A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Airbus

This week saw the GTF-powered A320neo flying again.  This is no doubt of great relief to both the aircraft and engine OEMs.  Even so, it appears Airbus may be signalling a delay.  On an analyst call today Airbus spoke of contingency plans for delay of A320neo certification. These include the fact the majority of A320 deliveries in 2016 are of the “ceo” variety.  Continue reading

At high altitudes where commercial jetliners operate, bleed air is used to supply crew and passengers with fresh air at the right temperature. This bleed air is taken from the engine and mixed with recirculated cabin air. The bleed air is compressed to cabin pressure by the engine compressor, which is lubricated with synthetic oils, containing poisoning components. If the seals used are not a 100%, crew and passengers are at a risk of inhaling toxic air, leading to aerotoxic syndrome.

Other than the 787, all commercial aircraft, even the A350 (and most probably 777X) use bleed air for the cabin air supply. This is due to the fact that the engine compressor is overall the most efficient air compressor on-board jetliners. Besides, an additional compressor adds more weight, which translates in less payload and/or range.   In recent years, most efficiency improvements on aircraft… Continue reading

We hear it all the time – fuel costs are the airlines’ biggest input cost.  When looking at the data, it certainly is the largest input on flight operations.  However, what does it look like for the aircraft airlines depend on most?  The workhorse aircraft seating from 125 to 200 passengers?  Airbus and Boeing dominate these segments and their aircraft set the tone.

In the chart below we use the US DoT Form 41 data to illustrate what fuel costs are on a per seat per flight hour basis for the past six years.

Of course, fuel prices and hedging contracts also influence these costs, and each airline has a different net cost per gallon over the period.  Another potential bias in the data is route length, which differs for each of these aircraft.  Shorter routes tend to have higher fuel costs because there… Continue reading

Recently we’ve seen a number of instances in which software problems have emerged on commercial aircraft, most recently, a glitch that could shut down a Boeing 787 in flight, rendering the electrical system that controls the aircraft useless.  We’ve also heard that a member of the hacking community, who runs a computer security service, may have caused a United Airlines aircraft to change direction after taking control of the aircraft via the wi-fi system on board.

Couple this with prior glitches with both A380s and 787 that have been told to us by industry insiders, who are afraid to go public to protect their jobs, and it appears the industry has a new problem to address — keeping aircraft systems safe from hackers, viruses and other threats.  So far, we’ve seen some gaps that don’t add to our confidence that the industry is doing all it could, either… Continue reading

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