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A Commercial Aviation Consultancy

Bombardier

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We got an update to the program test flight hours.  March was, quite simply, a fantastic month.  Every test program watcher looks for the “hockey stick” curve.  It looks like Bombardier’s CSeries test program has reached the upward part of the curve.

FTV7’s (CS300) maiden flight was over five hours.  Bombardier missed the 787-9 first flight time record by ten minutes.  FTV5 recently had a flight that lasted over seven hours.  In case you miss the point – this is about the time it would take to fly from Montreal to Paris. Continue reading

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1Today’s news of Air France/KLM ordering another 34 E-Jets draws attention to the opportunity represented by the aging fleet of aircraft built by Fokker. These aircraft, even the last produced, are approaching 20 years of age, and much of this fleet will likely be replaced over the next five years.

At present there are some 339 Fokker jets in service around the world. Given that Fokker is out of the business, and the Rekkof plan seems to be gaining no traction, we see the replacement of these aircraft as a big opportunity for others.

So what does the existing Fokker fleet look like? The following chart shows the in-service Fokker fleet as of the end of 2014 by geographic region and end use. The vast majority of the fleet remains active in passenger service, with Asia being the largest market, followed by Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Only 35 Fokker jets are currently registered in North America, the majority in Canada.

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The commercial aerospace industry has two duopolies – a big one (Airbus & Boeing) and a small one (Bombardier & Embraer).  If markets were clearly differentiated these four companies would coexist in an environment where there are two competitions.  But, as we know, the commercial aerospace business is not cleanly split – there is a growing area of friction between the duopolies where their interest meet.

The area where the friction is occurring is the 111-140 seat segment, and that segment itself built on the foundation of the 91-110 seat segment.  The under 100 seat segment is where the regional jet makers of the small duopoly have traditionally traded and honed their craft.  Success at the sub-100 seat segment has enabled the smaller duopoly firms to experiment by stretching aircraft and even developing aircraft with more than 100 seats.  The success Bombardier and Embraer enjoyed has attracted attention and competition from Mitsubishi in Japan and SuperJet from Russia and Italy.  To maintain their duopoly Bombardier and Embraer decided to grow their aircraft up to the nominally 130 seat size. Continue reading

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