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Viking Aircraft, which currently produces the Twin Otter, has acquired the type certificate and production rights to the CL-415 Water-Bomber from Bombardier, as well as the aftermarket rights and type certificates for the earlier CL-215 and CL-215T water-bombers.  This is an ideal fit for Viking, which earlier acquired the rights for multiple de Havilland models from Bombardier, ranging from the DH-1 Chipmunk to the DH-7 STOL commuter aircraft.

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Currently, Viking produces the Twin Otter 400 and has delivered more than 100 aircraft to 29 countries since launching that model in 2007.  Can it do the same with the water-bomber?

There is certainly a need for water-bombers, as forest fires continue to erupt annually in North America during the summer, and Australia during their summer.  The advantage of the water-bomber is that it can quickly re-load by “scooping” water from a river or lake, mix that water with… Continue reading

2016 is the best year the CSeries has had.  Besides the spate of orders, yesterday Bombardier won certification from EASA and the FAA for the CS100.

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“Bombardier Commercial Aircraft announced today that its CS100 aircraft has been awarded Type Validation by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following a comprehensive testing program. The EASA and FAA validations follow the CS100 aircraft Type Certification awarded by Transport Canada in December 2015.”

With the EASA certification, Swiss will get its delivery in June with EIS set for July.  The certification milestone sends signals to potential customers.  The timing couldn’t be better (delays excepted).  We are eight weeks away from the biggest aviation event of the year.  Bombardier can be expected to splash a lot more at Farnborough than it could in Paris last year.

For the Paris show, Bombardier was under… Continue reading

The current backlog for aircraft is well known.  There are some, AirInsight included, who believe that there is an emerging bubble in the single aisle market.  The OEMs argue strongly that this is not the case, and that the large backlog will be delivered.  One of the factors in that equation is what will retirements look like, and when existing aircraft reach the point of economic obsolescence.

There are a number of factors that drive aircraft obsolescence, fuel burn being the most notable.  As engines increased in efficiency, newer aircraft have significantly lower operating costs than predecessors.  However, capital costs and interest rates also play a role in the equation, as does the supply-demand balance and pricing of older aircraft.  Those trade-offs are carefully evaluated by airlines as they project potential revenue and cost differentials and their retirement decisions.

Historic Perspective

What does history tell us about single aisle fleets and retirements?  Aircraft have a limited economic life, but this varies  among the OEMs. This is primarily due to the age of the fleets, with Boeing and Douglas having produced narrow bodies since 1958 while Airbus didn’t enter the market until 1989.  The oldest Airbus narrow-bodies are now turning 28 years old, while the oldest Boeing and Douglas aircraft are senior citizens.

The age at which aircraft retire has been growing over the last few decades, as new models replace old ones and economic conditions for the industry change with recessions, 9-11, SARS and other exogenous factors.

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