Last week, Harry Nelson, former Vice President of Airbus flight test department, warned about pilots relying too much on automation, and that airlines need to better train their flight crews who may have become complacent and may not be capable of adequately manually flying the aircraft should automation fail.
The crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214 in San Francisco in 2013 was a clear example of a flight crew that lost competence through over-reliance on automation. Asiana’s standard procedures for a pilot are to switch on autopilot shortly after takeoff, and utilize the auto landing systems coupled to airport instrument landing systems at airports for landings. The day of the crash, the ILS was under repair at SFO, but since the weather was clear, visual landings could easily be undertaken. Every other flight that day had no problems, but the Asiana crew, less accustomed to manually landing… Continue reading
The US airline fleet has been remarkably stable since 2000 in terms of narrow and wide body aircraft. Wide body aircraft have typically accounted for under 15% of the jet fleet for many years. Continue reading
The 180-200 seats segment is getting the attention of Boeing and Airbus. It is growing fast as airlines up-gauge their narrow-body fleets and 757s retire. The chart below illustrates the growth in this segment, with the fleet of about 600 aircraft in 2000 doubling by 2014. And who is winning this segment’s competition? Airbus and its A321. Boeing used to own this segment with its 757.
However, one should not assume that this success is going unnoticed in Seattle. Even as Airbus offers an A321LR – seemingly surrounding this segment with options – Boeing is almost certainly going to respond.
The question is when,… Continue reading
The middle of the narrow-body market is changing, as it has been for many years. We define the narrow-body as single aisle aircraft over 100 seats, relegating those under 100 seats to the regional jet market. While the middle of the single aisle market ranges between 150 and 160 today, there is a trend towards larger aircraft, and the next generation of narrow-bodies will likely be optimized for between 180 to 200 seats.
Today, with many Boeing 757s approaching retirement, Airbus and Boeing are positioning their A321LR and 737-9MAX models as potential replacements, although neither has the capacity or range of the 757.
How has the middle of the market changed? It has grown steadily since wide-bodies replaced intercontinental narrow-bodies, and has continued to steadily climb over the last decade. The following chart shows the average number of seats for the US-based Airbus and Boeing single aisle fleet from 2000-2014.
Boeing is proving to be an increasingly productive company, with output from its plants growing 76.9% since 2011. The following table, based on Boeing data, summarizes deliveries in first quarter of this year and the prior four years. Continue reading