they experimented with main wheel eTaxi using a solution from Crane and L3. That test must not have been too successful becuase that partnership is no longer working together.
Partnering with DLR (Germany’s NASA), Lufthansa tested a nose wheel solution on a DLR-owned A320. These tests have gone well. So much so, it would seem that Lufthansa appears sympathetic to this approach over the main wheel solution. Take a listen to Joachim Buse, Lufthansa’s VP Aviation Biofuels talking about the airline’s eTaxi tests.