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A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Airbus

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A conversation with Guy Norris (Aviation Week) and Jon Ostrower (Wall Street Journal) on what Boeing does next with respect to replacing the 757 and fending off the A321LR.

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Industry followers have been seeing a lot of opinions over the past two weeks on the 757 replacement issue. The arguments are essentially that Boeing must do something, but what should that something be?

Boeing has good reason to be hesitant. The company is busy with a number of programs plus it is ramping up 737 production. There is plenty going on to keep its employees face down and focused. Of course there are the futurists looking ahead and they are concerned with some fundamental issues:

  • What do airlines want?
  • What do airlines need?
  • How large is the segment?
  • What will an offering in this segment cost?
  • What can such an offering sell for?

Here are some thoughts to add to the futurists thinking.

What do airlines want and need?
There appears to be a sizable market for aircraft between 180-230 seats. Airlines are being persuaded to up gauge from… Continue reading

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Reports indicate that Israeli national carrier, El Al, is considering replacing its 767 fleet. The airline has a fleet of 40 aircraft, of which eight are 767s. The newest of these 767s is nearly 15 years old while the oldest has been in service more than 30 years. Replacing them is obviously a key element for their fleet plan and strategy.

El Al fleet planning has been a somewhat limited activity in the recent past. An order for six 787s was cancelled because of financial constraints.  This is because, essentially, fleet planners at the airline have only really been able to select the Boeing product that best fits the need. As an Israeli state owned company, heavily influenced by US policies, this meant El Al bought Boeing aircraft. Airbus tried in vain to break this monopoly. Continue reading

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2015-02-16_10-34-54There is no airline more associated with the A380 than UAE’s Emirates Airline. The biggest A380 customer by an order of magnitude, the airline and aircraft are synonymous. Even as Airbus struggles to convince airlines of viability of its flagship, the primary customer of the aircraft marvels how competitors don’t “get it”.   In Emirates’ view the A380 is fundamental to its success and the airline has deployed the aircraft into markets nobody would have thought viable – Manchester and Mauritius are examples.   Any destination of some magnitude can expect to be added to the Emirates network and as soon as it gets market traction, an A380 is potentially in its future. There is no destination that doesn’t want an A380. The volume of passengers that come with it are capable of creating a tsunami of economic impact. Particularly when considering the airline runs A380s at over… Continue reading

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There was a lot of interest when KLM retired its last MD-11 from passenger service recently. We don’t expect the same warmth to be extended to the retiring of the last passenger A300.  Which is a pity.

1502409Iran’s Mahan Air concluded A300B2 operations with its, and the world’s, last remaining commercial aircraft of the type, EP-MHA (cn 160), having been ferried to Kerman where it is to be scrapped.  The carrier operated three of the type, all of which were former TOA Domestic Airlines (Japan) aircraft.

According to Planespotters this aircraft first flew in September 1981, making it just short of 33 1/1 years old.  That’s a long run in passenger service.  It is the A300 that got Airbus going and alone makes this a special moment. Of course there are many A300s flying as freighters.  FedEx took the last A300-600F delivery in 2007.

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There has been considerable discussion in recent days regarding the potential for re-engining and re-introducing the Boeing 757, which first entered service in 1982, into the marketplace.  While from a fuel burn standpoint, a new engine may make sense, from a technology perspective, the aircraft, even with a new engine, would be far behind its stablemate, the Boeing 787.

Despite the rocky introduction of the Boeing 787, its new technology provides a distinct advantage in fuel burn and maintenance costs vis-à-vis its predecessors, and as the 787 ages, we will need to rethink old rules of thumb about increasing aircraft maintenance costs with aircraft age.  If we focus on technology and maintenance costs, it becomes quite clear that re-engining a 1982 aircraft doesn’t make much sense.

The following chart from Boeing illustrates the difference over time in maintenance cost between the 757’s contemporary, the 767, which was developed… Continue reading

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